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Lyr Req: Grandpa's Billygoat


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Roger in Baltimore 24 Nov 98 - 05:52 PM
Nathan 25 Nov 98 - 08:52 AM
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dick greenhaus 25 Nov 98 - 01:35 PM
Jim Dixon 18 Jun 03 - 10:41 PM
GUEST,Q 18 Jun 03 - 11:04 PM
LadyJean 19 Jun 03 - 12:05 AM
rangeroger 19 Jun 03 - 01:11 AM
GUEST,Q 19 Jun 03 - 01:23 PM
GUEST 16 Sep 12 - 11:31 PM
Louie Roy 17 Sep 12 - 10:54 AM
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Subject: Grandpa's Billygoat
Date: 24 Nov 98 - 04:55 PM

Has anyone heard of a very old folk song from the Appalachian hill country called "Grandpa's Billygoat"? Also, is there a repository (data bank) somewhere that would be interested in preserving this type of lyric?

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Subject: RE: Grandpa's Billygoat
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 24 Nov 98 - 05:52 PM

Dear Figbar,

If you find the lyrics to Grandpa's Billygoat, you could post them on this thread. They gently, slowly, but eventually will find themselves in the Digitrad Database mentioned in the upper right hand corner of this thread. It is a database of thousands of folk and folk-related songs. Some have lyrics and tunes and some are lyrics only.

Good luck in finding the song which you seek.

Roger in Baltimore

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Subject: RE: Grandpa's Billygoat
From: Nathan
Date: 25 Nov 98 - 08:52 AM

"Bill Grogan's Goat" is in the data base. The songs tell the same story, but to different melodies and with somewhat different words. Don't know which came first. Sounds like a good topic for a research paper.

Nathan Sarvis
Denton, TX

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Date: 25 Nov 98 - 12:22 PM

Sorry if I wasn't clear in the previous entry... Growing up in the hills of Eastern Kentucky I heard many "dittys" or home-grown poems / lyrics that I have never heard elsewhere and which have probably disappeared even from there. One I remember is "Grandpa's Billygoat" and, while unimportant by current poetic standards, I think it should, nontheless, be preserved somewhere.


Pa, he had a big mean billygoat.
Ma, she washed most every day.
Hung her clothes out on the line
An' that mean ol' billygoat come that way.

Jerked down a big red flannel shirt.
Ya ought to have heard them buttons crack.
But Pa'll get even with that mean ol' goat.
He'll tie him across the railroad track!

So he tied him across the railroad track
An' the train was a-comin' at a powerful race,
But the goat belched up that old red shirt
And flagged the train back down the ways.

Pa said, "Son, get rid o' that billygoat.
Ma's gonna nag an' I'll get no sleep.
Get you a ticket on the C&O railroad.
Go find a fool that'll buy him cheap.

So I went to the station and bought me a ticket
And I went right in and I set right down,
Stuck that ticket in the brim o' my hat.
Then the wind come along, blew it out on the ground.

Conductor come by, said "Gimme your ticket!"
Had to pay again or get left on the track.
But I finally got even with the damned ol' goat;
Bought a round-trip ticket but I ain't a-comin' back!


HTML line breaks added. --JoeClone, 18-Nov-02.

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Subject: RE: Grandpa's Billygoat
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 25 Nov 98 - 01:35 PM


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE TALE OF A SHIRT
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 18 Jun 03 - 10:41 PM

Transcribed from the sheet music images at The Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music.

(Words, W. W. Brackett. Music, Lottie L. Meda.
New York: M. Witmark & Sons, 1904.
"As sung with tremendous success by 'Billy' Brackett [the man with the red hair]".)

There was a man. His name was Burke. He was a friend of mine.
He had four lovely bright red shirts that hung on his clothesline.
Not satisfied with all his wealth, what do you think Burke did?
He took a trip to Butchertown, bought a goat just for a kid.
He tied him up in his backyard where the shirts were hung in line.
The goat got loose and ate them all just as the clock struck nine.
This made my friend Burke good and mad. to kill him then he swore,
So he tied the goat to a railroad track satisfied he'd be no more.

CHORUS: Say au revoir, but not goodbye.
This goat was wise and too smart to die.
He struggled and tugged with might and main,
Coughed up a red shirt, and flagged the train.

Now when Burke saw the goat's cute trick, he quick said, "I'll forgive.
I'll take that goat right home again, for he deserves to live."
Burke had a silk umbrella. 'Twas the apple of his eye.
This goat thought it was good to eat, so he ate it on the sly.
Burke found it out and swore again it was time to make him stop.
Says he, "I'll take him to some place where I have got the drop."
So he pushed him off the Call Café. 'Twas eighteen stories high.

CHORUS: Say au revoir, but not goodbye.
This goat was wise, though he could not fly.
He gave one cry--it was a beaut--
Coughed up the umbrella, made a parachute.

Once more to dear old home, sweet home, Burke took this goat again.
Two times he'd tried to kill the beast. His efforts were in vain.
He ate the paint from Burke's front door. From his bed, he drank the spring.
And ate Burke out of house and home. He did not leave a thing.
Burke fed him tons of Paris green, six sticks of dynamite.
He threw him in the ocean deep, but goat returned all right.
The fatal day at last came round though that goat knew a lot.
He wandered out on Market Street and looked into the slot.

CHORUS: Say au revoir, this time goodbye.
His time was up. He was doomed to die.
The gripman yelled and rang the bell.
Car hit the poor goat, now he's in ----.

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Subject: RE: Grandpa's Billygoat
Date: 18 Jun 03 - 11:04 PM

Fig bar posted in 1998. Did he come back with any more lyrics?

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Subject: RE: Grandpa's Billygoat
From: LadyJean
Date: 19 Jun 03 - 12:05 AM

I'm not figbar, but when I was in Girl Scout camp we sang a song very like that. All I remember are the last lines.
"He heaved a sigh! He heaved a sigh!"
"Of Awful Pain! Of Awful Pain!"
"Coughed up the three red shirts and flagged the train, and flagged the train." Any other former Girl Scouts out there?

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Subject: RE: Grandpa's Billygoat
From: rangeroger
Date: 19 Jun 03 - 01:11 AM

It's interesting that the lyrics posted by Jim Dixon with a 1904 date,mention a parachute. Could this lyric have been added at a later date?


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Subject: RE: Grandpa's Billygoat
Date: 19 Jun 03 - 01:23 PM

The parachute goes back before 1785. "In Mr. Blanchard's late visit to this country, he brought his parachute to England." European Magazine VII, 1785. Quoted in the OED.
The word was originally French; much experimentation with this sort of thing in the late 18th century in France.

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Date: 16 Sep 12 - 11:31 PM


Grandpa had a big ol' bill goat,
Grandma washed about every day.
When she hung her cloths up on that line,
That bill goat would come that way.

That bill goat grabbed a hold of an old flannel shirt,
You should've heard those buttons cracked.

I'll get you yet! You son of a gun!
I'll tie him across the railroad track!

I tied him across the railroad track,
And the train was coming at a powerful rate.
He belched up that old flannel shirt,
And then flagged down that darn ol' train.

Hooo! Hooo!

As sung by Thomas Conkey to his grandchildren. Wheelersburg, OH

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Grandpa's Billygoat
From: Louie Roy
Date: 17 Sep 12 - 10:54 AM

Merle Haggard recorded a song in the late 1960 or early 1970s about a billy goat and a nanny goat that is very similar to the one posted and he made a big hit over it. many of the words in the song are identical to grand pa tune

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