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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]


Jim Dixon 05 Dec 18 - 08:08 PM
Jim Dixon 05 Dec 18 - 07:52 PM
Lighter 04 Dec 18 - 09:50 PM
GUEST,inch_worm 30 Aug 10 - 12:50 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 17 Jul 10 - 04:56 PM
Joe Offer 17 Jul 10 - 02:30 PM
Artful Codger 17 Jul 10 - 12:05 AM
Amos 16 Jul 10 - 10:56 PM
kendall 16 Jul 10 - 07:47 PM
Amos 16 Jul 10 - 05:50 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 16 Jul 10 - 12:59 PM
Goose Gander 16 Jul 10 - 03:25 AM
Amos 16 Jul 10 - 01:35 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 15 Jul 10 - 09:26 PM
Amos 15 Jul 10 - 06:28 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 15 Jul 10 - 04:39 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 15 Jul 10 - 04:26 PM
GUEST,DWR 15 Jul 10 - 04:23 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 15 Jul 10 - 03:38 PM
kendall 11 Jun 10 - 07:30 PM
GUEST,Q as guest 11 Jun 10 - 03:33 PM
Artful Codger 11 Jun 10 - 02:45 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 11 Jun 10 - 01:11 PM
Jim Dixon 11 Jun 10 - 12:56 PM
Artful Codger 06 Jun 10 - 10:08 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 06 Jun 10 - 08:52 PM
Artful Codger 06 Jun 10 - 08:39 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 06 Jun 10 - 01:41 PM
Charley Noble 06 Jun 10 - 10:36 AM
Artful Codger 06 Jun 10 - 03:16 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 05 Jun 10 - 08:48 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 04 Jun 10 - 02:36 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 04 Jun 10 - 02:25 PM
Artful Codger 04 Jun 10 - 01:20 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 03 Jun 10 - 11:03 PM
GUEST 03 Jun 10 - 10:58 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 29 Nov 08 - 09:53 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 29 Nov 08 - 12:58 AM
Goose Gander 28 Nov 08 - 11:24 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 25 May 08 - 03:13 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 25 May 08 - 01:41 PM
GUEST,john t 25 May 08 - 11:44 AM
GEST 25 May 08 - 10:36 AM
Azizi 25 May 08 - 12:32 AM
Azizi 25 May 08 - 12:23 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 24 May 08 - 09:23 PM
kendall 24 May 08 - 07:41 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 24 May 08 - 07:38 PM
GUEST,john t 24 May 08 - 03:34 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 21 Nov 06 - 09:21 PM
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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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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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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 - 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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 - 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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 - 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 - 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 03 Jun 10 - 11:03 PM

Oh, my! Another ignorant guest!


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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: 29 Nov 08 - 09:53 PM

refresh


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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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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 - 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: 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: 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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