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Origin: Colored Aristocracy

The Shambles 02 Aug 00 - 04:54 PM
Sorcha 02 Aug 00 - 05:02 PM
MMario 02 Aug 00 - 05:10 PM
Jeri 02 Aug 00 - 05:18 PM
Joe Offer 02 Aug 00 - 05:34 PM
Sorcha 02 Aug 00 - 05:53 PM
Uncle_DaveO 02 Aug 00 - 05:55 PM
Sorcha 02 Aug 00 - 06:05 PM
Tiger 02 Aug 00 - 06:07 PM
Sorcha 02 Aug 00 - 06:11 PM
Bud Savoie 02 Aug 00 - 06:27 PM
Sorcha 02 Aug 00 - 06:30 PM
McGrath of Harlow 02 Aug 00 - 06:33 PM
The Shambles 02 Aug 00 - 06:36 PM
GUEST 02 Aug 00 - 06:36 PM
Jeri 02 Aug 00 - 06:46 PM
Les B 02 Aug 00 - 08:30 PM
Rick Fielding 02 Aug 00 - 11:53 PM
Kaleb 03 Aug 00 - 09:32 AM
Jacob B 03 Aug 00 - 09:44 AM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 03 Aug 00 - 10:52 AM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Aug 00 - 12:56 PM
MMario 03 Aug 00 - 01:22 PM
The Shambles 03 Aug 00 - 01:30 PM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Aug 00 - 01:30 PM
GUEST,Mike in Aspen 23 Jun 09 - 06:32 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 23 Jun 09 - 08:09 PM
Charley Noble 23 Jun 09 - 08:39 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 23 Jun 09 - 10:16 PM
GUEST,Russ 23 Jun 09 - 10:59 PM
GUEST,Russ 23 Jun 09 - 11:01 PM
Scorpio 24 Jun 09 - 03:56 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 24 Jun 09 - 04:53 AM
Zen 24 Jun 09 - 04:58 AM
Will Fly 24 Jun 09 - 08:34 AM
Charley Noble 24 Jun 09 - 08:56 AM
Midchuck 24 Jun 09 - 09:05 AM
Leadfingers 24 Jun 09 - 09:44 AM
Stringsinger 24 Jun 09 - 10:55 AM
PHJim 24 Jun 09 - 11:11 AM
wysiwyg 24 Jun 09 - 11:25 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 24 Jun 09 - 01:58 PM
Kent Davis 24 Jun 09 - 10:53 PM
Barry Finn 25 Jun 09 - 12:18 AM
wysiwyg 25 Jun 09 - 08:57 AM
curmudgeon 25 Jun 09 - 09:10 AM
wysiwyg 25 Jun 09 - 09:48 AM
Barry Finn 25 Jun 09 - 02:23 PM
Barry Finn 25 Jun 09 - 02:25 PM
meself 25 Jun 09 - 02:36 PM
curmudgeon 25 Jun 09 - 02:59 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 25 Jun 09 - 03:19 PM
Barry Finn 25 Jun 09 - 03:34 PM
Midchuck 26 Jun 09 - 10:26 AM
PHJim 26 Jun 09 - 03:15 PM
Charley Noble 26 Jun 09 - 10:09 PM
RiGGy 26 Jun 09 - 11:31 PM
GUEST,Frankimo 02 Jan 12 - 10:29 PM
Suzy T. 02 Jan 12 - 11:47 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 03 Jan 12 - 04:13 PM
GUEST 19 Jan 13 - 04:57 PM
Janie 19 Jan 13 - 05:38 PM
GUEST,Russ 19 Jan 13 - 09:59 PM
GUEST 27 Nov 17 - 07:06 PM
leeneia 30 Nov 17 - 03:51 PM
GUEST,Susan 29 Dec 17 - 10:42 PM
meself 30 Dec 17 - 12:26 AM
leeneia 30 Dec 17 - 12:03 PM
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Subject: Colored Aristocracy?
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Aug 00 - 04:54 PM

Can anyone give me a little more info on the background to the fine tune 'Colored Aristocracy' and its somewhat strange title?


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: Sorcha
Date: 02 Aug 00 - 05:02 PM

Shucks, I was hoping you were asking for the tune. I play it, but have no info on it at all. Jeri plays it too, maybe she will know.


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: MMario
Date: 02 Aug 00 - 05:10 PM

Every reference I can find on the web just says "traditional banjo tune"


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: Jeri
Date: 02 Aug 00 - 05:18 PM

I honestly don't know diddley about it, but will speculate until my nose drops off. The tune is a cakewalk. I alway suspected it dates back to before the Civil War, but wouldn't be surprised to learn I was wrong. Hope someone know something factual.


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 02 Aug 00 - 05:34 PM

Click here for the tune, in various formats. "M" is for MIDI.
Nice tune. I found it at JC's ABC Tune Finder.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: Sorcha
Date: 02 Aug 00 - 05:53 PM

The "band" has another name for it that we do NOT say in public. It is very rude and very naughty....I'll leave you to speculate.


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 02 Aug 00 - 05:55 PM

Joe: Okay, I'll bite. Clicking "Click Here" gets me the following:

Looking for "colored aristocracy".

F T A P E G P M index key Title
F T A P E G P M 1 G Colored Aristocracy
F T A P E G P M 1 G Colored Aristocracy

What next? What's this all about?

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: Sorcha
Date: 02 Aug 00 - 06:05 PM

Oh honey. We're sorry, most of us have been there before. If you want a picture of sheet music, click on the G. Just above the line of letters should be a table giving you the code names.


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: Tiger
Date: 02 Aug 00 - 06:07 PM

I've only heard instrumentals. Are there any words?


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: Sorcha
Date: 02 Aug 00 - 06:11 PM

Seems like there ought to be, but I have never heard any.


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: Bud Savoie
Date: 02 Aug 00 - 06:27 PM

Some folks around here are pretty PC and have changed the title to "Southern Aristocracy." I think it misses something.


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: Sorcha
Date: 02 Aug 00 - 06:30 PM

Exactly, Bud. U****y N****r just doesn't cut it at all, but we are soooooooooobad sometimes. It only happens when someone says "WHAT? was the title of that tune?", and we say, yep, "U--N". I have always wondered if that was what it really meant...............


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Aug 00 - 06:33 PM

Some folks around here are pretty PC and have changed the title to "Southern Aristocracy."

That's a pretty weird way of being PC, replacing a title that suggests it is dedicated to elegant black people by one that suggests it is dedicated to posh whites who probably think the wrong side won the Civil War...


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Aug 00 - 06:36 PM

This is what I have from notes on the New Lost City Ramblers CD 'there ain't no way out'.

"From a field recording of Sanford and Harry Rich, fiddles, with Hensel Rich, guitar, and Elmer Rich, mandolin. Recorded by Charles Seeger during the Arthurdale Festival, Arthurdale, W.V., Archive of folk Culture, Library of Congress, AFS3306 B2 (1936)".

"According to a 1960s interview, the Rich Family was from Morgantown, West Virginia, and were hired to play at the Arthurdale event, which was said to have been attended by Eleanor Roosevelt. Ever since we recorded this in 1958 we've been sensitive to the possibly pejorative overtones of the title. In preparing these notes, I've spoken with a few of my African American friends, and I'll try to express my very brief distillation of those talks.
Understandably, people of African American descent have been searching over the years for a satisfactory and accurate term for their identity in the changing context of American life. Since the early 1800s these terms have included Anglo-African, colored (in the late 1800s to about WW 1), Negro, Black, Afro-American and recently African American. Because the title for this instrumental reflects non-pejorative usage during the time that this instrumental was probably composed, we have decided not to 'fiddlewith tradition' by renaming it"
. (Mike Seeger)


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Aug 00 - 06:36 PM

There is also a 2 page, tablature arrangement of it for fingerpicking guitar.

Page 1
and
Page 2

.....courtesy of Stefan Grossman.


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: Jeri
Date: 02 Aug 00 - 06:46 PM

One of the things I'm curious about is whether the tune is of African American origin. The title may be from white people, and may have been complimentary or sarcastic. If the title came from black people, well, the same possibilities exist. Since we don't understand the context, I'd rather go with the complimentary meaning.


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: Les B
Date: 02 Aug 00 - 08:30 PM

My general understanding of cakewalks is that they came to vogue in the late 1890's. A good fiddler here, who plays the tune, and grew up in the southeast, has said that cakewalks (a stylized dance) were the black folk's way of imitating and perhaps slyly mocking the pretensions of the whites. I don't think the tune goes back to Civil War times, but it's a catchy piece never-the-less. Another good one he plays is the Virginia Cakewalk.


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 02 Aug 00 - 11:53 PM

Want to try something interesting? Like most folks I learned it with the chords G////Em////C//G//A//D//G////Em////C//G//D//G//

My friend (and Mudcatter) Arnie Naiman plays it with E Major, and it sounds great. Much rougher and more "Backwoodsy". Give it a try.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: Kaleb
Date: 03 Aug 00 - 09:32 AM

Shambles, that was great information. The Elmer Rich mentioned in the liner notes is a good friend of my grandfather. He and I usually play at our family reunion.


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: Jacob B
Date: 03 Aug 00 - 09:44 AM

The Holy Modal Rounders recorded a song to the tune of Colored Aristocracy. I believe it was called Voodoo Queen Ann Marie, and supposedly the character it described was a composite of two actual voodoo queens who lived in New Orleans at one time.

I don't see it in the DigiTrad. I'll start a Lyrics Request thread.

Jacob


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 03 Aug 00 - 10:52 AM

THREAD CREEP WARNING:
In the UK at any rate in the old fashioned funfairs ( before theme park white-knuckle rides) there used to be a "cake walk" which was a swaying and bucking walkway where you tried to keep your balance ( a bit like the new pedestrian bridge across the Thames. Presumably the antics of the pedestrians resembled the "minstrel show" dancers? What simple pleasures we enjoyed in the 1950s before television: cake walks, gusts of air up the skirts, Distortin mirrors, dodgem cars, simple carousels, ferris wheels! Nostalgia ain't what it used to be!
RtS


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Aug 00 - 12:56 PM

Why is a term like "coloured aristocracy" (I suppose it ought to be spelt "colored" in the context) seen as potentially racist when a term like "Jewish princess" is apparently fine?


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: MMario
Date: 03 Aug 00 - 01:22 PM

"Jewish Princess" is considered a no-no by many as well...


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: The Shambles
Date: 03 Aug 00 - 01:30 PM

I would have thoght that someone with a tile like McGrath of Harlow, would know all about the aristocracy.

The UK aristocracy is colored. Well blue. They have blue blood, do they not?

I like to think the tune refers to fine folk like Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Nat King Cole. The last one I have met and he was dignity personified.


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Aug 00 - 01:30 PM

I can't keep up with this...

I seriously think a lot of these things get made up by people who are trying to embarass people with the whole thing, and whose underlying motive is to get back to a situation where they can say genuinely and intentionally offensive things without being told where to get off.

(And just to avoid misunderstandings, I'm not referring to anyone on this thread.)


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: GUEST,Mike in Aspen
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 06:32 PM

Long before becoming a banjo player, I was a history buff. Most specifically civil war history. And while I can not remember at this point where I read it, I do remember reading a definition of the term "Colored Aristocracy" that made sense at the time and has stuck with me. It was described as a very sarcastic term used (originally) by whites to describe house slaves. (as opposed to field slaves) Over the years, house slaves came to feel very superior to field slaves, and their mannerisms began to reflect this. By "putting on airs...as if they are the colored aristocracy". Whether or not this or any other explanation is true, it's a shame that any negative connotation is attached to such a great tune.


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 08:09 PM

The title "Colored Aristocracy" goes back to a book of that title on the black elite of St. Louis, Missouri, pub. in the 1850s.
Clamorgan and Winch, 1850s, "The Colored Aristocracy of St. Louis," reprint by University of Missouri Press.
(Copies available at Abebooks).

Cakewalks started formally in the 1870s: 145 tunes listed here- Cakewalk
Cakewalks were meant to be danced. Good essay by Ted Tjaden.

In 1899, "Colored Aristocracy" became the title of a cakewalk number. Sheet music, Gus. W. Bernard, pub. Baldwin. Sheet music at Univ. South Carolina- South Carolina sheet music

1936- Title of a number by the Rich family. String band tune, Sankofa Strings. track 2 of their cd, and title of the album, the Carolina Chocolate Drops. No words, just fiddlin'.
Clip at Carolina Chocolate Drops


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 08:39 PM

Looks as if Q has nailed another one.

I'm intrigued with the Rich family:

"the Rich Family was from Morgantown, West Virginia, and were hired to play at the Arthurdale event, which was said to have been attended by Eleanor Roosevelt."

My farther was one of the teachers that Elsie Clapp brought with her from NYC to run the community school at Arthurdale in the early 1930's. Arthurdale was a project which involved unemployed mining families who were being retrained to work at the furniture factory in the town. The experimental school was very progressive, with the academic subjects emphasizing practical application while incorporating local culture. The drama classes were essentially folk operas, directed by Fletcher and Margaret Collins, who went on to work in Staunton, Virginia, and were associated with the Oak Grove festivals and the Blue Ridge Mountains Theatre Wagon productions. It was a very exciting time, at Arthudale, until the state took over the entire project and fired all the radical teachers.

My parents' love of the Appalachian songs and tunes certainly carried over to me, but I learned "Colored Aristocracy" from the Elderly Music gang out in Lansing, Michigan. We generally played "Colored Aristocracy" as a set with "Cherokee Shuffle."

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 10:16 PM

The Hackensaw Boys paired it with Brumley's "I'll Fly Away."
Holly and Jake combined it with "Soldier's Joy" and "Redwing."
Yankee Ingenuity paired it with "Ragtime Annie."
Roberts and Barrand paired it with "Salt River."
It appears in the Celtic(?) Banks of Newfoundland Inishowen cd combined with "Whistling Rufus" and "Ragtime Annie."
(a few from allmusic).

It does seen to go with sets.


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 10:59 PM

Elmer Rich was part of the Rich Family Band that played for Eleanor Roosevelt.
He is still going strong.
Still a kick-ass fiddler.

Elmer Rich plays Forked Deer

Russ (Permanent GUEST)


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 11:01 PM

Just found this:

Elmer Rich plays Colored Aristocracy

Russ (Permanent GUEST)


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: Scorpio
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 03:56 AM

Listen to Taj Mahal fingerpicking the tune on a 12-string!


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 04:53 AM

This tune is now a staple in the English session scene.
But, I mistakenly thought it was called the "Curried Aristocracy" on first hearing it.
Summons up interesting thoughts....!!!
Whether they are politically correct or not....Who knows!


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: Zen
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 04:58 AM

Great tune and very interesting to read the history here. I play in in a set after Whiskey Before Breakfast.

Zen


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: Will Fly
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 08:34 AM

Ralphie:
I mistakenly thought it was called the "Curried Aristocracy" on first hearing it.

You must have been listening to the version by Taj Mahal...


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 08:56 AM

I need some whiskey!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: Midchuck
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 09:05 AM

Confession: I have, recently, when we were thinking what to play next, said (quietly) to Kris, "How about the President's theme song?"

I suppose that makes me an evil Nazi racist. So much for any sense of humor in the US.

Peter


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 09:44 AM

I first came across C A paired with Ragtime Annie when I discovered The Newt at Sidmouth ! The late (And still Lamented ) Bill Eddy got that pairing from Yankee Ingenuity .


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 10:55 AM

There are a couple of songs that reflect this idea. The original version of "Puttin' On The Ritz" is an example of the so-called attempt at being black aristocrats. Another, is "Darktown Strutter's Ball" by Shelton Brooks to commemorate a black prostitute's ball.

This theme pops up in songs every once in a while. They tend to be stereotypical.

It may be a throwback to the Minstrel show days. Stephen Foster wrote a lot of these kind of songs.

It's another song like Georgia Camp Meeting which is a very good tune with terribly
condescending lyrics.


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: PHJim
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 11:11 AM

I'm sure that Howie Bursen sings a version of this tune on his LP Cider In The Kitchen. I no longer have a copy and am not sure if it's available on CD.


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Subject: Abrazos: Colored Aristocracy?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 11:25 AM

Hardi opens each Saturday Night Service with a fiddle tune or two as a "prelude." They create really interesting teaching opportunities.... the congregation will sit there tapping their toes and then learn, from dryly winking Hardi, that they have just been enjoying "Whiskey Before Breakfast," in CHURCH.

They've also enjoyed "Breaking Up Christmas," when that season of the church year comes to an end.

These little teaching moments are, you could say, very much like meditations offered at a retreat.... something to think about. A line of thought that leads to an unsaid point, a fable where the moral is not stated but left to the hearer to find in their meditation.... "The Stool of Repentance," another well-loved fiddle tune, comes to mind.

The community here is proud to be related to its Whiskey Rebellion forebears of Kentucky, so when we call our area "Pennsyltucky," there is a flavor of moonshine in the mouth. We call our evening drives through the wild hills "ridgerunning," and we don't mean it lightly. :~)


Anglicanism has such a lovely way of straddling the most uncomfortable concepts, somehow, and all the tangled viewpoints at once. It's one reason I have not left this denomination, despite all the patience-trying evidence that it is a very human organization which seeks, but does not always recognize in a timely manner, Grace.


But Grace there is, if we but look for it; to my view, this community is chock-full of it.

[still with me?] Our area also has traces of the Underground Railroad that once ran through it on the way to freedom further north in Canada. The old housing stock being newly-sided (or torn down to make way for the grand abodes of flatlanders retiring here) has secret passages proudly maintained since slavery times. But they can't quite cover or tear down the local folks' hearts: when Hardi's prelude includes "Colored Aristocracy," it touches not the numbed nerve of racial prejudice... and not the inflamed nerve of race hate... but the living, responsive nerve of knowing what right-thinking people here have done for centuries-- loving AND HELPING their neighbors, deeply. More deeply than any perceived difference the wider society might insist is a difference that must create fear and lashing out. The locals exchange knowing glances, and they try to help educate their newer neighbors: "Winter is coming. Don't forget to pull together."


"Colored Aristocracy," as a title, SHOULD give pause. It's what happens AFTER the pause that I love to see.


Abrazos,

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 01:58 PM

Clamorgan, "Colored Aristocracy in St. Louis," further note. Publication date 1858.
This from the discussion of the University of Missouri reprint of 1999.
"When Cyprian Clamorgan wrote The Colored Aristocracy of St. Louis" in 1858, he described what it took to "make it" as an anomaly in that city. He recognized that, in St. Louis as in antebellum communities throughout the United States, to be free and of African descent meant that one did not fit into a society that assumed that black people were meant to be slaves and that only white people could know freedom. Yet Clamorgan observed that there existed in the Mound City "a certain circle: a peculiar class- the elite of the colored race" who attained their high status through "wealth, education or natural ability". And the greatest of these was wealth.

Julie Winch, who annotated the reprint of the Clamorgan book, "makes a valuable contribution to the study of free blacks."

Clqamorgan was a mulatto, a descendant of the voyageur and slave trader Jacques Clamorgan and one of his "Negro wives." A grandson of this man, Cyprian Clamorgan "sought to benefit financially from the sale of Jacque's land claims and the marketing of a literary challenge to the "white notion that black people were all alike because they were black.""
Colored Aristocracy

St. Louis of the 1850s was a boom city, a gateway to the west and to the Mississippi, with industry and monied families.
As a side note, some years ago I was at an auction of American coin silver, in which I was interested at the time. Work of St. Louis silversmiths of the 1850s was a feature, and I remember several pieces- tableware, pitchers, candlesticks- marked with the initials of one of the black societies of the time. A dealer friend if mine bought most of the pieces, for resale in the States.


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: Kent Davis
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 10:53 PM

Here are some short audio clips from an album entitled "Colored Aristocaracy" by Sankofa Springs. The second song is the title track. Sankofa Springs is an African-American Old-Time Band consisting of Rhiannon Giddes and Dom Flemons (2/3s of the Carolina Chocolate Drops) and Sule Greg Wilson:http://cdbaby.com/cd/ccdrops

Here's a video clip of them performing the song:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R98h6NbSgJU

Kent


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 12:18 AM

Can anyone post the words?

Barry


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 08:57 AM

It's a fiddle tune. A dance tune. Never heard of words for it....

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: curmudgeon
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 09:10 AM

There are no words, unless someone's made some up recently.

It has become far too common for people, usually those who should know better, to use the word "song" for any piece of music.

Songs have words that they may be sung; tunes have notes that they may be played.

Howard Bursen did neither play nor "sing" this on "Cider In the Kitchen."


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 09:48 AM

Barry,

There are some oldtime/fiddle tunes that include sung passages, a few lines sort of shouted out to break the monotony of the incessant tune in a long dance... While the words themselves may vary (floating/zipper verses) in a tune that has 'em, a given tune generally either does include them, or doesn't. Sung intervals don't generally get spontaneously added later on in the history, except maybe for Uncle Dave Macon's comedic embroidering on well-known tunes of his time. I guess some tunes just lend themselves more to that than others, or give more room for voiced syllables within the fast-paced fiddling.

The main thing about oldtime fiddle tunes, although many of them are as pretty as sung songs, is their rhythm-- because they are, first and foremost, dance music. They are more related to session tunes in the UK than to sung music of the US. They evolved in the US into un-dance-ably fast bluegrass style, as instrumental interludes between sung bluegrass music in a set or jam.

Some tunes are known nowadays both in bluegrass circles and in oldtime circles, though they are played somewhat differently as to speed, ornamentations, and technique.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 02:23 PM

It was not just the interjection of a few phrases, it was a song to the fiddle tune with a good number of verses & a chorus. By no means a matter of throwing in floaters from elsewhere. It's unsuall in that it has somewhat of a story line.
I've heard it sung a couple times, always the same verses & chorus but it was so long ago & the time lapses in between wiped out almost all of my memory of it. It wasn't PC, for sure. Something about the "Darkies sing,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, (the freed Blacks were gleefully celebrating & rejoicing in the Emancipation Proclamation. If it's a recent composition (1st I heard it's gotta be at least 2 decades ago) it was written in a what to me sounded like the very traditional style of Black string bands. Someone knew what they were writting & singing about.

Barry


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 02:25 PM

Tom, you should know better than to mention the difference between my use of the words "song" and "tune". Now go spank yourself.

Barry


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: meself
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 02:36 PM

I just came across this long note on Fiddle-L, from January 31, 2001. You will see that the writer identifies himself as one Andrew Kuntz. I'm copying this without his permission, assuming he won't be terribly upset:


COLORED ARISTOCRACY. AKA and see "Southern Aristocracy." Old-Time, Breakdown.
USA, West Virginia. G Major. Standard. AA'BB'. This late 19th century or c.
1900 tune is more correctly categorized as a cakewalk (which suggests ragtime
from its syncopated rhythms) rather than a fiddle tune though the popularized
version apparently comes from old-time fiddler Sanford Rich, a resident of
Arthurdale, West Virginia in August of 1936. Arthurdale, according to Kerry
Blech and Gerald Milnes, was a resettlement camp for displaced persons during
the depression, a project of Elanor Roosevelt's, and it was there at a
festival of folk heritage that musicologist Charles Seeger (father of New
Lost City Ramblers member Mike Seeger) recorded the Rich Family for the
Library of Congress (AFS 3306 B2). Gerald Milnes has located Sanford's son,
Elmer Rich, an elderly man who still fiddles and who remembers the event.
Mike Seegar learned the tune at a young age by playing the aluminum
recordings in his parent's house. It became one of the first tunes recorded
by his group the New Lost City Ramblers in the early 1960's, and introduced
the song to "revival" era fiddlers.
***
The second chord in the accompaniment has been variously played as both an E
minor and an E major. The origin of the title remained obscure, although it
was speculated that it derived from Reconstruction sentiments (or
resentments) about the perceived attitude (either within or without the black
community) of some African-Americans (i.e. that "Colored Aristocracy" was a
gentrification of "Uppity Nigger"). However, Peter Shenkin tracked the title
to a piece of sheet music from a 1902 revue entitled "In Dahomey," which
starred the famous African-American vaudeville duo Williams and Waltker. The
music (entitled "Leader of the Colored Aristocracy") is credited to Will
Marion Cook, words by James Weldon Johnson (later of Harlem Renaissance
fame), published by Harry Von Tilzer. Another "Coloered Aristocarcy" dates
from 1899 credited to one Gus W. Bernard (published by the Groene Co.); it is
listed as a "Cake-walk" on the cover. Neither the Bernard tune or the one
published by Tilzer is the "Colored Aristocracy" played by fiddlers, however.
Bob Buckingham reports that a fiddling preacher of his aquaintance named Buck
Rife (originally from the Beckley WV area) calls the tune "The Young Man Who
Wouldn't Hoe Corn" and gave that he had it as a youngster learning clawhammer
banjo from an uncle. Brody (Fiddler's Fakebook), 1983; pg. 72. Phillips
(Fiddlecase Tunebook), 1989; pg. 11. Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle
Tunes), Vol. 2, 1995; pg. 33. Columbia GP18, Taj Mahal - "De Old Folds at
Home." Folkways FA 2396, New Lost City Ramblers- "Vol. 1." Folkways 2494, New
Lost City Ramblers - "Sing Songs of the New Lost City Ramblers" (1978.
Learned from a Library of Congress recording of the Riche Brothers at the
1936 Athurdale, W.Va. fiddler's Convention). Fretless FR 200A, Yankee
Ingenuity - "Kitchen Junket" (1977). Front Hall FHR-01, Bill Spence &
Fennig's All Stars - "The Hammered Dulcimer." Rounder 0002, Spark Gap Wonder
Boys- "Cluck Old Hen." Rounder 0075, Richard Greene- "Duets."
Smithsonian/Folkways SF CD 40098, New Lost City Ramblers - "There Ain't no
Way Out" (learned from the Library of Congress field recording of Sanford
Rich).

Regards,
Andrew Kuntz
The Fiddler's Companion Tuneindex
http://www.ceolas.org/tunes/fc


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: curmudgeon
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 02:59 PM

Barry, I wasn't referring to you. The song you just mentioned sounds like "Jubilo, aka "The Kingdom Comin," by Henry Clay Work.

Say, darkeys, hab you seen de massa,
Wid de muff-stash on his face,
Go long the road some time dis mornin'
Like he gwine to leab de place?
He seen a smoke, 'way up the ribber
Whar the Linkum gunboats lay;
He took his hat an' lef' berry sudden
An' I spec he's run away!

cho: De massa run? Ha ha!
De darkeys stay? Ho ho!
It mus' be now de kingdom comin'
An' de year ob Jubilo!


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 03:19 PM

The origin of the current fiddle tune is obscure, as suggested in the excerpt from the Fiddler's Companion posted above.

The information there about the origin of the term "colored aristocracy," however, is incomplete and out-of-date.


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 03:34 PM

Yes Tom, I was thinking of Work's "Kingdom Coming" & thinking it was to the tune of "Colored Aristocracy". You can now "Spank me" instead.

Barry


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: Midchuck
Date: 26 Jun 09 - 10:26 AM

The second chord in the accompaniment has been variously played as both an E minor and an E major.

E minor is right in terms of music theory, but you need to play E major to give it a proper "old-timey" sound. Check the New Lost City Ramblers' recording.

Now if I could only convince my partners...

P.


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: PHJim
Date: 26 Jun 09 - 03:15 PM

My apologies. I was thinking of Year Of Jubilo when I talked about Howie's Cider In The Kitchen album.


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Subject: RE: Colored Aristocracy?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 26 Jun 09 - 10:09 PM

Well, there's only so much storage space in our tiny brains! Any who wants to risk an upgrade?

Not to worry, gang, as long as we continue the conversation.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: ADD: Voodoo Queen Marie
From: RiGGy
Date: 26 Jun 09 - 11:31 PM

OK, Barry. Here's what Tommy Magee sang with our Brattle Streetband:

VOODOO QUEEN MARIE
(words by Peter Stampfel of the Holy Modal Rounders)

My mama always told me "boy, you keep away from her"
When she goes by the dogs all cry, but the cats all purr
She's a voodoo queen, she's up from New Orleans
And here she comes just lookin' like the universe is all hers

Voodoo Queen Marie, she ran the town of New Orleans
Ran since her middle teens, just like it was her favorite toy
But that was fine because, that's exactly what it was
Wasn't anybody, and there wasn't any laws made to fit Queen Marie

Well don't she have some power, and don't the men-folk stare
At her golden hoops, and shiny rings and long black shiny hair
All hangin to her hips, her cherry colored lips
Other women walk on Earth, while this one floats thru the air

Well the folks tell fabulous lies, say how the green light shines from her eyes
Say that she's a cat in disguise, say there's horns upon her head
They say she's married as well, say she wed the Devil in Hell
Turned him into a big black snake and keeps him under her bed

Watch that woman shake, she's dancin with her snake
Dancin, dancin all nite long on a moonlight, candlelit, voodoo lake
Dress up in flaming red, she's dancing with the dead
Dancin, Dancin, all nite long with a fish held over her head

Now the Voodoos know her name, they pass the tale from hand to hand
But you can go all thru this land and never hear not one word said
But if you know where to look, it's not in the telephone book
But Voodoo's knowledge makes men think old Queen Marie is not dead.


Voodoo Queen Marie


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Subject: RE: Origin: Colored Aristocracy
From: GUEST,Frankimo
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 10:29 PM

From conversations with friends familiar with some of the older people of Washington DC and eastern Maryland, I would imagine that the title Colored Aristocracy refers to the old(and wealthy old monied) free Black families of Washington DC(c.1800's) who were for the most part, light complected. Unbeknown to most whites; Colored was the general term that African American society of the 19th and early 20th centuries used to differentiate fair African Americans from dark African Americans.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Colored Aristocracy
From: Suzy T.
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 11:47 PM

Scroll back up, and you'll read about Charles Seeger recording Sanford Rich and his family playing that tune, in West Virginia in the early 30s. Elmer Rich played mandolin on that recording, as a young teenager. He's still playing fiddle, and will be on the faculty at Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, in Port Townsend, WA, next summer! So if you want to meet someone who was part of getting this tune into circulation as an old time tune....check out the Fiddle Tunes website: http://www.centrum.org/fiddle/

I became the Artistic Director of "Fiddle Tunes" (as it's usually called) last year and am loving the opportunity to work with folks like Elmer Rich -- they're the closest thing we have to a time machine!
Suzy Thompson


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Subject: RE: Origin: Colored Aristocracy
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 04:13 PM

A reprint of Cyprian Clamorgan, 1858, Colored Aristocracy of St. Louis, reprint, is available from amazon.com and other sources.

A recent book on the Black "Aristocrats" is a study of the Black elite which developed after Reconstruction (following the Civil War)
Willard B. Gatewood, 1990, Aristocrats of Color, The Black Elite, 1880-1920, Univ. Arkansas Press.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Colored Aristocracy
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Jan 13 - 04:57 PM

Elmer Rich, who appears in the 1936 video with Eleanor Roosevelt is the nephew of Sanford Rich who is credited for composing the tune in its present form. Elmer told me that Sanford was inspired by Ragtimers in St Louis, and chose the title to honor them. Elmer is still alive and actively fiddling in Morgantown, so you can ask him if you have any questions.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Colored Aristocracy
From: Janie
Date: 19 Jan 13 - 05:38 PM

'zat you Russ?


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Subject: RE: Origin: Colored Aristocracy
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 19 Jan 13 - 09:59 PM

Janie,
Not me.
But I still check out mudcat.
Not many threads these days that interest me.
Elmer shows up regularly for the fiddle contest at Vandalia.
He still loves to compete and he still loves to win.
I also still see him now and then at the October Augusta fiddlers reunion.
Russ (Permanent GUEST)


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Subject: RE: Origin: Colored Aristocracy
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Nov 17 - 07:06 PM

it has to do with some aristocratic bloodline families are carrying colored blood within them..


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Subject: RE: Origin: Colored Aristocracy
From: leeneia
Date: 30 Nov 17 - 03:51 PM

This is fun to play. You can find the music on abcnotation.com


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Subject: RE: Origin: Colored Aristocracy
From: GUEST,Susan
Date: 29 Dec 17 - 10:42 PM

Does this song have racist roots? It's 2017 and we should be clear on this by now, after 17 years of discussion. Is this something I should avoid playing?


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Subject: RE: Origin: Colored Aristocracy
From: meself
Date: 30 Dec 17 - 12:26 AM

17 years of discussion - read it and decide for yourself if the tune has 'racist roots'. And then decide if you 'should' play it or not.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Colored Aristocracy
From: leeneia
Date: 30 Dec 17 - 12:03 PM

A piece of music is a set of sounds. How can sounds be racist? Lyrics might be racist, because they are the product of a human mind, but sound is merely the product of moving air.

Is the title racist? Clearly nobody knows. But old tunes often have many titles. If you like 'Colored Aristocracy' and want to play it, give it a new title.


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