Buffalo Gals: About the Song

Buffalo Gals

Song History

"Buffalo Gals" may be one of the many minstrel show songs that circulated orally before it was published. Often, the first person who transcribed and published a song claimed authorship. In this instance, Cool White, the stage name of minstrel show performer John Hodges, took credit. He published the song as "Lubly Fan Will You Cum Out To Night" in 1844. Lubly Fan is Lovely Fanny, in the mock African American dialect that was common in blackface minstrel performances.

In 1845, minstrel group The Ethiopian Serenaders published "Philadelphia Gals," a song with similar melody and lyrics. They published another version of the song, this time as "Buffalo Gals," in 1848. "Buffalo" most likely refers to Buffalo, New York. Touring performers often changed the name of the song to appeal to the local audience.

"Philadelphia Gals," "Buffalo Gals," and other versions may have circulated orally prior to Hodges' publication of "Lubly Fan." Fiddler and folklorist Alan Jabbour traced the melody of the song to a dance tune called "Midnight Serenade." The tune was first published in the 1839 book by G.P. Knauff, Virginia Reels, Selected and Arranged for the Piano Forte, though it probably circulated orally prior to that.

While "Buffalo Gals" is perhaps the most common name for this song, fiddlers in various localities play it as a fiddle tune under different names, including "Round Town Gals," "Round Town Girls," "Alabama Gals," and "Midnight Serenade."


Buffalo gals won't you come out tonight
Come out tonight, come out tonight
Buffalo gals won't you come out tonight
And dance by the light of the moon

As I was walking down the street
Down the street, down the street
A pretty little gal I chanced to meet
Oh, she was fair to view

She was the prettiest gal I’ve seen in my life
In my life, in my life
And I wished to the Lord she’d be my wife
Then we would part no more

Oh, yes, dear boy, I'm coming out tonight
Coming out tonight, coming out tonight
Oh, yes, dear boy, I’m coming out tonight
And we’ll dance by the light of the moon

I danced with that gal with a hole in her stocking
And her heel kept a-rockin' and her toe kept a-knockin'
I danced with that gal with a hole in her stocking
And we danced by the light of the moon

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