Song Lyric Sunday — Coffee Time

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday, Jim Adams gives us “cappuccino,” “coffee,” “espresso,” “latte,” and “mocha” as our theme words. When my son was in college he belonged to an a cappella group and they sang jazz classics as well as contemporary pop and rock. Among their jazz classics was the song by The Ink Spots “Java Jive.”

“Java Jive” was written by Ben Oakland and Milton Drake in 1940 and was recorded by The Ink Spots. It reached number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100. The Ink Spots performed it for years, and there have been numerous other recordings by other artists, including The Manhattan Transfer’s popular 1975 version.

“Java Jive ” is a high-spirited ode to coffee in which the singer enthusiastically professes his love for “java” (and tea too, but it’s really about coffee). The love is mutual: “I love coffee, I love tea / I love the java jive and it loves me.” The singer also loves coffee’s “jive” — meaning foolish, playful talk in the jazz slang of the era, as well as a popular style of 1930s big band jazz. The song lyrics themselves are a great example of the jive — lots of silly rhymes, including “Oh, slip me a slug from the wonderful mug / I’ll cut a rug till I’m snug in a jug,” and everyone’s favorite, “I love java, sweet and hot / Whoops, Mr. Moto, I’m a coffee pot.”

When the Ink Spots recorded the song in 1940, audiences knew that “Mr. Moto” was the Japanese detective played by Peter Lorre in eight movies released in 1937-1939. Likewise, everyone knew that “cutting a rug” was slang for dancing, popularized in the 1920s and still current when “Java Jive” was released.

Here are the lyrics to “Java Jive.”

I love coffee, I love tea
I love the Java Jive and it loves me
Coffee and tea and the java and me
A cup, a cup, a cup, a cup, a cup (ah)

I love java, sweet and hot
Whoops, Mr. Moto, I’m a coffee pot
Shoot me the pot, and I’ll pour me a shot
A cup, a cup, a cup, a cup, a cup

Oh, slip me a slug from that wonderful mug
And I’ll cut a rug, till I’m snug in a jug
A slice of onion and-a draw one
Draw one
(Waiter, waiter, percolator)

I love coffee, I love tea
I love the Java Jive and it loves me
Coffee and tea and the java and me
A cup, a cup, a cup, a cup, a cup (ah)

Boston bean (soy beans)
I said, them little itty bitty green beans (cabbage and greens)
I’m not keen about a bean
Unless it is a chilly chili bean (talk it boy)

I love coffee, I love tea
I love the java jive and it loves me
Coffee and tea and the jivin’ and me
A cup, a cup, a cup, a cup, a cup

I love java, sweet and hot
Whoops, Mr. Moto, I’m a coffee pot (yeah)
Shoot me the pot and I’ll pour me a shot
A cup, a cup, a cup (yeah)

Oh, Slip me a slug of that wonderful mug
And I’ll cut a rug that’s snug in a jug
Drop your nickel in my pot, Joe
Takin’ it slow
Waiter, waiter, percolator

I love coffee, I love tea
I love the Java Jive and it loves me
Coffee and tea and the java and me
A cup, a cup, a cup, a cup, boy!

As a bonus, here’s the version by Manhattan Transfer.

21 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday — Coffee Time

  1. newepicauthor March 7, 2021 / 7:00 am

    Back in the say all coffee was brewed in a percolator, which was replaced by the drip brewer in the 1970s-80s.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango March 7, 2021 / 10:51 pm

      When my kids were little the used to love this song. I’m not sure why.

      Liked by 1 person

      • newepicauthor March 8, 2021 / 5:23 am

        You can almost smell the coffee brewing when you listen to this.

        Like

      • Marleen March 9, 2021 / 4:30 pm

        Did they get up and jump or dance around?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Fandango March 9, 2021 / 11:21 pm

          They did dance to it. It was weird.

          Like

  2. Keep Calm & Drink Coffee March 7, 2021 / 10:06 am

    Hey! Did someone told “I love coffee?!” 🙂
    A part of jokes,nice: I did not know this.
    Thanks!

    Like

  3. Stine Writing March 7, 2021 / 6:57 pm

    Both versions are good. That’s one of those songs that could come on the radio early one Sunday morning and you could sing it all day.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Marleen March 8, 2021 / 3:37 pm

    It was fun listening to this 🎤song, both versions. And here is part of a movie I enjoyed back in the earlier days of my drinking coffee (which wasn’t before I was thirty… except for a short stint, earlier, when I made cold brew latte carafes for special occasions).

    https://vimeo.com/420791463

    Liked by 1 person

  5. leigha66 March 11, 2021 / 11:15 pm

    I have listened to some of Manhattan Transfer’s music, but never heard this one. Actually think I like the Ink Spot’s version better. Great song choice!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. aisasami March 14, 2021 / 6:35 am

    Such a great song! I am a sucker for the Manhattan Transfer version, but I am a big fan of them!

    Liked by 1 person

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