Old Folks (1938 song)

Old Folks is a 1938 popular song and jazz standard composed by Willard Robison with lyrics by Dedette Lee Hill, the wife and occasional colleague of Billy Hill. The lyrics tell of an old man nicknamed "Old Folks" and reference his service in the American Civil War, his habit of smoking with a "yellow cob pipe", and the prospect of his death.[1][2]

A 1938 version by Larry Clinton and His Orchestra and vocalist Bea Wain charted at No. 4; around this time it was also recorded by Mildred Bailey and Bing Crosby[3] and performed on radio by Benny Goodman and Fats Waller.[1][2] It was recorded on saxophone by Don Byas in 1946 and saxophonist Ben Webster, who made more than a dozen recordings of the song and often performed it in concert as a ballad, first recorded it in 1951. Its most famous jazz version is by trumpeter Miles Davis on Someday My Prince Will Come (1961).[1]

Other notable recordings

See also


  1. Gioia, Ted (2012). The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire. New York City: Oxford University Press. p. 308–309. ISBN 978-0-19-993739-4.
  2. Maycock, Ben. "Old Folks". JazzStandards.com. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  3. "A Bing Crosby Discography". BING magazine. International Club Crosby. Retrieved November 3, 2018.

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