My Pretty Yaller Gal
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MY PETTY YALLER GAL. American, Minstrel Air (2/4 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. The Complete Preceptor for the Banjo was a later edition of the earliest known banjo tutor, published in 1848. The volume was written by Boston music publisher Elias Howe, whose pseudonym Gumbo Chaff ("First Banjo Player to the King of Congo") was taken from entertainer Thomas Dartmouth Rice's 1834 blackface stage character. The 1851 edition of the tutor was published in Boston by Oliver Ditson, for, in 1850, Howe sold some of his works to Ditson (this one among them) and agreed not to publish similar works for ten years. "My Pretty Yaller Gal" was written and sung by Thomas Vaughn of Christy's Minstrels, and published on songsheets in 1847. The lyric begins:
O, white folks listen to dis song, dat I am gwine to sing,
Of a prettly little yaller gal, who danc'd de wiginping!
Her eyes were bright as de stars at night,
Her teeth were like de snow;
One pleasant night, wid heart so light,
To see her I did go.
For she was de prettiest yaller gal dat ever I did see,
She was de princess ob my heart,
And she was de gal for me.
Source for notated version:
Printed sources: Gumbo Chaff (The Complete Preceptor for the Banjo), 1851; p. 11.