pandemo (pandemo) wrote,

Got It! Three Verse Arkansas Traveler

My prefered version of "The Arkansas Traveler" has always been the three stanza version, but the other night, when I was trying to sing it, I just couldn't get there.

Today, for no apparent reason, it came... piecemeal, but eventually, I got to the whole cloth:

The Arkansas Traveler

(first part of tune)
Far and far away down in Arkansas,
There lived a squatter with a stubborn jaw
Who fiddled at a tune that he liked to hear;
A jolly old reel that he played by the ear.
(second part of tune)
It was raining hard, but the fiddler didn't care;
He sawed away at the popular air;
Though his roof-tree leaked like a waterfall,
That didn't seem to bother the little man at all.

A traveler was a'ridin' by that day
And stopped to hear him a'practicin' away;
His cabin was afloat, and his feet were wet,
But still the little man didn't seem to fret.
So the stranger said, "Now, the way it looks to me,
You'd better mend your roof," said he;
But the old man said as he played away,
"I couldn't mend it now; it's a rainy day."

The traveler replied, "That's all quite true,
But this, I think, is the thing for you to do:
Get busy on a day that's fair and bright
And patch up your roof 'til it's good and tight."
But the old man kept on a'playin' at his reel
And tapped the ground with his leathery heel;
"Get along," said he, "for you give me a pain!
My cabin doesn't leak when it doesn't rain!"

In some performances, the fiddler repeats the first part of the tune over and over, never going on to the second part, as they talk. The traveler, growing more and more exasperated, finally asks him why he never finishes the tune. When the old man professes ignorance of any more of it, the traveler takes the fiddle and finishes it off with the second part of the tune, played up-tempo, of course.

It's not real singable in that version to me, but it IS funny.
Tags: lyrics

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