Jim Along Josie
DESCRIPTION: Originally a blackface minstrel piece, now often reduced to odd lyrics held together by the refrain, "Hey jim-along, jim-along Josie; Hey jim-along, jim along Jo." Sample verse: "Any pretty girl that wants a beau, Just fall in the arms of Jim Along Joe"
AUTHOR: Edward Harper? (see NOTES)
EARLIEST DATE: 1840 (sheet music, according to Dichter/Shapiro, p. 52)
KEYWORDS: nonsense lyric playparty
FOUND IN: US(Ap,MA,So)
REFERENCES (6 citations):
Randolph 575, "Jim Along Josie" (1 text plus a fragment)
Owens-1ed, pp. 266-267, "Old Jay Bird" (1 text, 1 tune)
Owens-2ed, pp. 145-146, "Old Jay Bird" (1 text, 1 tune)
Warner 180, "Git Along Josie" (1 text, 1 tune)
Scarborough-NegroFS, p. 105, "Jam A-long, Josey" (1 text, 1 tune); also probably p. 106 (no title), (1 text, using this chorus in some instances; the verses include the terrapin and the toad, "My ole missus promise me When she die she set me free," "You get there before I do....")
Spaeth-WeepMore, pp. 103-104, "Jim Along Josey" (1 text, 1 tune)
Coon Creek Girls, "Jim Along Josie" (Songs from Renfro Valley - Bell, mx. 2002, n.d., postwar)
Lawrence Older, "Jim Along Josie" (on LOlder01)
Pete Seeger, "Jim Along Josie" (on PeteSeeger3, PeteSeegerCD03)
Tom Smith, "Hey, Get Along, Josie" (on USWarnerColl01)
cf. "The Banks of the Arkansas" (lyrics)
NOTES: Spaeth suggests that this is a minstrel tune, and he's probably right. He suggests that it was written by Edward Harper, who presented it in his 1838 play "The Free Nigger of New York." Jon W. Finson, The Voices That Are Gone: Themes in Nineteenth-Century American Popular Song, Oxford University Press, 1994 also credits it to Harper, but dates it to 1840.
But it has entered oral tradition -- though perhaps in a filed-down form; Spaeth's text has a four-line verse while the traditional forms often use two-line stanzas. The choruses are the same.
According to the report in Harry Dichter and Elliott Shapiro, Early American Sheet Music: Its Lure and Its Lore, 1768-1889, R. R. Bowker, 1941, p. 52, this is "As sung by Mr. John N. Smith. Arranged for the Piano Forte by An Eminent Professor." No composer is listed. The music was published by Firth & Hall. - RBW
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