Breedloves's Folk Songs


    “Old Dan Tucker”, also known as “Ole Dan Tucker”, “Dan Tucker”, and other variants, is
    a popular American song. Its origins remain obscure; the tune may have come from oral
    tradition, and the words may have been written by songwriter and performer Dan
    Emmett. The blackface troupe the Virginia Minstrels popularized “Old Dan Tucker” in
    1843, and it quickly became a minstrel hit, behind only Miss Lucy Long” and Mary
    Blane” in popularity during the antebellum period. “Old Dan Tucker” entered the folk
    vernacular around the same time. Today it is a bluegrass and country music standard.
    The first sheet music edition of “Old Dan Tucker”, published in 1843, is a song of boasts
    and nonsense in the vein of previous minstrel hits such as Jump Jim Crow” and Gumbo
    Chaff“. In exaggerated Black Vernacular English, the lyrics tell of Dan Tucker’s exploits
    in a strange town, where he fights, gets drunk, overeats, and breaks other social taboos.
    Minstrel troupes freely added and removed verses, and folk singers have since added
    hundreds more. Parodies and political versions are also known.
    Old Dan Tucker was a fine old man
    He washed his face in the frying pan
    He combed his hair with a wagon wheel
    And died of the toothache in his heel
    Get out the way for old Dan Tucker
    He’s too late to git his supper
    Supper’s over and dishes washed
    Nothing left but a piece of squash
    Old Dan Tucker went to town
    Riding a mule and leading a hound
    Hound barked and mule jumped
    Threw old Dan right over a stump
    I come to town the other night
    I hear the noise and saw the fight
    The watchman was arunning around
    Crying “Old Dan Tucker’s come to Town”
    Old Dan he went down to the mill
    To get some meal to put in the swill
    The miller swore by the point of his knife
    He never see’d such a man in his life
    Tucker is a nice old man
    He used to ride our darby ram
    ┬áHe sent him whizzin’ down the hill
    If he hadn’t got up, he’d lay there still
    Old Dan begun in early life
    To play the bango and the fife
    He play the children all to sleep
    And then into his bunk he’d creep

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