Jim Along Josey

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X:1 T:Jim Along Josey M:2/4 L:1/8 R:Minstrel tune B:Elias Howe – Second Part of the Musician’s Companion (1843, p. 56) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:A e {g}f/e/ cc|BBce|e{g}f/e/ cc|{c}B/A/B/c/ A2|e {g}f/e/ cc|BBce|e{g}f/e/ cc|{c}B/A/B/c/ A2:| |:e|a>b aa/b/|(a/e/)(c/A/) {c}(B/A/)(B/c/)|(A/c/)(e/g/) (a/e/)(c/A/)|{c}(B/A)(B/c/) {c}(B/A/)(E/A/)| (A/c/)(e/g/) (a/e/)(c/e/)| (a/e/)(c/e/) (a/e/)(c/A/)|(A/c/)(e/g/) (a/e/)(c/A/)|{c}(B/A/)(B/c/) A:|]

JIM ALONG JOSEY. AKA - "Jimalong Josie." American, Air (2/4 time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Chaff): AABCD (James Bryan). "Jim Along Josie" was blackface minstrel song by Edward Harper written in 1838 by the minstrel performer Edward Harper, and became a hit as a popular fiddle and dance tune. In his book Scandalize My Name: Black Imagery in American Popular Music, Sam Dennison suggests the first performance of “Jim Along Josey” was sung by Harper in a blackface drama called The Free Nigger of New York[1]. The dialect words[2], containing racial slurs and allusions, go:

Early sheet music cover

Oh! I'se from Luciananna as you all know,
Dar whare Jim along Josey's all de go,
Dem niggars all rise when de bell does ring,
And dis is de song dat dey do sing.
Hey get along, get along Josey
Hey get along Jim along Joe!
Hey get along, get along Josey
Hey get along, Jim along Joe!

Oh! when I gets dat new coat which I expects to hab soon,
Like wise a new pair tight-knee'd trousaloon,
Den I walks up and down Broadway wid my Susanna,
And de white folks will take me to be Santa Anna,
Hey get along, get along Josey,
Hey get along, Jim along Joe!

My sister Rose de oder night did dream,
Dat she was floating up and down de stream,
And when she woke she began to cry,
And de white cat picked out de black cat's eye.
Hey get along Josey,
Hey get along, Jim along Joe!

Now way down south not very far off,
A Bullfrog died wid de hooping cough,
And de oder side of Mississippi as you must know,
Dare's where I was christen'd Jim along Joe.
Hey get along, get along Josey,
Hey get along, Jim along Joe!

De new York niggers tink dey're fine,
Because dey drink de geniune,
De southern niggers dey lib on mush,
And when dey laugh dey say Oh Hush.
Hey get along, get along Josey,
Hey get along, Jim along Joe!

I'me de nigger that don't mind my troubles,
Because dey are noting more dan bubbles
De ambition that dis nigger feels
Is showing de science of his heels.
Hey get along, get along Josey,
Hey get along, Jim along Joe,

De fust President we eber had was Gen'ral Washington,
And de one we've got now is Martin Van Buren,
But altho' Gen'ral Washington's dead
As long as de country stands his name shall float ahead.
Hey get along, get along Josey,
Hey get along, Jim along Joe!

The minstrel song was adapted as a vehicle for play parties and was in widespread use throughout the United States in the latter 19th and early 20th centuries.

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Gumbo Chaff (The Complete Preceptor for the Banjo), 1851; p. 8. Elias Howe (Second Part of the Musician’s Companion), 1843; p. 56. Joseph Lowe (Lowe's Collection of Reels, Strathspeys and Jigs, book 3), Edinburgh, 1844–1845; p. 23.

Recorded sources : - James Bryan - "Two Pictures" (1995).

See also listing at :
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]
Hear James Bryan's 1995 recording at Slippery Hill [2]

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  1. Brown, Maya (2017) ""Jim Along Josey": Play-Parties and the Survival of a Blackface Minstrel Song," Excellence in Performing Arts Research: Vol. 4 , Article 3. [3]
  2. Some of items in the Traditional Tune Archive may contain offensive language or negative stereotypes. Such materials should be seen in the context of the time period and as a reflection of the attitudes of the time. The items are part of the historical record, and do not represent the views of the administrators of this site.