For enthusiasts of early banjo
Commonly found as an instrumental in the Briggs' banjo Instructor of 1855. It's main popularity was it's presence in the early Minstrel shows. My interludes are directly from the Briggs' book.
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Enjoyed your version very much.
I've been playing around with Alabama Joe (musically, that is) for some time, now, and have been trying to track down the tune's origin. Unless my ears deceive me, I think I found it. I followed some internet links and discovered that the original is Cornish.
Link #1: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alabama_Joe
Link #2 and a quote from it: http://www.brycchancarey.com/places/cornwall/songs.htm
"Trelawny: The correct title of this song is: 'The Song of the Western Men'. Most of it was written in 1825 by R.S. Hawker (1804-1875), the celebrated 'Vicar of Morwenstow'. He extrapolated the song from the well-known Cornish proverb:
And shall Trelawny die? Here's twenty thousand Cornish menWill know the reason why!
The Trelawny in question was Sir Jonathan Trelawny, Bishop of Bristol, one of seven bishops imprisoned in the Tower of London by James II in 1687. The Cornish, staunchly Catholic at the time of the Reformation, had now turned staunchly Protestant and were vocal in his defence - although the threatened rebellion failed to materialise. Many people have erroneously supposed the song to be ancient, among them, Sir Walter Scott, Lord Macaulay, and Charles Dickens.
Link #3: The Original lyrics: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Song_of_the_Western_Men#Lyrics
Link #4: The original song itself: www.rogerj.co.uk/audio/trelaw.ram
Does anyone have more information beyond what I've found?
RE: Alabama Joe
Here's another Youtube video of the original of what became Alabama Joe on the the minstrel stage.
Pretty neat, Dan.
The singer's guitar backup sounds like my son's concertina backup notes - my son plays guitar too. I can imagine this song on a cello and violin. Well....now Alabama Joe is Majestic Joe.
What a great find...thanks! So linked to Europe much of the time.
....which makes me think of what Mrs. Twiss was telling me...that minor chords USED to sound majestic, not meant to be sorrowful.
Wow Tim, we almost banged heads in cyberspace. That was close.
It seems that SO much of the time, there is a European root to most of the early Minstrel melodies...if one can dig deep enough. This one and Ethiopian Cracovienne have been especially delightful to uncover.
In banjo and modern "folk" music, when I hear (or hear, through the melody, the implied) G to Em, or C to Am chord change, I always think of the Brits. When I hear the A major to G major change I think of bagpipes, Old Joe Clark, Celtic and Appalachian. In minstrel banjo music, there's not much of the latter is there?
That's pretty amazing, Dan.
What was your source for the Alabama Joe lyrics in your video?
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