Fust Banjo, De (The Banjo Song; The Possum and the Banjo; Old Noah)

DESCRIPTION: Noah sets out to build the ark, despite the scorn of his neighbors. "Ham... couldn't stand the racket... soon he had a banjo made, the first that was invented." He took the hair of the possum's tail to string it; the possum remains bare-tailed to this day
AUTHOR: Irwin Russell? (as part of Russell's dialect poem "Christmas Night in the Quarters," according to Hubbard)
EARLIEST DATE: 1878 (Christmas Night in the Quarters)
KEYWORDS: flood ship animal music Bible
FOUND IN: US(Ap, Ro, So)
REFERENCES (4 citations):
Randolph 253, "The Banjo Song" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
JHCox 181, "Old Noah" (1 text)
Hubbard, #182, "The First Banjo" (1 text, 1 tune)
ReedSmith, pp. 43-44, "De Fust Banjo"; "Old Noah" (2 texts)

ST R253 (Partial)
Roud #5467
NOTES: The versions of this display extreme variation, and may even be separate songs. Reports are few enough, however, that I decided to lump the things just because there wasn't enough evidence to split them cleanly.
The attribution to Irwin Russell is from Felleman's The Best Loved Poems of the American People, which sometimes has some very strange attributions (although Randolph also mentions it). Her version seems to come straight out of a minstrel show; the question then is whether it is the original or if Russell worked from an earlier song. - RBW
Last updated in version 4.0
File: R253

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