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Camptown Races - Chords, Lyrics and Origins

Origins

Like 'Oh Susanna', Camptown Races was written - or perhaps collected - in the 1850s by Stephen Foster, of Cincinnati.  Its original title was "Gwine to Run All Night, or De Camptown Races".  Rather like 'Oh Susanna', the lyrics to Camptown Races are nonsense, but fun, and somehow appealing.  They conjure up images of attractive, goofy characters and odd-ball goings on.  Once more like 'Oh Susanna', the song's chords are very straightforward - the first, fourth and fifth in whatever key takes your fancy (the song is in 'A' here, but just put a capo on your guitar to alter the key to suit you voice).  The song quickly became popular amongst minstrels.  Foster, by the way, was America's first professional song writer.

Chords

A
Camptown girls all sing this song,

E
Doo-da, doo-da

A
Camptown racetrack's ten miles long

E                         A
Oh, de doo-da day




A
Fifteen men on the Camptown Track

E
Doo-da, doo-da,

A
Trying to hold that bay horse back,

E                        A
Oh, de doo-da day




A
Bound to run all night

D                          A
Bound' to run all day

A
I bet my money on a bob-tailed nag

E                                   A
Somebody bet on the gray

Lyrics

Camptown girls all sing this song,
Doo-da, doo-da
Camptown racetrack's ten miles long
Oh, de doo-da day

Fifteen men on the Camptown Track
Doo-da, doo-da,
Trying to hold that bay horse back,
Oh, de doo-da day

Bound to run all night
Bound' to run all day
I bet my money on a bob-tailed nag
Somebody bet on the gray

Well a blind horse fell in a big mud hole
Doo-da, doo-da
Fish him out with a whalin' pole
Oh, de doo-da day

Old bay horse is ripping and pull
Doo-da, doo-da
Slick him down with a curry comb
Oh, de doo-da day

Bound to run all night
Bound' to run all day
I bet my money on a bob-tailed nag
Somebody bet on the gray

Well the long tailed filly was a laggin' horse,
Doo-da, doo-da
Couldn't catch up so she cut across,
Oh, de doo-da day

Well I laid down a dollar on Birmingham
Doo-da, doo-da
Lost my dollar to a tilly tan
Oh, de doo-da day

Bound to run all night
Bound' to run all day
I bet my money on a bob-tailed nag
Somebody bet on the gray

Well a muley cow jumped on the track,
Doo-da, doo-da
She stopped the race 'til they get her back,
Oh, de doo-da day

Lay it all on the bob-tail nag,
Doo-da, doo-da
I took my money home and I paid her back
Oh, de doo-da day

Bound to run all night
Bound' to run all day
I bet my money on a bob-tailed nag
Somebody bet on the gray

 

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