Razors in the Air
DESCRIPTION: "Come, my love, and go with me, Ah, my love, I'll meet you, Take you down to Tennessee, Meet you by and by." "Hoe de corm... Get away from dat window... Come some other night, For dar's going to be a fight, Dar'll razors a-flying in de air."
AUTHOR: unknown; sheet music reports it was "sung with great success by Barry Maxwell" but is copyrighted by William H. Kennedy
EARLIEST DATE: 1880 (sheet music published by Oliver Ditson & Co.)
KEYWORDS: love courting slave farming
FOUND IN: US(So)
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Winstock, pp. 245-252, "Razors in the air" (1 text, 1 tune)
Arnold, p. 155, "Remember Me" (1 short text, 1 tune, lacking the chorus and hence the mention of razors)
NOTES [119 words]: This was recorded by the Kingston Trio in a version that doesn't seem particularly racist, but the original sheet music is clearly a minstrel song, in dialect. The sheet music says it was sung by "Barry Maxwell with the Haverly Mastodon Minstrels."
The title alone is indicative. According to Jon W. Finson, The Voices That Are Gone: Themes in Nineteenth-Century American Popular Song, Oxford University Press, 1994, p. 220, "razors [were] weapons usually associated with blacks in 'coon' songs." As an example of a razor song, he cites Monroe H. Rosenfeld's "Come Along Sinners," published in 1881 (the year after this song), which instructed Blacks to leave their razors if they wanted to attain salvation. - RBW
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