Boil the Cabbage Down - Traditional Song Lyrics

The Old Plantation (anonymous folk painting). ...Image viaWikipedia
This old folk song is a favorite among mountain musicians here in the southern Appalachians. There are many variations to the words as well as the tune which is very popular for square dances, frolics and back porch pickin' sessions. This old version is from singing of the Queen and Prince families of Western North Carolina. A tune from the CD Mary Jane Queen Songs I Like.

Boil the cabbage down, stir'em round and round
Come on girls, now dont be slow
But, Boil them cabbage down.

Raccoon on the rail fence, waitin for the sun
Long eared hounds coming down the road
Old racoon better run.

Boil them cabbage down, stir'em up and down
Hurry up liza, now dont be slow
Said, boil them cabbage down.

She cut across the broom sage field, I come down the lane
Run my finger through the crack of the fence
Up jumped liza jane.

Boil the cabbage down, stir'em round and round
Get up gals, and dont be slow
Said, bile them cabbage down.


  1. Those lyrics are just delicious!

    I see that you play :) where would I be able to hear your music live and would you recommend festivals that play traditional music?

    ...inquiring minds wanna know!

    Thanks for sharing your "history" and music....


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  18. Henry: In 1996 on the way to dinner & to an event where Mary Jane Queen entertained some educators, she sung "I wish I was a single girl again." I scrambled to memorize it, & wrote down on the back of a receipt as much as I could grasp! For years I sung & played it on my dulcimer, but life got in the way, & I have long since forgotten the tune & words, but not Mary Jane! We had a blast! Is there a recording of that anywhere I can buy? Also, I LOVED her home & her flowers - she educated me on every single blossom! What a wonderwoman! Heaven is lucky to have her!

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  28. My family and I have played this tune for a thousand years it seems. There are many versions on the lyrics in history depending on the family playing this tune. Ours has these verses- "Someone stole my big hog wish they'd bring him back, chased my big hog through the fence and the little one through the crack" and this verse if I can remember? " Went up on the mountain to give my horn a blow, thought I heard my true love say, yonder comes the snow " and something about living up in them woods 40 years and all I saw was stills. It's been many years since I've played it and all those that passed this tune on to me and my brother are gone. I'm sure it started in our family as far back as the 20s to early 30s. Thanks and nice blog.

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