Don't Get Weary Children (Massa Had a Yellow Gal)

DESCRIPTION: "Massa had a yellow gal, He brought her from the south, Her hair it curled so very tight She couldn't shut her mouth." "He took her to a tailor" to repair her defect; "She swallowed up the tailor." Now he uses her nose "to hang his hat and coat."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: before 1860 (broadside, LOCSinging sb10148a)
KEYWORDS: slave humorous floatingverses
FOUND IN: US(Ap,SE) Canada(Mar)
REFERENCES (8 citations):
Botkin-AmFolklr, pp. 903-904, "Massa Had a Yellow Gal" (1 text, 1 tune)
BrownIII 406, "Massa Had a Yaller Gal" (1 text plus 2 fragments; the one full text consists mostly of floating verses); also 405, "Dearest Mae" (the "C" excerpt contains the first verse of this song)
BrownSchinhanV 406, "Massa Had a Yaller Gal" (1 tune plus a text excerpt)
Scarborough-NegroFS, pp. 66-68, "Ole Mars'r Had a Yaller Gal," "Ol' Mars'r Had a Pretty Yaller Gal," "Massa Had a Yaller Gal" (2 texts plus a fragment, 1 tune); also p. 110, "Dar Was a Gal in our Town" (1 short text, with the "don't get weary" chorus though Scarborough links it with "Old Virginny Never Tire")
Roberts, #80, "Shoo Fly" (1 short text, 1 tune, lumped with "Shoo Fly" by Roud because it has the single chorus line "Shoo fly, don't you bother me" but which is otherwise "Don't Get Weary Children (Massa Had a Yellow Gal)")
Creighton-NovaScotia 112, "Coloured Girl from the South" (1 text, 1 tune)
Darling-NAS, p. 355, [no title] (1 text)
cf. Gardner/Chickering, p. 481, "Massa Had a Yaller Gal" (source notes only)

ST BAF904 (Full)
Roud #11744
Uncle Dave Macon [w. McGee Bros.], "Don't Get Weary Children" (Decca 5369, 1937; Montgomery Ward 8029, 1939; Champion 45048; rec. 1934)
Kirk & Sam McGee, "Coming from the Ball" (on McGeeSmith1)

LOCSinging, sb10148a, "Gal From the South," J. Andrews (New York), 1853-1859
cf. "Old Bee Makes the Honey Comb" (floating verses)
cf. "Letter from Down the Road" (lyrics)
I Ain't Got Time to Tarry
NOTES [119 words]: The version printed in Botkin has almost a ballad flavor; it is the exaggerated story of how a master dealt with a physically unusual slave. Dave Macon has a fuller version, "Don't Get Weary Children." The latter has a much larger set of verses, and might be a separate song -- but who knows how much of it comes from Uncle Dave's imagination?
The texts in Brown don't help much, either; two are fragments and the third a collection of floating verses. Scarborough's several versions also show much diversity. - RBW
Broadside LOCSinging sb10148a: J. Andrews dating per Studying Nineteenth-Century Popular Song by Paul Charosh in American Music, Winter 1997, Vol 15.4, Table 1, available at FindArticles site. - BS
Last updated in version 4.2
File: BAF904

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