“Stealin” is an American folk song from the 1920s. The song is particularly identified
with the jug band tradition, but gained wider popularity after several folk and blues artists
recorded it in the 1960s. The lines “If you don’t believe I love you, look what a fool I’ve
been / If you don’t believe I’d fall for you, look what a hole I’m in” were recorded by the
New Orleans jazz musician Clarence Williams in 1921 and again by Leona Williams in
1922 as “If You Don’t Believe I Love You, Look What a Fool I’ve Been.” Gus Cannon
claimed to have written the opening line, “Put your arms around me like a circle ’round
the sun.” On this basis, Cannon is sometimes credited with authorship of the song.
However, this line doesn’t appear in any of his recorded songs. It does appear in the folk
song “I Know You Rider” and may actually predate Cannon.
Stealin’, stealin’. Pretty Mama don’t you tell on me
I’m stealin’ back to my same old used-to-be.
Now, put your arms around me like a circle ’round the sun,
I want a little lovin’ like my easy rider done.
You don’t believe I love you, look at the fool I’ve been
You don’t believe I’m sinkin’, look at the hole I’m in.
The woman I’m a-lovin’, she’s just my shape and size
She’s a married woman, come to see me sometime.
She likes to give me honey. she gives me ev’rything she’s got
She always feeds me honey from the sweetest honey pot.
Hungry for your lovin, I’m a-starvin’ for your touch
Won’t you climb up in the saddle, quit your talkin’ so much.
The woman I’m a-lovin’, she always treats me bad
She spends all of my money, took everything I had.