US: Dixie Land


In view of the bellicose nature of the US national anthem, David Crow suggested it be replaced with "America the Beautiful".. Christopher Jones, who lives on the Grench-Spanish border but is still proud of his Souther heritage, disagrees:  I do not agree that the mealy mouthed "America the Beautiful" would be a proper national anthem; here's my choice . . .

"Dixie's Land"

The chorus and first verse are still well known in much of the U.S. South. The additional verses are very seldom heard.
I wish I was in the land of cotton, Old times there are not forgotten; Look away! Look away! Look away, Dixie's Land! In Dixie's Land where I was born in, Early on one frosty morning, Look away! Look away! Look away, Dixie's Land!

Then I wish I was in Dixie! Hooray! Hooray! In Dixie's Land I'll take my stand, to live and die in Dixie! Away! Away! Away down South in Dixie! Away! Away! Away down South in Dixie! 
 RH: It goes on and on, but that's enough. Regrettably it sounds like doggerel to me.  Does Christopher really wish he were in the land of cotton?  I thought it was Dixieland, not Dixie's Land.

Christopher Jones promoted the dong "Dixie's Land", not "Dixie Land". Randy Black comments: Dixieland is a type of jazz music. Dixie is the South, thus Dixie Land as in the Promised Land. Ironically, the fellow who wrote Dixie, Daniel Decatur Emmett, was a Yankee from Ohio, white and part German. He wrote Dixie in 1859 while performing with a minstrel show. In NYC one night, when asked by the owner of the show he was performing in, about the term Dixie, Emmett replied: "it's a common expression. When it's cold we yearn to be south of the Mason and Dixon line, or in Dixie, where the weather is fair and mild. When things aren't going well where you are, you wish you were in Dixie -- in Dixie -- in Dixie." And therein was the birth of the song that he wrote the same night. The first performance in the Southern states appears to have been in Charleston, South Carolina, in December, 1860. It became a popular song among Confederate soldiers and eventually Emmett took heat up north for his song.
 
You can hear a version and read the original words at: http://www.fortunecity.com/tinpan/parton/2/dixie.html
 
Also: http://civilwarhome.com/dixieorigin.htm


Cameron Sawyer, a Southerner who has literally become a Northerner by settling in Moscow, writes: I have not heard the phrase "Dixie's Land".  I believe that the original words to the minstrel ditty that started it all refer to "Dixie land": http://www.gs.com/insight/research/reports/99.pdf  It is somehow fitting that this anthem of the South was actually born in the minstrel halls of New York, and was no doubt first performed in blackface -- we have always tended to understand ourselves from the Yankees' sentimental point of view.  RH: We could have a big debate about the last phrase.

 Cameron Sawyer said:It is somehow fitting that this anthem of the South, Dixie Land,  was actually born in the minstrel halls of New York, and was no doubt first performed in blackface -- we have always tended to understand ourselves from the Yankees' sentimental point of view.  RH: We could have a big debate about the last phrase. Cameron retorts: Then why don't we? I'll bet we're not the only people whose sense of nationhood comes from the popular culture of another nation.  RH: Unless Cameron can name another "people", he loses the bet.  The South has a sense of nationhood? I suppose that, in D.W. Griffith's "Birth of a Nation", "nation" refers to the South.

Cameron Sawyer said: I'll bet we're not the only people whose sense of nationhood comes from the popular culture of another nation.  Tim Brown says: Every country in Spanish speaking Latin America has a dominant culture and hence sense of nationhood drawn from Spain and Catholicism. RH: The US is a better case, since "Latin" American countries like to think they go back to pre-Colombian times. Mexico calls itself  the Aztec nation, and some, including Mexico, took Indian names (Haiti).
 

Ronald Hilton 2005

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last updated: June 8, 2005