Skip to My Lou

TITLE: Skip to My Lou
AUTHOR: unknown
CATEGORY: traditional, public domain
KEYWORDS: playparty, courting
EARLIEST DATE: 1911 (Ames)

Skip2MyLouIn early America, respectable folk in Protestant communities have always regarded the fiddle as the devil’s instrument and dancing as downright sinful. Faced with such a religious prejudice for socializing, young people of the frontier developed the “play-party,” in which all the objectionable features of a square dance were removed or masked so that their grave elders could approve.

No instruments were permitted – the dancers sang and clapped their own music. In time, the play-party acquired a life of its own. It became an ideal amusement for teenagers and young married couples. In many a frontier community, the bear hunters, Indian fighters, the rough keelboat men and the wild cowboys could be seen dancing innocently with their gals, like so many children at a Sunday school picnic.

“Skip to My Lou” is a simple game of stealing partners. It begins with any number of couples hand in hand, skipping around in a ring. A lone boy in the center of the moving circle of couple sings, “Lost my partner what’ll I do?” as the girls whirl past him. The young man in the center hesitates while he decides which girl to choose, singing, “I’ll get another one prettier than you.” When he grasps the hand of his chosen one, her partner then takes his place in the center of the ring and the game continues. It’s an ice-breaker, a good dance to get a group acquainted to one another and to get everyone in the mood for swinging around. (The Folk Songs of North America: in the English Language by Alan Lomax)

OTHER TITLES AND VARIATIONS:

  • Gone Again
  • If You Can’t Get a Red Bird
  • I’ll Get Another
  • Little Red Wagon
  • and many more

RECORDINGS:

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Skip To My Lou

Lost my partner, what’ll I do
Lost my partner, what’ll I do
Lost my partner, what’ll I do
Skip to my Lou my darling

Gone again, skip to my Lou
Gone again, skip to my Lou
Gone again, skip to my Lou
Skip to my Lou my darling

I’ll get another one, prettier an new
I’ll get another one, prettier an new
I’ll get another one, prettier an new
Skip to my Lou my darling

Little red wagon painted blue
Little red wagon painted blue
Little red wagon painted blue
Skip to my Lou my darling

Flies in the buttermilk, two by two
Flies in the buttermilk, two by two
Flies in the buttermilk, two by two
Skip to my Lou my darling

Flies in the sugar bowl, shou shou shou
Flies in the sugar bowl, shou shou shou
Flies in the sugar bowl, shou shou shou
Skip to my Lou my darling

Lots more verses but there’s a lotta do
Lots more verses but there’s a lotta do
Lots more verses but there’s a lotta do
Skip to my Lou my darling

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

SONGBOOKS:

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

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