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Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon

In Mudcat MIDIs:
My Pretty Quadroon (Full) [Mrs. Mary Dodge, 1863]
My Pretty Quadroon (Lead) [Mrs. Mary Dodge, 1863]


GUEST,Frankie 05 Mar 00 - 10:30 AM
Amos 05 Mar 00 - 10:41 AM
GUEST,Gene 05 Mar 00 - 12:17 PM
Dale Rose 05 Mar 00 - 01:05 PM
kendall 05 Mar 00 - 01:31 PM
Amos 05 Mar 00 - 01:38 PM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Mar 00 - 01:45 PM
Sandy Paton 05 Mar 00 - 06:07 PM
kendall 05 Mar 00 - 07:44 PM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Mar 00 - 08:31 PM
Sandy Paton 05 Mar 00 - 08:38 PM
kendall 06 Mar 00 - 09:11 AM
Amos 06 Mar 00 - 09:29 AM
M. Ted (inactive) 06 Mar 00 - 01:53 PM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Mar 00 - 07:11 PM
Dale Rose 06 Mar 00 - 07:30 PM
GUEST 06 Mar 00 - 08:57 PM
GUEST,Frankie 06 Mar 00 - 11:00 PM
harpgirl 07 Mar 00 - 08:45 AM
kendall 07 Mar 00 - 09:03 AM
GUEST,Gene 07 Mar 00 - 04:34 PM
kendall 07 Mar 00 - 08:08 PM
GUEST,Gene 08 Mar 00 - 12:15 AM
kendall 08 Mar 00 - 08:20 AM
GUEST,Frankie 08 Mar 00 - 05:48 PM
McGrath of Harlow 08 Mar 00 - 07:49 PM
kendall 09 Mar 00 - 08:37 AM
harpgirl 10 Mar 00 - 11:06 PM
kendall 11 Mar 00 - 03:16 PM
GUEST,califanotd 13 Mar 03 - 08:08 PM
GUEST,califanotd 13 Mar 03 - 08:21 PM
masato sakurai 13 Mar 03 - 08:54 PM
masato sakurai 13 Mar 03 - 08:58 PM
GUEST,Q 13 Mar 03 - 09:42 PM
masato sakurai 14 Mar 03 - 03:28 AM
open mike 14 Mar 03 - 03:49 AM
greg stephens 14 Mar 03 - 06:14 AM
Genie 14 Mar 03 - 11:21 PM
GUEST,Q 14 Mar 03 - 11:42 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 18 Oct 06 - 10:58 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 19 Oct 06 - 12:53 AM
Goose Gander 19 Oct 06 - 01:27 AM
kendall 19 Oct 06 - 09:57 AM
Goose Gander 19 Oct 06 - 12:18 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 19 Oct 06 - 10:25 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 20 Oct 06 - 12:54 AM
kendall 20 Oct 06 - 10:37 AM
Goose Gander 20 Oct 06 - 10:43 AM
GUEST,Bernie 20 Oct 06 - 05:02 PM
Jim Dixon 22 Oct 06 - 07:23 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 22 Oct 06 - 07:46 PM
kendall 22 Oct 06 - 09:00 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 20 Nov 06 - 06:01 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 20 Nov 06 - 08:16 PM
GUEST,memyself 20 Nov 06 - 08:38 PM
NOMADMan 20 Nov 06 - 09:29 PM
GUEST 20 Nov 06 - 09:37 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 20 Nov 06 - 10:32 PM
kendall 21 Nov 06 - 08:43 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 21 Nov 06 - 09:21 PM
GUEST,john t 24 May 08 - 03:34 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 24 May 08 - 07:38 PM
kendall 24 May 08 - 07:41 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 24 May 08 - 09:23 PM
Azizi 25 May 08 - 12:23 AM
Azizi 25 May 08 - 12:32 AM
GEST 25 May 08 - 10:36 AM
GUEST,john t 25 May 08 - 11:44 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 25 May 08 - 01:41 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 25 May 08 - 03:13 PM
Goose Gander 28 Nov 08 - 11:24 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 29 Nov 08 - 12:58 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 29 Nov 08 - 09:53 PM
GUEST 03 Jun 10 - 10:58 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 03 Jun 10 - 11:03 PM
Artful Codger 04 Jun 10 - 01:20 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 04 Jun 10 - 02:25 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 04 Jun 10 - 02:36 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 05 Jun 10 - 08:48 PM
Artful Codger 06 Jun 10 - 03:16 AM
Charley Noble 06 Jun 10 - 10:36 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 06 Jun 10 - 01:41 PM
Artful Codger 06 Jun 10 - 08:39 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 06 Jun 10 - 08:52 PM
Artful Codger 06 Jun 10 - 10:08 PM
Jim Dixon 11 Jun 10 - 12:56 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 11 Jun 10 - 01:11 PM
Artful Codger 11 Jun 10 - 02:45 PM
GUEST,Q as guest 11 Jun 10 - 03:33 PM
kendall 11 Jun 10 - 07:30 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 15 Jul 10 - 03:38 PM
GUEST,DWR 15 Jul 10 - 04:23 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 15 Jul 10 - 04:26 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 15 Jul 10 - 04:39 PM
Amos 15 Jul 10 - 06:28 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 15 Jul 10 - 09:26 PM
Amos 16 Jul 10 - 01:35 AM
Goose Gander 16 Jul 10 - 03:25 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 16 Jul 10 - 12:59 PM
Amos 16 Jul 10 - 05:50 PM
kendall 16 Jul 10 - 07:47 PM
Amos 16 Jul 10 - 10:56 PM
Artful Codger 17 Jul 10 - 12:05 AM
Joe Offer 17 Jul 10 - 02:30 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 17 Jul 10 - 04:56 PM
GUEST,inch_worm 30 Aug 10 - 12:50 PM
Lighter 04 Dec 18 - 09:50 PM
Jim Dixon 05 Dec 18 - 07:52 PM
Jim Dixon 05 Dec 18 - 08:08 PM
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Subject: My Pretty Quadroon
From: GUEST,Frankie
Date: 05 Mar 00 - 10:30 AM

I don't know anything about this one other than what I think is the title. I'm not sure of the nature of the lyrical content, could be virulently racist for all I know (an old fellow in a nursing home asked me to track it down). Thanks,

Frankie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Amos
Date: 05 Mar 00 - 10:41 AM

My heart's like the strings of a bankoo
All broke by my pretty quadroon

...is the only couplet to this song I have ever learned. I have no idea if it has other words, verses, or a proper tune. I learned this from the mouth, believe it or not, of Dave Brubeck, the jazz musician, when I was a young fart.

How he came to it I have no idea.

It sounds like an 190s-1910 era Rufus sort of song, but we'd have to findit first.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: GUEST,Gene
Date: 05 Mar 00 - 12:17 PM

Here is 'A VERSION' inclucing sheet music -

* CLICK HERE *


if the 'GO TO' above fails - try this:

http://www.profusion.com

and SEARCH FOR [my pretty quadroon]
I have an GREAT RENDITION by THE BROWNS!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Dale Rose
Date: 05 Mar 00 - 01:05 PM

This looks like a job for Kendall! Don't think there's a bit of racism in it, unless someone objects to the word Quadroon. I've heard Tom Cleveland do this numerous times at the Ozark Folk Center ~~ it is a favorite of mine. I also think I have a recording, maybe by the Poplin Family, can't remember for sure.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: kendall
Date: 05 Mar 00 - 01:31 PM

I recorded this one for Folk Legacy on album number fsi 57. Thanks to Folk Legacy, it is still available on cassette. I just listened to the rendition posted by Guest Gene My version has all of the verses, sung on key with the right chords. There is nothing racist about quadroon. In the old days, there were laws in the south about inter racial unions, and strict records were kept which would tell how much negro blood you had. Even if you were an Octoroon, you were still considered black. Thank God, those days are gone (mostly)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Amos
Date: 05 Mar 00 - 01:38 PM

Trust the MudCat to bring out the right answer. Thanks, guys.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Mar 00 - 01:45 PM

What are the missing words in that version supposed to be?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 05 Mar 00 - 06:07 PM

Okay, Kendall. It's your turn to post a text. I'd do it from the booklet that comes with your cassette, but I've got to make posters for my son's group (All Hands Around!) tonight, so I'll be switching my creative efforts over to the Macintosh. As they say on CNN: "I'm watching you, Kendall!"

Sandy


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Subject: Lyr Add: MY PRETTY QUADROON
From: kendall
Date: 05 Mar 00 - 07:44 PM

The version I learned as a small boy is only slightly different in verses one and two. However, there is a third verse which goes:

Farewell to Kentucky's green hills
Farewell to Kentucky's green braes
Farewell to the green grassy fields
Where Cora and I often strayed
To this old world I'll soon say farewell
My heart will find rest in the tomb
But my spirit will fly to the spot
And watch over my pretty quadroon.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Mar 00 - 08:31 PM

But how should the gaps in the second vwerse be filled in? (From the link above given by GUESTGene):

So happy, were we for awhile
Like the love birds that dwell 'neath the flower
And the sweetness - - - - - - -
Seemed to revel the blush of the flower
But the happiness faded like rose
And before the last - - of the moon
The - - knocked at my door
Took care of my pretty quadroon


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 05 Mar 00 - 08:38 PM

Also that exceedingly fair "fawn" in the first verse should read "form." C'mon, Kendall, fill in the blanks. This is for half of your grade!

Sandy (still watching!)


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Subject: Lyr Add: MY PRETTY QUADROON
From: kendall
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 09:11 AM

OK here it is:
I'll never forget when we met, sweet Cora my pretty quadroon
I see her bright eyes shinning yet
As we vowed to be true 'neath the moon
Her form was excedingly fair
Her lips like the wild rose in June
And her ringlets of dark glossy hair
Were the curls of my pretty quadroon.

Oh my pretty quadroon
The flower that faded too soon
My heart's like the strings on my banjo
All broke for my pretty quadroon.

How happy we were for a day
Like love birds we dwelt 'neath the bowers
And the brightness of Cora's sweet smile
Seemed to rival the blush of the flowers
But happiness fades like the rose
Before the first full of the moon
The grim reaper knocked at my door
And took Cora my pretty quadroon.

repeat chorus

Farewell to Kentuckys green hills
Farewell to Kentuckys green braes
Farewell to the green grassy fields
Where Cora and I often strayed
To this old world I'll soon say farewell
My heart will find rest in the tomb
But my spirit will fly to the spot
And watch over my pretty quadroon.

repeat chorus.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Amos
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 09:29 AM

I never knew what a pretty song it was, kendall...thanks!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 01:53 PM

And thanks, Guest Gene, for opening the door to the Max Hunter collection--it is an amazing site, one of the best websites I have seen in a while--


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 07:11 PM

Thanks indeed - a pretty song, and a great site.Stick it on the links please, so I can bookmark it on my personal page.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Dale Rose
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 07:30 PM

Actually, there is a whole lot more to the site than just the Max Hunter Collection. I have been promising a comprehensive review for quite a while. Guess I should get to it. Don't know if Gene got that from an earlier post of mine or got it through a search for the song. Seems Gene and I have to work overtime reminding each other of interesting sites. If we pass them back and forth often enough we just might remember them past breakfast. As another friend says, "When your mind starts to go, you can forget it!"

Re Max Hunter: I know that there are at least a couple of Mudcat denizens that are well acquainted with his work, Arkie and Sandy ~~ there may be others as well. Perhaps we need to start a new thread to discuss the mark he left on the wonderful world of old time music, especially the music of the Ozarks. In fact, I think I will make that a project for later tonight, tomorrow at the latest.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 08:57 PM

I made a record, back in 1963 or 1964, of Max Hunter singing songs from his collection of Ozark material. Recorded him down in Fayetteville, where he also introduced me to Vance Randolph and Mary Celestia Parler. The two of them also generously told me how to locate many of their traditional singers. Max Hunter's record is long gone, but we keep his music available via our "custom" cassette project. It's number C-11 in our catalog. Deep, rich voice, relaxed presentation, no sham, no show-biz, and some wonderful versions of unusual songs.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: GUEST,Frankie
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 11:00 PM

Thanks fellas, one and all, and especially Kendall for posting and Gene for the Max Hunter link, a very cool site. This should make my friend Sam's day.

Regards, Frankie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: harpgirl
Date: 07 Mar 00 - 08:45 AM

...kendoll...I would like to hear you sing this...can we meet on Hearme or ICQ so you can sing it?? please please, please...harpy


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: kendall
Date: 07 Mar 00 - 09:03 AM

For you, anything. Tell me when would be a good time to call you, and, I'll sing it for you.I have your number.


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Subject: Lyr Add: MY PRETTY QUADROON (from the Browns)
From: GUEST,Gene
Date: 07 Mar 00 - 04:34 PM

MY PRETTY QUADROON
THE BROWNS

INTRO:
My heart's like the strings on my banjo
All broke for My Pretty Quadroon.

I'll never forget when I met
Sweet Cora, My Pretty Quadroon
I see her dear eyes smiling yet
As we vowed to be true 'neath the moon
Her form was exceedingly fair
And her cheeks like the Wild Rose in June
And the ringlets of dark curly hair
Were the curls of My Pretty Quadroon.

CHORUS
Oh! my pretty quadroon
My flower that faded too soon
My heart's like the strings on my banjo
All broke for My Pretty Wuadroon.

Farewell to Kentuckys' green hills
Farewell to Kentuckys' green shade
Farewell to the green clover fields
Where Cora and I often strayed
My sorrow will soon be forgot
And my heart will find rest in the tomb
But my spirit will fly to the spot
And watch o'er My Pretty Quadroon.

CHORUS

TAG:
My heart's like the strings on my banjo
All broke for My Pretty Quadroon.

SOURCE:
THE BROWNS BOXSET


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: kendall
Date: 07 Mar 00 - 08:08 PM

The second verse is missing...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: GUEST,Gene
Date: 08 Mar 00 - 12:15 AM

I posted the lyrics EXACTLY as THE BROWNS sang them!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: kendall
Date: 08 Mar 00 - 08:20 AM

hmmm wonder why they left out the second verse?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: GUEST,Frankie
Date: 08 Mar 00 - 05:48 PM

Thanks for that one,too Gene. Frankie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 Mar 00 - 07:49 PM

Leaving out the grim reaper. I suppose they wanted to leave her alive and him dead.

The quadroon bit does seem strange though - such a pseudo-scientific classification to import into a song. How did they work out all that stuff? The mathematics must have got quite complicated.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: kendall
Date: 09 Mar 00 - 08:37 AM

I dont know, but, I remember taking this up in American History.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: harpgirl
Date: 10 Mar 00 - 11:06 PM

...kendoll...was that you singing this lovely song on my voice mail? I saved it and I am going to print the lyric and sing it...many thanks you maniac! Come down for the Florida Folk Festival May 26th to 29th! And the Suwannee Springfest is March 26th. Norman Blake, Doc Watson, Peter Rowan and lots of flordy folkies...many thanks 'doll...harp


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: kendall
Date: 11 Mar 00 - 03:16 PM

Yup, that was I. Glad you like it. Florida has one big drawback...it is so far from civilization!!! LOL. I would love to do it but, it is so far...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: GUEST,califanotd
Date: 13 Mar 03 - 08:08 PM

Well, would you please let me in on the second verse? My grandfather use to sing all these old songs and sadly (or gladly?) I was the youngest and don't quite remember them all-my uncle can't either-he said if I got the words he would tape them for me! Can you help? Thanks in advance! I use to think only Papa knew these songs! This site is wonderful.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: GUEST,califanotd
Date: 13 Mar 03 - 08:21 PM

My apologies, I am new to the site and needed to go back up, thank you anyway!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: masato sakurai
Date: 13 Mar 03 - 08:54 PM

Another version 'My Pretty Quadroon' - Carson Robison [real audio] is at The Record Lady's All-Time Country Favorites (Real Country Page 8).

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: masato sakurai
Date: 13 Mar 03 - 08:58 PM

Some info is at The Traditional Ballad Index: My Pretty Quadroon.


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Subject: Lyr Add: MY PRETTY QUADROON (North Carolina)
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 13 Mar 03 - 09:42 PM

The song is listed often as a favorite during the Civil War. Its true origin seems to be unknown.
Kendall Morse (cd through Camsco) arranged a version of it. A hit for the Sons of the Pioneers, among others.

The song is in Brown's North Carolina Folklore, No. 711. I only have volume 5, The Music, but two stanzas are given with the music.

MY PRETTY QUADROON

Oh, who was as happy as I?
She'd a brow like the blossoming pea-
And the light of her violet blue eyes
Never shone on a darkey like me.

Cho.
Oh my pretty quadroon
The flower that faded so soon,
This heart, like the strings on my banjo
Am broke for my pretty quadroon.

Her face was exceedingly fair,
She'd a cheek like the wild rose of June-
And the ringlets of her dark glossy hair
Was the pride of my pretty quadroon.

The music of the chorus differs a little from that normally heard. In the third line, heart and strings are equally low notes.
The song is strangely absent from Vance Randolph, Ozark Folksongs.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: masato sakurai
Date: 14 Mar 03 - 03:28 AM

Not in North Carolina Folklore, vol. II.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: open mike
Date: 14 Mar 03 - 03:49 AM

so technically what is the description of the term?
a person who had one grandparent who was black and
3 that were white? and what is the term for one
parent from each race? is that called mulatto?
and is octaroon one great-grandparent meaning 1/8 black?
Laura Love has an album called octaroon....


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: greg stephens
Date: 14 Mar 03 - 06:14 AM

I see the referneces to quadroons and octaroons above, which makes me realise I don't know what the equivalent term for a half-and-half person was, from the same era of classification. Would that be mulatto, or does that just mean any kind of mixture?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Genie
Date: 14 Mar 03 - 11:21 PM

Thanks, Kendall, Gene, and Masato. Since I play regularly for senior facilities, I have often got requests for this song.

The main reasons I haven't sung it is that I did not know it. Now I can honor those requests.

Thanks so much.

Genie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 14 Mar 03 - 11:42 PM

In the old terminology, mulatto=half, quadroon= one-quarter, octaroon= one eighth.
Mixed race terms are still alive. In Canada, Metis are persons of mixed Indian and European blood. The Metis Association of the Northwest Territories has prepared material for their schools about their heritage. Lands given to them by the Hudson's Bay Company were largely lost.
In Mexico, Mestizos are the mixed Indian and European people who constitute the bulk of the population. Not discussed openly, but discrimination is still a strong factor in Mexican society. The Indian, of course, is at the bottom of the heap.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Oct 06 - 10:58 PM

Looking for information on "My Pretty Quadroon," prior to 1921.

Although sung by Grandpa Jones in the album, "Songs of the Civil War," CMH, the 1921-22 collection of the song from Watauga County, NC (sung by Dr. I. G. Greer) and printed as No. 711, "My Pretty Quadroon," with music, (text given above) seems to be the earliest version found. Brown notes additional texts in JAFL, LIX 454, and SMLJ 217 (Songs of the Michigan Lumberjacks, Beck, 1941). Neither seen.
Can anyone post the text from Beck's Lumberjack volume?

No pre-1900 mentions of the song except in anecdote.

The song also is found in the Joan O'Bryant -Kansas Folklore Collection, Box 38, FF13, Field recordings Reel 60, Herman Dale Stevens Family, coll. Jean Showalter, n. d., Wichita State Univ. Libraries. I have emailed to see if it is possible to get a copy.

In addition to the Sons of the Pioneers, the song was recorded, among others, by Bobby Gregory and His Cactus Cowboys and the Carson Robson Trio, 6/28/30, Jewel Records. Kendall's is perhaps the fullest.
Buddy Williams and others recorded the song in Australia and New Zealand in the late 1940's.

American History (si.edu) lists a copy in the Nat Vincent Archives.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Oct 06 - 12:53 AM

Mrs Matilda Charlotte Fraser Houstoun (1815?-1892), in her book "Hesperos, or Travels in the West", 1850, London, observed a young lady on board ship, who was returning from a Parisian convent school (to New Orleans?) and engaged her in conversation. The girl was a quadroon. The encounter is movingly described, and Mrs Houstoun wrote a poem about her.

This extract gives a feel for the times, and the treatment accorded persons of mixed race, regardless of their education and culture. Although on line, I think it worthwhile to quote here.

"As we left Halifax, I became greatly interested in one of our companions, who, having remained, during all the early part of the voyage, closely confined to her stateroom, made her appearance on deck shortly before her arrival at that place. She was very young and beautiful. Her dress was in the best possible taste, with Parisian grace lurking in every fold of her garments. Her hair, which was rich and luxuriant, was of a golden brown and dressed in the simplest style, but glossy and neat as that of one of Stearne's 'grisettes.' There was a look almost of high breeding in her small hands, and her manner was French and graceful in the extreme. This fair creature entered the saloon alone, and alone she remained, for lovely as she was, no one addressed her, but on the contrary, she appeared to be purposely avoided by everyone present. Even the commonest acts of civility were, in her case, neglected, and that by the very men who were generally foremost in paying attentions to the ladies who honoured the saloon by their presence. Seeing her in this deserted situation, I entered into conversation with her, and found her charming. French was evidently her native tongue, and she spoke no other; there was just enough of shyness in her manner to increase its fascination, without giving it a tinge of awkwardness, and with her vivid blush, her evident gratitude for any attention paid her and her litle playful confidences about the Parisian convent she had just left, I thought her one of the most lovable creatures I had ever seen. It will be asked by the uninitiated, and, among the rest, by you- why this fair being was set apart in the way I have described, and why she was like a tabooed creature, or rather a Pariah from which men and women seemed to shrink as from an unholy thing. Dear ---, it was this. Within the veins of this fair and delicate girl ran a few drops of that dark blood, which is supposed by many-- I fear, indeed, by most in America-- to place the individual cursed by so hideous an accident without the pale of social existence. It mattered not that this poor girl was fair in form and gentle and kind in nature-- her mother was a Quadroon!
...... And how little, how very little, was she herself aware of the many and deep mortifications that awaited her! [She had been at school in Paris for eleven years]

She mused alone! Nor did she question why
No friends came near her to console or cheer;
Alone she check'd the ever-rising sigh,
Alone she shed the agonizing tear.

Once she was blest: the spring-time of her life
Was then as cloudless as a summer's day;
Unfit to battle in the tempest's strife,
Love flung its radience o'er her gladsome way.

Poor nameless girl! Those joyous hours have fled;
Gay flowers no more thy weary path adorn;
Thou stand'st amongst thy garlands crush'd and dead,
The heart well nigh as withered and forlorn.

Thy gentle head in meek affliction bend;
Glean, if thou canst, from solitude relief;
At least 'tis something, though without a friend,
That none can mock the lonely slave-girl's grief.

Poor victim of an erring nation's curse,
Is there no pitying heart to mourn thy woes,
To feel that life can show few sorrows worse
Than those that wait thee ere thine own shall close.

Bereft of all that makes existence dear,
Thy smiles the wealthy and the gay may buy;
The hidden griefs thy sole possession here,
The only hope that's left thee is to die!

"Hesperos: or, Travels in the West," by Mrs. Houstoun. Volume I.
http://rs6.loc.gov/ammem/htnhtm/htnhome.html (Takes you to American Notes: Travels in America 1750-1920)
http://rs6.loc.gov/ammem/htnhtml/hbtnbibAuthors02.html (to authors index, including Houstoun).


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Goose Gander
Date: 19 Oct 06 - 01:27 AM

MY PRETTY QUADROON

Oh, who were as happy as we?
She had lips like a blossoming bee
And the light in her violet eyes
Shone on no other darky but me
Her form was exceedingly fair
She had cheeks like a wild rose in June
And the ringlets of dark glossy hair
Were the curls of my pretty Quadroon
Farewell to Kentucky's green hills
Farewell to the little coral
Where Cora and I often strayed
Farewell to Kentucky's green shade
My sorrow will soon be forgot
And my heart will find rest in her tomb
But the spirit will fly to the spot
And watch over my pretty Quadroon

Chorus:
Oh, my pretty Quadroon, my flower that faded too soon
My heart's like the strings on my banjo – all broke for my pretty Quadroon
My heart's like the strings on my banjo – all broke for my pretty Quadroon

One plunge in the dark muddy stream
One struggle and all will be o'er
My life floats away like a dream
And the voice of a driver no more
Hark! On a cool northern breeze
Comes the sound of a hue and a drum
Oh! Can it be the glad day?
The day of deliverance has come!

Source:
Old Time Songs, Compiled by Loye Pack (n.d., probably mid-1930s), p. 50.

Note the (apparent) abolitionist sentiment in the final verse. I don't know if Pack wrote those lines himself, or if he took them from an earlier text.

Roud 4965


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: kendall
Date: 19 Oct 06 - 09:57 AM

I actually learned this from my grandfather. He died in 1949 at the age of 80.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Goose Gander
Date: 19 Oct 06 - 12:18 PM

Guest Gene's link to the Max Hunter site seems to have died, so here it is again . . . .

Pretty Quadroon as sung by Naomi Evans, Rogers, Arkansas on August 13, 1958

PRETTY QUADROON

O, I'll never forget when I met
Sweet Cora, my pretty quadroon
I see her dear eyes shining yet
As I vowed to be true 'neath th moon
Her fawn, was exceedingly fair
Her cheeks like th wild rose, in June
And th ringlets of her dark glossy hair
Would curl to my pretty quadroon

CHORUS:
O, my pretty quadroon
My flower that faded to soon
My hearts like th strings on my banjo
All broke for my pretty quadroon

So happy, were we for awhile
Like th love birds that dwell 'neath th flower
And th sweetness - - - - - - -
Seemed to revel the blush of the flower
But the happiness faded like rose
And before the last - - of the moon
The - - knocked at my door
Took care of my pretty quadroon

Was recorded by the Beverly Hillbillies as well -
5/26/30 (LAE 804-A) My Pretty Quadroon.....Brunswick 441
according to the E Discographer

Also turned up on some movie soundtracks in the 1930s.

Not sure about a source - sounds like a nineteenth century composition, but it could be more recent.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Oct 06 - 10:25 PM

I am trying to transcribe the Carson Robison recording, which is similar to the version posted by Michael Morris, but the first verse speaks of "the darkey like me" (similar to the verse in the Brown coll. from North Carolina).
The last verse suggests the Civil War period ("On a cool northern breeze"), as does the version posted by Morris.

I should have it worked out tomorrow. The recording is quite scratchy.

I picked up some 1930 sheet music on eBay which may or may not help with the origin.

In the first verse I hear 'corral' ("where Cora and I often stayed- Robison- or strayed), see Morris transcription, but it doesn't seem right, although the word started to appear in the American press in the 1850's.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Oct 06 - 12:54 AM

MY PRETTY QUADROON
Carson Robison, 1930

Oh who were as happy as we?
She had lips like the blossoming pea
And the light of her violet eyes
Shown on no darkey *like me. [*but]
Her form was exceedingly fair
She had cheeks like the wild rose in June
And the ringlets of dark glossy hair
Were the curls of my pretty quadroon.

Chorus
Oh, my pretty quadroon,
My flower that faded too soon
My heart's like the strings on my banjo
All broke for my pretty quadroon.
My heart's like the strings on my banjo
All broke for my pretty quadroon.

Farewell to Kentucky's green hills
Farewell to the little corral
Where Cora and I often *stayed [*strayed])
Farewell to Kentucky's green shade
My sorrow soon will be forgot
And my heart will find rest in her tomb
But my spirit will fly to the spot
And watch o'er my pretty quadroon.

One comes to the dark muddy stream
One struggle and all will be o'er
My life will go away like a dream
And the voice of a driver no more.
Hark! On a cool northern breeze
Comes the sound of a hue and a drum
Oh, God! can it be the glad day?
The Day of Deliverance has come.

Copied from the Jewel recording formerly available on Honking Duck.
Very close to the text Michael Morris took from Loye Pack. [*]- suggested correction.

The version at Robokopp omits the 'abolitionist' verse of these two texts, but adds lines much like those of the incomplete verse sung by Naomi Evans in the Max Hunter site.

MY PRETTY QUADROON
1.
I'll never forget when we met,
Sweet Cora my pretty quadroon
I see her bright eyes shining yet
As we vowed to be true 'neath the moon.
Her form was exceedingly fair
Her lips like the wild rose in June
And her ringlets of dark glossy hair
Were the curls of my pretty quadroon.

Cho.

2.
How happy we were for a day
Like love birds we dwelt 'neath the bowers
And the brightness of Cora's sweet smile
Seemed to rivel the blush of the flowers.
But happiness fades like the rose
Before the first full of the moon
The grim reaper knocked at my door
And took Cora, my pretty quadroon.

3.
Farewell to Kentucky's green hills
Farewell to Kentucky's green *braes [*shade]
Farewell to the green grassy fields
Where Cora and I often strayed.
To this old world I'll soon say farewell
My heart will find rest in the tomb
But my spirit will fly to the spot
And watch over my pretty quadroon.
[*]- suggested correction.

No source cited. Without reference, it is stated, "This song was very popular around the campfires in the Civil War." No evidence of this has been found; but it is included in some cds of Civil War songs, in one sung by Grandpa Jones.

http://www.musicanet.org/robokopp/usa/quadroon.htm


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: kendall
Date: 20 Oct 06 - 10:37 AM

Bernie Houlahan of Moncton N.B. has a lovely version of this. Maybe we can talk him into posting it?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Goose Gander
Date: 20 Oct 06 - 10:43 AM

Seems likely that Loye Pack took his version directly from Carson Robison, Robison being a very popular songwriter and entertainer in the early years of country music. Or maybe both took their versions from the same earlier-published source.

I am a little surprised nothing from the nineteeth century has turned up.


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Subject: Lyr Add: MY PRETTY QUADROON (Terry Gilkyson?)
From: GUEST,Bernie
Date: 20 Oct 06 - 05:02 PM

Kendall has kindly asked me to post this, so here it is...

CHORUS: Oh my pretty quadroon, my flower who faded too soon,
My heart, like the strings on my banjo, all broke, for my pretty quadroon.

VERSE: For years I have wandered alone
On the highway of pleasure and strife,
But the one rose I kept for my own
Will be with me the rest of my life. CHORUS

BRIDGE: Now, I'm not the lover to care
For the shade of the rose she may wear
But the dark rose, the white rose of summer
... All gone like my pretty quadroon. CHORUS

When I recorded this several years ago, and Kendall asked me where I had gotten this version [completely different than others]. I couldn't recall. I wasn't aware of his version, and was not even familiar with the term "Quadroon" until he explained it to me. A few years later, my brother told me he thought it was on an old LP he once owned by "The Easy Riders", a group from the fifties well known for hits like "Maryanne", and, I found out later, composing and writing a huge hit for Dean Martin in that era called "Memories Are Made of This."

The LP disappeared many years ago, but, as teenagers, we could learn a song after just hearing it once. [It don't work that way now!] Apparently the group was fronted by Terry Gilkyson, who was a prolific and very successful songwriter for movies as well [father of the fine present-day singer Eliza Gilkyson]. So, I'm guessing that this may be a song written by him, borrowing the chorus but adding more modern, pleasant but rather innocuous other lyrics. Hope this is reasonably accurate.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 22 Oct 06 - 07:23 PM

Here's a catalog entry from Indiana University Sheet Music Collections:

Title: PRETTY QUADROON
Composer: Howard, Fred
Composer: Vincent, Nat
Lyricist: Howard, Fred
Lyricist: Vincent, Nat
Performer: Mark Fisher
Arranger: Manoloff, Nick
Publisher: Vincent-Howard-Preeman, Ltd.
Place of publication: Chicago
Date of publication: 1930
Call Number: M1 .D48 Box: 112 Item: 060
Performance Medium: Piano, Voice and Chords
First Line: Oh, I'll ne'er forget when I met, Sweet Cora
Chorus First Line: Oh my pretty Quadroon, my flower that faded too soon,
Artist: Louis Kummel
Genre: Popular song
Subject term: Country-Western


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 Oct 06 - 07:46 PM

Thanks for the version, Bernie. Maybe some day we will find the pappy of all these versions.
I have the Howard-Vincent sheet music coming to me.
Soon, I hope to post the song as sung by "The Sons of the Pioneers" (the first group, with Len Slye, aka Roy Rogers, as one of the vocalists).


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: kendall
Date: 22 Oct 06 - 09:00 PM

Thanks Bernie, I wish you all could hear Bernie sing this gem. Actually you could, he recorded it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Nov 06 - 06:01 PM

I have obtained a copy of the sheet music similar to that described by Jim Dixon, above. By Fred Howard and Nat Vincent, Arranged by Freeman High. Copyright assigned 1930 to Vincent-Howard-Preeman, Ltd.; Copyright 1930 by Morse M. Preeman, Los Angeles, Cal. Copy is published in Los Angeles. On the cover is a silhouette of a girl in a hoop skirt and a photograph of Val Valente, "Roof Garden Cafe."
Note that arranger, performer and place of publication differ from those on the sheet music listed by Jim Dixon.
Later today I will post and compare the lyrics with the song as done by the "Sons of the Pioneers."


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Subject: Lyr Add: PRETTTY QUADROON (Howard, Vincent)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Nov 06 - 08:16 PM

Lyr. Add: PRETTY QUADROON
Fred Howard, Nat Vincent; arr Freeman High

Oh I'll ne'er forget when I met,
Sweet Cora my pretty Quadroon,
I see her dear eyes shining yet,
As we vowed to be true 'neath the moon,
Her form was exceedingly fair
And her cheeks like the wild rose in June
And the ringlets of dark glossy hair
Were the curls of my pretty Quadroon.

Chorus:
Oh my pretty Quadroon-
My flower that faded too soon-
My heart's like the strings on my banjo-
All broke for my pretty Quadroon-
My heart's like the strings on my banjo-
All broke for my pretty quadroon.-

So happy were we for a-while,
Like two love birds we dwelt 'mid the bow'rs,
And the sweetness of Cora's bright smile,
Seemed to rival the blush of the flow'rs;
But happiness fades like the rose,
And before the next full of the moon,
The grim reaper knocked on our door,
And took Cora, my pretty Quadroon.

Farewell to Kentucky's green hills,
And farewell to kentucky's green shade,
Farewell to the green clover fields,
Where Cora and I often strayed;
My sorrow will soon be forgot,
And my heart will find rest in the tomb,
But my spirit will fly to the spot,
And watch o'er my pretty Quadroon.

Copyright assigned 1930 to Vincent-Howard-Preeman, Ltd. Copyright 1930 by Morse M. Preeman, Los Angeles, Cal.

The "Sons of the Pioneers," featuring Leonard Slye aka Roy Rogers(tenor, guitar), Bob Nolan (baritone, string base), Tim Spencer (tenor, guitar) and Hugh Farr (fiddler, base singer), recorded the song August, 1934, following the words by Howard and Vincent, but did not include the third verse. The "Sons..." arranger for their take was Mary Dodge.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: GUEST,memyself
Date: 20 Nov 06 - 08:38 PM

"My heart's like the strings on my banjo-
All broke ... "

They don't write'm like that anymore!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: NOMADMan
Date: 20 Nov 06 - 09:29 PM

This song has quite an interesting history. Yes it does have its origins in the nineteenth century.

Here are excerpts from the booklet notes from the Sons of the Pioneers LP compilation issued by the John Edwards Memorial Foundation, formerly of the Folklore & Mythology Center of UCLA:

--------------

"'My Pretty Quadroon' was originally written by Mrs. Mary Dodge and published by H. M. Higgins in Chicago in 1863. The original story told of a slave whose master was so kind to him he scarcely had a wish to be free; in his kindness, master 'begrudged me my pretty wild flower, Cola (sic), my pretty quadroon.' But then, for reasons only suggested in the original lyrics, master turned against his slave and sold him to a more cruel master, at whose hands he suffered many lashings--but, more important, he was now separated from his pretty Cola. In the last verse the slave is planning suicide by plunging in the 'dark muddy stream,' when he hears on the northern breeze the sounds of the bugle and drums of the Northern troops, and cries out, 'O God, can it be the glad day--the day of deliverance has come!'

When our good friend Nat Vincent was a youngster in St. Louis around the turn of the century, his grandmother, who had been reared on a plantation in Kentucky, used to sing fragments of 'My Pretty Quadroon' to him. The song stuck in his memory for years afterward, until 1930 when, in the midst of his prolific career as a songwriter, he decided to write a new version from the few fragments he could recall. The new piece was sung in the Bette Davis motion picture 'Jezebel,' and in the early 1930's several recordings were made, best selling of which was one by Wayne King, 'The Waltz King.'

The story according to Nat Vincent's version is quite different; in the 1930 hit there is no suggestion of the young slave being sold down the river; rather, Cora (as she is now named) is suddenly taken ill and dies--or, in the words of Vincent and Howard, 'The grim reaper knocked on my door and took Cora, my pretty quadroon.' The slave pines away and is about to die as the final notes of the song fade away. The rendition sung by Bob Nolan and the Pioneers is a slightly shortened version of Nat Vincent's recomposition."

------------------

So there you have it. The song was written twice by two different people almost 70 years apart, the two versions telling similar, but quite different stories, with the earlier version apparently telling a much deeper, more complex tale.

Incidental note: the fragment of the song sung by a group of slaves in the Bette Davis movie consists only of the chorus:

Oh my pretty quadrron
My flower that faded too soon
My heart's like the strings on my banjo
All broke for my pretty quadroon

repeated several times over.

Also, this is one of those delightful Hollywood anachronisms. It is mentioned in the movie that the action is taking place in 1852. The song, as noted above, was not written until 1863.

The setting in the movie is a plantation in Louisiana, but narrator in the song mentions only Kentucky.

Regards,

John


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Nov 06 - 09:37 PM

Don't know YOU.

Don't know the thread.

But, hands down, a Quadroon woman

Is da best ever bred.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Nov 06 - 10:32 PM

Something strange here-
Mary Dodge was the filmographer-composer for the film "Jezebel," which included the song "Pretty Quadroon" in 1938.
IMDB (movie database) lists Mary Dodge and Fred Howard as composers with lyrics by Nat Vincent (performed by chorus and used as background).

I can find nothing in the Library of Congress under Mary Dodge or Pretty Quadroon. Nothing appears from the 19th c. in the Sheet Music Collections online. With the exception of anecdote, nothing is found prior to 1930 (recordings by Beverly Hillbillies and Bud and Joe Billings (Luther and Robison).

H. M. Higgins was nationally known for his publication of Civil War songs (published 1855-1869). Dina J. Epstein, "Music Publishing in Chicago Before 1871." In American Memory, only "Justice Has Stricken the Chains ..." and "Year of Jubilee" are listed as published by him and in their collection.

The parlor song similarity leads me to suspect a late 19th c. origin as a composed piece, but hard evidence, other than anecdote, is needed.

Perhaps H. M. Higgins, "The Parlor Lute, a Coll. of Songs, ...." might have an answer, but I don't have this 64p. booklet of war songs.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: kendall
Date: 21 Nov 06 - 08:43 PM

My grandfather predates the Sons of the Pioneers and I sing the version I learned from him.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 21 Nov 06 - 09:21 PM

1930 (Beverly Hill Billies recording, and the one by Luther and Robison ('Billings'')) is the earliest firm date; do you have anything that would place your grandfather's version in a time frame?

I think it is out there somewhere, but nothing to nail it down. NOMADman's post is interesting, but printed evidence needed.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: GUEST,john t
Date: 24 May 08 - 03:34 PM

pretty quadroon is listed on the soundtrack for jezebel but i don't recall hearing the song in the film.I am trying to trace a song from the same film sun by a group of negro slaves which went something like:-come back my suzy gal,come back my honey
      .come back my suzy gal,bring back my money
      if i live until next spring,susan james,susan james
      buy my love a wedding ring

      if i live until next fall?

    if somebody steals your lover?
    These are all the words i have and some may be wrong.The song was interrupted by bette davis to sing 'raise a ruckus tonight'


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 24 May 08 - 07:38 PM

"Goodbye Susan Jane"
Thread 18221: Goodbye Susan Jane
A very old song, with several versions. The link above will give you the information.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: kendall
Date: 24 May 08 - 07:41 PM

I forgot to mention that one of my Aunts was named Cora because of that song. My Father was born in 1898 and she was his sister a year or so younger. Way before the Sons of the Pioneers, Carson Robison or the Browns.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 24 May 08 - 09:23 PM

The earliest I have found is the one I posted before, from Brown, North Carolina Folklore: Sung by Dr. I. G. Green, Boone, Watauga Co., 1921-1922. (Posted 13 Mar 03, with words)

Somewhere there should be a printing of the song before 1921.

My grandfather knew the song and often whistled it; he was born in Chicago in 1874 and raised in Colorado in the 1880s-1890s and lived most of his life in New Mexico (thus the song known in the west).
Kendall is not alone (a couple of other posts above) in believing the song goes back a ways.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Azizi
Date: 25 May 08 - 12:23 AM

Somewhat off-topic:

Perhaps readers of this thread may be interested in information [based on my experiences as an African American, and also based on my readings]regarding the contemporary use or non-use of group referents such as "negro" spelled with a small 'n', and "quadroon", "octoroon", and "mulatto". I'm writing this as a means of sharing information, and not to post any criticism.

We African Americans have used a number of different group names as referents for ourselves. Prior to the change in the formal referent for Black Americans to "African American" in the mid to late 1960s, in the twentieth century, the formal referent which was most often used was "Negro".

Prior to the mid to late 1950s, the referent "Negro" was commonly printed with a small 'n' by White persons in the mainsteam media and other White people. A number of Black people also followed this practice. However, in the mid to late 1950s, a number of efforts were mounted by "Negroes" to have that group referent spelled in a standard manner with a capitol 'N'. This would have meant that Negro would be spelled in accordance with the practice that was used for the spelling of other formal group names of racial, ethnic, national, and religiousd populations [for instance-English, Irish, Polish, Indian, German, Jews, Russian, Chinese, Japanese]. The reasoning behind these efforts was that because all the other populations had their formal group referents spelled with a capitol letter* to spell Negro with a small 'n' suggested that Negroes were "less than", not equal to other groups of human beings, and therefore not worthy of the respect shown them by the act of capitolizing their formal group name.

Those efforts were largely successful. At least by the mid 1960s, [that is to say, prior to the change over to the formal referent "African American", the 'n' in the word Negro was almost always capitolized [unless people were quoting 19th century songs or historical text that had that racial name written with a small 'n']. Note that the first letters of the words "African" and "American" are always capitolized.

Among African American writers [and perhaps non-African American writers], a person might use the referent 'Negro' as a contemptuous name for a contemporary Black man or a contemporary Black woman who is abjectly servile and deferential to White people. A contemporary Black man or Black woman who is referred to as a Negro also does or says things that are against the best interest of himself {herself} and/or other Black people. "Uncle Tom" or "Tom" are other terms for such a Black man, and [the less often used] "Aunt Jemima" is another term for such a Black man {"Jemima is not used without the title 'Aunt']. In other words, it is a grave insult for an African American to call another African American a "Negro". That insult is heightened [deepened] when the word "Negro" is spelled with a small 'n'.

* In the United States, it's also acceptable to use "Black" as an informal referent for "African Americans". In addition, in the United States, "Black" is an accepable informal referent for other people who have some Black African ancestry.

Some African Americans and non-African Americans capitolize the word 'Black' [such as I do] when it is used as a group referent. For consistency's sake, those that capitolize the referent "Black" usually also capitolize the group referent "White". However, it's also acceptable to use a small "b" for "black" when that word is used as a group referent. Indeed, spelling 'black' with a small 'b' appears to be the norm-especially in the mainstream media, and elsewhere, and particularly among White people. Spelling the group referent 'black' with a small 'b' is probably so common because the group referent 'white' is usually spelled with a small 'w'. That said, I believe that more Black people than White people capitolize the group referent "Black". This may be for the same reasons that I indicated for capitolizing the word Negro.

It might also be of interest to persons reading this thread to know that the term "quadroon", and "octoroon" has not been formally or informally used in the USA since at least the early 1950s, and maybe earlier than that. The term "mulatto" lasted in formal use longer than those other terms. But mulatto has also given way to the imprecise "formal" terms "mixed", "multiracial", and "biracial". Informally, you will still hear African Americans and other people [including those with this ancestry] refer to people with a Black birth parent and a non-Black birth parent as 'half and half'. I personally do not like that term. Also, I've read examples of more White people than Black people using the term "zebra" as a referent for people who have one Black and one White birth parent. I personally really don't like that term. As I noted in my earlier comments, I believe that racism and the desire to maintain a fictional pure White race is the reason for the tradition of categorizing as Black people of mixed racial ancestry when one of the birth parents is Black. Theoretically, my view is that those people with ancestry should be able to choose to belong to either and both of the races that their birth parents belong to. Gowever, we live in the real world. And in todays real world of the USA, and most other nations, regardless of their physical appearance, persons of mixed Black/non-Black ancestry are considered to be Black, even if they call themselves 'biracial'. In that regard, 'biracial' is a sub-set of African American. Of course, this may change-in time. But, in my opinion, and in my experience, that's the way it is now.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Azizi
Date: 25 May 08 - 12:32 AM

Corrections & minor changes for hopefully better clarity:

Aunt Jemima" is another term for such a Black woman {"Jemima is not used without the title 'Aunt'].

**

As I noted in my earlier comments, I believe that racism and the desire to maintain a fictional pure White race is the reason for the tradition of categorizing people of mixed racial ancestry as Black when one of the birth parents is Black. Theoretically, my view is that those people with that ancestry should be able to choose to belong to either and both of the races that their birth parents belong to. However, we live in the real world. And in today's real world of the USA, and most other nations, regardless of their physical appearance, persons of mixed Black/non-Black ancestry are considered to be Black, even if they call themselves 'biracial.'


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: GEST
Date: 25 May 08 - 10:36 AM

Here is a variant not mentioned previously which may be a link to Halifax about which Q posted in 2006. ???

My Pretty Quadroon

GEST Songs of Newfoundand and Labrador


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: GUEST,john t
Date: 25 May 08 - 11:44 AM

Q - Thanks for the reply but the songs listed under 'susan jane/liza jane' seem to bear no relation to the song sung in Jezebel.

Have you seen the film?I'll try watching it again and see if i can make out a few more words.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 25 May 08 - 01:41 PM

John t, there are so many versions and verses to Goodbye Liza-Susan-Suzy Jane that it would take a book to show them all.
I presume that you also looked at the thread 2777, "Goodbye, Liza Jane": Goodbye Liza Jane

Randolph, "Ozark Folksongs," collected a "Goodbye, Susan Jane" from Missouri. If not already posted, I will put it in the thead linked above.

The lyrics you remember may have been written for the film, which I haven't seen.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 25 May 08 - 03:13 PM

Quadroon is from the Spanish cuarteron (Fr. quarteron), or quarter-breed, first seen in English in Sloane's descriptive work, "Jamaica," 1707. The spelling 'quadroon' appears in print in Lawrence, Physiological Zoology, 1819.

The song has not been found in compilations of 19th c. minstrel songs (see GEST post, above), but it is possible that it dates back to that time.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Goose Gander
Date: 28 Nov 08 - 11:24 PM

Lyrics identical to the Vincent-Howard-Preeman version from 1930 posted above by Q can be found in 'Old Time Ballads, Cowboy Songs and Church Hymn' by Little Annie, Cowboy Joe and Horseshoe Mike. No date or publishing information, but this chapbook of song lyrics is very close in format and content to some songbooks published by Loye Pack, an unrecorded cowboy singer from the 1930s.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 29 Nov 08 - 12:58 AM

Discussion in "The Alabama Folk Lyric: A Study in Origins and Media of Dissemination," Ray B. Browne, 1979, Bowling Green Univ. Popular Press.
No. 38, p. 117, section on 'Unhappy Love Songs'.

"This piece, very much in the Stephen Collins Foster tradition, was published by H. M. Higgins Co., around 1865. It appeared in "Beadle's Dime Song Book, No. 16" (1865, p. 40), with no author givin. Beck (Lumberjack Songs, p. 217) reports it. My informant did not sing it as a Negro song. It is probably a pseudo-Negro creation. Possibly it is a song about a white man's love for a mulatto, in the same spirit as "The Little Mohea." ........ The piece bears no resemblance to Longfellow's "The Quadroon Girl"."

A portion of the book is on line. I have not been able to check the citations.
If correct, this would explain remarks such as "My grandfather sang it years ago," seen in some references.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 29 Nov 08 - 09:53 PM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Jun 10 - 10:58 PM

about the term for half and half people. a mulatto wouldve been sonsidered as someone who was black and white..in latin american especaily in the spanish colonies they broadened it to include people who were african,spanish,and Amerindian. sometime later in the US they kind of lumped wuadroons and octoroons into the mulatto categroy but would still make note of the percentage...later on you were just lumped into the black category. the word is somehwat offensive since its descriptive of a mule ( a half donkey half horse animal)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 03 Jun 10 - 11:03 PM

Oh, my! Another ignorant guest!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Artful Codger
Date: 04 Jun 10 - 01:20 AM

I'm curious whether the tunes used for versions before 1930 agree with the tune of the rewritten song. If not, can someone supply such tunes? (If you need help doing so, PM me.)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 04 Jun 10 - 02:25 PM

The lyrics and tune for the version I posted from North Carolina Folklore are dated 1921-1922, sung by I. G. Greer, NC.

A lyric (and tune?) are in Crabtree, Lillian G., 1936, Songs and Ballads Sung in Overton County, Tenn., MS Thesis, George Peabody College for Teachers (part of Vanderbilt University). I don't have access.

PM me if you would like a scan of the music in North Carolina Folklore.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 04 Jun 10 - 02:36 PM

A C, the oldest tune I have found is the one coll. 1921-1922. PM me for scan.

The original sheet music, if it was published in Chicago c. 1865, as posted above, is lost.

(Several songs attributed to Chicago publishers, pre-Fire, have never been found).


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Subject: Lyr. Add: PRETTY QUADROON
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 05 Jun 10 - 08:48 PM

My Pretty Quadroon was printed in Beadle's Song Book, #16, July 1865, previously mentioned, and in Half Dime Singers Library, Feb. 1879.

The following was collected from a "degraded recording" (no date or artist listing), MacEdward Leach; "MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada," 2004, Memorial University.

Pretty Quadroon

I will never forget when I met
Sweet Cora, my pretty quadroon,
I can still see her eyes shining yet,
As she vowed she'd be true 'neath the moon.

Her form was so radiant and fair,
She had cheeks like the wild rose in June;
And in ringlets her dark glossy hair
Was fine pearls on my pretty quadroon.

Chorus:
Oh, my pretty quadroon,
My flower that faded too soon;
My heart like the strings on my banjo,
All broke for my pretty quadroon

Oh, who were so happy as we?
We lived like a flower in June;
And the light of her dark rolling eyes
Shined on an old slave like me.

But happiness will fade like a rose,
And before the next full of the moon,
The drummer will knock at my door,
And steal Cora, my pretty quadroon.

Farewell to Kentucky's green fields,
Farewell to the green of the shore;
Farewell to the green clover fields,
Where Cora and I often strayed.

I can feel those cold northern breezes,
For they sound on the hill like a drum;
Oh, soon there would be a bad day,
A day of the loneliness to come.

One plunge in a dark muddy stream,
One struggle and all will be o'er;
My life floats away like a dream,
The voice of a drummer no more.

My sorrow will soon be forgot,
And my soul will find rest in the tomb;
My spirit will fly to the spot
And keep guard on my pretty quadroon.

Some different elements to this version.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Artful Codger
Date: 06 Jun 10 - 03:16 AM

Is the "degraded recording" at the Leach site the one of John James singing "Pretty Squadron"?
http://www.mun.ca/folklore/leach/songs/NFLD2/10-11_51.htm
(with lyrics transcription and sound clip)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Charley Noble
Date: 06 Jun 10 - 10:36 AM

Q-

Finally, you appear to have nailed this one down, 1865. Of course we're still left wondering who the composer was.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 06 Jun 10 - 01:41 PM

Charlie, the 1865 'Beadle' has been reported before. It seems to be from the sheet music (no copies preserved) of about the same date.

Charlie, if you toddle off to the library holding a copy of that Beadle Song Book and copy the lyrics, I will wish you a 'fare you well' but can't provide financial support.

A C, The same, collected from James, but the lyrics are more complete* in the one I posted. The misheard 'squadron' is corrected.

* GEST reading of the recording:
http://www.wtv-zone/phyrst/audio/nfld/21/quadroon.htm


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Artful Codger
Date: 06 Jun 10 - 08:39 PM

In St. Nicholas, Volume 30, Part 1 (issue for Feb. 1903), "conducted" by Mary Mapes Dodge (that name again!), is printed "Prince Charming's Fate: and operetta in three acts", written by Caroline C. Lovell. A couple verses, with chorus, are sung to "Cora, my Pretty Quadroon".

The Beverly Hill Billies recorded MPQ in 1929, before the Fred Howard revision. Judging from a Sons of the Pioneers recording, Vincent and Howard can at most claim to have written a new verse, changed the "darky" line and hacked out a derivative arrangement. In all other respects, it follows the apparently "traditional" versions, rather than giving rise to them.


Charlie, the Beadle citation would seem to support the allegation that it was written by Mrs. Mary Dodge in 1863. This is probably the same Mary Mapes Dodge who edited St. Nicholas. She lived from 1831-1905, and began writing and editing in 1859, after the death of her husband, working with her father on two magazines, Working Farmer and United States Journal. She had an early success with a collection of short stories, The Irvington Stories (1864) and followed with her first novel, Hans Brinker (1865). Later, she edited for Harriet Beecher Stowe--whether this reflects anything about her racial sensibilities, I couldn't say.

In any case, there is nothing which argues against her authorship. It may not be entirely happenstance that Ms Lovell used the editor's song in her "operetta", nor that another Mary Dodge (a descendant, relative or namesake, possibly?) featured the song in a movie she was producing. The only strange thing is that so few 19th c. mentions survive of a song that was seemingly quite popular--and clean.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 06 Jun 10 - 08:52 PM

There is nothing to argue against the Mary Dodge authorship, as you note. Her name is mentioned more than once.

We need that Beadle for early lyrics- some library has a copy but I haven't located it yet.

Looking in Abebooks, a few of the old Beadles are offered, all over $100, but not the ones with MPQ. A couple have been reprinted but all of them should be.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Artful Codger
Date: 06 Jun 10 - 10:08 PM

Better still, they should be scanned and put online. To hell with private ownership of public domain works.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 11 Jun 10 - 12:56 PM

The Newberry Library in Chicago has the sheet music, described as follows:

Author: Dodge, Mary.
Title: MY PRETTY QUADROON words & melody by Mrs. Mary Dodge arranged by T. Martin Towne. Of the Continental Vocalists.
Published: Chicago : Published by H.M. Higgins 117 Randolph St. Entd according to act of Congress AD 1863 by H.M. Higgins in the clerks office of the Dist. Court of the Northn Dist of Ill., [1863]
Physical Description: 5 p. 33 cm.
Subject (LCSH): Songs (Medium voice) with piano.
Subject (Other): Illinois Chicago 1863 Imprints.
Other Name: Higgins, H. M. (Hiram M.), 1820-1897, publisher.
Notes: Plate markings (p. 3-5): My pretty quadroon.
For solo voice, chorus (SATB) and piano.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 11 Jun 10 - 01:11 PM

Thanks, Jim, that ties it down. Now to get the lyrics-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Artful Codger
Date: 11 Jun 10 - 02:45 PM

If you do, don't forget to get the original tune!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: GUEST,Q as guest
Date: 11 Jun 10 - 03:33 PM

I have asked for a copy, and indicated willingness to pay. I'll let you know if I get it.

Now to get my cookie back-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: kendall
Date: 11 Jun 10 - 07:30 PM

My recording of this is still available from Folk Legacy.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Jul 10 - 03:38 PM

I have received a copy of the original 1863 sheet music for Pretty Quadroon, as described by Jim Dixon, above.
I will post it later today, and send scans to Joe.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: GUEST,DWR
Date: 15 Jul 10 - 04:23 PM

Thank You, Q and all the others who contributed so much to this thread over the years. I always follow it with interest every time it comes back, provided of course that I see it in time. If not, I just have more to read when I do find it!

These threads that last for 10 or more years and are constantly adding to our collective knowledge are real treasures.

Dale


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Subject: Lyr Add: MY PRETTY QUADROON (Dodge, 1863)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Jul 10 - 04:26 PM

Lyr. Add: My Pretty Quadroon
Words and Melody, Mrs. Mary Dodge
Arr. T. Martin Towne.

1
O who was so happy as I,
When those lips like the blossoming pea,
And the light of that violet eye
Ne'er shone on a darkee but me.
That form was most 'ceedingly fair,
Those cheeks like the wild rose of June;
And a wavelet of dark glossy hair
Were the curls of my pretty Quadroon.

Chorus.-
Oh! my pretty Quadroon,
My flower that faded so soon,
Dis heart like de strings of my Banjo,
Am broke for my pretty Quadroon.

2
I knew not that I was a slave,
So kind was young Massa to me;
So gentle manly and brave,
I had not a wish to be free.
Young massa had garden and bower,
Where the posies were always in bloom;
But he grudge me one little wild flower-
My Cola, my pretty Quadroon.
3
And 'cause I with grief tore my hair,
This hand, that was as white as his own;
He shackled and sold me afar,
To die in the rice swamps alone.
I heed not the lash or the smart,
Of the beams of the hot sudden noon;
There's nothing I feel but did heart,
Dat breaks for my pretty Quadroon
4
Farewell to the beautiful shades,
Farewell to dem little cool rills;
Where Cola and I so oft strayed,
Farewell to old Kentuck's green hills.
My sorrows will soon be forgot,
And dis heart will find rest in the tomb;
But my spirit shall fly to dat spot,
And watch o'er my pretty Quadroon.
5
Our plunge in the dark muddy stream,
One struggle and all will be o'er;
And life flit away like a dream,
With the voice of the driver no more.
Hark! hark! on the cool northern breeze,
Comes the sound of the bugle and drum;
Oh Lord! can it be the glad day,
The day of deliverance come?

Chorus after each verse.
Arranged by T. Martin Towne of the Continental Vocalists.
Chicago, Published by H. M. Higgins, 117 Randolph St.
Ent'd according to Act of Congress 1863 by H. M. Higgins in the Clerk's Office of the Dis't Court of the North'n Dist. of Ill. 5 pages.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Jul 10 - 04:39 PM

Many thanks to Jill Gage, Reference Librarian, Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections, The Newberry Library, Chicago, for the copy of the sheet music of My Pretty Quadroon, lyrics posted above.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Amos
Date: 15 Jul 10 - 06:28 PM

The misconception at the above mentioned site that the song concerns a "squadron" rather than a "quadroon" is risible but sort of sad. I wrote to the site in charge to point it out.



A


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Jul 10 - 09:26 PM

Amos, the song with "squadron" is a folk variant from Atlantic Canada, collected by MacEdward Leach in Newfoundland; as such it would be wrong for the editor of the site to change it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Amos
Date: 16 Jul 10 - 01:35 AM

Q:

Are you serious? IT is entirely wobbly in the context of the other, original, words!



A


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Goose Gander
Date: 16 Jul 10 - 03:25 AM

Oh, no! You're not saying that folk songs should ever change, are you? Perish the thought!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Jul 10 - 12:59 PM

"Wobbly" (whatever you mean by that), or mis-heard or misunderstood, or whatever, it is a collected folk version, and it was entirely right for MacEdward Leach to leave it as collected and for Memorial University to put it online as it was found.

(Besides, in the Newfoundland Outports, who among us outsiders, knows what 'squadron' meant to the singer?)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Amos
Date: 16 Jul 10 - 05:50 PM

I appreciate the sentiment, truly I do. But this is not the case of folk-process at work, but clearly a transcription error. The very-low-quality recording has only one spot--the last repetition of the chorus--in which the articulation is intelligible and it is clear in that phrase that the singer is singing the word "quadroon".

It is, in my opinion, simply to far-fetched to think that the word "squadron" could migrate through English- or French- or even Amerindian language groups into a term of intimacy and endearment.

So in this particular case, I think (FWIW) the probable explanation in that a transcriber with a poor ear for the poetry involved tried without success to capture the words from the singer on a very low-quality recording, and ended up grabbing at straws lacking the necessary background.

Regards,

A


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: kendall
Date: 16 Jul 10 - 07:47 PM

I have a dear friend in Canada who never heard the word "Quadroon".
To change a word that makes no sense is ok by me.
Oscar Brand's dirty sea song a4re full of words he made up because he has never been to sea and the terms they used made no sense to him, so his words make no sense to anyone!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Amos
Date: 16 Jul 10 - 10:56 PM

LOL, Skipper. OK.

Anyway I directed the good folks at the Newfoundland site to this thread and to the Max Hunter collection link, which is also a transcription from an old audio field recording, but much clearer.


A


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Subject: Tune Add: My Pretty Quadroon (Mary Dodge)
From: Artful Codger
Date: 17 Jul 10 - 12:05 AM

Q sent me scans of the 1863 Mary Dodge sheet music for "Pretty Quadroon", from which I've prepared an ABC and a couple MIDIs. In my melody-only MIDI, I suppressed the fermatas, but if you generate a MIDI or score from the ABC below, the fermatas should be expressed properly. You'll also hear them in the full MIDI.

X:1
T:My Pretty Quadroon
C:Words and melody by Mrs. Mary Dodge
S:Sheet music published by H.M. Higgins, Chicago, registered 1863.
Z:Artful Codger
%%MIDI program 1 42   % cello
M:6/8
L:1/8
Q:3/8=52
K:G
D | B> A G A> G F | G3-G2 F/ E/ | D> D D D c B | A3-A2 G/ A/ |
w: O who was so hap-py as I,_ When those lips like the blos-som-ing pea,_ And the
B> A G A> G F | G3-G2 E | D D D D HB A | G3-HG2 B |
w: light of that vi-o-let eye_ Ne'er shone on a dar-kee but me._ That
B> B B B c d | e3-e2 e | d> c B B A B | c3-c2 c/ c/ |
w: form was most 'ceed-ing-ly fair,_ Those cheeks like the wild rose of June;_ And a
B> A G A G F | G3-G2 E/ E/ | D> D D D HB A | G3-G2 z ||
w: wave-let of dark gloss-y hair_ Were the curls of my pret-ty Quad-roon._
%
%   Chorus - melody in the tenor line
|: "^Chorus. ad lib:" e2 e ^d B d | e3-e2 e | =d> c B B A G | A3-A2 c |
w: Oh! my pret-ty Quad-roon,_ My flow-er that fad-ed so soon,_ Dis
B> A G A G F | G E2-E2 E | D> D D D HB A | G3-G2 z :|
w: heart like de strings of my Ban-jo,_ Am broke for my pret-ty Quad-roon._

Click to play (lead)

Click to play (full)

To play or display ABC tunes, try concertina.net


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Jul 10 - 02:30 PM

MIDI files added - sheet music provided by Q, transcribed by Artful Codger.
Thanks to both of you.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 17 Jul 10 - 04:56 PM

Nice work on the midis and ABC!

A few little differences from the melody in Pretty Quadroon, words and music by Fred Howard and Nat Vincent, sheet music 1930; most versions follow them.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: GUEST,inch_worm
Date: 30 Aug 10 - 12:50 PM

I have been looking for over a decade for information on this song. I became entranced with it from repeated viewings of Jezebel. "My flower that faded too soon" A few years ago, only searching the few lyrics I finally found SactoGranny youtube with 2 versions of this song. Today, I heard it again in another movie on TCM, 1930 High C's sung by Charlie Chase playing the banjo, which would predate Jezebel. When I caught the name Cora , I was astonished as that was my mothers original given name . So back to searching again, I finally have found all the answers on this wonderful blog..Like written before, a decades search and who knew so many others were on the same search?! Amazing to have all finally gotten many lyric versions and history to pick from!, but I still like to hear SactoGranny sing it from the heart of his childhood. I can't help but wonder if my mother was named after this song that was definitely playing as my grammy waited for her birth. But then she became Pretty Polly, which is another song story..


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Lighter
Date: 04 Dec 18 - 09:50 PM

Mary Mapes Dodge lived in Newark, N.J., but the song was published by a   music publisher in Chicago.

It isn't impossible that Mary Mapes Dodge was the author of the song, but the Chicago connection and the fact that song's author is called simply "Mrs. Mary Dodge" make the attribution to MMD a guess only.

MMD published volumes of verse in 1874, 1879. and 1904 - and "My Pretty Quadroon" isn't included.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 05 Dec 18 - 07:52 PM

Beadle’s Dime Song Book, No. 16, 1865, mentioned several times above, is viewable now in Google Books. See here. The words seem to be identical to those posted by Frank Staplin above on 15 Jul 10 - 04:26 PM.

The only credit given there is: “Copied by permission of H. M. Higgins, Music Publisher, 117 Randolph St., Chicago, owner of the copyright.” No songwriter is mentioned.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: My Pretty Quadroon
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 05 Dec 18 - 08:08 PM

Sheet music to PRETTY QUADROON, by Fred Howard and Nat Vincent, from 1930, can be seen at the website of Temple University.


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