[Dixielandjazz] Goofus renditions

Stephen G Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Sun May 23 13:30:59 PDT 2010

> Kevin Yeates <kyeates at yahoo.com>
> Every version I have heard of Goofus contains what I would call the  
> chorus.? The part I am referring to has the words that include
> ?I was born on a farm out in Ioway
> A flaming youth who was bound that he?d fly away?
> I had only heard it played that way until I was listening to a  
> recording of it by Slim Lamar?s Southerners.? They play a whole lot  
> more of the tune than simply the famous part I have mentioned  
> above.? In fact that part seemed to come up only once. (I wasn?t  
> listening that carefully to it.)
> Can anyone tell me if there actually is a verse to the tune or did?  
> Slim Lamar?s Southerners simply do a good job of creating a bit more  
> to flesh things out. If there is a verse as well, does anyone have  
> the words?

Dear Kevin:

To hear several versions of Goofus go to:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yfqMCJXg2M  (The Carpenters)

or the 1930 version by Wayne King. (the definitive version?)


or a 1932 version by Paul Goodwin's German Dance Band at


There seems to be an interlude in them. Below is Version 1 set of  

I was born on a farm out in Iowa
A flaming youth who was bound to fly away
I packed my grip and I grabbed my saxophone

Can't read notes, but I play anything by ear
I made up tunes on the sounds that I used to hear
When I'd start to play folks used to say
'Sounds a little Goofus to me'

Got a job but I just couldn't keep it long
The leader said that I played all the music wrong
So I stepped out with an outfit of my own

Got together a new kind of orchestra
And we all played just the same 'Goofus' harmony
And I must admit we made a hit
'Goofus' has been lucky for me

Hearing all the noises around the farm
Seem to kind of guide my ranging on
Everything I wrote had a rural charm
And did we have the ginger & pepper

Though they called us a plain little country band
We wore big hats & the comedy got a hand
The booking agent began to wire me

The boys all laughed
When the shaw said the band was swell
But he'd book us in a great big york hotel
But nobody laughed when we played the tab
Goofus has been lucky for me
Horses! Cows! Turkeys! Chickens!
Goofus has been lucky for me

And below are the lyrics The Carpenters used:

Same 1st two paragraphs as above in version 1, then

Corn fed chords appeal to me
I like rustic harmony
Hold a note and change the key
Hey but that's goofus

Not according to the rules
That you learned in Music Schools
But the folks just dance like fools
They sure go for goofus

The insert paragraph 3 in the first version, then repeat it, Then

Goofus has been lucky for me
Goofus has been lucky for me.

Steve Barbone

More information about the Dixielandjazz mailing list