Like Fishing? Help me Fish Up an Old 78!

Old Congolese 78 rpm records, being the three ...

One of my better memories of growing up in the countryside near Lexington, Kentucky was learning all the words to my parents’ “platters”—their collection of 78 rpm records.

Songs I learned included Blueberry Hill by Fats Domino, The Death of Floyd Collins sung by Vernon Dalhart, (see my next post) hits by the Andrews Sisters like Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, big bands numbers like Tuxedo Junction, just a really eclectic mix of all my parents’ favorites.

Mom let me spend hours in my chair.  A slightly hyper three year old, I loved hanging sideways in the old maple Boston Rocker, head hanging off the edge, turning the world upside down, playing the 78 RPM records (and later 33 RPM albums) on the victrola.

I was careful with them, almost never let one get scratched, and didn’t play tem too loudly for her comfort.  In point of fact, I think she loved it when I turned them up louder occasionally. I’d sing along to my heart’s content, the little performer in training unaware of the young housewife listening in.

One record, black with a red label, was titled, “The Fishing Song” and was sung by a female, possibly a black woman by her inflection.  She had a trio of back-up singers who were all guys.  I don’t know if my brother has the records now or not, but I haven’t heard the song played in 30 years or so.  I’ve tried googling it, searching through ITunes too, to no avail.  So we’re going on my memory here.

I could sing it for you, but I’ll spare you the pain.  The tune sounded like a swing number, you know, a big band type of sound.  I remember a bass fiddle emphasizing the beat, and the words to the tune went like this:

Once upon a time a little boy was going fishin’ and he asked a little girl to come along,

She said, “Wait till I run and ask my Mommy.’  Presently she came back and sang this song:

‘Mama told me I couldn’t go fishin’ with you.

‘Mama told me I couldn’t go fishing with you.

‘She said us women get the blame when men start playin’ that fishing game, that’s why

‘Mama won’t let me go fishing with you.’  (here the guys echoed “fishin’ with you”)

The trio of guys sings,

‘Hey, Girl, don’t you hear what your Mama say,

‘We’ll do this thing our way,

‘We’ll drive down to old Cape Cod,

‘Cause I’ve got a real nice fishin’ rod,’

(next phrase simultaneous with the girl’s) ‘Hey, Girl, why don’t you let me go fishing with you’

Girls’ line intermingled with the guys’: ‘Oh, no! Unh Uh!  I cain’t fish with you today!’ (echo) ‘Not today’

‘Papa took Mama fishing on the Rio Grande.

‘Papa took Mama fishing on the Rio Grande.

‘He said we’ll catch us a big walleye, well,

‘The fish got away but here am I, that’s why Mama won’t let me go fishing with you.’

‘Mama told me I can’t go fishin’ with you,

‘Mama told me I can’t go fishin’ with you,

‘She said those lines ain’t always made of twine, and

P’apa had more than fishin’ on his mind,’

The whole group ends with a descending trill: “That’s just why I can’t go fishing today……”

I know for sure the song’s title is “The Fishing Song”. I’d like to know the singer, the record label, and where to get a copy of it if possible.  So if you have any idea who sang this please let me know.  Otherwise…beware that Fishing Game!

13 thoughts on “Like Fishing? Help me Fish Up an Old 78!

  1. I have looked for these lyrics off and on for YEARS !! Thank you for listing it. My Mom may have learned the piece while attending Nursing School… and she only wanted to play it among adult crowds. Please let me know if you find a recording of this piece.
    Susan Mayes

    • Would love to get this song, my mom had the record as well,the flip side was the telephone man. I memorized the words to both songs and have sung them for over 40 years! Thanks for posting and if anyone finds where this tune can be purchased, please post!!

      • I’ll be sure to let you know, Cheryl, the article drew a lot of comment, more than I had supposed. Here’s to the Fishing Song!

        Thanks for stopping by….

  2. I remember my mom having this 45, the flip side was “the telephone man” I would love to know who the singer was and to have these two songs on my iPod!!!!

    • Thanks, Cheryl. If I ever find it, I’ll be sure to let you know. I had it on a 78 RPM record, with a red label. My brother MAY have it, but I haven’t asked him ye t. I’ll let you know. Thanks for stopping by.

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  4. I have the exact same memory of the exact same song …so went on google to try to find how to get a copy of this 78. Did you ever find out how or where to get this record? I want one as well. As I read your post, I could have written it myself…word for word. Same scenario.

  5. Billboard: Dottie Barlow and Boys # 0014 “Fishing Song” manufactured by the PEARL Record Company in Covington, Kentucky, March 19, 1949. (802 Arlington Place, Covington, KY Owner: Larry Vincent & Moe Jaffe)

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