The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #54140   Message #3370381
Posted By: Gibb Sahib
01-Jul-12 - 04:49 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Dixie
Subject: RE: Origins: Dixie
Well, I don't have depth of knowledge to really judge the veracity of the claim, but if anything it is at least an interesting anecdote. It interests me personally, not because it necessarily proves anything about "Dixie," but because it adds to the idea that some minstrel songs were known or at least *believed* to be derived from Black worksongs--in the 1860s.

1869. ["Editorial Miscellany."] _Scott's Monthly Magazine_ 7(6): 478.

The Memphis Post gives the following as the origin of the now nationalized air of "Dixie:"

"In the first place, the song and chorus of 'Dixie,' was composed and arranged by Dan. Emmet, a member of a traveling minstrel party, who, while at Mobile in the winter of 1847-8, heard some negro laborers singing on the levee while loading a steamboat with cotton. The thought struck Dan. that, with a little change of measure, it could be made a good song 'walk around,' which generally winds up a negro minstrel concert. Dan. arranged it and produced it. It became a success, and was sung aud played all over the country by all the bands.

"In the spring of 1861, Mrs. John Wood came to New Orleans to play an engagement at the Varieties Theater. During the time, she appeared in Brougham's burlesque of Pocahontas. At the first rehearsal ot the piece everything went well till near the close of the second act; Tom McDonough (now agent for the Lefflngwell), the prompter, got up a Zouave march and drill by 22 ladies, led by Susan Deniu. Everything run smooth' but the music for the march could not be fixed upon. Carlo Patti was leader of the orchestra and he tried several marches, but none suited McDonough—one was too slow, another was too tame, another not enough spirit. At length Patti struck up the negro air of ' Dixie.' 'That will do, Patti—the very thing,' said Tom, and 'Dixie' was played, and the march gone through with, and the chorus by all the characters. At night it received a double encore, and Pocahontas had a 'run,' and from that time out the streets and parlors rang with 'Dixie.' The war broke out that spring, and the military bands took it up, and 'Dixie' became to the South what the Marseillaise Hyms was to the French. And that's how 'Dixie' became the popular war song of the South."