Crawdad Song — lyric (Woody Guthrie version)

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Crawdad Song (traditional) aka “The Crawdad Song,” “Crawdad Hole,” “Crawdad,” “You Get a Line and I’ll Get a Pole,” etc.

lyric:

See the related Songbook pages:

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Woodie Guthrie — from Muleskinner Blues: The Asch Recordings Vol. 2 (1), (2), recorded in New York, NY, between 1944 and 1947

Woody Guthrie-This Machine Kills Fascists-1musicians for the sessions:

  • Woody Guthrie (vocals, guitar, mandolin, fiddle)
  • Cisco Houston (vocals, guitar)
  • Butch Hawes (guitar)
  • Bess Lomax Hawes (mandolin, background vocals)
  • Pete Seeger (banjo)
  • Sonny Terry (harmonica)

The lyric of the fifth section of the song in this recording refers to the blues and folk musician Sonny Terry in each of its five lines. Terry provides the harmonica and the some of his trademark whoops.

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lyric transcribed by Jim Radcliff (doc) on 30 November 2013, revised 14 July 2014

1
You get a line, I’ll get a pole, honey
You get a line, I’ll get a pole, babe
You get a line, I’ll get a pole
We’ll go down to the crawdad hole
Honey babe of mine

2
Hurry up, babe, you slept too late, honey
Hurry up, babe, you slept too late, babe
Hurry up, honey, you slept too late
Crawdad man done passed your gate
Honey baby mine

3
Sell your crawdads three for a dime, honey
Sell your crawdads three for a dime, babe
Sell your crawdads three for a dime
Your crawdads ain’t good as mine
Honey babe of mine

4
What’re ya gonna do when the lake goes dry, honey
What’re ya gonna do when the lake goes dry, babe
What’re ya gonna do when the lake goes dry
Sit on the bank, watch the crawdads die
Honey babe of mine

5
Now, if you want to hear Sonny Terry play, honey
You want to hear Sonny Terry play, babe
You want to hear Sonny Terry play
Sonny and I gonna take it away
Honey(Play right on, Sonny)

6
Hurry up, babe, you slept too late, baby
Hurry up, babe, you slept too late, babe
Hurry up, babe, you slept too late
Crawdad man done passed your gate
Honey babe of mine

7
I heard the duck say to the drake, honey
I heard the duck say to the drake, babe
Heard the duck say to the drake
Ain’t no crawdads in this lake
Honey babe of mine

8
There’s a little bitty sailor nine days old, honey
Little bitty baby nine days old, sweet thing
Little bitty baby nine days old,
Stuck his finger in the crawdad hole
Hey, hey hey hey

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The obvious, though frequently unacknowledged, connection of “Crawdad Song” and other related American folk songs to the much earlier British folk song “Frog Went a-Courtin’” is explored in the page “You’ve Been a Good Old Wagon But You’ve Done Broke Down.” I originally considered titling the page “You’ve been a good old froggie, but they done turned your wagon into a crawdad, sugar babe.” The 1940s Asch recordings of “Crawdad Song” and “Froggie Went a-Courtin’” by Woody Guthrie sound like recordings of essentially the same song, the principle difference, apart from the dissimilar lyrics, lying in tempo.

To illustrate, try playing the following recording of “Froggie Went a-Courtin'” while singing the words of “Crawdad Song” provided above.

Froggie Went a-Courtin’ (traditional)

Woody Guthrie — from Buffalo Skinners: The Asch Recordings, Vol. 4 (1), (2), recorded in New York, NY, between 1944 and 1949

musicians for the sessions (from http://www.woodyguthrie.de/discog3.html):

  • Woody Guthrie (vocals, guitar, fiddle, mandolin, harmonica)
  • Cisco Houston (vocals, guitar)
  • Bess Lomax Hawes (mandolin)
  • Sonny Terry (harmonica)
  • Leadbelly (vocals, guitar) on “Stewball” (Version 2)

..

.

(below) More evidence that we have here essentially the same song with two different lyrics

Doc Watson — “Froggie Went a Courtin’” and “Crawdad Song,” from the live album Songs For Little Pickers, released in 1990

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: You get a line and I’ll get pole, honey | Songbook

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