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Ole Buttermilk Sky

    One night several weeks ago when I was playing at the Rose Tree Inn, Jim Hunt requested Hoagy Carmichael’s Ole Buttermilk Sky and I had to admit I didn’t know it.  I remember someone once put the sheet music in front of me at a Christmas party, but except for that brief acquaintance, I’m not sure I’d ever even heard it performed.  As an exercise in both self-education and customer service, I’ve since looked it up and so here it is below, however tardy.

     This is Hoagy writing in his cowboy mode, as opposed to his bluesy one, the sort of simple tune you’d sing – as the lyrics portray – ambling along a country path.  In some musical sense, the song ambles too, rhyming indifferently or not at all, laconically repeating phrases, adding a little coda, just moseying along. Its few chords and simple melody make it oddly difficult to pull off as a piano piece, so it will be much helped if you sing along.  Click on the title in red to hear it.  The lyrics are below.


Ole Buttermilk sky

I’m keeping my eye peeled on you.

What’s the good word tonight?

Are you gonna be mellow tonight?

Ole Buttermilk Sky

Can’t you see my little donkey and me?

We’re as happy as a Christmas tree,

Headin’ for the one I love.

I’m gonna pop ‘er the question, that question.

Do you darling, do you do?

It’ll be so easy, so easy,

If I can only bank on you.

Ole Buttermilk Sky

I’m telling you why, now you know.

Keep it in mind tonight,

Keep abrushing those clouds from sight.

Ole Buttermilk Sky

Don’t you fail me when I’m needing you most.

Hang a moon above her hitching post.

Hitch me to the one I love.

You can if you try.

Don’t tell me no lie.

Will you be mellow and bright tonight,

Buttermilk Sky?

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