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Reiver 2 Origins: Crawdad Song (37) RE: Lyr Req: Crawdad Song 23 Mar 10


I learned the "Crawdad Song" MANY years ago from the singing of Burl Ives. Used to sing it to my kids when they were young. This version is from the Pocket Book entitled "More Burl Ives Songs," Ballantine Books, 1966. There is this notation, "Originating as a Negro blues sung in levee camps and juke joints, this tune with a variety of lyrics spread at the turn of the [20th] century among hillbillies, cotton mill workers and other poor folk throughout the South [of the U.S.]. With different words it is known as "Sweet Thing," "Sugar Babe," etc. This version is sung by people who eke out a living by catching fresh-water crayfish."

CRAWDAD SONG
[Fast and with a driving rhythm]

         F
1] Wake up little girl, you slept too late this mornin';
                                                C7
   Wake up little girl, you slept too late, babe.
         F          Fmaj.7    F7
   Wake up, little girl, you slept too late,
         Bflat            Bflatminor
   The craw-dad man just passed      your gate
         F             G7    C7    F
   This mornin', this evenin', so soon.

2] You get a line, I'll get a pole, honey,
   You get a line, I'll get a pole, babe,
   You get a line, I'll get a pole,
   I'll meet you down by the crawdad hole,
   Honey, babe of mine

3] Put your hand on your hip, let your mind roll by, honey,
   Put your hand on your hip, let your mind roll by, babe,
   Put your hand on your hip, let your mind roll by,
   'Cause your body gotta swivel when you come to die;
   Honey, babe of mine.

4] Settin' on the ice, feet got cold, honey,
   Settin' on the ice, feet got cold, babe,
   Settin' on the ice, feet got cold,
   Watchin' that crawdad dig his hole,
   Honey, babe, of mine.

5] Settin' on the bank, feet got hot, honey,
   Settin' on the bank, feet got hot, babe,
   Settin' on the bank, feet got hot,
   Watchin' that crawdad rack and trot,
   Honey, babe of mine,

6] Ol' crawdad, you better dig deep, honey,
   Ol' crawdad, you better dig deep, babe,
   Ol' crawdad, you better dig deep,
   'Cause I'm gonna ramble in my sleep,
   Honey, babe of mine.

I found other verses, somwhere, that I liked better, so I used verse 2 above as my verse 1, and I used easier chords [see below]. I sang:

       D
1] You get a line and I'll get a pole, honey,
                                        A7
   You get a line and I'll get a pole, babe,
    D
   You get a line and I'll get a pole
         G                                  D    A7    D
   An' we'll go down to the crawdad hole, honey, baby, mine.

2] Wake up old gal, you slept too late, honey,
   Wake up old gal, you slept too late, babe,
   Wake up old gal you slept too late,
   The crawdad wagon done passed our gate, honey, baby, mine,

3, 4, 5,] Verses 4, 5, and 6 above

6] Crawdad, crawdad, you better go to hole, honey,
   Crawdad, crawdad, you better go to hole, babe,
   Crawdad, crawdad, you better go to hole,
   If I don't catch you, durn mah soul, honey, baby, mine.

A female singer could use "old man" in verse 2 instead of "old gal."


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