Old Virginny Never Tire
DESCRIPTION: Floating verses: "There is a gal in our town... The hollow of her foot makes a hole in the ground." "As I was walking... I met a terrapin and a toad." Chorus: "Old folks, young folks, clear the kitchen (x2), Old Virginny never tire."
EARLIEST DATE: 1925 (Scarborough)
KEYWORDS: animal floatingverses nonballad
FOUND IN: US(SE)
REFERENCES (4 citations):
BrownIII 413, "Clare de Kitchen" (1 text)
BrownSchinhanV 413, "Clare de Kitchen" (2 tunes plus text excerpts)
Scarborough-NegroFS, p. 109, "Ol' Virginny Never Tire" (1 text, 1 tune); also some fragments (of this or something) on p. 110; also pp. 110-112 (no title) (1 unusually long text, attributed to T. Rice; curiously, this appears to be identical except for orthography to the version in Hazel Felleman, _The Best Loved Poems of the American People_, pp. 466-467)
Coleman/Bregman, pp. 98-99, "Cl'ar de Kitchen" (1 text, 1 tune)
cf. "Save de Union" (lyrics)
cf. "The Old Gray Mare (I) (The Old Gray Horse; The Little Black Bull)"
cf. "Charleston Gals" (style)
cf. "Poor Old Man (Poor Old Horse; The Dead Horse)" (floating lyrics)
cf. "Turkey in the Straw" (floating lyrics)
NOTES [152 words]: This, like "Charleston Gals," is one of those hard-to-assess songs, since nearly every word floats. Roud lumps it with the even more amorphous "The Old Gray Mare (I) (The Old Gray Horse; The Little Black Bull)" family. It appears to me, though, that the chorus is distinct enough and widespread enough that the two should be kept separate.
The key line about "Old Virginny Never Tire" probably derives from the political piece "Save de Union."
One alternate title, "Clar de Kitchen," is said to have been a very early minstrel piece, joining the repertoire soon after the "original" minstrel song, "Jump Jim Crow" (and indeed was sung by the original "Jim Crow," Thomas Dartmouth RIce"; see Harold Vincent Milligan, Stephen Collins Foster: A Biography of America's Folk-Song Composer, 1920 (I use the 2004 University of Hawaii reprint), p. 41. If it's the same song, then this song must go back to the 1820s. - RBW
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