Dar's Sugar in the Gourd

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X:1 T:Dar's Sugar in de Gourd M:2/4 L:1/8 R:'Sand Jig' S:White's Unique Collection (1896), No. 34 Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:Amin A,|A,/4A,/4 z/ C/E/ A/B/c/A/|G/E/C/E/ G (c/d/)|{f}e/d/e/f/ g/e/d/g/|e/a^g/ aA/B/| c/A/B/^G/ A(c/A/) | =G/E/C/E/ G(c/d/) | e/g/f/a/ g/e/f/d/ | c/A/B/^G/ A :| |:A|(A/a/)z/b/ a(e/^f/)|g/e/d/B/ G(G/^F/)|(G/g/)z/a/ g(e/^f/)|g/e/d/B/ G/E/D/B,/| A,/A,/z/ C/E/ A/B/c/A/ | G/E/C/E/ G (c/d/) | e/g/f/a/ g/e/f/d/ | c/A/B/^G/ A :||

DAR'S SUGAR IN THE GOURD. American, Reel. A Minor. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The tune is attributed to James Buckley, a minstrel performer, in Ryan's Mammoth Collection (1883). Edward Le Roy Rice, in his book Monarchs of Minstrelsy (New York, 1911), has this entry on Buckley:

JAMES BUCKLEY, the father of R. Bishop, G. Swayne and Fred Buckley was the organizer of the justly famous Buckley Serenaders; they were originally known as the Congo Melodists; subsequently upon playing an extended engagement in New Orleans, they adopted the title of "New Orleans Serenaders"; later using the name they were ever known by. Mr. Buckley was leader at Harrington's Museum in Boston in 1840. In 1843 he organized the Congo Melodists in Boston, and gave their first performance at the Tremont Theatre; in October they were playing the Tabernacle, the present site of the Howard Athenaeum. Their first New York appearance was in 1845; the following year they went to England, where they remained about two years. For family reasons each of the four Buckleys adopted different names on this trip, and retained them for a time after their return to the United States in 1848; James Buckley was known as Jim Burke. Their metropolitan reappearance was made at the Society Library Rooms, corner Broadway and Leonard Street; they played here as January 3, 1849.

The Buckleys were the first recognized company from the East to visit California, which they did in 1852; they played in tents at $3.00 per ticket. In June, 1853, they made their third New York appearance at the Chinese Assembly Room, 549 Broadway, which they leased and made into a minstrel hall; they remained three years. August 25, 1856, they opened at 585 Broadway; their last performance there was January 9, 1858; subsequently they played a brief engagement at 444 Broadway; commencing two days later.

In May 1858, they began a brief engagement at the Ordway Hall in Boston, and in November, same year, they began a short seas at Allston Hall on Tremont Street; subsequently returning to New York at 585 Broadway, opening July 11, 1859.

On March 21, 1860, the sailed for England, where they met with pronounced success; in this engagement they played under their own names. As a matter of fact, their success was so great, that rival managers became jealous, and succeeded in digging up an old law which prevented an opera other than the Royal Opera from being given; as the Buckley's success depended on the production of these operas, which they produced on a lavish scale, they were compelled to return to America, which they did in 1861. After playing several engagements they returned to Boston and opened at Allston Hall, October 13, 1862. December 22, same year, they began an engagement at the new hall, corner Chauncey and Summer Streets, remaining until April 9, 1866. The retirement of James Buckley and the deaths of R. Bishop and Fred Buckley, left only G. Swayne Buckley, who reorganized the company and toured with intermittent success and failure until about 1876, when the Buckley's Serenaders passed into oblivion.

Such is the history of this famous family whose talents and versatility are beyond comprehension to the present generation. They were the first company to produce burlesque opera, which they did on a scale of magnificence never since duplicated. The company originally consisted of the four members of the family; later they were augmented by Sam Sanford and J.C. Collins; this was about 1846; in after years many of the prominent lights of the minstrel profession appeared on their roster. Mr. Jas. Buckley was the only member of the organization who was not active up to the time of his death. James Buckley was born in Manchester, England, 1803; he died in Quincy, Mass., April 27, 1872. (pp. 15-16).

James Buckely finished a banjo tutor of his friend Tom Briggs after the latter died in California in 1854. Briggs' Banjo Instructor is a standard text even today for learning the minstrel banjo style of playing. New York researcher, musician and writer Don Meade finds that Buckley authored his own banjo tutor in 1860.

The first strain is very similar (and probably ancestral) to the first strain of "Rutland's Reel," a developed and expanded 20th century version of the tune by Georgia Slim Rutland with Howdy Forrester.

Additional notes

Source for notated version: -

Printed sources : - Cole (1000 Fiddle Tunes), 1940; p. 85. Ryan's Mammoth Collection, 1883; p. 118. White's Unique Collection, 1896; No. 34, p. 6.

Recorded sources: -

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