Saturday, December 15, 2012

Darling Nelly Gray

From the music collection of Susan Hopkins:  "Darling Nelly Gray" by Benjamin. R. Hanby.  It was written in 1856.  There are countless versions of this on YouTube.

This version, by soprano Alma Gluck, was recorded before 1925:
The Mills Brothers meet Louis Armstrong recorded in 1937:
On the fiddle, Jean Carnignan, with piano accompaniment, recorded in the 1970s:  
Minstrel banjo version by Wayne Shrubsall, recorded in 2009, with a nice introduction about the history of the tune:

Darling Nelly Gray
There's a low green valley on the old Kentucky shore 
There I whiled many happy hours away 
A sitting and a singing by the little cottage door 
Where lived my darling Nelly Gray

Oh my poor Nelly Gray, they have taken you away 
And I'll never see my darling any more 
I am sitting by the river and I'm weeping all the day 
For you've gone from the old Kentucky shore

When the moon had climbed the mountain and the stars were shining too 
Then I'd take my darling Nelly Gray 
And we'd float down the river in my little red canoe
While my banjo sweetly I would play

One night I went to see her but she's gone, the neighbors say 
The white man bound her with his chain
They have taken her to Georgia for to wear her life away
As she toils in the cotton and the cane

My canoe is underwater and my banjo is unstrung 
I'm tired of living any more
My eyes shall look downward and my songs shall be unsung
While I stay on the old Kentucky shore

My eyes are getting blinded and I cannot see my way 
Hark, there's somebody knocking at the door
Oh, I hear the angels calling and I see my Nelly Gray
Farewell to the old Kentucky shore

Chorus, last 
Oh my darling Nelly Gray, up in heaven, there they say
That they'll never take you from me anymore 
I'm a-coming, coming, coming, as the angels clear the way
Farewell to the old Kentucky shore

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