Sound Off (Cadence Count, Jody Chant)
DESCRIPTION: Chorus: "Sound off, One, two, Sound off, Three, four." Verses, in marching cadence, can be about anything soldiers dislike, or their sex lives, but often involve the despicable Jody: "Jody's got my gal and gone, Left me here a-singing this song...."
EARLIEST DATE: 1935
KEYWORDS: army betrayal separation bawdy
FOUND IN: US(So)
REFERENCES (4 citations):
Cray, pp. 394-398, "Sound Off" (3 texts, 1 tune); see also pp. 398-400, "Honey Babe" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Lomax-FSNA 317, "Sound Off" (1 text, 1 tune)
Jackson-DeadMan, pp. 167-176, "Jody" (4 texts, though three are from the same informant, 1 tune)
DT, SOUNDOFF* SOUNDOF2*
The Swing Cadence
The Airborne Chant
NOTES: If one is only studying origins, this would probably not be considered one song. However, cadence chants so freely exchange verses, and can so readily shift from clean to bawdy and back, that I see no point in trying to separate any which use the same meter.
It is interesting to see the chants being taken over in Texas prisons. Here, the cadence count ("Sound off, one two...") is replaced by a simple "Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah" -- but the ever-troublesome Jody is still around. Jackson explains "Jody" as a worn down form of "Joe the," i. e. "Joe the Grinder."
Last updated in version 2.4
Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography
The Ballad Index Copyright 2016 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.