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Lyr Req: Darling Nellie Gray

DigiTrad:
DARLING NELLY GRAY


arnowitt 01 Mar 97 - 09:20 PM
Sandy namaqua@ix.netcom.com 02 Mar 97 - 02:22 AM
dick greenhaus 02 Mar 97 - 01:37 PM
mim 03 Mar 97 - 12:18 PM
dick greenhaus 03 Mar 97 - 05:02 PM
Laurel Tryforos 06 Mar 97 - 01:40 PM
rich r 06 Mar 97 - 09:32 PM
07 Mar 97 - 11:09 AM
GUEST,Mepicaaqui 21 Mar 08 - 12:02 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 21 Mar 08 - 02:49 PM
GUEST 21 Mar 08 - 05:08 PM
kendall 21 Mar 08 - 07:45 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 21 Mar 08 - 09:03 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 21 Mar 08 - 09:26 PM
GUEST 27 Sep 21 - 09:57 AM
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Subject: Darling Nellie Gray: song
From: arnowitt
Date: 01 Mar 97 - 09:20 PM

Just heard a song called "Darling Nellie Gray" about a slave couple which was split up when Nellie was sold south to Georgia. It's a powerful song, and I'd like to find lyrics. Thanks. I think that the melody is very different from the "Darling Nellie Gray" dance tune.


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Subject: Lyr Add: DARLING NELLIE GRAY
From: Sandy namaqua@ix.netcom.com
Date: 02 Mar 97 - 02:22 AM

1. There's a low green valley on the old Kentucky shore,
Where I've whiled many happy hours away,
A sitting and a singing by the little cottage door,
Where lived my Darling Nelly Gray.

CHORUS: Oh my poor Nelly Gray, they have taken you away,
And I'll never see my darling anymore.
I'm sitting by the river and I'm weeping all the day!
For you're gone from the old Kentucky shore.

2. When the moon had climbed the mountain, and the stars were shining too,
Then I'd take my Darling Nelly Gray,
And we'd float down the river in my little red canoe,
While my banjo sweetly I would play: (CHORUS)


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Subject: RE: Darling Nellie Gray: song
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 02 Mar 97 - 01:37 PM

Hi- The song was written by one B. R. Hanby. There's a (sad) third verse:

One night I went to see her, but "She's gone" the neighbors say, The white man has bound her with his chain They have taken her to Georgia for to wear her life away As she toils in the cotton and the cane.

THe tune is the same as the British sailor song Maggie May; as far as I know the singing square dance call starting "First couple lead out to the couple on the right" and ending "Swing with your darling Nellie Gray." uses the same tune.


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Subject: RE: Darling Nellie Gray: song
From: mim
Date: 03 Mar 97 - 12:18 PM

One last verse, found in a 1915 songbook:

My eyes are getting blinded, and I cannot see my way:
Hark! There's somebody knocking at the door,
O, I hear the angels calling, and I see my Nelly Gray,
Farewell to the old Kentucky shore.

ENDING CHORUS: O my darling Nelly Gray, up in heaven there, they say,
That they'll never take you from me any more:
I'm a coming-coming-coming, as the angels clear the way,
Fare-well to the old Kentucky shore.


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Subject: RE: Darling Nellie Gray: song
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 03 Mar 97 - 05:02 PM

thanx mim-- That verse has been nagging me as a half-remembered fragment.


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Subject: RE: Darling Nellie Gray: song
From: Laurel Tryforos
Date: 06 Mar 97 - 01:40 PM

If you want to hear a lovely version, listen to Thomas Hampson's CD, "An Old Song Rs-Sung." He also has "In the Gloaming," "Shenandoah," "Roses of Picardy," "Luke Havergal" and others (vocal with piano).


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Subject: RE: Darling Nellie Gray: song
From: rich r
Date: 06 Mar 97 - 09:32 PM

There is one more verse that fits in as #4 ahead of the "last verse & chorus" cited above.

My canoe is under water and my banjo is unstrung,

I'm tired of living any more,

My eyes shall look downward and my songs shall be unsung

While I stay on the old Kentucky shore.

Chorus

Benjamin Russel Hanby (1833-1867) was a teacher/minister/ songwriter from Ohio. He wrote about 80 songs, but only 4 were ever very popular. "Darling Nellie Gray" was his biggest success, but most of us are probably familiar with "Santa Claus" or "Up On The Housetop" as well. The bucolic beginning of the song turns ominous in the middle. Hanby wrote it as a propaganda piece for the abolitionist cause. In its day it was known as "the Uncle Tom's Cabin of Songs". Just like the novel the hero and heroine can only find peace in death. Stephen Foster probably picked up a line from the last chorus and used it in "old Black Joe" four years later: "I'm coming, I'm comin...I hear the angel voices calling..." The song apparently has a real life background. A runaway slave named Joseph Selby died at Hanby's father's house as he was on his way to Canada to earn money to buy the freedom of his lover, Nellie Gray.

rich r


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Subject: RE: Darling Nellie Gray: song
From:
Date: 07 Mar 97 - 11:09 AM

Hi- MAny thanx for the extra verse and the notes, rich.


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Subject: RE: Darling Nellie Gray: song
From: GUEST,Mepicaaqui
Date: 21 Mar 08 - 12:02 PM

Thanks to all of you. In her latter years ( she died at age 102 ) my mom would play this on her harmonica. She would sing about sailing down the river in a little red canoe and my banjo being underwater. She had the tune right but couldn't quite remember all the words. It took some time before I figured out that the song was "My Darling Nelly Gray". Thanks for the info.


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Subject: RE: Darling Nellie Gray: song
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 21 Mar 08 - 02:49 PM

Many old American songs, with midis and full text from the original sheet music (or early version if traditional), plus complete Stephen Foster midis and sheet music lyrics here (Including Darling Nellie Gray, Benjamin R. Hanby, 1856):

Popular American

I often look here before going to Levy or American Memory. In most cases, the sheet music cover is shown along with the text. An excellent, well-thought-out website.


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Subject: RE: Darling Nellie Gray: song
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Mar 08 - 05:08 PM

There was a parody that I heard as a boy...

Oh my darlin' Nellie Gray kicked the bucket yesterday
That cross eyed girl that lived up on the hill
She took strychnine and died now I hope she's satisfied
'cause she done the whole damn thing against my will.

Now that she has gone to rest I'll fulfill her last request
I'll plant a bunch of onions on her grave
So when I'm passin' by I can pucker up and cry
Cause them God damn things they always make me rave.


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Subject: RE: Darling Nellie Gray: song
From: kendall
Date: 21 Mar 08 - 07:45 PM

That was me. Lost my cookie somehow.


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Subject: RE: Darling Nellie Gray: song
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 21 Mar 08 - 09:03 PM

The full text of "Darling Nellie Gray" was posted by Cranky Yankee, 16 Mar 01, thread 32038, but he changed the odd word from the sheet music as given in my link (prev. post):
U. S. A. Civil War Songs

It is composed of five verses, a chorus, and a final chorus.
The DT has an incomplete text.


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Subject: Lyr. Add: Nellie Gray (Howe, not Hanby)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 21 Mar 08 - 09:26 PM

Nellie Gray
Thomas H. Howe, 1882

1
Down in a pleasant valley
A gentle streamlet flows,
Beside a cottage lovely
A weeping willow grows;
Within that cottage dwelling
A mother bless'd the day
That gave her an angel
In the form of Nellie Gray.

Chorus-
Merrily the birds are singing
At the dawning of each day
Merrily the birds are singing
At the dawning of the day,
Joyfully they greet the coming
Of charming Nellie Gray.
(For last verse-
Nevermore theyll greet the coming &c.)

2
She grew in form and beauty,
Her counsel was the guide
Of all who were in sorrow
And many tears she dried;
Whene'er the sun was shining
O'er flow'ry meadows gay,
I daily went a roaming
With charming Nellie Gray.
3
She called me her Willie
And I was happy then,
My life seemed full of sunshine
While in the willow glen;
She often spoke of home above
I listened long each day
To that sweet voice, those words of love,
From charming Nellie Gray.
4
Beneath the bending willow
The gentle streamlet's wave
Now daily moistens flowers
That bloom o'er Nellie's grave;
One morn she said, "I'm going,"
And gently passed away,
A mother mourns, and all around
Now mourn for Nellie Gray.

Thomas H. Howe, composer. Piano and guitar score. Ditson & Co., Boston, 1882.
Sheet music at American Memory.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Darling Nellie Gray
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Sep 21 - 09:57 AM

this song was riten by bengeyman handy as nellie gray.
i first herd this at school. my name is joe, the words that were sung a lot were maggy may that is a song from in e ngland.when i knew this song it means a lot to me.in scoland a the same tune is from scotland was called the the song of glasgow galagate.


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