Shoot the Buffalo

DESCRIPTION: Playparty/dance tune: "And it's ladies to the center and it's gents around the row, And we'll rally round the canebrake and shoot the buffalo." Tales of courting and spitting tobacco
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1911 (JAFL 24)
KEYWORDS: playparty dancing animal nonballad
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South)) US(Ap,MW,So)
REFERENCES (15 citations):
Wiltshire-WSRO Wt 334, "We'll Chase the Buffalo" (1 text)
VaughanWilliams/Palmer, #27, "The Buffalo" (1 text, 1 tune)
Randolph 523, "Shoot the Buffalo" (2 texts plus 4 excerpts, 1 tune)
Hudson 149, pp. 297-298, "Shoot the Buffalo" (1 text)
Fuson, p. 165, "Chase the Buffalo" (1 text)
Cambiaire, p. 143, "Hunting Ballad (We'll Shoot the Buffalo)" (1 text)
Owens-2ed, pp. 149-150, "Shoot the Buffalo" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
SharpAp 262, "Chase the Buffalo" (1 text, 1 tune)
Peters, p. 129, "Rise, My True Love" (1 short text, 1 tune, with some unusual lyrics about "Where Jim Hawkins shot Jim Buzzard, and Jim Buzzard shot Jim Crow"; these may come from some other lost song)
Wolford, pp. 29--30=WolfordRev, p. 225, "Chase the Buffalo" (3 texts)
Lomax-FSUSA 32, "Shoot the Buffalo" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-ABFS, pp. 296-297, "Shoot the Buffalo" (1 text, 1 tune)
Fife-Cowboy/West 98, "Shoot the Buffalo" (3 texts, 1 tune)
Arnett, p. 96, "Shoot the Buffalo" (1 text, 1 tune)
Botkin-MRFolklr, p. 563, "We'll Hunt the Buffalo!" (1 text, 1 tune, with the chorus of "Shoot the Buffalo" and lyrics from "The Lovely Ohio")

Roud #3644
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "A Prisoner for Life (I - Farewell to Green Fields and Meadows)" (tune, according to a broadside print)
ALTERNATE TITLES:
Hunt the Buffalo
NOTES: Although it is hard to be absolutely sure, and the dating is not precise, there is reason to think that Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) knew this song in the 1840s. According to Stephanie Lovert Stoffel, Lewis Carroll in Wonderland; the Life and Times of Alice and Her Creator, Discoveries/Harry N. Abrams, 1997, p. 16, 'Apparently the Dodgson children had hidden away some sort of time capsule of treasures.... On a block of wood was inscribed, in what appears to be Charles's hand, this evocative verse: "And we'll wander through / the wide world / and chase the buffalo."
What's more, Dodgson made at least two references to buffalo in his later poetry -- in the White Knight's song and in the Mad Gardener's Song in Sylvie and Bruno: "He thought he was a Buffalo Upon the chimney-piece, He looked again, and found it was His Sister's Husband's Niece. 'Unless you leave this house,' he said, 'I'll send for the police!'" (see Derek Hudson, Lewis Carroll, Constable (MacMillan), 1954, p. 38. There are several other items in this "time capsule" which Hudson thinks influenced the "Alice" books, although most of the others are strained. The buffalo song in Sylvie and Bruno is in chapter 6, "The Magic Locket") - RBW
Last updated in version 4.2
File: R523

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 2017 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.