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Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth

DigiTrad:
BLUE-TAIL FLY
JIM CRACK CORN


Related threads:
Help: Jimmy Crack Corn (42)
(origins) Origin: Jimmy Crack Corn and I Don't Care (32)
Which fly was Lincoln's 'Buzzing song'? (13)
Origins: Blue Tail Fly (Jimmy Crack Corn) (42)
What was Jimmie doing? (48)
cracking more corn (5)
Lyr Req: Blue Tail Fly/Jimmy Crack Corn (16)
Thoughts on 'The Blue-tail Fly' (31)


Charlie2 08 Sep 00 - 04:54 PM
catspaw49 08 Sep 00 - 04:59 PM
RWilhelm 08 Sep 00 - 05:02 PM
SINSULL 08 Sep 00 - 05:07 PM
catspaw49 08 Sep 00 - 06:15 PM
SINSULL 08 Sep 00 - 06:19 PM
GUEST,ami_iss@netvision.net.il 23 Jan 03 - 07:34 PM
Cluin 23 Jan 03 - 07:40 PM
Cluin 23 Jan 03 - 07:44 PM
GUEST,Q 23 Jan 03 - 08:43 PM
GUEST,Q 23 Jan 03 - 09:12 PM
Richie 23 Jan 03 - 09:20 PM
GUEST,Q 23 Jan 03 - 09:28 PM
Coyote Breath 24 Jan 03 - 01:26 AM
Richie 24 Jan 03 - 06:20 AM
Bugsy 24 Jan 03 - 07:19 AM
Richie 24 Jan 03 - 09:40 AM
GUEST,Q 24 Jan 03 - 02:42 PM
Richie 24 Jan 03 - 10:15 PM
GUEST,Q 24 Jan 03 - 10:25 PM
Fiolar 25 Jan 03 - 05:48 AM
GUEST,Q 25 Jan 03 - 04:26 PM
GUEST,jlbaker@qx.net 02 Feb 03 - 07:48 PM
Mark Clark 04 Mar 03 - 03:42 PM
CRANKY YANKEE 04 Mar 03 - 07:12 PM
GUEST,NP 31 May 03 - 05:31 PM
GUEST,Elfmonkey 02 Nov 03 - 05:24 PM
SussexCarole 02 Nov 03 - 06:19 PM
Joybell 03 Nov 03 - 08:15 AM
Joybell 03 Nov 03 - 04:30 PM
Q 03 Nov 03 - 05:01 PM
Joybell 03 Nov 03 - 05:14 PM
Joybell 03 Nov 03 - 06:37 PM
Q 03 Nov 03 - 06:43 PM
Joybell 03 Nov 03 - 07:14 PM
Q 03 Nov 03 - 07:31 PM
Joybell 03 Nov 03 - 08:02 PM
GUEST,the old pooperoo 03 Nov 03 - 08:08 PM
LadyJean 04 Nov 03 - 12:55 AM
Joybell 04 Nov 03 - 05:12 AM
catspaw49 04 Nov 03 - 08:46 AM
Snuffy 04 Nov 03 - 09:01 AM
catspaw49 04 Nov 03 - 09:40 AM
Amos 04 Nov 03 - 11:57 AM
GUEST,Hillbilly Joe 04 Nov 03 - 03:10 PM
Joybell 04 Nov 03 - 04:48 PM
Q 04 Nov 03 - 06:49 PM
Joybell 05 Nov 03 - 04:46 PM
GUEST,petr 05 Nov 03 - 05:00 PM
Q 05 Nov 03 - 05:26 PM
Reiver 2 05 Nov 03 - 05:59 PM
Joybell 05 Nov 03 - 06:22 PM
Q 05 Nov 03 - 11:30 PM
Q 05 Nov 03 - 11:31 PM
Joybell 06 Nov 03 - 04:42 PM
GUEST,shukingcorn 18 Dec 03 - 08:47 PM
GUEST,MudDawg 19 Dec 03 - 02:46 PM
PoppaGator 19 Dec 03 - 05:07 PM
GUEST,The Man 05 Jan 04 - 11:38 PM
GUEST,johnfitz.com 06 Jan 04 - 12:13 AM
GUEST,johnfitz.com 06 Jan 04 - 01:04 AM
Q 06 Jan 04 - 01:29 AM
GUEST,The Man 07 Jan 04 - 04:03 PM
GUEST 25 Oct 06 - 05:21 AM
catspaw49 25 Oct 06 - 06:42 AM
GUEST,Not a stupid person 03 Dec 06 - 06:14 PM
Cluin 03 Dec 06 - 06:20 PM
Q 03 Dec 06 - 07:10 PM
Bill D 03 Dec 06 - 07:35 PM
Azizi 03 Dec 06 - 07:43 PM
GUEST,Q35 08 Dec 06 - 04:12 PM
Q 08 Dec 06 - 04:40 PM
GUEST,Caleb 28 Feb 07 - 01:33 PM
GUEST,whit 18 Apr 07 - 07:24 PM
Q 18 Apr 07 - 07:35 PM
SharonA 18 Apr 07 - 08:40 PM
GUEST,Jan-Lynn 09 Nov 07 - 09:22 PM
catspaw49 09 Nov 07 - 09:34 PM
Q 10 Nov 07 - 02:17 PM
Azizi 11 Nov 07 - 01:19 AM
Q 11 Nov 07 - 02:26 PM
Q 11 Nov 07 - 02:51 PM
Azizi 11 Nov 07 - 03:08 PM
Q 11 Nov 07 - 05:06 PM
GUEST 25 May 08 - 04:14 PM
GUEST,Lil' Jake 31 May 08 - 03:03 PM
meself 31 May 08 - 04:17 PM
Q 31 May 08 - 10:18 PM
Joybell 04 Sep 08 - 11:02 PM
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Subject: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Charlie2
Date: 08 Sep 00 - 04:54 PM

As a child I listened to this song with wonder. As an adult I've been singing it in my shows for years. So what do you guys think? Is he Real or just a legend??
Related threads:-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: catspaw49
Date: 08 Sep 00 - 04:59 PM

Personally I wonder how many threads we're going to run on this? This must be about 7 or 8 and it ain't all that great a song!(:<))

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: RWilhelm
Date: 08 Sep 00 - 05:02 PM

I don't care


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: SINSULL
Date: 08 Sep 00 - 05:07 PM

Charlie,
This is the first thread I have seen on it. Ignore Spaw. He has a busier than usual weekend at the funnyfarm coming up and he's bitter because no one will empty bedpans. I thought Jimmy was just a nonsense refrain but now I will have to check the previous threads to be sure. I have NOTHING planned this weekend.
Mary (smiling)


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: catspaw49
Date: 08 Sep 00 - 06:15 PM

There are now 4 previous threads with links that have been refreshed for your perusal. Enjoy Sins!!!

Spaw


Hi, Spaw. I deleted all the refresh messages and put links in the first message of each thread instead. That way, I'm hoping that any new discussion will be confined to one thread, instead of split. Your refresh messages helped me find everything. Thanks.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: SINSULL
Date: 08 Sep 00 - 06:19 PM

Bless you Spaw. Give the boys a hug for me.


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: GUEST,ami_iss@netvision.net.il
Date: 23 Jan 03 - 07:34 PM

If anyone is still interested - I believe the original lyrics were
"Gimme Crack Corn" - which can be seen on some song titles and listings of 50 years ago.
"Give me Crack Corn and I don't care" was a refrain that apparently meant "I am so unhappy I don't care what I eat" (cracked corn was chicken feed, I suspect).


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Cluin
Date: 23 Jan 03 - 07:40 PM

"Jimmy crack corn and I don't care"

Well, that's a hell of an attitude, eh?

                            Dennis Miller


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Cluin
Date: 23 Jan 03 - 07:44 PM

Guest, ami iss@yabbadabbaflibiteejibbit, I don't think the singer would have been unhappy. His master was "gone away" and he wouldn't have to follow him around on foot and brush the flies off his honky ass any more.


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 23 Jan 03 - 08:43 PM

The title on the 1846 sheet music was "Jim Crack Corn or The Blue Tail Fly. Sheet music in the Levy Collection. See threads at top for explanations.


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 23 Jan 03 - 09:12 PM

Originals are lacking from the DT. One is a children's version and the other is from a 1960s group with the "gimme" chorus.

I have a rotary corn "sheller" which is supposed to shell dry corn but in part cracks the kernels as well- don't know if it is set right or not- Always assumed that this was what Jim was doing, cracking corn, but on a bigger scale. Picked it up at a farm sale years ago. One of those treasures, but my wife says "why the Hell...."


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Richie
Date: 23 Jan 03 - 09:20 PM

I thought "Jimmy Crack Corn" was slang for "gimme cracked corn" or corn liquor.

"Gimme crack corn and I don't care"

-Richie


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 23 Jan 03 - 09:28 PM

Gimmie and Jimmy lacking from original versions. Addressed as Jim rather than the informal Jimmie, he would have said "Please pass the demijohn of distillate manufactured under lunar conditions."


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Coyote Breath
Date: 24 Jan 03 - 01:26 AM

Listen to the version on Mike Seeger's CD Southern Banjo Sounds. No massa but a "shitepoke". Strange indeed are the turnings of life.

CB


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Richie
Date: 24 Jan 03 - 06:20 AM

Guest Q,

Originally I guess it was "Gim crack corn" short for "Gimme". Stay away from the demijohn which has also been (heard) printed a number of different ways.

I thought this was common knowledge that Jim (Jimmy)Crack Corn was a mishearing of "Gimme Crack Corn" but I can't remember where I learned this.

-Richie


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Bugsy
Date: 24 Jan 03 - 07:19 AM

But if Jimmy Cracked Corn and nobody cared, why did they write a song about it???


CHeers


Bugsy


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Richie
Date: 24 Jan 03 - 09:40 AM

I know of at least one group and I've also seen printed lyrics that sing, "Hot Corn, Cold Corn bring along a Jimmy John (instead of demijohn)." This is of couse a different song.

It certainly seems reasonable that Emmett misheard the chorus, which he probably got from African-American sources and instead wrote:

CHORUS: Jim crack corn I don't care,
Jim crack corn I don't care,
Jim crack corn I don't care,
Old Massa gone away.

Gimme cracked corn certainly makes sense. Bring out the jug 'cause Massa gone.

-Richie


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 24 Jan 03 - 02:42 PM

Richie, cracking corn was a normal part of farm life in those days. Emmett should have been aware of it.

But that brings up a question. Where did the phrase "Cracking corn" for telling jokes or tall tales come from? Can't find anything in my slang books. I heard that in Illinois-Indiana when I was living there in the 1950s.
Did that usage go back to Emmett's time?


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Richie
Date: 24 Jan 03 - 10:15 PM

Here's another take from the net: The Civil War song, Jimmy Cracked Corn, was one of Abe Lincoln's favorite songs! However, in the song, Jimmy wasn't really cracking corn. He was sleeping, and "cracking corn" was another term for snoring.

Corny jokes for you Q:

Q: Why did the corn stalk get mad at the farmer?
A: Because he kept pulling its ears!

Q: What's a corn farmer's favorite breed of dog?
A: A Husk-y!

Q: Why shouldn't you tell secrets on a farm?
A: Because the corn has ears, the potatoes have eyes, and the beanstalk.

Here's the Site: Click here

-Richie


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 24 Jan 03 - 10:25 PM

And beware rape! (Canola in PC)


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Fiolar
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 05:48 AM

According to "The Cassel Dictionary of Slang" "Crack-Corn" referred to White People and originally meant the White natives of Kentucky. It was apparently a variation of "corncracker" which meant a poor white farmer and was apparently applied to the natives of Florida, Georgia, Kentucky or Tennessee possibly because of their dependance on corn or maize. Corn in the British Isles refers to wheat, oats or barley as distinct from the American meaning.


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 04:26 PM

"I should explain to your Lordship what is meant by crackers; a name they have got from being great boasters; they are a lawless bunch of rascals on the frontiers of Virginia, Maryland, the Carolinas and Georgia, who often change their places of abode. G. Cochrane, 1766, in "Letters," 27 June. OED

The term comes from the Scottish-northern English word crack (crake), meaning boasting, which has been used in that sense from 1460 in print. See OED, 1971 and later eds.

Georgia apparntly was first called the Cracker State in print in 1808, in "Balance," Verses by a Cracker Planter.


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: GUEST,jlbaker@qx.net
Date: 02 Feb 03 - 07:48 PM

Would anyone like to guess that the old master has gone to his just
rests with or without the aid of the fly smacker which caused the
poor horse a fright when he got a sound whacker along with the blue tail fly bite whihc in most tender of spots did light..At the wake
the help could lament with a little of the corn in the jug which old
marse sure loved to lug taking a mite here and there for ease of his lil or big ailments...cept for that old gout which damn right plumb wore him out so he sure could curse and shout even when there were them fine ladies about.Now ofcourse,he is in the grave so here now
be sure a sip for me you save....


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Mark Clark
Date: 04 Mar 03 - 03:42 PM

I really like Fiolar's reference to “corncracker.” One could imagine it giving rise to the modern pejorative “cracker” for white people.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: CRANKY YANKEE
Date: 04 Mar 03 - 07:12 PM

I always thought that it was, "Jimcrack o' corn and I don't care" "Jimcrack" is ameasure of whiskey, A Jimcrack of corn (whiskey)
I have been led to understand that it was the telling of a (justied, in my mind) homicide. A slave killing his master (hooray) and getting away with it by blaming the "Blue Tailed Fly"


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: GUEST,NP
Date: 31 May 03 - 05:31 PM

No, guys, the word 'gimcrack' is American slang that means something gaudy but of little value. 'Gimcrack' corn is just bad crop, because ole massa is not there to supervise the slaves anymore.


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: GUEST,Elfmonkey
Date: 02 Nov 03 - 05:24 PM

I always thought that Jimmy was a corrution of gimme. SO, it would be give me cracked corn... I wouldn't know though, I wasn't around in the 1800's


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: SussexCarole
Date: 02 Nov 03 - 06:19 PM

Sang Jimmy Crack Corn while trying my hand at cracking corn at Mount Vernon on USA visit. I hadn't realised what the expression meant before then!


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Joybell
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 08:15 AM

As I mentioned in another thread about this song - I was taught, by my father (1897-1955) that "Jimmy crack corn" was about the crow - called Jimmy/Jim/ Crow - cracking open corn to eat. He told me that Jim or Jimmy was the name given to the crow as Bossy was the name for the cow etc.
I have wondered if the chorus of "Jimmy Crack Corn" was taken from a crow-scaring song from the British Isles. It is very similiar to other songs of that type. Children were given the job of crow-scaring up until the early part of the 20th century and some of their songs have been collected. These children would not care, of course, if birds cracked and ate the corn when the master was away.
Gimme and Jimmy sound very different even to me and according to my partner (graduate student of linguistics) - in the Germanic languages the voiced palatal stop [g] is not known to become an affricate [j] before a front vowel. The supposed transition of gimme to Jimmy is unsupported by any evidence.


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Joybell
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 04:30 PM

A little more admitedly unsupported evidence for the crow-scaring song theory.
I've just returned from a folk festival in the Central Victorian (Aus) town where my family have been since the 1840s. The tunes still played by the older musicians are the songs made popular by the American and British minstrels back in the 19th century. It was here that my father learned "Jimmy Crack Corn" well before any of the discussions, mentioned above, about the word "Gimme". We kids, in Australia, growing up in the 1940s never questioned the phrase "Jimmy crack corn and I don't care" we understood that it was about birds cracking and eating corn. One of the versions of this song - (one of the above threads) is in fact all about birds in the cornfield.


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Q
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 05:01 PM

Carole of Sussex has one of the two most likely explanations. Cracking corn was one of those onerous tasks on any farm where corn was raised or used.

The other is the old meaning of talk or idle discussion, and may be from the word craik, crake, craic- to boast or brag, or engage in idle talk. The word is Old English, but has survived in Scotland and Ireland (there is a thread on this). It may survive as "crack wise," formerly (locally still?) used in the States.

Crake, imitative of the grating sound of some black birds, is used for the call of rails, crows, etc. Old Norse Kraka is a crow or raven.


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Joybell
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 05:14 PM

Q, Then is the bird referred to as a "Corncrake" a corn-cracker? Is that where its name comes from?
"Said the corncrake to the crow,
Down to the cornfild let us go...."
Does this add weight to the idea that this song is about birds cracking corn?


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Joybell
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 06:37 PM

Just did my homework. Seems a corncrake is a type of rail. The name is thought to come from its call and the fact that it lives among tall grasses including crop grasses. It doesn't "crack" corn. It still seems to me that the songwriter was playing around with the words "crack" and "corn" and singing about birds in cornfields.


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Q
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 06:43 PM

Corncrake, Prex pratensis, a summer bird in the British Isles ate what is called corn there- wheat, rye, barley, etc. Not the maize of America, which is corn in the USA.
The "crack" comes from the sound it makes. The corncrake is a Eurasian bird, not American.


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Joybell
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 07:14 PM

That's ok though Q, If the chorus of "Jimmy Crack Corn" began as a British crow-scaring song, as I am proposing, then the corncrake and the crow, (and also the sheldrick/shellduck and the crane) all fit quite comfortably there together. Here in Australia, incidently we knew that the word "corn" didn't refer to just the American variety. British songs about John Barleycorn and the like were as popular as the American minstrel songs.


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Q
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 07:31 PM

I think that any idea that Jim Crack Corn began as a crow-scaring song is nonsense.


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Joybell
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 08:02 PM

Well that's telling me isn't it! No more Mr Nice Guy then? Please note though, Q that I have always been quite open about my sources of information. I have always made it quite clear that my idea is a hunch. I also wish to note again that it is the CHORUS of this song that seems to fit best with my idea.


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: GUEST,the old pooperoo
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 08:08 PM

so Q THINKS that Joybell's idea is a lot of nonsense! and this from the correspondent who attacked the rest of us for saying I THINK! (see thread on degradation of language). Well, if my porous old memory serves me right, Joybell presented her ideas as a hypothesis, and supplied her very good reasons for doing so. if correspondent Q has reasons for thinking otherwise, we breathlessly await them.


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: LadyJean
Date: 04 Nov 03 - 12:55 AM

I believe I posted in another thread, a quote from a southern girl during the civil war, who wrote; "My only good dress is like Jim Crack Corn's coat, 'made from mammy's old one'. Little diary, I fear you know nothing of Mother Goose". Apparently, he was a character in a nursery rhyme.


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Joybell
Date: 04 Nov 03 - 05:12 AM

Lady Jean, What a wonderful quote. Even if all of our little pieces of information don't end up leading us anywhere, it's the journey that is so interesting, I believe.


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: catspaw49
Date: 04 Nov 03 - 08:46 AM

Yeah, unless the journey ends in "Never-Never Land."

Considering the southern roots and slave terminology used in this song and discussed at length by many of us in other threads, I gotta' believe that the idea that this song has anything to do with scaring birds is completely beyond comprehension (read: "fucked up").

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Snuffy
Date: 04 Nov 03 - 09:01 AM

The plantation origins of the song as a whole are clear enough, Spaw.

But Joybell is saying maybe the chorus was taken from an older bird-scaring song which may have crossed the Atlantic at some time in the past.


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: catspaw49
Date: 04 Nov 03 - 09:40 AM

Okay Snuff, I'll buy that......sorta'.........Put a temporary hold on the "fucked up".......

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Amos
Date: 04 Nov 03 - 11:57 AM

Whyncha just put it back where you got it, Spaw??

A


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: GUEST,Hillbilly Joe
Date: 04 Nov 03 - 03:10 PM

I'm not sure we're not talking about two different songs (i.e., Jimmy Crack Corn & Blue Tail Fly) that, since they share the same, or similar tune have been confused by cross-over versing. My grandfather, who was born (1885)and raised on the mainland behind Pawley's Island, South Carolina, sang 'Jimmy Crack Corn' at every family gathering through the 1950's. The version he sang was very similar to Ruth C. Seeger's animal version. He said he learned the song from the local 'Darkies' when he was a kid. He must have known twenty or so verses and never included any of the Blue Tail Fly verses. Of the ones he use to sing, I only remember the following two:

Down in the foul house, on my knees
A'listenin' to those poulets sneese
Duck chaw tobacco and the goose drink wine
Tha Turkey danced a jig on tha sweet potato vine

(coda)

So said the bull frog to the crane
I wish that the Lord would send some rain
The creek's all muddy and the ponds all dry
If it wasn't for the tadpools, we'd all die

(coda)

Other that saying where he learned, he never speculated on it's origins.


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Joybell
Date: 04 Nov 03 - 04:48 PM

Thank you all for the interest and the input. Hillbilly Joe yes my husband was born and raised in the Midwest and he recalls many verses, some of them bawdy, for this song. There is no doubt that we are talking about several songs here, but as Amos pointed out and as I have several times, it's the chorus that they share that I am wondering about here. I should also note that the job of crow-scaring was also well-known in rural America up until the 20th Century. Also these songs had, by the 19th Century, become known as "nursery rhymes" after they were collected by Halliwell. There is nothing exclusivly Southern about the language of the chorus. British crow-scaring songs have lines about "Master" as do many other British songs. Some talk about birds being allowed to have some corn - until Master comes around.
I also wish to note that I personally have a deep love of old songs that have been developed and changed in the American South and for hundreds of old songs born in America. Something very special happened there. I am just interested in threads and connections and patterns in old songs and in singing the songs. I don't dispute that this song, whatever its roots, now sounds and feels American.


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Q
Date: 04 Nov 03 - 06:49 PM

This has been gone over before, but some people like to travel in circles. It is reminiscent of all of the nonsense written about "Ring Around the Rosie." I won't go as far as Spaw, but he ain't far off.

Hillbilly Joe, the line about a chicken sneezing is in Talley. The second verse is printed in almost exactly that form in Thomas Talley (Negro Folk Rhymes), but from the song "Sheep Shell Corn." A couple of verses:

De ram blow de horn an' de sheep shell co'n,
An' he sen' it to de mill by de buck-eyed Whippoorwill.
Ole Joe's dead an' gone but his Hant blows de horn,
An' his hound howls still from de top o' dat hill.


De fish-hawk said unto Mistah Crane,
I wishes to de Lawd dat you'd sen' a little rain,
Fer de water's all muddy, an' de creek's gone dry:
If it 'twasn't fer de tadpoles we'd all die.

The only difference is that a fish-hawk is substituted for the frog. There are many of these animal rhymes; they were the basis of some of the stories by Joel Chandler Harris (thanks to him some were preserved that otherwise would have been lost) and were substituted in several different songs. However, every attempt shoud be made to preserve the variants.

Crow-scaring songs. Malcolm Douglas came up with the only one so far, date uncertain beyond the 19th c. Caddow, cadow was in use in the 19th c. and may survive locally.

Both the UK song "Blue Tail Fly" and the American one have been posted, There is no similarity other than the title.

Blue Tail Fly and Jim Crack Corn were used in minstrel shows as separate songs, and also were united by the performers. Both seem to have originated about the same time. Separate and joined versions have been posted.
There is speculation as to whether the minstrel or the plantation or Negro versions of these songs were first. Only anecdotal evidence of their existence before the minstrels has been advanced. There is lots of "I think" but some proof is needed.


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Joybell
Date: 05 Nov 03 - 04:46 PM

Q According to Opie, "Numeruous scaring songs are known" (I'm sorry if this is too inexact for you but I use their words.) I began a thread about them to separate all this a bit. I'll post the other ones that they have there. I don't have access to Halliwell's book of Nursery Rhymes which contains a number of crow-scaring songs. As soon as I can get to a library I'll post them on the relevant thread for anyone who's interested. My original intention in proposing my idea was to seek information not to point score.


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: GUEST,petr
Date: 05 Nov 03 - 05:00 PM

I was under the impression it was a Burl Ives song.
not sure where I heard that.


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Q
Date: 05 Nov 03 - 05:26 PM

The American crow scaring song was the rattle of pellets from a shotgun blast.


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Reiver 2
Date: 05 Nov 03 - 05:59 PM

I learned this song back in the 1950's in WI, from the singing of Burl Ives who said his was a "folk version of the Dan Emmett minstrel song." I knew it as "Blue Tail Fly" and never heard it called "Jim/Jimmy/Gimmie Crack Corn". I always thought the reference was to "corn whiskey" as the line closely followed "pass the bottle when he got dry." But that was nothing more than an assumption on my part.

It is the final song in "The Viking Book of Folk Ballads of the English Speaking World", edited by Albert B. Friedman who is reffered to as "an expert in the field of folk lore." (For whatever that is worth.) It says it has been published in England, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the U.S. In the book it's classed with a group of songs under the heading "Humor."

The Notes that accompany it say: "White audiences first heard Negro songs from the blackface minstrel troups, which from the 1830s on were a staple music-hall attraction in England as well as in America, and in the North even more than in the South. Very little in the minstrel repertory was genuine. Much of it, in fact, was deliberate pro-slavery propaganda, for the picture that Dan Emmett, 'Jim Crow' Rice, 'Pickaninny' Coleman and Christie's strutters gave of the Negro -- indolent, ignorant, slyly thieving, disloyal, bestial, inanely joyful and boisterous -- was calculated to show that the race was happy in its present state and unworthy of a better. One of the few minstrel pieces to survive in tradition, 'The Blue-Tail Fly" describes the surpressed glee of a little Negro pageboy when his master is thrown from his horse and killed. Curiously, the text recorded by Miss Scarborough in Texas in 1920 ('On the Trail of Negro Folk Songs', p.202) adheres almost word for word to the 'Ethiopian Glee Book' version printed in Boston in 1848." With those comments about the intent of Dan Emmett and his ilk, I don't think the song should be listed in a section on "Humor!"

Personally, I wouldn't be surprised if some of the words of the chorus go back to a children's crow scaring song. Incidently, crow scaring songs were not only an English tradition. I have a Hopi Indian friend who says that around the Hopi plots of corn, beans and squash, prior to the arrival of the Europeans, the job of the children was to stay by the field and scare off small critters like rabbits and also birds including crows and ravens. A small brush shelter would be erected at the edge of each small plot so that the children would have a bit of shade while performing their very important role. My friend said that the kids would collect pebbles to throw at the varmints, but would also shout, wave their arms and sing!

Reiver 2


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Joybell
Date: 05 Nov 03 - 06:22 PM

Thank you Reiver2 for getting us out of the silly loop. My interest in this song was stimulated by the Friedman book. When I found the refereces to crow-scaring songs in "The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes I had a hunch - that's all - a hunch. I put up my idea here for discussion. I'm amazed by some of the responses. I'm very interested in your story from your Hopi friend. Thank you. Joy


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Q
Date: 05 Nov 03 - 11:30 PM

Nince Nov. 3, the bent of this column has been to suggest that somehow "Jim Crack Corn" and its companion, "Blue Tail Fly" is somehow related to crow-scaring songs of the British Isles.
There is no such evidence. As Catspaw says, "beyond comprehension."

I am quite aware of the ways in which peoples try to control pests and keep them away from the garden. Among the American Indians they vary from making piles of old cracked corn, squash seeds past their prime and other waste well away from the planted fields to, as the woodland tribes of the northeast did, erecting watcher shelters in the garden, from which women and girls ran out and made noises to scare the marauders, to using scarecrows (ineffective) as well as the method described by Reiver2, to placing pepper and dry mustard over the planted spots. I have seen the shotgun put to good use among the central pueblos along the Rio Grande, in the area in which I was raised. Birds are a problem with seed planting and very young seedlings and when the grain is ripening, but rodents and insects are a greater hazard, throughout the growing season.

None of this has anything to do with "Jim Crack Corn."


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Q
Date: 05 Nov 03 - 11:31 PM

Nince?


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Joybell
Date: 06 Nov 03 - 04:42 PM

Pardon me for daring to put up an idea for discussion.


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: GUEST,shukingcorn
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 08:47 PM

Sounds like Spaw is a old tea bag that refuses to think things could be different outside his cozy little box of understanding.


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: GUEST,MudDawg
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 02:46 PM

If Jimmy cracked corn and nobody cared, WHY THE F**K WRITE A SONG ABOUT IT??????????????


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: PoppaGator
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 05:07 PM

Because someone *should* have cared -- right?


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: GUEST,The Man
Date: 05 Jan 04 - 11:38 PM

I have given this a lot of thought and have decided that I really don't give a shit if Jimmy cracked corn as long as he does it in the privacy of his own bedroom.


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: GUEST,johnfitz.com
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 12:13 AM

I've sung this song for years, and I like it. I wish it had its roots in something other than minstrel music (I suspect, naively, that it did) When I was in High School I used to pick corn on a a farm owned by an old Italian family. We'd go out at four in the morning before the heat ans start to picking corn. The old man always called it "cracking corn" as a ripe ear made a distinctive "crack" when picked off the stalk. Because of this I always assumed (I could be, and probably am, completely wrong) that Jimmy was stealing corn and nobody cared as the manslaughtered master was not around anymore. I hate to think I'll have to reinvent another myth to perpetuate


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: GUEST,johnfitz.com
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 01:04 AM

I've sung this song for years, and I like it. I wish it had its roots in something other than minstrel music (I suspect, naively, that it did) When I was in High School I used to pick corn on a a farm owned by an old Italian family. We'd go out at four in the morning before the heat ans start to picking corn. The old man always called it "cracking corn" as a ripe ear made a distinctive "crack" when picked off the stalk. Because of this I always assumed (I could be, and probably am, completely wrong) that Jimmy was stealing corn and nobody cared as the manslaughtered master was not around anymore. I hate to think I'll have to reinvent another myth to perpetuate


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Q
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 01:29 AM

Johnfitz, there are many ways to use the word "crack," some probably not yet in dictionaries. Your definition of "crack," having to do with gathering corn (like the explanation I prefer, cracking dried corn for use) seems to me to have more validity than those that are based on drinking corn liquor.
However, we shall never be sure. Richie has suggested snoring (see way up above); telling stories and jokes ("cracking corn") is another possibility. Or was it just a noise to add jest to a minstrel routine?   
You may as well stick with your interpretation.


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: GUEST,The Man
Date: 07 Jan 04 - 04:03 PM

Are you people really serious about this shit??!! Don't you have a life or something else to do like take a nap?? Damn that Jimmy for cracking corn!!


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Oct 06 - 05:21 AM

Just as the tide was flowing
the version I have by Shirley Collins includes the verse

A sailor's wife at home must bide
she halted, heavily she sighed

then a line a can't decipher

just as the tide was a flowing

can anyone help with that missing line?
thanks Nicola


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: catspaw49
Date: 25 Oct 06 - 06:42 AM

Not the place to post Nicola......If you're looking for lyrics it is best to do a search and/or start a new thread as its more likely to get results. As it were though I am too tired to bother so here's what I think you may be looking for.....If not, start a new thread:

Just As The Tide Was A Flowing
Music: Traditional; Lyric: Arranged by 10,000 Maniacs (Album: the Wishing Chair)

on one morning
in the month of May
when all the birds
were singing

I saw a lovely maiden stray
across the fields at break of day
she softly sung her roundelay

the tide flows in
the tide flows out
twice everyday returning

her cheeks were red
her eyes were brown
her hair in ringlets hanging down
upon her face to hide the frown

just as the tide was flowing

the tide flows in
the tide flows out
twice everyday returning

a sailor's wife at home must bide
she halted heavily she sighed
"he parted from poor me, a bride
I'm widowed by the sea" she cried


just as the tide was flowing

the tide flows in
the tide flows out
twice everyday returning


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Subject: RE: Jimmy CrackED Corn - Man or Myth
From: GUEST,Not a stupid person
Date: 03 Dec 06 - 06:14 PM

The word is CRACKED, as in past tense.. it's not like the guy's name, "Jimmy Crack"..


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Cluin
Date: 03 Dec 06 - 06:20 PM

I don't care.


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Q
Date: 03 Dec 06 - 07:10 PM

Need a time traveler to go back some 150 years and rewrite the song.
Guest may not be stupid but he is cracked.


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Bill D
Date: 03 Dec 06 - 07:35 PM

oughta cover his mouth with duck tape....


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Azizi
Date: 03 Dec 06 - 07:43 PM

Some folks might think your jokes are corny, but they really crack me up.


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: GUEST,Q35
Date: 08 Dec 06 - 04:12 PM

"Gimme cracked corn" refers to a less desireable form of food
or to corn liquor--take your choice--both of which were given to
the enslaved population in The South. "Jimmy crack corn" is a case
of phonetic similarity which probably will never "go away."


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Q
Date: 08 Dec 06 - 04:40 PM

Guest Q35 refers to crack(ed) corn, which was used by slaves and the extreme poor, and is still fed to livestock in some areas. It seems to be unknown to most people now, and only corn liquor comes to mind.
Mentioned above (or in another of these threads), but no one took it up.


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: GUEST,Caleb
Date: 28 Feb 07 - 01:33 PM

I have read all of your threads. It seems to me we all can get hung up on the various meanings of the word "corn" and wether to use "Gimme or Jimmy". May I suggest we all agree on the spirit of the song's verses being the most important thing? The Chorus is catchy and any of the proposed understandings of it compliment the verses.


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: GUEST,whit
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 07:24 PM

Can't believe Cingular stopped using the song because of complaints. Now, who was it...Jimmy's folks or massa's? LOL


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Q
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 07:35 PM

Who is Cingular?


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: SharonA
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 08:40 PM

A cell phone company in the US. I guess that "GUEST, whit" was referring to the company's ring-tone selection.


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: GUEST,Jan-Lynn
Date: 09 Nov 07 - 09:22 PM

I've heard many versions of "Jimmy Crack Corn" and blue fly and other songs from my childhood. It facinates me because over the years the songs and stories always change. I enjoy telling people where the song " Ring around the rosie" came from. Children sing it while holding hands and dancing in a circle and "sit down" at the end while laughing. They don't don't know what a "Rosie" is anymore than we do. The song originates from the Black Plague times. It basically is "Rings and rings of roses" ( the skin looked like roses when infected) "Pockets full of posies" ( It was common to bury people with posies in ther pockets ) "Ashes, ashes, we all fall DOWN." They burned the bodies of the dead, of course. What a lovely childhood song to teach! Yea, right. Blue Fly and Jimmy have a history of their own also. I wouldn't want to forget the origin, but it will change as years go by. It's the nature of humankind.


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: catspaw49
Date: 09 Nov 07 - 09:34 PM

Well Jan-Lynn......I kinda' hate to bust your bubble there but that story is complete accumpucky (horse shit).   Yeah, I know, you're positive and all but it just isn't so. I used to believe it too but you can find lots of sources debunking that very popular myth. Search the net and you'll find them easily but for a start let me link you to Snopes, one of the best and most respected urban legend sites available. Sorry......but it just ain't true.

Snopes....Debunker of Myths and Urban Legends

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Q
Date: 10 Nov 07 - 02:17 PM

That bullshit about the plague did not append itself to the little children's singing game until the 20th c.
See the several threads on this rhyme here at Mudcat. There are many versions:
A ring, a ring o' roses,
A pocket-full of posies;
One for Jack and one for Jim
And one for little Moses!
A curchey in, and a curchey out,
And a curchey all together.
Shropshire, 1883, from Opie and Opie, "The Singing Game."

Naow fer land's sakes, don't suggest that the Jim in the verse is Jimmie of crack corn fame, and that the rhyme is descended from an old West African chant that has to do with preparing maidens for deflowering.

Gira, gira, rosa,
Co la piu bela in mezo; and etc.


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Azizi
Date: 11 Nov 07 - 01:19 AM

A West African chant, you say?

Hmm.

Well why not suggest that West African chant as the origin for
"Ring Around The Rosie"?

It's as good a suggestion as the plague one that keeps on being offerred as fact. Black Britons, those who had been enslaved or freed or born free prior to whenever Great Britain emancipated African slaves seem to have disappeared, melted into the population, and/or mixed into the population without any traces and without any mention whatsoever of any contribution to British vocal or musical traditions or any other traditions. What's up with that?

I contend that those Black Britons must have had some influence upon early British song and instrumental music traditions, and other folk customs as well. Maybe the tune and words of the "Ring Around The Rosie" song did come from them or from their African ancestors.

And maybe not.

[This is partly snark, but not wholey.]


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Q
Date: 11 Nov 07 - 02:26 PM

snark!?! A damn good word, my grandmother used to chide me with that some 60 or so years ago. I was tempted to look it up- with this meaning it is first found in print in "Railway Children," 1906, but there are other references close to that date.

"Ring around..." appears on the European continent in the 19th c, and in UK as well but perhaps a little later than its European cousins.
In Opie and Opie, "The Singing Game," the many fall down or fall apart games form a group; it may be a barrel full of water splitting (Holland), fruit falling (Europe in general), sitting down to eat potatoes (Spain), dancing around a punch bowl (England), and perhaps the earliest found (1796), from Germany- about three children sitting in an elder bush crying Musch, musch, musch! Sit you down (Rufen alle: musch, musch, musch! Setz euch nieder!). This appeared in England as Hark! they all cry Hush! hush! hush!, Sitty down, sit down.

No reason why there wouldn't be something similar in Africa, Asia, pre-European America.


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Q
Date: 11 Nov 07 - 02:51 PM

My comment on a west african chant was an attempt at humor, there is no such chant (to my knowledge). The two lines following from an Italian Rosa-ring song have no bearing on such.


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Azizi
Date: 11 Nov 07 - 03:08 PM

It's not nice to fool with mother nature.

{again mostly snark}

But "I said what I meant and I meant what I said" regarding the probability of some African influence on pre-19th century England.

**

Fyi, here's two entries from urbandictionary.com for the word "snark":

1. snark

noun
Combination of "snide" and "remark". Sarcastic comment(s).
Also snarky (adj.) and snarkily (adv.)

His commentary was rife with snark.
"Your boundless ineptitude is astounding," she snarkily declared.

by Tootybug47 Feb 9, 2004

2. snark   

Use of sarcasm or malice in speech. Commonly found in the LiveJournal community. also snarky, snarkiness.

Not to be snarky, but I don't see how what you're saying makes any sense.

-snipe-

Disregard that last example.

:o)


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Q
Date: 11 Nov 07 - 05:06 PM

Azizi, an article about an exhibition at the V & A Museum, subject young runaway slaves in Great Britain. Runaways
The fashion seemed to be young slaves; they may have learned little about their native culture before being taken. Some were from the Indian subcontinent, not Africa. Runaways lost themselves in the poorest districts of the cities, areas almost unknown to literate Englishmen and, with rare exceptions, not covered in print.
The article does point to some writings of Black people who wrote accounts of their personal experiences.


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: GUEST
Date: 25 May 08 - 04:14 PM

I can see no reason that this song couldn't have began as a song for scaring crows in Europe, and upon being sang in the states, have gotten changed in a way that relates to slavery.

Just my two bits on it.


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: GUEST,Lil' Jake
Date: 31 May 08 - 03:03 PM

Thoughts on Jim Crack Corn

It was Jim Crack Corn. Some stinking Yankee cracker changed it to Jimmy Crack Corn to please their ears. As many of you all out there, they probably thought that Jim was a name. It could be a version of the word "them" as used by black slaves learning English and having a difficult time making unaccustomed English sounds with their African tongue. Jim. Them. Much the same reason that "Massa" is not written "Master."

Jay learned to sing in the fields to take the edge off the drudgery of jare work. Oh, excuse me. I should use cracker english - 'They learned' and 'their work.' The African tongue has difficulty with English phonetics. Back gin, Jay had a need to learn English (then and they). Today, there exists a reason to intentionally distort English and call it Urban Ebonics. Ergo, do not get the two confused - now vs. then.

A field boy cracking corn off the stalk to fill his tote sack would be singing this song to go along with the work he was doing; picking corn and pretending to not have a care in the world. Singing while working was one form of helping dull the senses to the drudgery of the monotonous task.

It could be about a boy named Jim, but that's the white folks interpretation because of their lack of insightfulness. His momma probably named him Gem because she thought he was so precious when he was born. She couldn't spell, so there was no spelling until a Minstrell stole the words and song from the slaves singing it.

Them Cracked Corn (Jim Crack Corn)
If the house boy wrote the song, we may interpret it from his viewpoint. He sarcastically didn't care that Them other slaves went out into the fields and Cracked (picked) corn. The slaves had difficulty pronouncing past tense words; could not add the 'ed' at the end. He was treated differently. He was, of course, a house servant. He was neutered (castrated) for his lifetime of work in the Master's family home. The working slaves singing the song in the fields are most likely singing the song from the house boy's viewpoint.

I didn't see grits mentioned at all in this thread. My family didn't eat it when I was growing up. They fed that stuff to the hogs, as hog slop.

After picking or cracking the corn off corn stalks in the field, did they go to the shade and 'shuck' or 'shell' gem jare ears of corn?

Silly folks. A few on this thread seem to have some sensibility about them while ciphering this Jim Crack Corn phrase. Most of you just want to get way off base with your intent of NOT giving credit to the black folk called slaves. Why do you strive so hard to give credit to white folks?

It's doubtful that the song was "pro-slavery" just because some elitist cracker opined those thoughts into a book. The words of the song actually appear to be anti-slavery.

Since there may be many meanings to the words in this song, I concur with the notion of Master Jim (or Slave Gem) cracking open a new bottle of corn liquor. Was it sealed with wax? Why was it called "cracking open" a bottle or jug?

Blue Tail Fly: we call them ZuZu Flies, probably a derivation of Shoo Shoo Fly (Fly in the Buttermilk, Shoo Fly Shoo). I have never seen a blue tail horsefly nor deerfly. Deer flies are worse than horse flies. You cannot hear them coming.

Re: Hillbilly Joe. Much like "Little Liza Jane" stanzas, "Jimmy Cracked Corn" can have as many additional stanzas as beer-drinking choir boys can think of during all-nighters of 'choir practice.' And, yes Joybell, it is the chorus that is the focus of what has survived all these years, other than what some crackers put in writing way back when. As a child, I would receive mail addressed to "Master" because I was not old enough to be called "Mister." Called proper ettiquette, as coming from Great Britain, Master being the young man child overseeing the fields.

Those who insist that it is "Give me" (Gimme) are out of their cracked corn cracker minds.

Re: Cluin. Pretty good first impression of the true meaning of the song. But, Slave Boy's days of bliss will be short, for he will soon have a new Master, one who may not be a nice drunk like his dead master.

Why is this boy carrying a hickory stick to shoo blue tail flies? Hickory sticks are for whacking horses on the rump to make them throw their rider.

My first and early impressions are that the Master has "gone away" for a short or extended trip to Charleston and that the house boy slave has no work to be done in the master's absence. He is not a field hand and is not allowed to work the fields. He is has soft skin, a gentle manner, as his momma named him Gem. He was castrated early in life to keep him such; like cutting a dog as a puppy to keep him/her gentle. Or should I say 'as a steer,' to keep those testosterone levels down -- same as for cutting hogs while young.

Re: Richie. If Emmett was a white cracker from up north, it is quite likely that he heard it wrong. Only if he grew up in The Deep South would he know how to interpret Black English of that day. 'Them Cracked Corn' out in the corn fields as those field workers picked ears of corn, while I was in Massa's house where them wasn't.

Re: Fiolar. Excellent notion of where Blacks of the 20th Century obtained the phrase 'cracker' for the pope and white folk. Corn cracker = poor white farmer ==> formed into urban ebonics 'cracker' for 'white trash.'

Re: Guest, Q. Scottish derivation ==> formed into urban ebonics 'boastful white trash.'

Re: Guest, NP. "'Gimcrack' corn is just bad crop, because ole massa is not there to supervise the slaves anymore." I didn't want to go down this road, but. Look as the past decade in Zimbabwe, since the Blacks run off all the white farmers. Actually, death after several days of torture, rape, and worse. There is now rampant starvation because the Blacks do not know how to farm the land without the white farmers. Who is to blame? Rhetorical question there, folks. They are now asking for the Zimbabwe White Farmers to return. Why? Why do they need those White Farmers to return? Can the Blacks not farm the land that they took through murderous mayhem?

Re: Joybell. Excellent correlation to crows. But, what is happenin in Zimbabwe? Very similar to the Jim Crack Corn slaves not caring that 'gem crows' are in the field eating up all the farm's winter food now that the plantation farmer is dead.

Re: Reiver 2. Pretty good research there. However, in the words of Q, there is a whole lotta 'think' goin' on 'round here, even within your quoted material.

Re: Guest, Q35. Okie dokie. However, not just "enslaved population," but 'poor folk.' What do Jack Daniels and other distillaries do with their leftover corn mash after using cracked corn for distillation? It is supposed to be dyed pink for animal consumption, to know it is not food for humans. (As Q stated next) However, when a population is starving, and the crackers up north are passing bad laws to tax Southern folk into the poor house ...

Re: Caleb. The original is not Gimme or Jimmy. It is Jim. Let's focus on Jim, and what the Black pronunciation was attempting to emulate in Southern English.

Some final thoughts: How many of you on this thread grew up in The Deep South -- that portion of the USA where both pine trees and cotton have been farmed? It is rather interesting to look at historical Census maps of Cotton Farming, Southern Yellow Pines, and Blacks.

Travel to Black Africa (south of Sahara). Take "To Kill a Mockingbird" for your reading leisure. Get away from the big city. Wait one week before commencing reading. Read slowly. Pay attention to what you see and hear happening around you. It is eery to think that Harper Lee was writing about Blacks in The Deep South, but also captured the culture of Blacks in Africa. After 400 years of separation, they are still the same.

Oh, I feel so much better now! Lil' Jake


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: meself
Date: 31 May 08 - 04:17 PM

Okay. Now we know.


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Q
Date: 31 May 08 - 10:18 PM

Jimmy crack coconut.


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Subject: RE: Jimmy Crack Corn - Man or Myth
From: Joybell
Date: 04 Sep 08 - 11:02 PM

So this thread never does go away does it? I'm still asking here. Asking and wondering, but I have some further points to make.

1. From the earliest printing of the words of this song the chorus (when it occurs) uses the words "Jimmie/Jim crack corn. The word gimme is not used. (NB in the DT for "The Blue Tailed Fly" "give me cracked corn" has been substituted because someone thought they should be used.)
2. There is no author given -- from a printed source -- at the time of this song's first appearance -- under the name "De Blue Tail'd Fly". (Or indeed under other similiar titles.)
3. The subject of my on-going study -- Robert "Billy" Barlow aka The American Barlow -- The Inimitable Barlow -- The Blue-tail'd Fly is, I believe, a likely candidate as the author of this song -- but so far although I've got a lot of circumstantial evidence, I still have no hard proof. I'm asking. Still asking.
When I put forward a theory I promise I will always make it clear that that's what it is. I do not make unconsidered comments. Just so's everyone knows.
Cheers, Joy


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