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Lyr Req: Mystery of the Dunbar's Child (R Brown)

GUEST,Kevin Cole 04 Feb 00 - 04:17 PM
Stewie 04 Feb 00 - 07:05 PM
Lonesome Dave 04 Feb 00 - 07:42 PM
GUEST,Kevin Cole 07 Feb 00 - 09:41 AM
Stewie 07 Feb 00 - 05:54 PM
Jim Dixon 21 Oct 09 - 09:54 AM
Jim Dixon 21 Oct 09 - 10:18 AM
Jim Dixon 21 Oct 09 - 10:54 AM
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Subject: Rabbit Brown - Dunbar's Child
From: GUEST,Kevin Cole
Date: 04 Feb 00 - 04:17 PM

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am looking for the lyrics to (and potentially an electronic version of) Rabbit Brown's 'The Mystery of the Dunbar's Child.' Interestingly, my grandfather is the child that is spoken of in the song, and my family just became aware of it. I have searched a number of places, but cannot seem to find either (closest I can come is the James Alley blues).

If anyone can point me in the direction of either, please post, or let me know at KCole@linkage-inc.com

Thank you,

Kevin Cole


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rabbit Brown - Dunbar's Child
From: Stewie
Date: 04 Feb 00 - 07:05 PM

Kevin,

The recording was reissued on an LP in the Matchbox Bluesmaster Series: 'Country Blues - The First Generation Papa Harvey Hull & Long Cleve Reed, Richard 'Rabbit Brown' Complete Recordings' Matchbox MSE 201. It may be difficult to come by now. The address for Matchbox Records was (is?): Matchbox Records The Barton, Innglestone Common, Badminton Glos GL9 1BX England (Tel 045-424-266). If you have no joy, I would be willing to have a go at a transcription - he's quite difficult to transcribe - or to send you a tape.

Cheers, Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rabbit Brown - Dunbar's Child
From: Lonesome Dave
Date: 04 Feb 00 - 07:42 PM

All of Browns' recordings are on Document 503. There is a very interesting article on Brown at www.bluesworld.com


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rabbit Brown - Dunbar's Child
From: GUEST,Kevin Cole
Date: 07 Feb 00 - 09:41 AM

My apologies, Lonesome Dave, but I don't understand what you mean by 'Document 503.' Could you explain please?

Thanks!

Kevin

PS Thanks to you too Stewie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Rabbit Brown - Dunbar's Child
From: Stewie
Date: 07 Feb 00 - 05:54 PM

Kevin, in case Lonesome Dave does not return to this thread, I'll answer your question. Document is an Austrian record label that is owned by Johnny Parth who has reissued just about every pre-war blues and gospel 78. I should have thought of that too in relation to your question, but it slipped my mind. He has now started reissuing old-timey 78s as well. You should be able to obtain Document CDs via CDNOW and specialist blues shops. CAMSCO may be able to get it for you. If you want to write direct, the address is Johnny Parth Eipeldauerstr. 23/43/5 A-1220 Vienna, Austria.

Regards, Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mystery of the Dunbar's Child (R Brown)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 21 Oct 09 - 09:54 AM

From Songsters and Saints: Vocal Traditions on Race Records by Paul Oliver (Cambridge [UK]: Cambridge University Press, 1984), page 246:

One ballad among those recorded stands apart, Mystery of the Dunbar's Child performed by Richard "Rabbit" Brown, a songster born before 1890, in the James Alley turpentine distillery district of New Orleans. To a a resonant guitar accompaniment he described in his deep and gritty voice a kidnapping which took place at a country picnic on a local lake resort at Opelousas, Louisiana in August 1912. Two local children, Bobby and Conrad Dunbar wandered away from the function, Conrad eventually returning alone:
    Y'know they searched and searched for miles around, almost the whole night long.
    No one couldn't imagine where poor Bobby Dunbar's gone.
    So they drag the lake and they dynamite almost the whole next day
    Until someone had suspicion some kidnapper taken Bobby away.
The Dunbar parents were agonized by the loss of their child—
    For months and months they looked and listened to hear something of their boy,
    And at last they heard about Walter's child that he called his pride and joy.
    They were summoned to Hub, Mississippi—you know that little country town—
    And everyone shouted out with joy so glad that Bobby had been found.
Walter was taken to Opelousas jail, protesting his innocence: "If I could see the Governor face to face I'm sure he would set me free." He hoped to find his erstwhile wife to prove the child was hers. "I pray she's not dead; you can picture their resemblance, from his feet up to his head." But,
    The jurymen found him guilty and the clerk he wrote it down.
    The judge passed the sentence. Penitentiary he was bound.
    He was brought for safe keeping to dear old New Orleans.
    There he appealed for a new trial through the Court of Supreme.
Eventually, said Rabbit Brown, fifteen years later, "I'm glad to tell you all that Walter is now a free man"; one whom, it may be assumed from the transfer to New Orleans for "safe keeping", was fortunate to escape a lynching.

Mystery of the Dunbar's Child was singular in that no other ballad on the subject has been collected either in the field or recorded by another singer.


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Subject: Lyr Req: MYSTERY OF THE DUNBAR CHILD (R Brown)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 21 Oct 09 - 10:18 AM

Lyrics copied from http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendId=101995820&blogId=158027365 – and corrected somewhat by me based on the above quotes and my own hearing of a couple of sound samples:


THE MYSTERY OF THE DUNBAR CHILD
Richard "Rabbit" Brown

(It was in the) month of August in the year of 1912
The kidnapping of the Dunbar's Child that was a mystery sad to tell.
It was down on Lake Swayze on a warm and sunny day.
Everyone was enjoying happiness at a pic-a-nic gave that day.

You know the two children they wandered off, Bobby and Conrad alone.
When the returning of the other child, he just said, "Oh, Bobby's gone."
Where did little Bobby go? Everyone liked to know.
And they all started searching Opelousas and along Lake Swayze's shore.

You know they searched and searched for miles around, almost the whole night long.
No one couldn't imagine where poor Bobby Dunbar's gone.
Well, they dragged the lake and they dynamite almost the whole next day
Until someone had suspicion that some kidnapper taken Bobby away.

A reward was then offered to see if Bobby could be found.
Everyone joined in the search, you know, in and out the town.
No one heard of anything, you know, about that missing child.
The father and mother of the Dunbar child it drove them almost wild.

For months and months they look and listen to hear something of their boy,
And at last they heard about Walter's child, that he called his pride and joy.
They were summoned to Hub, Mississippi—you know, that little country town—
And everyone shouted out with joy, so glad Bobby had been found.

You know that he was taken in custody, given to the Dunbar brave and bold.
But the Dunbars' ... tale to tell: "That's my child that Walter stole."
Oh, Walter was taken to prison and he was placed in and Opelousas jail,
And he was charged for kidnapping (without any put up) bail.

He says "I'm an innocent man, and believe a wretch like me.
If I could see the Governor face to face, I am sure he would set me free.
Julia Anderson has proved his mother and I pray she's not dead.
You can picture their resemblance from his feet up to his head."

Oh, the jurymen found him guilty and the clerk wrote it down.
The judge he passed the sentence. Penitentiary he was bound.
He was brought for safe keeping to dear old New Orleans.
There he appealed for a new trial for the Court of Supreme.

He said, "I know God wouldn't have me punished for a crime that I didn't do.
I hope and trust each and everyone someday find out that I'm true.
Prosperity for New Orleans and also justice...."
Oh, I am glad to tell you that Walter is now a free man.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mystery of the Dunbar's Child (R Brown)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 21 Oct 09 - 10:54 AM

Some background to the story: Bobby Dunbar at Wikipedia.


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