Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane, The

DESCRIPTION: Singer, a former slave, is getting old and can't work; his master and mistress and fellow slaves are gone; only his old dog remains. His home is falling apart. He recalls the dances they used to have. He hopes the angels will watch over him.
AUTHOR: Will S. Hays
EARLIEST DATE: 1871 (sheet music published by J. L. Peters of New York)
LONG DESCRIPTION: Singer, a former slave, is getting old and feeble; he can't work any more, his master and mistress are gone, and so are the other former slaves; no one else remains except his old dog. In former days the other "darkies" would gather around his door, and he'd play the banjo while they danced. His house is falling down, the footpath is overgrown and the fences fall down. Chorus: "The chimney's falling down, and the roof is caving in/I ain't got long round here to remain/The angels watches over me when I lay down to sleep/In the little old log cabin in the lane"
KEYWORDS: age loneliness home abandonment death farming dancing music slavery nonballad animal dog friend slave Black(s)
FOUND IN: US(MW,SE)
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Peters, p. 178, "Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane" (1 fragment, 1 tune)
Rosenbaum, p. 214, "Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane" (1 text, 1 tune)
BrownSchinhanV 702, "The Little Log Cabin in the Lane" (1 text, 1 tune -- but not the standard tune of this piece)

Roud #2473
RECORDINGS:
Bentley Ball, "De Little Old Log Cabin in de Lane" (Columbia A3087, 1920)
Kenneth Barton [pseud. for Marian Underwood], "Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane" (Challenge 331, 1927)
Binkley Bros. Dixie Clodhoppers, "Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane" (Victor V-40129, 1929; Yorkville K525, n.d.; rec. 1928)
Callahan Brothers, "Little Poplar Log House on the Hill" (Conqueror 8384, 1934)
Frank [or Kenneth] Calvert [pseud. for somebody, probably Vernon Dalhart or Carson Robison], "The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane" (Grey Gull/Radiex 4135, 1927)
Fiddlin' John Carson, "The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane" (OKeh 4890, 1923)
Carroll Clark, "De Little Old Log Cabin in de Lane" (Columbia A-696, 1909)
Vernon Dalhart, "Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane" (Cameo 1174/Romeo 399, 1927) 2455
Girls of the Golden West, "Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane" (Victor 23857, 1933; Bluebird B-5737, 1934)
Doc Hopkins, "Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane" (Broadway 8305, rec. 1931)
Bradley Kincaid, "Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane" (Champion 15923 [as Dan Hughey]/Supertone 9505, 1929)
Silas Leachman, "Old Log Cabin in the Lane" (Victor 1893, 1903)
Lester McFarland & Robert Gardner [Mac and Bob], "Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane" (Brunswick 350, 1929; Supertone S-2036, 1930; Aurora [Canada] 22004, 1931)
Uncle Dave Macon, "Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane" (Vocalion 14864, 1924)
Clayton McMichen "Log Cabin in the Lane" (Crown 3447 [as Bob Nichols], 1933; Varsity 5026, n.d. but prob. c. 1939)
Metcalf & Spencer, "The Old Log Cabin in the Lane" (Columbia 645, 1902; Columbia A-480, 1909)
Metropolitan Quartet, "The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane" (Edison 80484, n.d.) (CYL: Edison [BA] 3573, n.d.)
David Miller, "Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane" (Gennett 3082/Silvertone 4019, 1925)
Fiddlin' Powers & Family "The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane" (Victor 19448, 1924) (Edison, unissued, 1925)
Riley Puckett, "Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane" (Columbia 107-D, 1924) (Columbia 15171-D, 1927)
Oscar Seagle, "Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane" (Columbia A-3582, 1922; rec. 1921)
Frank C. Stanley, "A Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane" (Imperial 44823, c. 1906)
Ernest V. Stoneman "The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane" (Victor 20235, 1926) (Montgomery Ward M-8305 [as Stoneman's Dixie Mountaineers], 1939); Ernest V. Stoneman Trio, "Little Log Cabin in the Lane" (OKeh, unissued, 1927)
John White, "The Little Old Log Cabin" (Paramount 3190, 1930)

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "The Little Old Sod Shanty on My Claim" (tune)
cf. "Little Joe the Wrangler" [Laws B5] (tune)
cf. "Little Joe the Wrangler's Sister Nell" (tune)
cf. "Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane" (tune)
cf. "Beans, Bacon, and Gravy" (tune)
cf. "The Freehold on the Plain" (tune)
cf. "Little Old Mud Cabin on the Hill" (tune)
cf. "Double-Breasted Mansion on the Square" (tune)
cf. "cf. "Sara Jane" (tune)
cf. "My Cabin Home Among the Hills" (tune)
cf. "The Titanic (I) ("It Was Sad When That Great Ship Went Down") [Laws D24] (Titanic #1)" (tune)
cf. "Another Fall of Rain (Waiting for the Rain)" (tune)
SAME TUNE:
The Little Old Sod Shanty on My Claim (File: R197)
Little Joe the Wrangler [Laws B5] (File: LB05)
The Little Old Mud Cabin on the Hill (File: HHH642)
Little Joe the Wrangler's Sister Nell (File: R204)
The Freehold on the Plain (File: FaE174)
Beans, Bacon, and Gravy (File: Arn170)
Sara Jane (File: RcSarJan)
The Double-Breasted Mansion on the Square (File: FCW025H)
The Little Red Caboose Behind the Train (I) (File: BRaF455)
The Little Red Caboose Behind the Train (II) (File: Br3235)
The Little Red Caboose Behind the Train (III) (File: RcTLRCBT)
The Little Red Caboose Behind the Train (IV) (File: LSRai261)
The Little Red Caboose Behind the Train (V) (The Hobo Tramp) (File: LSRai382)
My Cabin Home Among the Hills (File: RcMCHAtH)
NOTES: This pop song is the basis from which all of the cross-referenced songs were built. From a modern perspective it's sentimentally stereotyped balderdash, but it was a huge hit when published -- and, judging by the number of versions on 78s, it remained wildly popular half a century later. (Presumably among white people.) It's indexed here primarily because of the genuine folk songs it inspired. - PJS
According to Malone, p. 54, the 1923 Fiddlin' John Carson recording is "one side of the first documented recordings of a southern rural musician." - RBW
Not quite; Eck Robertson recorded several sides of fiddle music on Victor before Carson made his first recording, and one of the discs was released before Carson's. But it didn't have any impact, probably because Victor considered itself a "prestige" label and had no idea how to market it. (They also, unlike their competitors, had no distribution agreement with a major mail-order company like Sears, and wouldn't until the 1930s, so they missed a prime means of distribution to rural buyers.) Carson's OKeh disc, backed with "The Old Hen Cackled and the Rooster's Going to Crow," wasn't the first, but it was the one that started the avalanche. - PJS
Indeed so. OTH, p. 26, tells us that "[Ralph] Peer recorded Carson -- grudgingly, country music lore has it -- in conditions that were less than ideal. The sound of Carson's record, Peer would later say, was 'pluperfect awful.' Nevertheless, a test pressing of 500 of Carson's debut... sold out in the space of an afternoon."
D. K. Wilgus put it this way on pp. 141-142 of Paredes/Stekert: "It was no accident that the recordings of Eck Robertson and Henry Whitter in 1922-1923 were at the insistence of the artists, nor was it an accident that they were not exploited immediately by the Victor and Okeh companies.... It was no accident that Ralph Peer of Okeh was in atlanta in 1923, to be almost coerced into recording Fiddlin' John Carson on the first successful hillbilly disc.... If he needed to be persuaded that the 'pluperfect awful' performance of Carson would sell and that the 'wool hat' audience would buy, he lost no time in being convinced and in following up the initial success."
This story needs a little modification, according to Mazor, pp. 53-55. Peer never actually called the recording 'pluperfect awful,' according to this account; this was merely the way someone else described his response. And Peer's problem with the Carson recording was not that the song or the performance was bad, but that it had been recorded so badly that it was hard to listen to. It was an acoustic recording, made shortly before the electrical process became common -- and Carson was, of course, a fiddler who sang. This made a real problem for an acoustic set-up: his fiddle and his mouth were too far apart to be easily recorded with one acoustic horn, but too close together to allow for two. The engineers did the best they could, but there was a lot of sound reflection from the walls, producing a very noisy recording. - RBW
Bibliography Last updated in version 4.1
File: RcLOLCIL

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