Skip to My Lou

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"Skip to My Lou" is a popular children's song. Skip to My (The) Lou was a popular partner-stealing dance from America's frontier period. In early America, 'respectable folks' in strict Protestant communities regarded the fiddle as one of the devil’s tools (if it led to dancing, which was regarded as sinful). Faced with such a religious obstacle to socializing, young people developed the “play-party,” in which all the objectionable features of dancing were removed or masked so that grave elders would overlook their activity. The dancers sang and the audience clapped to create rhythm for their own music. In time, the play-party acquired a life of its own. It became an ideal amusement for teenagers and young married couples. In many a frontier community, the bear hunters, Indian fighters, the rough keelboat men and the wild cowboys could be seen dancing innocently with their gals, like so many children at a Sunday school picnic. As people moved westward and communities shrugged off the 'witch-hunt' mentality which plagued early Protestant New England, square dancing and barn dancing became acceptable, at least to some.

“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 hand in hand, skipping around in a ring. A lone boy in the center of the moving circle of couple 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 prettier than you.” When he grasps the hand of his chosen one, her partner then takes his place in the center of the ring and the game continues. It's an ice-breaker, a good dance to get a group acquainted with one another and to get everyone in the mood for swinging around.

The “loo” in the title is the Scottish word for “love.” The spelling change from “loo” to “lou” probably happened as Anglo-Americans, and the song, became Americanized.[1][2][3]

Lyrics (Common version)[edit]

Skip, skip, skip to my Lou, (3x)
Skip to my Lou, my darlin'.
(Changing verse here). (repeated 3 times)
Skip to my Lou, my darlin'.
The changing verse
Skip, skip, skip to the Lou,
Skip, skip, skip to the Lou,
Skip, skip, skip to the Lou,
Skip to the Lou, my darlin'.

Other Version-

Flies in the buttermilk, Shoo fly shoo! (3x)
Skip to my Lou, my darling.
Lou, Lou skip to my Lou! (3x)
Skip to my Lou, my darling.
(sound sad) Lost my partner, What will I do? (3x)
Skip to my Lou, my darling.
(sound sad) Lou, Lou skip to my Lou, (3x)
Skip to my Lou, my darling.
(magically change to happy) :I'll get another one just like you! (3x)
Skip to my Lou, my darling!
Lou, Lou skip to my Lou! (3x)
Skip to my Lou, my darling.

In popular culture[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Folk Songs of North America, by Alan Lomax, Doubleday.
  2. ^ Recordings on File by: Carter Family, Lead Belly, Mike & Peggy Seeger, Pete Seeger
  3. ^ "Songnotes | Old Town School of Folk Music". Oldtownschool.org. Retrieved 2012-08-13.