Skip to My Lou

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"Skip to My Lou" is a popular children's song.

"Skip to My (The) Lou" is a popular American partner-stealing dance from the 1840s.

It was also a popular lyrical game in Abraham Lincoln's youth in southern Indiana and Kentucky (1826) with verses such as "Hurry up slow poke, do oh do", "I'll get her back in spite of you", "Gone again, what shall I do", and "I'll get another girl sweeter than you". [1]

"Skip to My Lou" is a simple game of stealing partners (or swapping partners as in square dancing). It begins with any number of couples skipping hand in hand around in a ring. A lone boy in the center of the moving circle of couples sings, "Lost my partner, what'll I do?" as the girls whirl past him. The young man in the center hesitates while he decides which girl to choose, singing, “I'll get another one just like you.” When he grasps the hand of his chosen one, the latter's partner moves to the center of the ring the game. It is an ice-breaker, providing an opportunity for the participants to get acquainted with one another and to get into a good mood.

The "lou" in the title comes from the word "loo", a Scottish word for "love".[2][3][4]

Lyrics[edit]

Common version[edit]

Skip, skip, skip to my Lou,
Skip, skip, skip to my Lou,
Skip, skip, skip to my Lou,
Skip to my Lou, my darlin'.

(Changing verse here) (3x)
Skip to my Lou, my darlin'.

Lou, Lou skip to my lou (x3)
Skip to my Lou my darlin'

The changing verse:

  • Fly in the buttermilk, Shoo, fly, shoo.
  • There's a little red wagon, Paint it blue.
  • I lost my partner, What'll I do?
  • I'll get another, As pretty as you
  • Can't get a red bird, Jay bird'll do.
  • Cat's in the cream jar, Ooh, ooh, ooh.
  • Off to Texas, Two by two.

Another version[edit]

Fly in the buttermilk, Shoo, shoo, shoo! (3x)
Skipper to my Lou, my darling! (repeat 1x)
Lou, Lou skip to my Lou! (3x)
Skipper to my Lou, my darling.

Cows in the pasture two by two! (3x)
Skipper to my Lou, my darling!(repeat 1x)
Lou, Lou skip to my Lou, (3x)
Skipper to my Lou, my darling.

(sound sad) Lost my partner, What'll I do? (3x)
Skip to my Lou, my darling! (repeat 1x)
Lou, Lou skip to my Lou, (3x)
Skipper to my Lou, my darling.

(sound happy) I'll find another one better than you! (3x)
Skipper to my Lou, my darling!

Found my partner love is true! (3x)
Skipper to my Lou, my darling!
Lou, Lou skip to my Lou! (3x)
Skipper to my Lou, my darling.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Abraham Lincoln, The Prairie Years, Carl Sandberg,1926, by Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc. Volume 1 pg. 69.
  2. ^ The Folk Songs of North America, by Alan Lomax, Doubleday.
  3. ^ Recordings on File by: Carter Family, Lead Belly, Mike & Peggy Seeger, Pete Seeger
  4. ^ "Songnotes | Old Town School of Folk Music". Oldtownschool.org. Archived from the original on 2008-02-04. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
  5. ^ Oklahoma's 2015 Eastern District Honor Choir sheet music "Skip to My Lou"