Old Bob Ridley (Hobo Diddle De Ho)

DESCRIPTION: "When I was young we crossed the mountains, Crossed so many I quit a-countin', Hobo diddle de ho, An' a hobo diddle de ho." "We seen the buffalo a-comin', Seen so damn' many I couldn't count 'em...." "(Ho/oh), (old) Bob (Ridley/Bridely)"
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1853 (broadside, LOCSheet sm1853 550030)
KEYWORDS: travel humorous talltale
FOUND IN: Britain(England,Scotland(Aber)) US(SE,So) Ireland
REFERENCES (7 citations):
Greig/Duncan8 1898, "Bob Ridley" (1 fragment, 1 tune)
Williams-FolkSongsOfTheUpperThames, pp. 224-225, "Old Bob Ridley O" (1 text) (also Williams-Wiltshire-WSRO Gl 48)
Randolph 499, "Hobo Diddle De Ho" (1 text)
Brown/Belden/Hudson-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore3 194, "Old Bob Ridley" (4 texts plus an excerpt and mention of 1 more)
Brown/Schinhan-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore5 194, "Old Bob Ridley" (4 tunes plus text excerpts)
Wolf-AmericanSongSheets, #1693, p. 114, "Old Bob Ridley O" (3 references)
ADDITIONAL: Fred W. Allsopp, Folklore of Romantic Arkansas, Volume II (1931), p. 162, "(Old Rob Ridley)" (1 short text)

Roud #753
Mary Anne Carolan, "Young Bob Ridley" (on Voice07)
Henry Griffin, "Holler Jimmy Riley Ho" (on HandMeDown1)

Bodleian, Harding B 11(358), "Bob Ridley, oh!," J. Pitts (London), 1819-1844; also Firth b.27(30), "Old Bob Ridley O!," unknown, n.d.
LOCSheet, sm1853 550030, "Old Bob Ridley," J. E. Boswell (Baltimore), 1853 (tune)
LOCSinging, as110090, "Old Bob Ridley, O," J. Andrews (New York), 1853-1859; also cw104110, as110080, "Old Bob Ridley"; sb30400a, "Old Bob Ridley O"

NOTES [230 words]: This was a popular minstrel piece that crossed the Atlantic. - PJS
According to the notes in Brown, it became a corn-shucking song in the U. S. The North Carolina versions are certainly very diverse. The British version had talltale elements, with Bob Riddley doing the impossibly in humorous ways. - RBW
Hall, notes to Voice07, re "Young Bob Ridley": "American minstrels first visited Britain and Ireland in the mid-1830s and subsequently local professional and amateur minstrel troupes remained popular until the Great War, contributing tunes and ditties to the traditional repertory."
Broadside Bodleian Harding B 11(358) includes the verse
At boxing I am sure to gain on,
A tousand times I've lick'd Jack Heenan;
And for winding up the belt affairs,
Next I'm going to belt Tom Sayers.
Dis Bob Ridley, oh!
Since John C. Heenan fought Tom Sayers in 1860 the dating of the broadside is certainly incorrect.
Broadside printer John Pitts died April 15, 1844. While the old ballad stock continued to circulate the house name did not continue. (source: Leslie Shepard, John Pitts: Ballad Printer of Seven Dials, London 1765-1844 (Private Libraries Association, c.1969), pp. 75,84).
Broadside LOCSinging as110090: J. Andrews dating per Studying Nineteenth-Century Popular Song by Paul Charosh in American Music, Winter 1997, Vol 15.4, Table 1, available at FindArticles site. - BS
Last updated in version 4.1
File: R499

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 2022 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.