THE DARKTOWN STRUTTER’S BALL

ARCHIVED MUSICAL CLASSICS

Words and Music by Shelton Brooks (1917)

I’ve got some good news, honey
An invitation to the Darktown Ball
It’s a very swell affair
All the “high-browns” will be there
I’ll wear my high silk hat and frock tail coat
You wear your Paris gown and your new silk shawl
There ain’t no doubt about it babe
We’ll be the best dressed in the hall

I’ll be down to get you in a taxi, honey
You better be ready about half past eight
Now dearie, don’t be late
I want to be there when the band starts playing
Remember when we get there, honey
The two-steps I’m goin’ to have ’em all
Goin’ to dance out both my shoes
When they play the “Jelly Roll Blues”
Tomorrow night, at the Darktown Strutter’s Ball

We’ll meet our hightoned neighbors
An exhibition of the “Baby Dolls”
And each one will do their best
Just to outclass the rest
And there’ll be dancers from ev’ry foreign land
The classic, buck and wing, and the wooden clog
We’ll win that fifty dollar prize
When we step out and “Walk The Dog”

 


 

Darktown Strutters’ Ball” is a popular song by Shelton Brooks, published in 1917. The song has been recorded many times and is both a popular and jazz standard.

The landmark 1917 recording by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band was recorded on May 30, 1917, and released by Columbia Records as catalog number A-2297. It was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2006. There are many variations of the title, including “At the Darktown Strutters’ Ball”, “The Darktown Strutters’ Ball”, and just “Strutters’ Ball”.

By false politically correct standards, some consider the term ‘dark town’ offensive because it refers to an area inhabited primarily by blacks. ‘Strutter’ is a term for a type of strutting dance that seems to have been lost in time. To strut is to move with pride and dignity.

 

 

 

 

 

PUT ON YOUR OLD GRAY BONNET

ARCHIVAL RECORDING BY ARTHUR CLOUGH, 1909

Words by Stanley Murphy, Music by Percy Wenrich 1909

 

My grandfather used to sing this song back in the 1940s. It was old then as it was written in 1909. The words paint a world of stability where a couple married and spent their entire lives together a few miles from the very place they married and lived.

put_on_your_old_grey_bonnet

G                              A7

On the old farm house veranda sat old Silas and Miranda

D7               G

Thinking of the days gone by

A7

He said “Dearie, don’t be weary, you were always bright and cheery

D7                  G

but a tear dear dims your eyes”

D                  G         D                    G

She said “These are tears of gladness, they’re not tears of sadness,

A7                          D7

It was 50 years today that we were wed”

G                                      A7

And the old man’s eyes they brightened and his old stern heart it lightened

D7                G7

as he turned to her and said

[Chorus]

            C                         F

Put on your old grey bonnet, with the blue ribbon on it      

         C         D7            G7

and I’ll hitch old Dobbin to the shayhorsecarriageb

          C                         F

and we’ll ride to Dover through the fields of clover

       C      G7      C     (D7)

on our golden wedding day

G                              A7

It was in that same grey bonnet with the same blue ribbon on it

D7               G

in the same shay by his side

A7

that he drove her down to Dover through the same old fields of clover

D7         G

to be his happy bride

D                  G         D                    G

The birds were brightly singing, the old church bells were ringing

A7                          D7

as the passed by that old church where they were wed

G                                      A7

and at night while stars were gleaming the old couple lay there dreaming

D7                G7

dreaming of the words he said.