“Four Nights Drunk”

Alternate titles: “Five Nights Drunk”; “Seven Nights Drunk”; “Home (Hame) Drunk Came I”; “The Jealous Hearted Husband”; “The Old Man Came Home One Night”; “When I Came Home Last Saturday Night”; “The Good Old Man”; “Arrow Goodman”; “Kind Wife”; “Parson Jones”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1776 [Herd]
Keywords: humorous trick adultery drink bawdy dialog disguise husband wife
Found in: Australia Canada(Ont,Mar) Britain(England(Lond,West),Scotland(Aber,Bord)) Ireland US(All) Bahamas

Description

Our goodman comes home drunk for several nights. Each night he observes an oddity -- another man's horse, boots, sword, etc. Each time his wife says it is something else. Finally he sees a man's head; she explains that, too -- but the head has a beard

Notes

According to Joseph Hickerson, archivist at the Archive of American Folk Culture, Library of Congress, who has studied the ballad, this is the most commonly recovered Child ballad, surpassing even "Barbara Allen" (Child 84). - EC

I have to note that alcohol consumption inhibits sexual performance (even while making men think they are capable of more than they are). Maybe, if Our Goodman came home sober more often, he wouldn't have to worry so much about what his wife was doing while he was in his cups. - RBW

Cross references

Recordings

References

  1. Child 274, "Our Goodman" (3 texts)
  2. Bronson 274, "Our Goodman" (58 versions)
  3. BarryEckstormSmyth pp. 315-317, "Our Goodman" (2 texts, 1 tune) {Bronson's #5}
  4. Linscott, pp. 259-262, "Our Goodman" (1 text, 1 tune)
  5. Flanders-Ancient4, pp. 63-71, "Our Goodman" (5 texts plus 2 fragments)
  6. Belden, pp. 89-91, "Our Goodman" (2 texts)
  7. Randolph 33, "I Went Home One Night" (2 texts, 2 tunes) {Bronson's #19, #46}
  8. Randolph/Cohen, pp. 60-63, "i Went Home One Night" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 33B) {Bronson's #46}
  9. Randolph-Legman I, pp. 53-57, "Four Nights Drunk" (5 texts, 1 tune)
  10. Eddy 25, "Our Goodman" (1 text)
  11. Davis-Ballads 43, "Our Goodman" (6 text, one of which is in an appendix because of dialect; 5 tunes entitled "Hobble and Bobble," "The Old Man," "Home Comes the Old Man," "Down Came the Old Man") {Bronson's #8, #39, #6, #7, #56}
  12. Davis-More 38, pp. 299-304, "Our Goodman" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
  13. BrownII 42, "Our Goodman" (2 texts plus mention of 2 more)
  14. Chappell-FSRA 19, "Our Goodman" (1 text)
  15. MHenry-Appalachians, pp. 14-16, "Four Nights (Our Goodman)" (1 text)
  16. Hudson 22, pp. 122-123, "Our Goodman" (1 short text)
  17. Scarborough-SongCatcher, pp. 231-236, "Our Goodman" (4 texts, with local titles "Three Nights of Experience," Three Nights of Experience," "I Called To My Loving Wife," "Parson Jones"; 3 tunes on pp. 417-418) {Bronson's #29, #54, #50}
  18. Brewster 22, "Our Goodman" (1 fragment)
  19. Creighton/Senior, pp. 91-92, "Our Goodman" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #44}
  20. Leach, pp. 653-657, "Our Goodman" (1 text)
  21. McNeil-SFB2, pp. 35-39, "Four Night Drunk or The Cabbage Head Song" ; "Ole Lady" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
  22. Friedman, p. 445, "Our Goodman" (2 texts)
  23. Cray, pp. 11-23, "Four Nights Drunk" (4 texts, 3 tunes)
  24. Niles 57, "Our Goodman" (1 text, 1 tune)
  25. SharpAp 38, "Our Goodman" (4 texts plus 1 fragment, 5 tunes) {Bronson's #55, #53, #15, #58, #30}
  26. Sharp/Karpeles-80E 26, "Our Goodman" (1 text, 1 tune -- a composite version) {Bronson's #30}
  27. Chase, pp. 118-119, "Home Came the Old Man" (1 text, 1 tune)
  28. DBuchan 61, "Our Goodman" (1 text)
  29. JHCox 28, "Our Goodman" (3 texts)
  30. SHenry H21ab, p. 508, "The Blin' Auld Man/The Covered Cavalier" (1 text, 1 tune)
  31. Paterson/Fahey/Seal, pp. 255-258, "Shickered As he Could Be" (1 text, told in the third person ("This bloke I know") rather than first person)
  32. TBB 38, "Our Goodman" (1 text, 1 tune)
  33. Abrahams/Foss, pp. 108-110, "Our Goodman" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #36}
  34. Darling-NAS, pp. 78-80, "Three Nights Drunk"; "Our Goodman" (2 texts)
  35. PSeeger-AFB, p. 22, "Four Nights Drunk" (1 text, 1 tune)
  36. Silber-FSWB, p. 233, "Four Nights Drunk" (1 text)
  37. DT 274, DRUNK5NT GOODMAN2* GOODMAN3
  38. Roud #114
  39. BI, C274