Darby's Ram

DARBY'S RAM, a humorous song of English origin, has been popular among traditional singers in Missouri and Arkansas, as well as in other parts of the country. Numerous versions of this song exist, some quite bawdy in nature. Ours comes from the singing of Grandpa Jones, who says he learned it from his former partner, Bradley Kincaid. In Loyal Jones' Radio's Kentucky Mountain Boy: Bradley Kincaid, however, Kincaid is quoted saying he learned the song in 1922 from Grandpa.


Oh, Darby lived across the creek;
And when he told a tale,
Every minnow in that creek
Was as big as Jonah's whale.

Oh, wasn't he a big one boys,
Wasn't he a big one boys!
Wasn't he a big one boys
Before they cut him down.

My father had an old buck sheep,
And then you'd hear him say,
"One of the finest rams, sir,
That ever was fed on hay.

"He had four feet to walk, sir,
He had four feet to stand
And every foot he had, sir,
Would cover an acre of land."

Now the wool that grew on this ram's belly
Reached down to the ground.
It was sold to Mrs. Dobson
For fourteen hundred pounds.

Now, the wool that grew on this ram's back
Reached up to the sky.
The eagles built their nests in it —
I heard the young ones cry.

Now this old ram, he had a horn,
It reached up to the moon.
A man went up in January
And he never came back 'till June.

Now the length between this old ram's eyes
Was forty yards complete.
And there they built a pulpit
For the Methodists to preach.

Now the butcherman that cut him down
Was washed away in the blood,
And the little boy that held the bowl
Was drowned in the flood.

© 1982, Cathy Barton & Dave Para