Traditional American Folk Song Lyrics

Fill in the missing word (usually a name) in the lyrics of each of these traditional (mostly nineteenth-century) folk songs.
Quiz by ThirdParty
Last updated: April 3, 2014
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First submittedApril 2, 2014
Times taken6,145
Average score61.1%
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Yankee Doodle went to town
A-riding on a pony,
He stuck a feather in his cap
And called it macaroni.
On top of Old Smoky,
all covered with snow,
I lost my true lover,
for courtin' too slow.
My Bonnie lies over the ocean,
My Bonnie lies over the sea.
My Bonnie lies over the ocean;
Oh, bring back my Bonnie to me.
When Johnny comes marching home again,
Hurrah! Hurrah!
We'll give him a hearty welcome then,
Hurrah! Hurrah!
Old John Brown's body lies moldering in the grave,
While weep the sons of bondage
whom he ventured all to save;
But tho' he lost his life while struggling for the slave,
His soul is marching on.
Aura Lea, Aura Lea,
Maid with golden hair;
Sunshine came along with thee,
And swallows in the air.
I wish I was in the land of cotton,
Old times they are not forgotten;
Look away! Look away!
Look away! Dixie Land.
Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah,
Someone's in the kitchen I know,
Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
Strummin' on the old banjo!
Oh! Susanna,
do not cry for me;
I come from Alabama,
with my banjo on my knee.
Jimmy crack corn and I don't care,
Jimmy crack corn and I don't care,
Jimmy crack corn and I don't care,
My master's gone away.
"Won't you come home, Bill Bailey,
won't you come home?"
She moans the whole day long;
"I'll do the cooking, darling, I'll pay the rent;
I know I've done you wrong."
Way down, upon the Swanee River,
Far, far away.
That's where my heart is turning ever,
That's where the old folks stay.
Home, home on the range,
Where the deer and the antelope play;
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day.
Oh my darling, oh my darling,
Oh my darling, Clementine!
Thou art lost and gone forever,
Dreadful sorry, Clementine.
In Scarlet Town, where I was born,
There was a fair maid dwellin';
Made every youth cry "Well-a-day";
Her name was Barbara Allen.
Skip, skip, skip to my Lou,
Skip, skip, skip to my Lou,
Skip, skip, skip to my Lou,
Skip to my Lou, my darlin'.
Oh Shenandoah, I long to hear you,
Away, you rolling river.
Oh Shenandoah, I long to hear you,
Away, I'm bound away,
Across the wide Missouri.
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found--
Was blind, but now I see.
Level 45
Apr 9, 2014
While researching this quiz, I learned that Old McDougall had a farm, out in O-hi-o.
Level 58
Apr 10, 2014
Got them all. I love my American folk songs. Named my daughter "Susanna," not for the song, but I did sing it to her as a lullaby.
Level 48
May 3, 2014
Me too. :)
Level 75
May 10, 2017
Are you two married?
Level 51
May 11, 2014
Finally! A "songs" quiz where I knew them all!
Level 73
Jul 4, 2014
Only got 9/18. I got the Aura Lea one right on a complete guess, and I should have gotten the John Brown one, but I didn't read it carefully enough.
Level 67
Jul 4, 2014
"Amazing Grace" is hardly a folk song; it's a hymn. And not really American, even if sung by Americans; it was composed by John Newton, a British ship captain and former slaver. And while we're at it, don't believe the hype that the author was a hero of the anti-slavery movement; he continued as a slaver for another seven years or so after the experience that led him to write the words to the hymn.
Level 45
Jul 4, 2014
The lyrics were, as you say, written in England in the 1770's by John Newton; the melody is of unknown origins, first collected in Ohio in the 1820's (the collectors described it as an amalgamation of two other folk songs, but neither has been successfully traced); the composition as a whole was first published in Pennsylvania in the 1830's. Definitions of "folk song" are tricky, but it's very widely sung in America, even by people who are not musicians, and many of them learned it by hearing it sung by other non-musicians.
Level 67
Jul 7, 2014
i defer to the scholarship of ThirdParty and the wisdom of samiam1955 (and Louis Armstrong, for that matter).
Level 44
Jul 4, 2014
'My Bonnie lies over the ocean' is a traditional Scottish song. I don't know how you picked these "American folk songs', but you really should double check them.
Level 45
Jul 4, 2014
It was first published in New York in 1881 by Charles Pratt. But, yes, it's unlikely that he composed it himself; it, or at least some song(s) from which it evolved or was adapted, probably came to America via Scottish immigrants.
Level 45
Jul 4, 2014
That's the fun thing about folk songs--they get misheard or misremembered, and so gradually evolve over time. There are versions of "Barbara ____" that have barely a single word in common with other versions, and of course "John ____'s Body" was later adapted into the Battle Hymn of the Republic.
Level 78
Jul 4, 2014
Some are America-born, some British and a folk song never has a composer. Why not change it to "Relatively Well-known Traditional Song Lyrics" ? :) Still descriptive and should be correct.
Level 45
Jul 4, 2014
By "American" I meant "widely sung in America", not "originating in America". As you say, folk songs tend to have complex origins.
Level 43
Jul 5, 2014
I think including a statement that the songs may be originally from elsewhere, but are common in America, would make it a bit clearer.
Level 73
Sep 25, 2022
Not a very catchy title, though
Level 45
Sep 15, 2014
For people who enjoyed this quiz, I've created a sequel: Great American Songbook Lyrics.
Level 59
Feb 11, 2018
I seem to remember Porky Pig as Friar Tuck singing "Barbara ELLEN," which would rhyme with "dwellin'."
Level 70
Jul 30, 2019
So I'm NOT the only person who knows that song from the Daffy Duck Robin Hood cartoon! Glad to know. And, yeah, he definitely did say Ellen.
Level 87
Oct 24, 2018
Skip to my loo, as in to the leeward, down wind.
Level 75
May 5, 2019
So much more poetic than 'skip to my toilet.'
Level 75
Sep 4, 2020
I learned from this quiz (and a subsequent Google search) that some idiot really names the song Swanee River, purposely misspelling Suwannee because he couldn't come up with a melody that fit 3 syllables.

Also, it wouldn't have been too difficult to just say Suwannee with an intonation that sounds like it's 2 syllables

Level 89
Sep 15, 2020
I really wanted Swanee to be Shawnee and never did get it right.
Level 80
Feb 23, 2021
Remembered home on the range from an old Bugs Bunny cartoon.