“Dance to Your Daddy”


"Dance to your daddy, my little laddie, Dance to your daddy, my little man. You shall have a fish and you shall have a fin, You shall have a coddlin' when the boat comes in." The child is told that he will grow up, marry, and love the girl his whole life


This appears, from the dialect and the unusually full form found in Stokoe, to have originated in Northumbria in England. But there are a lot of filed-down versions; I'm not entirely sure whether these are traditional or pop-folksingers' attempts to make the song more accessible to urban audiences - RBW

Jean Ritchie notes that she sings this song to her son; she doesn't say it's one she learned from her family, but she hints that she did, so I include, "FOUND IN US(Ap)". However, at this point in her life she'd done folklore research in Britain and may have picked it up there. - PJS


  • Elizabeth Cronin, "Dance to Your Daddy" (on Lomax42, LomaxCD1742)
  • Ritchie Family, "Dance To Your Daddy" (on Ritchie03)


  1. Stokoe/Reay, pp. 76-77, "Dance Ti' Thy Daddy" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Opie-Oxford2 123, "Dance to your daddy" (3 texts)
  3. Baring-Gould-MotherGoose #563, p. 229, "(Dance to your daddy)"
  4. Montgomerie-ScottishNR 104, "(Dance to your daddy)" (1 text)
  5. Ritchie-Southern, p. 83, "Dance to Your Daddy" (1 short text partly rewritten by Jean Ritchie, 1 tune)
  6. Silber-FSWB, p. 409, "Dance To Your Daddy" (1 text)
  8. Roud #2439
  9. BI, FSWB409


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1842 (Fordyce's Newcastle Song Book, according to Opie-Oxford2)
Found in: Britain(England(North)), Ireland US(Ap)