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Lyr Req: Whoa Mule (Uncle Dave Macon)


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Subject: Lyrics req: Whoa Mule
Date: 21 Jul 98 - 12:21 AM

I have heard several people play this tune but the words don't stick. I have tried to transcribe from Uncle Dave Macon but am missing several lines. Please help?

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Subject: RE: Lyrics req: Whoa Mule
From: Bill D
Date: 21 Jul 98 - 01:31 PM

as in, "Whoa, old mule..Miss Liza you keep cool, I aint got time to kiss you now, I'm busy with this mule"?

(there are a few other mule songs in the database but I didnt find that one..will type in the whole thing later today, if someone doesn't beat me to it)(one version, anyway...)

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: GREENBACK (Uncle Dave Macon)
From: cnd
Date: 12 Sep 16 - 11:18 PM

Macon has several recordings about Mules, and I guess if they're not posted here yet I'll add all of them on this thread.

Before I get into this song, it is known both as "Greenback" and "Whoa Mule," though Uncle Dave Macon never made more than one or two recordings of it. The "Greenback" version omits the word "nigger" and has an added first stanza which my recording (the "Whoa Mule" version, as Youtube calls it) does not.


Once I had a brand new overcoat and I hung it on the wall
A nigger stole that overcoat, and whoa, mule, whoa

Hi yo that greenback, greenback, hi yo today
Hi yo, that greenback, that nigger walked away

You may ride the old gray horse, I will ride the roan
You may court your own true love, and leave my wife alone


Used for to live in the mountain, now I live in town
Boardin' at a big hotel, sparkin' all around


There's also a verse in a book that I used to help verify my transcription that that my recording doesn't have which goes as follows:

"If I had a scoldin' wife, I tell you what I'd do
Run my finger down her throat, gag her with my thumb"

Lyrics transcribed from:

Book source: Folk Songs of Middle Tennessee: The George Boswell Collection By Charles K. Wolf

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Go Along Mule (Dave Macon)
From: cnd
Date: 12 Sep 16 - 11:30 PM

The lyrics for "Go Along Mule" are already available on Mudcat here: thread.cfm?threadid=40362#579161 But just to have it in one place..

As sung by Uncle Dave Macon

I've got a mule, he's such a fool
He never pays no heed
I build a fire right under him
And then I made some speed

CHORUS: Oh go 'long mule, don't you roll them eyes
You can change a fool, but a doggone mule
Is a mule until he dies

Oh Jerry Aches and Dottie Paines
Got married on the train
And now they say those Georgie woods
Are just full with aches and pains

I drove right down to the graveyard once
For to see those pals of mine
But when that black man crossed my path
I sure, Lord, changed my mind

I bought some biscuits for my dog
And I laid them on the shelf
I slept so hard I shot my dog
And eat that bread myself

A man way down in Georgia
Pulled his gun on me
But when he fired that second shot
I passed through Tennessee


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Braying Mule (Dave Macon)
From: cnd
Date: 12 Sep 16 - 11:58 PM

I should have found this first, but, here it is now: a site with info about all these songs:

Dave Macon's "Go Along Mule" is an adaptation of Henry Creamer & Turner Layton's song "Whao Mule," but that song was actually taken from black traditional singing (source:

That site gives Braying Mule as an adaptation of Thomas Westendorf's "Johnson's/Thompson's Old Grey Mule," and his version of Greenback or Whoa Mule as an adaptation of W.S. Hays' version

Macon's "Braying Mule" is more like most other people's version of "Johnson's Mule."

Hopefully now that all the confusing names are sorted out, I can get into the last one.

(Thomas Westendorf)

Johnson had an old gray mule, he drove him to his car
He loved that mule and the mule loved him with all his mule-ish heart
Johnson knowed when the rooster crowed, day was gonna break
He rubbed him down with a big corn cob and curred him with his rake

That ole mule went [*insert mule noises*]
While Johnson curred him with his rake

His skin was good as purchase, hooves were hard as lead
He'll raise you like a feather, too, and raise you on your head
He would kick as quick as lightning, he had an iron jaw
He's just the thing to have around to tame your mother-in-law


He backed himself into a mule pond and kicked the ears from a frog
Killed seventeen Chiner-men and swallered a yeller dog
He kicked the feathers from a goose and broke an elephant's back
He stopped a Texas railroad train and kicked it off the track


They hitched him to a cart, all limp and lame was he
We hitched him up to that cart to see how he would be
He kicked three days and couldn't faze, he got so short of breath
He swallered one'a his left-hind legs and choked himself to death


Transcribed by ear. Occasional reference to here:

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Whoa Mule (Uncle Dave Macon)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 13 Sep 16 - 10:38 PM

Whoa mule, git up in the alley said Waw, waw, waw (maybe Walt, drawled?)
is a lyric fragment from somewhere.

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