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The Roller Organ Cob Handbook

by Richard Dutton1)

Twenty-Note Cobs

Cobs #201-300


The tunes on cobs #201-300, like those on cobs #101-200, are all of a non-religious nature and are of many different types: once again songs popular during the Civil War, which was still remembered vividly by many living at the beginning of the roller organ era, including #205, “Dixie”, #229, “Tramp, Tramp, Tramp”, #275, “Maryland, my Maryland”, and #280, “Tenting on the Old Camp Ground”; even earlier “old chestnuts” such as #267, “A Life on the Ocean Wave”, and #283, “The Old Oaken Bucket”; American patriotic pieces such as #273, “The Star Spangled Banner”, #277, “Hail Columbia”, and #279, “Red, White and Blue”; once again dance tunes—waltzes, quadrilles, reels, jigs, a hornpipe, a clog, a galop, an Irish set dance, and a “lanciers”—again some of them by famous composers such as Johann Strauss II and Franz von Suppe and others of them by lesser-known and in some cases even unidentified composers, including anonymous pieces from the folk music traditions of the United States and the British Isles; more Stephen Foster songs such as #262, “Old Black Joe”, #270, “Massa's in de Cold Ground”, and #274, “Oh! Susanna”; many other songs that originated or were popularized in minstrel shows; songs by Scottish poet Robert Burns such as #258, “Bonnie Doon”, and #263, “Flow Gently, Sweet Afton”; several majestic and beautiful Scandinavian patriotic tunes; a couple of now-unfamiliar marches; a pretty arrangement of the Christmas standard, #250, “Jingle Bells”, to many the most desirable cob in the group; a handful of pieces from the classical and operatic traditions; and a host of songs, including a number of the “tearjerker” variety and several comic “stage Irish” pieces, all of which were presumably once at least somewhat popular in order to have been selected for the roller organ but many of which have now faded into obscurity. All in all, the cobs in this group again constitute a great sampling of the music that was current in America in the 1880s and include many appealing and harmonious arrangements of very pretty pieces that, when played, show off the roller organ well. It is once again a great pleasure to crank through these cobs and listen to them!

I have been able to locate information about essentially all of the tunes in this numerical range. The only exceptions are again instrumental pieces rather than songs: #201-204, “'Gay Life' Quadrilles, II-V”, #228, “Waltz—A Maiden's Song”, #252, “Waltz—King of the Fairies”, and #261, “Svensk Marsch (Swedish March—Swedish)”. Perhaps the quadrilles and the waltzes appeared in the many collections of music arranged for home pianists that were so popular in the early part of the roller organ era.

A note on scarcity: As in the case of cobs #1-100 and #101-200, it is certainly possible, although not easy, to collect a complete set of cobs #201-300. Many cobs in this range contain very familiar and popular tunes and were undoubtedly sold in large quantities. Also, because the non-hymn cobs, just as the hymn cobs, were issued in numerical order, cobs #201-300 were available for purchase for a longer period of time than the higher numbered cobs. While it is true that more than two-thirds of the cobs in this group are in the “LC” (“Less Common”) category, only three, #271, “Mary Blane”, #282, “There is a Tavern in the Town” (surprisingly, in light of its continued popularity in the twentieth century), and #291, “Kitty King”, have a scarcity rating of “S” (“Scarce”) and only one has a scarcity rating of “VS” (“Very Scarce”), the elusive #292, “The Party at the Zoo”, of which I am aware of only one existing copy.


#201 - "Gay Life" Quadrilles—II, Scarcity: C
#202 - "Gay Life" Quadrilles—III, Scarcity: C
#203 - "Gay Life" Quadrilles—IV, Scarcity: C
#204 - "Gay Life" Quadrilles—V, Scarcity: C
I have always assumed that, just as the “La Mascotte Quadrilles” (see notes to cobs #168-172) incorporated themes from the operetta “La Mascotte” and the “Chimes of Normandy Quadrilles” (see notes to cobs #556-560) incorporated themes from the operetta “The Chimes of Normandy” (“Les Cloches de Corneville”), the tunes on these cobs and the tune on related cob #200 came from an operetta titled “Gay Life” or “The Gay Life”. After extensive research, however, I have not yet located any operetta by this name (or its French or German equivalent).

#205 - Dixie, Scarcity: VC
This universally-known song, which became the unofficial anthem of the South at the time of the American Civil War, was written in 1859 by Ohio-born Daniel Decatur Emmett (1815-1904), a singer and banjo player who performed with circuses and minstrel troupes, when he was asked to create a new piece for a performance of Bryant's Minstrels in New York. By Emmett's own account, the expression “I wish I was in Dixie” predated the song and referred not to any patriotic loyalty to the South, but rather to the desire of minstrel performers in the North to head to warmer climes in winter. Emmett was paid $500 for the copyright of “Dixie”. The song also appeared on Grand cob #2033 under the title “I Wish I Was in Dixie's Land”. References: OC, LL, Los Angeles Herald, October 27, 1887 (report of interview with Emmett), The Week's Progress, July 9, 1904 (article about Emmett following his death).

#206 - Waltz—Till we Meet Again, Scarcity: C
This tune is also known by the title “Auf Wiedersehn Waltz”, under which it appeared on Grand cob #2001, the lowest-numbered cob for the Grand roller organ. “Auf wiedersehn” is, of course, the German translation of “till we meet again”, but the composer of the piece was not German but American: Eben Howe Bailey (1843-1943), a Massachusetts composer, organist, musical director and teacher who wrote an 1880 instructional work titled Bailey's School Songs and Music Reader. References: UV, Folio (a monthly journal of music publishers White, Smith & Company), September, 1884 (article about Bailey), Lowell [Massachusetts] Sun, January 21, 1943.

#207 - The Arkansas Traveler, Scarcity: VC
This lively piece is a traditional American fiddle tune. There are conflicting claims as to its exact origin, but beginning in the mid-nineteenth century there was a comic dialogue associated with it in which a traveler in a remote part of rural Arkansas stops to ask for directions at a run-down cabin where a man on the porch (called the “squatter”) repeatedly plays the first part of the tune on his fiddle as he gives the traveler a whole series of absurd and non-responsive answers to his questions. Then, the traveler says he can play the second part of the tune and when he takes the fiddle and plays it the squatter's manner completely changes and he invites the traveler to stay with him, share a meal with his family, etc. This cob is a very common one and easy to spot in a batch of cobs because it has so many single pins. Reference: LL.

#208 - Belle Mahone, Scarcity: LC
There were only two cobs that could not be identified in the batch of thirty cobs that came with the Concert roller organ my father bought at an auction in 1953 when I was six. One of them was this one and, while the tune has always been one of my favorites on the roller organ, I did not find out until over forty years later that it was “Belle Mahone”. In the meantime, I always assumed, based on the sound of the tune, that it was probably German and perhaps a hymn; I would never have guessed that it was a onetime well-known American popular song and a tearful lament for the singer's deceased love, “swee-eet Belle Mahone”. The words and music were by the Scottish-American musician and composer J. H. (John Hugh) McNaughton (1829-1891), from Caledonia, New York, and it dates from 1867. Two years later he wrote a follow-up song titled “Jamie True” in which Belle Mahone, up in Heaven, sings to her despondent love. Reference: LL, Minutes of 16th Annual Meeting of Livingston County [New York] Historical Society, 1892 (biography of McNaughton).

#209 - The Kiss Waltz, Scarcity: C
The “Kiss Waltz” or “Kuss-Walzer” (op. 400) was written by the Austrian composer, conductor and violinist Johann Strauss II (1825-1899), the most famous member of the Strauss family of composers of Vienna, nicknamed “The Waltz King” (see notes to cob #119). This waltz contains themes from his 1881 operetta “Der lustige Krieg” (“The Merry War”). It also appeared on Grand cob #2089. Reference: MN.

#210 - Was it Fair, Scarcity: LC
The lyrics to this 1882 song tell the story of a “village curate” who courts a young coquette named Clara who responds by just teasing him. He tells her parents that because she has rejected his advances he has married a widow, Clara realizes that she loves him and has made a mistake, and he then reveals that he merely married the widow to someone else in his role as a clergyman and is therefore still available to marry Clara after all. The words “was it fair” do not appear anywhere in the song and refer to the curate's ruse. F. (Fred) Rawkins wrote the lyrics and A. H. (Albert Henry) Rosewig the music. Rosewig (1846-1929) was the choir director at the Roman Catholic Church of St. Charles Borromeo in Philadelphia, the composer, arranger, compiler and/or publisher of a large number of both secular and religious works and the owner of a piano, organ and music business. He spelled his name “RoSewig” to emphasize that it should be pronounced with three syllables. Interestingly, a song with the same lyrics by Rawkins but a different tune (not by Rosewig) was published in London two years earlier with the title “Fairly Caught” (words that do appear in the final stanza of the song). References: MN, New York Times, May 9, 1929, Howard W. Wildin Sheet Music Collection at Gonzaga University (copy of sheet music for “Fairly Caught”).


#211 - Waltz from "Die Afrikareise", Scarcity: LC
“Die Afrikareise” (“The Trip to Africa”) is one of the lesser-known operatic works of Franz von Suppe (1819 or 1820-1895), the Dalmatian-born composer and theater conductor in Vienna who is probably best-remembered today for his “Poet and Peasant Overture” (on Grand cob #2088) and “Light Cavalry Overture”. The libretto was by Richard Genee (1823-1895; see notes to cob #158) and Moritz West. Although the plot is too complicated to be summarized in full here, it involves intrigues among a group of characters, some Italian and some native Egyptian, in Cairo. The waltz tune is repeated three times in Act II as part of a duet and trio (#12 in the score). References: OC, GD.

#212 - When You and I Were Young, Scarcity: C
This onetime very popular sentimental song dates from 1866 and was written by George W. (Washington) Johnson (1839-1917)(lyrics) and J. A. (James Austin) Butterfield (1837-1891)(music). The singer, an elderly man, tells his lifelong love Maggie that he wandered to the hill that day and, looking out, thought of all the changes that had taken place since their youthful days and all the once young and gay friends of theirs who were dead and buried; he then concludes “But to me you're as fair as you were, Maggie, When you and I were young”. The lyrics (without the chorus) appeared in a book titled Maple Leaves published in Canada in 1864 by Johnson, a schoolteacher. Although there are differing versions of the facts, he is said to have married one of his former students, named Maggie, who, unlike the Maggie of the song, died shortly afterwards of a serious illness rather than living into old age. Johnson's lyrics were subsequently set to music by Butterfield, who emigrated from England to the United States when he was in his teens and was a composer, music teacher, choir director and conductor in Chicago. References: LL, AH.

#213 - College Hornpipe, Scarcity: C
This is another quite old dance tune of unknown authorship found in the folk traditions of the British Isles and the United States. It is usually called by its alternate title “Sailor's Hornpipe” (see notes to cob #122).

#214 - She's Such a Love, Scarcity: LC
This interesting and lively schottische was written by E. N. (Edward Noble) Catlin (1836-1926), a prolific composer and arranger who was born in Clinton, New York, was associated with the Buckley Serenaders, a Boston minstrel group, as a young man and after leading other theater orchestras ultimately became the musical director at Boston's Park Theater, where he remained for over 25 years. A version of the tune arranged for the banjo is in MN. A schottische (from “schottisch”, German for “Scottish”) is a dance similar to the polka. References: GD, The Clinton [New York] Courier, July 2, 1926.

#215 - Song, Many Joined, Scarcity: LC
This is another tune from “Der Bettelstudent” (“The Beggar Student”), the 1882 operetta by Karl Millocker (1842-1899) (see notes to cobs #179-180). When the beggar student, Symon, appears posing as a nobleman near the end of Act I, he sings, to this tune, “Ich knupfte manche zarte Bande” (included in #6 in the score), flattering Countess Laura with his claim that in Polish women you find a blend or bouquet of the charms of beauties he has met from many different countries of the world. I have not come across the title “Many Joined” for this piece except in connection with this cob and I assume it refers to Symon's statement that in Polish women many desirable features are joined together.

#216 - The Zigzag Clog, Scarcity: LC
This is another dance tune found in the folk music traditions of England, Scotland, Ireland and the United States. It is also known by the titles “The Cliff Hornpipe” and “Higgins' Hornpipe” and appears under the latter name as #1738 of the 1,850 traditional tunes Captain Francis O'Neill (of the Chicago Police Department; 1848-1936) collected as O'Neill's Music of Ireland (1903).

#217 - Medley Jig, Scarcity: C
This is another dance tune with roots in the folk music traditions of the British Isles. The first part is the same as the first part of a traditional tune named “Kafoozalum”. The title “Medley Jig” is puzzling because the usual use of “medley” in relation to jigs is to refer to two or more jig tunes played in succession as a “medley of jigs”. However, English-born musician and composer David Braham (1834?-1905), who wrote the music for a number of extremely popular New York stage productions of Harrigan and Hart, which typically involved “stage Irish” characters who lived in the slums of that city, held the copyright for a tune with the title “Medley Jig” that was renewed in 1911, apparently in connection with the renewal of copyrights of six songs of his from the 1883 Harrigan and Hart show “The Muddy Day”. While I have not yet seen the sheet music for Braham's “Medley Jig”, its date is certainly consistent with its being his arrangement of a traditional tune that, under the name he gave it, found its way onto the roller organ.

#218 - Svensk National sang (Swedish National Hymn—Swedish), Scarcity: LC
Also known as “Kungssangen” (“The King's Song”) or by the first line of its lyrics, “Ur svenska hjartans djup en gang”, this song is Sweden's “royal anthem”, that is, the piece of music played to honor the King, separate from the country's national anthem. The tune was written by Swedish composer, violinist and conductor Otto Lindblad (1809-1864) and the lyrics were written by Swedish poet Carl Vilhelm August Strandberg (1818-1877). It was first performed upon the accession to the throne by King Oscar I in 1844. Reference: GD.

#219 - Minuet—R. Schumann, Scarcity: LC
Although some of the early lists of cob numbers and titles in advertising materials give the name of the composer of this piece as “R. Schurmann”, the intended reference was to German classical composer Robert (Alexander) Schumann (1810-1856). The label on my copy of this cob contains simply the word “Minute” (sic). See also notes to cob #117. Reference: GD.

#220 - The Lighthouse By the Sea, Scarcity: LC
The words and music of this waltz song were written by Gussie L. Davis (1863-1899), an African-American songwriter and composer who was born in Ohio, later moved to New York City and wrote a large number of songs in the early days of “Tin Pan Alley”. Curiously, the sheet music in MN for this song, published by J. C. Groene & Co. in Cincinnati and dated 1886, shows it as being by “Charles A. Davies”. As the sheet music in MN for another song, “There's No One Like Mother to Me”, also published by Groene, shows Gussie L. Davis as the writer of both the words and music and there is also sheet music for the same song, again published by Groene, showing, instead, Charles A. Davies as the writer, Davis and Davies are presumably the same person. (Interestingly, there is sheet music in MN, also published by Groene, for a song with the title “I Am Thinking of Home Tonight” that lists the author and composer as “Gussie L. Davies” on the cover and “Gussie L. Davis” inside.) Two of Davis' better-known songs are “The Fatal Wedding” (cob #1039 and Grand cob #2070) and “In the Baggage Coach Ahead” (cob #1214). Additional reference: The New York Dramatic Mirror, October 28, 1899 (Davis obituary).


#221 - Galop—A Day in Vienna, Scarcity: LC
English organette expert Kevin McElhone's list of discs for the 24-note Herophon (a German-made organette) includes one (#189) with the title “Ein Tag in Wien Galopp” (German for “A Day in Vienna Galop”) followed by the name “J. Leinhardt”. Assuming that this disc contains the same tune as the one on the roller organ cob, the tune was very likely written by Julius Leinhardt, a German bandmaster and composer remembered today primarily for several of his military marches.

#222 - Gen. Boulanger's March, Scarcity: C
This tune was written by L. C. (Louis Cesar) Desormes (1840-1898), a French composer who was conductor at the Folies Bergere in Paris. It is also known by the title “En Revenant de la Revue” (“The Return from the Review”) because there are lyrics in French that were written to the tune that refer to people returning from the Bastille Day Review in Paris in 1886. After a Parisian singer named Paulus who performed the song changed the lyrics slightly to refer specifically to French military leader and politician General Georges Ernest Boulanger (1837-1891), the song became associated with Boulanger and his rise in power. Desormes' obituary notice in The Musical Times of November 1, 1898 singled out the tune among his many compositions and said it “enjoyed…a world-wide popularity a decade ago or so”. In the United States, “the March King”, John Philip Sousa (1854-1932), arranged it for performance by the U. S. Marine Band in 1887. Additional references: UN, MN.

#223 - Waltz—Nick of the Woods, Scarcity: LC
This very pretty waltz is by George Wiegand (1834-1901), a prolific German-born composer and conductor in New York City. At the great ball at the American Centennial Celebration there in April, 1889, no fewer than five pieces by Wiegand were on the program, including this piece. In a once-popular story titled Nick of the Woods by American novelist Robert Montgomery Bird (1806-1854) set in 18th-century Kentucky, the title character (who presents himself as a Quaker pacifist) methodically murders Native Americans to avenge the deaths of members of his family at their hands. The story was later adapted for the stage and, while it is difficult to imagine any connection between Bird's gory tale and Wiegand's sweet waltz tune, perhaps its title was taken from the title of the tale. Another of Wiegand's waltzes, “Blooming Youth Waltz”, also played at the Centennial Celebration, is on Grand cob #2008. References: Illustrated Programme of the Centennial Celebration in New York, April, 1889.

#224 - Wait Till the Clouds Roll by, Scarcity: LC
The words to this pretty and touching song are shown in sheet music in MN as being by J. T. Wood and the music is shown as being by H. J. Fulmer. The sheet music adds “as sung nightly with great success and repeated encores by Mr. Stanley Grey, San Francisco Minstrels, New York.” Other sheet music for the piece in UT published in London says it was also sung by the Christy Minstrels. I have not been able to find any biographical information about either Wood or Fulmer, which is consistent with their being pseudonyms of Charles E. Pratt (1841-1902), as has been widely reported. Pratt, who is shown as the arranger in one of the pieces of sheet music in MN attributing the song to Wood and Fulmer, was from Hartford, Connecticut and lived in New York City. In addition to being a composer of popular songs, he was a manager of performers as well as a conductor and accompanist. In the song the singer, who is about to go to sea, sings to his love Jenny and encourages her to cheer up and be courageous as she waits faithfully for him while he is gone; he tells her “Gladness will follow sorrow, Wait till the clouds roll by.” There is sheet music in LL for a follow-up song also attributed to Wood and Fulmer called “I'll Wait Till the Clouds Roll By” in which Jenny responds to her “Willie”. Additional references: New York Times, August 12, 1902.

#225 - See that My Grave's Kept Green, Scarcity: LC
In the Victorian era, when life was much more tenuous than today, there were many popular songs related to death and dying. Despite its cheery-sounding melody, this song is one of several on the roller organ in which the singer sings from his or her deathbed. In this case, although the 1876 sheet music in MN shows a woman on the cover standing next to a green grave, the lyrics could be sung by either a man or a woman. The singer asks his or her love merely to think, in the future, of the happy past and the joys they have seen, and also to see that the singer's grave is kept green. The words and music were by the well-known “Dutch” comedian and songwriter Gus Williams (1847?-1915; see notes to cob #175) but have no specific German reference.

#226 - Bring Back My Bonnie to Me, Scarcity: C
There is a great deal of contradictory information about the origins of this very widely-known song. Although it has been said to be a traditional Scottish piece possibly referring to the return of Bonnie Prince Charlie, a version of it attributed to J. T. Wood as lyricist and H. J. Fulmer as composer (widely reported as pseudonyms for Charles E. Pratt (1841-1902)) was published at about the same time as the sheet music to “Wait Till the Clouds Roll By”, which was also attributed to Wood and Fulmer (see notes to cob #224). It may be that Pratt adapted a traditional song in order to capitalize upon sheet music sales.

#227 - Waltz Song—Orange Blossoms, Scarcity: LC
There is sheet music in LL for this piece dating from 1882 and showing the composer of the tune as Adam Geibel and the writer of the lyrics as George M. Vickers. The singer, hearing distant wedding bells, laments the fact that she has given herself to a lover who has proven to be false, and says “The blossoms I wreath'd about my brow, Tho' beautiful once are faded now”. Geibel (1855-1933) was a blind composer, conductor, organist and music publisher who specialized in religious music but also wrote the tune to the very popular 1896 song “Kentucky Babe” (not on the roller organ). He was born in Germany, brought to the United States as a child and lived in Philadelphia. Vickers (1841-?) was a native Philadelphian who wrote hundreds of songs, many of them patriotic, and was a frequent collaborator of Geibel's. Additional references: The Evening News (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania), August 3, 1933 (Geibel death notice), The San Francisco Call, August 18, 1895 (paragraph about Vickers).

#228 - Waltz—A Maiden's Song, Scarcity: LC
This is another pretty waltz tune for which I have not yet been able to locate sheet music and about which I have not yet been able to track down any information.

#229 - Tramp, Tramp, Tramp, Scarcity: C
The words and music to this popular Civil War song were written by George F. (Frederick) Root (1820-1895; see notes to cob #10) and the sheet music was published in 1864 by his company, Root & Cady in Chicago. It is subtitled “The Prisoners Hope” and the singer, a prisoner of war, says that, as he sits in his cell, he is thinking of his mother and his faraway bright and happy home; the “tramp tramp tramp” in the chorus is the sound of the troops on the march who, he is hopeful, will arrive to set him free. Reference: TE.

#230 - Don't Be Angry With Me, Darling, Scarcity: LC
The 1871 sheet music for this song says that it was “composed for and sung by D. S. Wambold of the San Francisco Minstrels” (Dave Wambold (1836-1889), who MM says was “universally conceded as minstrelsy's greatest balladist”; despite their name, the San Francisco Minstrels, of which Wambold was a founding member, performed for many years in New York City). The words, by W. L. Gardner, are simply a repeated request by the singer to his beloved not to be angry with him. The music is by H. P. (Hart Pease) Danks (1834-1903), a Connecticut-born composer and concert bass singer who lived in Chicago and later in New York and wrote hundreds of pieces of music, both secular and religious. His most successful songs were this one and the enormously popular “Silver Threads Among the Gold” (on cob #476), but he sold the rights to them for very little money and died alone in a rooming house in Philadelphia, estranged from his wife and family. References: LL, NC, New York Times, November 21, 1903.


#231 - $15 In My Inside Pocket, Scarcity: LC
The complete title to this stage Irish song is “I Had $15 in my Inside Pocket”. The singer, who has been brought before a judge on a Sunday morning, says that his name is Paddy Flynn and he is an Irishman who lives in the Fourteenth Ward [in New York City]; that the night before he was tricked into buying drinks for a crowd in the expectation that he was going to be made an alderman; and that after he had spent the entire $15 in his inside pocket and had had plenty to drink himself the crowd disappeared, leaving him hung on a fence to dry out. Both the words and music were written by William Henry (“Harry”) Kennedy (1855?-1894), who was born in Manchester, England, came to New York City by way of Canada, began his performing career as a ventriloquist and later turned to songwriting. He wrote over 200 songs (publishing them himself in Brooklyn, where he lived), including, also, “Molly and I and the Baby” (cob #1019). References: LL, New York World, January 4, 1894, New York Times, January 5, 1894.

#232 - Johnnie, Get Your Hair Cut, Scarcity: C
This is an anonymous traditional dance tune from the southern United States with a number of different titles and a number of variations of the tune. Some versions substitute a different two-syllable name in place of “Johnnie” and various lyrics have been fitted to the tune, ranging from simple, repetitive nursery-rhyme-type songs that have appeared in songbooks for children to bawdy versions.

#233 - Poor Old Dad, Scarcity: LC
The sheet music for this 1885 song in MN bills it as “The Great Pathetic Success”. Although the tune is a lively and cheery-sounding one, the lyrics tell of an old man and his wife who are thrown out of their house roughly by their son in front of an angry crowd; the wife dies immediately of a broken heart and the old man, “poor old dad”, follows shortly after and they are buried side by side. The writer of both the lyrics and music was John W. Gibbons, who was a singer as well as a songwriter and whose name appears in lists of performers appearing currently at theatres in a number of different American cities in the 1880s and 1890s, although he does not seem to have been a headliner. He is sometimes listed as a “motto vocalist” or “motto singer”, that is, a performer of what were called “motto songs”, a term apparently referring to songs that repeated an adage or exhortation, providing moral advice, such as “Paddle Your Own Canoe” (not on the roller organ) or “Wait Till the Clouds Roll By” (cob #224). In fact, Gibbons was the author/compiler of an 1880 book titled John W. Gibbons' Book of Motto Songs: Containing a Large Collection of Songs Written and Sung by this Favorite Motto Vocalist and Author with Great Success in All the Principal Theatres of the United States: Together with All of the Favorite and Most Popular Songs of the Day.

#234 - Waltz—Cricket on the Hearth, Scarcity: LC
This waltz tune is by James E. Stewart (1842-1884). There are two published versions of it, one an entirely instrumental version, completely in waltz time, with a long introduction followed by the tune that is on the cob, and another a song version, with lyrics also by Stewart, with stanzas in 4/4 time followed by a refrain sung to the waltz tune that is on the cob. It is another sentimental song in which the singer, all alone in front of the hearth, hears a cricket sing there and thinks back to the happier days of his childhood when he and his parents would sit at the same hearth accompanied by a cricket's song. Stewart was born in Detroit and lived in Cincinnati. He was a heavy drinker and died an inmate of the Cincinnati workhouse. Gussie L. Davis (see notes to cob #220), who had met Stewart in Cincinnati before moving to New York, said he learned all his points and knowledge about songwriting from Stewart. References: MN, LL, The Pittsburgh Press, January 27, 1888 (interview with Davis), San Francisco Call, June 30, 1912 (article about Stewart; interesting story of how the song version of “The Cricket on the Hearth” became very popular because it was selected almost accidentally for inclusion in a stage production in Boston on the basis of a picture on the cover of the sheet music, which had been published in Cincinnati but a copy of which had been sent to another music publisher in Boston and put in its files).

#235 - Boccaccio Racket, Scarcity: LC
This tune is from the 1879 opera “Boccaccio” by Franz von Suppe (1819 or 1820-1895), with libretto by (Franz Friedrich) Richard Genee (1823-1895) and F. Zell (Camillo Walzel, 1829-1895). Von Suppe was born in Dalmatia on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea and Genee in Gdansk (Danzig) in Poland; both became well-known composers and conductors in Vienna (see notes to cobs #158 and 211). In the opera, Pietro, Prince of Palermo, arrives in Florence and is about to marry Fiametta, daughter of the Duke of Tuscany, who has been betrothed to him since childhood, although neither cares for the other. The novelist and poet Boccaccio loves Fiametta and when he is invited to prepare a comedy for performance at the wedding he bases it on the actions of Pietro, showing Pietro the folly of his ways and thereby winning the hand of Fiametta for himself. The tune on the cob appears in the “Song of Boccaccio” in Act I (item 4 in the score).

#236 - Cuckoo Song, Scarcity: LC
This waltz song is also known as “Emmet's Cuckoo Song” and both the music and lyrics were written by “Dutch” (German) comedian and singer J. K. (Joseph Kline) Emmet (1841-1891), who also wrote “Sweet Violets” (see notes to cob #108). The singer hears the sad song of a cuckoo and associates it with lost love. Emmet performed “Cuckoo Song” himself in his 1879 production “Fritz in Ireland”. The sheet music includes yodeling at the end, but warns “This yodler is sung by Mr. Emmet, but ordinarily it is better to play it.” References: DU.

#237 - I'll Remember You, Love, Scarcity: LC
The full title of this pretty 1869 song of separated lovers is “I'll Remember You, Love, in my Prayers”. The writer of both the words and music was Will (William) S. (Shakespeare) Hays (1837-1907), the prolific songwriter from Kentucky who also wrote “The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane” (see notes to cob #166) and has often been compared to Stephen Foster (see notes to cob #112). It has been sung and recorded by a number of Irish performers, to the extent that it is sometimes mistakenly thought to be of Irish origin. References: LL, BB, NC.

#238 - Put My Little Shoes Away, Scarcity: LC
This piece is another “tearjerker”, that is, an emotional, sad song about the death of a loved one that could be expected to bring listeners to tears. The singer is a deathly ill child who asks that, when he dies, his mother put his shoes aside for his baby brother to wear in the future. The tune was written by Charles E. Pratt (1841-1902; see notes to cob #224) and the lyrics were written by Samuel N. Mitchell (1846-1905), a Rhode Island Civil War veteran who wrote hundreds of songs in the 1860s and 1870s but received very little payment for them and in 1890, when he was interviewed for the Boston Globe, was working in the mail department of a Pawtucket, Rhode Island newspaper. References: LL, The Day (New London, Connecticut), December 11, 1890, The Boston Daily Globe, November 8, 1905.

#239 - Baby's Empty Cradle, Scarcity: LC
There is 1881 sheet music for a song of this name in MN and LL that calls it “the best selling song in America”, but the tune in the sheet music does not correspond to the tune on the cob, and the lyrics in the sheet music nowhere include the words “baby's empty cradle” except in the title; instead, they repeat the phrase “baby's gone, the cradle's empty”. Perhaps there is another song also called “Baby's Empty Cradle” with a tune that corresponds to the one on the cob. The words to the song in the sheet music were written by George Cooper (1840-1927; see notes to cob #173) and the music was written by J. (Joseph) P. Skelly (1853-1895), a prolific New York composer and songwriter who began writing songs while still in his teens and was well-known in his day because so many of his songs became popular, although he was a heavy drinker and died in the charity ward of St. Francis Hospital. It is another “tearjerker”; the singer laments the death of an infant. A number of Skelly's other songs appeared on the roller organ. Additional reference: The Publishers' Weekly, July 6, 1895 (obituary article about Skelly).

#240 - Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still, Scarcity: LC
In this song a seafaring man laments that he cannot forget a woman he met many years ago and still thinks of her constantly. The lyrics are by J. E. (Joseph Edwards) Carpenter (1813-1885) and the music is by W. T. (William Thomas) Wrighton (1816-1880). Both were English and wrote many songs during the several decades prior to the roller organ era. Almost 300 of Carpenter's “songs and ballads”, including “Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still”, most of which were subsequently set to music, appeared in an 1878 collection by Carpenter with the title Later Lyrics. Additional reference: MN.


#241 - Kitty Wells, Scarcity: LC
This is still another song of the “tearjerker” variety, although its tune is pretty and by no means gloomy-sounding. The African-American singer says that he loved a woman named Kitty Wells and had planned to marry her, but she died; when he found she was no more, he says, he laid his banjo down and cried. There were several sheet music versions of the song published during the years immediately before the Civil War showing it as being by different authors: Charles E. Atherton (LL), Thomas Sloan, Jr. (one-page broadsheet version (without music) in MN) and T. (Thomas) Brigham Bishop (1835-1905) (DU). Although it is possible that Bishop was the one who wrote the song, he made questionable claims of authorship of a number of other popular songs and was notorious for his shady dealings; an article in the New York Times of November 6, 1891 said “he has had a long career as confidence man, bunko steerer and general crook” and an obituary article in the Pensacola Journal of June 11, 1905, after telling how he had heavily insured the furniture in a Florida hotel he owned, soon after which the hotel burned down, added that “he indulged in other exploits more profitable and picturesque than was the writing of popular songs.”

#242 - I'm Just Going Down By The Gate, Scarcity: LC
The music to this waltz song was written by prolific New York composer J. (Joseph) P. Skelly (1853-1895; see notes to cob #239) and the lyrics were by comedian and singer Gus Williams (1847?-1915; see notes to cob #175), also a New Yorker, who performed the song on stage. Its correct title (as reflected in the sheet music in MN and other collections) is “I'm Just Going Down to the Gate”. The singer says that he has a seventeen-year old sweetheart named Kate who tells her parents that she is just going from their cottage down to the gate, and then meets the singer there and they exchange sweet words.

#243 - Money Musk, Scarcity: C
This is an old dance tune of Scottish origin that found its way into the repertoire of both traditional Irish musicians and American country fiddlers. It was composed by fiddler, music teacher and composer Daniel Dow (1732-1783) and given the name “Sir Archibald Grant of Monemusk's Reel”. This title for the tune was, over time, shortened to simply the Scottish place name “Monemusk” (in Aberdeenshire), which then became “Money Musk”. Captain Francis O'Neill included a version of the tune as number 1361 in his 1,850-tune collection O'Neill's Music of Ireland (1903). Reference: RP (attribution to Dow; music for the tune).

#244 - Scotch Lassie Jean, Scarcity: LC
The sheet music for this song in DU does not list a lyricist or composer but merely shows Harry Miller as the arranger, and says that the song was sung by a “motto and character vocalist” (see notes to cob #233) named Fred D. Harris and was from a show named “Tourists in a Pullman Car”. The singer says he has waited a long time for his Scotch Lassie Jean to meet him as she said she would and, while he has been told she is false, he refuses to believe it. “Tourists” was a farce-comedy set in a railway car involving a group of characters traveling west. It had no musical score of its own but rather borrowed songs from a number of different sources and the pieces that were performed in it varied from time to time.

#245 - Bring Back My Sailor Boy, Scarcity: LC
This tune consists of a stanza in a typical meter (eight lines, with lines of eight syllables alternating with lines of six syllables), followed by a faster chorus in waltz time. The progression of notes in the stanza is unusual, so that the tune has to be listened to a number of times and learned in order to sing it. I have not located sheet music for the piece and do not know who wrote the lyrics or composed the tune, but the lyrics appeared in Volume 20 of a series of inexpensive paperback songbooks (containing lyrics only) called Wehman's Universal Songster, published by the Wehman Publishing Company over a period of years beginning in the 1880s. The singer longs for the return of her love, who is at sea, and in the final stanza his ship returns to the bay, so that they will be reunited. The lyrics of the chorus are “Breeze blow high or low, Bear to him my message of joy, And blue sea, over to me, Bring back my sailor boy.”

#246 - The Irish Washerwoman, Scarcity: VC
This traditional Irish jig is probably the most familiar tune of its kind in the United States and if only one Irish jig is selected to be played at an American social event with an Irish theme, it will very likely be this one. The tune's exact origin has been widely debated and it is also found in the folk traditions of England, Scotland and Canada. Ironically, it is seldom played by traditional musicians in Ireland because it is viewed as so commonplace and has also been associated with lyrics regarded as demeaning to the Irish.

#247 - The Devil's Dream, Scarcity: VC
This is still another traditional dance tune. It is known in Scotland as “The De'il Among the Tailors”, according to RP, and appears under the name “The Devil's Dream” as number 1564 in Captain Francis O'Neill's 1,850-tune collection O'Neill's Music of Ireland (1903), where it is classified as a hornpipe rather than a reel. It is also widely played by American country fiddlers, often at breakneck speed. This is another cob that is easy to pick out in a batch by its pin configuration because of the many repetitions of pins at regular intervals.

#248 - Ocean Telegraph March, Scarcity: LC
The sheet music for this lively march tune in DU bears a copyright date of 1858 and shows the composer as Francis H. (Henry) Brown (1818-1891). It is dedicated by the publisher to American businessman and financier Cyrus W. Field (1819-1882), one of the founders of the American Telegraph Company, which laid the first telegraph cable across the Atlantic Ocean, and actually shows a cross-section of the cable on the cover as well as a portrait of Field. Brown was a prolific and successful American composer represented by no fewer than 160 items of sheet music in MN, dating primarily from the period from the 1840s through the Civil War years. He was also a pianist, organist, choral conductor and music teacher. Additional reference: Arlan R. Coolidge, “Francis Henry Brown, 1818-1891, American Teacher and Composer”, Journal of Research in Music Education, Vol. 9, No. 1 (Spring, 1961).

#249 - Massa's Wedding Night, Scarcity: LC
[With regard to this cob, see the WARNING AND HISTORICAL CONTENT DISCLAIMER about songs containing offensive language or negative stereotypes at the end of the General Introduction to this Handbook.] David Braham (1834?-1905) was previously mentioned as possibly having held a copyright on the tune on cob #217, “Medley Jig”. Braham wrote the music for a number of New York stage productions of Harrigan and Hart (Edward (“Ned”) Harrigan (1844-1911) and Tony Hart (real name Anthony J. Cannon; 1855-1891)), which were extremely popular in the 1870s and 1880s. They included stereotyped comic Irish characters based on New York slum dwellers of the time as well as African-American minstrel characters who were portrayed by white men in blackface. Harrigan typically wrote the scripts and lyrics and both he and Hart acted in the shows. In 1885 Harrigan and Hart dissolved their partnership and Braham (whose daughter was married to Harrigan) continued to collaborate with him. “Massa's Wedding Night”, with lyrics by Harrigan and the lively music by Braham, appeared in the 1887 Harrigan show “Pete”. The title character, played by Harrigan, was an African-American former slave, and the lyrics are an exhortation to all the African-Americans to come to the “massa's” (master's) wedding because all of them would be welcomed in the parlor on that special occasion. The label on some copies of this cob mistakenly reads “Bessie's Wedding Night”.

#250 - Jingle Bells, Scarcity: LC
This universally-known song glorifying the joy of a horse-drawn sleigh ride in winter, long associated with Christmas although its lyrics contain no reference to the holiday, was written and composed by J. (James Lord) Pierpont (1822-1893) and first published under the title “The One Horse Open Sleigh” in 1857. Pierpont, although born and raised in Massachusetts, later moved to Savannah, Georgia, where his brother was a Unitarian minister (like his father), and became the organist at his brother's church. James sympathized with the Southern cause and served in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War. He was a music teacher as well as a songwriter, composer and organist and, interestingly, was the uncle of financier and banker J. P. (John Pierpont) Morgan, who was the son of James' older sister Juliet. Reference: MN.


#251 - I'll Take You Home Again, Scarcity: LC
The full title of this sad song, copyrighted in 1876, is “I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen”. Both the lyrics and music were written by Thomas P. (Payne) Westendorf (1848-1923). The singer promises to take his wife, whose cheek is no longer rosy, whose voice is now sad and whose brow often bears a darkening shadow, across the wild and wide ocean to where her heart has ever been and to where it shall feel no pain. Although usually thought of as an Irish song, the song has no Irish references or connections except that “Kathleen” is usually an Irish name, and Westendorf was neither Irish nor an Irish-American. He was born in Virginia, grew up in Chicago and had the unusual job of leader and instructor of the brass band and teacher of singing at reform schools in a number of locations. Westendorf was a very prolific songwriter and is represented by no fewer than 289 items in the MN sheet music collection, but none of his pieces achieved popularity comparable to “I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen”. Additional reference: Potter's American Monthly, Vol. XV, Philadelphia, John E. Potter & Company, 1880 (biography of Westendorf).

#252 - Waltz—King of the Fairies, Scarcity: LC
This is another nondescript waltz tune for which I have not yet located sheet music and about which I have not yet located any information.

#253 - The Spanish Cavalier, Scarcity: C
This song was written by William D. Hendrickson. A Spanish cavalier about to leave for war bids his love farewell and urges her to be true. The lyrics and music appear in a book titled College Songs: A Collection of the Most Popular Songs of the Colleges of America (Henry Randall Waite, compiler, Boston, Oliver Ditson, 1887) preceded by an introductory paragraph that says that Hendrickson was first a cabin boy on an American naval ship and later a drummer boy in the Panama army before returning to his native San Francisco, where he wrote this song and sold it for $50 to a music publisher in 1880. Additional reference: MN.

#254 - Jennie, the Flower of Kildare, Scarcity: LC
The lyrics to this song, which was copyrighted in 1873, are by Frank Dumont (1848-1919) and the music is by James E. Stewart (1842-1884)(see notes to cob #234). Dumont was a minstrel show performer and manager and the author of hundreds of minstrel songs and sketches. It is a cheery piece in which the singer thinks of his darling Jennie at her cottage in Ireland and looks forward to seeing her soon when he crosses the sea to meet her. According to the sheet music in MN, it was sung by J. H. Surridge (1838-1910), who was also a prominent minstrel singer. References: MM, Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), March 17, 1919 (Dumont obituary).

#255 - Rock-a-Bye Baby, Scarcity: LC
The lyrics to the universally familiar chorus of this song differ only slightly from those of a nursery rhyme first published in England in the late eighteenth century. The rest of the lyrics were written and the music was composed by Effie I. Crockett Canning (1857-1940) of Boston in 1886 and, according to an article about her in the March 31, 1888 issue of the Cambridge Tribune of Cambridge, Massachusetts, over 250,000 copies of the sheet music for the song had been sold by that time and it could “safely be called the most popular song produced in this country within the last ten years”. It was incorporated into Denman Thompson's Boston production of “The Old Homestead”, the same show that was responsible for the great popularity of the song “The Cricket on the Hearth” (see notes to cob #234). A more extended version of the piece appeared on Grand cob #2081. Reference: UT.

#256 - The Little Fishermaiden, Scarcity: LC
This song is by German composer, singer and theater director Ludolf Waldmann (1840-1919) and comes from his operetta “Incognito”. It was originally known by its German title, “Das kleine Fischermadchen”, and a number of different English translations of the lyrics have been made. One version of the song with English lyrics by George Bardwell appears in MN. The little fishermaiden, the fairest maid in all the village, braves the stormy sea despite warnings from the mermaids and nearly perishes, but in the end is saved by King Neptune. Interestingly, in 1895 Waldmann was awarded $1,350 plus $2,000 in costs by a court in Berlin in a lawsuit against a barrel organ manufacturer for using eleven of his songs without permission. The Musical Record, in reporting this, added “Lucky composer! In the ordinary course of events he would have cleared perhaps one-tenth of that with his songs.” Reference: Musical Record, Boston, Oliver Ditson Company, August, 1895.

#257 - Hil dig, du hoie Nord (Hail, Thou High North—Norwegian), Scarcity: LC
The majestic Scandinavian patriotic tune on this cob was composed by Bernhard Henrik Crusell (1775-1838), who was born in Finland and became a clarinetist, classical composer and military band leader in Sweden. It is also known by the Swedish title “Hell dig du hoga nord” and Finnish title “Oi terve Pohjola”.

#258 - Bonnie Doon, Scarcity: LC
Scottish poet Robert Burns (1759-1796), who wrote the words to “Auld Lang Syne” (see notes to cob #126), also wrote “Ye Banks and Braes o' Bonnie Doon”. The singer, a woman, asks how the riverbanks and hillsides (“braes”) can bloom so beautifully, and the birds sing, along the River Doon (which is in Burns' native Ayrshire) when she is so weary and full of care because her false lover has abandoned her. The tune Burns selected to go with his poem is an air he knew as “The Caledonian Hunt's Delight”.

#259 - Most Excellent Master Song (Masonic), Scarcity: LC
#260 - Royal Arch Ode (Masonic), Scarcity: LC
The roller organ was used to provide music not only at religious services but also at meetings of fraternal organizations. There is an entire group of cobs on the Grand roller organ (#2102-2108) identified in lists of cob numbers and titles as “Masonic” that would have been used as processionals or for singing in lodges of Freemasons. Cobs #259 and 260 were intended for use in chapters of the Royal Arch Masons. One becomes a Freemason by receiving the three degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master Mason in what is called the “Blue Lodge”. He is then eligible, and in many cases chooses, to continue with additional degrees in a separate Masonic body, the Royal Arch. The final two degrees in the Royal Arch are the Most Excellent Master and Royal Arch degrees.


#261 - Svensk Marsch (Swedish March—Swedish), Scarcity: LC
This is another of a number of stirring Scandinavian nationalistic and patriotic pieces on the roller organ. I have not yet located a more specific title for the piece or identified its composer.

#262 - Old Black Joe, Scarcity: C
This is another well-known and at one time very widely sung piece by one of America's greatest composers and writers of popular music, Stephen (Collins) Foster (1826-1864; see notes to cob #112). The singer, an elderly African-American, remembers when his heart was young and gay and he worked in the cotton fields and hears the call of the “gentle voices” of deceased friends and children summoning him to join them. The cover of the sheet music in IU, with a copyright date of 1860, includes the name of Dan Bryant (real name Daniel Webster O'Brien; 1833-1875), a famous blackface minstrel singer who performed the song, and the words “100 Thousand Copies Sold”. Additional reference: MM.

#263 - Flow Gently, Sweet Afton, Scarcity: LC
Like the lyrics to “Bonnie Doon” (see notes to cob #258), the lyrics to this song (also known as “Afton Water”) were written by Scottish poet Robert Burns (1759-1796) and refer to a river in his native Ayrshire, in this case the Afton. The singer describes the beautiful natural setting and bids the river itself and the nearby birds not to disturb his love Mary, who is sleeping on the riverbank. The original Scottish tune associated with the words was supplanted by the simpler tune on this cob, which was composed by J. (Jonathan) E. (Edwards) Spilman (1812-1896), a Kentucky-born lawyer who later became a minister. There is sheet music linking Burns' poem with Spilman's tune in UN that is copyrighted 1838. The first two sections of the tune have also been used for the Christmas carol “Away in a Manger”.

#264 - Vasa-Svensk Marsch (Wasa-Swedish March—Swedish), Scarcity: LC
This very pretty march tune was composed by composer and pianist Adolph von Henselt (1814-1889), who was born in Germany but spent most of his life in St. Petersburg, Russia, where he was court pianist. The name “Vasa” is a significant one in Swedish history. Gustav Vasa (Gustav I) (1496?-1560), of the Swedish noble family Vasa, is remembered as the liberator of Sweden from Danish control and the first King of modern Sweden, beginning in 1523, and there is a great deal of lore about him that has been passed down through the centuries, some undoubtedly fiction. It remains to be determined, however, how and why a German-born composer who lived in Russia and is remembered primarily for what is today thought of as “classical music” happened to compose a patriotic march tune named “Vasa” that would have been known to Swedish-Americans in the 1880s to the extent that it was chosen for the roller organ. Reference: GD.

#265 - We'd Better Bide a Wee, Scarcity: LC
This is another sentimental song by English songwriter and composer “Claribel” (Charlotte (Alington) Barnard (1830-1869; see notes to cob #104)). The singer, a woman, tells her intended husband (in Scots dialect) that although her elderly parents have unselfishly given their blessing to her marriage, she cannot leave them now because of their declining health and poor economic circumstances; instead, she and he had better bide (wait) a wee (a short while) before marrying. Reference: UT.

#266 - Killarney, Scarcity: LC
This very pretty tune is by Irish-born composer Michael W. (William) Balfe (1808-1870; see notes to cobs #134 and 157). Its four stanzas of lyrics, by Edmund Falconer (the stage name of Edmund O'Rourke, 1814-1879), extol the beauties of southwestern Ireland's Killarney region, a popular tourist destination in Victorian times and down to the present. Falconer was a Dublin-born actor and theater producer and manager who also wrote plays, librettos and poetry and sometimes collaborated with Balfe. References: SG, DN.

#267 - A Life on the Ocean Wave, Scarcity: LC
The lyrics to this familiar song extolling the joys of sailing were written by Epes Sargent (1812 or 1813-1880); the music is by Henry Russell (1812 or 1815-1900). Sargent, who was born in Gloucester, Massachusetts, was a prolific author as well as a playwright, theatre producer and newspaperman. Russell was an English composer who widely performed one-man shows singing while seated at the piano. While both were in New York City during the 1830s, Sargent composed the lyrics to this song after watching ships in the harbor at the Battery and showed them to his friend, newspaperman George P. Morris (1802-1864; see notes to cob #135), who said he did not think they were appropriate for a song but published them as a poem in the New York Mirror. Some days later Sargent met Russell, whom he knew, Russell said he disagreed with Morris' opinion as to the lyrics and Sargent and Russell went into the back room of a music store, where Russell sat at a piano and quickly composed a tune to go with the lyrics. The resulting song became an instant hit. It was copyrighted in 1838 and the sheet music of that date says that the song was sung by Russell and “Mr. Seguin” (Arthur Edward Sheldon Seguin (1808-1852), an English-born bass singer who first came to and performed in the United States in 1838). In “A Life on the Ocean Wave”, the singer says that he loves sailing on the ocean, even when it is stormy; he pines like a caged eagle when he is confined to the dull, unchanging shore and prefers shooting through the sparkling foam like an ocean bird set free. Additional references: LL, OF, NC, DN (1901 supplement), OC, Pen and Pencil, Vol. 1 (1853)(obituary of Seguin from the New York Tribune).

#268 - Comin' Thro' the Rye, Scarcity: C
This is a traditional Scottish tune to which Scottish poet Robert Burns (1759-1796; see notes to cobs #258 and 263) wrote lyrics, but other versions of lyrics, some of them bawdy, exist as well. References: DU, LL.

#269 - Finnish March, Scarcity: LC
This pretty and stirring traditional march tune is known as “Porilaisten Marssi” in Finnish and “Bjorneborgarnas Marsch” in Swedish.

#270 - Massa's in de Cold Ground, Scarcity: LC
[With regard to this cob, see the WARNING AND HISTORICAL CONTENT DISCLAIMER about songs containing offensive language or negative stereotypes at the end of the General Introduction to this Handbook.] This is still another song by Stephen (Collins) Foster (1826-1864) and dates from 1852. Foster followed up his 1851 success, “Old Folks at Home” (see notes to cob #121) with this song, and their tunes sound somewhat alike. It is written in dialect and the singer, an African-American slave, laments the recent death of his weak and old “massa” (master), who was revered by the singer and his fellow slaves because he was so kind; he says “I try to drive away my sorrow/Pickin on de old banjo”. The cover of the sheet music reads “As sung by Christy's Minstrels”, the famous blackface minstrel group founded by Edwin P. Christy (1815-1862), who performed with the group and specialized in singing Foster songs. References: LL, MM.


#271 - Mary Blane, Scarcity: S
This is still another pre-Civil War minstrel song. It appears in a number of versions that have in common the singer singing the praises of his love Mary Blane and expressing his regret at being separated from her. There is sheet music for the song dated 1846 in MN from “Whitlock's Collection of Ethopian Melodies” with the notation “as sung with great applause by William Whitlock in the principal theatres of the United States”. “Billy” Whitlock (1813-1878) was one of the earliest blackface minstrel performers and a member of the Virginia Minstrels. In this version, the tune corresponds to the one on the roller organ cob and the African-American singer, in dialect, merely bids Mary to take care of herself and says that he is coming back again. In other versions (see, for example, the version in LL, with a different tune), she is taken away from him by the “white man” as in “Nelly Gray” (see notes to cob #144) and either he then dies of a broken heart or she then dies of fever. In still another version with the same tune that is on the cob in the E. Azalia Hackley sheet music collection in the Detroit Public Library, the singer and Mary are going to be separated because he is about to die of illness. Reference: MM.

#272 - Grandfather's Clock, Scarcity: LC
The words and music of this onetime very popular song dating from 1876 are by Henry Clay Work (1832-1884), the author of a number of Civil War songs, including “Marching Through Georgia” (see notes to cob #109). The singer says that his grandfather's clock was purchased on the morning his grandfather was born, seemed to know and to share both his grief and joy (for example, chiming twenty-four times when he crossed the threshold with his bride), kept perfect time for ninety years but stopped, never to go again, at the moment he died. (See also notes to cob #373 concerning minstrel performer Sam Lucas' claimed authorship and composition of this song). Reference: MN.

#273 - The Star Spangled Banner, Scarcity: VC
This universally-known song is the American national anthem. Its lyrics were written by Francis Scott Key (1779-1843), a lawyer and amateur poet, at the siege of Fort McHenry in Baltimore by British forces in 1814, and were set to a then-familiar tune, “To Anacreon in Heaven”, by English composer, organist and musicologist John Stafford Smith (1750-1836). The tune also appeared on Grand cob #2071 preceded by “America” (“My Country 'Tis of Thee”). Reference: GD.

#274 - Oh! Susanna, Scarcity: LC
This is another minstrel song by Stephen (Collins) Foster (1826-1864) and dates from 1848, when it was published under the name “Susanna”. It is undoubtedly one of the most popular and familiar American songs ever written. The lyrics are in dialect and the singer is an African-American who, he says, has been traveling, with his banjo on his knee, to see his true love Susanna. They include some nonsense phrases such as “It rain'd all night de day I left, de wedder it was dry” and “The sun so hot I froze to def”. The song was Foster's first big success. References: MN, OC.

#275 - Maryland, My Maryland, Scarcity: C
The lyrics to this patriotic song were written in 1861 by James Ryder Randall (1839-1908), a Maryland native then living in Louisiana, to encourage the State of Maryland to join the Confederacy during the American Civil War. Randall's lyrics were set by a young Baltimore woman named Jennie Cary (referred to on the cover of the sheet music merely as “A Lady of Baltimore”) to the tune “Lauriger Horatius”, which was at that time taken from a book of Yale songs and which is essentially the same tune that is used for the Christmas song “O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum”. As such, this cob is thought of as a “Christmas cob” and is therefore one that is in great demand. References: DU, Matthew Page Andrews, Ed., The Poems of James Ryder Randall, New York, The Tandy-Thomas Company, 1910 (biography of Randall, referring to him as “the poet-laureate of the Southern Confederacy”, and detailed information about the creation of the song).

#276 - Tommy Dodd, Scarcity: LC
In this song, the singer says that he is a man about town who has a weakness, a love for “Tommy Dodd”, a coin-tossing game that enables him to win money from others he draws in to play. The 1868 sheet music for it in LL notes that it was “sung by George Edwards in Dion Boucicault's great sensational drama 'After Dark'”. “After Dark, a Tale of London Life”, a melodrama by Irish-born playwright Boucicault (see notes to cob #163), was first presented in London that year. Other sheet music for the song, also in LL, says the words and music were by Ernee Clarke. Piecing together scraps of information about him from 1870s sources located through the Internet, in 1879 he was a retired “comique and comedian” living in Bristol, England, and in the earlier 1870s he had been a “licensed victualler” (pubkeeper) who operated a Bristol pub named the “Old Globe”.

#277 - Hail Columbia, Scarcity: C
This is a formerly popular American patriotic song that is essentially forgotten today. “Columbia” is a poetic name for the United States. The lyrics were written in 1798 by Joseph Hopkinson (1770-1842), a Philadelphia lawyer, at a time when there was a division of opinion as to whether the United States should side with England or France or remain neutral in a then-raging conflict between them. Hopkinson later said that his object in writing the lyrics “was to get up an American spirit, which should be independent of and above the interests, passions, and policy of both belligerents, and look and feel exclusively for our own honor and rights”, and he wrote the lyrics specifically to go with a then popular tune originally called “General Washington's March” and later “The President's March”, which was composed by a German-born violinist and orchestra leader named Philip Phile (also referred to as Pfeil, Phyla or Fyles) (c. 1734-1793) for Washington's inauguration in New York in 1789. This is another tune, like cob #124, “Marseillaise Hymn”, that is a little long to fit comfortably onto a 20-note roller organ cob. References: OF, BB.

#278 - Juanita, Scarcity: LC
“Juanita”, subtitled “A Song of Spain” appeared in sheet music in 1855 attributed to “the Hon. Mrs. Norton”. This was Caroline Sheridan Norton (1808-1877), a socially prominent English poet and author also remembered for her efforts to reform English marriage, child custody and divorce laws, motivated by her decades-long quarrels with her estranged husband. In 1871, she wrote that she had composed “Juanita” twenty years earlier for her son to sing, with guitar accompaniment. The singer addresses his love Juanita as they are about to part and bids her to be his bride. References: UN, Jane Gray Perkins, The Life of the Honourable Mrs. Norton, New York, Henry Holt & Company, 1909.

#279 - Red, White and Blue, Scarcity: VC
This is another patriotic song and is also known as “Columbia the Gem of the Ocean”, in which “Columbia” is again a poetic name for the United States. Although claimed by Philadelphia actor, composer and music teacher Thomas a'Becket, Sr. (1808-1890) to have been written by him at the request of a singer named David T. Shaw based on a rough first draft Shaw gave him, it was published in 1843 as Shaw's own composition showing a'Becket merely as arranger. The tune also appeared on Grand cob #2140 as part of the “Patriotic Medley”. Reference: MN (including an article in its Performing Arts Encyclopedia on the disputed origin of the song).

#280 - Tenting on the Old Camp Ground, Scarcity: C
Both the words and music to this Civil War song were written hastily in 1863 by New Hampshire-born Walter Kittredge (1834-1905) after learning he was being drafted into the Union Army. Kittredge was a traveling singer who gave ballad concerts as well as a songwriter and he performed the song himself. It was subsequently published and became popular immediately and the sheet music for it continued to be sold in large numbers for many years. The lyrics are written from the point of view of soldiers living in tents surrounded by the wounded, dead and dying, thinking of home and loved ones and wishing the war was over. References: The New England Magazine, Vol. 20, August, 1899 (lengthy article about Kittredge).


#281 - Far Away Where Angels Dwell, Scarcity: LC
Although this cob is not included among the hymn cobs and the song on it contains no Christian references (or even any reference to God), the theme of the song is similar to that of “The Sweet Bye and Bye” (cob #1): we can look forward to being reunited with deceased loved ones “far away where angels dwell”, that is, in Heaven. There is sheet music for the song in MN attributing the lyrics to Arthur W. French and the music to George W. Persley (1837-1894, according to MN (discussion)). French is also credited with writing the lyrics to a large number of hymns, including “Some Sweet Day” (cob #611), as well as secular songs such as “Down Among the [de] Sugar Cane” (cob #284), “Some Day I'll Wander Back Again” (cob #374) and “Take Me Back to Home and Mother” (cob #375). He is also credited with writing, with Persley, a song dedicated to Thomas P. Westendorf with the title “Barney, Take Me Home Again”, to which the lyrics to Westendorf's famous “I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen” (see notes to cob #251) became a response. There are a number of references online to the relationship between these two songs that state that George W. Persley was a pseudonym of a Chicago composer and music publisher named George W. Brown. This is corroborated in advertisements in 1884 issues of Folio (a monthly journal of music publishers White, Smith & Company) describing him as “George W. Brown (Persley)”, listing his address in Chicago and indicating that he provided “Music for Soirees, and so forth”. As for French, I thought initially that his name, too, may have been a pseudonym, but I then came across an advertisement placed by him in the May 4, 1872 edition of The New York Clipper addressed “To Musical Composers”, in which he referred to himself as “the popular writer of Song Poetry” and “author of the words to nearly a hundred songs”, offering to write the words to “Ballads, Glees or Cantatas, both Sentimental, Comic or Sacred”, and giving his address merely as “Bridgeport, Connecticut”. Also, in a response to a letter of inquiry in the February 10, 1923 issue of Presto, the American Music Trade Weekly, the editor said that French was a “well-known writer of song verses” in the 1870s, “perhaps the most prolific of the song-word writers” and that he was “an employe of the Singer Sewing Machine Co. in the Bridgeport, Conn. factory of that industry”. In the 1870 United States census, French, then age 24, was indeed listed as a clerk in a sewing machine factory, but by the 1880 census his profession was listed as “journalist”. According to Rev. Samuel Orcutt, in A History of the Old Town of Stratford and the City of Bridgeport Connecticut, Part II (Fairfield County Historical Society, 1886), French was city editor and later night editor of The Bridgeport Morning News. The February 5, 1916 issue of The Music Trade Review reported his death a week earlier at his home in Bridgeport and described him as “a retired newspaper man and the author of a number of songs of more or less popularity”, noting that he often said, but never proved, that he had written the lyrics to the very popular song “Silver Threads Among the Gold” and submitted them to Hart P. Danks, who suggested certain changes and supplied the music (see notes to cob #476). Additional reference: LL.

#282 - There is a Tavern in the Town, Scarcity: S
Although there is sheet music for this song in LL with a copyright date of 1891 showing both words and music as being by “F. J. Adams”, an identical version of the song copyrighted 1883 by William H. Hills appears in a collection entitled Students' Songs edited by Hills, “Harvard Class of 1880”, of which tens of thousands of copies were sold during the 1880s. Hills' version is apparently derived from an anonymous folk song of earlier date that exists in a number of versions with differing lyrics. The singer is a woman who tells that her love sits in a tavern drinking wine, never thinks of her and takes the “dark damsel” for whom he left her on his knee; therefore, anticipating her own death, she asks that her grave be dug wide and deep, tombstones be put at her head and feet and that a turtle dove be carved on her breast to signify that she died for love. The jolly-sounding tune, however, indicates that the song is not a true “tearjerker” (see notes to cob #238) but rather the sort of song one would expect to hear sung with a wink by a chorus of college boys.

#283 - The Old Oaken Bucket, Scarcity: C
The lyrics to this onetime enormously popular and universally known song are by Samuel Woodworth (1785-1842), who was born in Massachusetts and spent a number of years as an itinerant and impecunious printer, poet and writer before settling permanently in New York City, where he wrote the lyrics in 1817. The singer fondly recalls the scenes of his childhood and focuses on the wooden iron-bound moss-covered bucket that was used to draw water from the well and the pureness and sweetness of the cool water that he drank from it. As a testament to the onetime popularity of the song, the Old Oaken Bucket Homestead and Well in Woodworth's hometown of Scituate, Massachusetts has been a tourist attraction for over 100 years and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The tune, which dates from the 1820s, was originally written by English composer George Kiallmark (1781-1835) (not, as has been widely and erroneously stated, his son George F. Kiallmark (1804-1887)) to accompany the poem “Araby's Daughter” from Lalla Rookh by Irish poet Thomas Moore (see notes to cob #149), and was later adopted as the tune to accompany Woodworth's poem. References: The Poetical Works of Samuel Woodworth Edited by his Son, Vol. I (New York, Charles Scribner, 1861)(biography of Woodworth by his onetime colleague George P. Morris (see notes to cobs #135 and 267), including the circumstances of Woodworth's writing of the lyrics to this song), OF, LL.

#284 - Down Among the Sugar Cane, Scarcity: LC
The sheet music to this song in LL, with a copyright date of 1875, gives the title as “Down Among de Sugar Cane” and calls it “Companion to 'The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane'” (see notes to cob #166). As in that song, the singer is an elderly African American former slave. He says, in dialect, that he anticipates his death and looks forward to being laid to rest among the sugar cane. The lyrics were written by the Bridgeport, Connecticut songwriter and newspaper editor Arthur W. French (see notes to cob #281) and the music was composed by Charles D. (Dupee) Blake (1847-1903). Blake was a church organist and pianist in the Boston area before turning to composing and, according to the June, 1884 issue of Folio (a monthly journal of music publishers White, Smith & Company, which employed Blake), wrote under eleven different names, had composed nearly five thousand pieces and at the time probably received “the highest prices for his compositions of any American author of the popular class”. He also owned a piano business in Boston. One of his best-known compositions was “Clayton's Grand March” (cob #450). Writing a “companion song” was a way a songwriter could achieve sheet music sales by riding on the coattails of a successful and popular piece of the day, just as, in the later era of recorded music, a popular record often spawned the recording of an “answer”, related or follow-up song. Additional reference: New York Times, November 25, 1903 (obituary article about Blake).

#285 - Stop that Knocking at the Door, Scarcity: LC
[With regard to this cob, see the WARNING AND HISTORICAL CONTENT DISCLAIMER about songs containing offensive language or negative stereotypes at the end of the General Introduction to this Handbook.] This is another minstrel song. There are two different versions of sheet music for it in MN, both with the same tune as is on the cob. The first, dated 1847, titled “Stop Dat Knocking at de Door”, was issued in a series titled “The Celebrated Negro Melodies as Sung by the Virginia Minstrels” and says that it was to be sung “in imitation of two rival [African-Americans]…named Gumbo and Sambo” and that it was “composed and sung by A. F. Winnemore”, and the second, dated 1848, titled “Stop That Knocking at the Door”, contains totally different lyrics and says “as sung and arranged by the Christy Minstrels”. Anthony Fannen (“Tony”) Whittemore (1815-1851) was a Philadelphia native who performed with the Boston Minstrels and the Virginia Serenaders and died of consumption at the age of only 35.

#286 - Little Maggie May, Scarcity: LC
In this minstrel song, the singer recalls the spring day on which he first saw his love Maggie May by a brook and, now separated from her, prays for heaven's protection until he can call her his. There is sheet music for the song in LL that shows the author of the lyrics as G. W. Moore and the composer of the tune as Charles Blamphin. Blamphin wrote and composed a number of songs for minstrel performances in his native England, especially for a troupe that called itself the Original Christy Minstrels. The first Christy Minstrels had been an American troupe that was founded by Edwin P. Christy (1815-1862) in the 1840s, specialized in performing songs by Stephen Foster (see notes to cob #112) and disbanded in the mid-1850s. Some members of that troupe subsequently adopted its name, took a “Christy Minstrels” show to London in 1857 and became very popular there. After that, there were a number of minstrel troupes performing on both sides of the Atlantic that included “Christy” in their name and “Christy minstrels” became a generic name for a type of performance rather than being associated with just a single troupe. G. W. (George Washington, known as “Pony”) Moore (1820-1909) was an American-born minstrel performer who joined the first English “Christy Minstrels” troupe in 1859 and ended up remaining in England, where he later headed his own “Christy Minstrels” troupe and a troupe known as the Moore & Burgess Minstrels. Additional references: OC, MM.

#287 - Suomi (ekö) Sang (Suomis (echo) Song—Swedish), Scarcity: LC
This Scandinavian patriotic tune is perhaps the most dreary-sounding piece on the roller organ. The Autophone Company classified the cob as “Swedish” but, notwithstanding the fact that Finland was dominated and controlled by Sweden for many centuries, “Suomi” is the Finnish word for Finland and “Suomis Sang” means “Finland's Song”. The composer of the tune was Fredrik Pacius (1809-1891), a German-born composer, conductor and violinist who became the first music instructor at the University of Helsinki and has been called “the father of Finnish music”. He also composed the tune to the Finnish national anthem (cob #64). Reference: Ruth-Esther Hillila and Barbara Blanchard Hong, Historical Dictionary of the Music and Musicians of Finland, Westport, Connecticut, Greenwood Press, 1997.

#288 - Nordens Fjällar (Northern Mountains—Swedish), Scarcity: LC
The pretty and majestic Swedish folk tune on this cob was used for the Swedish national anthem, which begins “Du gamla, du fria, du fjallhoga Nord” (“Thou ancient, thou free, thou mountainous North”) but nowhere includes the words “Nordens fjallar”. Sheet music for it can be found in the Sons of Norway Song Book (Minneapolis, 1948), which includes a number of the Norwegian songs on cobs #500-514 and 579-592 as well as patriotic songs of both Norway and the other Scandinavian countries. The lyrics were written in 1844 by Swedish jurist, antiquarian and poet Richard Dybeck (1811-1877) and the first line of the song is engraved on his tombstone.

#289 - Marsch: "Dane Lik Asken, Bröder" (March: "Done Lik"—Swedish), Scarcity: LC
The correct title of this once better-known Swedish patriotic anthem is “Dane Liksom Askan, Broder” (“Roar Like Thunder, Brothers”). The lyrics were written by Swedish playwright, actor and lyricist Johan Christoffer Jolin (1818-1884) and set to a tune by Josef Hartmann Stuntz (1793-1859), a Swiss-born composer and conductor in Munich. Jolin used the song in his 1849 play “Barnhusbarnen eller Verldens dom”, in which students sing it as they march onto the scene. It is therefore also known by the title “Studentsang” (“Student Song”) and is still sung by Swedish male choirs. References: The Musical World, Vol. 38, London, Boosey and Sons, 1860 (article about Stuntz following his death), Svenskt Biografiskt Handlexikon [Swedish Biographical Hand Dictionary], Second Edition, Stockholm, 1906 (biography of Jolin).

#290 - In Her Little Bed We Laid Her, Scarcity: LC
This song, another “tearjerker”, is about a little girl who has died and is buried near her deceased mother, with whom she will now be reunited in Heaven. According to sheet music for it in MN with a date of 1870, it was an “answer song” to an earlier song that is not on the roller organ, “Put Me in my Little Bed”. Both songs, as well as a number of songs of the same genre, were written by Dexter Smith (William Dexter Smith, Jr., 1838-1909) with music by C. A. (Charles Albert) White (1830-1892; see notes to cob #142). Sheet music for “In Her Little Bed We Laid Her” with a different cover, in UV, advertises that it was sung by minstrel singer D. S. Wambold (see notes to cob #230). Dexter Smith was a music critic and editor in Boston as well as a prolific songwriter. Additional reference: Publishers Weekly, Vol. 76 (1909) (Smith obituary notice).


#291 - Kitty King, Scarcity: S
Sheet music for this song in MN with a copyright date of 1878 shows it as being by Alfred W. Sweet. The singer, addressing Kitty, says he is about to leave her for far-off climes, perhaps for years, and asks her to say she loves him and to be pledged to him until he returns. A different version of the sheet music in DU and UT adds a third verse in which Kitty gives her “Charlie” (the singer) a product called “Biliousine” to take with him in his travels to ward off sickness; the chorus then begins “Health and comfort, good digestion, Biliousine will ever bring” and at the bottom of the page appears “Presented with Compliments of SNOW & EARL, Sole Agents of BILIOUSINE”. Sweet may have lived in Taunton, Massachusetts, about 40 miles south of Boston, because a number of his songs were published there in 1876-1882 by him and by “A. S. Sweet & Son” and “Sweet & Sons”. Other songs of his were published in 1880-1885 by White, Smith & Company in Boston; Charles A. White, one of the principals of that company as well as a songwriter himself (see notes to cobs #142 and 290), was born in Taunton.

#292 - The Party at the Zoo, Scarcity: VS
This is the first cob with a scarcity rating of “VS” (“very scarce”); I am aware of only one existing copy of it. The words and music to the song on it appear in an 1889 book titled Franklin Square Song Collection, Vol. 6, ed. J. P. McCaskey, New York, Harper Brothers. The song is credited to Septimus Winner (1827-1902), who also wrote the lyrics to the much better known “Listen to the Mocking Bird” (see notes to cob #156), and “The Party at the Zoo” is said (at p. 47) to have been his latest work, dating from 1888. If this is correct and the cobs on the roller organ were issued in numerical order, which they almost certainly were, neither this cob nor any higher numbered cob could have been issued before that date. The lyrics to this lighthearted novelty song describe a party held by the various birds and animals at the zoo, what the different creatures ate at the party, etc.; the refrain consists entirely of “Tra la la”s.

#293 - You Never Miss the Water, Scarcity: LC
This “motto song” (see notes to cob #233) is based on the old expression “You never miss the water till the well runs dry”. The chorus also includes the maxims “Waste not, want not” and “Practice what you preach” and advises the listener to “Let your watchword be despatch” so that you don't “let your chances like sunbeams pass you by”. In the five stanzas the singer says that his mother, then his father gave him this advice, that he initially ignored it and had financial reversals, that he then recalled it and incorporated it into in his life and became successful and that he now passes it along to his own children. As shown in sheet music for the song in UV, the words were written by Harry Linn (1846-1890; real name Alexander C.R. Crawford), who was a Scottish-born comedian, singer and songwriter who performed in British music halls and was known for his “motto songs”; the composer is shown as “Rowland Howard” (The same sheet music shows, in addition, that the song was performed by “Dutch” comedian and singer Gus Williams (1847?-1915; see notes to cob #175)). Sheet music for the song in DU, which includes “Waste Not, Want Not” as an alternate title, shows the song as having been “composed by Rowland Howard”, with no mention of Linn, and an alternate version of the sheet music in MN lists the song simply as “by Rowland Howard”. Still another version of sheet music for the song in LL attributes it solely to “Rollin Howard”. Rollin Howard (c. 1840-1879; real name Ebenezer G. B. Holder) was an American minstrel performer especially known for his roles impersonating females. Additional references: Frederic Boase, Modern English Biography, Truro, 1897 (biography of Linn), MM.

#294 - Good-Bye, My Old Southern Home, Scarcity: LC
There is sheet music for this piece in MN with a copyright date of 1883 that shows that its correct title is “Good-Bye to my Old Southern Home” and that its lyrics were by George Cooper (1840-1927; see notes to cob #173) and music by Clifford Cox. The lyrics are a tearful farewell to the singer's childhood home upon leaving for distant parts. Cooper was a native New Yorker, not a Southerner, and as a young man collaborated with another Northerner who wrote songs about the South, Stephen Foster (1826-1864; see notes to cob #112), on a number of songs Foster wrote while living in New York City during the final years of his life.

#295 - Way to be Happy—Waltz, Scarcity: LC
This is actually a waltz arrangement of the tune of an 1868 English popular song that was written and composed by Harry Clifton (Henry Robert Clifton, 1832-1872) and performed by him. Clifton was a British music hall singer who toured with his own company, giving concerts, and specialized in “motto” songs like this one. The lyrics contain a whole catalogue of things to do or to refrain from doing in order to be happy: choose a bride based on “sterling worth” rather than looks, be gentle to your spouse, live within your means, be civil, respectful, sober, benevolent, etc. There is, in MN, both 1870 sheet music with a waltz arrangement of the tune and no reference to Clifton and 1876 sheet music for the song with lyrics that differ from Clifton's in a number of very minor respects and only three rather than Clifton's four verses. In this version, both words and music are attributed to “Cincinnatus” (Michael O'Connor, died 1882), a minstrel singer and dancer from Cincinnati who apparently adapted Clifton's song and presented it as his own. Additional references: OC, MM.

#296 - Cousin Jedediah, Scarcity: LC
In this minstrel song the singer gives directions to other members of a “Yankee” (New England) family to make preparations for a visit from cousin Jedediah from Boston; much of the song is the recitation of the family members' unusual names (Hezekiah, Asariah, Jerusha, Obed, Job, Uriah, etc.). Comic Yankee figures were frequently included in minstrel shows just as were the stock Irish, German and African-American characters. The song dates from 1863 and was written by H. (Henry) S. Thompson, who was himself a Massachusetts native and was associated with minstrel troupes as well as being a music teacher and composer. Reference: LL.

#297 - St. Patrick's Day, Scarcity: LC
This piece is an anonymous traditional Irish set dance. It appears as number 298 in Captain Francis O'Neill's 1,850-tune Music of Ireland (1903), under the heading “Airs—Songs”.

#298 - Miss McLeod's Reel, Scarcity: C
This centuries-old and still very well-known reel is another that is found in the instrumental folk music traditions of Scotland, Ireland, England and the United States. Sheet music for it appeared in the Fifth Collection of tunes of Scottish fiddler Niel Gow (1727-1807), published in 1809, with the title “Mrs. McLeod of Raasay's Reel”. A different version of it appeared as number 1418 in Captain Francis O'Neill's 1,850-tune Music of Ireland (1903) with the title “Miss McLeod's Reel—Irish Version”. Reference: RP.

#299 - Razzle Dazzle, Lanciers, Scarcity: LC
This piece is based on a novelty drinking song with words and music by Willard Thompson named “Razzle Dazzle”. The singer says nobody knows or cares that he and his companions are out on a spree and proposes that, even though they have already drunk a great deal, they have one drink more. The 1888 sheet music in LL directs hiccupping at appropriate points in the song. The word “lanciers” in the title does not refer to military men carrying lances but rather is the name of a set dance that was popular in the early roller organ era.

#300 - The Mclntyres, Scarcity: LC
This is another “stage Irish” song from a Harrigan and Hart show (Edward (“Ned”) Harrigan (1844-1911) and Tony Hart (real name Anthony J. Cannon; 1855-1891); see notes to cob #249), in this case “Squatter Sovereignty” (1882). As is typical with Harrigan and Hart songs, the lyrics were by Harrigan and the music was by David Braham (1834?-1905), Harrigan's father-in-law as well as collaborator. The singer describes members of the “elegant and bold” McIntyre family and also names the other Irish families in the neighborhood who “bow down to them low” as they go out walking. Reference: LL.

Scarcity Ratings

Scarcity ratings are based on hundreds of cob transactions and many years experience.
MC Most Common
VC Very Common
C Common
LC Less Common
S Scarce
VS Very Scarce
N No known copy


AH W.S.B. Mathews, Assoc. Editor, A Hundred Years of Music in America: An Account of Musical Effort in America (Chicago, G.L. Howe, 1889; Philadelphia, Theodore Presser, 1900)
BB Theodore Baker, comp., A Biographical Dictionary of Musicians (New York, G. Schirmer, 1900)
DN Dictionary of National Biography (First. Ed., 1885-1900)
DU Duke University Sheet Music Collections (online at
GD H. C. Colles, Ed., Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 3rd Ed. (New York, MacMillan, 1935)
IU Indiana University Sheet Music Collection (online at
LL Lester S. Levy Sheet Music Collection at Johns Hopkins University (online at
MM Edward LeRoy Rice, Monarchs of Minstrelsy, from “Daddy” Rice to Date (New York, Kenny Publishing Co., 1911)
MN Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music (1820-1860, 1870-1885 and similar online United States Library of Congress collections)
NC National Cyclopaedia of American Biography (New York, James T. White & Company, 1897 (and other editions))
OC Peter Gammond, The Oxford Companion to Popular Music (New York, Oxford University Press, 1991)
RP George S. Emmerson, Ramblin' Pipe and Tremblin' String: a History of Scottish Dance Music (Montreal, McGill - Queen's University Press, 1971)
SG Henry Frederic Reddall, compiler, Sweetest Gems of Music and Songs of the Fireside (no publisher stated, 1910)
TE Sheet music in the library of Temple University, accessible online at
UN Sheet music in the library of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, accessible online at
UT Sheet music in the University of Tennessee Sheet Music Collection, accessible online at
UV Sheet music in the University of Virginia Library, accessible online at

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