Lucy Long

Title: 
Lucy Long
Type: 
Song
Description: 

[Alternately: “Miss Lucy Long”]



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Music for “Miss Lucy Long” by Billy Whitlock (1813-1878); lyrics by T.G. Booth (dates unknown). This claim, made by Whitlock, is recorded by Hans Nathan (42). Whitlock was a founding member of the Virginia Minstrels while Booth was a member of the Kentucky Minstrels with whom Whitlock performed for a time. While Whitlock claims that he and Booth wrote the song as early as 1838, Mahar records that the song appears in published playbills by 1843 (307). Unlike many other minstrel songs, the music for “Lucy Long” appears to be original as there is no known melodic antecedent for the song. Of the editions surveyed for this entry, there was little difference in the melodic settings. By contrast, there were no two editions with the same lyrical setting. This could be accounted for because of the fact that in contemporaneous programs, “Lucy Long” was generally extended into a longer skit centred on female impersonation. In his discussion of the song, Mahar notes that its basic conceit has more to do with misogyny than racism (309).



The song was extremely popular on both sides of the Atlantic during the period, again, no doubt in part because of its reliance upon cross-dressing. But this popularity might also be attributed to its relatively simple melodic structure (particularly its chorus). While not immensely popular today, “Lucy Long” has endured much better than some others from the minstrel canon. At least fifteen recordings of the song have been made from 1924 to the present day by artists as disparate as Louis Armstrong to The Royal Artillery Band. More recently, two groups attempting to reconstruct minstrel performances have recorded versions of the song with extremely different results.



Select Recording History:

  • Armstrong, Louis. 1925, Vol. 7 [compilation]. Masters of Jazz, 1995.


  • The Canebrake Minstrels. Finer Than Frog Hair. The Canebrake Minstrels, 2003.


  • The Royal Artillery Band. Reflections. Bandleader, 2003.


  • Winans, Robert, music director and program consultant. The Early Minstrel Show. New World Records, 1998.



    Works Cited:
  • Mahar, William J. Behind the Burnt Cork Mask: Early Blackface Minstrelsy and Antebellum American Popular Culture. Chicago: Illinois UP, 1999.


  • Nathan, Hans. Dan Emmett and the Rise of Early Negro Minstrelsy. Norman: Oklahoma UP, 1962.


    Mark Turner


  • Media: 
    Lyrics
    Audio File - Minstrels in the Parlour
    Sheet Music Cover #1
    Sheet Music Cover #2
    Sheet Music Cover #3
    Sheet Music Cover #4
    Sheet Music Cover #5
    Sheet Music Cover #6
    Sheet Music Cover #7
    Sheet Music Cover #8
    Audio File - Mid-Atlantic Minstrel Show

    Performance(s) listed of this act

    Performer(s) Troupe Event and Venue

    Smith, Jonathan
    Smith, Jonathan Dramatic, 15 Sep. 1842 - 15 Sep. 1842
    Queen's Theatre, Lancashire

    Thumb, General Tom
    General Tom Thumb Dramatic, 16 Feb. 1844 - 16 Feb. 1844
    Royal Liver Theatre, Lancashire

    Thumb, General Tom
    General Tom Thumb Dramatic, 17 Feb. 1844 - 17 Feb. 1844
    Royal Liver Theatre, Lancashire
    American Southern Minstrels Dramatic, 29 Mar. 1844 - 29 Mar. 1844
    Royal Amphitheatre/Royal Adelphi Theatre, Yorkshire: West Riding
    American Southern Minstrels Variety, 30 Sep. 1844 - 04 Oct. 1844
    Vauxhall Gardens, London (city-county)
    American Southern Minstrels Variety, 07 Oct. 1844 - 07 Oct. 1844
    Vauxhall Gardens, London (city-county)
    American Southern Minstrels Circus, 21 Oct. 1844 - 21 Oct. 1844
    Astley's Royal Amphitheatre, London (city-county)
    Negro Entertainment Troupe (Sheffield, 44) Dramatic, 11 Nov. 1844 - 11 Nov. 1844
    Theatre Royal, Sheffield, Yorkshire: West Riding

    Nathan, Nigger
    Nigger Nathan Dramatic, 09 Dec. 1844 - 14 Dec. 1844
    Royal Albert Saloon, London (city-county)
    American Southern Minstrels Circus, 27 Jan. 1845 - 01 Feb. 1845
    Astley's Royal Amphitheatre, London (city-county)
    American Southern Minstrels Variety, 03 Feb. 1845 - 08 Feb. 1845
    Astley's Royal Amphitheatre, London (city-county)
    Ethiopian Serenaders (1846-48) Minstrel Show, 23 Feb. 1846 - 28 Feb. 1846
    St. James Theatre, London (city-county)

    Germon, Francis
    Ethiopian Serenaders (1846-48) Minstrel Show, 24 Feb. 1846 - 24 Feb. 1846
    Gloucester House, Piccadilly, London (city-county)
    Minstrel Show, 02 Mar. 1846 - 07 Mar. 1846
    St. James Theatre, London (city-county)
    Minstrel Show, 09 Mar. 1846 - 14 Mar. 1846
    St. James Theatre, London (city-county)
    Minstrel Show, 16 Mar. 1846 - 21 Mar. 1846
    St. James Theatre, London (city-county)

    Coleman, Lewin Y.
    Robinson, Joseph
    Coleman, Lewin Y. Vocal Entertainment, 22 Apr. 1846 - 22 Apr. 1846
    Concert Hall, Lancashire
    Minstrel Show, 22 Apr. 1846 - 22 Apr. 1846
    Crosby Hall, London (city-county)
    Minstrel Show, 01 May. 1846 - 01 May. 1846
    Crosby Hall, London (city-county)
    Minstrel Show, 04 May. 1846 - 09 May. 1846
    St. James Theatre, London (city-county)
    Minstrel Show, 11 May. 1846 - 11 May. 1846
    Crosby Hall, London (city-county)
    Ethiopian Serenaders (1846-48) Minstrel Show, 25 May. 1846 - 30 May. 1846
    St. James Theatre, London (city-county)

    Germon, Francis
    Ethiopian Serenaders (1846-48) Minstrel Show, 25 May. 1846 - 25 May. 1846
    Sussex Hall, London (city-county)

    Germon, Francis
    Ethiopian Serenaders (1846-48) Minstrel Show, 30 May. 1846 - 30 May. 1846
    Chiswick House, London (city-county)
    Minstrel Show, 09 Jun. 1846 - 13 Jun. 1846
    St. James Theatre, London (city-county)
    Minstrel Show, 10 Jun. 1846 - 10 Jun. 1846
    Horns, The, Kennington, London (city-county)
    Minstrel Show, 12 Jun. 1846 - 12 Jun. 1846
    Green Man, Blackheath, London (city-county)

    Cave, J.H.
    Original Creole Vocalists Variety, 22 Jun. 1846 - 26 Jun. 1846
    Vauxhall Gardens, London (city-county)

    Roberts, B.
    Ethiopian Delineators (Pelham's, 1846) Minstrel Show, 26 Jun. 1846 - 27 Jun. 1846
    Concert Hall, Lancashire

    Germon, Francis
    Ethiopian Serenaders (1846-48) Minstrel Show, 29 Jun. 1846 - 04 Jul. 1846
    St. James Theatre, London (city-county)
    Minstrel Show, 06 Jul. 1846 - 11 Jul. 1846
    St. James Theatre, London (city-county)
    Minstrel Show, 13 Jul. 1846 - 18 Jul. 1846
    St. James Theatre, London (city-county)
    Minstrel Show, 20 Jul. 1846 - 25 Jul. 1846
    St. James Theatre, London (city-county)

    Germon, Francis
    Ethiopian Serenaders (1846-48) Minstrel Show, 03 Aug. 1846 - 08 Aug. 1846
    St. James Theatre, London (city-county)

    Aldridge, Ira
    Aldridge, Ira Dramatic, 18 Feb. 1847 - 18 Feb. 1847
    Theatre Royal, Bristol, Bristol (city-county) in Gloucestershire

    Sherwood
    Ethiopian Harmonists (1846-47) Minstrel Show, 06 Mar. 1847 - 08 Mar. 1847
    Concert Hall, Lancashire

    Woski
    Female American Serenaders Dramatic, 05 Apr. 1847 - 05 Apr. 1847
    Queen's Theatre, Lancashire

    Woski
    Female American Serenaders Dramatic, 06 Apr. 1847 - 06 Apr. 1847
    Queen's Theatre, Lancashire

    Woski
    Female American Serenaders Minstrel Show, 12 Apr. 1847 - 13 Apr. 1847
    Queen's Theatre, Lancashire

    Sherwood
    Ethiopian Harmonists (1846-47) Minstrel Show, 15 May. 1847 - 15 May. 1847
    Concert Hall, Lancashire
    Beyadere and Female Serenaders Minstrel Show, 26 Jun. 1847 - 26 Jun. 1847
    Concert Hall, Lancashire
    Ethiopian Delineators (not Pelham's, 1847) Minstrel Show, 10 Jul. 1847 - 10 Jul. 1847
    Concert Hall, Lancashire

    Levison
    Ethiopian Melodists and New York Serenaders Minstrel Show, 27 Sep. 1847 - 01 Oct. 1847
    Concert Hall, Lancashire

    Collins, John H.
    Ethiopian Harmonists (1847-?) Minstrel Show, 15 Nov. 1847 - 19 Nov. 1847
    Concert Hall, Lancashire

    Juba
    Pell, Gilbert W.
    Ethiopian Serenaders (1848-49) Variety, 21 Aug. 1848 - 26 Aug. 1848
    Vauxhall Gardens, London (city-county)

    Juba
    Ethiopian Serenaders (1848-49) Variety, 28 Aug. 1848 - 02 Sep. 1848
    Vauxhall Gardens, London (city-county)

    Juba
    Ethiopian Serenaders (1848-49) Variety, 04 Sep. 1848 - 09 Sep. 1848
    Vauxhall Gardens, London (city-county)

    Juba
    Ethiopian Serenaders (1848-49) Variety, 11 Sep. 1848 - 16 Sep. 1848
    Vauxhall Gardens, London (city-county)

    Juba
    Ethiopian Serenaders (1848-49) Variety, 18 Sep. 1848 - 23 Sep. 1848
    Vauxhall Gardens, London (city-county)

    Juba
    Ethiopian Serenaders (1848-49) Minstrel Show, 16 Oct. 1848 - 21 Oct. 1848
    Free Trade Hall, Lancashire

    Juba
    Ethiopian Serenaders (1848-49) Minstrel Show, 31 Oct. 1848 - 03 Nov. 1848
    Music Hall, Sheffield, Yorkshire: West Riding

    Juba
    Ethiopian Serenaders (1848-49) Minstrel Show, 13 Nov. 1848 - 18 Nov. 1848
    Theatre Royal, Williamson Square, Lancashire

    Juba
    Ethiopian Serenaders (1848-49) Minstrel Show, 18 Dec. 1848 - 20 Dec. 1848
    Theatre Royal, Birmingham, Warwickshire

    Juba
    Ethiopian Serenaders (1848-49) Minstrel Show, 21 Dec. 1848 - 22 Dec. 1848
    Theatre Royal, Birmingham, Warwickshire

    Juba
    Ethiopian Serenaders (1848-49) Minstrel Show, 23 Dec. 1848 - 23 Dec. 1848
    Theatre Royal, Wolverhampton, Staffordshire

    Juba
    Ethiopian Serenaders (1848-49) Minstrel Show, 26 Dec. 1848 - 30 Dec. 1848
    Theatre Royal, Wolverhampton, Staffordshire

    Juba
    Ethiopian Serenaders (1848-49) Minstrel Show, 05 Feb. 1849 - 10 Feb. 1849
    Concert Hall, Lancashire
    Minstrel Show, 12 Feb. 1849 - 17 Feb. 1849
    Concert Hall, Lancashire

    Juba
    Ethiopian Serenaders (1848-49) Minstrel Show, 19 Mar. 1849 - 24 Mar. 1849
    Theatre Royal, Birmingham, Warwickshire

    Juba
    Ethiopian Serenaders (1848-49) Dramatic, 09 Apr. 1849 - 09 Apr. 1849
    Royal Surrey Theatre, London (city-county)

    Juba
    Ethiopian Serenaders (1848-49) Dramatic, 16 Apr. 1849 - 21 Apr. 1849
    Royal Surrey Theatre, London (city-county)

    Juba
    Ethiopian Serenaders (1848-49) Dramatic, 23 Apr. 1849 - 28 Apr. 1849
    Royal Surrey Theatre, London (city-county)
    Juba Dancer Dramatic, 14 May. 1849 - 19 May. 1849
    Royal Standard Theatre, London (city-county)

    Juba
    Ethiopian Serenaders (1848-49) Minstrel Show, 04 Jun. 1849 - 08 Jun. 1849
    Sadler's Wells, London (city-county)

    Juba
    Ethiopian Serenaders (1848-49) Minstrel Show, 05 Jun. 1849 - 09 Jun. 1849
    Sadler's Wells, London (city-county)

    Juba
    Ethiopian Serenaders (1848-49) Minstrel Show, 11 Jun. 1849 - 16 Jun. 1849
    Sadler's Wells, London (city-county)

    Juba
    Ethiopian Serenaders (1849-50) Dramatic, 27 Aug. 1849 - 27 Aug. 1849
    Edinburgh Adelphi Theatre, Edinburgh

    Juba
    Ethiopian Serenaders (1849-50) Dramatic, 28 Aug. 1849 - 28 Aug. 1849
    Edinburgh Adelphi Theatre, Edinburgh

    Juba
    Ethiopian Serenaders (1849-50) Dramatic, 03 Sep. 1849 - 05 Sep. 1849
    Corn Exchange, Stirling, Stirling

    Juba
    Ethiopian Serenaders (1849-50) Dramatic, 06 Sep. 1849 - 08 Sep. 1849
    Corn Exchange, Stirling, Stirling
    Dramatic, 11 Sep. 1849 - 14 Sep. 1849
    Theatre Royal, Perth, Perth
    Dramatic, 19 Sep. 1849 - 21 Sep. 1849
    Theatre Royal, Perth, Perth
    Pelham's Serenaders Minstrel Show, 29 Apr. 1850 - 04 May. 1850
    Concert Hall, Lancashire

    Juba
    Juba (1850-1851) Variety, 23 Sep. 1850 - 28 Sep. 1850
    Royal Casino, Yorkshire: West Riding
    Minstrel Show, 27 Nov. 1851 - 28 Nov. 1851
    Dee's Assembly Rooms, Warwickshire
    Sable Harmonists Minstrel Show, 01 Dec. 1851 - 06 Dec. 1851
    Corn Exchange, Birmingham, Warwickshire

    Pell, Gilbert W.
    Dumbolton's Serenaders (1852) Minstrel Show, 16 Oct. 1852 - 16 Oct. 1852
    Strand Theatre, London (city-county)