Origins: Meaning of lyrics to Dixie Land To Thread - Forum Home

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Origins: Meaning of lyrics to Dixie Land

27 Jun 11 - 01:20 AM (#3176982)
Subject: Origins: Meaning of lyrics to Dixie Land
From: GUEST,An Old Friend

"Abraham & Mary Lincoln" is running on my local PBS channel. One thought drifted into another and I dug out an old record of songs of Lincoln's era. It is said the "Dixie Land" was one of his favorite songs. There is a verse that refers to Will the Weaver, the gay deceiver and his wife. "When he put his arms around her, He looked fierce like a 40 pounder". What the heck is that? 40 pound what??


27 Jun 11 - 03:01 AM (#3176992)
Subject: RE: Origins: Meaning of lyrics to Dixie Land
From: GUEST,keith A of Hertford

A gun.


27 Jun 11 - 10:55 AM (#3177171)
Subject: RE: Origins: Meaning of lyrics to Dixie Land
From: GUEST,leeneia

a forty-pound catfish, or similar

googlebooks


27 Jun 11 - 11:22 AM (#3177184)
Subject: RE: Origins: Meaning of lyrics to Dixie Land
From: Stringsinger

There's a lot of work that need to be done on the origins of this song. The information given about it through books and blurbs is not complete. Here are a couple of theories that have come from printed sources, one a songbook published in Chicago which as yet has not been proven incorrect. "Dixey's Land" was written by Daniel Emmett of the Decatur Minstrels and premiered on the New York stage as a "walkaround". There was a Dix or Dicks who owned a parcel of land on which he developed a theme park as an Antebellum atmosphere, Disney-like, to employ slaves and others for the public. Although this connection has never been officially established, it leaves room for further investigation.

The other theory is that this was a street rhyme by children in New York involving a character named "Dixie". This predates the theft of the song from Emmett by a New Orleans publishing house named Schultz, the song being appropriated by the Confederacy which caused Emmett some dismay since he was a supporter of the Union.

This information has been corroborated by interested parties such as folklorists. The question always remains with folklore is that for the most part, it is always folklore in and of itself unverifiable in any "rocket science" sense.

Whenever a student of folklore comes across a pedantic statement regarding the evolution of a folk song, it has to be remembered that often the song itself predates any publication of it in print. Barbara Allen might be excepted since it's arrival in print spawned variants. Here, I'm quoting Sam Hinton, a prodigious scholar of folk music.

I think we're going to remain in the dark for a time about Dixie or Dixey, whether it refers to the Mason-Dixon latitudinal line or the French ten dollar bill from New Orleans known as the "Dix", or other connective theories that haven't yet been established.


27 Jun 11 - 12:42 PM (#3177232)
Subject: RE: Origins: Meaning of lyrics to Dixie Land
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Oh, no ! Not another thread !


27 Jun 11 - 12:44 PM (#3177233)
Subject: RE: Origins: Meaning of lyrics to Dixie Land
From: GUEST,leeneia

I understand your dismay, Q - but this one has a catfish in it.


27 Jun 11 - 01:13 PM (#3177252)
Subject: RE: Origins: Meaning of lyrics to Dixie Land
From: GUEST,Lighter

It might be a huge fish, but a "forty-pounder" was the common term for cannon that fired a forty-pound shot.


27 Jun 11 - 01:30 PM (#3177261)
Subject: RE: Origins: Meaning of lyrics to Dixie Land
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Correct, Lighter.


27 Jun 11 - 01:40 PM (#3177266)
Subject: RE: Origins: Meaning of lyrics to Dixie Land
From: Les from Hull


27 Jun 11 - 01:43 PM (#3177267)
Subject: RE: Origins: Meaning of lyrics to Dixie Land
From: Les from Hull

40pdr

This is the 40pdr gun used by Confederate forces during the American Civil War. Designed and built in England.


27 Jun 11 - 03:04 PM (#3177307)
Subject: RE: Origins: Meaning of lyrics to Dixie Land
From: Les from Hull

Actually I'm not sure if this particular model made it into Confederate service.


19 Sep 14 - 01:55 PM (#3661920)
Subject: RE: Origins: Meaning of lyrics to Dixie Land
From: GUEST

hoe it down and scratch your grabble?


19 Sep 14 - 02:02 PM (#3661925)
Subject: RE: Origins: Meaning of lyrics to Dixie Land
From: Thompson

Grabble = gravel?

What baffles me is why these people are forever looking away. Can this be why they lost the war? Difficult to aim if you're not looking straight ;)


19 Sep 14 - 02:37 PM (#3661939)
Subject: RE: Origins: Meaning of lyrics to Dixie Land
From: Don Firth

Way down south in the land of cotton
It's awful hot and they all smell rotton,
Get away! Get away! Get away!
And take a bath....

Don Firth


19 Sep 14 - 03:38 PM (#3661958)
Subject: RE: Origins: Meaning of lyrics to Dixie Land
From: Lighter

Ever hear of a "hoedown"? That's what you dance when you "hoe it down."

To "scratch gravel" meant to hurry.

In the song, however, it is also possible that both phrases refer to dance steps performed at a hoedown.

Since the sing began as a stage composition, odds are that composer-minstrel Daniel Emmett accompanied the lines with appropriate gestures.