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raredance Lyr Req: Hook and Line (and related songs) (38) ADD: The Catfish 23 Nov 02


THE CATFISH

A.
1. Catfish, catfish, goin' up stream,
Catfish, catfish, where you been?
I grabbed that catfish by the snout,
I pulled that catfish wrong side out.
Yo-ho! Banjo Sam.

2. As I was goin' thro' the field
a blacksnake bit me on the heel.
I grabbed my stick and I done my best,
And I ran my head in a hornet's nest.
Yo-ho! Banjo Sam.

3. And I was goin' down the road,
I met a terrapin and a toad.
The terrapin he began to sing,
The toad he cut the pigeon wing.
Yo-ho! Banjo Sam.

B.
I saw a catfish going up stream,
I asked that catfish what did he mean;
I caught that catfish by the snout,
I jerked that catfish wrong side out.

C.
Catfish, catfish, swimming up stream,
Ask that catfish what he means;\
Ketch that catfish by his snout,
Turn that catfish round side out.

D.
Catfish swimming down the river,
Nigger threw out his line.
Catfish said to the nigger,
"Aha, you didn't ketch me that time"

The above four texts appear in the Frank C Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore with the following (slightly edited) annotation:

The A text, the only one that has more than one stanza, is to be found in "Mountain Songs of North Carolina" (G Schirmer) by Susannah Wetmore and Marshall Bartholomew. the catfish stanza is known in Kentucky (as a stanza of "Turkey in the Straw"), South Carolina, and Texas, and has become "jackfish" in Virginia (Sharp, where it is called a jig and has a chorus); the snake and the hornet's nest found their way to the minstrel stage more than a hundred years ago (i.e before 1850)and have been reported more recently from South Carolina and Alabama, and Talley ("Negro Folk Rhymes") reports the hornet's nest ; the terrapin and the toad are linked together in unnumbered Negro songs.


rich r


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