“Boring for Oil”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: before 1976 (collected from Riley Neal by Logsdon)
Keywords: bawdy sex disease warning
Found in: Canada(West) US(MA,MW,NE,So,SW)


The singer goes boring for oil with his "auger," and in some versions contracts a venereal disease.


Logsdon says this "may be the oldest bawdy oil occupation song in tradition." There isn't much competition for that title. But Logsdon's version refers to "Oil City," which he believes to be in the Pennsylvania oil fields, which might date the song as early as the 1860s. And one of Randolph's variants apparently did date back to c. 1910. So while proof is lacking, Logsdon's claim is possible. - RBW

Cross references


  1. Randolph-Legman I, pp. 58-60, "Boring for Oil" (4 texts, 1 tune)
  2. Logsdon 26, pp. 160-162, "Boring for Oil" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Roud #10094
  5. BI, RL058