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Origin: Ol Ridin Hoss / Billy Patterson

Richie 28 Dec 06 - 09:36 AM
Peace 28 Dec 06 - 04:10 PM
Peace 28 Dec 06 - 04:14 PM
Richie 28 Dec 06 - 09:33 PM
Richie 28 Dec 06 - 09:59 PM
Richie 28 Dec 06 - 10:37 PM
Richie 28 Dec 06 - 10:44 PM
Peace 28 Dec 06 - 11:19 PM
Malcolm Douglas 28 Dec 06 - 11:38 PM
Peace 28 Dec 06 - 11:44 PM
Richie 29 Dec 06 - 12:15 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 30 Dec 06 - 02:24 PM
Richie 30 Dec 06 - 05:43 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 30 Dec 06 - 05:43 PM
Charley Noble 31 Dec 06 - 10:54 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 31 Dec 06 - 01:46 PM
Jim Dixon 13 Jan 07 - 12:24 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 Jan 07 - 02:28 PM
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Subject: origin/lry: Ol Ridin Hoss
From: Richie
Date: 28 Dec 06 - 09:36 AM

I saw this in Ceolas:

OL' RIDIN' HOSS. Old‑Time, Breakdown. G Major. Standard. AABB.
***
A little old man comes a-ridin' by.
Sez I: "Old man, your hoss'll die."
"If he does, I'll tan his skin,
And if he don't, I'll ride 'im agin." (Ford)
***
Ford (Traditional Music in America), 1940; pg. 123.

I've seen this (usually in this form below) in several other places. I can't remember where. Anyone know? Maybe "Once I had an Old Grey Mare."

I saw an old man go riding by,
Says I, "Ole man, your horse'll die."
"For if he dies, I'll tan his skin;
And if he lives I'll ride him agin."

I thought this was based on Emmett's Billy Patterson. Does anyone agree?

Richie


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Subject: RE: origin/lry: Ol Ridin Hoss
From: Peace
Date: 28 Dec 06 - 04:10 PM

From

WebRoots Library U.S. Military

'The Glee Club had several songs which they rendered in regular negro
minstrel style, and in a way that was irresistibly ludicrous. One of their
favorites was "Billy Patterson." All standing up in a ring, the tenors
would lead off:

"I saw an old man go riding by,"

and the baritones, flinging themselves around with the looseness of
Christy's Minstrels, in a " break down," would reply:

Don't tell me! Don't tell me!"

Then the tenors would resume:

"Says I, Ole man, your horse'll die.'

Then the baritones, with an air of exaggerated interest;

"A-ha-a-a, Billy Patterson!"

Tenors:

"For. It he dies, I'll tan his skin; An' if he lives I'll ride him agin,"

All-together, with a furious "break down" at the close:

"Then I'll lay five dollars down, And count them one by one; Then I'll lay
five dollars down, If anybody will show me the man That struck Billy
Patterson."'


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Subject: RE: origin/lry: Ol Ridin Hoss
From: Peace
Date: 28 Dec 06 - 04:14 PM

The source for that seems to be

Andersonville by John McElroy: Chapter 80

A google of that will take you there.


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Subject: RE: origin/lry: Ol Ridin Hoss
From: Richie
Date: 28 Dec 06 - 09:33 PM

From Pope's Arkansas Mountaineers 'Jaw Bone' recorded February 6, 1928 in Memphis, Tennessee, and issued as Victor 21577 in October 1928.

Little old man come riding by
Say, 'Old man, your horse will die'
'If he dies, I'll tan his skin
'If he lives, I'll ride him again'

Chorus: Walk jaw bone and walk away
Walk jaw bone both night and day


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Subject: RE: origin/lry: Ol Ridin Hoss
From: Richie
Date: 28 Dec 06 - 09:59 PM

Thanks Peace,

Here's the reference in Once I had an Old Grey Mare:

ONCE I HAD AN OLD GREY MARE

Once I had an old grey mare
Once I had an old grey mare
Once I had an old grey mare
Her back wore out and her belly bare

Tad a liddle dink dink
Tad a liddle day
Tad a liddle dink dink
Tad a liddle day

Old turkey buzzard come a-flying by (x3)
Says, your mare will surely die

Tad...

If she dies I'll tan her skin (x3)
If she lives, I'll ride her again


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Subject: RE: origin/lry: Ol Ridin Hoss
From: Richie
Date: 28 Dec 06 - 10:37 PM

The Billy Paterson melody is apparently related to Humors of Bantry and the Appalachian tune, "Fire in the Mountain."

Here's a link:
http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=mussm&fileName=sm/sm1884/21500/21561/mussm21561.db&recNum=1&itemLink=D?mussm:2:./tem


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Subject: RE: origin/lry: Ol Ridin Hoss
From: Richie
Date: 28 Dec 06 - 10:44 PM

Here's a link to the sheet music:

http://levysheetmusic.mse.jhu.edu/cgi-bin/display.pl?record=024.005.001&pages=5

As far as I can tell no one has transcribed this song by Emmett. If anyone is able it might be used by others.

Richie


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Subject: RE: origin/lry: Ol Ridin Hoss
From: Peace
Date: 28 Dec 06 - 11:19 PM

I will need binoculars. I'll try tomorrow.


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Subject: RE: origin/lry: Ol Ridin Hoss
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 28 Dec 06 - 11:38 PM

Save the images to your hard drive and use image editing software to get a better view.

Note that the old version of Andrew Kuntz's 'Fiddler's Companion' at Ceolas is obsolete. They refused to allow him access in order to update it, so eventually he moved it to  http://www.ibiblio.org/fiddlers/

The old version remains online, but only because the people who run Ceolas are too lazy to remove it. It should not be used as a reference; especially without providing a proper link or attribution when copy-and-pasting it.

As it happens, the entry in the new iteration is as yet unchanged; it would benefit from the inclusion of some of the information already given here. I'd add a few references to earlier discussions:

Add: Poor Old Man (Thread 'Songs of the Sailor and Lumberman'; with tune)
ADD: Jaw Bone (Pope's Arkansas Mountaineers) (Thread 'Jawbone Origin and Categorization')

'Richie' should remember at least the second of those discussions; he started it.

Presumably there is a connection between the Minstrel song and the 'Old Horse' shanty, to which there are also references in the Forum and DT. The latter, in turn, has some connection with the 'Old Horse' of British tradition; though that song belonged to a luck-visiting custom. Further references to that, too, can be found via the search engine. 'Q' would be the man to take discussion of the American aspects further, I should think.


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Subject: RE: origin/lry: Ol Ridin Hoss
From: Peace
Date: 28 Dec 06 - 11:44 PM

Thanks for that, Malcolm. And Happy New Year to you. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas.


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Subject: RE: origin/lry: Ol Ridin Hoss
From: Richie
Date: 29 Dec 06 - 12:15 AM

Thanks Malcolm,

I'm aware of the Kuntz situation by now. I'll try to put more info and a link next time.

The Chorus of Emmett's Billy Patterson:

Bill Patterson rode bye (sic),
Old Bill your horse will die.
"He dies, I'll tan his skin,
He lives I'll ride agin."

The real question and one that will be hard to answer is: Did Emmett get his lyrics for the Chorus from folk/minstrel sources or is this written by Emmett?

It would seem to me (instincts only) that he arranged the Chorus and wrote the verses. I believe there are 4 verses and a seperate different section. One source I have is 1859 but the Levy site says 1860.

Maybe Q can help fill some of the missing info and related versions.

Richie


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Subject: RE: origin/lry: Ol Ridin Hoss
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 30 Dec 06 - 02:24 PM

Dan Emmett was hired by Bryant's Minstrels in 1858 to write music and lyrics for the Company. He produced several memorable tunes, which in turn fathered copies and arrangements which spread widely.
"Billy Patterson" was one of these, probably written in 1859, and included in editions of his songs, printed in 1860.
For the 'walk around' "Billy Patterson," he used an older melody, as noted by Richie, and by Emmett himself on the 1860 sheet music.

It seems to me that the tune is the 'thing,' since words were frequently added to or modified by the performers, changed as the song spread to other troupes and the music hall, and again altered to suit by local musicians for entertainment in play-parties and dances.
In other words, follow the tune to follow the evolution of the song.

Lyrics to these easily followed tunes were borrowed from other songs, 'made up' to suit the performer and his audience, changed through mis-hearings. The nature of the audience and regional preferences- Black, White, rural or urban, geographic and political barriers, all influenced what a song collector found. We seldom know when or why a particular change was made- collectors mostly have only anecdotal information, if any, from the singer.
It is the tune which ties all of the versions together. Moreover, the tune itself can change to suit the use- song, play-party, square dance, and local preference as to type, instrument(s) used by performers, etc. Sometimes these changes can be followed or dated approximately.
Changes in lyrics, on the other hand, particularly with songs that have been converted for use in dances, 'fiddle tunes,' and the like, unlike ballads which tell a story (enough problems even with them), are almost impossible to place in sequence.


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Subject: RE: origin/lry: Ol Ridin Hoss
From: Richie
Date: 30 Dec 06 - 05:43 PM

Q,

Thanks for the info.

Richie


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Subject: Lyr. Add: Poor Old Man (chantey)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 30 Dec 06 - 05:43 PM

Malcolm mentions the mastheading chantey, "As I was Going to Rig-a-ma-row," or "Poor Old Man."

Solo
As I was going to Rig-a-ma-row
Chorus
I say so, and I hope so,
Solo
I saw an old man go riding by,
Chorus
Poor - old - man.

Solo
Said I, old man your horse will die
Chorus
I say so, and I hope so
Solo
Said I, old man your horse will die,
Chorus
Poor - old - man.

Solo
And if he dies I'll tan his skin,
etc.

Solo
And from his hide I'll make my shoes,
etc.

"The extent to which the anatomy of the horse might be utilized in such a ballad as this is obviously infinite, and would in any instance be determined solely by the length of time required to masthead the sail. Let us assume that to be some smaller piece of top-canvas, and pass to the conclusion of the chantie, which is apt to go something like this: -

Solo
I thought I heard the first mate say
He'd give us grog three times to-day.
All
Belay!

The author says, "Some years ago it was the fortune of the author to spend part of his time cruising on merchant sailing-ships, where he became attracted by the chanties... Then it was that the chantie-singing to which he had so often listened appeared in a new light, for it became at once apparent that here was a contemporary, dramatic, and complete exemplification of the communal process."

P. A. Hutchison, "Sailors' Chanties," JAFL, vol. 19, no. 72, Mar. 1906, pp. 16-28.

I doubt that this chantey is connected to the chorus of Emmett's "Billy Patterson."

See thread 54759 for a version (Doerflinger) with two chanteys combined (Linked by Malcolm, above).


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Subject: RE: origin/lry: Ol Ridin Hoss
From: Charley Noble
Date: 31 Dec 06 - 10:54 AM

Q-

Thanks for drawing my attention to this thread. It's clear to me that here we have another example of a minstrel song later being adapted as a ceremonial shanty to commemorate the end of the two-month period when the sailor's advance was being paid off and he finally began earning additional wages.

This song should not be confused with the "Salt-Horse Song" which the sailors used as a kind of benediction as they opened a new cask of salted beef or pork.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: origin/lry: Ol Ridin Hoss
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 31 Dec 06 - 01:46 PM

Rigamarow seems not to be a location; more likely it comes from the word 'rigmarole' (rigamarole, rigamarow) meaning nonsense, humbug, a complex procedure, meaningless talk or actions.

Again, I doubt that the chantey is based on a chorus in a minstrel song. The minstrel chorus itself may be an echo of the early-mid 19th c. "Poor Old Horse," several copies at the Bodleian Library, in the Contemplator, etc., a song popular with sailors. This interpretation was favored by Hugill (discussion of "The Dead Horse") in "Shanties from the Seven Seas."


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Subject: Lyr Add: BILLY PATTERSON (Dan D. Emmett)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 13 Jan 07 - 12:24 AM

From The Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music:

BILLY PATTERSON
Written and Composed by Dan D. Emmett
New York: Firth, Pond & Co., 547 Broadway, 1860.

1. Dar was an old nigg dat got hit wid a brick.
Oh! Billy Patterson
He wasn't knocked down kaze his head too thick.
Don't ye tell me. Don't ye tell me.
De first word he said when he was come to:
Oh! Billy Patterson
"Oh, don't hit agin for dat will do!"
Don't ye tell me. Don't ye tell me.

CHORUS: Bill Patterson rode by.
"Old Bill, your horse will die."
"He dies, I'll tan his skin.
He lives, I'll ride agin!"
I'll gib ten dollars down an leab dem in my will
If anyone can show de man dat ebber struck old Bill.


2. I eat up de goose dat raised de quill
Dat wrote de question: "Who struck Bill?"
I worked at the kiln whar de brick was burnt,
But who throwed de brick was nebber learnt.

3. I knows ob a chap dat's up to de fun.
He knows who struck Bill Patterson;
But, take my word, he will nebber tell
Unless somebody pays him well.

4. Dar's one ting sartin an plain for to see:
'Twas neider Sayres nor Morrisey.
Day both told me, or I is a liar,
'Twas eider Heenan or old Tom Hyer.

5. Money in de pocket shines so bright.
Old Bill got stuck on Saturday night.
De lighnin flash, he seen de seben stars.
He tink he was struck wid de bullgine cars.

6. If ebber you get to de Fiddler's Green,
A labeled niggar can be seen
Wid a sign on his back dat weighs a ton:
"I'm de darkie struck Bill Patterson!"


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Subject: RE: Origin: Ol Ridin Hoss / Billy Patterson
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 Jan 07 - 02:28 PM

The evolution of the term "Fiddler's Green' must be taken into account.
1826- 'Fiddler's Green' first appeared in print as a destination for farm animals.
By 1836, W. H. Maxwell, in the novel "Capt. Blake," noted "It is ...believed that tailors and musicians after death are cantoned in a place called 'Fiddler's Green.'
Marryat, 1856, in "Snarleyyow" ("Dog-fiend") wrote, "We shape a course for 'Fiddler's Green'" (The hero is the ship's dog).

Whether the 'Fiddler's Green' in "Billy Patterson" (1860) referred to a final destination for sailors, or for animals, minstrels and Negroes, is not clear.

Not until later (1883) did the meaning, in print, shift mainly to the nautical side. D. J. Kelly, writing in "Harper's Magazine," specified that 'Fiddler's Green' was "where all good sailors go."


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