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Slave lullaby? - Doan Ye Cry, Ma Honey

GUEST,Sally Burnell 30 Sep 10 - 08:17 AM
GUEST,Sally Burnell 30 Sep 10 - 02:13 PM
Crowhugger 30 Sep 10 - 03:01 PM
McGrath of Harlow 30 Sep 10 - 03:03 PM
Crowhugger 30 Sep 10 - 03:09 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 30 Sep 10 - 04:32 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 30 Sep 10 - 04:37 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 30 Sep 10 - 04:50 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 30 Sep 10 - 04:58 PM
Crowhugger 30 Sep 10 - 09:23 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 01 Oct 10 - 08:32 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 01 Oct 10 - 09:40 PM
GUEST,wobbleman 13 Aug 15 - 08:25 AM
GUEST,leeneia 13 Aug 15 - 01:32 PM
GUEST,mg 13 Aug 15 - 04:54 PM
GUEST,leeneia 14 Aug 15 - 09:34 AM
GUEST,Guest Kathy Wiles Re: Lullaby 26 Nov 16 - 05:20 PM
wysiwyg 27 Nov 16 - 02:01 PM
leeneia 28 Nov 16 - 11:18 AM
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Subject: Origins: A possible slave lullaby?
From: GUEST,Sally Burnell
Date: 30 Sep 10 - 08:17 AM

My T'ai Chi teacher sang me this song the other evening during our class. She knows that I am a song collector and this is a lullaby that her mother used to sing to her, that she in turn sang to her kids. She grew up in Delaware and she said that this song has been passed down through her family for many generations. Where her mother hails from, I do not know, but this lullaby implies that it might well have had its origins as a song sung by slaves. Does anybody recognize this song?

When I was a little baby,
I remember long ago
Daddy would sit all evenin' and play the old banjo
Momma, then would call me honey,
Take me up upon her knee and rocking me gently,
She'd sing this song to me.

Don't you cry my honey, don't you weep no more
Mammy only loves her baby
All the other po' folks a'sleeping on the floor
Mammy only loves her baby.

I'm trying to ascertain its origins, like where it comes from, how old it is and all that. If anyone's got any clues, I'd love to hear about it!

Thanks so much!
~Sally in Ohio


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Subject: RE: Origins: A possible slave lullaby?
From: GUEST,Sally Burnell
Date: 30 Sep 10 - 02:13 PM

This song was written by Albert W. Noll in 1899, originally titled "Doan Ye Cry Ma Honey", a song written by a white man in "black dialect". I managed to find the sheet music on the University of Mississippi web site, thanks to help from a ballad listserv I subscribe to. It was, apparently, written for a quartet of either men's, women's or mixed voices.

The song is full of what would, in this era, be considered "politically incorrect" language, but one must take into consideration the era in which it was written. I don't know if this was a vaudeville piece or what, but the back cover of the music I downloaded says, "Ebony Songs by Caleb Lacy", and listed are the following songs:

Nevah min', Miss Lucy
My Rose
I'll be Dar to Meet Yo'
Seen My Lady Home Las' Night
Git Up, Suke - Go 'Long!

These songs were written for piano accompaniment, also guitar, mandolin and banjo - ad libitum. The publisher is listed as the "Oliver Ditson Company" in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, London, Chicago.

I guess doing "black songs" in "dialect" was a favorite entertainment pastime back in those days, probably done for vaudeville performances.

~Sally in Ohio


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Subject: RE: Origins: A possible slave lullaby?
From: Crowhugger
Date: 30 Sep 10 - 03:01 PM

It's a similar content and style to parts of a verse and parts of the chorus to "Hush A Bye! Close You' Eye!" in the Levy collection (#105.072[1]).

Whaht folk a-pretendin' deys cullud sho' done paid dey bills back den.

The song I mention in the Levy sheet music collection is 1898, pub. by Witmark, also calling for mando & sundry strings according to the cover. But the arrangement is for piano and voice, so I'd say it's targeted to folk who could afford all of (a) a big enough home to fit a piano, (b) a piano, (c) sheet music, (d) lessons to read it. Dat be de whaht folk.

Did such music originate with a mammy singing to her baby? Perhaps; I'd guess that it's equally possible that mammy's singing was at most an inspiration, and that the end product bears little or no resemblance to what my grandfather would've heard at his mother's knee. Such music might nonetheless find its way into black culture even if created by the white music machine. In the same way that my mom sang "Curly-headed baby" to us kids.


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Subject: RE: Origins: A possible slave lullaby?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Sep 10 - 03:03 PM


The song is full of what would, in this era, be considered "politically incorrect" language,


If that's so presumably there must be other verses, since there's nothing in that one anyone could jib at.


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Subject: RE: Origins: A possible slave lullaby?
From: Crowhugger
Date: 30 Sep 10 - 03:09 PM

I noticed that too, McGrath. Maybe Sally will be back with more.


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Subject: Lyr. Add: Doan Ye Cry, Ma Honey (Noll)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 30 Sep 10 - 04:32 PM

The song was a popular parlor song, and sheet music is present in the Nat. Library of Australia, Duke University, English libraries, etc.

Lyr. Add: Doan Ye Cry, Ma Honey
Words and Music Albert W. Noll
1
Hm, hm, when I was a little baby,
I remember long ago
Daddy would sit all ebnin
An play de ole banjo
Mammy would den call me 'honey,'
Take me upon her knee,
And foldin' me to her bosom,
Would sing dis song to me,

Doan ye cry ma honey,
Doan ye weep no mo',
Mammy's gwine to hold her baby,
All de udder black trash
Sleepin' on de flo',
Mammy only lubs her boy.

Doan ye cry, ma honey, etc.
2
When I got emancipation,
Den I t'ought I'd like to roam,
I left de ole plantation
To find a northern home.
Soon I got ma dear ole Dinah
Den me pickaninny Jim,
And Dinah would hold him closely
And sing dis song to him.

Doan ye cry, ma honey,
Doan ye weep no mo',
All de udder black trash sleepin' on de flo',
Mammy only lubs her boy. etc.
3
Hm, hm, now Ise getting old and weary,
Now ma hair is turning gray,
I is so drefful lonely,
Since Dinah went away,
Mammy too I know is waitin',
Standin' on the shining sho',
I gladly would give ma freedom,
To hear her sing once mo'

Doan ye cry, ma honey, etc.


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Subject: RE: Origins: A possible slave lullaby?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 30 Sep 10 - 04:37 PM

I mis-typed and left ont a line of the chorus after the second verse, but I think the omission is obvious. The chorus is sung twice after each verse.
The song is typical of several written after emancipation.


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Subject: RE: Origins: A possible slave lullaby?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 30 Sep 10 - 04:50 PM

"Doan ye cry, ma Honey," was recorded by S. H. Dudley,, baritone, 1900, for Victor, Master A-22. In Canada, the Victor Master was Berliner (Canada) 243.

Caroll Clark, African-American, recorded the song for Columbia in 1909. He also recorded "Georgia Lullaby."


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Subject: RE: Origins: A possible slave lullaby?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 30 Sep 10 - 04:58 PM

The best recording, in my opinion, is the one by Paul Robson.
His CD, "The Voice of the Mississippi," has "Doan ye Cry,...." and 19 other popular songs, including "Shortnin' Bread," "Ole Man River" and "Swing, Low, Sweet Chariot."


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Subject: RE: Origins: A possible slave lullaby?
From: Crowhugger
Date: 30 Sep 10 - 09:23 PM

Thanks Q. Do you happen to know if Roland Hayes performed and/or recorded it?


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Subject: RE: Origins: A possible slave lullaby?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 01 Oct 10 - 08:32 PM

Can't find a Roland Hayes discography. The Smithsonian put out a 'selected' discography, but haven't seen it.
I found only two albums, one of spirituals, the other does not list the songs.


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Subject: RE: Origins: A possible slave lullaby?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 01 Oct 10 - 09:40 PM

Sally - of four postings to MC.

For decent research postings consult the Mudcat's FAQ

As a general rule, follow the bullet points of journalism; the most important segment is what YOU know as FACT:
What is the song? (First Line)
Where you were at the first encounter (Geographic global local)
Who? (The song singer and you)
When (Date - time - event)
Why/How (a little personal information why you were there)

Later you may add commentary - such as "Three reasons I believe this is of slave origins." (Irish, South African, Russian - what SORT of "slave" economic, society, feudal?)

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Origins: A possible slave lullaby?
From: GUEST,wobbleman
Date: 13 Aug 15 - 08:25 AM

My mother, who was born in 1917 and grew up on a farm in Georgia, used to sing this song to me.


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Subject: RE: Origins: A possible slave lullaby?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 13 Aug 15 - 01:32 PM

Crowhuggers remarks of September 30, 2010 about white folks being the people who owned pianos and took lessons are uninformed.

I'm not going to spend much time typing, but who hasn't heard of Scott Joplin and other ragtime composers and pianists?

Not only were there pianos and lessons for black Americans, there were entire music colleges.


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Subject: RE: Origins: A possible slave lullaby?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 13 Aug 15 - 04:54 PM

I have heard that all the pretty little horses is of african.american origin.


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Subject: RE: Slave lullaby? - Doan Ye Cry, Ma Honey
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 14 Aug 15 - 09:34 AM

I've read that too, mg.

Another lullabye that I've heard is A-Amer is "Hush, Little Baby, Don't say a Word." I like that one better, because it goes on for longer.


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Subject: RE: Slave lullaby? - Doan Ye Cry, Ma Honey
From: GUEST,Guest Kathy Wiles Re: Lullaby
Date: 26 Nov 16 - 05:20 PM

I am in my seventies and was sung this song as a baby. I in turn have sung it to my children and grandchildren. Strange, I also came from Ohio. Our 8th grandchild just arrived and I'm finding information on the lullaby curious. I always felt it was a slave song.


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Subject: RE: Slave lullaby? - Doan Ye Cry, Ma Honey
From: wysiwyg
Date: 27 Nov 16 - 02:01 PM

Thanks, Kathy! We have a whole index of these songs called "African American Spirituals Permathread." I think I might have missed this one.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Slave lullaby? - Doan Ye Cry, Ma Honey
From: leeneia
Date: 28 Nov 16 - 11:18 AM

I've googled Albert W. Noll, and there doesn't seem to be any biographical information. We don't know whether he was white, black or in-between, do we?


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