Over the Mountains (2)

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OVER THE MOUNTAINS [2]. AKA - "I'm gwine ober de mountains." American, Reel (2/4 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. A song for the black-face minstrel stage composed in 1843 by entertainer Dan Emmett [1] (1815-1904), one of the original Virginia Minstrels, an early troupe. It was published in The Celebrated Negro Melodies, as sung by the Virginia Minstrels, published by Geo. P. Reed in Boston, 1843. Emmett's dialect lyric begins:

Dan Emmett

Away down in de Kentuck brake
De darkey lib, dey call him jake,
he pick upon de banmjo string,
Dis am de song dat he would sing.

Ree-ro my true lub,
O come along my darlin,
So fare you well, my Dinah gal,
I'm gwine ober de mountains.

Come my lub an go wid me,
I'm gwine away to Tennessee;
A hoss an cart dhall pull you roun',
Walk up hill an foot it down.

Several writers note the similarity of the language in the first line of the song, "Away down south in de Kentuck brake" with lines from Emmett's famous later song "Dixie" (1859), which includes the lines "Away down South in the land of cotton" and, in the chorus, "Away down south in Dixie". However, a number of phrases in Emmetts songs show similarities with one another, and would seem that the phrase represents a number of stock images that informed his songwriting. A often-repeated assertion that 'the first phrase of "I'm Gwine ober de Mountain" was probably modeled after "The Spinning Wheel", "an older English song"' is traced to Han's Nathan's book Dan Emmett and the Rise of Early Negro Minstrelsy (1962), although it is wanting further explanation. "Over the Mountain(s) (2)" was entered into the 1859 music manuscript copybook collection of American musician M.E. Eames.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Gumbo Chaff (The Complete Preceptor for the Banjo), 1851; p. 10.

Recorded sources: Car Tunes, Bob Carlin - "The Boys from North Carolina" (2003).

See also listing at:
Hear/see the tune played by Tim Twiss on fretless banjo on youtube.com [2]

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