Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

NPR article on origin of racist ice cream truck song...

I stumbled upon this today by NPR:


Be advised- racist content included, in the context of discussing the jarring racist history and minstrel roots of tunes that seem so harmless and quaint to us today.  It's a well written piece with some fascinating references included.

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Actually, I thought being "a little loopy" was one of the entrance requirements to membership here! ;)

Strumelia said:

I do see the similarites between the rose tree and turkey in the straw..though I hadn't thought about it til now.  But maybe i'm a little loopy. 

Maybe if someone recorded both, kept the parts in synch, and overlapped the tracks...?

In 1839 George P. Knauff of Farmville, Virginia published volume 1 of his "Virginia Reels". One of the tunes included is "Natchez Under The Hill". You can read about it here : http://www.ceolas.org/cgi-bin/ht2/ht2-fc2/file=/tunes/fc2/fc.html&a... 

When Wes said that he recalled there being an "earlier hornpipe", I thought of "Natchez Under the Hill" but couldn't remember the title.  I wonder if that's the one Wes was referring to.  If so, it seems that Wes and I think alike.....even when we can't remember what we are thinking!  Anyway thanks, James, for sending us to the Fiddler's Companion site.  It's a good site and I had wondered about the origin of "Natchez" and how it related, chronologically, to "Zip Coon/Turkey in the Straw".

Tim Twiss said:

I don't know. Can a pure melody without lyric ever become non-toxic?

I don't see why not.  The music does not have to be permanently connected to a particular  set of lyrics.  It is articles like this one that perpetuate the connection between a melody and a given set of lyrics.  I'm not talking about historical documentation or educational activities here but the article in it's own way can re-enforce racism whenever the melody is played for someone who didn't have that reference before being exposed to the article.  I think the lyrics can hold onto the racism but the music does not.... and should not.

Thanks James and Al my memory used to be much better before I started forgetting things...

I'm right there with you!  Nowadays when I'm supposed to do something or handle some issue, I've noticed friends and relatives making a greater effort to remind me!

Al. Where were you? We had a practice scheduled for Thursday.

Isn't Thursday tomorrow?

Ha!  We always practice at my house.  So, where were you?

Me thinks you are playing with my dementia!

... I had the perfect comment ...

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