“Coffee Grows (Four in the Middle)”


Playparty in two or three parts: "Coffee grows on white oak tree, The river flows with brandy o'er, Go choose someone to roam with you...." "Four in the middle, you can't get around..." (may have more verses) "Railroad, steamboat, river, and canal..."

Cross references


  1. Randolph 524, "Four in the Middle" (1 text plus 8 excerpts and/or fragments, 1 tune)
  2. BrownIII 78, "Coffee Grows on White Oak Trees" (7 texts plus 1 excerpt and mention of 1 more, but almost all mixed -- all except "H" have the "Coffee grows" stanza, but "A" also has verses from "Fly Around, My Pretty Little Miss"; "and "C" through "H" are mostly "Little Pink"; "B" is mixed with "Raccoon" or some such)
  3. Hudson 154, p. 301, "Coffee Grows on White-Oak Trees" (1 short text); also 85, p. 212, "Going to the Mexican War" (1 fragment, with the "Knapsack on my Shoulder" text and also the "Coffee Grows" stanza)
  4. Scarborough-NegroFS, pp. 105-106, "Hold My Mule" (1 text, 1 tune, which Scarborough implies is a "Jim Along, Josie" by-blow but which appears to be built on the "Four in the Middle" segment of this song)
  5. Lomax-FSUSA 31, "Coffee Grows on White Oak Trees" (1 text, 1 tune)
  7. Roud #735
  8. BI, R524


Alternate titles: “The Raging Canal”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1914 (JAFL 27)
Found in: US(MW,SE,So)