Virtually every old-time fiddler knows some version of Cotton-Eyed Joe.
The verses portray Cotton-Eyed Joe as a wily old fellow who plays the fiddle and gets into his own peculiar brand of mischief.
Apparently, he was plagued with cataracts, hence the nickname “Cotton-Eyed Joe”.
The following words were put together by Tommy Jarrell.
He credited Ray Braidy with teaching him some of them.
Way down yonder a long time ago, Daddy had a man called Cotton-Eyed Joe.
Chorus: Where did you come from; where did you go? Where did you come from, Cotton-Eyed Joe?
Made him a fiddle and made him a bow, And they made a little tune called, “Cotton-Eyed Joe”.
Cornstalk fiddle and a shoe string bow And he played that tune called “Cotton-Eyed Joe.”
I fell down and stubbed my toe Call for the doctor, Cotton-Eyed Joe.
Would have been married long time ago Hadn’t a been for Cotton-Eyed Joe.