David Van Veersbilck, tenor; Peter DiSante, lead; Brian Mark, baritone; Roger Smith, bass; Vincent Tufo, fiddle; Percy Danforth, bones; Matthew Heumann, tambourine; Robert Winans, banjo
The racist stereotyping of blacks in the minstrel shows that enjoyed such enormous popularity during the latter half of the nineteenth century might be considered reason enough not to resurrect this material, but anything with so much cultural impact deserves serious study. We need to listen to this material in its historical perspective and understand that the study of it is not a validation of its racist sentiments. This recording attempts to recreate the music of a typical minstrel show of the late 1840s, when this music struck the nation's fancy most forcefully and before the minstrel show gradually became indistinguishable from other forms of variety entertainment.
This re-creation was based on extensive research using printed programs, sheet music, instrumental instruction books, and manuscript musical materials. The songs on this recording are among those that were the most frequently performed on the minstrel stage between 1843 and 1852, as indicated by a study of a large number of playbills from that period. The performances are intended to reflect the variety of ways songs were presented in the early shows-accompanied or unaccompanied; solo voice throughout; solo verse and four-part chorus; or four-part harmony throughout. Indispensable for anyone with an interest in the development of musical theater and popular music in America.
De Boatmen’s Dance, Old Joe, The Fine Old Color’d Gentleman, Dr. Hekok Jig, Stop Dat Knocking, Mary Blane, Instrumental Medley, Miss Lucy Long, Old Uncle Ned, De Ole Jawbone, Pea Patch Jig, Lucy Neal, Hard Times