Kicking Mule

Photo by John Vachon,
Coffey County, Kansas circa 1935.
Farm Security Administration

Here's another good old standard mule song. My favorite version was recorded by Tom Paley and Peggy Seeger. I play at about half the speed. This is partly because I just am just not as fast as Tom and Peggy, but besides I just like these old songs at a less then break-neck pace.

Another fine redition is by Art Rosenbaum on his intruction book/CD 'The Art of the Mountain Banjo', a Mel Bay publication. Art skillfully uses the song to demonstrate the four principal old time banjo styles: up-picking, double-thumb, three-finger and frailing. I don't play as fast as Art does either and I stick to frailing.

Lyrics: 

I went down to the huckleberry picnic
Dinner all over the ground
Skippers in the meat was nine foot deep
And the green flies walking all around

The biscuits in the oven was a-baking
Beefsteak frying in the pan
Pretty girl sitting in the parlour
Lord God A'mighty what a hand I stand

    Whoa there mule I tell you
    Miss Liza you keep cool
    I ain't got time to kiss you now
    I'm busy with this mule

My uncle had an old grey mule
His name was Simon Slick
‘Bove anything you ever did see
Was how that mule could kick

I went to feed that mule one morning
He met me at the door with a smile
He backed one ear and winked one eye
And kicked me half a mile

    Whoa there, mule, I tell you
    Whoa that mule I say
    Keep your seat Miss Liza Jane
    We ain’t got long to stay

This mule he is a kicker
He’s got an iron back
He spotted him a Texas railroad train
And kicked it off the track

That mule he is a kicker
He has an iron jaw
He’s the very best thing to have around
To tame your mother in law

    Whoa there, mule, I tell you
    Whoa that mule I say
    Keep your seat Miss Liza
    That mule sure wants his way

He kicked the feathers off a goose
He pulverized a hog
He kicked up three dead roustabouts
And swatted him a yellow dog

Went to see miss Dinah this morning
She was bendin’ all over the tub
The more I asked her to marry me
The harder she would rub.

    Whoa there, mule, I tell you
    Miss Liza you keep cool
    Ain’t got time to kiss you now
    I’m busy with this mule

You see that mule a-coming
He’s coming down the road
You can tell by the wiggle of his ears
He ain’t go half a load

See that mule a goin’
He’s going down the track
You can tell by the wiggle of his tail
He ain’t a comin’ back

    Whoa there mule I tell you
    Whoa there mule I say
    Ain’t got time to kiss you now
    This mule is runnin’ away
Instruments: 
Tuning: 
Standard C