Soldier Boy for Me (A Railroader for Me)

DESCRIPTION: "I would not marry a doctor; He's always killing the sick." "I would not marry a blacksmith...." The girl praises the soldier/railroader: "O soldier boy, o soldier boy, O soldier boy for me; If ever I get married, A soldier's wife I'll be"
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1907 (published by C. B. Ball)
KEYWORDS: soldier marriage courting railroading technology humorous rejection
FOUND IN: US(Ap,SE,So,SW)
REFERENCES (15 citations):
Cohen-LSRail, pp. 461-465, "A Railroader for Me" (1 text, 1 tune)
Belden, pp. 374-377, "The Guerrilla Boy" (4 texts, 1 tune; the second of two texts filed as "C" is this song)
Randolph 493, "The Railroader" (1 text, 1 tune)
Randolph/Cohen, pp. 373-375, "The Railroader" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 493)
BrownIII 5, "Miss, Will You Have a Farmer's Son" (1 text, probably edited so the girl wants a California Boy and then again so she wants a Southerner, but too similar in style to file separately); 17, "I Wouldn't Marry" (7 text (some short) plus 6 excerpts, 1 fragment, and mention of 5 more, of which ""F" and the fragments "G" and "I" belong here)
SharpAp 272, "Soldier Boy for Me" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Sharp/Karpeles-80E 68, "Soldier Boy for Me" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-FSNA 215, "A Railroader for Me" (1 text, 1 tune)
Botkin-RailFolklr, p. 465, "A Railroader for Me" (1 text, 1 tune)
Logsdon 21, pp. 136-139, "The Buckskin Shirt" (1 text, 1 tune, a strange composite starting with "The Roving Gambler (The Gambling Man) [Laws H4]), breaks into a cowboy version of "Soldier Boy for Me (A Railroader for Me)," and concludes with a stanza describing the happy marriage between the two)
Montgomerie-ScottishNR 170, "(I wouldna have a baker, ava, va, va)" (1 short text, of this type but perhaps not this song)
Silber-FSWB, p. 343, "Daughters Will You Marry" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: James P. Leary, Compiler and Annotator, _Wisconsin Folklore_ University of Wisconsin Press, 2009, article "Kentucky Folksong in Northern Wisconsin" by Asher E. Treat, p. 234, "I WIll Not Marry a Farmer" (1 text, 1 tune, sung by Maud Jacobs and Pearl Jacobs Borusky)
cf. Kinloch-BBook IV, pp. 14-15 (no title) (1 text, beginning, "Awa wi' your slavery hireman," probably not this song but based on the same idea; Roud #8152)
cf. _Sing Out_ magazine, Volume 42, #1 (1997), p, 72-73, "Maedli, Witt Do Heiere? (Young Girl, Will You Marry?)" (1 text, 1 tune, a Pennsylvania Dutch analog to the "Daughter Will You Marry?" type of song)

ST R493 (Full)
Roud #1302
RECORDINGS:
Logan English, "A Railroader for Me" (on LEnglish01)
May Kennedy McCord, "The Railroader" (AFS 5301 A2, 1941; on LC61)
Pete Seeger, "Daughter Will You Marry" (on PeteSeeger11)

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "The Farmer and the Shanty Boy" (theme: professional comparison)
cf. "The Husbandman and the Servingman" (theme: professional comparison)
cf. "The Plooman Laddie (I)" (theme: professional comparison)
cf. "The Bonnie Mason Laddie" (lyrics; theme: professional comparison)
cf. "Yon Bonnie Lad" (theme: professional comparison)
cf. "I'll Never, Never Marry the Blacksmith Lad" (theme: professional comparison)
cf. "The Tailor He's Been Seekin' Me" (theme: professional comparison)
cf. "Oh But I'm Weary" (theme: professional comparison)
cf. "Jinny Go Round and Around" (plot)
cf. "Fond of Chewing Gum" (floating verses)
NOTES: It will be observed that the preferred occupation in this song can be almost anything -- and the rejected occupations can truly be anything at all. Cohen, p. 464, compares eight texts. All of them list famer as one of the occupations, anmd six list blacksmith, but there are 11 other occupations mentioned in one or another text. - RBW
C. B. Ball published this piece in 1907, but it's hard to believe he actually wrote it (at least in that year); the diverse collections by Belden (collected 1910!) , Randolph and Sharp clearly imply that it is older. - (PJS), RBW
Cohen notes that the Ball text is the first to mention railroads; it may be that Ball adapted an older song to the railroads. There is, however, one interesting side note: Laura Ingalls Wilder, By the Shores of Silver Lake, chapter 6, quotes a "railroad man" version. If Laura actually heard the song then, we could date the "railroad" versions to 1879. But, of course, Laura was writing not-quite-autobiography, and writing it more than fifty years later. So that's not a very good indication of date. - RBW
Last updated in version 2.7
File: R493

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2016 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.