The first recording by an African-American

The first recording by an African-American

George Johnson’s song Whistling Coon was one of the most popular of the Coon songs of the 1850-90s. While the records and the imagery that goes along with them are offensive, these are pioneering African-American recordings and songs. There are a number of virtually lost African-American songwriters from this period who tend to be left out of the Great American Song Book. Virtually none of these recordings are available today, although at one point 1 in 15 new records released by the major phonograph companies (Edison, Victor, Columbia) were coon music.

The amazing thing about the earliest of Johnson’s recordings is that each one was unique. Each record was recorded and cut ON THE SPOT, so he had to do each take perfectly, and was then paid for the session. He made a decent living, but there weren’t any copyright laws, or even any recorded industry at this point. It’s said he did this song 56 times in one day.

There were comic songs that offended almost every ethnic group, although to be fair, African-Americans portrayal on the sheet music and the art works are pretty horrific. If you dig deep enough, you can find examples (like the ones on my walls:-) that contain images that arent so offense, so you can appreciate it. Johnson’s other big song “The Laughing Song” eventually become known around the world and was a hit around the world for whites and blacks alike.It was also a hit in 1947 by Phil Harris sans the offensive lyrics.

Johnson was born to freed slaves, sometime in the early 1840s. He was an actual slave in Virginia, but was freed in 1853 and lived through the Civil War. He drifted to New York in the 1870s and attracted small bits of money whistling on ferry boats for a living, which is how he was discovered and recorded. Johnson led a controversial life and was also accused of killing and murdering his alcoholic girlfriend. His trial was quite a sensation in the early 1900s.

(Verse 1)
Oh I’ve seen in my time some very funny folks
But the funniest of all I know
Is a coloured individual as sure as you’re alive
As black as any black crow
You can talk until you’re tired but you’ll never get a word
From this very funny queer old coon
He’s a knock-kneed, double-jointed hunky-punky mook*
but he’s happy when he whistles in tune.
(Verse 2)
Oh he’s got a pair of lips like a pound of liver, split
And a nose like an india-rubber shoe
He’s a limpy, happy, chuckle-headed huckleberry nig
And he whistles like a happy killy* loon
He’s an independent, free-and-easy bad and greasy ham
With a cranium like a big baboon
Oh I never heard him talk to anybody in my life
but he’s happy when he whistles in tune.
(Verse 3)
Oh he’ll whistle in the morning through the day and through the night
And he whistles when he goes to bed
He whistles like a locomotive engine in his sleep
And he whistled when his wife was dead
One day a fellow hit him with a brick upon the mouth
His face swelled like a big balloon
But it didn’t faze the merry happy huckleberry nig
And he whistled up the same old tune.


About homelessholocaust

I actually do not write most of these articles, I collect them here, for my personal useage, I find Some Other's enjoy them as well, which is a side effect of my Senility. As I am a Theosophist, and also study Vedanta Society of Northern California, so Your Visitation from the Akashic records to approve my feebile works gives me Great Hope! I am 68, years old, I will Come To You in another 30 or so years. You Reinforces my Belief that in my Sleep I visit The Akashic Records when I remember my dream's. I keep notes about 'Over There." the Colour of Daylight is Darker, but the Life is Brighter, property has no meaning, and it is homish. are the energetic records of all souls about their past lives, the present lives, and possible future lives. Each soul has its Akashic Records, like a series of books with each book representing one lifetime. The Hall (or Library) of the Akashic Records is where all souls’ Akashic Records are stored energetically. In other words, the information is stored in the Akashic field (also called zero point field). The Akashic Records, however, are not a dry compilation of events. They also contain our collective wisdom.
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