Come All You Virginia Girls (Arkansas Boys; Texian Boys; Cousin Emmy's Blues; etc.)

DESCRIPTION: "Come all you (Virginia) girls and listen to my noise; Don't you court no West Virginia boys; If you do, your fortune will be Johnny cake and venison and sassafras tea." Concerning the dangers of courting and marrying boys from (somewhere)
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1841 (sheet music)
KEYWORDS: courting hardtimes warning humorous
FOUND IN: US(Ap,Ro,So)
REFERENCES (25 citations):
Belden, pp. 426-428, "Texan Boys" (1 text plus a fragment probably not part of this song)
Randolph 342, "The Arkansas Boys" (3 texts, 2 tunes);
Randolph/Cohen, pp. 277-278, "The Arkansas Boys" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 342A)
High, pp. 12-13, "To Go Asparking"; p. 28, "The Misouri Girls" (sic.) (2 texts)
McNeil-SMF, pp. 186-188, "The Arkansas Run" (1 text, 1 tune)
BrownIII 328, "The Carolina Crew" (1 fragment, thought by the editors to be this song); 336, "If You Want to Go A-Courtin'" (1 text, clearly mixed; the first three stanzas are this song, the next four something completely unrelated about a fight and a very bad meal)
BrownSchinhanV 328, "The Carolina Crew" (1 tune plus a text excerpt)
Moore-Southwest 144, "Mississippi Girls" (1 text, 1 tune)
Owens-2ed, pp. 110-112, "Come All You Mississippi Girls" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Sandburg, pp. 128-129, "Hello, Girls"; "Kansas Boys" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Stout 69, pp. 92-93, "A Married Woman's Lament" (3 fragments, with "A" and "B" probably being "I Wish I Were Single Again (II - Female)" and "C" being perhaps "Come All You Virginia Girls (Arkansas Boys; Texian Boys; Cousin Emmy's Blues; etc.)")
MHenry-Appalachians, p. 95, "The Hunter's Song" (1 fragment)
Lomax-FSUSA 11, "When You Go A-Courtin'"; 12, "The Texian Boys" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Fife-Cowboy/West 9, "Johnny Cake" (4 texts, 1 tune, though the "B" text is clearly "Little Fight in Mexico" and the "C" text is also quite distinct)
Hubbard, #227, "Don't Marry the Mormon Boys" (1 fragment)
LPound-ABS, 81, pp. 175-176, "Cheyenne Boys" (1 text)
Welsch, pp. 54-55, "Kansas Boys" (1 text)
JHCox 58, "The Tucky Ho Crew" (1 text -- a very mixed version which is only partly this song, but the rest doesn't look like anything I know. It may be a conflation with an otherwise lost ballad)
SharpAp 75, "If You Want to Go A-courting" (4 texts, 4 tunes)
Cohen-AFS1, pp. 189-191, "De Free Nigger" (1 text plus the first lines of many localizations of the song); p. 214, "West Virginia Gals" (1 text); pp. 361-362, "Arkansas Sheik"; Cohen-AFS2, p. 583, "Cheyenne Boys"; pp. 635-636, "Alsea Girls" (1 text)
Coleman/Bregman, pp. 26-27, "Kansas Boys" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-FSWB, p. 173, "Kansas Boys" (1 text)
DT, WHNCORT1* WHNCORT2* WHNCORT3* WHNCORT4* WHNCORT5*
ADDITIONAL: Fred W. Allsopp, Folklore of Romantic Arkansas, Volume II (1931), p. 207, "The Old Leather Bonnet" (1 text, fairly full but missing the opening verse)
Richard M. Dorson, _Buying the Wind: Regional Folklore in the United States_, University of Chicago Press, 1964, p. 530, "Don't You Marry the Mormon Boys" (1 short text, in which the girl finds that "Johnny cake and babies is all you'll see."

Roud #4275
RECORDINGS:
Al Hopkins & his Buckle Busters, "West Virginia Gals" (Brunswick 318, 1929; rec. 1928)
Cousin Emmy, "Cousin Emmy's Blues" (also issued as "Come All You Virginia Gals") (Decca 24213, 1947)
Riley Puckett, "The Arkansas Sheik" (Columbia 15686-D, 1931; rec. 1928)
New Lost City Ramblers, "The Arkansas Sheik" (on NLCR14)
Pete Seeger, "Texian Boys" (on PeteSeeger07, PeteSeeger07a)

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Go A Sparking" (theme, structure, tune)
SAME TUNE:
Ballad of Harriet Tubman (by Woody Guthrie) (Greenway-AFP, pp. 90-92)
ALTERNATE TITLES:
California Boys
East Virginia Girls
Missouri Boys
Hello Girls
Mississippi Gals
The Mormon Boys
Free Nigger (title used in the 1841 sheet music)
De Free Nigger
NOTES: The Fifes offer deep psychological explanations for some parts of this piece. I incline to believe it means what it says.
The original publication appears to be the version printed by Cohen, "De Free Nigger." Happily, that version seems to be extinct in tradition. McNeil says that it did not list an author, which is probably just as well (although McNeil points out that this might mean that the publishers took it from tradition rather than it being a composed piece. The counter-argument is that there are no reports of it from tradition until John A. Lomax published his "Texian Boys" version). - RBW
Last updated in version 4.2
File: R342

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