The Traditional Ballad Index: Shoot the Buffalo:
Shoot the BuffaloDESCRIPTION: Playparty/dance tune: "And it's ladies to the center and it's gents around the row, And we'll rally round the canebrake and shoot the buffalo." Tales of courting and spitting tobacco
EARLIEST DATE: 1911 (JAFL 24)
KEYWORDS: playparty dancing animal nonballad
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South)) US(Ap,MW,So)
REFERENCES (13 citations):
Wiltshire-WSRO Wt 334, "We'll Chase the Buffalo" (1 text)
Randolph 523, "Shoot the Buffalo" (2 texts plus 4 excerpts, 1 tune)
Hudson 149, pp. 297-298, "Shoot the Buffalo" (1 text)
Fuson, p. 165, "Chase the Buffalo" (1 text)
Cambiaire, p. 143, "Hunting Ballad (We'll Shoot the Buffalo)" (1 text)
SharpAp 262, "Chase the Buffalo" (1 text, 1 tune)
Peters, p. 129, "Rise, My True Love" (1 short text, 1 tune, with some unusual lyrics about "Where Jim Hawkins shot Jim Buzzard, and Jim Buzzard shot Jim Crow"; these may come from some other lost song)
Wolford, pp. 29--30=WolfordRev, p. 225, "Chase the Buffalo" (3 texts)
Lomax-FSUSA 32, "Shoot the Buffalo" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-ABFS, pp. 296-297, "Shoot the Buffalo" (1 text, 1 tune)
Fife-Cowboy/West 98, "Shoot the Buffalo" (3 texts, 1 tune)
Arnett, p. 96, "Shoot the Buffalo" (1 text, 1 tune)
Botkin-MRFolklr, p. 563, "We'll Hunt the Buffalo!" (1 text, 1 tune, with the chorus of "Shoot the Buffalo" and lyrics from "The Lovely Ohio")
Hunt the Buffalo
NOTES: Although it is hard to be absolutely sure, and the dating is not precise, there is reason to think that Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) knew this song in the 1840s. According to Stephanie Lovert Stoffel, Lewis Carroll in Wonderland; the Life and Times of Alice and Her Creator, Discoveries/Harry N. Abrams, 1997, p. 16, 'Apparently the Dodgson children had hidden away some sort of time capsule of treasures.... On a block of wood was inscribed, in what appears to be Charles's hand, this evocative verse: "And we'll wander through / the wide world / and chase the buffalo."
What's more, Dodgson made at least two references to buffalo in his later poetry -- in the White Knight's song and in the Mad Gardener's Song in Sylvie and Bruno: "He thought he was a Buffalo Upon the chimney-piece, He looked again, and found it was His Sister's Husband's Niece. 'Unless you leave this house,' he said, 'I'll send for the police!'" (see Derek Hudson, Lewis Carroll, Constable (MacMillan), 1954, p. 38. There are several other items in this "time capsule" which Hudson thinks influenced the "Alice" books, although most of the others are strained. The buffalo song in Sylvie and Bruno is in chapter 6, "THe Magic Locket") - RBW
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The Ballad Index Copyright 2014 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.
The Fiddler's Companion: Shoot the Buffalo:
HUNTING THE BUFFALO. AKA and see "Hunting for the Buffalo," "Gonna Go Huntin' for the Buffalo." Old-Time, Breakdown. A Major. Standard. AABB. The melody is apparently based on an old play-party song from the Ozarks, with various titles such as "Shoot the buffalo" and "Gonna Go Huntin' for the Buffalo." Source for notated version: Barb Zavon (Cincinnati, Ohio) via Helga Sermat (Vancouver, B.C.) [Songer]. Songer (Portland Collection), 1997; pg. 105. Dorian Discovery DIS-80103, Helicon - "Horizons" (1992. Learned from fiddler Freyda Epstein, Charlottesville, Va.). HPV1, Ramona Jones - "Back Porch Fiddling." Shanachie 6001, Norman Blake - "Just Gimme Somethin' I'm Used To" (1991). Time and Strike #7785, Clyde Curley and Oxymorons - "Old Time Mandolin Music."
SHOOT THE BUFFALO. See "Hunting the Buffalo."