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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
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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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