Jimmy Crack Corn (Blue Tail Fly)

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Song Video


When I was young I used to wait
On master and hand him his plate
Pass him the bottle when he got dry
And brush away the blue-tail fly.

Jimmy crack corn, and I don't care
Jimmy crack corn, and I don't care
Jimmy crack corn, and I don't care
My master's gone away

When he would ride in the afternoon
I'd follow him with my hickory broom
The pony being rather shy
When bitten by the blue-tail fly.


One day he rode around the farm
Flies so numerous that they did swarm
One chanced to bite him on the thigh
The devil take the blue-tail fly.


Well the pony jumped, he start, he pitch
He threw my master in the ditch
He died and the jury wondered why
The verdict was the blue-tail fly.


Now he lies beneath the 'simmon tree
His epitaph is there to see
"Beneath this stone I'm forced to lie
The victim of the blue-tail fly".

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Information About Jimmy Crack Corn (Blue Tail Fly)

Appears to have been first published in 1846; attributed to an outfit called the Virginia Minstrels. The Virginia Minstrels helped originate the blackface minstrel show. The author of the song, though not definitely known, was probably a Virginia Minstrel named Daniel Emmett, a popular songwriter and musician whose best-known composition was the southern anthem "Dixie" (1859). Like his contemporary Stephen Foster, Emmett was a northerner who wrote sentimental songs about the south in black dialect.

This song was a favorite of President Lincoln's.

There is a general perception that this song represents a slave rejoicing his master's death. "Cracked corn,' was dry corn that a slave was forced to eat as punishment and that was all that he or she was given as food for an extended period of time. This slave was so happy when his master died that he was saying "Gimme cracked corn and I don't care my master's gone away". As time went on, people changed the lyrics to Jimmy crack corn.

Autumn, a fellow BusSongs fan, wrote in to explain some of the history of the song. Here's her thoughts: "Jimmy Crack Corn is not a silly song. Cracking corn refers to distilled whiskey. The slaves "cracked corn", or got inebriated, while the slave owners were gone. "Bluefly ' is "Shoo Fly". During the mistral to blackface era, white racists were turning the old slave songs into parodies, hence "Bluefly" became "Shoo Fly". Being white, or any color for that matter, I would never sing this song to a group of children without explaining it's rich, African-American, racist origin. Songs have a very rich history which is being lost. Thanks".

Alternative Lyrics & Related Songs

Though it's the same chorus, the other parts differ and can be more descriptive at times

Here a Jimmy, there a Jimmy everywhere a Jimmy Jimmy.
Hey Jimmy ho Jimmy everywhere you go Jimmy.
Jimmy crack corn, Jimmy crack corn,
Jimmy crack, Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy crack corn.

Jimmy crack corn and i don't care,
Jimmy crack corn and I don't care,
Jimmy crack corn and i don't care,
My masters gone away. (piano)

My master was a nasty dude,
He had a real bad attitude,
I followed him around like a hickory broom,
Chasing blue tail flys out of the room. (piano)

The pony he began to twitch,
He threw my master in a ditch,
Under this tree i'm forced to lie,
A victim of that blue tail fly.

Jimmy crack corn and I don't care,
Jimmy crack corn and I don't care
Jimmy crack corn and i don't care,
My masters gone away. (piano)

When he was riding around the farm,
The blue tail flys began to swarm,
He moaned and he groaned and he up and died,
The cause of the death was the blue tail fly.

Jimmy crack corn and I don't care,
Jimmy crack corn and I don't care,
Jimmy crack corn and i don't care,
My masters gone aw---ay! (clapping)

Here a jimmy, there a jimmy, everywhere a jimmy jimmy.
Hey Jimmy. ho Jimmy everywhere you go
Jimmy Jimmy crack corn Jimmy crack corn
Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy crac corn!

Here's a version with a bit of attitude and a slight change in accent

When I was young a us'd to wait
On Massa and hand him de plate;
Pass down the bottle when he git dry,
And bresh away de blue tail fly.

CHORUS: Jim crack corn I don't care,
Jim crack corn I don't care,
Jim crack corn I don't care,
Old Massa gone away.

Den arter dinner massa sleep,
He bid dis niggar vigil keep;
An' when he gwine to shut his eye,
He tell me watch de blue tail fly.


An' when he ride in de arternoon,
I foiler wid a hickory broom;
De poney being berry shy,
When bitten by de blue tail fly.


One day he rode aroun' de farm,
De flies so numerous dey did swarm;
One chance to bite 'im on the thigh,
De debble take dat blu tail fly.


De poney run, he jump an' pitch,
An' tumble massa in de ditch;
He died, an' de jury wonder'd why
De verdic was de blue tail fly.


Dey laid 'im under a 'simmon tree,
His epitaph am dar to see:
'Beneath did stone I'm forced to lie,
All by means ob de blue tail fly. '.


Ole massa gone, now let 'im rest,
Dey say all tings am for the best;
I nebber forget till de day I die,
Ole massa an' dat blue tail fly.

This song has been printed from the BusSongs.com website.

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