Mudcat Café message #2683154 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #122362   Message #2683154
Posted By: Gibb Sahib
19-Jul-09 - 12:07 AM
Thread Name: Ship Margaret Evans, songs
Subject: RE: Ship Margaret Evans, songs
Playing a bit of Devil's Advocate...

You started off the threading saying "Where and how this chantey originated is uncertain; there is no evidence that it is Caribbean or black in origin." However, that was before you got down to reviewing the sources. Having begun to review them, you now seem certain of a specific minstrel song origin, which you seek to prove. Slightly shady procedure! But that's cool, threads do develop in that way a lot of times.

And who says there's "an original 'Eliza Lee'"? As you know, that's a name used in plenty of American songs. ("Yankee John, Stormalong" is a chantey that comes to mind.)

**Hugill (1961) cited what he believed to be the minstrel song to which Whall was referring. It's called "De History Ob De World." Here's one link to its text. LINK And a cut 'n' paste job of it:

"De History ob de World" (1847)
(from the Popular Extravaganza
of "Buffalo Gals at the Adelphi")
Words and Music --- anon.
Arr. by T. Contreso

[Source: pages 70-71 of
"Minstrel Songs, Old and New" (1883)]

1.
O, I come from ole Virginny
Wid my head full ob knowledge,
And I never went to free school
Nor any other college;
But one thing I will tell you,
Which am a solid fact,
I tell you how dis world was made
In a twinkling ob a crack.

CHORUS
Den walk in,
Den walk in I say,
Den walk in,
And hear de banjo play,
Den walk into de parlor,
And hear de banjo ring,
And watch dis niggers fingers,
While he plays upon de string.

2.
Oh, dis world was made in six days,
And den dey made de sky,
And den dey hung it ober head
And left it dar to dry;
And den dey made de stars
Out ob nigger wenches eyes,
For to gib a little light
When de moon didn't rise.

(CHORUS)

3.
So Adam was de first man,
Ebe she was de oder,
And Cain walk'd on de treadmill,
Because he kill'd his broder;
Ole Moder Ebe
Couldn't sleep widout a pillar,
And de greatest man dat eber lived
Was Jack de Giant killer.

(CHORUS)

4.
And den de made the sea,
And in it put a whale,
And den de made a racoon,
Wid a ring around his tail;
And all de oder animals
Was finished one by one,
And stuck against de to dry
As fast as they were done.

(CHORUS)

5.
O, lighning is a yellow gal,
She libs up in de clouds,
And thunder he's a black man,
For he can hollow loud;
When he kisses lightning,
She dodges off in wonder,
Den he jumps and tares his trowsers,
And dat's what makes de thunder.

(CHORUS)

6.
O, de wind begin to blow,
And de rain begin to fall,
And de water came so high,
But it drown'd de niggers all;
And it rain'd forty days and nights,
Exactly by the counting,
And it landed Noah's ark
'Pon de Alleghany Mountains.

(CHORUS)

This link contains music notation of the song.   It's not like the familiar tune to "Clear the Track." Looks like Whall's version of "Clear the Track" borrowed verses from this minstrel song's theme, but they were fitted to a different tune and chorus form.