The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #34525   Message #1908046
Posted By: Goose Gander
12-Dec-06 - 11:16 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Pretty Little Pink
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Little Pink
W.K. McNeil discussed this song in Southern Mountain Folksongs . . .

"Although most folksong scholars agree that this song dates back only to the Mexican War (1846-1848), the earliest reported text, from eastern Tennessee in 1883, contains the following lyrics . . . (he cites stanza posted by Q above)

"This reference to Quebec suggests the possibility that the song originated during the French and Indian War (1754-1763), or about a century earlier than is generally believed. Some other texts mention New Orleans and thus make a War of 1812 origin possible. Is is, of course, also possible that the song predates all three wars and harks back to an as yet undiscovered urform. This seems to be what Ben Botkin is suggesting in The American Play-Party song, p.71, when he says the song 'presents a curious example of a dance song which has been converted into a soldiers' marching song, with Mexican War references, and then back into dance usage, war references and all."

McNeil printed a text plus tune from Doc Hopkins of Harlan County, Kentucky, taken from a tape he made in the late 1960s or early 1970s. Hopkins was a performer on the WLS National Barn Dance radio program in Chicago and performed in medicine shows previous to that. According to McNeil, he learned Pretty Little Pink from Bradley Kincaid who in turn learned it from fellow performer Scott Wiseman. The Hopkins version is shortened from the Kincaid version above, only having about half of the verses.

W.K. McNeil, Southern Mountain Folksongs (Little Rock, Arkansas: August House Publishers, Inc., 1993), p.150-153