Darling Nellie Gray
X: 1 T: Darling Nellie Gray I: Darling Nellie Gray S-D D square M: C| Z: Transcribed to abc by Mary Lou Knack R: square K: D z4 F2G2 | "D"A2A2 A2B2 | A2F2 E2D2 | "G"G2A2 B2c2 | d4 c2B2 | "D"A4 A3A | B2A2 F2D2 | "A7"E8- |E4 F2G2 | "D"A2A2 A2B2 | A2F2 E2D2 | "G"G2A2 B2c2 | d4 c2B2 | "D"A4 F2A2 | "A7"A2G2 E2C2 | "D"D8- |D4 E2F2 | "A7"G2G2 G2G2 | G4 A2G2 | "D"G2F2 F2=F2 | F4 F2G2 | A2A2 A2A2 | B2A2 F2D2 | "A7"E8- |E4 F2G2 | "D"A2A2 A2B2 | A2F2 E2D2 | "G"G2A2 B2c2 | d4 c2B2 | "D"A4 F2A2 | "A7"A2G2 E2C2 | "D"D8 |]
DARLING NELLIE GRAY. AKA - "Nelly Grey," "Old Nelly Grey." American, Air and Dance Tune. B Flat Major (Jarman): G Major (Perlman, Sweet): D Major (Johnson). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Johnson, Sweet): AA'B (Perlman): AABB (Jarman). An abolitionist song composed by Benjamin Russell Hanby in 1856, while a student at Otterbein college, Ohio. Hanby was moved by the plight of a runaway slave named Joseph Selby, along with the efforts of Hanby's father to raise money to gain the freedom of Selby's beloved. The popular song became a rallying anthem for the abolitionist movement. It begins:
One night I went to see her, but she's gone the neighbors say,
And the white man had bound her with his chain.
They have taken her to Georgia for to wear her life away
As she toils in the cotton and the cane.
Oh my darling Nellie Gray, they have taken you away
I'll never see my darling anymore,
They have taken you to Georgia for to work your life away,
And you're gone from that old Kentucky shore.
New England dance caller Peter Yarensky remarks that this is often the last called (singing) dance of the evening at many New Hampshire dances, "especially (in the mid-20th century) the dances of Ralph Page and Duke Miller in the Monadnock region of the state." It is followed by a final waltz. See also the schottische version under "Nelly Grey."