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"When You Go A-Courtin'" is part of a large related group of a songs in which the girls from one state are warned about the perils of dating a certain group of boys from another state (e.g., Virginia Gals and West Virginia or Carolina Boys, Missouri Girls and Arkansas or Kansas Boys). It is of minstrel origins likely dating back to the 1841 song, "De Free *Man." The original sheet music, available at American Memory, gives the first verse as:
Come all you Virginia gals and listen to my noise
Neber do you wed wid de Carolina boys,
For if dat you do your portion it will be
Corn cake and hominy and Jango lango tea
It has been passed down in various forms and a myriad of titles including West Virginia Gals/West Virginia Boys/If You Want to Go A-Courtin'/Cornbread, 'Lasses & Sassafras Tea/Come Girls, Come/Texian Boys/Hello Girls/ Kansas Boys/Arkansas Sheik/Don't Marry the Mormon Boys/Missouri Boys/Poor Tuckahoe.
Clayton McMichen & Riley Puckett recorded "The Arkansas Sheik" on October 26, 1928. Al Hopkins and His Buckle Busters recorded "West Virginia Gals" on December 20, 1928, and then a snippet of "When You Go A-Courtin'" (with no lyrics) as part of a medley two days later.
NOTE: There is a fiddle instrumental tune called "West Virginia Gals" that is unrelated.
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