Annotation:High Dad in the Morning

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HIGH DAD IN THE MORNING. Old-Time, Bluegrass; Breakdown. USA. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABBCC. The tune starts on an E minor chord, the relative minor. The tune supposedly has its origins in American black-face minstrelsy (see Hans Nathan's Dan Emmett and the Rise of Early Negro Minstrelsy). However, modern versions are sourced to bluegrass fiddler Kenny Baker, who learned the tune from a tape of Doug Dillard's father, Homer E. Dillard, a Missouri musician. Minstrel Dan Emmett (1815-1904) did write a song in 1863 called "High Daddy," that begins:

The sun's gone down to take a little sleep,
I met High Daddy in the morning;
The moon's come out to take a little
I met High Daddy and I won't go home any more, any more
Then wake up boys! for master's gone to bed,
I met High Daddy in the morning;
We'll have a spree, if we haven't got a red,
I met High Daddy and I won't go home any more, any more.

Then darky, never die,
Black face and china eye;
Go down to the barnyard, boys,
The owl's on the roost.
High Daddy won't come nigh,
He's choked on chicken pie;
'Tis all 'O.K.' I say,
And right upon the goose.

The sheet music was advertised in 1863 as "a favorite Plantation song, received nightly with shouts of laughter at Bryant's [Minstrels]. It bids fair to become as popular as Mr. Emmett's celebrated song 'Dixie's Land'." The song was for a 'walk-around' by the minstrel troupe, and the verses are in alternating call-and-response form, meant to be sung by the whole troupe. The 'walk-around' typically finished the minstrel show. Musically, it is no relation to the Diller/Baker tune.

Source for notated version: Kenny Baker [Brody, Phillips].

Printed sources: Brody (Fiddler's Fakebook), 1983; p. 135. Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes), vol. 1, 1994; p. 112.

Recorded sources: County 719, Kenny Baker- "Portrait of a Bluegrass Fiddler" (1968). Rounder 0241, The Chicken Chokers - "Shoot Your Radio" (1987). Rounder 0442, John Hartford - "Hamilton Ironworks" (2001) Takoma D-1064, Norman Blake- "Directions."

See also listing at:
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]

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