“I Picked My Banjo Too”


"Come all you sons of freedom, Come listen unto me...." "I used to be a rebel, I wandered from the Lord...." "The conflict between two parties, the gray coats and the blue, I volunteered for freedom, And picked my banjo too." But he then turns to Jesus


I have to suspect that this was composed in imitation of "The Southern Wagon," but I can't prove it.

It also shows signs of conflation: On the one hand, a slave who joins the Union armies (common and natural enough), on the other a banjo-picking sinner brought back to Christianity (and induced to give up the banjo). The problem with *that* is that almost all slaves were Christian -- and played the banjo anyway.

Frankly, the result looks like a modern banjo joke. And I'll also say that, instead of burning his banjo, the singer should have bashed that alleged preacher over the head with it. If he had to ruin the instrument, at least do something useful with it along the way. - RBW

Cross references


  1. BrownIII 594, "I Picked My Banjo Too" (1 text)
  2. Thomas-Makin', pp. 175-177, (no title listed, but perhaps to be called "Rufus Mitchell") (1 text)
  3. Roud #11904
  4. BI, Br3594


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1936 (Brown)
Found in: US(Ap,SE)