Going Down to Cairo

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GOING DOWN TO CAIRO. AKA and see "Black Them Boots," "Cairo," "Goodbye Liza Jane (1)." Old-Time, Breakdown. USA. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. A version of "Liza Jane," often used for play-party games and dances. Cairo is a river town on the Mississippi at the mouth of the Ohio, and was quite a rowdy town in its day, although an important river port due to its location at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. It had the reputation as a somewhat lurid attraction to the river traffic. The word Cairo is pronounced 'Kay-row'.

Black them boots and make them shine,
Goodbye and a goodbye.
Black them boots and make them shine,
Goodbye, Liza Jane.

Going down to Cairo, with a goodbye and a goodbye.
Going down to Cairo, goodbye Liza Jane.

Or, as an alternate chorus:

I'm goin' down to Cairo, Goodbye, magpie;
Goin' down to Cairo, To see my Liza Jane.

The tune appears under the "Going Down to Cairo" title in David S. McIntosh's Folk Songs and Singing Games of the Illinois Ozarks (1974). See also Isham Monday's related "Old Liza Jane."

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Silberberg (Tunes I Learned at Tractor Tavern), 2002; p. 52.

Recorded sources: Train on the Island Records TI-12, Bob Bovee and Gail Heil - "For Old Times Sake."

See also listing at:
Hear learning versions at the Old Towne School of Folk Music Fiddle Tune Archive [1][2] [3]




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