My Little Dony

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MY LITTLE DONY. AKA - "Doney," "Dony," "Doney Gal," "Little Dony." AKA and see "Oh My Little Darling." Old-Time, Breakdown & Song Air. USA, Mississippi. A Major. AEae (perhaps GDGD) tuning (fiddle). AABB. Recorded in 1939 by Abbott Ferriss & Herbert Halpert for the Library of Congress, from the playing of Mississippi fiddler Charles Long, of Quitman, Clarke County, Mississippi. Long was by then an elderly man, nearly 70, and had lived much of his early life in Alabama, where he learned to fiddle. According to the liner notes for the Mississippi Dept. of Archives album, the tune belongs to the "Liza Jane (3)" family of tunes, but was recorded as "Oh My Little Darling" on the same 1939 collecting trip for the Library of Congress that Charles Long's version was recorded. The latter was sung and played on the banjo by Thaddeus Willingham of Gulfport Mississippi. The tune has the same fine phrase as "Goodbye Liza Jane (2)" as recorded by Georgia musician Fiddling John Carson, although Long's coarse phrase is different than the usual "Liza Jane" song air.

Eyes just like a cherry, cheeks just like a rose,
How I love my Dony, Got in Heaven knows.

Fair you well my Dony, Fair you well I say,
Fair you well my Dony, Come another day.

You can ride the old grey mare, I will ride the roan,
When you go a-courtin', Let my Dony alone.

Preacher in the pulpit, Bible in his hand,
Said he wouldn't preach no more, Till he got another dram.

Wish I had a band box, Put my Dony in,
Take her out and kiss her, Put her back again.

The word 'dony' or 'doney' is generally thought to have been a 19th century slang for a sweetheart or a woman, particularly in the frontier and southern United States, among both blacks and whites. It was associated with cockney and British circus slang, sometimes thought to be somewhat vulgar, although it derives from common Italian, Spanish or Portuguese terms for 'lady', as donna or doña. See also song versions called "Platonia, Pride of the Plains" (as recorded by Norman Blake).

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Silberberg (93 Fiddle Tunes I Didn't Learn at the Tractor Tavern), 2004; p. 32. See note at Bluegrass Messengers site [1]


Recorded sources: Mississippi Department of Archives and History AH-002, Charles Long - "Great Big Yam Potatoes: Anglo-American Fiddle Music from Mississippi" (1985. Reissue recording).

See also listing at:
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [2]




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