Mole in the Ground

Traditional | Roud 4957, Ballad Index BAF900

Lyrics:

I wish I was a mole in the ground
Wish I was a mole in the ground
If I’s a mole in the ground
I would tear that mountain down
I wish I was a mole in the ground

Tippy wants a nine dollar shawl
Tippy wants a nine dollar shawl
When I come o’er the hill
With that forty dollar bill
Darling, where’ve you been so long?

Darling, where’ve you been so long?
Darling, where’ve you been so long?
I’ve been ’round the bend
With some rough and rowdy men
Oh, darling, where’ve you been so long?

I don’t like them railroad men
I don’t like them railroad men
Those railroad men
They will kill you when they can
And drink up your blood like wine

I wish I was a lizard in the spring
Wish I was a lizard in the spring
If I’s a lizard in the spring
I would hear my true love sing
I wish I was a lizard in the spring

Oh darlin’, let your hair roll down
Darlin’, let your hair roll down
Let your hair roll down
And your bangs curl around
Oh darlin’, let your hair roll down

I wish I was a mole in the ground
Wish I was a mole in the ground
If I’s a mole in the ground
I would tear that mountain down
I wish I was a mole in the ground

Lyrics Published in The Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore, Vol. 3

From the performance of Frank Moody in Jonathan’s Creek, Haywood Co, NC in 1921

I wish I was a mole in the ground
I wish I was a mole in the ground
If I’s a mole in the ground I’d root that mountain down;
I wish I was a mole in the ground.

I don’t like a railroad man;
I don’t like a railroad man;
A railroad man will kill you when he can
And drink up your blood like wine.

Oh, Tempy wants a nine-dollar shawl;
Oh, Tempy wants a nine-dollar shawl;
When I come o’er the hill with a forty-dollar bill
Oh, it’s ‘Baby, where you been so long?’

And it’s ‘Where have you been so long?’

And it’s ‘Where have you been so long?’
‘I’ve been in the bend with rough and rowdy men.’
‘Tis ‘Where have you been so long?’

I wish I was a lizard in the spring;

I wish I was a lizard in the spring;
If I’s a lizard in the spring I’d hear my darlin’ sing;
I wish I was a lizard in the spring.

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Old Time American Music

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About the Song:

“I Wish I Was A Mole in the Ground”, or simpy “Mole in the Ground”, is an Anglo-American floating verse non-ballad first collected in 1921 by Frank C. Brown from a performance by Frank Moody in Jonathan’s Creek, Haywood Co, NC. It wasn’t published until 1952 in The Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore: Folk Songs from North Carolina, Vol. Three (song no. 173). In this book, Brown says that the melody most likely came from either river rustabouts or a lost minstrel song. Although published after Brown’s initial collection of the tune, Bascom Lamar Lunsford and Lamar Edwin Stringfield’s 30 and 1 Folk Songs from the Southern Mountains included this song under the name “I Wish I Wuz A Mole in the Ground” in 1929.

Other titles include: “I Wish I Was/Were A Mole in the Ground”, “Tempie, Roll Down Your Bangs”

Related songs and variants: “New River Train”, “Alberta Let Yo’ Hair Hang Low”, “Sammie, Where You Been So Long?”, “My Doney, Where Have You Been So Long?”, “Hard Rocking Chair”