Go Tell Aunt Rhody

DESCRIPTION: "Go tell Aunt (Rhody) (x3) The old gray goose is dead. The one she'd been saving (x3) to make a feather bed." The cause of death varies; "a pain in the head"; "somebody... knocked it on the head"; "from standing on its head"
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1918 (Cecil Sharp collection); +1913 (JAFL26)
KEYWORDS: bird death mourning
REFERENCES (24 citations):
Randolph 270, "Go Tell Aunt Rhody" (2 texts plus 2 excerpts, 1 tune)
Randolph/Cohen-OzarkFolksongs-Abridged, pp. 230-231, "Go Tell Aunt Rhody" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 270A)
Abrahams/Riddle-ASingerAndHerSongs, pp. 118-120, "Go Tell Aunt Nancy" (1 text, 1 tune, with an "Aunt Rhody" opening but an ending that might be from The Grey Goose")
Owens-TexasFolkSongs-1ed, pp. 262-263, "Old Gray Goose" (1 text, 1 tune)
Brown/Belden/Hudson-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore3 128, "Go Tell Aunt Patsy" (1 text)
Brown/Schinhan-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore5 128, "Go Tell Aunt Patsy" (1 text, 1 tune)
Killion/Waller-ATreasuryOfGeorgiaFolklore, p. 256, "Aunt Tabby" (1 text)
Scarborough-OnTheTrailOfNegroFolkSongs, p. 8, (no title, but the goose's owner is Aunt Patsy) (1 text); pp. 195-196, "Go Tell Aunt Tabby" (1 text, 1 tune)
Sharp-EnglishFolkSongsFromSouthernAppalachians 236, "The Old Grey Goose" (1 text, 1 tune)
Burton/Manning-EastTennesseeStateCollectionVol1, pp. 87-88,"Aunt Rhody" (1 text, 1 tune)
Gardner/Chickering-BalladsAndSongsOfSouthernMichigan 193, "Aunt Tabbie" (1 text plus an excerpt)
List-SingingAboutIt-FolkSongsInSouthernIndiana, pp. 56-58, "Go Tell Aunt Rhody" (1 text, 1 tune, plus a shape note reprint of a hymn with part of the same melody)
Creighton/Senior-TraditionalSongsOfNovaScotia, pp. 257, "The Old Grey Goose" (1 text, 1 tune)
Linscott-FolkSongsOfOldNewEngland, p. 207, "Go Tell Aunt Rhody" (1 text, 1 tune)
Trent-Johns-PlaySongsOfTheDeepSouth, pp. 30-31, "Run, Tell Aunt Nancy" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax/Lomax-FolkSongUSA 3, "Go Tell Aunt Nancy" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax/Lomax-AmericanBalladsAndFolkSongs, pp. 305-306, "The Old Gray Goose" (1 text, 1 tune)
Warner-FolkSongsAndBalladsOfTheEasternSeaboard, p. 46, "Go Tell Aunt Rhody" (1 text)
Arnett-IHearAmericaSinging, p. 39, "Go Tell Aunt Rhody" (1 text, 1 tune)
Chase-AmericanFolkTalesAndSongs, pp. 176-177, "The Old Gray Goose is Dead" (1 text, 2 tunes)
Seeger-AmericanFavoriteBallads, p. 45, "Go Tell Aunt Rhody" (1 text, 1 tune)
Pankake/Pankake-PrairieHomeCompanionFolkSongBook, p. 275, "Go Tell Aunt Rhody" (1 text)
Silber/Silber-FolksingersWordbook, p. 404, "Aunt Rhody" (1 text)

Roud #3346
Perry Bechtel's Colonels, "Go Tell Aunt Tabby" (Brunswick 498, c. 1930)
Boyden Carpenter, "The Old Grey Goose is Dead" (Champion 16519, 1932)
Pickard Family, "The Old Gray Goose is Dead" (Conqueror 7517, 1930; Melotone M-12129, 1931; on CrowTold01)
Edna & Jean Ritchie, "Go Tell Aunt Rhodie" (on Ritchie03)
Pete Seeger, "Go Tell Aunt Rhody" (on GrowOn2) (on PeteSeeger47); "Aunt Rhody" (on PeteSeeger18)
Dan Tate, "Old Grey Goose" (on FarMtns1)

cf. "Come Ye Sinners Poor and Needy" (tune)
Go Tell Young Henry [Ford] (Greenway-AmericanFolksongsOfProtest, p. 229)
Mayor Brown ("Gather round all friends and neighbours") (Wolf-AmericanSongSheets, p. 192)
My God! What Is All This For? ("Oh my God! what vengeaful madness," said to be the dying words of a Union soldier at the first Battle of Manassas/Bull Run) (Wolf-AmericanSongSheets, p. 192)
Our Marshal Kane ("Come and listen to my story," listed as to "Roseas Dream"!) (Wolf-AmericanSongSheets, p. 192)
Recognition of the Southern Confederacy ("Recognize us, recognize us") (Wolf-AmericanSongSheets, p.193)
Up and Do ("Up and do, ye working people! Even while you waiting stand") (by Mary Dana Shindler) (Foner, p. 140)
NOTES [186 words]: Randolph quotes Chase to the effect that this tune was used in an opera by Jean Jacques Rousseau in 1750. The situation is rather more complex than this would imply. The most recent, and most significant, work on this subject is Murl Sickbert, Jr.'s "Go Tell Aunt Rhody She's Rousseau's Dream" (published 2000). Norm Cohen reports the following:
"In 1752, Rousseau composed 'Le Devin du village,' a pastoral opera bouffe.... [The Aunt Rhody tune appears] as a gavotte in the pantomime no. 8 (divertissement or ballet). It is danced by 'la villageoise,' a shepherdess or country girl, to music without words."
Sickbert observes that the Rousseau composition is more elaborate than the folk tune, with "two addditional parts or reprises, not one as Lomax gives it."
The tune came to be called "Rousseau's Dream," apparently by confusion: Another Rousseau score allegedly came to him while he was suffering from delirium. The title, according to Percy A. Scholes in The Oxford Companion to Music, was given by J. B. Cramer. List-SingingAboutIt-FolkSongsInSouthernIndiana says that Cramer used the tune in 1818. - RBW
Last updated in version 5.3
File: R270

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