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Lyr Req: meaning of the words in DIXIE

DigiTrad:
A HORSE NAMED BILL
DIXIE, THE LAND OF KING COTTON
DIXIE'S LAND


Related threads:
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(origins) Origins: Meaning of lyrics to Dixie Land (15)
(origins) Origins: Dixie (67)
Dixie-new origin theory on NPR-interestimg (38)
Folklore: Where is Dixie (57)
Why is 'Dixie' considered racist? (104) (closed)
Lyr Req: Everybody's Dixie (Albert Pike) (4)
(origins) Origins: Dixie (25)


GUEST,Ben 21 Oct 01 - 10:09 AM
Sorcha 21 Oct 01 - 11:37 AM
GUEST,Ben 21 Oct 01 - 02:29 PM
catspaw49 21 Oct 01 - 03:10 PM
DougR 21 Oct 01 - 05:27 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 21 Oct 01 - 06:32 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 21 Oct 01 - 08:23 PM
GUEST,Macums@aol.com 09 Mar 04 - 09:35 PM
Joe Offer 09 Mar 04 - 10:07 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 09 Mar 04 - 10:30 PM
Brian Hoskin 10 Mar 04 - 05:19 AM
GLoux 10 Mar 04 - 11:07 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 10 Mar 04 - 11:33 AM
GUEST 10 Mar 04 - 04:21 PM
Coyote Breath 11 Mar 04 - 12:30 PM
Billy Weeks 11 Mar 04 - 02:54 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 11 Mar 04 - 03:02 PM
Wilfried Schaum 12 Mar 04 - 02:52 AM
GUEST,clay 02 Jan 12 - 07:01 AM
GUEST,Mike Dallwitz 04 Jun 14 - 09:12 AM
GUEST,Phil 23 Feb 15 - 05:35 PM
wysiwyg 24 Feb 15 - 05:20 PM
olddude 24 Feb 15 - 06:31 PM
olddude 24 Feb 15 - 06:32 PM
GUEST,Phil 24 Feb 15 - 09:35 PM
GUEST 19 Feb 17 - 09:12 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 20 Feb 17 - 02:43 AM
GUEST 20 Feb 17 - 05:48 AM
Mr Red 20 Feb 17 - 06:12 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 20 Feb 17 - 10:52 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 20 Feb 17 - 11:03 AM
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Subject: Words of ? in Dixie
From: GUEST,Ben
Date: 21 Oct 01 - 10:09 AM

I checked the older messages that seemed pertinent but didn't find anything about this particular aspect of the song "Dixie". In the last verse there is reference to "ingen batter" and to "scratch the grabble". Any one with insights on what these two things are. I realize that this is old slang and would like to know what it is in reference to. Thanks.

Ben


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Subject: RE: Words of ? in Dixie
From: Sorcha
Date: 21 Oct 01 - 11:37 AM

I belive your "ingen batter" is a typo--should be "Injun batter". Probably something like a cornmeal batter to be deep fried or baked. No idea about "scratch your grabble". I know what scrapple is, but you eat it, not scratch it...............


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Subject: RE: Words of ? in Dixie
From: GUEST,Ben
Date: 21 Oct 01 - 02:29 PM

Thanks Sorcha! The more I look at it the more I suspect "grabble" may be "gravel" since it is in the previous line above about "trabble" or "travel" to Dixie. Thank you!

Ben


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Subject: RE: Words of ? in Dixie
From: catspaw49
Date: 21 Oct 01 - 03:10 PM

One of the best Injun Batters of all time was Rocky Colavito til they traded him to Detroit in one of the worst Injun trades of all time. Broke my 10 year old heart..........

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Words of ? in Dixie
From: DougR
Date: 21 Oct 01 - 05:27 PM

"Scratch your grabble?" Sounds pretty ominus to me.


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Subject: RE: Words of ? in Dixie
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 21 Oct 01 - 06:32 PM

See thread Help- Dixie (about 3 days ago) All explained there. The song title is Dixie's Land. Grabble = gravel. Injun batter is fine corn meal. There is still a brand on the market with an Indian on the label.


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Subject: RE: Words of ? in Dixie
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 21 Oct 01 - 08:23 PM

Help: Dixie
 


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Subject: Lyr Req: Meaning of the words in DIXIE
From: GUEST,Macums@aol.com
Date: 09 Mar 04 - 09:35 PM

hi,
I am doing a project for my History class, and I have to find out the meaning of the words to Dixie. I don't have any idea what "den hoe it down and scratch your grabble" means or "forty pounder" or "ingen batter". I have looked on a lot of different web sites and in my library, but I can't find anything. Someone I emailed told me to check with all of you here to see if anyone knew.
Thanks,
Marshall


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: meaning of the words in DIXIE
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Mar 04 - 10:07 PM

Hi, Marshall - I moved your message over to this thread, which should answer at least some of your questions. Be sure to check the crosslinks up top for other threads on the song. If you still have more questions, come back and post them in this thread. For reference, you can Click here for the original lyrics ("Dixie's Land")in our Digital Tradition database.
good luck.
-Joe Offer- (e-mail sent)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: meaning of the words in DIXIE
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Mar 04 - 10:30 PM

A "forty pounder" was a field gun. Mighty "fierce" smile, that!
Hoe it down and scratch your grabble sounds like farm work, but I suspect that when the minstrel's performed it, one of them did a little dance, perhaps even imitating a chicken scratching gravel
(The minstrel song is not the way it would be sung a couple of years later by a patriotic Confederate).
Injun (the minstrels spelled it various ways in their parody of Black speech) Batter is explained above- a batter made with fine corn meal; corn, of course being developed in America by Indians.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: meaning of the words in DIXIE
From: Brian Hoskin
Date: 10 Mar 04 - 05:19 AM

I assumed 'scratching gravel' referred to heading off down the road (a gravelled surface) - the same expression is used in some versions of Blue Ridge Mountain Blues.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: meaning of the words in DIXIE
From: GLoux
Date: 10 Mar 04 - 11:07 AM

Not exactly on topic, but there's a wonderful book, "Way Up North In Dixie" by Howard and Judy Sacks published by Smithsonian that delves into whether Dan Emmett actually wrote "Dixie's Land" or if a black family, the Snowden's, taught it to Emmett.

-Greg


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: meaning of the words in DIXIE
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 10 Mar 04 - 11:33 AM

Brian, you may be right!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: meaning of the words in DIXIE
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Mar 04 - 04:21 PM

Thank you all for your help. If anyone else knows anything more about this, please add!
Thanks again,
Marshall


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: meaning of the words in DIXIE
From: Coyote Breath
Date: 11 Mar 04 - 12:30 PM

Doesn't any see the irony in Dixie?

It was written by a Northern black-face minstrel, the tune was adopted by the confederacy whose words were completely different, calling loyal southerners to arms against the "Northern Agression"

I remember marching in a protest to the Hunstville, Alabama, Board of Education, demanding that Dixie no longer be played at half-time. This was back in 1970.

The song is more of an insult to blacks than a "in-your-face" reminder of the Civil War, due to it's terribly racist mockery of black speech.

Our black high school students wanted the tune (a lively march) removed from the Huntsville High School band's repetoire because of it's connection to the confederacy, almost none of my Alabama A&M students knew any but the first few words and no one in Hunstville (to my knowledge) knew the confederate words. (We marched in sympathy with the HHS students.)

I don't know if the confederate words are in the DT but they can be found in the Mel Bay publication: "Ballads and Songs of the Civil War" by Jerry Silverman.

Of course the words to "Year of Jublio" are at least as insulting due to the "dialect" purporting to be black speech, though the sentiment is more appropriate.

CB


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: meaning of the words in DIXIE
From: Billy Weeks
Date: 11 Mar 04 - 02:54 PM

With all its faults, one version of Dixie contains two line of real poetry:

I wish I was in the land of cotton,
Cinnamon sea and a sandy bottom...

The sound is more important than the meaning. Come to think of it, what does it mean?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: meaning of the words in DIXIE
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 11 Mar 04 - 03:02 PM

For the student, it is important that songs of the Civil War and the 19th century be put in proper perspective.
The speech of the average white southerner (and westerner) who did not belong to the upper classes was at least as dialect-full as that of the blacks of the time. It is most apparent in attempts to capture the speech of "hillbillies" and "white trash."

Henry Clay Work, who wrote "Kingdom Coming" (aka Year of Jubilo), and "Marching Through Georgia," was an abolitionist and printer as well as a composer, whose father had been sentenced to 12 years in a Missouri jail in 1841 for assisting fugitive slaves. When he was freed, he moved to Illinois, a "free" state.
The biting sarcasm in his songs was apparent to the blacks of his time and much appreciated by them; versions appear in collections of Negro folk songs collected from blacks (see especially the work of the black educator, Thomas W. Talley, "Negro Folk Rhymes").

Another of his songs, "Babylon is Fallen," mentions the 'forty-pounder' that appeared in the minstrel song "Dixie." "Babylon..." celebrates the blacks who joined the Union army. Two verses-

Don't you see the lightnin'
Flashin' in the cane brake,
Like as if we's gwine to hab a storm?
No! You is mistaken,
'Tis darkies bay'nets,
An' de buttons on dar uniform.

Way up in the cornfield,
Whar you hear de tunder,
Dat is our ole forty-pounder gun;
When the shells are missin',
Den we load wit punkins,
All the same to make the cowards run.

We will be the Massa,
He will be the sarvant....

These songs will once again be understood and regain their historical perspective after another generation, when the emotions and hate of the struggle for equality of the post-WW2 period have abated.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: meaning of the words in DIXIE
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 12 Mar 04 - 02:52 AM

I assumed 'scratching gravel' referred to heading off down the road (a gravelled surface) - an interesting parallel we have in German: colloquial Kratz die Kurve = scratch the bend when somebody is urged to leave of immediately.

Wilfried


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Subject: Scratchin' gravel
From: GUEST,clay
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 07:01 AM

Hi,

I agree with Greg. The line in Blueridge Mountain Blues:

    My grip is packed to travel, soon I'll be scratchin' gravel for that Blueridge far away.

Meaning:

   My bag is packed and I'll be heading home to the Blueridge Mountains.

Sorta like spinning tires, it seems.

Best, Clay


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: meaning of the words in DIXIE
From: GUEST,Mike Dallwitz
Date: 04 Jun 14 - 09:12 AM

Another example:

Grab Your Saddle Horn and Blow

(Bob Nolan)

When I feel the urge I got to travel
Anywhere the tumbleweeds grow.
Happy when my feet are scratchin' gravel,
I grab my saddle horn and blow.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: meaning of the words in DIXIE
From: GUEST,Phil
Date: 23 Feb 15 - 05:35 PM

Q: "Hoe it down and scratch your grabble sounds like farm work, but I suspect that when the minstrel's performed it, one of them did a little dance, perhaps even imitating a chicken scratching gravel"

This one got lost in the crash and I couldn't find anything in cache so... for Q, who was sooo close and undoubtedly knew the answer all along... otra vez...

"So hoe it down..." take out the "it" and you have a "hoedown" or "a type of American folk dance or square dance in duple meter, and also the musical form associated with it." (wiki.) Aaron Copeland's is probably the widest circulated in the mainstream but Sons of the Pioneers – Wagner Hoedown was always favoritest in our house.

"... and scratch your grabble." (or gravel) is the competitive form of the dance (think Soul Train Dance Line) where southereners "bring it on" as it were.

"There's buckwheat cakes and Injun batter" is a breakfast of buckwheat pancakes and hushpuppies. Fat or fatter indeed!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: meaning of the words in DIXIE
From: wysiwyg
Date: 24 Feb 15 - 05:20 PM

Phil, Q has passed away as per a recent thread.

~Susa


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: meaning of the words in DIXIE
From: olddude
Date: 24 Feb 15 - 06:31 PM

And very sadly missed, my old watch friend


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: meaning of the words in DIXIE
From: olddude
Date: 24 Feb 15 - 06:32 PM

And so did spaw and sorcha


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: meaning of the words in DIXIE
From: GUEST,Phil
Date: 24 Feb 15 - 09:35 PM

The post that got lost in the crash I dedicated to the memory of both Q and Sorcha. Sorry to have gotten here too late but their old posts are a joy. Bittersweet is the word.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: meaning of the words in DIXIE
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Feb 17 - 09:12 PM

Hoe it down = gobble it up.
injun batter = brown gravy.
scratch your gravel = pat or rub your belly.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: meaning of the words in DIXIE
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 20 Feb 17 - 02:43 AM

Where do you guys get this stuff from? To expand on my previous, it's American minstrelsy:

Hoe it down = is to hoedown

Scratch your gravel = to dance, as popularized by American minstrels Jake Wallace and Charlotte Mignon "Lotta" Crabtree, et al:

"2. Trike he toe an heel—cut de pigeon wing,
Scratch gravel, slap de foot—dat's just de ting."
[Sich a Gittin' Up Stairs, c.1848]


Injun batter = is deep fry corn meal batter made with native maize. Throw it straight in hot oil and it's a
hushpuppy; add bacon drippings, egg and water it's sloosh.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: meaning of the words in DIXIE
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Feb 17 - 05:48 AM

I've heard "River" pronounced as "Ribber".
(Possibly in a derogatory way?).
Maybe "Gravel" could have been changed to "Grabel (or grabble)" in the same way?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: meaning of the words in DIXIE
From: Mr Red
Date: 20 Feb 17 - 06:12 AM

I've said it before in a thread on Ike Ike Onay (spelling?):

When the writer writes the lyrics it is not a given that there is one meaning, ambiguity is the lifeblood of creative people. Two or more meaning give the lyric more substance, more worth, more interest. Particularly for the composer, but also for potential audience who cherry-pick their understood meanings.

Throw in aural (or even oral) tradition with the Folk Process and it confuses and sets some of those interpretations.

At the end of the day I guarantee one (or more) of the conflicting meanings above apply equally. The problem is which is which.

Sometimes the composer explains it - eventually! Don Maclean on "American Pie" and he clearly states he was after ambiguity. I think we can all agree, he achieved it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: meaning of the words in DIXIE
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 20 Feb 17 - 10:52 AM

Me: ...it's American minstrelsy

Red: ... in aural (or even oral) tradition with the Folk Process...

Pick one.

The corkface glossary isn't the least ambiguous in Dixie.

Claim 'folk process' for any of it on an American university campus today, have your running shoes laced up tight beforehand.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: meaning of the words in DIXIE
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 20 Feb 17 - 11:03 AM

Now that I think of it, Sich a Gittin' Up Stairs was once quite popular with the Bahamian Mummer and Morris crowd (long gone)

Wouldn't shock me to hear it crop up in the ongoing UK debates.


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