“Turkey in the Straw”


"As I was going down the road With a tired team and a heavy load... Turkey in the straw, Haw haw haw, Turkey in the hay, Hey hey hey... Whistle up a tune called turkey in the straw." Lyrics usually involve the strange things encountered by a teamster


Generally regarded as a rewriting of "Old Zip Coon." Sometimes regarded as the forerunner of "The Old Tobacco Box (There Was an Old Soldier)" (with which it often shares a tune), but the latter also has its own independent tune and form. - RBW

Same tune

  • Old Zip Coon (File: RJ19258)
  • Old Farmer Brown (Pankake-PHCFSB, p. 145)
  • There Was a Little Rooster (Pankake-PHCFSB, p. 196)
  • Do Your Ears Hang Low (Pankake-PHCFSB, pp. 210-211)
  • Fiddlin' John Carson, "Turkey in the Hay" (OKeh 45167, 1927)
  • Carson Robison, "1942 Turkey in the Straw" (Bluebird B-11460, 1942)

Cross references


  • Blue Ridge Duo, "Turkey in the Straw" (Edison 51502, 1925)
  • Dock Boggs, "Turkey in the Straw" [instrumental version] (on Boggs3, BoggsCD1)
  • Boone County Entertainers [Red Fox Chasers], "Turkey in the Straw" (Champion 15522/Supertone 9163, 1928)
  • Fiddlin' John Carson, "Turkey in the Straw" (OKeh 40230, 1924); "Turkey in the Hay" (OKeh 45167, 1927)
  • Arthur Collins, "Turkey in the Straw" (Zonophone 637, c. 1907) (CYL: Edison 4011, n.d.)
  • Billy Golden, "Turkey in de Straw" (Berliner 0541V, rec. 1899) (Berliner 0726X, rec. 1896) (Berliner 0726Z, rec. 1896) (Standard 1101, n.d.) (CYL: Lambert 5079, n.d.) (CYL: Albany Indestructible 941, n.d.) (Columbia 1101, 1902; A-1291, 1913) (Victor [Monarch] 65, 1902; Victor 4515, 1905 Imperial Berliner [Can] 587, n. d.) (Zonophone 174, 1905) (Victor 17256, 1913; rec. 1908) (Columbia A-5031, 1908; rec. 1906) (OKeh 4249, 1921; rec. 1920)
  • [Billy] Golden & [?] Hughes "Turkey in the Straw" (CYL: Edison [BA] 1769, n.d.)
  • Hobbs Brothers, "Turkey in the Straw" (Jewel 5458, 1928)
  • Kessinger Brothers, "Turkey in the Straw" (Brunswick 235, 1928)
  • Silas Leachman, "Turkey in de Straw" (Victor A-804, c. 1901)
  • Neil Morris & Charlie Everidge, "Turkey in the Straw" [dance calls] (on LomaxCD1701)
  • George Reneau, "Turkey in the Straw" (Vocalion 5031/Vocalion 14812, 1924)
  • Doc Roberts, "Turkey in the Straw" (Conqueror 7741, 1931; Perfect 12929/Melotone 12746, 1933)
  • Eck Robertson, "Turkey in the Straw" (Victor 19149, 1923)
  • Stove Pipe No. 1 [pseud. for Sam Jones], "Turkey in the Straw" (Columbia 201-D, 1924; Harmony 5100-H, n.d.)
  • Gid Tanner & his Skillet Lickers, "Turkey in the Straw" (Columbia 15084-D, 1926)


  1. Randolph 274, "Turkey in the Straw" (2 texts plus a fragment, 1 tune)
  2. Randolph/Cohen, pp. 234-237, "Turkey in the Straw" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 274A)
  3. BrownIII 94, "Turkey in the Straw" (1 fragment); also 511, "The Preacher Song" (1 text, a complex mix of verses from "Turkey in the Stray" and "Some Folks Say that a Preacher Won't Steal" with the "Uncle Eph" chorus)
  4. Sandburg, pp. 94-97, "Turkey in the Straw" (2 texts plus a fragment, 1 tune; the "B" and "C" texts appear to be rewritten or mixed)
  5. MHenry-Appalachians, p. 112, "One More Drink" (1 fragment, a single stanza about the hen laying eggs all over the farm and calling for a drink; it might come from anywhere but seems more typical of this than anything else)
  6. Lomax-FSNA 49, "Turkey in the Straw" (1 text, 1 tune, plus a "Zip Coon" text)
  7. Linscott, pp. 83-85, "Haymaker's Jig" (1 tune with dance instructions)
  8. Silber-FSWB, p. 37, "Turkey in the Straw" (1 text)
  9. Pankake-PHCFSB, p. 23, "I Went to Cincinnati"; p. 54, "Oh, I Had a Little Chicken" (2 texts, tune referenced)
  10. Fuld-WFM, pp. 591-592, "Turkey in the Straw (Zip Coon)"
  12. Roud #4247
  13. BI, R274


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1896 (recordings, Billy Golden)
Found in: US(SE,So)