Song lyrics

Below are lyrics for all of the numbers featuring vocals on the New Mules' Pride of America CD.

Those in the Dear Old Illinois collection are referenced by their numbers in the book. The localities of source performers are also shown on thumbnail-size Illinois maps.


Jolly Old Soul Orphan Left Alone Take Warning, Young Ladies Liza Jane
Shoe Cobbler Turnip Patch Jenny Get Your Hoe Cake Done Molly Bond
Walking Out One Morning Across the Plains of Illinois Only a Miner I Went Down to New Orleans

1. Jolly Old Soul (DOI No. 164)

This lively song comes from Lucinda Young of Mounds, Illinois. Hers is the only version of this song we've heard, though the "rowdy old soul" theme appears in a couple of other songs from southern Illinois.

My father didn't raise no cotton and corn
And very few tomaters
If next year be a good crop year
Good Lord, what sweet potaters.

Chorus: (sung twice through, following each verse)

I'm a jolly old soul, I'm a rowdy old soul
I'm goin' to take Sal to the party-o.

My sister found a guinea's nest
Goin' to buy her baby a brand new dress
Goin' to take it down to the dry goods store
And dress it up in calico.

I've lived in the east, I've lived in the west
I've lived in Pennsyl-vane-ye
I lived six months in a hornet's nest
And I never got stung hardly any.

I carried old Sal to the party-o
I thought she was going crazy
She danced all night 'til the broad daylight
And wouldn't come home to the baby.


Jolly Old Soul Orphan Left Alone Take Warning, Young Ladies Liza Jane
Shoe Cobbler Turnip Patch Jenny Get Your Hoe Cake Done Molly Bond
Walking Out One Morning Across the Plains of Illinois Only a Miner I Went Down to New Orleans

3. Orphan Left Alone (DOI No. 251)

Edith Derossett of Murphysboro, Illinois was born in 1883 and learned this song from her mother.

Mother I have none, nor sister
In this world I'm all alone
In this dreary world of sorrow
I am an orphan left alone.

My mother said to me while dying
And her voice was almost gone
"Dearest daughter, you will soon be
A poor orphan left alone."

Chorus: (follows each remaining verse)

Mother I have none, nor sister
In this world I'm all alone
In this dreary world of sorrow
I am an orphan left alone.

Take this Bible to your chamber
Read and pray both night and day
Pray protection in your Saviour
And no more be left alone.

When I am dead and free from sorrow
And my corpse lies in the tomb
And I'm laid beside my mother
I'll no more be left alone.


Jolly Old Soul Orphan Left Alone Take Warning, Young Ladies Liza Jane
Shoe Cobbler Turnip Patch Jenny Get Your Hoe Cake Done Molly Bond
Walking Out One Morning Across the Plains of Illinois Only a Miner I Went Down to New Orleans

5. Take Warning, Young Ladies (DOI No. 297)

This song is from the singing of Robert Wilson (1876-1957) of McLeansboro, Illinois (and later of Dahlgren.) He knew many of the old songs and ballads, which he learned from elders in his family.

Come all you fair and tender ladies
Take warning how you court young men
They're like a bright star on a summer morning
At first they appear and then they're gone.

(Last two lines of each verse repeated.)

They'll tell to you some lovely story
And say to you they'll love you true
Forthwith they'll go and court some other
And that's the love they have for you.

I wish I was a little sparrow
And had some wings to fly so high
I'd go and search for my false lover
And when he'd speak, I'd be close by.

I'd ask him who he was going to flatter
Or who he intended to deceive
And in his bosom I would flutter
With my little tender wings.

But as it is, I am no sparrow
And have no wings to fly so high
So I sit down in grief and sorrow
To sing and pass my troubles by.


Jolly Old Soul Orphan Left Alone Take Warning, Young Ladies Liza Jane
Shoe Cobbler Turnip Patch Jenny Get Your Hoe Cake Done Molly Bond
Walking Out One Morning Across the Plains of Illinois Only a Miner I Went Down to New Orleans

6. Liza Jane (DOI No. 190)

A widely known piece, our version comes from numerous senior downstate Illinois fiddlers, Harvey Taylor of Effingham probably being our strongest influence.

When I go to travel
I'll travel on the train
When I go to marry
I'll marry sweet Liza Jane.

Chorus: (follows each verse)

Get along Liza poor girl
Get along Liza Jane
Get along Liza poor girl
She died out on the train.

I wouldn't marry a poor gal
I'll tell you the reason why
She'd have so many children
They'd make the biscuits fly.

Hardest work ever I done
Was brakin' on the train
Easiest work ever I done
Was lovin' sweet Liza Jane.

Whiskey by the gallon
Sugar by the pound
Great big bowl to put it in
And Liza to stir it 'round.


Jolly Old Soul Orphan Left Alone Take Warning, Young Ladies Liza Jane
Shoe Cobbler Turnip Patch Jenny Get Your Hoe Cake Done Molly Bond
Walking Out One Morning Across the Plains of Illinois Only a Miner I Went Down to New Orleans

8. Shoe Cobbler (DOI No. 287)

Mrs. Nine Barnett of Wayne City, Illinois was born around 1865 and learned this song from a boyfriend in her young days.

I am a rich old cobbler
And that makes me a freeman
I've had my fortune told
They said I'd marry as a wee man.

Chorus: (follows each verse)

Ling ling ling, ling a ling a li du
Ling ling ling, ling a ling a li du
Ling ling ling, ling a ling a li du
Although she was my dear.

The very first time that I got drunk
I fell and split the table
Determined I would mend it
If ever I got able.

The very next time that I got drunk
I fell into the wood pile
And if my wife hadn't hooked me out
I guess I'd have laid there a good while.

Well, now I've lost my shoe thread
And don't know where to find it
Oh, right there it lays
Right around there behind me
Big ball of wax, there behind me
Ling ling ling, ling a ling a li du
Although she was my dear.


Jolly Old Soul Orphan Left Alone Take Warning, Young Ladies Liza Jane
Shoe Cobbler Turnip Patch Jenny Get Your Hoe Cake Done Molly Bond
Walking Out One Morning Across the Plains of Illinois Only a Miner I Went Down to New Orleans

9. Turnip Patch (DOI No. 311)

This number comes from the duet singing of Mae Smith of Akin, Illinois and John Dial of McLeansboro, Illinois.

I went down t' turnip patch
Too ri too ri fol a rum a ride o
I went down t' turnip patch, father
I went down t' turnip patch
To see if my little red hen had hatched
Too rolly day.

She had hatched and climbed a tree
Too ri too ri fol a rum a ride o
She had hatched and climbed a tree, father
She had hatched and climbed a tree
Sittin' by the side of a bumblebee
Too rolly day.

I climbed up that chestnut tree
Too ri too ri fol a rum a ride o
I climbed up that chestnut tree, father
I climbed up that chestnut tree
What a big bugger man I did see
Too rolly day.

Picked up a club and hit him on the snout
Too ri too ri fol a rum a ride o
Picked up a club and hit him on the snout, father
Picked up a club and hit him on the snout
Said, "Ol' boy, you're off o' your route."
Too rolly day.

I went down the new-cut road
Too ri too ri fol a rum a ride o
I went down the new-cut road, father
I went down the new-cut road
With a bulky team and a heavy load
Too rolly day.

I picked up a whip and I hollered, "Blood!"
Too ri too ri fol a rum a ride o
I picked up a whip and I hollered, "Blood!" father
I picked up a whip and I hollered, "Blood!"
You oughta seen the way they went slippin' through the mud
Too rolly day.

Cornbread and milk sittin' on the shelf
Too ri too ri fol a rum a ride o
Cornbread and milk sittin' on the shelf, father
Cornbread and milk sittin' on the shelf
If you want any more, you can sing it yourself
Too rolly day.


Jolly Old Soul Orphan Left Alone Take Warning, Young Ladies Liza Jane
Shoe Cobbler Turnip Patch Jenny Get Your Hoe Cake Done Molly Bond
Walking Out One Morning Across the Plains of Illinois Only a Miner I Went Down to New Orleans

10. Jenny Get Your Hoe Cake Done

The only piece on the CD with no downstate Illinois connection, this is our interpretation of a number performed by Joel Sweeney of Virginia. We learned it from the sheet music, which was published in 1840.

The hen and chickens went to roost
The hawk flew down and bit the goose
He bit the old hen on the back
And I do believe that is a fact.

Chorus:

Jenny get your hoe cake done, done
Jenny get your hoe cake done.

High heel boot without any strap
Hand me down my leghorn hat
I'm goin' to the Astor House to dine
And I won't be back 'til half past nine.

Chorus


Jolly Old Soul Orphan Left Alone Take Warning, Young Ladies Liza Jane
Shoe Cobbler Turnip Patch Jenny Get Your Hoe Cake Done Molly Bond
Walking Out One Morning Across the Plains of Illinois Only a Miner I Went Down to New Orleans

11. Molly Bond (DOI No. 208)

This song is from Eleanor Gibson, a native of the Cave-in-Rock, Illinois area who later made her home just across the Ohio River in Sturgis, Kentucky. She and Ollie Barnard (see below) were cousins.

Molly Bond was out walking when the shower came on
She stepped beneath a beech tree, the shower to shun
Jimmy Randolph was a-hunting; yes, hunting in the dark
He fired at his true love, and he missed not his mark.

Then Jimmy ran to her and he found she was dead
Ten thousand of tears on her bosom he shed
Then Jimmy ran home with his gun in his hand
Saying, "Father, dearest father, I've shot Molly Bond."

"I've shot the joy and the jewel of my life
For I've always intended to make her my wife."
Then up stepped Jimmy's uncle, his hair being gray
Saying, "Stay at home, Jimmy, and don't run away."

Saying, "Stay at home, Jimmy, 'til your trial's at hand,
And you will come clear by the law of the land."
The day of Jimmy's trial, Molly's ghost did appear
Saying, "Uncle, dearest Uncle, Jimmy Randolph is clear."

"With my apron pinned around me, he took me for a fawn
And shot beneath the beech tree. My name is Molly Bond."
Two, four, six, eight, four more in a row
Molly's ghost disappeared like a fountain of snow.


Jolly Old Soul Orphan Left Alone Take Warning, Young Ladies Liza Jane
Shoe Cobbler Turnip Patch Jenny Get Your Hoe Cake Done Molly Bond
Walking Out One Morning Across the Plains of Illinois Only a Miner I Went Down to New Orleans

13. Walking Out One Morning (DOI No. 322)

This song is from the singing of Logan Bishop (1877-1961) of Raleigh, Illinois.

Oh, once I courted a damsel and I loved her dearer than life
I often thought I'd make her my lawful wedded wife
Through flattery and promises, she was taken away
And left me brokenhearted, alone there that day.

While walking out one morning, I spied a pretty, fair maid
I asked her if she'd marry me, and what do you reckon she said?
The answer that she made to me, "Kind sir, I'm much obliged.
I will not marry you, my love, oh no, my love, not I."

But about six months or after, this lady's mind did change
She wrote to me a letter, said, "Sir, I am ashamed."
I wrote to her another, and I sent it back in speed
Saying, "Once I loved you dearly, and I loved you once indeed."

But since your mind has changed, I've looked some other way
Upon some other fair miss, a-suited for me
Upon some other fair miss, where love can have its fill
This world is wide and lonely, if one won't then another one will.

The lonesome scenes of winter time inclines to frost and snow
Dark clouds around me hover, and the stormy winds do blow
The little birds are singing in every bush and vine.
My joyful heart would open if she was only mine.


Jolly Old Soul Orphan Left Alone Take Warning, Young Ladies Liza Jane
Shoe Cobbler Turnip Patch Jenny Get Your Hoe Cake Done Molly Bond
Walking Out One Morning Across the Plains of Illinois Only a Miner I Went Down to New Orleans

15. Across the Plains of Illinois (DOI No. 3)

This is from Ollie Barnard (1892-1967) of Cave-in-Rock, Illinois. She was from a singing family and knew many old songs and ballads which she learned as a girl from her parents. She and Eleanor Gibson (see above) were cousins.

There was a wealthy farmer in the countryside thereby
He had one only daughter, to win her I did try.

I asked if it made any difference if I should cross the plain
She said she'd never prove untrue until I returned again.

I left all in a hurry, for Missouri I was bound
I stepped off at Cairo to view the city around.

The work there it was plentiful, and the girls to me were kind
But the only object of my heart was the girl I'd left behind.

I got up early one morning, went out on public square
The mail boat it was arriving, and the newsboy he was there.

He handed to me a letter which give me to understand
The girl I'd left behind me had married another man.

I walked around and around and around. I didn't know what to do
I went over to Sikeston, and I found it all to be true.

Come all you handsome young gentlemen and listen to my song
I'm sure that if it does you no good it'll surely do you no harm.

Now if you're courting some pretty young miss, just marry her while you can
For if you travel across the plains, she'll marry another man.


Jolly Old Soul Orphan Left Alone Take Warning, Young Ladies Liza Jane
Shoe Cobbler Turnip Patch Jenny Get Your Hoe Cake Done Molly Bond
Walking Out One Morning Across the Plains of Illinois Only a Miner I Went Down to New Orleans

17. Only a Miner (DOI No. 249)

This song is from Rose Russell of Breese, Illinois, who learned it from her aunt.

To a life-working miner the dangers are great
So many while mining have met a sad fate
Doing the duty as miners all do
Shut out from daylight and loving ones too.

He leaves his dear wife and little ones too
To earn them a living as miners all do
While he is working for those that he loves
He meets his sad fate from a boulder above.

Chorus: (follows each remaining verse)

Only a miner killed in the ground
Only a miner and one more is gone
Killed by an accident none could foretell
His mining is over, poor miner, farewell.

He was only a miner, killed dead on the spot
Poor hearts are breaking in yonder lone cot
He died at his post, a hero as brave
As any who sleeps in a marble-topped grave.

With a heart filled with sorrow we bid him farewell
How soon we will follow, no one can tell
God pity the miner and keep him from harm
Protect him from danger while down in the ground.

Chorus and repeat chorus


Jolly Old Soul Orphan Left Alone Take Warning, Young Ladies Liza Jane
Shoe Cobbler Turnip Patch Jenny Get Your Hoe Cake Done Molly Bond
Walking Out One Morning Across the Plains of Illinois Only a Miner I Went Down to New Orleans

18. I Went Down to New Orleans (DOI No. 135)

This number is from Lem Harris of Fairfield, who was born around 1870. He accompanied himself on this one by alternately clapping and stomping on the up and down beats.

I went down to New Orleans, I'd never been there before
They fed my horse in a poplar trough, and I'll go there no more.

Chorus: (follows each verse)

Walk daddle diddle in the middle of the day
And I'll walk daddle do tomorrow
Walk daddle diddle in the middle of the day
And I'll walk daddle do tomorrow.

I went down to the creek, and it was so wide and deep
I hopped astride of an old gray goose and flopped across the creek.

Just before I got to the bank, the news popped in my mind
Seven little turkeys crossin' the field with the foremost one behind.

Well, the coon and the possum began for to fight, and you ought to have heared the chaffin'
The old turkey hen, she run so fast, old gobbler died a-laughin'.

Well, it rained all day the day I left, and then begin to snowin'
Well, the rooster hopped up on the fence and bent his neck a-crowin'.

My wife took sick the other day and what do you reckon ailed her?
She ate three dozen rotten eggs, and then her stomach failed her.

Wednesday night, I stole a horse, Thursday I was taken
Friday was my hangin' day, and Saturday I hung like bacon.

Final chorus:

Walk daddle diddle in the middle of the day
And I'll walk daddle do tomorrow
Walk daddle diddle in the middle of the day
And fare thee well, my darlin'.


Jolly Old Soul Orphan Left Alone Take Warning, Young Ladies Liza Jane
Shoe Cobbler Turnip Patch Jenny Get Your Hoe Cake Done Molly Bond
Walking Out One Morning Across the Plains of Illinois Only a Miner I Went Down to New Orleans