Folk Songs from the Southern Highlands - online songbook

Southern Appalachians songs with lyrics, commentary & some sheet music.

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The Arkansas Traveler
The Arkansas Traveller's Song-Book, published by Dick & Fitzgerald, New York (cop. 1864) prints "The Arkansas Traveller" (p. 5) by Mose Case with music and an explanatory preface. It was published, in sheet-music form, by Blodgett and Bradford, music publishers, Buffalo, "apparently in the fifties," according to Cox. The introduction has the following explana­tion:
"This piece is intended to represent an Eastern man's experience among the inhabitants of Arkansas, showing their hospitality and the mode of obtaining it.
"Several years since, he was travelling the state to Little Rock, the capital. In those days, railroads had not been heard of, and the stage-lines were very limited; so, under the circumstances, he was obliged to travel the whole distance on foot. One evening, about dusk, he came across a small log house, standing fifteen or twenty yards from the road, and enclosed by a low rail fence of the most primitive description. In the doorway sat a man, playing a violin; the tune was then the most popular air in that region — namely, The Arkansas Traveller. He kept repeating the first part of the tune over and over again, as he could not play the second part. At the time the traveller reached the house it was raining very hard, and he was anxious to obtain shelter from the storm. The house looked like anything but a shelter, as it was covered with clapboards, and the rain was leaking into every part of it. The old man's daughter, Sarah, appeared to be getting supper, while a small boy was setting the table, and the old lady sat in the doorway near her husband, admiring the music."
See Cox, No. 179; Shoemaker, p. 250, 3rd ed.
Recorded by Mrs. Henry from the singing and recitation of Mr. Samuel Harmon, Cade's Cove, Tennessee, July, 1932.
The Arkansas Traveler, he traveled all day
With an old yoke of oxen and he fooled his time away.
Tum-a-tudle, tum-a-tudle,
Tum-a-tudle, all the day.

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III