Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Has anyone ever seen sheet music with the melody of this tune, "Rock Susanna"? It's a really interesting little ditty and I'm dying to hear how it goes.

"Old Simon Buckheart,
Old Simon Buckheart,
Kept a full sale grocery;
He didn't have but two peck measures,
One held about a quart,
An' t'other didn't hold a pint by a jug full

Chorus: Rock Susanna, an' fare you well,
Fare you well, for I'm gwine away.



Frank Converse mentions it in his reminiscences, attributing it to Dan Emmett. I've seen it in several early songsters, where it is classified a "banjo solo." I think it may be of that mysterious genre known as "machine poetry," like "Oh, Ladies All" from Rice's Correct Method.

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The music to Rock Susanna (if it's the same item as your text) is found in S. S. Stewart's "The Complete American Banjo School", 1887, p. 34. It is in his section on "stroke" style playing, and Stewart attributes it to the black banjoist Horace Weston, but it must simply be Weston's arrangement of the piece.

Hans Nathan also prints this version in his book, "Dan Emmett" (1962), p. 490.

Hope this helps.
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Many thanks, James. I knew I had seen this somewhere, but I couldn't remember where.

I doubt this is the melody of the Emmett vocal tune of the ante-bellum era, but I have no proof of that. Either way, it's a jammin' little tune and we should all have some Horace Weston in our repper-twars.

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