The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #59194   Message #1827299
Posted By: Bob Coltman
05-Sep-06 - 07:20 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Add: Fight Wid Ole Satan
Subject: Lyr Add: UNCLE BILLY (Ben C. Moomaw)
I was given a version of this called "Uncle Billy" from Ben C. Moomaw in 1955.
Moomaw, later president of the Virginia Folklore Society, had (I believe) collected it in that state, but he didn't say where. He did say it was of minstrel origin.

I have a faint recollection that a version of it may be in Brown's North Carolina Folklore, but I may be wrong on that. At any rate I'm positive I saw it in published form, though maybe not at this length.

It is a wonderful song. (Always did want to find a place to sing it publicly, but somehow...) Tune's sprightly and fun, too.


I had a fight with ol' Satan last night
As I lay half awake,
Satan come up to my bedside,
And me he begun to shake.

Well he shake me long and he shake me strong,
And he shake me clean outa bed,
He grab me by the collar and he look me in the face,
And what do you think he said?

There's gold in the mountain,
There's silver in the mine,
It'll all belong to you, Uncle Billy,
If you only will be mine.

Says he, These things will all be yours,
If you'll be my gentle when you're dead,
I grabbed him by the collar and I looked him in the face,
And what do you think I said?

Get you gone ol' Satan,
You come here me for to kill,
You can fool all the white folks with that trash,
But you can't fool yo' ol' Uncle Bill!

I was gettin' mighty chilly and I feared to take a cold,
So I jumped back into bed,
When through the night I thought I saw
My dear good Lord his head.

Ol' Satan vanished right through the floor
And a light around the room was shed,
I th'owed the covers up over my face,
And my good Lord he said,

Well done, my faithful servant,
You may sit on the Lord's right hand,
And play on the golden harp all day,
Although you but a colored man.

Oh, Play on the golden harp, sinners,
Put on the golden shoes,
Turn your feet to the shinin' street
An' put on the golden shoes!

Wake up sinners, don't you hear me shout,
Put on the golden shoes,
Shuffle your feet and face about,
And put on the golden shoes.