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Minstrel shows incorporated blackface: when white people would use burnt cork to give themselves the appearance of an African American with exaggerated features.

This sheet music cover depicts one of the stock characters white men would portray in their minstrel performances. The songs of minstrel shows inspired Stephen Foster into writing more of these popular tunes. These songs remained popular well passed the Zip Coon, and we all know them today. It sure is catchy!

However, if one listens closely and reads the original lyricsone can see where this song becomes problematic. This little ditty was originally written with the intention of white performers painting their faces black and singing the song in order to mock African Americans.

Many people do. A mysterious negro folkster, Zip Coon was largely obscure before his internet debut in latewhen he released several extremely esoteric lo-fi folk songs and a long series of obnoxious noisemaking absolutely gratuitous use of the echo feature on a mini-amp.

After his initial series of releases, he returned later that year to release " White Water Adventure ", a characteristically folksy and narcissistic romp about taking coons on the river. Afterwards, he receded back into his suffocating obscurity, though not for good. Mid SeptemberZip Coon revealed that he ha… read more.

After his initial series of … read more. After his initial series of releases, he returned later that year to release " White Water Adven… read more. Related Tags Add tags. Buy Loading. More Love this track.

Trending Tracks 1. Alan W. Dixon was credited, many years later, with having written "Zip Coon" in There was an anonymous sheet music publication inand the song does not appear in Dixon's songster, "Dixon's Zip Coon. That's the earliest reference to it I can find. No author is mentioned. A letter writer to the Macon Georgia Telegraph July 31,p. David Crockett was in attendance, and there were verses of the song in praise of him. At the moment, he seems to have the stronger claim.

There are many newspaper references to the song in the mids. One of the leads being dug up by Lighter may note a performance before I wonder if "The Disappointment,"with the comic character "Raccoon," had any performances in the years betweenthus bringing it closer to the origin of Zip Coon. I haven't found any references to performances at that late date, however. Raccoon's ethnicity is not identified in the play.

When compared with other examples of stage dialect of the period, including African, Raccoon's appears to be decidedly European. Moreover, he appears to have served in the British Army's Royal American Regiment, which included Pennsylvania Germans commanded by German-speaking officers "especially imported from Switzerland for the purpose.

Neither article seems to be fully available on the net. The Akron Zips came from the name of a rubber overshoe that was made by B F Goodrich, one of the many Akron tire and rubber companies. Even as late as the 's in east Ohio where I grew up, Zips or Zippers was a Zip Coon name for that type of overshoe.

Does this indicate that at that time the term "Yankee" was used to refer to Americans in general, rather than implying Northernliness? However, byits use in the South may have diminished. It was used as a general term by Europeans. Good question-! If only it had been called 'Old Racoon'!

That comment came from an Englishman a very nice Englishman, but an Englishman nonetheless. I just host the folkinfo archive. But I think I agree that people get nervous about the word "coon" nowadays, Zip Coon. Some of them are Jews, "Coon" being one of the many forms that "Cohen" has taken in various dialects. The name may have the word "coon," but the song isn't racist. It's important to know the history.

The song's name is credited with possibly helping give rise to the term "coon" in its pejorative context because it was originally performed as a blackface act.

But if it's performed in a normal, not-blackface way, then it's not racist. Think about songs like Camptown Races or My Old Kentucky Home which were originally blackface songs but have since become common stock for folk musicians. Even though the name is possibly creditable to helping make the term coon racist, I don't think the song itself is racist; its original usage was. But when the song was made, it was just some random word or phrase the guy said to be funny, like Yakety Yak or Do-Wacka-Do.

The song 'Zip Coon' better known today as 'Turkey in the Straw' didn't refer specifically to either a White or a Black and the 'coon songs' of the s and 50s were Whig political songs. Byhowever, coon had come to mean a Black and this use was made very common by the popular song 'All Coons Look Alike to Me,' written by Ernest Hogan, a Black who didn't consider the word derogatory at the time.

I try to follow the rule - would you say that sitting at a table whatever particular type, race or reglion to the person you were sitting across from.

Language is changing fast now days so usage does change in your lifetime the old Philolgical rule was that no man can change the language in his lifetime. Follow your heart. It's what people will think or feel if you sing the song now - with or without a schoolmasterish explanation. Maybe it's not dead just evolving. It's not called Zip Coon because it's a racist song, it was just a random, made-up word.

I think most people would find it Zip Coon if the song's title was something racist, but it's just a stupid, made-up word. Except that the "Old Raccoon" suggestion didn't come from me. It came from a post by dmcg at folkinfo. I'll see if I can get dmcg to come by this thread and put the blame squarely on BBC. Let's chalk it up to British humour, perhaps?

Foster songs that I have sung and loved all my life. I have ancestors with the name "Coon. It is difficult to be certain. To be honest, I can't see the BBC making it, whereas I can imagine myself saying there is nothing in the lyrics as posted in the second item on this thread From: Felipa - PM Date: 02 Dec 98 - PM that is itself racist apart from that word itself.

Try substituting anything else of one syllable - 'Soup' for example - and see if you think the lyrics are themselves racist. When I do that, I don't see any racism.


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  1. Zip coon was in the: Familiar verse-chorus ballad form, its verse sprinkled with images of banjo playing, wild dancing, and barnyard animals. Zip Coon was featured in: Walt Disney cartoon "Song of the South" Zip Coon was like Jim Crow by the melody being .
  2. Lyrics for Zip Coon by 2nd South Carolina String Band. (3) Ole Zip Coon he's a larned skolar Sings possum up the gum tree, cooney on the stump (3) possum up the gum tree, cooney on the stump When over dubble trubble Zip Coon will jump It's Ole Suky blueskin she is in lub wit me I went de udder afternoon to get a cup o tea What do tou take, now sukey had for supper, Why chicken foot and .
  3. Zip Coon. First performed by George Dixon in , Zip Coon made a mockery of free blacks. An arrogant, ostentatious figure, he dressed in high style and spoke in a series of malaprops and puns that undermined his attempts to appear dignified.
  4. Old Zip Coon is a very learned scholr, and he plays upon de banjo, Cooney in der holler. O Zip a duden duden duden Zip a duden day, O zip a duden duden duden duden duden day. O zip a duden duden duden duden duden day. zip a duden duden duden zip a duden day. 2. Ole Sukey Blue skin fell in lub wid me, She vite me to her house to take a cup a tea.
  5. Zip Coon seems to have been sung first by Thomas Birch at Atwill's Music Saloon, New York, 1st verse-O ole Zip Coon he is a larned skoler, O ole Zip Coon he is a larned skoler, O ole Zip Coon he is a larned skoler, *Sings posum up a gum tree an coony in a holler.
  7. – March 2, ) was an American singer, stage actor, and newspaper editor. He rose to prominence as a blackface performer (possibly the first American to do so) after performing " Coal Black Rose ", " Zip Coon ", and similar songs.

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