“There'll Be a Hot Time (In the Old Town Tonight)”
A quatrain ballad, this is essentially an ever-changing collection of floating bawdy verses.
There'll Be a Hot Time (In the Old Town Tonight) Partial text(s) *** A *** A Hot Time in the Old Town From Sigmund Spaeth, Read 'Em and Weep (revised edition), pp. 203-204. Come along get you ready, wear your bran, bran new gown For dere's gwine to be a meeting in that good, good old town, When you hear that the preaching does begin, Bend down low for to drive away your sin And when you gets religion You want to shout and sing there'll be a hot time in the old town tonight, my baby, Where you knowed ev'rybody and they all knowded you And you've got a rabbit's foot to keep away de hoodoo, When you hear dem-a bells go ding, ling, ling, All join round and sweetly you must sing, And when the verse am through In the chorus all join in, there'll be a hot time in the old town tonight. (1 additional stanza)
Fuld points out that the earliest (1896) sheet music refers not to "the old town" but to "Old Town" (in Louisiana). This version is by Joe Hayden (words) and Theodore A. Metz (music), and involves a dance and/or camp meeting. This camp meeting version, according to Spaeth, came to be "indelibly associated with the Spanish[-American] War."
This may be true, but clearly the folk have taken things into their hands from there. - RBW
Indeed; [Dan W.] Quinn's recording, only a year after the sheet music, already calls it "The Old Town." - PJS
The cover sheet to the 1896 sheet music at LOCSheet Music B-570 [cover only] has the title as "A hot time in the old town"; the commentary notes the chorus as "There'll be a hot time in the old town tonight, ma baby" - BS
- West Wallsend Football Song (Meredith/Covell/Brown, pp. 253)
- Edward M. Favor, "Hot Time in the Old Town" (Berliner 0791-L, 1899)
- Bill Mooney & his Cactus Twisters, "Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight" (Imperial 1096, n.d. but post-World War II)
- Dan W. Quinn, "A Hot Time in the Old Town" (Berliner 527-Z, 1897)
- Bessie Smith & her Blue Boys, "There'll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town" (Columbia 3173-D/Parlophone R-2477 [UK], 1938)
- Gid Tanner & his Skillet Lickers, "There'll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight" (Columbia 15695-D, 1931; rec. 1929)
- Randolph-Legman I, pp. 532-534, "There'll Be a Hot Time" (2 texts, 1 tune)
- Spaeth-ReadWeep, pp. 203-204, "A Hot Time in the Old Town" (1 text, 1 tune -- from the sheet music)
- Geller-Famous, pp. 138-143, "A Hot Time in the Old Town" (1 text, 1 tune)
- Fuld-WFM, pp. 278-279, "A Hot Time in the Old Town"
- ST RL532 (Partial)
- Roud #4324
- BI, RL532