The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #117312 Message #3025141
Posted By: GUEST,David Fletcher
06-Nov-10 - 11:37 AM
Thread Name: Origins: Ginny's Gone to Ohio/Ginny's Gone Away
Subject: RE: Origins: Ginny's Gone to Ohio/Ginny's Gone Away
I've been doing some research on this song. I believe it was originally a sea shanty brought over from England on the slave ships of the 1700's and ended up as a slave rowing song sung in the islands off the coast of Georgia, in particular St. Simon's island. First documented in 1839. The original lyrics were " Jenny shake her toe at me, Jenny's gone away, Jenny her to at me, Jenny's gone away, Jenny's gone away, Hurrah!Miss Susy, oh! Jenny gone away." But there is more to this. Jenny shake her toe at me is connected to what is known as "todalo" a euphanism for sexual promiscuity, and notice how Miss Susy,oh and Ohio, and todalo all match nicely. This song , I believe, moved into the Appachians as a work song and of course the lyrics changed. Peggy Seeger refers to the song coming from NC where it was learned from black singers. There you have it.