Annotation:Ham Beats All Meat

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HAM BEATS ALL MEAT. American, Song Tune. USA, Tennessee. The melody is from the late 19th century minstrel stage. Grand Old Opry pioneer Uncle Dave Macon adapted it as "Country Ham and Red Gravy." African-American collector Thomas Talley (born c. 1870) printed a version, close to Humphrey Bates' in both music and lyrics, in his 1922 book Negro Folk Rhymes:

Dem white folks set up in a Dinin' Room
An' dey charve dat mutton an' lam'.
De Nigger, he set 'hind de kitchen door,
An' he eat up de good sweet ham.

Dem white folks dey set up an' look so fine,
An' dey eats dat ole cow meat;
But de Nigger grin an' he don't say much,
Still he know how to git what's sweet

Deir ginger cakes taste right good sometimes,
An' deir Cobblers an' deir jam.
But fer every day an' Sunday too,
Jest gimme de good sweet ham.

Ham beats all meat,
Always good an' sweet.
Ham beats all meat,
I'se always ready to eat.
You can bake it, bile it, fry it, stew it,
An' still it's de good sweet ham.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources:

Recorded sources: Bluebird 7951 (78 RPM), Uncle Dave Macon (1938). County 531, Dr. Humphrey Bate & His Possum Hunters - "Old Time String Band Classics, 1927-1933" (1975). Vocalion 5238 (78 RPM), Dr. Humphrey Bate & His Possum Hunters (1928).

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