Annotation:Alabama Joe

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X:1 T:Alabama Joe M:2/4 L:1/8 R:Air B:Gumbo Chaff - The Complete Preceptor for the Banjo (1851, p. 12) N: A later edition of the earliest known banjo tutor, published in 1848. It was written by Elias Howe, whose pseudonym Gumbo Chaff N:is taken from Thomas Dartmouth Rice's 1834 blackface character. The 1851 edition was published in Boston by Oliver Ditson. N:In 1850 Howe sold some of his works to Ditson (this one among them) and agreed not to publish similar works for ten years. Z:AK/FIddler's Companion K:Bb d/c/|BFDF|BBB A/B/|cccc|cc zB/c/| dddf|fedc|BBdc|B B2!Fine!|| B/A/|GGAB|ccBA|GGAB|c3 B/A/| GGAB|ccdd|AAGG|!Fermata! F2 f!D.C.!||

ALABAMA JOE. American, Minstrel Song. B Flat Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB.

Alabama Joe songsheet, 1840

The traditional date of the minstrel era is usually given as 1843, with the debut of the Virginia Minstrels (Dan Emmett, Billy Whitlock, Dick Pelham, and Frank Brower) in New York City. However, there were blackface performers in the two decades preceding the group, who not only performed in blackface but who published songs that continued to be popular later into the century. "Alabama Joe" is one song that predates the Virginia Minstrels, and it is intriguing to note that the sheet music advertises the "Guinea Minstrels" who may be taken as a blackface performing group. The cover depicts musician A.L. Thayer in blackface, playing a long-neck banjo.

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Thomas F. Briggs (Briggs' Banjo Instructor), 1855,; p. 26. Chaff (The Complete Preceptor for the Banjo), 1851; p. 14.

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