Darling Nelly Gray

DESCRIPTION: The singer recalls the time he spent with Nelly. But now "the white man has bound her with his chain;" he laments "Oh my darling Nelly Gray, they have taken you away And I'll never see my darling any more." He hopes they will be reunited after death
AUTHOR: B. R. Hanby
EARLIEST DATE: 1856 (broadside, LOCSheet sm1856 600230; sheet music published by Oliver Ditson of Boston)
KEYWORDS: love separation slave
FOUND IN: US(MW)
REFERENCES (6 citations):
Dean, p. 73, "Darling Nelly Gray" (1 text)
Huntington-Gam, pp. 303-304, "Darling Nellie Gray"(1 text, 1 tune)
RJackson-19CPop, pp. 53-56, "Darling Nelly Gray" (1 text, 1 tune)
WolfAmericanSongSheets, #434, p. 29, "Darling Nelly Gray" (2 references)
Silber-FSWB, p. 251, "Darling Nelly Gray" (1 text)
DT, NELLGRAY*

ST RJ19053 (Full)
Roud #4883
RECORDINGS:
Louis Armstrong & the Mills Brothers, "Darling Nellie Gray" (Decca 1245, 1937)
The Carver Boys, "Darling Nellie Gray" (Paramount 3198, 1930)
Carroll Clark, "Darling Nellie Gray" (Columbia A-770, 1909)
Al Hopkins & his Buckle Busters, "Darling Nellie Gray" (Brunswick 185/Vocalion 5186 [as the Hill Billies], 1927)
W. W. MacBeth, "Darling Nellie Gray" (Brunswick 571, 1931; rec. 1929)
[Asa] Martin & [James] Roberts, "Darling Nellie Gray" (Perfect 12762/Banner 32306 [as by Asa Martin], 1931; Conqueror 7935, 1932)
McMichen's Melody Men, "Darling Nellie Gray" (Banner 32306, 1931; Conqueror 7965, 1932)
Metropolitan Quartet, "Darling Nellie Gray" (CYL: Edison [BA] 1860, n.d.)
Chubby Parker, "Darling Nellie Gray" (Supertone 9187, 1928)
Peerless Quartet, "Darling Nellie Gray" (Gennett 4532, 1919)
Roba Stanley [or Stanley Trio], "Nellie Gray" (OKeh 40271, 1925)
Henry Whitter's Virginia Breakdowners, "Nellie Gray" (OKeh 40211, 1924)

BROADSIDES:
LOCSheet, sm1856 600230, "Darling Nelly Gray," Oliver Ditson (Boston), 1856 (tune) [attributed to B. R. Hanby]
LOCSinging, as102660, "Darling Nelly Gray," Charles H. Anderson (Washington), 19C; also cw103950, "Nelly Gray"

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "The Eumerella Shore" (tune)
cf. "Memphis Flu" (tune)
SAME TUNE:
Dear Prairie Home (File: CAFS491A)
Our Union Flag ("There's a starry banner floating o'er the home of liberty," by Walter Washington Warren) (WolfAmericanSongSheets p. 122)
NOTES: This was the first popular success of Benjamin Russell Hanby (1833-1867), who eventually wrote some eighty songs. It is reported to be based on an actual event; a runaway slave named Joseph Shelby died at the Ohio home of Hanby's father. Shelby was hoping to raise money to win the freedom of another slave named Nelly Gray.
In one of the odd turns of history, Wharton's War Songs and Poems of the Southern Confederacy , following one Mrs. A. T. Smythe, suggests Stephen Foster as the author; even if the sheet music did not disprove this, the anti-Slavery sentiment would surely do so. - RBW
Last updated in version 4.2
File: RJ19053

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