Traveling Man (Traveling Coon)

DESCRIPTION: Protagonist, a trickster, makes his living stealing chickens/money; he's arrested, shot, sent home for burial, but escapes his coffin, etc. Cho: "He was a travelin' man, certainly was a travelin' man/Travelin'est coon that ever come through the land..."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1919 (Brown)
LONG DESCRIPTION: The protagonist is a trickster who makes his living stealing chickens and money; he's arrested, shot, and sent home for burial, but escapes from his coffin; he sails on the Titanic, but when it sinks he's found shooting dice in Liverpool. Carrying water ten miles from a spring, he stumbles, but runs home for another bucket and catches the water before it hits the ground. Chorus: "He was a travelin' man, certainly was a travelin' man/Travelin'est coon that ever come through the land...."
KEYWORDS: rambling travel crime theft punishment resurrection burial death gambling ship wreck England humorous talltale thief
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Brown/Belden/Hudson-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore3 428, "The Traveling Coon" (1 text plus mention of 1 more)
Brown/Schinhan-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore5 428, "The Travelling Coon" (1 tune plus a text excerpt)

Roud #11771
Alabama Sheiks "Travelin' Railroad Man Blues" (Victor 23265, 1931)
Smilie Burnett, "He Was a Travelling Man" (Perfect 13011/Melotone 13046, 1934)
Virgil Childers, "Traveling Man" (Bluebird B-7487, 1938)
Sid Harkreader, "Travelling Coon" (Paramount 3101, 1928)
Tony Hollins, "Traveling Man Blues" (OKeh 06523, 1941)
Prince Albert Hunt's Texas Ramblers, "Travelling Man" (OKeh 45446, 1930; rec. 1928; on GoodForWhatAilsYou)
Jim Jackson, "Traveling Man" (Victor V-38617, 1930; rec. 1928)
Coley Jones, "Traveling Man" (Columbia 14288-D, 1928; rec. 1927)
Luke Jordan, "Traveling Coon" (Victor 20957, 1927)
Charlie & Bud Newman, "The Old Travelling Man" (OKeh 45431, 1930)
Phineas [or 'Finious'] "Flat Foot" Rockmore, "Traveling Man" (AFS 3988 B1, 1940; on LomaxCD1821-2)
Dock Walsh, "Travelling Man" (Columbia 15105-D, 1926)
Washboard Sam, "Traveling Man" (Bluebird B-8761, 1941)
Henry Whitter, "Travelling Man" (OKeh 40237, 1924)

cf. "Didn't He Ramble" (lyrics)
NOTES [58 words]: This was the theme song of the East Coast medicine show singer Pink Anderson. - PJS
The oldest version, in the Brown collection, bears an interesting relation to "Didn't He Ramble"; in this text, the chorus runs, "Well, he travelled and was known for miles around, And he didn't get enough, he didn't get enough Till the police shot him down." - RBW
Last updated in version 4.1
File: RcTMTC

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 2021 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.