Bye-Bye My Honey I'm Gone

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X:1 T:Bye Bye My Honey I'm Gone S:Lotus Dickey (1911-1989, Orange County, southern Indiana) M:C| L:1/8 Q:"Quick" R:Reel D:Vigortone Records, Lotus Dickey - Down the Pike (1989) F: Z:Transcribed by Andrew Kuntz K:D +slide+[A2A2]-|[AA]BAF ABAF|ABAF +slide+[A3A3](_B2|=B)dBd BdBG|BdBG BAFA| d2 dA BAFA|dddA BAFG|+slide+[A2A2]AB AFEF |D3E D2:| |:(3ABc|d3c defe|[d3f3]c dAFA|B2 BA BcdB|+slide+[A3A3]B AGFA| d2 dA BAFA|dAdA BAFG|+slide+[AA][FA][EA][FA] AFEF |D3E D2:|

BYE-BYE MY HONEY, I'M GONE. AKA and see "Goodbye My Honey I'm Gone." American, Song Air and Reel (cut time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. "Bye Bye My Honey I'm Gone" was a "coon song" written in 1885 or 1886 by Virginia songwriter and journalist Monroe H. "Rosey" Rosenfeld (c. 1861-1918), the son of German immigrants and the man credited with coining the phrase "Tin Pan Alley" [1]. It was set to a schottische melody, with Rosenfeld's lines beginning:


I had a girl, and her name was Isabella,
She ran away with another colored feller;
And my load was all the stronger,
And I couldn't stay no longer,
Goodbye, my honey, I'm gone.

Goodbye, my honey, I'm gone,
Goodbye, my honey, I'm gone;
And she gave it to me stronger,
And I couldn't stay no longer,
Bye bye my honey, I'm gone.

One day in the middle of the month of Janu-year,
I rolled my dearie in my arms to sooth her,
But her heart was with another,
And she wouldn't let me love her,
Goodbye, my honey, I'm gone.

The song was recorded in the infant cylinder recording media in 1897 by comedian and singer Billy Golden, and the composition was adapted as a patriotic song in 1918, also with the title "Goodbye, My Honey, I'm Gone," with words and music credited to James Reese Europe, Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake.
In the next decade a successful recording of "Bye Bye, My Honey, I'm Gone" was released in 1929 by The Pickard Family, WSM Grand Ole Opry performers for thirty years from 1927 to the 1950's. The family band consisted of Obed "Dad" Pickard (Vocals Solo/Fiddle /Guitar/Banjo/Jew's Harp), Leila May "Little Mother" (Vcls/Piano) and children Ruth (Accordion), Bubb (Vcls/Guitar), Charlie (Vcls/Guitar) and Ann (Vcls/Guitar). There is a story that they came to the attention of the Opry founder and manager, Solemn Old Judge, George D. Hay, when one of the Pickard children went missing. The parents broadcast an appeal for help in finding the child (which was forthcoming, with a happy ending), but meanwhile it had come to Hay's attention that the family was musically inclined. He auditioned them and launched their careers. Later the Pickard family moved to WLS in Chicago to star on the National Barndance. However, their 1929 recorded song was somewhat different than the original in words and music, and had transitioned from the "coon song" genre to country music, set a bit faster with instrumental breaks(featuring Dad Pickard's jews harp). The Pickards sang:

The Pickard Family, early 1950's

I had a gal, her name was Isabella,
She ran off with another yella fella;
Hollered for a copper, but he said he couldn't stop her,
And its, bye bye, my honey, I'm gone.

Bye bye, my honey, I'm gone,
Bye bye, my honey, I'm gone;
Hollered for a copper, but he said he couldn't stop her,
And its, bye bye, my honey, I'm gone.

By the time Lotus Dickey recorded "Bye Bye My Honey, I'm Gone" in the late 1980's it had been transformed into a genuine old-time instrumental breakdown.

"See also the related Ozarks version ("Goodbye My Honey I'm Gone").

Additional notes

Source for notated version: - Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes vol. 1), 1994; p. 43.

Printed sources : - Lotus Dickey (Indiana) [Phillips]. Dickey learned it from Albert & Effie Daugherty when he was in high school in Paoli, Indiana, c. 1931.

Recorded sources: - Marimac 9029 (cass.), Lotus Dickey - "Fiddle Tunes from Orange County, Indiana, vol. 1" (1989). Marimac 9029 (cass.), The Volo Bogtrotters - "Tough Luck" (1991). QRS Records R 9005 (78 RPM), Pickard Family (1929). Vigortone Recordings, Lotus Dickey - "Down the Pike" (2013, reissue on CD of Marimac 9029).

See also listing at:
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]
Hear Billy Golden's 1898 recording at the Internet Archive [2]
Hear the Pickard Family recording at [3]
Hear Lotus Dickey's recording at Slippery Hill [4] and at [5]

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  1. As the story goes, he was visiting songwriter Harry Von Tilzer in his New York office and heard Tilzer playing the piano, the keys of which Tilzer had muffled to reduce complaints by his neighbors. "Sounds like tin cans," commented Rosenfeld, to which Tilzer replied, "Yes, I guess this is a tin pan alley." Rosenfeld used the anecdote in one of his articles, and it caught on.