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Origins: Dixie


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McGrath of Harlow 30 Oct 03 - 03:17 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 30 Oct 03 - 03:56 PM
masato sakurai 30 Oct 03 - 06:22 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 23 May 05 - 02:00 PM
GUEST 05 Jun 05 - 04:37 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 05 Jun 05 - 08:09 PM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Jun 05 - 08:29 PM
GUEST 06 Jun 05 - 03:07 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 05 Nov 08 - 09:33 PM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Nov 08 - 08:58 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 06 Nov 08 - 11:12 PM
Desert Dancer 02 Apr 12 - 09:17 PM
GUEST,Lighter 03 Apr 12 - 09:50 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 03 Apr 12 - 03:00 PM
Gibb Sahib 01 Jul 12 - 04:01 PM
GUEST,Lighter 01 Jul 12 - 04:18 PM
Gibb Sahib 01 Jul 12 - 04:49 PM
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Subject: RE: Origins: Dixie
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Oct 03 - 03:17 PM

Here's a link I found to the sheet music of the "Virginian Marseillaise" (scroll down tye page a bit)

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Subject: RE: Origins: Dixie
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 30 Oct 03 - 03:56 PM

Sheet music of the "Virginian Marseillaise" can be found at American Memory. and enter song name into search blank.

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Subject: RE: Origins: Dixie
From: masato sakurai
Date: 30 Oct 03 - 06:22 PM

The link:

Virginian Marseillaise (Richmond; Columbia, Virginia; South Carolina, Geo. Dunn & Co.; J.A. Selby, 1863)

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Subject: Lyr Add: AWAKE! TO ARMS IN TEXAS!
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 23 May 05 - 02:00 PM

Air- Dixie

Hear ye not the sound of battle,
Sabres clash and muskets rattle?
Awake, awake, awake in Texas!
Hostile footsteps on your border;
Hostile columns tread in order;
Awake, awake, awake in Texas!

O, fly to arms in Texas!
From Texas land we'll rout the band
That comes to conquer Texas-
Awake, awake! and rout the foe from Texas!

See the red smoke hanging o'er us;
Hear the cannons booming chorus;
Awake, awake, awake in Texas!
See our steady columns forming,
Hear the shouting- hear the storming;
Awake, awake, awake in Texas!

All the Northmen's forces coming;
Hark! the distant rapid drumming;
Awake, awake, awake in Texas!
Prouder ranks than theirs were driven,
When our Mexic ties were riven;
Awake, awake, awake in Texas!

Gird your loins with swords and sabre;
Give your lives to freedom's labor;
Awake, awake, awake in Texas!
What though ev'ry heart be sadden'd-
What though all the land be redden'd-
Awake, awake, awake in Texas!

Shall this boasting, mad invader,
Trample Texas and degrade her?
Awake, awake, awake in Texas!
By our fathers' proud example,
Texas soil they shall not trample;
Awake, awake, awake in Texas!

Texans! meet them on the border;
Charge them into wild disorder;
Awake, awake, awake in Texas!
Hew the vandals down before you,
Till the last inch they restore you;
Awake, awake, awake in Texas!

Through the echoing hills resounding,
Hear the Texas bugles sounding;
Awake, awake, awake in Texas!
Arouse from ev'ry hill and valley;
List the bugle! Rally! Rally!
Awake, awake, awake in Texas!

p. 8, no author listed.
Francis D. Allan, 1874, "Allan's Lone Star Ballads, A Collection of Southern Patriotic Songs Made During Confederate Times," 200pp. Burt Franklin, NY; reprint 1970, Lenox Hill (Burt Franklin): Resource and Source Works Series 578, American Classics in History and Social Science 153.
These southern patriotic songs were preserved through the persistance of Allan. During the War, the compiler published a pamphlet of Southern war songs under the title "Allan's Lone Star Ballads No. 1" as well as a number in sheets. The book was delayed through heavy losses, "the legimate result of the war, and which was followed by the wanton burning of all his property by Major G. W. Smith and the Federal Soldiers under his command, at the city of Brenham, in Texas, on the night of the seventh of September, 1866, long after the war was 'supposed' to be over, and from the effects of which he has never recovered."
Many songs were destroyed, but Allan re-gathered them, together with many he did not have before.
Although he admits that some are "unlettered effusions," he was influenced by a desire to 'preserve,.....a very important, but often neglected, portion of the history of those times that can never be forgotten."

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Subject: RE: Origins: Dixie
Date: 05 Jun 05 - 04:37 PM

Sometimes the simplest explanation is the best, ie Dixie = Mason-Dixon land. If you object that they could equally have called it "Macy", that would have caused confusion with a well-known department store!

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Subject: RE: Origins: Dixie
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 05 Jun 05 - 08:09 PM

Trivia- Macy's was founded in 1858 by a former whaler.
Away up north in the land of Macy,
Let 'er blow, let 'er blow, let 'er blow...
No, I don't think that will make the hit parade.

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Subject: RE: Origins: Dixie
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Jun 05 - 08:29 PM

Dixons could be quite confusing too. Though in a way it's surprising the company have never used it as an advertising jingle, so far as I know. Probably because while the tune is familar enough the words have never really registered over here.

Away down town I'm going out shopping
Where quality is not forgotten
Everyday in Dixon's Store.

I wish I was in Dixons
Hooray! Hooray!
In Dixon's store I'll take my stand
So much to buy in Dixons,
Everyday in Dixon's Store.

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Subject: RE: Origins: Dixie
Date: 06 Jun 05 - 03:07 AM

Ammendment to the second verse:

I wish I was in Dixons
Hooray! Hooray!
In Dixon's store I'll rob a stand
So much to lift from Dixons,
Everyday! Everyday!
Everyday in Dixon's Store.

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Subject: Lyr Add: DIXIE'S LAND (Dan. Emmett)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 05 Nov 08 - 09:33 PM

Dan. Emmett (by permission, Firth, Pond & Co.)

I wish I was in the land of childhood
Rambling there amid the wildwood,
Look away, look away, look away, Dixie Land.
In Dixie Land where I was born in,
Early on one frosty morning,
Look away! Look away! Look away! Dixie Land.
'Tis there we pass'd such merry hours,
Amid the forest leaves and flowers,
Look away, look away, look away, Dixie Land.
In May we chose our queen and crown'd her,
Boys and girls all gather'd round her,
Look away! Look away! Look away! Dixie Land.
O, gay the times we had together,
Cared we not the kind of weather,
Look away, look away, look away, Dixie Land.
'Twas always gay and pleasant there,
We saw no cloud, we knew no care,
Look away! Look away! Look away! Dixie Land.
So sing we now a song that's very
Gay and bright, and blithe and merry,
Look away, look away, look away, Dixie Land.
And should you wish to drive 'way sorrow,
Sing again this song tomorrow,
Look away! Look away! Look away! Dixie Land.

P. 200, with score, W. O. & H. S. Perkins, 1860, "The Nightingale; a Choice Collection of Songs, Chants and Hymns,
designed for the use of Juvenile Classes, Public Schools, and Seminaries; containing also a Complete and Concise System of Elementary Instruction." Boston, Published by Oliver Ditson & Co.

Note the date, 1860, indicating that very early the Emmett song was revised by publishers. Oliver Ditson & Co. published many songbooks of all kinds; in this case, they either borrowed this version from Firth, Pond, or obtained permission to publish a children's version which they had composed for them, probably by Emmett.

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Subject: RE: Origins: Dixie
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Nov 08 - 08:58 PM

That's rather sweet.   It's a pity that the lines "O, gay the times we had together" and "'Twas always gay and pleasant there" would be greeted by sniggers these days.

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Subject: RE: Origins: Dixie
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 06 Nov 08 - 11:12 PM

Gay appears in many 19th c. songs. It is indeed unfortunate that slang usage has upset the meaning of this word, and a number of others as well.

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Subject: RE: Origins: Dixie
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 02 Apr 12 - 09:17 PM

In the New York Times series "Disunion", on the Civil War, Christian McWhirter ('an assistant editor for The Papers of Abraham Lincoln and the author of "Battle Hymns: The Power and Popularity of Music in the Civil War"') gives a history of the song's adoption as an anthem of the South. (No mention of Hays.)

The Birth of 'Dixie'

Christian McWhirter
New York Times
March 31, 2012

In a New York apartment on a rainy day in March 1859, Daniel Decatur Emmett sat down at his desk to write a song for his employer, Bryant's Minstrels, and its upcoming stage show. Then 44 years old, Emmett had been composing minstrel songs — to be performed primarily by white actors in blackface — since he was 15. Looking out his window at the dreary day outside, Emmett took his inspiration from the weather. A single line, "I wish I was in Dixie," echoed in his mind. Before long, it would echo across the country.

Few of us remember "Dixie" as antebellum America's last great minstrel song. We see it as most did two years after its creation — as the anthem of the Confederacy. And yet as phenomenally popular as it was the North before the war, "Dixie" was slow to catch on in the South. Lacking the Yankees' enthusiasm for minstrelsy, most Southerners were unaware of the tune until late 1860. By sheer chance of fate, its arrival coincided with the outbreak of secession. As newly minted Confederates rejected the anthems of their old nation, they desperately sought replacements.

Indeed, once it reached the South, "Dixie," despite being a song written by a Northerner, rose to prominence with exceptional speed. One songwriter recalled how it "spontaneously" became the Confederacy's anthem, and a British correspondent noted the "wild-fire rapidity" of its "spread over the whole South." The tune received an unofficial endorsement when it was played at Confederate President Jefferson Davis's inauguration in February 1861. This was coincidental — it was recommended to a Montgomery, Ala., bandleader who knew nothing of the tune — but "Dixie's" inclusion gave the appearance of presidential approval. The Confederate government never formally endorsed "Dixie," though Davis did own a music box that played the song and is rumored to have favored it as the South's anthem.

Repeated performances of "Dixie" by Confederates confirmed its new status. Even before Virginia seceded, the Richmond Dispatch labeled "Dixie" the "National Anthem of Secession," and the New York Times concurred a few months later, observing that the tune "has been the inspiring melody which the Southern people, by general consent, have adopted as their 'national air.'" Publishers recorded that sales were "altogether unprecedented" and, when Robert E. Lee sought a copy for his wife in the summer of 1861, he found none were left in all of Virginia.

"Dixie" became so connected so quickly with the South that many Americans attributed its very name to the region. In fact, the precise origin of the word "Dixie" remains unknown, though three competing theories persist. It either references a benevolent slaveholder named Dix (thus slaves wanting to return to "Dix's Land"), Louisiana (where $10 notes were sometimes called Dix notes), or — and most likely — the land below the Mason and Dixon's line (the slaveholding South). Regardless, Emmett's tune made it part of the national vocabulary. During the Civil War, soldiers, civilians and slaves frequently referred to the South as Dixie and considered Emmett's ditty the region's anthem.

This popularity is remarkable, as little about "Dixie" recommends it as a national anthem. The melody lacks gravitas, and only the first verse and chorus express anything approximating Southern nationalism:

    I Wish I was in de land ob cotton,
    Old times dar am not forgotten
    Look away! look away! look away! Dixie Land.
    In Dixie Land whar I was born in,
    Early on one frosty mornin',
    Look away! look away! look away! Dixie Land.

    Den I wish I was in Dixie,
    Hooray! hooray!
    In Dixie Land I'll take my stand,
    To lib and die in Dixie,
    Away, away, away down south in Dixie,
    Away, away, away down south in Dixie.

The rest is unmistakably the work of a songwriter utilizing various minstrel clichés. "Dixie's" speaker is a slave who worries that his plantation mistress is being seduced into marrying "Will de Weaber," the "gay deceiber" who outlives her and inherits her plantation. Although the speaker expresses his desire to live in the South until he dies, the song provides little else to endear it to Confederate patriots.

Nevertheless, a sort of inertia pushed the song's reputation higher and higher in the Southern mind. Confederates performed "Dixie" enthusiastically and remained devoted to it even when an alternative anthem — Harry Macarthy's "Bonnie Blue Flag" — became available. The more Americans on both sides believed that "Dixie" was the Confederate anthem, the more it became so. This was especially true for soldiers, who were some of the first to embrace "Dixie" and increasingly associated it, amazingly, with sacrifices made for the war. For one Confederate surgeon, the song "brings to mind the memory of friends who loved it — friends, the light of whose lives were extinguished in blood, whose spirit were quenched in violence."

To be sure, many Southerners were well aware of "Dixie's" obvious deficiencies. Most simply ignored these problems, though some tried to reconcile them with the Confederacy's history and objectives. The Richmond Dispatch stretched its credibility attempting to prove that the song was a parable for secession. It argued that "Will de Weaber" was not a minstrel stereotype but, in fact, Abraham Lincoln, who seduced the nation into voting for him, leading to the South's rebirth as the Confederacy. To conclude the piece, the author triumphantly asked, "Can any one now fail to see that, in the verses of this deservedly popular song, an epitome is given of the events which, since last November, have shaken this land?" Emmett surely disagreed, as he reportedly declared that, had he known the Confederates would adopt "Dixie" as their anthem, "I will be damned if I'd have written it."

Other Southerners were more disturbed by "Dixie's" apparently undeserved status and sought more extreme solutions. Many rejected it outright. "It smells too strongly of the [negro] to assume a dignified rank of the National Song" declared one malcontent, while another argued it was "absurd to imagine that Dixie, a dancing; capering, rowdyish, bacchanalian negro air" could be sung by "a nation of free men … with any respect for themselves." Others recognized that most of the song's appeal came from its catchy melody and simply drafted new lyrics. Numerous such revisions appeared throughout the war but none achieved much success. Only one, by the Confederate Indian agent and general Albert Pike, enjoyed even a limited popularity and continues to appear occasionally in histories, songbooks and public performances.

Even Lincoln recognized the song's power and, at the end of the war, attempted to reclaim "Dixie" as an American, rather than Confederate, song. "Our adversaries over the way attempted to appropriate it, but I insisted," he told a crowd of admirers in Washington, "that we fairly captured it."

Despite these efforts and the continued protestations of some Southerners, "Dixie" remained wedded to its Confederate identity. Although a simple minstrel ditty, 150 years of history have loaded the song with indelible political, racial, military and social connotations. For better or for worse, "Dixie" was the South's anthem, and will most likely remain so for generations.

Sources: Daniel Decatur Emmett, "Away Down South in Dixie," New York Clipper, April 6, 1872; Richard B. Harwell, "The Confederate Search for a National Song," Lincoln Herald, February 1950; "Three Months in the Confederate Army," Index, June 26, 1862; "Dixie Composer, On Visit to Birmingham, Tells How Famous War Song Was Written," Birmingham News, Nov. 2, 1924; "Quite a Novelty," Petersburg Daily Express, May 4, 1865; "The Enigma Solved," Richmond Dispatch, March 25 and May 11, 1861; "Songs for the South," New York Times, June 16, 1861; Robert E. Lee Jr., "Recollections and Letters of General Robert E. Lee"; Hans Nathan, "Dan Emmett and the Rise of Early Negro Minstrelsy"; Daniel Decatur Emmett, "I Wish I Was in Dixie's Land"; Junius Newport Bragg and Helen Bragg Gaughan, "Letters of a Confederate Surgeon, 1861-65″; T. C. De Leon, "Belles, Beaux, and Brains of the 60's"; Albert Pike and J. C. Vierick, "The War Song of Dixie"; Abraham Lincoln, "Response to Serenade," April 10, 1865.

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Subject: RE: Origins: Dixie
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 03 Apr 12 - 09:50 AM

The first stanza and the chorus, with the minstrel dialect removed, may lack the gravitas of a national anthem but is entirely in the mainstream of 19th century pop song - and a lot less maudlin than most.

My impression is that those were the only parts of the song generally sung. And the tune was generally played without reference to the lyrics.

Voila: a catchy, sentimental, ditty for white Southerners.

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Subject: RE: Origins: Dixie
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 03 Apr 12 - 03:00 PM

Catchy and sentimental, referring to their "land of birth," a sentiment that white southerners could understand. And still popular with them well into the 20th C.

One statement in the McWhirter article is incorrect- "Lacking the Yankees enthusiasm for minstrelsy....." Minstrel groups toured in the south and performed in Baltimore, New Orleans and other southern cities, tailoring their songs and comedy for a local audience, before 1860. Steamboat minstrels performed in the 1850s.

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Subject: RE: Origins: Dixie
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 01 Jul 12 - 04:01 PM

I know a lot has been said here, some thoughtful debate. I've skimmed it, but not read in detail. I've also skimmed Nathan's article. Anyway, without wanting to repeat something that has already been discussed: Has anyone heard about a claim that Emmett got the song from cotton loading stevedores in Mobile? If not, I'll post a source.

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Subject: RE: Origins: Dixie
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 01 Jul 12 - 04:18 PM

I have not. The only anti-Emmett theory I know is the one set forth in "Way Up North in Dixie" that he got the song/idea from African-American neighbors in Ohio.

Discussed (and rejected by me) a number of years ago, possibly on this very thread.

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Subject: RE: Origins: Dixie
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 01 Jul 12 - 04:49 PM

Well, I don't have depth of knowledge to really judge the veracity of the claim, but if anything it is at least an interesting anecdote. It interests me personally, not because it necessarily proves anything about "Dixie," but because it adds to the idea that some minstrel songs were known or at least *believed* to be derived from Black worksongs--in the 1860s.

1869. ["Editorial Miscellany."] _Scott's Monthly Magazine_ 7(6): 478.

The Memphis Post gives the following as the origin of the now nationalized air of "Dixie:"

"In the first place, the song and chorus of 'Dixie,' was composed and arranged by Dan. Emmet, a member of a traveling minstrel party, who, while at Mobile in the winter of 1847-8, heard some negro laborers singing on the levee while loading a steamboat with cotton. The thought struck Dan. that, with a little change of measure, it could be made a good song 'walk around,' which generally winds up a negro minstrel concert. Dan. arranged it and produced it. It became a success, and was sung aud played all over the country by all the bands.

"In the spring of 1861, Mrs. John Wood came to New Orleans to play an engagement at the Varieties Theater. During the time, she appeared in Brougham's burlesque of Pocahontas. At the first rehearsal ot the piece everything went well till near the close of the second act; Tom McDonough (now agent for the Lefflngwell), the prompter, got up a Zouave march and drill by 22 ladies, led by Susan Deniu. Everything run smooth' but the music for the march could not be fixed upon. Carlo Patti was leader of the orchestra and he tried several marches, but none suited McDonough—one was too slow, another was too tame, another not enough spirit. At length Patti struck up the negro air of ' Dixie.' 'That will do, Patti—the very thing,' said Tom, and 'Dixie' was played, and the march gone through with, and the chorus by all the characters. At night it received a double encore, and Pocahontas had a 'run,' and from that time out the streets and parlors rang with 'Dixie.' The war broke out that spring, and the military bands took it up, and 'Dixie' became to the South what the Marseillaise Hyms was to the French. And that's how 'Dixie' became the popular war song of the South."

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