“Turkey in the Straw”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1896 (recordings, Billy Golden)
Keywords: travel animal bird nonballad dancetune
Found in: US(SE,So)


"As I was going down the road With a tired team and a heavy load... Turkey in the straw, Haw haw haw, Turkey in the hay, Hey hey hey... Whistle up a tune called turkey in the straw." Lyrics usually involve the strange things encountered by a teamster


Generally regarded as a rewriting of "Old Zip Coon." Sometimes regarded as the forerunner of "The Old Tobacco Box (There Was an Old Soldier)" (with which it often shares a tune), but the latter also has its own independent tune and form. - RBW

Same tune

Cross references



  1. Randolph 274, "Turkey in the Straw" (2 texts plus a fragment, 1 tune)
  2. Randolph/Cohen, pp. 234-237, "Turkey in the Straw" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 274A)
  3. BrownIII 94, "Turkey in the Straw" (1 fragment); also 511, "The Preacher Song" (1 text, a complex mix of verses from "Turkey in the Stray" and "Some Folks Say that a Preacher Won't Steal" with the "Uncle Eph" chorus)
  4. Sandburg, pp. 94-97, "Turkey in the Straw" (2 texts plus a fragment, 1 tune; the "B" and "C" texts appear to be rewritten or mixed)
  5. MHenry-Appalachians, p. 112, "One More Drink" (1 fragment, a single stanza about the hen laying eggs all over the farm and calling for a drink; it might come from anywhere but seems more typical of this than anything else)
  6. Lomax-FSNA 49, "Turkey in the Straw" (1 text, 1 tune, plus a "Zip Coon" text)
  7. Linscott, pp. 83-85, "Haymaker's Jig" (1 tune with dance instructions)
  8. Silber-FSWB, p. 37, "Turkey in the Straw" (1 text)
  9. Pankake-PHCFSB, p. 23, "I Went to Cincinnati"; p. 54, "Oh, I Had a Little Chicken" (2 texts, tune referenced)
  10. Fuld-WFM, pp. 591-592, "Turkey in the Straw (Zip Coon)"
  12. Roud #4247
  13. BI, R274