With the American folk song Turkey in the Straw, we are introducing a song that is steeped in history, but also has a negative side...
Turkey in the Straw - The first version on camera 1942
In the early 19th century, this song was especially popular among fiddlers and goes back to an Irish ballad called "The Old Rose Tree". It was not unusual that these songs were constantly changing. Different text variations were quite common.
This version of the song is by Freddie Fisher and the Schnickelfritz Band. In 1942 the first performance was in front of a running camera.
The big negative side of the song - Coon songs with racist background
Towards the end of the 19th century, so-called Coon songs gained popularity, whose content was mainly aimed at the stereotype of African Americans. This racist genre made use of melodies from songs that were already well established among the population at that time.
So the melody of this song was also used in minstrel shows, where white people dressed up as African Americans. Above all, a romanticizing idea of the everyday life of slaves on the plantations was staged. Such performances provided a distorted image that was far from the cruel and humiliating reality.