“My Good Old Man”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1921 (Sharp)
Keywords: dialog wife husband shrewishness hardtimes ghost
Found in: US(Ap,So)

Description

Wife asks husband where he is going. He says, grumpily,"Out" (or the like). She asks about supper. He: Eggs. She: How many? He: A bushel. She: They'll kill you. He: Then I'll haunt you. She: You can't haunt a haunt

Notes

The plot of this song varies widely, as does the final line ("My good old man," "The meanest man in the world," "The best old fellow in the world," "Best Old Soul in the World"). But the format is constant: First the wife asks a long, involved question, e.g.

Where are you going, my good old man?

Where are you going, my honey, lovey dove?

Where are you going, my good old man?

Best old man in the world.

Then the man replies (spoken, not sung) in the shortest set of monosyllables possible.

The final element, about the ghost, disappears in many versions.

Kennedy's Welsh text doesn't look that much like the English versions to me, at least in terms of plot; it may be an analog rather than a version of the same song. But it's filed here rather than include it in a separate entry, which it does not deserve in an English-language index. - RBW

Cross references

Recordings

References

  1. Randolph 426, "The Best Old Feller in the World" (2 texts plus a fragment, 3 tunes)
  2. Randolph/Cohen, pp. 325-327, "The Best Old Feller in the World" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 426A)
  3. BrownII 191, "The Good Old Man" (2 texts)
  4. SharpAp 230, "The Good Old Man" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
  5. Ritchie-SingFam, pp. 12-14, "[My Good Old Man]" (1 text, 1 tune)
  6. Asch/Dunson/Raim, p. 88 "Le Vieux Soulard Et Sa Femme (The Old Drunkard and His Wife)" (1 text, in French with English translation, 1 tune)
  7. Silber-FSWB, p. 344, "Where Are You Going, My Good Old Man" (1 text)
  8. Kennedy 64, "Yr Hen wr Mwyn [The Gentle Old Man]" (1 text in Welsh + translation, 1 tune)
  9. DT, GDOLDMAN
  10. Roud #240
  11. BI, R426