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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Azizi Slang & Other Colloquialisms in Music (51* d) RE: Slang & Other Colloquialisms in Music 05 Jul 05


paddymac,

You asked about the line from the Pogues' song "Rainey Night in Soho" that says "Woke up in the morning - ginger girl by the bed."

While I'm not familiar with "the Pogues" or the song, I believe tht the term "ginger girl" is a referent to a skin complexion referent for people of African descent who have a reddish tinge to their dark skin color. This complexion may be the result of mixture with Native Americans or other 'non-Black' peoples.

Another referent for a ginger complexione Black person is
"Ginger Blue". A 'blue'is another referent for any Black person. However, 'blue' can also can mean a very dark skinned Black person who is so 'black' his skinned is said to have a bluish tinge.

See the use of "Ginger Blue" in the second verse {or chorus?} of this old African American folk song:

GOOSEBERRY WINE

Now, 'umble Uncle Steben
I wonders what youse gwine?
Don't never tu'n yo back , Suh,
On dat good ole gooseberry wine!

Oh walk chalk, Ginger Blue! *
Git over double trouble.
You needn' min' de wedder
So's de win' don't blow you double.

Now!
Uncle Mack! Uncle Mack!
Did you ever see de lak?
Dat good ole sweet gooseberry wine
Call Uncle Steben back.

Source: Thomas W. Talley, "Negro Folk Rhymes"
         Kennikat Press Edition, 1968; p. 41:
         originally published in 1922

-snip-

I found that same chorus in a 'minstrel' folk song online at this URL: www.newworldrecords.org/linernotes/80245.pdf

"My name is Ginger Blue
and I'll tell you what I'll do
I'm a darky from the state of Alabama....

Chorus:
Walk, talk Ginger, and hire double trouble,
always uded to sing,
my name is Ginger Blue
and I'll tell you what I'll do
I'm a darky from the state of Alabama....

-snip-

Another term that means the same thing is "redbone". And depends on who says it and when these terms aren't necessarily derogative.
Think of all the African American Blues artists, comedians, actors, and other celebrities who had 'Red' affixed to their name or the home town. Even Malcolm X at one time was called 'Detroit Red' because of his reddish complexion...

Other colors that have been used by people of African descent are
'yellow', 'Pink' and "Pinky". All of these refer to very light skinned Black people {usually females}. Tally's "Negro Folk Rhymes" includes a rhyme called "My Pretty Little Pink".

* I believe that I shared my thoughts about the meaning of the 'get over double trouble' line in the African American Secular Folk Song thread. Briefly, IMO this dance song has an imbedded warning to folks hearing this song {ie. Black folks} to walk through life just as carefully as you would walk a chalk line. The 'chalk line' was the term that was originally used for dancing the 'cakewalk'. Performers had to move with great care in this dance because in its early stages it was performed by individuals who had a glass of water on their head. The object was not to drop the glass {jug?} or spill any of the water.

The "double trouble' line [which is preserved in some children's rhymes] means to be prepared for 'trouble doubled'=alot of trouble.

Given the oppressive conditions of life then {and now}, reminding folks to be alert to and prepared for trouble was {and still is} very good advice.



Azizi Powell


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