Shanty Boy

As I walked out one evening just as the sun went down,
So carelessly I wandered to a place called Stroner town,
There I heard two maids conversing as slowly I passed by,
One said she loved her farmer’s son, and the other her shanty boy.

The one that loved her farmer’s son those words I heard her say,
The reason why she loved him, at home with her he’d stay,
He would stay at home all winter, to the woods he would not go,
And when the spring it did come in his grounds he’d plow and sow.

“All for to plow and sow your land,” the other girl did say,
If the crops should prove a failure your debts you couldn’t pay;
If the crops should prove a failure, or the grain market be low,
The sheriff often sells you out to pay the debts you owe.”

“As for the sheriff selling the lot, it does not me alarm,
For there’s no need of going in debt if you are on a good farm;
You make your bread from off the land, need not work through storms and rain,
While your shanty boy works hard each day his family to maintain.”

“I only love my shanty boy who goes out in the fall,
He is both stout and hardy, well fit for every squall;
With pleasure I’ll receive him in the spring when he comes home,
And his money free he will share with me when your farmer’s son has none.”

“Oh, why do you love a shanty boy, to the wild woods he must go,
He is ordered out before daylight to work through rain and snow,
While happy and contented my farmer’s son can lie,
And tell to me some tales of love as the cold winds whistle by.”

“I don’t see why you love a farmer,” the other girl did say,
“The most of them they are so green the cows would eat for hay;
It is easy you may know them whenever they’re in town,
The small boys run up to them saying, ‘Rube, how are you down?’

“For what I have said of your shanty boy I hope you will pardon me,
And from that ignorant mossback I hope to soon get free,
And if ever I get rid of him for a shanty boy I will go,
I will leave him broken hearted his grounds to plow and sow.”

Gordon, Robert Winslow, 1888-1961
Date Recorded: 
September, 1924
Track Duration (h:m:s): 
Original Medium: 
wax cylinder
American Folklife Center, Library of Congress
Call Number/Physical Location: 
AFS 19010A: G42 Misc 067

From Franz Rickaby's notes to his 1923 transcription of M.C. Dean: "Sung 1923. Learned in Michigan, 45 years ago [ca. 1878]. 'Stronertown,' Dean said, was at head of Manistee, six miles up from Manistee, Michigan. "


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