The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #54140 Message #886158
Posted By: Frankham
09-Feb-03 - 01:28 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Dixie
Subject: RE: Origins: Dixie
This is a very informative thread. Unfortunately not conclusive but based on speculation of scholars. There is a tendency on the part of every scholar seeking origins of songs to attribute them to the authorship of a single person(s). The problem with this is that if you look at the copyright rolls of the Harry Fox Agency or any other official record of ownership, you find that lots of people have claimed authorship and whether they actually wrote the songs will be questionable. It goes along with the "fakelore-folklore" discussion.
There were many versions of "Dixey's Land" which quickly went into aural transmission. Who is really sure where Emmett got it? As Karen Lin mentions in her book, "The Half -Barbaric Twang", there was a propensity for Northern white mintrel show entertainers to take excursions into black communities and "study" the songs and dances to be used commercially. Emmett himself may never have traveled South beyond Cincinnatti but the practice could be done in any black neighborhood in the early days.
You may find a first printed page of a folk song but not necessarilly a beginning origin.