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Song

When You Go A-Courtin' 82nd in 1929

Written by
Language
English
Comments
"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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Originals

Versions

written by English

Title Performer Release date Info
July 1931 First recording on October 26, 1928
(The Hill Billies [US]) 1929 First release
(The Hill Billies [US]) 1929 Medley
August 1947
1947
October 1954
1954
1956
1957
August 1958
April 1959
1961
1961
March 1962 Live
January 1967
April 1968
1972
1986 Medley
2004
October 2008
September 2012
2013
April 17, 2015
April 2018