Nights Down in Old Alabam’

one step

Alabama Jubilee is a song written by George L. Cobb and Jack Yellen. The song is a popular marching band song, and when accompanied by the lyrics, the song describes a musical party in the South (hence, Alabama Jubilee)

The first known recording was that of comedy team of Arthur Collins and Byron G. Harlan in 1915. The song is considered an American popular standard. The most popular versions of the song were by Red Foley in 1951 and the 1955 instrumental version by the Ferko String Band. Other versions of the song during the period covered by this blog include: Muggsy Spanier, The Fontane Sisters, Hank Penny, Chet Atkins, Firehouse Five Plus Two, The Dukes of Dixieland, and Teresa Brewer and the Dixieland Band. Today, the song is usually recorded as an instrumental piece. The 1915 lyrics to Alabama Jubilee are an embarrassment to us now, as are many of the old popular songs. Thankfully, we have moved away from such songs that use racial terms such as “Aunt Jemima” and “darkies,” both of which are used in Alabama Jubilee.

THE LYRICS
Alabama Jubilee
One Step: George L. Cobb and Jack Yellen
(The One-Step is said to be of American origin and is a very simple and easily dance to learn and to perform. Many of the dances of the day (1910s) such as the Turkey Trot and Grizzly Bear steps were modified to fit the one step, sometimes called the Walking Step and the Collegiate Foxtrot was basically a One Step as well. The American One-Step is said to be done in Dog Trot Style (dancing on the balls of feet) and was mixed with the above dances. The One-Step eventually gave way to the ORIGINAL Quick-Step as they were originally pretty much the same dance.)

You ought to see deacon Jones
When he rattles the bones,
Old parson Brown foolin’ ‘roun like a clown,
Aunt Jemima who is past eighty three,
Shoutin’ “I’m full o’ pep!
Watch yo’ step!, watch yo’ step!
One legged Joe danced aroun’ on his toe,
Threw away his crutch and hollered, “let ‘er go!”
Oh, honey, hail! hail! the gang’s all here
For an Alabama jubilee

Mandolins, violins,
Hear the darkies tunin’ up, the fun begins,
Come this way, don’t delay,
Better hurry, honey dear, or you’ll be missin’
Music sweet, rag-time treat,
Goes right to your head and trickles to your feet,
It’s a reminder, a memory finder
Of nights down in old Alabam’.

Hear that flute, it’s a beaut,
And the tunes it’s tootin’, tootsie, ain’t they cute?
Let’s begin, it’s a sin,
To be missin’ all this syncopated music!
Oh, you Jane, once again
Give your legs some exercise to that refrain,
Boy, that’s what makes me so dreamy and takes me
Back home to my old Alabam’.

THE RECORDINGS:
Arthur Collins and Byron G. Harlan
Red Foley
Ferko String Band
Muggsy Spanier
The Fontaine Sisters
Hank Penny
Chet Atkins
Firehouse Five Plus Two
The Dukes of Dixieland
Teresa Brewer and the Dixieland Band

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Filed under Pop Music

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