Sung by: Thomas Wilson Watley
Recorded in Pocahontas, AR 8/16/63

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On Saturday night I entered a house.
I entered a room as still as a mouse,
Where the true love lay. I opened the doors,
And I went straightaway,
And it’s hard times.

Such hugging and kissing as there we did keep,
We roused the old widow up out of her sleep.
With a very few words, she did embrace me.
“One impudent fellow before me I see,”
And it’s hard times.

“Old woman, old woman, you speak very plain;
Cool down your passion, find out my name.
My name’s Johnny the Miller; I go by that name.
On purpose of courting your daughter I came,”
And it’s hard times.

“Now, daughter--now, daughter--since you are willing,”
Says she, this question brought up before me.
“That I am so old, and you are so young
That you can get suitors and I can get none,
And it’s hard times."

“Old woman, old woman, you speak very plain . . .”

(Mr. Watley: “No, that’s wrong.”)

“Old woman, old woman, you speak . . .”

(Mr. Watley: “I'll swear.”)

“Old woman, old woman, you speak very plain,
. . . widow and you go by that name.
. . . and old widow . . .”

“Old woman, old woman, you speak very large,
Nothing but an old widow, now, you go by that charge.
Nothing but an old widow, and you go by that name,”
She up with a broomstick and at me she came,
And it’s hard times.

Such fighting and scratching, at last I got clear.
I mounted my horse, and for home I did steer,
With the blood running down my face and full gore.
Never got such a broomsticking before,
And it’s hard times.

So all the young gents that dresses so gay,
They’ll cheat the young girl all out of dismay.
They’ll hug them and kiss them and tell them some lies,
And keep them up ‘til they’re ready to die,
And it’s hard times.

At last the girls get so sleepy and thus
They will say, “Boys, I’m so sleepy, I wish you’d go ‘way.”
The boys, they’ll rise, they’ll think it no harm,
Before they get home they’ll sleep in the barn,
And it’s hard times.

So early next morning, so early they’ll rise,
Shake off the hayseed and pull open their eyes.
They’ll mount their horse, and for home they will ride,
Just like a young gentleman a-hunting him a bride,
And it’s hard times.

So all young gents, take warning from me,
If there is an old widow and her daughter to go see.
If ever you do, it’ll be to your doom,
To fight like a dog, be beat with a broom,
And it’s hard times.

(Dr. Wolf: “Now where’d you say you learned that? Put that on here. Tell me the history of that song.”
Mr. Watley: “This song named ‘Saturday Night’ has been in the Watley family for around one hundred years.”
Dr. Wolf: “Tell about where your grandfather learned it.”
Mr. Watley: “My grandfather emigrated to this country from Franklin County, Alabama, in 1862, and settled in the . . . valley in Arkansas, and spent the rest of his life.”
Dr. Wolf: “And where’d he learn it? Where’d he learn it?”
Mr. Watley: “Who?”
Dr. Wolf: “Your grandfather. Where’d he learn the song?”
Mr. Watley: “I don’t have any record of where he learned the song.”
Dr. Wolf: “I see. Did you learn it from him?”
Mr. Watley: “No, I learned it from my father. He learned it from my grandfather.”
Dr. Wolf: “I see. Uh huh. He probably brought it with him from Alabama?”
Mr. Watley: “He did. Yeah.”
Dr. Wolf: “And what’s your full name?”
Mr. Watley: “Thomas Wilson Watley.”)

Also found in Belden, p. 248, “Courting the Widow’s Daughter.”

All Songs Recorded by John Quincy Wolf, Jr., unless otherwise noted

The John Quincy Wolf Folklore Collection
Lyon College, Batesville, Arkansas
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