Buffalo Gals

TITLE: Buffalo Gals
AUTHOR: unknown
CATEGORY: traditional, public domain
EARLIEST DATE: A Christy Minstrels version was copyright in 1848
KEYWORDS: bawdy, playparty, dancing, comic

image“Buffalo Gals” is a traditional American song, written and published as “Lubly Fan” in 1844 by the blackface minstrel John Hodges, who performed as “Cool White.” The song was widely popular throughout the United States. Because of its popularity, minstrels altered the lyrics to suit the local audience, so it might be performed as “New York Gals” in New York City or “Boston Gals” in Boston. The best-known version is named after Buffalo, New York.

From the present perspective, it’s hard to prove whether Hodges actually did write the thing or borrowed an existing piece — but I rather suspect the latter. (Traditional Ballad Index)

OTHER TITLES AND VARIATIONS:

  • Alabama Girls
  • Corn-fed Girls
  • Horsham Boys—Parody,
  • Louisiana Girls—Levee Song
  • Lovely Fan,
  • New York Gals
  • Ain’t You Coming Out To-Night?
  • Alabama Gal Ain’t You Coming Out Tonight

RECORDINGS:

  • Fiddlin’ John Carson, “Alabama Gal” (OKeh 40204, 1924)—Music MP3
  • Crockett’s Kentucky Mountaineers, “Buffalo Gal’s Medley” (Crown 3075, c. 1930)—Amazon MP3
  • Frank Hutchison, “Alabama Gal Ain’t You Coming Out Tonight” (OKeh 45313, 1929; rec. 1928)—Amazon MP3
  • Pete Seeger, “Buffalo Gals” (on PeteSeeger17)—Amazon MP3
  • Bruce Springsteen, “Buffalo Gals” —Amazon MP3
  • Arlo Guthrie, “Buffalo Gals” —Amazon MP3
  • Woody Guthrie, “Buffalo Gals” —Amazon MP3
  • Alan Lomax Collection, “Buffalo Gals” —Amazon MP3
  • Wayne Erbsen, “Buffalo Gals” —Amazon MP3
  • Matthew Sabatella, “Buffalo Gals” —Amazon MP3
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks, “Buffalo Gals” —Amazon MP3

YOUTUBE VIDEO: 

YOUTUBE AUDIO: download
LYRIC & CHORD PRO CHART:  
download
PPT LYRICS FOR THE CLASSROOM: download
BONUS YOUTUBE VIDEO:

Buffalo Gals

Buffalo gals won’t you come out tonight
Come out tonight come out tonight
Buffalo gals won’t you come out tonight
And we’ll dance by the light of the moon

As I was walking down the street,
Down the street, down the street,
A pretty little gal I chanced to meet,
Oh, she was fair to see.

Buffalo gals won’t you come out tonight
Come out tonight come out tonight
Buffalo gals won’t you come out tonight
And we’ll dance by the light of the moon

I stopped her and we had a talk,
Had a talk, had a talk,
Her feet took up the whole sidewalk
And left no room for me.

Buffalo gals won’t you come out tonight
Come out tonight come out tonight
Buffalo gals won’t you come out tonight
And we’ll dance by the light of the moon

I asked her if she’d have a dance,
Have a dance, have a dance,
I thought that I might have a chance
To shake a foot with her.

Buffalo gals won’t you come out tonight
Come out tonight come out tonight
Buffalo gals won’t you come out tonight
And we’ll dance by the light of the moon

I danced with a gal with a hole in her stockin’,
And her heel kept a-knockin’,
And her toes kept a-rockin’
I danced with a gal with a hole in her stockin’
And we danced by the light of the moon.

Buffalo gals won’t you come out tonight
Come out tonight come out tonight
Buffalo gals won’t you come out tonight
And we’ll dance by the light of the moon

And we’ll dance by the light of the moon

SOURCES:

  • Folk Song Index: A Comprehensive Guide to the Florence E. Brunnings Collection, Florence E. Brunnings, Garland Publishing, Inc., New York and London 1981—Amazon Books
  • Country Music Sources: A Biblio-Discography of Commercially Recorded Traditional Music, Guthrie T. Meade, Jr. with Dick Spottswood and Douglas S. Meade, Southern Folklife Collection, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Libraries, NC 2002—Amazon Books
  • Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore (1952), Volume 2: Folk Ballads from North Carolina. Edited by Henry M Beldin and Arthur Palmer Hudson. Duke University Press. [This volume will be indexed on this site in the weeks to come.]
  • Folk Songs of North America (in the English Language), Alan Lomax, Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, New York 1960—Amazon Books
  • Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore (1952), Volume 2: Folk Ballads from North Carolina. Edited by Henry M Beldin and Arthur Palmer Hudson. Duke University Press. [This volume will be indexed on this site in the weeks to come.]

NOTICE: I’m not the best guitar player or vocalist, but no one loves these songs more than I do. The tune and lyrics are in the public domain unless otherwise noted. The recording © copyright 2013 by Stephen Griffith and may be used by permission of the copyright holder. The variation of the song I’m posting is the version I perform and is not exactly replicating the sources cited, but is always in the same song family. If anyone has more details about this song, or believes I’ve stated something in error, please let me know. I’m also open to suggestions to improve the site. Thanks. sgg