What is a courthouse bed anyway?
January 20, 2011 11:14 PM   Subscribe

I need help finding information about a (possibly) children's song from (possibly) New England in the (possibly) 70s...

In the 70's my aunts and uncles sang a song for me with odd lyrics. I googled it and couldn't find anything with these lyrics, though I may have misheard them. The aunts and uncles in question may have grown up in upstate New York - Snyder? - and then moved to North Shore Massachusetts in the mid to late 60s. They range in birth dates from 1946 to about 1960. The song was a counting song that went:

Nine men in a courthouse bed,
Roll over, roll over,
One man thought 'twould be a great joke,
Not to roll over when anyone spoke,
In the confusion he got his neck broke,
Roll over, roll over,
Eight men in a courthouse bed,

And so on...

Is this actually a song? What does it mean?
posted by bendy to Media & Arts (3 answers total)
I think it's just a variation of the song "Ten in a Bed," which is such an old kids' song that its origins are pretty obscure. See this page from the BBC for other similar songs (their version of "Ten in a Bed" is about halfway down the page).
posted by colfax at 11:47 PM on January 20, 2011

Best answer: I searched Mudcat for your song. They have a thread that mentions it here.

Their version is "Nine Men Slept in a Boarding House Bed" - which might answer your question as to what a courthouse bed is.

If you Google that title you get quite a few hits including a few references to the wonderfully named book Songs For Swinging Housemothers which apparently contains it, and also this paid for online sheet music.
posted by Jim H at 5:59 AM on January 21, 2011

Response by poster: Perfect and thank you! It must have been "boarding house bed" which would also explain why googling for courthouse bed didn't yield any results.
posted by bendy at 11:54 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

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