Little Birdie

DESCRIPTION: "Little birdie, little birdie, Come and sing me your song. I've a short time for to be here And a long time to be gone." Often consists of floating verses, but concerns adultery: "Pretty woman... you made me love you, Now your husband has come."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1909 (Brown)
KEYWORDS: adultery bird love courting husband floatingverses
REFERENCES (9 citations):
Randolph 676, "The Dark Hollow"" (1 text plus a fragment, 1 tune, with the "A" text perhaps somewhat mixed with "Dark Hollow")
Randolph/Cohen-OzarkFolksongs-Abridged, pp. The Dark Hollow, "" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 676A)
McNeil-SouthernMountainFolksong, p. 43, "Little Birdie" (1 text, 1 tune)
Brown/Belden/Hudson-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore3 255, "Kitty Kline" (2 text plus 4 fragments and 1 excerpt, which despite the title mostly file here; see Notes)
Brown/Schinhan-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore5 255, "Kitty Kline" (6 tunes plus text excerpts)
Henry-SongsSungInTheSouthernAppalachians, pp. 187-188, "Little Birdie" (1 text)
Roberts-SangBranchSettlers, #62, "Little Birdie" (1 text, 1 tune, with this chorus although the plot seems to be mostly floating verses)
Silber/Silber-FolksingersWordbook, p. 397, "Little Birdie" (1 text)

Roud #5742
Willie Chapman, "Little Birdie" [instrumental] (on MMOK, MMOKCD)
Coon Creek Girls, "Little Birdie" (Vocalion 04413, 1938)
Al Craver [pseud. for Vernon Dalhart], "Little Birdie" (Columbia 15044-D, 1925)
John Hammond, "Little Birdie" (Challenge 168 or 332 [one of these as "William Price"/Silvertone 5697, 1927; on BefBlues3)
Roscoe Holcomb, "Little Birdie" (on Holcomb-Ward1, HolcombCD1)
Robert Howell [pseud. for Holland Puckett], "Little Birdie" (Herwin 75563, 1927)
J. E. Mainer's Mountaineers, "Little Birdie" (Montgomery Ward M-7127)
Wade Mainer & Zeke Morris, "Little Birdie" (Bluebird B-6840)
Wade Mainer, "Little Birdie" (King 1093, 1952)
New Lost City Ramblers, "Little Birdie" (on NLCR16)
Land Norris, "Little Birdie" (OKeh 45006, 1925)
Frank Proffitt, "Little Birdie" (on FProffitt01)
Sauceman Brothers, "Little Birdie" (Rich-R-Tone 457, n.d.)
Stanley Brothers, "Little Birdie" (Rich-R-Tone 1056, rec. 1952) (on FOTM)
Pete Steele, "Little Birdie" (AFS, 1938; on KMM) (on PSteele01)
Pete Seeger, "Little Birdie" (on PeteSeeger47)

cf. "East Virginia (Dark Hollow)" (floating lyrics)
cf. "Easy Rider" (theme)
cf. "Kitty Kline"
NOTES [115 words]: No, not the producer of "Spirituals to Swing," nor his blues-singing son! - PJS
(I think the above is a reference to the recording by John Hammond. But it's all Urdu to me. - RBW)
Yes, it is such a reference. - PJS
Lyle Lofgren informs me that Charles Wolfe did some research on Hammond, learning that he cut only six sides. Wolfe was unable to trace his origins but suspects he came from northern Kentucky.
Very many of the versions in Brown contain references to "Kitty Kline (Clyde, etc.)," and the editors on that basis filed it under that title. But the versions are clearly what we know as "Little Birdie," sometimes mixed with references to Kitty Kline, and so I file them here. - RBW
Last updated in version 4.2
File: R676

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 2022 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.