Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

What are your preferred verses for Mary Blane? This is one of the most popular songs...and song "types" and thus has so many verses. They all deal with separation and lamentation, but I always dislike the one about the Indians taking her. I'll be curious to see what people like.

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Here is the one I use right now.

I once did love a yellow gal, I’ll tell you all her name

She come from old Virginny , and they call her Mary Blane


They’ve sung of charming Lucy Neale, they’ve sung of pretty Jane

But I will sing of one more fair, my own sweet Mary Blane


We lived together many years, and she was still the same

In joy and sorrow smiles and tears, I loved my Mary Blane


I was taken very sick one day, it give my Mary pain

Oh! Den I learned how kind she was, my own sweet Mary Blane


The doctor gave me medicine, but said ‘twas all in vain

He said that I must surely die, and leave my Mary Blane


Oh! Mary now before we part, come smile on me again

‘Tis you can ease this dying heart-my own sweet Mary Blane


Tim,  there were at least 8 published versions of Mary Blane, and two different melodies.  Here is the one I sing off the top of my head.  This is usually the exception where I often do use the N word in performance.  It seems appropriate in this context.


I once did know a yellow gal and took her for my wife

She come from Louisiana and I loved her as my life

We happ'ly lived together and she never caused me pain

But on one dark and dreary night I lost my Mary Blane


Oh Farewell, Farewell, Farewell poor Mary Blane,

One Faithful heart will think of you farewell poor Mary Blane

Oh Farewell, Farewell, Farewell poor Mary Blane,

One Faithful heart will think of you farewell poor Mary Blane


As I go in the woods at night a huntin' for some game

Someone did come to my old hut and stole my Mary Blane

Long time gone by it greives me much that no good tidin's came

I hunt the woods both night and day to find my Mary Blane



I often ask for Mary Blane my massa he did scold

And said you saucy n***** boy if you must know she's sold

If that's the case she cannot live through out this weary life

Oh, let me die and lay me by my poor heartbroken wife



Thanks John...I like those. I think the departure by selling is the message I would want in this tune. Couple it with Nelly Gray ....especially if you are including commentary in your performance.

Hi Tim ~ 

I've been looking into this one, too -- Bodleian Library (Oxford) lists several versions, including this intriguing adaptation for the Uncle Tom Show market

The same source also lists this interesting version, which pairs an Indian graphic with abduction by a "white man": 

~ M

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