Old Timbrook Blues
DESCRIPTION: Race between Timbrook & Molly; Timbrook races "like a bullet from a gun", while Molly creeps along "like a criminal to be hung." Singer addresses jockey Johnny Walker. Timbrook beats Molly "to the hole in the wall." Singer says old mistress lost her "mon"
EARLIEST DATE: 1930 (recording, John Byrd)
LONG DESCRIPTION: Race between Timbrook & Molly; Timbrook races "like a bullet from a gun", while Molly creeps along "like a criminal to be hung." Singer addresses jockey Johnny Walker, telling him to hold Timbrook's reins tight. On the windy race day, "you couldn't see old Timbrook as he come darting by." Everyone shouts, but Timbrook beats Molly "to the hole in the wall." Singer says he loves his racehorse; "old mistress went to the racecourse, lost all of her mon." Song also incorporates the "fourth day of July" verse from "The Cuckoo"
KEYWORDS: gambling horse
July 4, 1878 - race between Ten Broeck and Miss Mollie McCarthy (won by Ten Broeck)
FOUND IN: US
John Byrd, "Old Timbrook Blues" (Paramount 12997, 1930; on StuffDreams1)
cf. "Molly and Tenbrooks" [Laws H27] (subject)
cf. "Timbrook" (subject)
cf. "The Cuckoo" (inexplicable floating verse)
NOTES: Obviously this describes the same events as "Molly and Tenbrooks" and "Timbrook." However, it does not share lyrics or tune with either of those songs, so I classify it separately. So far as I know, it's the only occurrence of the story in African-American tradition -- unless you count Henry Thomas's "Run, Mollie, Run," which includes the title phrase but none of the story.
The verse from "The Cuckoo" ("The cuckoo was a fine bird, hollered when he fly/But he never hollers cuckoo til the fourth day o' July") makes no sense until you note that the race between Ten Broek and Miss Mollie was held on July 4, 1878. - PJS
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