LONG TAIL BLUE. As Originally Sung by Mr. T.B. Nathans. In All the Southern and Philadelphia Circuses. [Caption title]. Early Minstrel Competitor of Jim Crow.

LONG TAIL BLUE. As Originally Sung by Mr. T.B. Nathans. In All the Southern and Philadelphia Circuses. [Caption title].

NP: np, nd [ca.1834-37?]. Broadside. 24 x 23 cm. Printed in two columns within a typographical border. Right corner outside border missing, some holes from folding, not affecting lettering, general wear. Twelve four-line verses, plus a 4-line verse chorus (printed twice).
The narrator, he of the Long Tail Blue, goes to the City of Washington and visits "one of Jackson's levees," and the President offers "champaign," while Major Downing follows him about: "Some niggers they have but one coat,/ But dis child you see got two,/ I wears a Jacket all the week,/ And on Sunday my long tail blue....Jim Crow was courting a brown gal,/ And the white folks call'd her Sue./ But I guess she let that nigger drop,/ When she seen my long tail blue./ Jim Crow got mad and swore he'd fight,/ With sword and pistol too,/ But I guess I back'ed that nigger out,/ When he saw my long tail blue." The chorus: "Just look at my long tail blue,/ O! how do you like my blue,/ I'll sing you a song, it's not very long,/ It's about my long tail blue."
T.B. Nathans is likely Thomas B. Nathans (1807-1889), who, with his brother J.J. Nathans, traveled the country with various circuses in the early nineteenth century. He began his circus career with Don Champlin, a wire walker, at age 16 in New York. He was associated with Brown's Circus, which is noted as the first circus to use a canvas tent. Thomas Nathans was known as a comic singer. His brother J.J. Nathans was a talented horseback rider and performer. "By the late 1820's, blackfaced white American performers...toured the nation, performing alleged Negro songs and dances in circuses and between the acts of plays. Like much of the rest of American culture, the melodies for many of these songs were of British origin....'My Long tail Blue' followed a Scottish folk song....'My Long tail Blue' told of a Negro dandy frivilously boasting about his clothing...." [see Robert Toll's "Blacking Up: The Minstrel Show in Nineteenth-Century America," (NY: 1974)]. Item #64780

Dichter & Shapiro list a song of the title "My Long Tail Blue," published by Hewett & Co. in 1836-37. Brown University records a similar broadside, but with an illustration, published in Boston ca.1834-35, which evidently does not mention T.B. Nathans. Other copies listed on OCLC vary in size from the copy here, or include an imprint, and all refer to an illustration, not present on this copy.

Price: $300.00

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