Missus in the Big House
DESCRIPTION: "Missus in the big house, Mammy in the yard. Missus holdin' her white hands, Mammy workin' hard." "Old Marse ridin' all the time, Niggers workin' round. Marse sleepin' day time, Niggers diggin' in the ground."
EARLIEST DATE: 1963
KEYWORDS: work slave discrimination
FOUND IN: US
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Courlander-NFM, p. 117, (no title) (1 text)
Greenway-AFP, p. 96, "Missus in de Big House" (1 text)
Lomax-ABFS, pp. 246-247, "De Black Gal" (1 text)
cf. "Fly Around, My Pretty Little Miss"
NOTES: Metrically, this reminds me very much of "Fly Around, My Pretty Little Miss." Hard to tell if they are the same without a tune and with only two verses.
The Lomax text does not share the two verses of the Courlander and Greenway versions, but the form and content (contrasting white luxury with Black work and poverty) seem to place the songs together. The Lomax text may be composite anyway; they give no information about its origin. - RBW
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The Ballad Index Copyright 2017 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.