Tulip or Turnip


Comparing things that don’t usually go together can create an interesting concept for a lyric.


Here’s a song Duke Ellington wrote with Don George as a vocal feature for one of his band members, Ray Nance, who was originally hired to replace trumpet player, Cootie Williams.


As an aside, in addition to being a singer, dancer, and trumpet player, Nance was also an accomplished violinist whose jazz violin playing made a unique contribution to the Ellington sound. Ray Nance was a consummate performer and his antics on stage earned him the nickname “floor show.”


Follow this link to learn more about Ray Nance:




Follow this link to learn more about Tulip or Turnip:




I recorded Tulip or Turnip on my third CD, We Speak Duke. Check it out here.


Tulip or Turnip by Linda Tate


Tulip or Turnip

Music by Duke Ellington, Lyric by Don George


Tulip or turnip

Rosebud or rhubarb

Filet or plain beef stew

Tell me, tell me, tell me, Dream Face

What am I to you?


Diamond or doorknob

Sapphire or sawdust

Champagne or just home brew

Tell me, tell me, tell me, Dream Face

What am I to you?


Do I get the booby prize

Or will I be the hero?

Am I seein’ blue skies

Or, Daddy, is my ceiling zero?


Tulip or turnip

Moonbeam or mud pie

Bankroll or I.O.U.

Tell me, tell me, tell me Dream Face

What am I to you?


© Leeds Music Corporation, New York, NY, 1946


Follow this link for more copyright and song information:



I’d love to hear about a song you like that’s funny and/or compares dissimilar things.



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