October 11th, 2007

Cookie, Dad

A Song My Father Sings

My father sings many songs.  Not a few of them are wildly obscure Vaudeville style songs.  This is one that Google can tell me nothing about.

These are the lyrics as I remember them:

I know a girl, I do
Her name is Slough-Foot Sue
She’s chief engineer at the Shirttail Laundry
down by the riverside view

Her farm is all she had
She had a farm like a soft-shell crab
Her nose turns up like a bow of a ship
Oh gee, but she was sad.

That’s where my money goes
To buy my baby clothes
I buy her every little thing
to keep her in style.

After we’re married
Happy we’ll be
Sittin’ underneath that shady bamboo tree
Some tree!

This song should not be confused with a slightly better known song called "My gal's a corker", even though some lyrics are similar.

Late Edit:
Friends tell me that the above unknown Slough Foot Sue song has other lyrics that go along the lines of:
Once there was a gal I knew, by the name of Slue Foot Sue.   She was chief engineer at the shirt tail factory down by the riverside view.  She had a form, that's all she had.  And a shape like a soft shelled crab.  Every night she would tussle with her patten leather bustle and the guys all called her Bad!  Hey!

My confusion of "form" with "farm" is one I could easily have made when I heard this song as a little kid.  The other differences I blame on the process of "Oral History".  I have never known my father to sing about "bad" girls.

Last Edit (No, Really! LAST):
I have this input from page 160 of Myths, Legends, and Folktales of America: An Anthology by David Adams Leeming and Jake Page:

There once was a girl I knew
Her name was Slue-foot Sue,
She was chief engineer at the shirt-tail factory
Down by the riverside view.
Her form was all she had
Her face was like a softshell crab
Every night she'd hustle
With her grandmother's bustle...
Boy, she was bad.

Not the song my father sings!
But worse yet is this version from The Unoffical (sic) College Song Book

There was a gal named Slew Foot Sue,
She was a colored lady, too.
She was the chief engineer
At the shirt-tail factory
Down by the river Sioux.
A form was all she had.
She had a face like a soft shell crab.
And every night she had a tussle
With the buttons on her bustle-
My God, that gal was bad.
That’s where my money goes,
To buy my baby clothes,
I buy her everything to keep her in style.
She’s worth her weight in gold,
My coal black baby
Say, boys that’s where my money goes

I am sure that my father never saw that version!