The Darktown Strutters' Ball

Original Text: 
For Me and My Gal and Other Favorite Song Hits, 1915-1917, ed. David A. Jasen (New York: Dover, 1994): 9-11.
1I've got some good news, Honey,
3It's a very swell affair,
5I'll wear my high silk hat and a frock tail coat,
6You wear your Paris gown, and your new silk shawl,
7There ain't no doubt about it babe,
8We'll be the best dressed in the hall.
9I'll be down to get you in a Taxi honey
10You better be ready about halfpast eight,
11Now dearie, don't be late,
12I want to be there when the band starts playing
13Remember when we get there, Honey,
14The two steps I'm goin' to have 'em all,
15Goin' to dance out both my shoes:
17Tomorrow night, at the Dark-town Strutters' Ball.
18We'll meet our high-toned neighbors,
19An exhibition of the "Baby Dolls,"
20And each one will do their best,
21Just to outclass all the rest,
22And there'll be dancers from ev'ry foreign land,
24We'll win that fifty dollar prize,


2] Dark-town Ball: reputedly inspired by a ball at the 1915 Pacific-Panama Exposition, a world fair in San Francisco. Back to Line
4] "high-browns": "bourgeois, light-skinned, or otherwise acceptable blacks" (David J. Steffen, From Edison to Marconi: The First Thirty Years of Recorded Music [Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 2005]: 133). Back to Line
16] Jelly Roll Blues: the "Original Jelly Roll Blues" (1915) by Ferdinand Morton (1890-1941). Back to Line
23] buck and wing: Buck Dance and Pigeon Wing, a pre-tap dance routine. Back to Line
25] Walk the Dog: a dance that Brooks described in his 1916 song, "Walking the Dog." Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
Publication Notes: 
January 18, 1917 (Chicago: Will Rossiter)
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
Special Copyright: 

In the public domain.