Down In Virginia

 

 

Down In Virginia

A.J. Mills, Bennett Scott & Fred Godfrey — London: Star Music; Bert Feldman, 1919.

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A big post-war hit in the then-popular “Dixieland” style for Daisy Dormer, who sang it in many halls, including the Hippodrome, Putney (May 1919), the Hippodrome, Bristol (June 1919), the Alhambra, Bradford; the Empire, Newport; the Stratford Empire, London (August 1919); the Hammersmith [London] Palace (September 1919); the London Palladium (October 1919); the Coliseum, Glasgow (November 1919)

Also sung by Dorothy Brett in pantomime Little Jack Horner, East Ham [London] Palace (December 1919) — “Dorothy Brett is a sprightly Jack Horner, and proves herself a capable artist. She sings, dances, and acts with much spirit, and throughout displays such dash that her success is assured. Her songs, ‘Down In Virginia’ [and one other], are well suited to her style” (The Stage, 25 December 1919, p. 16).

Listen to a 1919 recording
by Fred Douglas

A quartet called the Gresham Singers also successfully performed this song at the Victoria Palace (February, July, and December 1919), the Manchester Palace (July 1919), the Finsbury Park [London] Empire and the Portsmouth Hippodrome (August 1919), the Empire, Gateshead (October 1919), the Hammersmith Palace (February 1920), the Empire, Cardiff, and Empire Hackney (March 1920). From The Era, 26 February 1919, p. 21:

It is three years ago exactly that this famous quartette made its first appearance in a music hall. The hall was the Victoria Palace, where by a curious coincidence they are playing again this week, and to celebrate the occasion they are breaking into ragtime. Their new number, “Down in Virginia”...is a delightfully tuneful bit of syncopation, and as sung by the Gresham Singers is heard to the very best advantage. In this number they have the help of the orchestra—another innovation fo them,

Other acts who performed the song included Broughton & Creedon at the Chiswick [London] Empire (September 1919), the South Shields Empire (October 1919), and the Finsbury Park Empire (June 1920); Cissie Cameron in Fred Collins’s revue Guess The Title (touring Scotland, August 1919); Dolly Dennis in the pantomime The Babes In The Wood, Queen’s Theatre, Dublin (December 1920); Mena Green in the Harry Burns pantomime Robinson Crusoe And His Man Friday, Barnsley Empire (December 1919); the Harmony Girls at the Shoreditch [London] Olympia (October 1919); Emilie Hayes at the Palace, East Ham (November 1919), the Brighton Hippodrome and the Empire, Sunderland (December 1919), and the Empire, Birmingham (March 1920); and Constance Risdon and Vedale, at the Grand, Birmingham, and the Empire, New Cross (May 1920) — those troupers sure got around!

Tom Finglass also added the song to his repertoire, singing it — no doubt in blackface — at, for example, the Palace, Carlisle (February 1920); he likely reprised it, but not in blackface, during his and Godfrey’s stage act in 1929–30..

 

Recordings

Fred Douglas (Regal G-7462, 1919)

Ernest Pike, as “Herbert Payne” (Zonophone Twin 1921, 1919)

The Two Filberts (Jumbo 1614, 1919)

Hayes & Croft (Coliseum 1140, 1920)

The Unity Quartette (Columbia 2928, 1920)