<abc float="left"> X:1 T:Black Sheep M:2/4 L:1/8 R:Sand Jig S:Ryan's Mammoth Collection (1883) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:D z/g/|f/d/e/c/ d(A/c/)|B/E/B/d/ c/A/ z/g/|f/d/e/c/ d(A/G/)|F/D/E/G/ F/<D/:| |:z/D/|DF A>c|B/E/B/d/ c/A/ z/g/|f/d/e/c/ d(A/G/)|F/D/E/G/ F/<D/:||
BLACK SHEEP. American, Dance Tune (2/4 time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. Composed by fiddler Dick Myers, whose stage name was "Ole Bull," after the famous Norwegian violin virtuoso who famously toured America in the mid-1800's. Edward Le Roy Rice, in his book Monarchs of Minstrelsy (New York, 1911), gives this entry:
"Ole Bull" Myers (J. Richard Myers) was one of the earliest and best violinists in minstrelsy. He entered
the profession in 1833, and was with numerous black-face companies, notably the Virginia Serenaders in 1843; this organization, a photograph of which will be found elsewhere, played an engagement at the Chatham Theatre, New York, January 24, 1844. "Ole Bull" Myers was born in Baltimore, Md., May 9,
1909; he died in Philapelphia, September 10, 1874. (pg. 23)
Billy Whitlock, an original member of the seminal Virginia Minstrels (Dan Emmett's group), recalled in his 1878 autobiography that he played his banjo with fiddler Dick Myers in Philadelphia in 1840, performing a show as a fiddle-banjo duo. It was this pairing that he remembered a few years later when he developed the first minstrel troupe (a four member group, with Emmett on the fiddle).
The tune is listed as a 'jig' in Ryan's Mammoth Collection (1883), referring not the 6/8 time Irish jig, but rather a type of syncopated duple-time American solo dance form, like the sand jig (so-called because the stage was sanded to facilitate brushing of the shoes).
Printed sources: Cole (1000 Fiddle Tunes), 1940; p. 79. Ryan's Mammoth Collection, 1883; p. 112.