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Tune Req: I'd Rather be a Nigger than a Poor White

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GUEST,Bill 10 Jan 05 - 03:05 AM
Sorcha 10 Jan 05 - 11:07 AM
Sorcha 10 Jan 05 - 11:17 AM
Azizi 10 Jan 05 - 05:40 PM
Azizi 10 Jan 05 - 05:47 PM
GUEST,Oregon Margaret 03 Jun 11 - 04:08 PM
Lonesome EJ 03 Jun 11 - 04:13 PM
GUEST,mg 03 Jun 11 - 04:55 PM
GUEST,Ebor_Fiddler 03 Jun 11 - 07:07 PM
Joe_F 03 Jun 11 - 08:07 PM
Fred McCormick 04 Jun 11 - 01:55 PM
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Subject: Tune Req: I'd Rather be a Nigger than a Poor White
From: GUEST,Bill
Date: 10 Jan 05 - 03:05 AM

Please Don't take offense anyone! This is a old time cross-tuned fiddle tune that I would love to have a midi file for. Any help would be greatly appreciated. It also may be called "Give the Nigger a Dram"


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: I'd Rather be a Nigger than a Poor White
From: Sorcha
Date: 10 Jan 05 - 11:07 AM

Found this at Fiddler's Companion, no tune yet. JC's doesn't seem to be working quite right this morning.

I'D DRUTHER BE A NIGGER THAN A POOR WHITE MAN. AKA- "N?.r Take a Dram," "I'm An Old N?.r And I Will Take A Dram." Old-Time, Breakdown. USA, Oklahoma. E Major. BEbe or DDad. AABB. Learned in Davis, Indian Territory.

***

The poor white man, the poor white man,

Livin' up north in a cold white land;

Never seen a banjo or heard a nigger band,

I druther be a nigger than a poor white man.

***

The poor white man, the poor white man,

Never seen a possum or a possun in the pan;

never had a chicken or a razor in his hand,

I druther be a nigger than a poor white man.

***

I'm an old nigger and I'll take a dram,

I druther be a nigger than a poor white man.   (Thede)

***   

This line is also sometimes heard sung:

My name is Sam, I don't give a damn,

I'd reather be a nigger 'n a po' white man.

{Sounds like a white minstrel show ditty} Thede (The Fiddle Book), 1967; pg. 62.

http://www.ibiblio.org/fiddlers/IA_IG.htm


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: I'd Rather be a Nigger than a Poor White
From: Sorcha
Date: 10 Jan 05 - 11:17 AM

Is it anything like Give the Fiddler a Dram? I can't get to the gif, so I have no idea.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: I'd Rather be a Nigger than a Poor W
From: Azizi
Date: 10 Jan 05 - 05:40 PM

Bill, no offense taken.

I also don't know the tune to this song. And I detest that referent no matter who uses it.

But because sharing this song {at least in print} has historical/cultural value, here's a version from Thomas W. Talley"s 1922 Negro Folk Rhymes {KenniKat Press editon, p. 42-43. Talley's title for this song is I Would Rather Be A Negro Than A Pooer White Man. But he does use that other referent in the song's lyrics.
That version also has some words that were spoken as an aside {called here "interlocution"}.

Note also that this version contains the word "Crackers" as a referent for White people. This version also includes the referent "Hillbilly" for poor white people. Talley asterisks both referents and provides the same meaning for them "Names applied by Negroes to the poorer class of white people in the South."

I don't use those derogatory references either.

It seems to me that the inclusion of those two negative referents for Whites, argues in favor of the position that this version, at least, was created by African Americans and not by White minstrels.

And, by the way, I rather think that the singer meant what he said and maybe the dancers did too...

Here are the words to that version. I ask that you humor me while I use 'N__' for you know which word.

I WOULD RATHER BE A NEGRO THAN A POOR WHITE MAN
My name's Ran, I wuks in de san':
But I'd druther be a N__ dan a po white man.

Gwineter thitch my oxes side by side.
An' take my gal fer a big fine ride.

Gwineter take my gal to de country sto;
Gwineter dress her up in red calico.

You take Kate an'I'll take Joe.
Den off we'll go to the pahty-o.

Gwineter take my gal to de Hullabaloo,
Whar dere hain't no * Crackers in a mile or two.

Interlocution:
(Fiddler{ "Ohm Sak! Whar's de milk strainer cloth?"
(Banjo Picker) "Bill's got it wropped 'round his ole sire leg".
(Fiddler) "Well, take it down to de gum spring an' give it a cold water rench; I 'spizes nastness anyway. I'se got to have a clean cloth fer de milk"

He don't lak whiskey but he jest drinks a can,
Honey! I'd druther be a N___ than a po white man.

I'd druther be a N___ , an plow ole Beck
Dan a white * Hill Billy wid his long red neck.

--
Also, for what it's worth, the first time I read these lines, they seemed familiar to me. They're somehow related to my childhood.
I think that these lines have become a rather common folk saying..at least for older African Americans.

This rhyming verse sometimes was used the same way:
                   My name is Bess
                   And I ain't in that mess.

We'd say this when somebody asked our opinion about something or wanted us to take sides.

I won't be surprised to find out that these lines were part of the same song or another such dance song.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: I'd Rather be a Nigger than a Poor White
From: Azizi
Date: 10 Jan 05 - 05:47 PM

Okay...I made some typos again...and afer promising I would use the preview button before hitting submit...

Sorry (again)

Here are the errors:

thitch = hitch

Ohm Sak = Oh, Sal!

BTW, in this song I think Joe is a female
and Sal is a male...


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: I'd Rather be a Nigger than a Poor White
From: GUEST,Oregon Margaret
Date: 03 Jun 11 - 04:08 PM

I came across these words in Gwen Bristow's book, "The Handsome Road" prob ably fifty years ago, and they moved me immensely because I believe them to be true.   They are probably from an old spiritual and I just want to say, I know more white ones than black - don't we all.

Nigger pick de cotton, nigger tote the load,
Nigger build de levee foh de ribber to smash,
Nigger nebber walk up de handome road,
But I raddr be a nigger dan po' white trash.

O Lawd, radder be a nigger
Radder be a nigger, Oh my Lawd,
Nigger nebber walk up de handsome road,
But I radder be a nigger dan po' white trash.

    Don't know the tune, but bet it's a good one.   Sorry if the lyrics offend anyone.   By where I'm living know, I could be called the po' white trash.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: I'd Rather be a Nigger than a Poor White
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 03 Jun 11 - 04:13 PM

I have always found Azizi to be quite an amazing individual, and miss seeing her posts.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: I'd Rather be a Nigger than a Poor White
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 03 Jun 11 - 04:55 PM

No one should be called poor white trash, or trailer trash, and probably not redneck .....hillbilly..I would say depends. I think it goes iwthout saying the "N" word should not be used and if it were my list I would have an autocorrect function that put quotes around it or something. mg


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: I'd Rather be a Nigger than a Poor White
From: GUEST,Ebor_Fiddler
Date: 03 Jun 11 - 07:07 PM

This tune is on p62 of Marion Thede's "The Fiddle Book", Oak Publications 1967. Library of Congress No #66-19062.
You shouldn't try to change history by the way, we learn from the bad things as well as the good. It makes us feel righteous at the expense of truth. There - I feel even more righteous now!


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: I'd Rather be a Nigger than a Poor White
From: Joe_F
Date: 03 Jun 11 - 08:07 PM

I know a man who is proud to call himself a redneck. He is white, and lived in a trailer for a while. But he is neither poor nor trash.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: I'd Rather be a Nigger than a Poor White
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 04 Jun 11 - 01:55 PM

While I deplore the use of racially offensive terms, remember that folk songs/tunes were made up in less enlightened times. They reflect the standards and values of then, rather than now.

We should be mature enough, on the one hand, to condemn racism, sexism or any other socially divisive 'ism, whilst being able to discuss the same seriously, objectively and unashamedly, when they occur in folk songs.


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