Carl Sandburg and his accompaniment, piano player Jenkins, play "She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain" so he can put the song on paper for the first time.
Sandburg: (singing) She'll be coming 'round the mountain when she comes...she'll be coming 'round the mountain when she comes...she'll be coming 'round the mountain, she'll be coming 'round the mountain, she'll be coming 'round the mountain when she comes...
She'll be riding six white horses when she comes...
(Jenkins stops playing)
Sandburg: What's the matter? We're going to the next verse but it's the same key...
Jenkins: No, I got it. It's not that.
Sandburg: What is it?
Jenkins: Well, how does a person ride six horses? The verse doesn't mention a carriage. Is she on some special platform that is connected to all six, or is she in constant motion from the back of one horse to the next for the whole trip...
Jenkins: ...because that's impressive...wasteful and careless, but impressive.
Sandburg: It's just a symbol of how big of a deal it is when the "she" in the song arrives, that's all.
Jenkins: I see. Well, if you really want to make it a big deal, you should have her be coming over the mountain. Hell, I can come around the mountain on a three legged donkey.
Sandburg: Can we continue, please?
Jenkins: I'm just sayin'.
Sandburg: (sings) Oh we'll all go out to meet her when she comes...
Jenkins: Oh, how? Does the person singing have a watchtower with a guard waiting for his chick and her horses? I'm sure the whole town is just dying to meet her. "Oh, yeah, I'd love to leave work and go out to the edge of town in the hot sun just because today's the day you might get laid. Sign me up."
Sandburg: Look, I don't know the "why" of every verse. This used to be an old plantation Spiritual that has been adapted to be...you know...
Jenkins: More white?
Jenkins: Nothing. Okay, forget my playing. What are the other verses?
Sandburg: Well, there's "she'll be wearing pink pajamas when she comes"...
Jenkins: Well, that's disturbing. Crazy lady hopping from horse to horse in her undies in broad daylight being met by the whole damn town...
Sandburg: UNDER her clothes! She'll be wearing fancy pajamas signifying the event!
Jenkins: It's ridiculous. The writer here is delusional. The next verse should be, "And we'll have unrealistic expectations when she comes."
Sandburg: (sigh) Jenkins...
Jenkins: Don't stop now.
Sandburg: Fine. The next verse is "And we'll kill the old red rooster when she comes".
Sandburg: For a big feast, I imagine!
Jenkins: No way! If you celebrate, you slaughter the cow or a big pig...or at least several chickens! You don't go kill the rooster who's been around for so many years breeding he's probably worn out and skinny as hell! I mean, if this is such a big deal, you don't go, "Hey, gang, my girl will be here soon with way too many horses and bright-ass pink jammies..."
Sandburg: Okay, that's enough...
Jenkins: "Let's fix her a nice platter of old stringy rooster meat..."
Sandburg: Stop it!
Jenkins: Or maybe the rooster is so damn old that it's just hideous, all broken down and covered in growths on its beak and neck and shit. "Well, I can't have my girl dry heaving at the sight of that fucking thing. Kill the old red rooster now!"
Sandburg: You're fired!
Jenkins: Good. I'd rather go play jazz anyway. Enjoy your repetitive bullshit.
The song appeared anyway in Sandburg's "The American Songbag" (1927).