Old Time Mandolin Music

Arkansas Sheik

This version of Arkansas Sheik comes from a May 2004 Old Time Ensemble class.  

Arkansas Sheik was originally recorded by Clayton McMichen and Riley Puckett in 1928.  You can find McMichen and Puckett’s recording on Yazoo Records’ Hard Times Come Again No More, Vol. 2: Rural Songs of Hard Times and Hardships Classic Recordings from the 1920s and 30s (Yazoo 2037).

The New Lost City Ramblers also recorded Arkansas Sheik on the Folkways LP Remembrance of Things to Come Folkways Records FA 31035.


Lyrics to Arkansas Sheik (The last line of the phrase is repeated.)

Come all you Missouri gals, and listen to my noise.

Never you marry an Arkansas boy.

If you do, I'll tell you what it'll be:

Cold cornbread, molasses, and sassafras tea.


When you go a-courting, I'll tell you how to dress:

A buckskin hunting shirt, and this is the best:

An old flop hat with more brim than crown,

An old pair of shoes with the heels run down.


The first thing he does whenever he goes in,

He takes a chew of tobacco and he slobbers on his chin.

The first thing he says whenever he sits down,

"Madam, ain't your johnny-cake a-baking too brown?"


They milk a little brindle cow and sling it in a gourd.

They put it in a corner and cover with a board.

Some gets little and some gets none,

And this is the way that the Arkansas is run.


An old board roof and a puncheon floor,

And old pole bedstead, and oak-board door.

Sleeping on the slats with a handful of straw,

Trying to get along with my mother-in-law.


An old blind mule and an old milk cow,

A razorback hog and a bull-tongue plow.

He had his poke salad and his sassafras tea,

But the Arkansas Sheik is a mystery to me.


Now I've sung you all my song and I guess you're glad it's through.

The Arkansas Sheik is a-feeling kind of blue.

He got drunk and he took him to town,

Cause the Arkansas girls turned his damper down.



Download a pdf of Arkansas Sheik -> Click ArkansasSheik.pdf