Catfish, The (Banjo Sam)

DESCRIPTION: "Catfish, catfish, goin' up stream, Catfish, catfish, where you been? I grabbed that catfish by the snout, I pulled that catfish inside out, Yo-ho! Banjo Sam." Other verses also tall tales, usually involving animals, e.g. the terrapin and the toad
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1918 (Cecil Sharp collection)
KEYWORDS: animal nonsense talltale floatingverses fishing humorous music
REFERENCES (5 citations):
Brown/Belden/Hudson-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore3 182, "The Catfish" (1 text plus 3 fragments)
Sharp-EnglishFolkSongsFromSouthernAppalachians 251, "The Jackfish" (1 text, 1 tune)
Scarborough-OnTheTrailOfNegroFolkSongs, p. 98, (no title) (1 single-stanza text, regarding the terrapin and the toad, which could be from this or almost anything else); also p. 199, (no title) (1 fragment, probably from this though it's too short to tell)
NorthCarolinaFolkloreJournal, Portia Naomi Crawford, "A Study of Negro Folk Songs from Greensboro, North Carolina and Surrounding Towns," Vol. XVI, No. 2 (Oct 1968), p. 91, "Cat Fish" (1 fragment, 1 tune, perhaps this)
NorthCarolinaFolkloreJournal, Charles Bond, "Unpublished Folklore in the Brown Collection," Vol. XX, No. 1 (Feb 1972), pp. 15-16, "Miss Lucy, or Twistification" (1 text, with chorus "Roll on the floor (x3), Till life's roll is o'er" and verses "I went down to see Miss Lucy, Oh, I'd never been there before" and "As I was a-goin' down the road, I met a rabbit and I met a toad"; although the game "Twistification" is sometimes linked with "Weevily Wheat," the verses look more like "The Catfish (Banjo Sam)" and perhaps "Roll on the Ground (Big Ball's in Town)" or "Karo Song")

Roud #7010
Poplin Family, "Catfish" (on Poplin01)
cf. "Turkey in the Straw" (floating lyrics)
cf. "Sweet Heaven" (floating lyrics)
cf. "Jack Was Every Inch a Sailor" (fish story)
NOTES [81 words]: This is complicated, because every one of Brown's verses is associated with "Turkey in the Straw." But the three texts all lack that chorus, and "A" has a "banjo Sam" chorus line of its own. And apparently all had a different tune. When in doubt, we split. - RBW
For some reason, this song makes me think of "Whoa Back Buck," but not quite enough for a cross-reference. It almost certainly derives from minstrel sources, and shouldn't be confused with the popular "Catfish Blues." - PJS
Last updated in version 6.1
File: Vr3182

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