There are at least two published versions of the song. Here is what I normally work from.
It's also in that Ethiopian Glee Book mentioned a while ago..the link is here on site. Has harmonies too.
PS....That Glee Book is really good for examing all our source material. So many Briggs' tunes in the. It is good to see original melodies and also the fact that many of these tunes have words....we can see Briggs' as a solo book, and also as accompaniment. It is a clean down load...I highly recommend it.
sweet, thanks y'all. i will check it out!
HM! I can't find a link to the download of the glee book - found the first page or so....sorry to be a bit backward, but i've searched all around...???
Hans Hathan shows a set of lyrics, different from that in the Glee Book, on pages 457-460 of his book, Dan Emmett and the Rise of Early Negro Minstrelsy, attributed to "F. M. Brower. (Boston, C.H. Keith, 1844)."
The two sets of lyrics have little in common except for the chorus and the fact that Old Joe dies in the last verse of both songs. However, in the Nathan version, Old Joe leaves behind an heir that "plays like the debble on de ole banjo."
Probably redundant by now, but you can print out the 1847 sheet music via the Lester Levy Collection at:
Search for "Old Joe". When I did it, the 1847 sheet music was the last one listed