“Uncle Reuben”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1973
Keywords: animal hunting nonballad floatingverses
Found in: US

Description

"Uncle Reuben caught a coon, done gone, Chick-a-chick, done gone... and left me here behind." Assorted verses about animals, hunting, love: "Rabbit running through the grass, Foxes close behind, Trees and weeds and cockleburrs Is all the foxes find"

Notes

This seems to be almost purely floating verses (e.g. "Possum up a 'simmon tree..."), but the collection as a whole does not seem to go with any other song, and so it gets its own listing.

Paul Stamler has suggested that this is a version of "Uncle Eph." They probably have some common ancestry. But this is less of a talltale, and the form is different, so I tentatively split them -- at least until I find out where the Silber version came from. (A perpetual problem with Silber.) - RBW

Silber's version almost certainly came from folk-revival singer Tom Glazer, who recorded it in the early 1950s on his album "Olden Balads." The "Chick-a-chick" is the most important clue. My guess is that Glazer conflated "Uncle Eph" and some floaters. - PJS

Cross references

References

  1. Silber-FSWB, p. 38, "Uncle Reuben" (1 text)
  2. BI, FSWB038