The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #85261   Message #1598864
Posted By: kytrad (Jean Ritchie)
06-Nov-05 - 05:21 PM
Thread Name: DTStudy: Songs of Jean Ritchie
Subject: DTStudy: Aunt Sal's Song (Bashful Courtship)
Correct title to The Bashful Courtship is Aunt Sal's Song. When the Pine Mountain Settlement School was founded, in 1911, 'Uncle'William Creek and Aunt Sal, his wife, furnished the land for the school and invited Katherine Petit (who started the Hindman Settlement School, in Knott County) to begin the Pine Mountain school. The Creeches were beloved there, and treated as the grandparents of the new school.The local traditional songs of the people were collected and honored by the teachers of both schools,and actual songbooks were made for school use as the students brought in their family songs.

Aunt Sal, however, was very religious. After joining the church she sang only hymns and gave up what she called "ditties," (non-religious music). She made one exception; when asked, she would always sing the same song, her funny one about the man who didn't know how to court. Over the years it got its name, Aunt Sal's Song.

Aunt Sal's Song is not copyrighted, at least not by myself nor the Ritchie Family. Whether the Pine Mountain School has done so I do not know, but their website is easy to find- I believe that it can be listed as trad., but write the school if you'd like to be sure.

Aunt Sal's Song

BASHFUL COURTSHIP
or Not Know How to Court

A gentleman came to our house
He would not give his name
I knew he came a courting
Although he was ashamed
Oh, although he was ashamed

He moved his chair up by me side
His fancy pleased me well
I thought the spirit moved him
Some handsome tale to tell
Oh, some handsome tale to tell

But there he sat the life long night
And never a word did say
With many a sigh and bitter groan
He ofttimes wished for day
Oh, he ofttimes wished for day

The chickens they began to crow
And daylight did appear
"How do you do, good morning, sir
I'm glad to see you here,
Oh, I'm glad to see you here"

He was weary all the lifelong night
He was weary of his life
Said, "If this is what you call courting, boys,
I'll never take a wife,
Oh, I'll never take a wife"

And when he goes in company
The girls all laugh for sport
Saying, "Yonder goes that ding dang fool
That don't know how to court,
Oh, that don't know how to court"

@courting
recorded by Edna Ritchie and Jean Ritchie
filename[ HOWCOURT
SOF

PLEASE NOTE: Because of the volunteer nature of The Digital Tradition, it is difficult to ensure proper attribution and copyright information for every song included. Please assume that any song which lists a composer is copyrighted ©. You MUST aquire proper license before using these songs for ANY commercial purpose. If you have any additional information or corrections to the credit or copyright information included, please e-mail those additions or corrections to us (along with the song title as indexed) so that we can update the database as soon as possible. Thank You.

Aunt Sal's Song (The Man Who Didn't Know How to Court)

DESCRIPTION: "A gentleman came to our house, He would not tell his name." He comes to court, but acts ashamed. He sits silent next to the girl. Finally he gives up, saying courting isn't worth it. The girls laugh at the "ding-dang fool [that] don't know how to court."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1935
KEYWORDS: courting humorous
FOUND IN: US(Ap,SE,So)
REFERENCES (5 citations):
BrownIII 15, "Courting Song" (1 text)
Lomax-FSNA 101, "Aunt Sal's Song" (1 text, 1 tune)
Ritchie-SingFam, pp. 233-234, "[Aunt Sal's Song]" (1 text, 1 tune)
Chase, pp. 140-141, "The Bashful Courtship" (1 text, 1 tune)
DT, HOWCOURT

Roud #776
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Johnson Boys" (theme)
ALTERNATE TITLES:
Not Know How to Court
Bashful Courtship
File: LoF101

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions

The Ballad Index Copyright 2005 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


Lyrics from Jean Ritchie's Singing Family of the Cumberlands:

Aunt Sal's Song

A gentleman came to our house,
He did not tell his name;
I knew he came a-courting
Although he were ashame,
O, although he were ashame.

He hitched his chair up to my side,
His fancy pleased me well;
I thought the spirit moved him
Some handsome tale to tell,
O, some handsome tale to tell.

But there he sat the livelong night
And never a word did say,
With many a sigh and bitter groan
He ofttimes wished for day,
O, he ofttimes wished for day.

The chickens they began to crow
And daylight did appear,
"How do you do, good morning, sir
I'm glad to see you here,
O, I'm glad to see you here."

He was weary all the livelong night,
He was weary of his life,
"If this is what you call courting, boys,
I'll never take a wife,
No, I'll never take a wife."

Now when he goes in company
The girls all laugh for sport,
Saying, "Yonder goes that ding-dang fool
That don't know how to court,
O, that don't know how to court."


Click to play

I'm not totally happy with how the MIDI sounds (I've never heard the song sung), but it's an exact transcription from Jean's book. -JRO-
The version from Alan Lomax, The Folk Songs of North America is from The Settlement School in Pine Mountain, Kentucky. The lyrics are almost the same as the two versions above. Lomas says this version is known as "Aunt Sal's Song" because Aunt Sal often sang it at Pine Mountain. Here are the tunes from Lomax:

Click to play

Click to play (arrangement)


There are some minor but interesting differences in the version from the Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore, Volume 3, #15:

Courting Song

A gentleman came to see me,
He wouldn't tell his name.
I knew he came a-courting
Although he was ashamed,
Oh, although he was ashamed.

He drew his chair up by my side.
His manner pleased me well.
I hoped the spirit moved him
A loving tale to tell.
Oh, a loving tale to tell.

And there he sat the livelong night
And never a word did say.
With many a sigh and bitter groan
I often wished for day.
Oh, I often wished for day.

The chickens they began to crow,
The daylight did appear.
"Howdy do, good morning, sir,
I'm glad to see you here,
Oh, I'm glad to see you here."

He was weary of the livelong night,
He was weary of his life.
"If this is what you call courting, boys,
I'll never take a wife,
Oh, I'll never take a wife."

Whenever he goes in company
The girls all laugh and sport;
They say, "There goes a blamed old fool
Who don't know how to court.
Oh, who don't know how to court."

Collected by Mrs. Sutton on the Watauga River near the Tennessee line, from the singing of a schoolteacher with whom she spend the night.
Roud says the song is on the Folk-Legacy recording Edna Ritchie, Viper, Kentucky - that one isn't out on CD yet, so I don't have it [hint to Sandy Paton].