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Lyr Req: Old Shady

agillr@aol.com 12 Jun 98 - 10:27 AM
Bert C 12 Jun 98 - 12:57 PM
agillr 15 Jun 98 - 10:13 AM
Jim Dixon 02 Jan 04 - 03:15 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 22 Aug 07 - 04:45 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 22 Aug 07 - 05:48 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 22 Aug 07 - 11:21 PM
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Subject: Old Shady
From: agillr@aol.com
Date: 12 Jun 98 - 10:27 AM

I'm looking for the lyrics (at least) to "Old Shady". A song that was apparently well known around the time of the Civil War. I'd be grateful for any clues...thanks


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Subject: RE: Old Shady
From: Bert C
Date: 12 Jun 98 - 12:57 PM

You'll find the original sheet music in the Levy Sheet Music collection. Just enter "old shady" on their bibliographic search page. The lyrics are a little fuzzy, but I think you can make them out.

Bert C


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Subject: RE: Old Shady
From: agillr
Date: 15 Jun 98 - 10:13 AM

thanks again for your help


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Subject: Lyr Add: OLD SHADY
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 02 Jan 04 - 03:15 PM

Copied from a song sheet (broadside) at The Library of Congress American Memory Collection:

A CONTRABAND SONG.

The following rare lyric is the favorite freedom song of the Mississippi Contrabands. Its character and enthusiasm are great, and, among songs of its kind it has no superior. A well-known anti-slavery gentleman of this city presents it to Forney's Press as a curiosity of contraband genius:

OLD SHADY.
Air--AWAY DOWN SOUTH.

Oh! ya, ya! darkies, laugh with me;
For de white folks say old Shady's free!
Don't you see dat de jubilee
Is comin', comin'! Hail, mighty day!

CHORUS.

Den away, den away, for I can't stay any longer;
Hurra, hurra! for I am going home. [Repeat.]

Massa got scared, and so did his lady!
Dis chile broke for ole Uncle Aby;
Open de gates out! here's ole Shady
Comin', comin'! Hail, mighty day.

CHORUS--Repeat.

Good bye, Massa Jeff! good-bye, Missus Stevens,
'Scuse dis nigger for taking his leavins;
'Spec, pretty soon, you'll see Uncle Abram's
Comin', comin'! Hail, mighty day.

CHORUS--Repeat.

Good-bye, hard work, and never any pay--
I'm goin' up Norf where de white folks stay;
White wheat-bread and a dollar a day!
Comin', comin'! Hail, mighty day.

CHORUS--Repeat.

I've got a wife, and she's got a baby,
Way up Norf in Lower Canady--
Won't dey shout when dey see ole Shady
Comin', comin'! Hail, mighty day.

CHORUS--Repeat.

Published by the Supervisory Committee for Recruiting Colored Regiments.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Shady
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 Aug 07 - 04:45 PM

"Ole Shady" composed by Benjamin Russel Hanby, c. 1861.
The following is the original sheet music, 4pp., c. 1861.

Lyr. Add: OLE SHADY or the Song of the Contraband
B. R. Hanby c. 1861

1.
Oh yah! yah! darkies, laugh wid me,
For de white folks say Ole Shady's free,
So don't you see dat de jubilee
Is a coming, coming,
Hail mighty day!

Chorus.
Den away, away, for I can't wait any longer,
Hooray, hooray, I'm going home.
Den away, away, for I can't wait any longer,
Hooray, hooray, I'm going home.

2.
Oh Mass' got scared and so did his lady
Dis chile breaks for Ole Uncle Aby,
"Open de gates out here's Ole Shady a coming, coming,"
Hail mighty day.

Chorus.

3.
Good bye Mass' Jeff, good bye Mis'r Stephens,
'Scuse dis niggah for takin his leavins,
'Spect pretty soon you'll hear
Uncle Abram's coming, coming,
Hail mighty day.

Chorus.

4.
Good bye hard work wid never any pay,
Ise a gwine up North where the good folks say,
Dat white wheat bread and a dollar a day
Are coming, coming,
Hail, mighty day.

Chorus.

5.
Oh, I've got a wife, and I've got a baby,
Living up yonder in Lower Canady,*
Won't dey laugh when dey see Ole Shady,
(A) Coming, coming,
Hail mighty day.

Chorus.
*Canada.
The sheet music cover has a dedication to Maj. Gen. Benj. F. Butler.
Published by Oliver Ditson & Co., "by the author of 'Darling Nellie Gray'," but author's name not cited.
Sheet music at American Memory.

A fire destroyed many of the Oliver Ditson records; Hanby's authorship was lost and not established until later. In 1882, Oliver Ditson published "Minstrel Songs Old and New," including the sheet music, pp. 24-26, but with a few slight differences. Reference to "Darling Nellie Gray" was removed, and in verse 5, 'A' was inserted before 'coming, coming.' No author cited.

In 1864, sheet music to "Old Shady," "song of the Mississippi Contrabands," was published by S. T. Gordon, New York, with the statement "Composed by David A. Warden" (Levy has copy).
Whether the recruiting song sheet (Jim Dixon, above) came first or later, I don't know.
The lyrics of the sheet music are somewhat different from those of the recruiting song sheet.

Lyr. Add: OLD SHADY, Contraband Song and Chorus
Composed by David A. Warden, 1864

OLD SHADY THE CONTRABAND

Oh! ya, ya, darkies, laugh away wid me,
De white folks say ole Shady am free,
Don't you see dat the jubilee,
Am coming, coming.
Hail! mighty day.

Chorus.
Away, den away for I can't stay any longer,
Hurrah! boys, hurrah!
for I am going home.

2.
Massa got scared and so did his lady
Dis chile broke loose for ole uncle Aby,
Open de gate for here's ole Shady
Coming, coming, coming, hail! mighty day.

Chorus.

3.
Good bye Massa Jeff, good bye Missus Stevens!
Scuse did nigger for taking his leavins;
Spec, pretty soon, you'll see uncle Aby
Coming, coming, coming, hail glorious day!

Chorus.

4.
Good bye hard work! and neber any pay,
I'm goin North, where de white folks stay;
White wheat bread, and Greenbacks ebery day,
Coming, coming, coming, Hail, mighty day!

Chorus.

5.
I've got a wife, and she's got a baby,
Way up North in Lower Canady,
Wont dey scream! when dey see ole Shady!
Coming, coming, coming, Hail mighty day!

Chorus.

On the cover of the sheet music held by Levy, a somewhat different 3rd verse:

Good bye Massa Jeff, Good bye Missus Stevens,
'Scuse dis nigger fur taken his leavens
Spec' you'll see your friend Uncle Aby
Afore I 'ribe in lower Canady.

Sheet music published by S. T. Gordon, New York, 3pp., dated 1864 by Levy.

General Sherman knew the song and published comments about it in "North American Review," Oct. 1888. Later, he corresponded with the author's wife, Mrs. Hanby, concerning authorship of the song and a character named "Old Shady" whom some thought was the 'Ole Shady' of the song.

I will post excerpts from Gen. Sherman's article and letter later.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Shady
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 Aug 07 - 05:48 PM

From reminiscences of General Sherman about Old Shady, published in "North American Review," Oct. 1888; "Old Shady, with a Moral."

In describing an incident connected with the siege of Vicksburg, he said:
"A great many negroes, slaves, had escaped within the Union lines. Some were employed as servants by the officers, who paid them regular wages, some were empoyed by the quartermaster, and the larger number went North, free, in the Government chartered steamboats.
"Among the first class named was a fine, hearty 'darkey,' known as 'Old Shady,' who was employed by General McPherson as steward and cook at his headwuarters in Mrs. Edward's house, in Vicksburg. Hundreds still living, among whom I may safely name General W. E. Strong, of Chicago, General Hickenlooper, of Cincinnati, Mrs. General Grant, Fred Grant, Mrs. Sherman and myselg, well remember 'Old Shady.'" After paying a glowing tribute to the colored people in the article quoted, General Sherman adds:
"What more beautiful sentiment than that of my acquaintance, 'Old Shady': 'Good-bye, Mass' Jeff, good-bye Mis'r Stephens, 'Scuse dis niggah for takin' his leavins' -polite and gentle to the end. Burns never said anything better."

Old Shady seems to have derived his name from the song. He was not the author of either the words or the music, as general Sherman learned and freely admitted soon after the publication of the article. When Mrs. Hanby read it, she wrote to the General, sending him a copy of the song which was duly credited by the publisher to her husband. She received the following courteous reply:
"Mrs. Kate Hanby: Dear Madam- I have received yours, with enclosure, and note the exception you take regarding an article from my pen in the October (1888) number of the N. A. Review. Shortly after publication of that article I received a long letter from the subject of your husband's song, 'Old Shady,' then living, I believe, at Grand Forks, Dak., in which he disowned the authorship of the song but claimed the distinction of the title. Should I ever have occasion to refer to the subject in a future article, I shall certainly correct the misstatement. ....."
Extracted from "Ohio History," The Scholarly Journal of the Ohio Historical Society, vol. 14, pp. 195-196, article by C. B. Galbreath, "Some Writers of Ohio: Benjamin Russel Hanby, Author of Darling Nellie Gray."
The text of the song "Ole Shady," is given pp. 194-195.

The journal has some interesting articles on the underground railroad.
The journal is on line, http://publications.ohiohistory.org


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Shady
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 Aug 07 - 11:21 PM

An article by Jim Blount, Journal News, Dec. 24, 1989, said that "Old Shady," published in 1861, earned Hanby $300 plus royalties from Ditson and said it was based on a May 1861 incident in Virginia when several slaves surrendered to Union soldiers.

The article speaks of the Chicago fire of October, 1871, which destroyed the Root & Cady publishing house, and with it the records of another Hanby hit, "Up on the Housetop," first published in 1866 as "Santa Claus" in a children's song quarterly while Hanby was working for Root in Chicago.
My earlier reference to a fire at Oliver Ditson, I think, is a mistake. Why Ditson published the score without the author's name, I don't know. I have lost the website at which I found the Blount article, but one should be able to re-locate it.

The version of "Ole Shady" published by Ditson was reprinted with score in "Heart Songs," 1909, p. 122, with B. R. Hanby cited as author. The five verses given are from the 1861 sheet music, posted previously.


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