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Lyr Add: I Wish I Were Single Again / Single Girl

DigiTrad:
I WISH I WAS SINGLE AGAIN
SINGLE GIRL
SINGLE GIRL (4)
THE SINGLE GIRL
THE SINGLE GIRL (3)


Related threads:
Lyr Add: I Wish I Was Single Again (male) (15)
(origins) Lyr Add:Married Woman's Lament (wish I was single) (7)
Lyr Add: I Wish I Was a Single Girl (Proffitt) (10)
Lyr Req/Add: Single Girl, Married Girl (Carter) (16)
Tune Req: Single Girl (from Sandy Posey) (1)


In Mudcat MIDIs:
When I Was Single (Lomax FSNA) (from Lomax, The Folk Songs of North America)
When I Was Single (Lomax FSUSA) (from Lomax, Best Loved American Folk Songs (Folk Song: USA))


GUEST,.gargoyle 13 May 05 - 05:06 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 May 05 - 05:32 PM
Joe Offer 13 May 05 - 06:11 PM
Inukshuk 13 May 05 - 06:40 PM
Joe Offer 15 May 05 - 01:05 AM
freda underhill 15 May 05 - 01:13 AM
Joe Offer 15 May 05 - 01:20 AM
Malcolm Douglas 15 May 05 - 01:23 AM
freda underhill 15 May 05 - 01:25 AM
freda underhill 15 May 05 - 01:27 AM
Joe Offer 15 May 05 - 01:52 AM
Joe Offer 15 May 05 - 02:08 AM
Joe Offer 15 May 05 - 02:19 AM
Malcolm Douglas 15 May 05 - 01:38 PM
Joe Offer 15 May 05 - 04:42 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 15 May 05 - 06:20 PM
Scrump 22 Dec 06 - 10:57 AM
dick greenhaus 27 Aug 07 - 10:23 PM
GUEST,Rawbin 21 May 09 - 07:16 AM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 21 May 09 - 11:25 AM
GUEST,Carolyn M 13 Sep 16 - 10:51 PM
Steve Gardham 14 Sep 16 - 03:36 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: OH, I WISH I WERE SINGLE AGAIN
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 13 May 05 - 05:06 PM

Still another lamenting love's labors.

Emrish, Duncan, American Folk Poetry - An Anthology, Little Brown 1974 p 184. "I Wish I Was Single" was collected was collected by Harvey H. Fuson from Lizzie Dills. In Fuson, Ballads of the Kentucky Highlands, London, 1931, p 118. Without music. ^^

OH, I WISH I WAS SINGLE AGAIN

When I was a single girl, I went dressed very fine,
Now I am married and have a drunken man to mind.
Oh, I wish I were a single girl again.

When I was a single girl I done as I pleased;
Now I am a married girl with a drunken man to please.
Oh, I wish I were a single girl again.

He goes down to town and stays all day
Drinking and gambling and wasting time away.
Oh, I wish I were a single girl again.

And when he comes home it's a curse and damn,
Wishing I were dead and he had another dram.
Oh, I wish I were a single girl again.

Spring to go to, and cows to milk and feed,
And the four little children a-crying after me.
Oh, I wish I were a single girl again.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: OH, I WISH I WERE SINGLE AGAIN
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 May 05 - 05:32 PM

This one is similar to a brief song in Belden:

I WISH I WERE SINGLE AGAIN

The cows are to milk and the spring to go to;
The drunkard's in his dramshop; Oh! what shall I do?
Oh! I wish I were a single girl again.

When I was single I lived at my ease;
Now I have married a drunkard to please.
Oh! I wish I were a single girl again.

If ever I am single, single I'll remain,
I'll never be controlled by a drunkard again.

Mrs. E. A. McKay of Knox City, MO, 1907. Belden speaks of other versions from England and Canada to the South and west to Texas.
H. M. Belden, 1940 (1973), "Ballads and Songs Collected by the Missouri Folk-Lore Society," p. 437, lyrics only. Univ. Missouri Press.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: WISH I WERE SINGLE AGAIN
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 May 05 - 06:11 PM

We have a variety of versions on the Digital Tradition:
  • Single Girl {filename[ SINGLGRL} is more-or-less the Carter Family "Single Girl, Married Girl," weith two additional verses by Mickey Miller. See this thread (click) for discussion of the Carter Family Song.
  • I Wish I Was Single Again is a man's song:
    When I was single, Oh then, Oh then,
    When I was single, Oh then,
    When I was single,
    My money did jingle,
    I wish I was single again, again,
    I wish I was single again.
    The Digital Tradition does not identify the source of this song. I'd say this is related to the woman's song, but not the same song. Maybe it's better to discuss this one in another thread.

The remaining three versions are directly related to the lyrics Gargoyle posted. All three versions are from Sharp's English Folk Songs in the Southern Appalachians:
Here's the Traditional Ballad Index on this song:

I Wish I Were a Single Girl Again

DESCRIPTION: "When I was single, marriage I did crave. Now I am married, it's trouble to my grave. Lord, I wish I was a single girl again!" The wife complains of hard work in the kitchen, of poverty, of poor clothes, hungry children, and a husband who steals her money
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1907 (Belden)
KEYWORDS: husband wife marriage poverty
FOUND IN: US(Ap,SE)
REFERENCES (11 citations):
Warner 126, "I Wish I Were a Single Girl Again"
Belden, p. 437, "When I Was Single" (1 text, with no letter designation; the lettered texts are all "I Wish I Were Single Again (I - Male)")
BrownIII 28, "I Wish I Was a Single Girl Again" (3 texts)
Fuson, p. 188, "Oh, I Wish I Were Single Again" (1 text)
Scott-BoA, p. 171, "The Single Girl" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-FSUSA 13(A), "When I Was Single (I)" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-FSNA 84, "Single Girl" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-ABFS, pp. 154-155, "When I Was Single" (1 text, 1 tune)
Darling-NAS, pp. 272-273, "Single Girl" (1 text)
Arnett, p. 59, "Single Girl" (1 text, 1 tune)
DT, SNGLGRL3*

Roud #436
RECORDINGS:
Anne, Judy, & Zeke Canova, "I Wish I Was a Single Girl Again" (Brunswick 264, 1928)
Cousin Emmy [Cynthia May Carver], "I Wish I Was a Single Girl, Again" (Decca 24215, 1947)
Vernon Dalhart & Co., "I Wish I Was a Single Girl Again" (Edison 51610, 1925)
Sid Harkreader, "I Wish I Was A Single Girl Again" (Vocalion 15035, 1925)
Kelly Harrell, "I Wish I Was a Single Girl Again" (Victor 19563, 1925; on KHarrell01) (Victor 20242, 1926; on KHarrell01)
Roscoe Holcomb, "I Wish I Were a Single Girl Again" [LP] or "Single Girl" [CD] (on MMOK, MMOKCD)
Lulu Belle & Scotty, "I Wish I Was a Single Girl Again" (Conqueror 9189, 1938; Vocalion 04772, 1939)
New Lost City Ramblers, "Single Girl" (on NLCR14)
Frank Proffitt, "Single Girl" (on FProffitt01)
Riley Puckett ,"I Wish I Was a Single Girl Again" (Bluebird B-8083, 1939)
Pete Seeger, "When I Was Single" (on PeteSeeger07, PeteSeeger07b)
Henry Whitter, "I Wish I Was a Single Girl Again" (OKeh 40375, 1925)

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "I Wish I Were Single Again (II - Female)"
cf. "Single Girl, Married Girl"
cf. "Sorry the Day I Was Married"
cf. "When I Was Young (II)" (theme)
cf. "For Seven Long Years I've Been Married" (theme)
Notes: Roud lumps "I Wish I Were a Single Girl Again" and "Single Girl, Married Girl" (and perhaps others). Definitely a stretch, though the songs can easily cross-fertilize. - RBW
File: Wa126

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions

The Ballad Index Copyright 2005 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: OH, I WISH I WERE SINGLE AGAIN
From: Inukshuk
Date: 13 May 05 - 06:40 PM

Mom Fonville in our band does this song. Always a favourite. Never knew that it had such a long and illustrious history. Are there any remnants of this song in Britain?


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Subject: RE: Add: Oh, I Wish I Were Single Again/Single Gir
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 May 05 - 01:05 AM

I learned this from a Mary Travers solo on the 1964 Peter, Paul and Mary In Concert album, back when Mary was gorgeous and I was a very impressionable teenage boy. No mention in this song of a drunken man. I'm wondering if that was a PP&M bowlderization. The versions in the DT aren't as harsh as the one Gargoyle posted, but they still have the drunkard.

-Joe Offer-

SINGLE GIRL
Stookey/Travers- Pepamar Music ASCAP

When I was a single girl, dressed in clothes so fine,
Now I am a married girl, go ragged all the time
Wish I was a single girl again
Wish I was a single girl again

When I was a single girl, had shoes of the very best kind
Now I am a married girl, go barefoot all the time
Wish I was a single girl again
Wish I was a single girl again

When I was a single girl, used to go to the store and buy
Now I am a married girl, just rock that cradle and cry
Wish I was a single girl again
Wish I was a single girl again

When a fella comes a' courtin' you, and sits you on his knee,
Keep your eye upon the sparrow that flits from tree to tree
And you'll never wish you were a single girl like me
You'll never wish you were a single girl like me
Wish I was a single girl again

Source: http://www.peterpaulandmary.com/music/f-04-14.htm


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Subject: Lyr Add: ROCKING THE CRADLE
From: freda underhill
Date: 15 May 05 - 01:13 AM

and this one from Australia..

ROCKING THE CRADLE
^^^
I am a young man from the town of Kiandra
I married a young woman to comfort my home
She goes out and she leaves me and truly deceives me
She leaves me with a baby that's none o' me own

Oh dear, I rue the day ever I married
How I wish I was single again
With this weeping and wailing and rocking the cradle
And rocking the baby that's none o' me own

While I'm at work, my wife's on the rantan
On the rantan with some other young man
She goes out and she leaves me and truly deceives me
And leaves me with a baby that's none o' me own

Now all you young men with a fancy to marry
Be sure you leave those flash gals alone
Or by the Lord Harry, if one you should marry
They'll leave you with a baby that's none o' your own

recorded by the Ian Campbell Folk Group


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Subject: RE: Oh, I Wish I Were Single Again/Single Girl
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 May 05 - 01:20 AM

That's an interesting one, Freda. I don't think I've seen one with the woman not being the mother of the child involved.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Add: Oh, I Wish I Were Single Again/Single Girl
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 15 May 05 - 01:23 AM

That's completely unrelated to this group of songs. Already in the DT as Rocking the Cradle; with links to another example and related threads.


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Subject: RE: Add: Oh, I Wish I Were Single Again/Single Gir
From: freda underhill
Date: 15 May 05 - 01:25 AM

Its an old trad aussie one, Joe, very plaintive. I heard it when i was a teenager, sung by the bushies who used to frequent the Yarralumla Woodshed. Don Brian in Sydney does a good version of it.


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Subject: RE: Add: Oh, I Wish I Were Single Again/Single Gir
From: freda underhill
Date: 15 May 05 - 01:27 AM

related in theme, Malcolm!


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Subject: DT Corr: When I Was Single (Sharp/Lomax)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 May 05 - 01:52 AM

The version in the Digital Tradition most closely related to this series is title The single girl in the DT. It's from Sharp's English Folk Songs of the Southern Appalachians. You'll find the same version on pp. 154-155 of Lomax & Lomax American Ballads and Folk Songs (1934). Some of the lyrics in the DT seem garbled, so I'll post my scan from Lomax here.

When I Was Single

[ Woman Speaks]
When I was single, went dressed so fine;
Now I am married, go ragged all the time.

Chorus:
I wish I was a single girl again,
O Lord, don't I wish I was a single girl again!

When I was single, my shoes did screak;
Now I am married, my shoes they do leak.

Three little babies crying for bread,
With none to give them, I'd rather be dead.

Wash them and strip them and put them to bed,
Before your husband curses you and wishes them dead.

Wash their little feet and send them to school,
Along comes a drunkard and calls them a fool.

When I was single, I eat biscuit and pie;
Now I am married it's eat corn-bread or die.

When he comes in, it's a curse and a row,
Knocking down the children and pulling out my hair.

Dishes to wash and spring to go to;
When you are married, you've all to do.

Suppers to get, the cows to milk,
Them blame little children is all crying yet.


Click to play - tune from DT
The DT tune looks OK - it matches the tune in the Lomax book exactly.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: ADD Version: When I Was Single (Lomax FSUSA)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 May 05 - 02:08 AM

The second Lomax version is from Best Loved American Folk Songs (1947), better known as Folk Song: U.S.A.. Similar, but some interesting differences. John and Alan Lomax did not cite their sources for most of the songs in this book.

When I Was Single
(Woman's Story)

When I was single, went dressed all so fine,
Now I am married, go ragged all the time.
Lord, don't I wish I was a single girl again.

Dishes to wash, spring to go to,
When you're married, Lord, you've got it all to do.
Lord, don't I wish I was a single girl again.

When I was single, my shoes they did screak,
Now I am married, my shoes they do leak.
Lord, don't I wish I was a single girl again.

Three little babies, lyin' in the bed,
All of them so hungry they can't raise up their head.
Lord, don't I wish I was a single girl again.

Wash their little feet and send them to school,
Along comes the drunkard and calls them a fool.
Lord, don't I wish I was a single girl again.

When I was single, I eat biscuit and pie,
Now I am married, Lord, it's eat cornbread or die.
Lord, don't I wish I was a single girl again.

Click to play


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Subject: ADD Version: Single Girl (Alan Lomax FSNA)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 May 05 - 02:19 AM

OK, one last Lomax version, still very closely related to the other two. No source listed - just "collected, adapted, and arranged by Alan Lomax." Lomax says the song is related to Still I Love Him. I hadn't noticed that, but there certainly is a similarity.

Single Girl

When I was single, I went dressed so fine,
Now I am married, go ragged all the time.
CHORUS:
Lord, I wish I was a single girl again. (2)

Dishes to wash and spring to go to,
Now I am married, I've everything to do. (cho.)

When I was single, eat biscuits and pie
Now I am married, eat cornbread or die. (cho.)

When I was single, my shoes they did screak,
Now I am married, my shoes they do leak. (cho.)

Two little children, lyin' in the bed,
Both of them so hungry, Lord, they can't hold up their heads. (cho.)

Wash um and dress um and send um to school,
Long comes that drunkard and calls them a fool. (cho.)

When I was single, marryin' was my crave,
Now I am married, I'm troubled to my grave. (cho.)


source: The Folk Songs of North America, Alan Lomax, 1960

The chorus is repeated twice in this one, but that's about the only difference in tune from the FSUSA version.


Click to play


Well, hey, I guess we could relate this song to "Shortnin' Bread," but let's not go there...

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Add: Oh, I Wish I Were Single Again/Single Girl
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 15 May 05 - 01:38 PM

We now have several overlapping threads running simultaneously, and people are getting confused. Barry's post really belongs in I Wish I Was Single Again (oh then) (male) rather than here. Although the two song-groups sometimes share a title, they are best considered separately.

Single Girl does have British antecedents, but whether it descends directly from one, or was a new song incorporating older patterns and detail, I wouldn't know. There have been many songs on the same theme, and they often borrow detail from each other (Still I Love Him, for example) or, perhaps, coincidentally use the same images.

See When I was Young, for a Northern English example sharing points of detail with the American song group. Possibly related is the broadside song The Joyful Maid and Sorrowful Wife (Ritson, North-Country Chorister, 1802, 9-11) of which a shorter form can be seen at Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, as

The unfortunate wife [Harding B 16(293c)]


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Subject: RE: Add: Oh, I Wish I Were Single Again/Single Gir
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 May 05 - 04:42 PM

I moved Barry's post to the thread titled I Wish I Was Single Again (oh then) (male). Maybe that's why we haven't discussed these songs before - it's confusing to separate one from the other, and even more confusing to discuss them when you lump them all together.
When discussing related songs, take a look at the crosslinks at the top of the thread. When I index song threads, I try to follow the divisions made by the Traditional Ballad Index. They're not always what everybody would agree with - but they're an honest attempt.
-Joe Offer-

    (and for those who wish to question Mudcat editorial work, please remember that this is a thread about a song, and it is not appropriate to turn it into another discussion about editing - messages about editing will be moved to another thread.)


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Subject: RE: Add: Oh, I Wish I Were Single Again/Single Gir
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 15 May 05 - 06:20 PM

A good place to put them Joe - all together (Like items for Monkey Boy's thread may someday become united.)

Another:

Emrish, Duncan, American Folk Poetry - An Anthology, Chapter, "Oh, I Wish I were Single Again," Little Brown and Co., 1974 p 196. "IHave Always Heard of These old Men" was collected by Mellinger E. Henry from the singing of Mrs. Mary Tucker, Varnell, Georgia, 1930. Mrs. Tucker is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Harmon of Cade's Cove, Tennessee, See Mellinger E. Henry, "Ballads and Folk-Songs from the Sourther Highlands," JAF, 45 (1932) 124-125.

I HAVE ALWAYS HEARD OF THESE OLD MEN

I have always heard of these old men
Until I got one at last.
I wish grim death had seized him
Before I seen his face.

I wish grim death had seized him
And tuk him at a call
So I may have a-married some younger man
To roll me from the wall.

"Hold your tongue, pretty Polly,
For I am going to town:
I will buy you a beaver bonnet,
Likewise a Holland gown.

"I will buy you a beaver bonnet
A holland gown likewise;
Also a little black boy
To follow your riding cheer."

"What care I for your black boy?
Your riding cheer likewise?
I rahter married some younger man
With sparkles in his eyes."

I rather wedded some younger man-
Lay on a bed of hay -
As to wedded myself to this old man,
For he is always in the way.

He never in good order;
He never in good tune;
And when he gets away from home-
Not able to return.

This old man he will come boggling in
Just like he had no life.
A young man he come scapering home
Saying, "Kiss me, my dear wife."

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: Lyr Add: SINGLE GIRL (from Sandy Posey)
From: Scrump
Date: 22 Dec 06 - 10:57 AM

Ah, not this one then:

The single girl all alone in a great big town
The single girl gets so tired of love letting her down
The life's unreal and the people are homely
And the nights can get so lonely
The single girl needs a sweet loving man to lean on

I'm a single girl wondering if love could be passing her by
I'm a single girl and I know all about men and their lies
Nobody loves me cause nobody knows me
Nobody takes the time to go slowly
The single girl needs a sweet loving man to lean on

I gotta make my own way
There's rent I gotta pay
I need a night-time love to get me through the day

I'm a single girl all alone in a great big town
I'm a single girl and I get so tired of love letting me down
But there's a man I've yet to know
Waiting somewhere I've yet to go
Someday I'll have a sweet loving man to lean on


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I Wish I Were Single Again / Single G
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 27 Aug 07 - 10:23 PM

Similar in theme are the songs in the family "When you go a-courting". We have several in the DT


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I Wish I Were Single Again / Single G
From: GUEST,Rawbin
Date: 21 May 09 - 07:16 AM

Harlan Howard Lyrics - I Wish I Was A SINGLE GIRL AGAIN

When I was single, I always dressed so fine
Now that I'm married, I go ragged all the time
And I wish I was a single girl again
Oh, I wish I was a single girl again.

When I was single, I ate ice cream and pie
Now that I'm married, it's cornbread or die
And I wish I was a single girl again
Oh, I wish I was a single girl again.

When I was single, marryin' I did crave
Now that I'm married, I'm worse than a slave
And I wish I was a single girl again
Oh, I wish I was a single girl again.

Big old no good old husband, layin' there in bed
So tired and lazy, can't lift up his head
And I wish I was a single girl again
Oh, I wish I was a single girl again.

Lay in bed and jump a mile, at the slightest noise
Big protectin' husband, out with the boys
And I wish I was a single girl again
Oh, I wish I was a single girl again.

Clean the house and wash the clothes, then it's time to cook
Big old lazy husband, readin' funny books
And I wish I was a single girl again
Oh, I wish I was a single girl again.

TAG:
Wish I was a single girl again
Oh, I wish I was a single girl again (fade)
Wish I was a single girl again


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I Wish I Were Single Again / Single Girl
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 21 May 09 - 11:25 AM

An Irish song, perhaps a forerunner, was done by the Clancy's and Tommy Makem years ago.

"Oh, when I was single I wore a plaid shawl,
But now that I'm married, I've nothing at all.
Oh, but still I love him,
I'll forgive him,
I'll go with him wherever he goes."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I Wish I Were Single Again / Single Girl
From: GUEST,Carolyn M
Date: 13 Sep 16 - 10:51 PM

My mother grew up in North Carolina (born in 1924) - she sang a similar, but different version of this song. Still a sad marriage though - drunken husband; poor; tired; crying children - generally hopeless.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I Wish I Were Single Again / Single Girl
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Sep 16 - 03:36 AM

Perhaps all the confusion could be avoided if we ran 2 types of thread, one for versions of the same song, and one for songs on a theme, with a symbol added to the tile to identify which, or colourcoded perhaps.


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