The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #5338   Message #2131417
Posted By: Q (Frank Staplin)
22-Aug-07 - 04:45 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Old Shady
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Shady
"Ole Shady" composed by Benjamin Russel Hanby, c. 1861.
The following is the original sheet music, 4pp., c. 1861.

Lyr. Add: OLE SHADY or the Song of the Contraband
B. R. Hanby c. 1861

1.
Oh yah! yah! darkies, laugh wid me,
For de white folks say Ole Shady's free,
So don't you see dat de jubilee
Is a coming, coming,
Hail mighty day!

Chorus.
Den away, away, for I can't wait any longer,
Hooray, hooray, I'm going home.
Den away, away, for I can't wait any longer,
Hooray, hooray, I'm going home.

2.
Oh Mass' got scared and so did his lady
Dis chile breaks for Ole Uncle Aby,
"Open de gates out here's Ole Shady a coming, coming,"
Hail mighty day.

Chorus.

3.
Good bye Mass' Jeff, good bye Mis'r Stephens,
'Scuse dis niggah for takin his leavins,
'Spect pretty soon you'll hear
Uncle Abram's coming, coming,
Hail mighty day.

Chorus.

4.
Good bye hard work wid never any pay,
Ise a gwine up North where the good folks say,
Dat white wheat bread and a dollar a day
Are coming, coming,
Hail, mighty day.

Chorus.

5.
Oh, I've got a wife, and I've got a baby,
Living up yonder in Lower Canady,*
Won't dey laugh when dey see Ole Shady,
(A) Coming, coming,
Hail mighty day.

Chorus.
*Canada.
The sheet music cover has a dedication to Maj. Gen. Benj. F. Butler.
Published by Oliver Ditson & Co., "by the author of 'Darling Nellie Gray'," but author's name not cited.
Sheet music at American Memory.

A fire destroyed many of the Oliver Ditson records; Hanby's authorship was lost and not established until later. In 1882, Oliver Ditson published "Minstrel Songs Old and New," including the sheet music, pp. 24-26, but with a few slight differences. Reference to "Darling Nellie Gray" was removed, and in verse 5, 'A' was inserted before 'coming, coming.' No author cited.

In 1864, sheet music to "Old Shady," "song of the Mississippi Contrabands," was published by S. T. Gordon, New York, with the statement "Composed by David A. Warden" (Levy has copy).
Whether the recruiting song sheet (Jim Dixon, above) came first or later, I don't know.
The lyrics of the sheet music are somewhat different from those of the recruiting song sheet.

Lyr. Add: OLD SHADY, Contraband Song and Chorus
Composed by David A. Warden, 1864

OLD SHADY THE CONTRABAND

Oh! ya, ya, darkies, laugh away wid me,
De white folks say ole Shady am free,
Don't you see dat the jubilee,
Am coming, coming.
Hail! mighty day.

Chorus.
Away, den away for I can't stay any longer,
Hurrah! boys, hurrah!
for I am going home.

2.
Massa got scared and so did his lady
Dis chile broke loose for ole uncle Aby,
Open de gate for here's ole Shady
Coming, coming, coming, hail! mighty day.

Chorus.

3.
Good bye Massa Jeff, good bye Missus Stevens!
Scuse did nigger for taking his leavins;
Spec, pretty soon, you'll see uncle Aby
Coming, coming, coming, hail glorious day!

Chorus.

4.
Good bye hard work! and neber any pay,
I'm goin North, where de white folks stay;
White wheat bread, and Greenbacks ebery day,
Coming, coming, coming, Hail, mighty day!

Chorus.

5.
I've got a wife, and she's got a baby,
Way up North in Lower Canady,
Wont dey scream! when dey see ole Shady!
Coming, coming, coming, Hail mighty day!

Chorus.

On the cover of the sheet music held by Levy, a somewhat different 3rd verse:

Good bye Massa Jeff, Good bye Missus Stevens,
'Scuse dis nigger fur taken his leavens
Spec' you'll see your friend Uncle Aby
Afore I 'ribe in lower Canady.

Sheet music published by S. T. Gordon, New York, 3pp., dated 1864 by Levy.

General Sherman knew the song and published comments about it in "North American Review," Oct. 1888. Later, he corresponded with the author's wife, Mrs. Hanby, concerning authorship of the song and a character named "Old Shady" whom some thought was the 'Ole Shady' of the song.

I will post excerpts from Gen. Sherman's article and letter later.