06-American Tunes


Daisy Bell (in G). Daisy, Daisy, Give me your answer, do; I’m half crazy, all for the love of you … but you’d look neat upon the seat of a bicycle built for two.

Pick a Bale of Cotton (in G). One of the greatest cotton-pickin’ songs of all time… I kid you not one fluffy little bit. This song was recorded by Leadbelly.

Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain and more Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain and yet MORE Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain. Hardly a dry eye in the house. Or, to be more exact, there’s a dry eye in the house. Hardly.

Dixie (in D). Away down south in the Land of Cotton, old times there are not forgotten. Look away! Look away! Look away, Dixie land! And so you’re not just whistlin’ Dixie, here’s Yankee Doodle (in D). Two for the price of one… and the price of one is free. What more could you ask?

Midnight Special. A blues tune — one of my favorites. Let the Midnight Special shine her everlovin’ light on me.

Billy the Kid (in G). The true story of Billy the Kid… in song. Written by Sheriff Pat Garrett’s publicist. No, really. It was! Why would I lie?

Jesse James (in G). “That dirty little coward who shot Mister Howard has laid poor Jesse ta’ his grave.” True story: I once won a game of Trivial Pursuit by knowing that Bob Ford killed Jesse James… all because of this song. Oh, the wonderful things the tinwhistle has done for me!!!

Root Hog or Die (in D). It’s not really in D. Not really. But you can play it on a tinwhistle like it was in D. Your accordion player will just have to play a lot of annoying minor chords. (I’m just kidding about associating with an accordion player. I know no one would really do that: Use an accordion, go to jail. That’s my motto.)

Bill Bailey (in D). A little ragtime from the early 1900s arranged for tinwhistle never hurt anyone. Much. Worth talking about.

Go Tell It On The Mountain (in G). Over the hills. Everywhere. How can you keep from singing along! Second verse, same as the first! Go tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere!

Railroad Bill (in G). I think it’s pretty cool how a fragment from one song can turn up somewhere completely different. Music travels. Don’t believe me? Look at the long voyage rock-and-roll took before it was ever called Rock and Roll.

Boil Them Cabbage Down and more Boil Them Cabbage Down. Bake them ho-cakes brown. Mmm-Mm, but I do love a good ho-cake. Now, can anyone tell me the way to the frolic?

Rocky Top (in D) and for your strumming pleasure, Rocky Top (in D) with chords. I went to school in Tennessee. Graduate of Lincoln County High School. As anyone who ever went to school in Lincoln County knows, this song sticks with you. For a long time. Twenty years later, I still wake up in a cold sweat singing it. At somewhere around seven bajillion beats per minute. And screaming. While my high-school girlfriend yells, “Faster!!! Faster!!!”

Sioux Indians. A nice little tune. There are words to it; they aren’t included here, though. Frankly, the words aren’t very good. But it’s a nice tune.

The Loving Girl (in G). Ahh… who can’t relate to this one. Remember: no matter how wonderful — how perfect — you think she is, someone, somewhere, is sick of her shit.

  2 Responses to “06-American Tunes”

  1. Here are a few more verses for “Boil the Cabbage Down”
    This one was my daughter’s favourite when she was a wee tad:

    Mary had a little lamb, she also had a bear.
    I’ve often seen her little lamb, but I’ve never seen her bear.

    Liza and Fertil had a little girl,
    They didn’t know what to call her, so they called her Fertilizer.

    Thank you for your delightful resource. I love your combination of puppets and whistles. 🙂

  2. Just recalled another verse to Boil the Cabbage Down: [for some reason, it was my husbands favourite 🙂 ]

    I took my wife to the blacksmith’s shop, to have her mouth made small.
    She turned around a time or two and swallowed shop and all.

    Nurse Froggy

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