Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo


Is anyone familiar with a song called "Times and Fashion"?


I found a song sheet of verses referring to Kansas violence and the caning of Sumner, along with verses about William Walker and generally events/issues from the 1850s.

It is supposed to be sung to the tune of "Times and Fashion", which I cannot find.

It works with Old Dan Tucker but I would like to learn it to the tune suggested 155 years ago.

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I suppose this is the song sheet you're talking about?  I searched all the likely places, but found no air entitled "Times and Fashion."
Y'know, the guess of Dan Tucker for the air to this tune is a really good one, I think.  Especially the chorus, with its pause between "Yankee-dom!"  (Git out de way!).  Sometimes we have to give credit to the 'gut' instincts we have in this genre, as a result of the relentless research we do.

I have to think, (though I have not done a lot of testing) that Dan Tucker's phrasing makes it somewhat unique, and that not many songs can be adapted to fit it without some strain.  Perhaps this makes pondering what "Times and Fashion" sounded like more intriguing.  I've searched around, myself, for the melody with no success.

I'm sure you thought of sources which I did not.  Thank you for trying!

Hi Al,


Times and Fashion" can be found in The New Negro Forget-Me-Not Songster, published by U.P. James, Cincinnati, n.d.  This is apparently a collection of songs sung by the Sable Harmonists.  The songbook gives the name of the song as "Matters and Wonders of 1845" and the song's author as Silas Steele.  But as you'll see from the link, this is clearly "Times and Fashion."  And, yes, the tune is "Old Dan Tucker."



Thank you, Bob.........I am slightly confused, however, I don't see any reference to "Matters and Wonders of 1845" or "Times and Fashion".  What am I missing?  Maybe I need to take a closer look......or glasses.

Hi Al,


Were you able to download the pdf file for "The New Negro Forget-Me-Not Songster?"  The page numbers are kind of hard to read, but the song "Matters and Wonders of 1845" is, I think, on page 33 toward the end of the book.  If that doesn't work, I'll tell you how to find the reference in Google Books.  One of the archivists over the the Smithsonian says that I have excellent "Google-fu." 




Yes, I found it this time.  Seems as though there are two collections there and I didn't realize to look for the second of the two.  I cannot imagine how you found that!

Thanks, again.

Good Google-fu, I guess!

Just amazing.  Your hunch was right on target, Al.


I might use this 1845 version at Fort Scott, Ks this fall for some Mex War events.  Thank you for sleuthing it out, Bob.


Say, when you find these Minstrel Songsters in Google Books, please link them up here.  Maybe we could have a special area for that?  I know quite a few of us are always on the lookout for new material like this.


Hi Carl,


I'll keep an eye out for more such material.  I've been researching a long-forgotten 19th-century theatrical figure named Professor Risley for several years now and have gotten pretty good at rooting out obscure bits and pieces of early Americana.  It's amazing what's currently available on the web in terms of digitized newspapers, periodicals, genealogies, sheet music, and other resources on 19th-century popular culture.  I'm looking forward to retirement in a couple of years so that I can put more time into my research interests.  Meanwhile, I'm enjoying the Minstrel Banjo ning very much! 



Carl, I just did a program about the lead-up to the Civil War, 1820-1861, which included abbreviated verses of 24 songs, including a few on the Mexican War.  I'm certain you have these already, but if not, let me know.

-Eight Dollars a Day

-Uncle Sam and Mexico

*Remember the Alamo!

-Oregon and Texas

-We're the Boys for Mexico

*Maid of Monterey

*Buena Vista

I didn't use the asterisked ones.  Also, the "Rough & Ready Songster", 1848, is online last I knew.  There would undoubtedly be more in there.  Also, the "Rough & Ready Polka" is a good one but doesn't seem to easily adapt to the banjo.  I'd be interested in any gems you find that I haven't listed!

Thanks for sharing those two.  This is something that I'm always looking for.  Songs that reflect the historical perspectives of the times.

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