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Lyr Add: Minstrel Coonjine Songs

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GUEST,Phil d'Conch 19 Jul 17 - 01:47 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 19 Jul 17 - 02:01 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 19 Jul 17 - 02:03 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 22 Jun 18 - 10:36 PM
GUEST,henryp 23 Jun 18 - 04:30 AM
GUEST,henryp 25 Jun 18 - 06:04 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: Minstrel Coonjine Songs
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 19 Jul 17 - 01:47 AM

There is a serious thread dedicated to 'authentic' riparian roustabout songs here:

Steamboat coonjine songs

The only riverboats this thread's coongines ever saw were showboats and those didn't even have an engine.

Written for the Chief.

Jim Shine's ole 'ooman kin scrape a heap er cotton,
Tom Porter's she kin shuck a sight of corn,
And Duncan's lead de row when de cane am feelin so,
But dey can't fling dar footses wuf a gorn,

Dat ar Emma slings a hoe wif a mighty nimble twis.
Malinda knocks de wadden outer Jane,
Ole Dinah makes dem scratch when dey jump de cotton patch,
But dey can't shook dar footses all the same.

But Becky – niggers, hush! She's de bossest of dem all –
Cook de possum, roas' de coon and bake de yam,
An my mouf it allers waters when I lands about the quarters,
Till it hits the somewhar dat my Becky am.

She's the coongine little niggar what can slap her 'leven foots.
When Jim Lampton wacks his fiddle inter chune,
She can sling the dubble-shuffle an' never muss a ruffle,
Or jump Jim Crow wid any in the room.

On er Sunday gwine to church she am almagorgeousdrest,
An dem dudy coons about dar dat she meets,
Say, "Hayar come de dandy pat, lemme gin yer tip on dat.
Who am just chuck full of music in her feets."

But fore long Unk Ander Green gwine'r git the job agin
For to pour our troubles out de sinners' cup.
An jine us bofe in one; yas, I gwine'r hab it done
'Fore does footses gits dem niggers tangled up.

The Donaldsonville (LA) Chief, 11 April 1885, p1
"Tommy J." is most likely Master Tommy J. Peel of Campbell's Minstrels

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Minstrel Coonjine Songs
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 19 Jul 17 - 02:01 AM

Truth, the only reason I stared this thread is M.E.M. Davis didn't belong in the other one. More pop-lit than minstrel and more 'authentic' than a lot of period stuff you'll read.

In Acadian-Creole:
Throw Wanga (Ouanga) – Practice of Vodou via charms and totems.
Zizi – Pet name for Désirée, Desirae, Desiderata (desire.)
Buckra – (Mbakara) – Euro-American "Establishment" and/or, depending on one's politic, "Satan incarnate."
Tignon – Turban class warfare.


SHRILL over the dark blue Ponchatrain
It comes and goes, the weird refrain,
Wanga! wanga!

The trackless swamp is quick with cries
Of noisome things that dip and rise
On night-grown wings; and in the deep
Dark pools the monstrous forms that sleep
Inert by day uplift their heads.
The zela flower its poison sheds
Upon the warm and languorous air;
The lak-vine weaves its noxious snare;
The wide palmetto leaves are stirred
By venomed breathing, faintly heard
Across the still, star-lighted night.

Her lonely spice-fed fire, alight
Upon the black swamp's utmost rim,
Now spreads and flares, now smolders dim;
And at her feet they curl and break,
The dark blue waters of the lake.

Her arms are wild above her head –
Old withered arms, whose charm has fled.

Zizi, Creole Zizi
You is slim an' straight ez a saplin'
Dat grows by de bayou's aidge;
You is brown an' sleek ez a young Bob White
Whar hides in de yaller sedge.

Yo' eyes is black an' shiny,
An' quick ez de lightnin' flash;
You wuz bawn in de time er freedom,
An' never felt de lash.
– Me, I kin th'ow wanga!

Her dusky face is wracked and seamed,
That once like ebon marble gleamed.

Zizi, Creole Zizi,
You is spry on yo' foot ez de jay bird
Whar totes de debble his san';
You, kin tole de buckra to yo' side
By de turnin' o' yo' han'.

Yo' ways is sweet ez de sugar
You puts in yo' pralines,
When de orange flower on de banquette draps
An' de pistache-nut is green.
– Me, I kin th'ow wanga!

Her knotted shoulders, brown and bare,
The deathless scars of slavehood wear.

Zizi, Creole Zizi,
Yon is crope lak a thieft to de do'-yard
When de moon wuz shinin' high,
An you stole de ole man' heart erway
Wid de laughin' in yo' eye.

My ole man! – de chillun's daddy!
We is hoed de cotton row
An' shucked de corn-shuck side by side
Fer forty year an' mo'!
– Me, I kin th'ow wanga!

The flames that leap about her feet
Burn with perfume strange and sweet.

Zizi, Creole Zizi,
Twis' yo'se'f in de coonjine
Lak a moccasin in de slime;
Twis, yo'se'f when de fiddle talks
Fer de las' endurin' time.

Den was'e ter de bone in de midnight,
In de mawnin' was'e erway;
Bu'n wid heat in de winter-time
An' shiver de hottes' day –
Wanga! wanga!

Ouder yo' fla'ntin' tignon
De red-hot beetle crawl,
Wid de claws dat sco'ch inter de meat,
An mek de blood-draps fall!

Over yo'bed de screech-owl
In de midnight screech an' cry!
Den kiver yo' head, Creole Zizi –
Den kiver yo' head an' die –
Wanga! wanga!

Her voice is hushed, she crouches low
Above the embers' flickering glow.
The swamp-wind wakes, and many a thing
Unamed flits by on furry wing;
They brush her cheeks unfelt; she hears
The far-off songs of other years.

Her eyes grow tender as she sways
And croons above the dying blaze.

Oh, de cabin at de quarter in de old plantation days,
Wid de garden patch behin' it an' de gode-vine by de do',
An' de do'yard sot wid roses, whar de chillun runs and plays,
An de streak o' sunshine, yaller lak, er-slantin' on de flo'!

We wuz young an' lakly niggers when de ole man fotch me home.
Ole Mis' she gin de weddin', an' young Mis' she dress de bride!
He say he gwinter love me twel de time o' kingdom come,
An' forty year an' uperds we is trabble side by side!

But ole Mars' wuz killed at Shiloh, an' young Mars at Wilderness;
Ole Mis' is in de graveyard, wid young Mis' by her side,
An' all er we-alls fambly is scattered eas' an' wes',
An' de gode-vine by de cabin do' an' de' roses all has died!
My chillun dey is scattered too, an' some is onder gronn'.
Hit wuz forty year an' uperds we is trabble, him and me!
Ole Mis', whar is de glory o' de freedom I is foun'?
De ole man he is lef me fer de young eyes o' Zizi!

Her arms are wild above her head,
The softness from her voice has fled.

Zizi, Creole Zizi,
Twis' yo'se'f in de coonjine
Lak a moccasin in de slime;
Kunjur de ole man wid yo' eye
Fer de las' endurin' time!

Den cry an' mo'n in de mawnin',
In de midnight mo'n an' cry,
Twel de debble has you, han' an' foot,
Den stretch yo'se'f an' die! –
Wanga! wanga!

(M.E.M. Davis, Harper's Weekly, 20 July 1889)

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Minstrel Coonjine Songs
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 19 Jul 17 - 02:03 AM

Mollie Evelyn Moore (M.E.M.) Davis (1852-1909)

One of my favoritest Southeren 'Good 'ol Gals.' Not sure she actually coined the "Six Flags" theme but she sure made it work (fyi: Spain, France, Mexico, Texas, U.S.A., C.S.A..)

Under Six Flags: The story of Texas (Boston: Ginn & Co., 1897)

The Wire Cutters is ranchers-v-farmers and a fine prelude to Edna Ferber's Giant.

The Wire Cutters [a novel], (Boston, New York: Houghton, Mifflin, 1899)

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Minstrel Coonjine Songs
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 22 Jun 18 - 10:36 PM

It's that time of the year again. Kalenda.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Minstrel Coonjine Songs
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 23 Jun 18 - 04:30 AM

Rolling to Cairo Town (Roustabout Song) by Dillon Bustin

I'm rolling, flowing, around these hills
I must take a rest, but this river never will
Rolling, flowing, to Cairo Town
Just give me time to lay me down

I load all of this freight by bale and by sack
I slow coonjine the plank, I fast coonjine it back
A hundred eighty pounds a bale, a hundred ninety pounds a sack
Two hundred pounds'd break your back

Copyright Moonbow Music
Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Minstrel Coonjine Songs
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 25 Jun 18 - 06:04 PM

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Hold the Woodpile Down
From: GUEST,harpgirl Date: 28 May 07 - 11:45 PM

I believe this is a "coonjine" song which thus implies it was a riverboat song sung to make the work of loading steamboats more efficient, less tedious, and as a balancing song while walking the planks. Now I guess I'll have to provide references.

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