Old Uncle Noah
DESCRIPTION: "Old Uncle Noah built him an ark / He built it out of hemlock bark... The animals went in two by two / The elephant and the kangaroo... Mrs. Noah she got drunk / She kicked old Noah out of his bunk..."
EARLIEST DATE: 1887 (College Songs)
KEYWORDS: Bible humorous nonballad flood
FOUND IN: US(MW,Ro,SE)
REFERENCES (8 citations):
Scarborough-OnTheTrailOfNegroFolkSongs, p. 181, (no title) (1 text)
Brown/Belden/Hudson-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore3 544, "Noah's Ark" (2 short texts, both of the "Gideon's Band" type)
Eddy-BalladsAndSongsFromOhio 75, "Old Uncle Noah" (1 text)
Hubbard-BalladsAndSongsFromUtah, #179, "Noak's Ark" (1 text)
Courlander-NegroFolkMusic, pp. 44-45, (no title) (partial text, which may go here or elsewhere); pp. 246-247, "Noah, Noah" (1 tune, partial text, same as the reference on p. 44)
Gardham-EastRidingSongster 6, pp. 10, 43, "Mr. Noah" (4 texts, 1 tune, all to the tune of "Go In and Out the Window"; the first text, on p. 10, has an "Old Uncle Noah" first verse and a "Go In and Out the Window" second verse but is given its own Roud number, #1405. the (A) text on p. 43, "Marry's Grandma," is a fragment that does not seem to occur elsewhere; (B) on p. 43 mixes verses about a lunatic asylum with "in and out the window" lines and is also unique; its Roud number is #1410. The final lyric on p. 43, (C), is a fairly normal "Go In and Out the WIndow" variant)
ADDITIONAL: Henry Randall Waite, _Carmina Collegensia: A Complete Collection of the Songs of the American Colleges_ first edition 1868, expanded edition, Oliver Ditson, 1876, part I, p. 72, "The Ark" (1 text, 1 tune)
Henry Randall Waite, _College Songs: A Collection of New and Popular Songs of the American Colleges_, new and enlarged edition, Oliver Ditson & Co., 1887, p. 47, "Old Noah, He Did Build an Ark" (1 text, 1 tune, of the "Gideon's Band" type) (p. 39 of part III in the 1876 edition)
ST E075 (Partial)
Al Hopkins & His Buckle Busters, "Gideon's Band" (Brunswick 295, 1929; rec. 1928)
cf. "One More River" (lyrics)
cf. "Who Built the Ark?" (subject)
cf. "Old Noah Built an Ark" (subject)
cf. "Noah Built the Ark" (subject)
cf. "In Frisco Bay (A Long Time Ago; Noah's Ark Shanty)" (subject)
cf. "Please Lord, Don't Leave Me" (theme, some lines)
NOTES [202 words]: The account of Noah and the ark occupies Genesis 6-8. One should perhaps note that, while Genesis 6:20 records that Noah took two of every animal, 7:2 tells Noah to take SEVEN pairs of all clean animals.
The Bible also records that Noah "was the first to plant a vineyard" (Gen. 9:20 -- after the flood, one might note). 9:21 records his first episode of drunkenness -- but there is no record of his wife ever drinking; indeed, she is never mentioned in the Bible except in references to Noah's whole family.
The "Gideon's Band" subfamily (marked by the chorus "Do you belong to Gideon's Band, Here's my heart and here's my hand") is quite distinct and may contain verses not about Noah (as, e.g., in the Buckle Busters recording), but since it seems always to include the Noah's Ark verses also, it can't really be split off. It is interesting to note that College Songs lists the tune of this as "Gideon's Band."
Edwin Wolf 2nd, American Song Sheets, Slip Ballads, and Political Broadsides 1850-1870, Library Company of Philadelphia, 1963, p. 49, lists three broadsides of a song called "Gideon's Band." It is not clear that it is this song, but it looks like a minstrel piece. One edition was dated 1861. - RBW
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