[Dixielandjazz] Interesting article on new performancesofMinstrel Shows

Jim Beebe jbeebe at centurytel.net
Mon Nov 17 09:00:57 PST 2003

----- Original Message ----- 
From: <DWSI at aol.com>
Subject: Re: [Dixielandjazz] Interesting article on new
performancesofMinstrel Shows

> Mike:
> You raise a great question I and many other performers of these old songs
> have struggled with for a long time. To add one more unbelievable title:
> Just An Alabama Nigger" was a real song that was so accepted at the turn
of the
> century it was actually performed by an operatic star. How do you explain
> highly offensive language today? The answer is, you can't. I spoke to Max
> Morath about this once and he had probably the best single answer I've
heard yet.
> The song, "Oh, Mr. Johnson Turn Me Loose," has extremely offensive lyrics
> which can be altered to keep most of the good stuff. He did that very
> successfully. On the other hand, the great Vaudeville number, "Rufus,
Rastus, Johnson
> Brown," (What Ya Goin To Do When The Rent Comes Roun?") is beyond repair.
> latter song is humorous and has great syncopation but how can you perform
it? I
> hope someone comes up with a better answer than either change it or drop
it. A
> lot of great American stage music sits unplayed.
> Dan (piano fingers) Spink

 Dan, I don't beleive that 'Nigger' was necessarily a deragatory term years
ago.  It was in early usage simply a word to denote people of dark skin.
The same goes for 'darkie.'

Jim Beebe

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