Leather Wing Bat

My first awareness of this song was from Tommy Makem’s 1970 LP “Bard of Armagh” and on it arranged and adapted by Alan Lomax and John A Lomax.  It was one of those songs heard in one’s childhood that haunts one’s memory in the oddest of times and was bound to be added to our repertoire.

Rick has shown me a very interesting page on Contemplator.com regarding the origins of this song, variations dating back to the late 17th century, although what we sing is closer to Appalachian origins.

Jos. Morneault


Am                     G
“I” said the little leatherwing bat

Am                   G         C
“I’ll tell you the reason that       

C                             Am
The reason that I fly the night

Em                         C         Am
Because I lost my heart’s delight”



Am                   G
Howdy-dowdy, diddle-um-day

Am                   G             C
Howdy-dowdy, diddle-um-day

C                                        Am
Howdy-dowdy, diddle-um-day           

     Em                           Am
Hi lee-lee, little-eye little-o


“I” said the red-bird sitting on a fence
“Once I loved a handsome wench
She got saucy and from me fled
Ever since, my head’s been red”

“I” said the robin as he flew
“When I was a young man, I chose two
If one wouldn’t love me, the other one would
Don’t you think my notion’s good?”

“Well, hoot” said the owl with a head so white
“A lonesome day and a lonesome night
Thought I heard some pretty girl say
She’d court all night and sleep all day”

“No” said the turtle dove
“For that’s no way for to gain his love
If you want to gain your heart’s delight
You keep ‘im awake both day and night”

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