On My Way to New Orleans
DESCRIPTION: Collection of floaters including "On my way to New Orleans, Black cat sitting on the sewing machine, Sewing machine ran so fast, Made ninety-nine stitches in the poor cat's...." For other floaters see notes.
EARLIEST DATE: 1980 (VaWork)
KEYWORDS: floatingverses nonballad worksong
FOUND IN: US(SE)
Lee Wynn and John Mantley, "On My Way to New Orleans" (on VaWork)
NOTES [302 words]: The floating verses in VaWork have so many different sources that lumping this song with some other would be too arbitrary.
The VaWork verse listed in the description illustrates censorship by singer or collector; Scarborough-NegroFS has an answer to that verse: "sewed so easy and he sewed so slow, Took ninety-nine stitches on the tom-cat's toe" (p. 91, "Tom Cat").
Another VaWork floater is "If I live, don't get killed, Make my home in Jacksonville" (Parrish p. 99, "Sangaree"; Howard Odum and Guy B. Johnson, Negro Workaday Songs (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1926 ("Digitized by Internet Archive")), pp. 92-93, "He-i-Heira"; Newman I. White, American Negro Folk Songs ((Hatboro: Folklore Associates, 1965 reprint of Harvard University Press, 1928), #ix.57 p. 309 "... make my home in Thomasville").
VaWork also has "One of these mornings won't be long, You gonna look for me and I'll be gone" (Howard Odum and Guy B. Johnson, Negro Workaday Songs (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1926 ("Digitized by Internet Archive")), p. 139, "Some o' Dese Days"; John W. Work, American Negro Songs (Mineola: Dover, 1998 reprint of New York: Crown Publishers, 1940), p. 237, "Captain, O Captain"; The New Orleans reference in VaWork might be broken off a verse like "Captain, O Captain": "Wake up this mornin' feelin' mighty mean Thinkin' 'bout my good gal in New Orleans").
The VaWork "If I get up in the morning I'm gonna make me a diamond ring If that ring doesn't shine I'm gonna get me a five and dime" is a common floater from "Hush Little Baby"; for another worksong example compare USMenhaden02 "Mama Liza Jane" ("L'il Liza Jane"): "... Johnny's gonna buy you a diamond ring ... If that diamond ring don't shine ... Johnny's gonna take you to the five and dime." - BS
Last updated in version 4.2
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 2018 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.