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rich r Origin: Jimmy Crack Corn and I Don't Care (33) RE: Jimmy Crack Corn and I Don't Care 23 Apr 99

The 1846 sheet music published by F D Benteen of Baltimore has on the first page:

The Virginia Minstrels, No. 5 "Jim Crack Corn" or the Blue Tail Fly.

In March of 1843 in Boston four men calling themselves The Virginia Minstrels gave what may have been the first "minstrel" show, a format that gained great popularity. The band quickly became very popular and even toured England. They broke up late in 1844. The band members were Richard Pelham on tambourine, William Whitlock on banjo, Frank Brower on bones and Dan Emmett on fiddle and banjo. The original show included a new song called "Old Dan Tucker". "De Blue Tail Fly" was apparently used by the Virginia Minstrels and the first published version was by Keith's of Boston in 1844 as part of "Old Dan Emmit's Original Banjo Melodies (second series)". Whether Emmett wrote the tune is uincertain, but that tune was decidely different from the 1846 published version for which no composer is listed. Similarly the chorus and the "jim crack corn I don't care..." line are found in the 1846 version but not in the 1844. The 1844 version had 10 verses, the 1846 only 7 verses that were virtually identical to verses 3-9 of the earlier publication. Who added the chorus is not known. Since the Virginia Minstrels disbanded in 1844 it is quite possible they never used the 1846 format and the publisher was just trying to cash in on their popularity while at the same time avoiding the previous copyright. The song became President Lincoln's favorite minstrel tune and he is said to have called it "that buzzing song".

rich r

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