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When Southern Ladies Tried to Change "Dixie's" Words

Discussion in 'Post Civil War History, The Reconstruction Period' started by Pat Young, Jan 10, 2017.

  1. KansasFreestater

    KansasFreestater 1st Lieutenant

    Mar 14, 2014
    Due west of the Free State stronghold of Lawrence
    Not gibberish, IMO. Just a tragicomic storyline.
    Listen to my favorite recorded version of it, and maybe you'll change your opinion....

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  3. 7th Mississippi Infantry

    7th Mississippi Infantry Lt. Colonel Forum Host

    Sep 28, 2013
    The 2nd South Carolina String Band is one of my favorites:
  4. James B White

    James B White Captain Trivia Game Winner Honored Fallen Comrade

    Dec 4, 2011
    I agree. Makes sense to me.

    Old Missus marry Will de Weaber--Old mistress--the older mistress on the plantation--married Will the weaver, perhaps an itinerant weaver
    William was a gay deceiber--gay deceiver, a common phrase, meaning women shouldn't trust him
    When he put his arm around'er
    He smiled as fierce as a forty pounder
    --his smile was powerful enough, like the artillery, to force her to fall in love with him

    His face was sharp like a butcher's cleaver--He had a pointed face
    But that did not seem to grieb'her--but that did not grieve her, in other words, she didn't mind he was not too handsome
    Will run away, Missus took a decline O!--He ran away and she declined in her health
    Her face was de color ob bacon shine O!--Not sure of this; there's a shiny part of bacon that can have a bluish-green look in the right light, is that perhaps what they mean?

    When Missus libbed, she libbed in clover; --to live in clover is to live well
    When Missus died, she died all over.--it seems she literally died and this is a funny twist, because of course everyone dies all over
    How could she act such a foolish part O!--she was foolish to marry a man known for being a "gay deceiver"
    An' marry a man to break her heart O!--he ran off, which broke her heart

    Buckwheat cakes and stony batter--I've always heard this as "injun batter" meaning cornmeal batter; no idea about stony
    Makes you fat or a little fatter--here we're getting into some of the silly minstrel wordplay, but also praising the food at Dixie's Land
    Here's a health to the next old Missus--a health, like a toast, to the next person who will be old Missus, perhaps literally take over the plantation, or maybe just a toast to the foolishness of women in general who can't resist a type like Will
    And all de gals dat want to kiss us--a toast to the women who want to kiss us

    Now if you want to drive away sorrow
    Come and hear des song to-morrow
    --come and heard this song tomorrow
    Den hoe it down and scratch de grabble--I can't read the word but I've always heard it "hoe" meaning to hoe down the weeds and scratch the gravel(?). Anyone know what the last word means? Doesn't quite make sense in context, because the soil wouldn't be true gravel. Did gravel mean something else? The singer is saying you should get to work, or he will get to work, perhaps to earn money to travel to Dixie's Land
    To Dixie's Land I'm bound to trabble--bound to travel, or wanting to go there, or already planning to go there, and that reinforces that grabble has a "v" sound for the "b."

    All and all, it seems a fairly easy minstrel song to translate and makes a lot of sense, telling a story about the mistress getting abandoned by a weaver, interspersed with the singer wanting to return to Dixie's Land, presumably where Old Missus lived and where he could tell stories about happenings there.

    There are some minstrel songs--lawd a' mercy--they are almost impossible to figure out, or they simply don't have any logical meaning beyond a tall tale.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
  5. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

    Jan 7, 2013
    Long Island, NY
    There is likely no other national anthem even remotely like it.

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