Here's Jolly darkies number 3 as mentioned by Marc in his recent post. I managed to get hold of a piano score on which bars 30 to 51 are marked as banjo and appear to be emulating stroke style banjo. The whole score sounds as though it could have been written for banjo. It's a catchy tune and not too challenging to play. The score and midi are in the library...Steve.

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Yes, that tune has some elements in common with Gottschalk's "The Banjo" in that it is emulating a stroke style of playing.

Still don't know who wrote the Brooks & Denton one.

There seems to have been a lot of 'Jolly' people about in those days, Hunter wrote a piece called 'Jolly Johnnies' Cammeyer had 'Jolly Girls' and 'Jolly Mariners' I think, and doubtless there will be more in the lists.

Hi Richard, There are lots of jolly people about nowadays and we all play banjo...Steve.

Richard William Ineson said:

There seems to have been a lot of 'Jolly' people about in those days, Hunter wrote a piece called 'Jolly Johnnies' Cammeyer had 'Jolly Girls' and 'Jolly Mariners' I think, and doubtless there will be more in the lists.

Got me thinking there Richard:

The Jolly Mariner    A. Cammeyer

Mr. Jollyboy       E. Grimshaw

Jolly Roger        C. Mansell

Jolly Pickanninies   E Rueffer

Jolly Johnnies     Parke Hunter

Jolly Jack Breakdown      J.W. Ball

Jolly Comrades      Alf Wood

Jolly Chinee      Parke Hunter

Jolly Brothers      R. Vollstedt

Jolly Jingles Rag    F H Losey

They used to have a lot of Gays too, when gay meant something completely different.


For Marc :

In the Brooks and Denton c.1900 list of available compositions and arrangements, B&D are arrangers for "Tyro Mazurka" and "The Monitor March". 

For "Berkeley March", "White Star Line March", and  "Jolly Darkies", B&D are  listed as composers.

Ian: There's a gay piece in the list too : "Gai-nsborough March".


Thanks Shawn. Curious!

Following that line of thought, I opened up the B&D #1 book and found a variety of attribution versions. It appears that pieces with 'other' composers have their composers listed. For instance "Ma Lady Lu" has both music and lyric...and a "by permission of XXX publisher" statement. Porter Steele gets his nod on "Lobster's Promenade" and "High Society". Etc., etc. These all carry the "arr. for Banjo by Brooks and Denton."

Ruby Brooks gets his own attribution for "Belle of Columbia" with a simple "Ruby Brooks"...and several pieces are simply "by Brooks and Denton".

Both "Jolly Darkies" and "Tyro Mazurka" are mysteriously shown as arrangements on their pages...but in the listing above, Jolly Darkies is not an arrangement (perhaps simple errata?).

Frankly, I have no clue. Perhaps these pieces were originally written by B&D for other instruments or as songs and then subsequently arranged for banjo? Maybe Mr. Denton didn't want his name on pieces he wrote himself (there are none directly attributed to him). The copyrights are either "Brooks and Denton" or "E. J. Denton" (Harry's spouse?) or variations of the same.

Perhaps someone out there has the single sheet for "Tyro Mazurka" or the B&D "Jolly Darkies"? I would expect the single would have a more specific attribution.

Hi Marc; I was aware of the Book #1 attribution vs. the ad. We don't know which is correct.

It is also possible both are right. Perhaps  J.D. was indeed B&D's composition and following the book printing, copyright for the piece was registered by them. Alternately, it may not have been their composition, but given the success they were having with the piece, they may have purchased all rights from its composer (who remains unknown today), hence their composer credit in the ad.

Yah, I expect it will never be sorted out completely. I know I have some of the single B&D sheets but they're still buried at the moment. All of B&D pieces I have ever played came from the #1 book. add to the "Jolly" list, there's "The Jolly Horseman's Galop", by John H. Lee, published in 1888 by some guy named S. S. Stewart.


Just for fun, here's an mp3 of "The Jolly Horseman's Galop"...


If I had to wear those collars, I'd be grim-faced too! I do have a straw boater...and look even more silly in it.

Richard William Ineson said:

They look more like Southend Sour Seven, and the only one remotely jolly is not a boy. 

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