“Push Along, Keep Moving”


The singer attempts various enterprises, all ending in failure (e.g. when he opens a "whiskey shop," his wife demands all the drink for herself); after each failure, he sets out on a new adventure. Moral/refrain: "Push along, keep moving"

Supplemental text

Push Along, Keep Moving
  Complete text(s)

          *** A ***

The Nigger Tune

From J. H. Cox, Folk-Songs of the South, #180, pp. 506-507

Supplied by Mr. A. C. Payne, McDowell County; August 1918

1 I am a man, a pretty man,
    The ladies call me pretty;
  I teach the school, the higher school,
    In our own native city.

"What kind of school did you teach?"
"I took the little boy through the a-b abs, i-b, ibs, and o-b obs."
"Then what did you do?"
"I stuck in the mud, fool, that's what I do."

2 I next put into a blacksmith shop,
     A blacksmith shop improvin';
  'Tis my motto and always been,
     To push along, keep movin'.

"What about your blacksmith shop?"
  "Well, there comes a little boy in my shop the other day, picked
up a red hot horse shoe. I guess he laid it down without tellin'.
He went up the road singing that good old song we sing sometimes,
'Push along, keep movin'."

3 I next put up a whiskey shop,
     A whiskey shop improvin';
  'Tis my motto and always been,
     To push along, keep movin'.

"What about your whiskey shop?"
   "Why, there come a man in my shop the other day, said he wanted
a little whiskey. I went around to git him some and I met that old
fool wife of mine, a glass of whiskey in one hand and a bottle in the
other. She squalled out, 'Don't let no more of that whiskey go, there
ain't no more than'll do me.' I hauled back and took her by the side
of the head. She went out of door, 'Push along, keep movin'."

4 I next put up a carpenter ship,
     A carpenter shop improvin',
  'Tis my motto and always been,
     To push along, keep movin'.

"What about your carpenter shop?"
   "I went into my shop the other day and got a letter from that old
gal of mine out in the country. I did not know anybody in a mile of
me. Standin' thar reading' of it, throwed my head back, here's that
old fool wife of mine readin' of it over my shoulder. She picks up a
great big piece of plank, she lit in on my hind parts. I guess I went
out o' doors, 'Push along, keep movin'."


According to Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.'s _The Age of Jackson_, p. 4, "the celebrate Buffo singer" George Washington Dixon was making the song "Push-a-Long, Keep Moving" popular at the time of Andrew Jackson's 1829 inauguration; Dixon also sang "The Hunters of Kentucky" and, slightly later, "Old Zip Coon." - RBW


  1. JHCox 180, "The Nigger Tune" (1 text)
  2. ST JHCox180 (Full)
  3. Roud #5469
  4. BI, JHCox180


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1828 (The Theatrical Budget)
Keywords: humorous drink work
Found in: Britain(England) US(Ap)