Anyone know where this song originated and what it means?
Blue Tail Fly", "De Blue Tail Fly", or "Jimmy Crack Corn" is a blackface minstrel song, first performed in the United States in the 1840s, which remains a popular children's song today.
Over the years, many variants of text have appeared, but the basic narrative remains intact. On the surface, the song is a black slave's lament over his master's death. The song, however, has a subtext of rejoicing over that death, and possibly having caused it by deliberate negligence. Most versions at least nod to idiomatic African American English, though sanitized, grammatically "correct" versions predominate today.
The blue-tail fly of the song is probably a Southern variant of the horsefly, which feeds on the blood of animals such as horses and cattle, as well as humans, and thus constitutes a prevalent pest in agricultural regions. Some horseflies have a blue-black abdomen, hence the name.
I have often thought the same thing! I would be interested it the answer too!!
We had to sing this over and over in England years ago, and had to sing 'give me cracked corn..' (or, really 'gimme')
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