In this song, Missouri is No. 1 in the pecking order

Title: “Cock-A-Doo-Dle-Do,
I’m From Missouri”
Words and music: George M. McCullough
Published: 1924
Discovered: at Sentimental Journey Antiques, Olathe

I like to crow like the rooster crows
Because I feel so cockey for Missouri
Some fellows crow over what they know
But I crow because I’m from Missouri
Here and there, everywhere
That broad Missouri smile
Spirit fine, all the time
That makes life worthwhile
I feel as proud as a rooster
So I crow, crow, crow

Cock-a-doo-dle-do, I’m from Missouri
I am proud of it and so I will crow and crow and crow
Cock-a-doo-dle-do, I’m from Missouri
And I’m crowin’ ’cause I’m growin’

in Missouri

Considering its murder rate and its godawful sports teams, the great state of Missouri doesn’t always get the love it deserves, not even from its own residents. Faced with such doldrums, your Crap Archivist puffs his chest, shakes his wattle and crows across the barnyard in defense of his state. This turns out to be literally possible, thanks to George M. McCullough’s forgotten classic “Cock-A-Doo-Dle-Do, I’m From Missouri.”

I feel so cockey for Missouri, the jubilant ditty goes. Once the song of the Kansas City chapter of the Ararat Shriners, it’s the most heartening example of Show-Me pride since Samuel Clemens boasted that his sturdy Missouri morals had made him into Mark Twain.

Of course, Clemens also mentioned that those morals, combined with “Connecticut culture … makes the perfect man,” a distinction that’s never been popular in either state. That’s clear in the lyrics of “Cock-A-Doo-Dle-Do” as soon as McCullough takes a swipe at book learning: Some fellows crow over what they know/But I crow because I’m from Missouri. Is there a more American idea than one’s place of origin trumping what one knows? As self-flattering know-nothingism, McCullough’s song ranks right up there with anything that state Rep. Cynthia Davis burps up. (She’s still waiting on Obama’s birth certificate.)

In short, this jaunty tune captures something of Missouri’s true spirit. The lyrics and the chorus are reproduced at right. Your Crap Archivist failed to uncover any further information about McCullough so prefers to imagine him a-tramping all about this country, filching pies off widows’ windowsills and penning songs appropriate to all the states less great than Missouri: “Stick That Hog, Mabel, I’m a Jayhawk” or “Get Me a Tetanus Shot, for I Walked Barefoot in Arkansas.”

Your Crap Archivist attempted to contact the Shriners for more information about their once-official songs. My calls seemed just to confuse the people who picked up the phone, who didn’t know where to route my query. Humming a few bars didn’t help. My e-mails went unanswered, but I did get to write to someone with the title “Potentate,” which is new for me.

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