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Possum's Tail is Bare

Old time musicians are wont to ponder varmint evolution. This song about the peculiarities of marsupial caudal anatomy presents much to cogitate. This is a square tune in two parts played in key of D with the modal chord C. It is attributed to Melvin Wine of WV. Thanks Hilton for introducing this tune at the Beans Jam

  • Melvin Wine on the Berea digital archive or PDF.
  • David Bragger fiddle lesson on YouTube: slow or medium.
  • Banjo lesson by Tim Rowell.
  • Intricate solo banjo by String Chickens.
  • Pig's Foot String Band live on radio [band, track]
  • Another page just like this one, on another site just like this one.
  • Gunsmoke TV show exploited the romantic appeal of these lyrics.
  • On this video, the possums are not in focus either.
Squirrel's got a bushy tail but Possum's tail is bare.
Rabbit's got no tail at all, just a little bitty clump of hair.

Possum's tail is bare, Possum's tail is bare.
Old coon's tail is ringed all around but Possum's tail is bare.

Americans pronounce opossum as possum. As Roy Blunt wrote, the O in possum is silent. Actually there is a possum that lives in Australia. The opossum lives up & down the Americas. Both types have bare tails. The opossum name dates back to Virginia 1610 when it was adopted from the Algonquian.  
Beautiful solo performance by an unknown cellist.