Annotation:Come Back Stephen

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COME BACK, STEPHEN. AKA - "Come Back Steben." American, Minstrel Air (2/4 time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). "Come Back, Stephen" is an "Ethiopian Melody"--a blackface minstrel skit-song. The composition was credited to performer G. White of White's band of Serenaders, who held forth at the Melodeon, 53 Bowery, New York, according to George Christy's 1854 songbook. However, a version was published some years earlier in Boston, in 1848, as "Come Back Steben, Negro Cavatina as sung by a Kentuckian". The 1848 publication (along with some later ones) includes the extra-musical direction: "To be sung in the imitation of the mew of a Cow, by closing the mouth on the middle note and forming the other against the roof of the mouth." The song was printed in dialect, and begins:

Come back, Stephen! come back!
Come back, Stephen! come back!
Another:-- Oh! oh! I'se a-coming!
Voice Oh! oh! I'se a-coming!

It can be found in playbills of the Ethiopian Serenaders (1849), Rainer and Donaldson's Minstrels (1851) and White's Serenader's (1852).

Additional notes

Printed sources : - George Christy (Christy's and White's Ethiopian Melodies), 1854; pp. 43-44. Elias Howe (Musician’s Omnibus Nos. 6 & 7), Boston, 1880-1882; p. 594.

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