Breedloves's Folk Songs


    “Turkey in the Straw” is a well known American folk song dating from the early 19th
    century. The song’s tune was first popularized in the late 1820s and early 1830s by
    blackface performers, notably George Washington Dixon, Bob Farrell and George
    Nichols. Another song, “Zip Coon”, was sung to the same tune. This version was first
    published between 1829 and 1834 in either New York or Baltimore. All of the above
    performers claimed to have written the song, and the dispute is not resolved. Ohio
    songwriter Daniel Decatur Emmett is sometimes erroneously credited as the song’s
    author. There are versions from the American Civil War, versions about fishing and one
    with nonsense verses. Folklorists have documented folk versions with obscene lyrics
    from the 19th century.
    “Turkey in the Straw” is still popular today among street fiddlers and ice cream trucks. It
    can be heard in many movie sound tracks; the song was already public domain by the
    start of sound film, so it was extensively used. In animated cartoons it is commonly used
    for suggesting farms or rural life, or old fashioned country people. Perhaps the first use of
    the tune in an animated cartoon soundtrack was in Steamboat Willie.
    As I was a-going down the road,
    With a tired team and a heavy load,
    I crack’d my whip and the leader sprung,
    I says day-day to the wagon tongue.
    Turkey in the straw, turkey in the hay
    Roll ’em up and twist ’em up a high tuckahaw
    And twist ’em up a tune called Turkey in the Straw. ,
    Went out to milk, and I didn’t know how,
    I milked the goat instead of the cow.
    A monkey sittin’ on a pile of straw,
    A-winkin’ at his mother-in-law.
    Met Mr. Catfish comin’ down stream.
    Says Mr. Catfish, “What does you mean?”
    Caught Mr. Catfish by the snout,
    And turned Mr. Catfish wrong side out.
    Came to a river and I couldn’t get across,
    Paid five dollars for a blind old hoss;
    Wouldn’t go ahead, nor he wouldn’t stand still,
    So he went up and down like an old saw mill.
    As I came down the new cut road,
  • Met Mr. Bullfrog, met Miss Toad
    And every time Miss Toad would sing,
    Old Bullfrog cut a pigeon wing.
    Oh I jumped in the seat and I gave a little yell
    The horses ran away, broke the wagon all to hell
    Sugar in the gourd and honey in the horn
    I never been so happy since the day I was born.

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