Buffalo Gals

Title: 
Buffalo Gals
Type: 
Song
Description: 

[Alternately: “Buffallo Gals,” “Buffallo Gal,” “Buffalo Gal,” “Buffalo Gal”].



To listen to this song (and others) on the Artists Respond to Juba Site, Click Here and/or Here.



The music is from John Hodges’ “Lubly Fan Won’t You Come Out Tonight” (published 1844) with these lyrics presumably by Hodges as well. It is possible that Hodges derived the melody from an older German music hall song “Im Grunewald, im Grunewald ist Holzauktion”.



Hodges’ song became extremely popular during the period, no doubt in part, because of its adaptability to suit regional audiences: contemporaneous variants include “New York Gals,” “Boston Gals,” “Alabama Gals,” “Portsmouth Airs,” “Mobile Gals,” etc. A female analogue of the word “dandy,” “gal” was a derogatory descriptor; to nineteenth-century audiences, it would have been akin to prostitute. The variant “Buffalo Gals, was more specifically about those prostitutes that plied their trade on Canal Street in Buffalo, NY (the termination of the Erie Canal). Of the editions five editions published between 1842 and 1852 in Great Britain that were surveyed for this entry, there was very little variation in the lyrics. The variation that did exist generally contained to dialect.



While regional variants of the song would certainly have been performed by a number of minstrel troupes, “Buffalo Gals,” was the most popular version of the song for publishing and for use in concert programs. Now considered to be a folk song by many, the popularity of “Buffalo Gals” continues to endure into this century. The song has been recorded hundreds of times since at least 1948 with versions by everyone from the Chipmunks to Bruce Springsteen.



Select Recording History:

  • Springsteen, Bruce. We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions. [Bonus Tracks]. Columbia, 22 August 2006.


  • Weissberg, Eric and Marshall Brickman. Super Size Me Soundtrack. KinkySour Recordings, 08 June 2004.


  • Gardner, Mark & Rex Rideout. Frontier Favorites: Old-Time Music of the Wild West. Mark Gardner & Rex Rideout, 2003.


  • Camptown Shakers. Tooth & Nail. Camptown Shakers, 2002.


  • MacLaren, Malcom. Duck Rock. Island, 1983.


  • Thin Lizzy. Shads of a Blue Orphanage. Deram, 1972.


  • Guthrie, Woody. Woody Guthrie Sings Folk Songs, Vol .2. Folkways, 1964.


  • The Chipmunks. The Chipmunks Songbook. Pair, 1962.


  • Oscar Brand. Absolute Nonsense. Riverside, 1948.





    Mark Turner


  • Media: 
    Sheet Music Cover
    Sheet Music Cover #2
    Sheet Music Cover #3
    Sheet Music Cover #4
    Sheet Music Cover #5
    Sheet Music Cover #6
    Sheet Music Cover #7
    Sheet Music Cover #8
    Sheet Music Cover #9
    Lyrics
    Audio File - Minstrels in the Parlour
    Audio File - Mid-Atlantic Minstrel Show

    Performance(s) listed of this act

    Performer(s) Troupe Event and Venue
    Minstrel Show, 30 Mar. 1846 - 04 Apr. 1846
    St. James Theatre, London (city-county)
    Minstrel Show, 22 Apr. 1846 - 22 Apr. 1846
    Crosby Hall, London (city-county)
    Minstrel Show, 01 May. 1846 - 01 May. 1846
    Crosby Hall, London (city-county)
    Minstrel Show, 04 May. 1846 - 09 May. 1846
    St. James Theatre, London (city-county)
    Minstrel Show, 11 May. 1846 - 11 May. 1846
    Crosby Hall, London (city-county)
    Minstrel Show, 11 May. 1846 - 16 May. 1846
    St. James Theatre, London (city-county)
    Minstrel Show, 18 May. 1846 - 22 May. 1846
    Sadler's Wells, London (city-county)
    Ethiopian Serenaders (1846-48) Minstrel Show, 25 May. 1846 - 30 May. 1846
    St. James Theatre, London (city-county)
    Ethiopian Serenaders (1846-48) Minstrel Show, 25 May. 1846 - 25 May. 1846
    Sussex Hall, London (city-county)

    Germon, Francis
    Ethiopian Serenaders (1846-48) Minstrel Show, 30 May. 1846 - 30 May. 1846
    Chiswick House, London (city-county)
    Minstrel Show, 09 Jun. 1846 - 13 Jun. 1846
    St. James Theatre, London (city-county)
    Minstrel Show, 10 Jun. 1846 - 10 Jun. 1846
    Horns, The, Kennington, London (city-county)
    Minstrel Show, 12 Jun. 1846 - 12 Jun. 1846
    Green Man, Blackheath, London (city-county)

    Roberts, B.
    Ethiopian Delineators (Pelham's, 1846) Minstrel Show, 26 Jun. 1846 - 27 Jun. 1846
    Concert Hall, Lancashire

    Germon, Francis
    Ethiopian Serenaders (1846-48) Minstrel Show, 29 Jun. 1846 - 04 Jul. 1846
    St. James Theatre, London (city-county)
    Minstrel Show, 29 Jun. 1846 - 04 Jul. 1846
    Concert Hall, Lancashire
    Minstrel Show, 06 Jul. 1846 - 11 Jul. 1846
    St. James Theatre, London (city-county)
    Minstrel Show, 13 Jul. 1846 - 18 Jul. 1846
    St. James Theatre, London (city-county)

    Cave, J.H.
    Original Creole Vocalists Variety, 14 Jul. 1846 - 17 Jul. 1846
    Vauxhall Gardens, London (city-county)
    Minstrel Show, 20 Jul. 1846 - 25 Jul. 1846
    St. James Theatre, London (city-county)
    Minstrel Show, 27 Jul. 1846 - 01 Aug. 1846
    St. James Theatre, London (city-county)

    Roberts, B.
    Ethiopian Harmonists (1846-47) Variety, 03 Aug. 1846 - 07 Aug. 1846
    Vauxhall Gardens, London (city-county)

    Germon, Francis
    Ethiopian Serenaders (1846-48) Minstrel Show, 03 Aug. 1846 - 08 Aug. 1846
    St. James Theatre, London (city-county)

    Roberts, B.
    Ethiopian Harmonists (1846-47) Variety, 11 Aug. 1846 - 14 Aug. 1846
    Vauxhall Gardens, London (city-county)
    Ethiopian Harmonists (1846-47) Minstrel Show, 13 Nov. 1846 - 14 Nov. 1846
    Mechanics' Institute, Nottinghamshire
    Ethiopian Harmonists (1846-47) Minstrel Show, 18 Nov. 1846 - 20 Nov. 1846
    Mechanics' Institute, Nottinghamshire

    Fortescue
    Roberts, B.
    Ethiopian Harmonists (1846-47) Minstrel Show, 06 Mar. 1847 - 08 Mar. 1847
    Concert Hall, Lancashire

    Fortescue
    Roberts, B.
    Ethiopian Harmonists (1846-47) Minstrel Show, 30 Mar. 1847 - 01 Apr. 1847
    Concert Hall, Lancashire
    Female American Serenaders Minstrel Show, 12 Apr. 1847 - 13 Apr. 1847
    Queen's Theatre, Lancashire
    Female American Serenaders Dramatic, 19 Apr. 1847 - 19 Apr. 1847
    Queen's Theatre, Lancashire
    Female American Serenaders Minstrel Show, 21 Apr. 1847 - 24 Apr. 1847
    St. James Assembly Rooms, London (city-county)

    Fortescue
    Roberts, B.
    Ethiopian Harmonists (1846-47) Minstrel Show, 15 May. 1847 - 15 May. 1847
    Concert Hall, Lancashire

    Fortescue
    Roberts, B.
    Ethiopian Harmonists (1846-47) Minstrel Show, 17 May. 1847 - 22 May. 1847
    Concert Hall, Lancashire
    Beyadere and Female Serenaders Minstrel Show, 26 Jun. 1847 - 26 Jun. 1847
    Concert Hall, Lancashire
    Ethiopian Delineators (not Pelham's, 1847) Minstrel Show, 10 Jul. 1847 - 10 Jul. 1847
    Concert Hall, Lancashire

    Ramsdale
    Ethiopian Melodists and New York Serenaders Minstrel Show, 21 Sep. 1847 - 24 Sep. 1847
    Concert Hall, Lancashire

    Roberts, B.
    Ethiopian Harmonists (1847-?) Minstrel Show, 01 Nov. 1847 - 05 Nov. 1847
    Concert Hall, Lancashire

    Roberts, B.
    Ethiopian Harmonists (1847-?) Minstrel Show, 13 Nov. 1847 - 13 Nov. 1847
    Concert Hall, Lancashire

    Fortescue
    Roberts, B.
    Ethiopian Harmonists (1847-?) Minstrel Show, 15 Nov. 1847 - 19 Nov. 1847
    Concert Hall, Lancashire

    Irwin, J.H.
    Irwin Dramatic, 15 Nov. 1847 - 20 Nov. 1847
    Barnsley Theatre, Yorkshire: West Riding

    Russell, Henry
    Russell, Henry Vocal Entertainment, 20 Dec. 1847 - 20 Dec. 1847
    Concert Hall, Lancashire

    Russell, Henry
    Russell, Henry Vocal Entertainment, 23 Dec. 1847 - 23 Dec. 1847
    Concert Hall, Lancashire

    Russell, Henry
    Russell, Henry Minstrel Show, 22 Dec. 1848 - 22 Dec. 1848
    Smith's Hotel, Staffordshire
    Juba (1850-1851)Ethiopian Serenaders (1848-49) Minstrel Show, 19 Mar. 1849 - 24 Mar. 1849
    Theatre Royal, Birmingham, Warwickshire

    Juba
    Ethiopian Serenaders (1849-50) Dramatic, 06 Sep. 1849 - 08 Sep. 1849
    Corn Exchange, Stirling, Stirling