“Little Birdie”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1909 (Brown)
Keywords: adultery bird love courting husband floatingverses
Found in: US(Ap,SE,So)


"Little birdie, little birdie, Come and sing me your song. I've a short time for to be here And a long time to be gone." Often consists of floating verses, but concerns adultery: "Pretty woman... you made me love you, Now your husband has come."


No, not the producer of "Spirituals to Swing," nor his blues-singing son! - PJS

(I think the above is a reference to the recording by John Hammond. But it's all Urdu to me. - RBW)

Yes, it is such a reference. - PJS

Lyle Lofgren informs me that Charles Wolfe did some research on Hammond, learning that he cut only six sides. Wolfe was unable to trace his origins but suspects he came from northern Kentucky.

Very many of the versions in Brown contain references to "Kitty Kline (Clyde, etc.)," and the editors on that basis filed it under that title. But the versions are clearly what we know as "Little Birdie," sometimes mixed with references to Kitty Kline, and so I file them here. - RBW

Cross references



  1. Randolph 676, "The Dark Hollow"" (1 text plus a fragment, 1 tune, with the "A" text perhaps somewhat mixed with "Dark Hollow")
  2. Randolph/Cohen, pp. The Dark Hollow, "" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 676A)
  3. BrownIII 255, "Kitty Kline" (2 text plus 4 fragments and 1 excerpt, which despite the title mostly file here; see Notes)
  4. MHenry-Appalachians, pp. 187-188, "Little Birdie" (1 text)
  5. Silber-FSWB, p. 397, "Little Birdie" (1 text)
  7. Roud #5742
  8. BI, R676