Mr. Willis has made some adaptions of Uncle Remus, which were made into
radio programs. It is probable that in the near future we may put
out an album of records, from which children may hear the stories of Bre'r
Rabbit and Bre'r Fox pronounced just as the old man told the stories to
the little white boy from the "Big House," while sitting beside his cabin
fireplace so many years ago.AS PRESENTS
Have you ever been puzzled
as to what present to give a friend? Practically all the few records
of the first issue that went to the public were taken by persons, who,
after hearing one, would send in a list of friends to whom they wanted
it sent. It will be highly valued by any educated person who knows
anything of the Bible; it is entirely unique; it will not be dumped in the
cellar to collect dust.
If you send us your order
with your card and the date on which you want it shipped to your friends,
it will be sent at that time. These records are twelve inches double-faced,
playing time eight minutes, made of plastic and should last indefinitely.
The permanent plastic records will be mailed C. O. D. by Dialect
Records Co. for $2.20 each, plus postage and tax or your check for $2.50.
DIALECT RECORDS COMPANY
P. O. Box 734
A PRICELESS BIT
The true Negro dialect of the time of Uncle Remus preserved on a permanent
It is one you will want to give to your best friend and keep for your children.
If you wane to make a friend, give him one.
No owner of a Psaltree record has ever failed to put it on for any group.
that came near his player. It is full of laughs.
It, is a classic and belongs with your classics. No record library
can be coinplete without it.
Probably nothing even similar has ever before been recorded.
DIALECT RECORDS COMPANY
P. O. Box 734
from any record you
have ever heard
Collectors have literally
clamored for this record for years. The author made it originally
for distribution to his family and friends in order that they might have
a better understanding of the Negro of the old South and has only
decided to let us put an edition out for the public, after receiving
urgent and insistent requests from all over the United States. While
this record is full of laughs, its chief interest lies in the fact that it
is an authentic record of the dialect and some of the quaint expressions of
the Southern Negro, who is now gone. It illustrates a sermon by a Negro
preacher of fifty years or more ago, as well as the belief of many of them
that, if they would let the Bible fall open at random, the first verse on
which their eyes rested would be the text to which the Lord had guided them
as appropriate for the day's sermon. Only a master of extemporaneous
speaking would have dared to follow this practice.
Though much of it seems droll
now, many of those men were orators of high order and exerted a vast power
for good among their people. But they loved the flesh
pots and spent much time "gleaning in the Vinyard of the Lord," which was
most frequently some good sister's kitchen. This is not the dialect
of the Negro field hand or levee worker, but of the ministry,
who could frequently read print, called "readin'," as,, distinguished
from "writin'," or longhand, and had read largely from the Bible, but
were short on history. Naturally all they read was interpreted in
terms of the period in which they lived.
A widely known writer once
asked, "What would you give for a transcription of a conversation with
Captain John Smith or Miles Standish?" The true negro dialect is largely
that of the early settlers, from whom he learned English.
It seems that much of that
English was not spoken as written.
While his white neighbors modernized their speech, the Negro
spoken as written. While his white
neighbors modernized their speech, the Negro
continued for nearly two centuries to speak English as he first learned
For instance "ask" was always "axe,"
"going" was "gwine," "it" was "hit" and "help" was "hope." Shakespeare,
Milton and Alexander Pope use these spellings at times, as do the white
mountain people who have had little contact with the outside world.
The author admits one lack of fidelity to the original, in that the
sermon is not intoned or chanted as the typical Negro sermon of that time
was. Nor, except at one point, does it carry the irrelevant
high-sounding phrases and Biblical quotations liberally sprinkled through
the originals, which, for some reason, seemed entirely correct and most
effective when used by those masters of their craft. One of their
favorites, when describing any pious Biblical character was "and he played
on the harp with a thousand strings — spirits of righteous men to make perfect,"
but note from the record how this sentence is pronounced. This method
of intoning would probably have rendered it unintelligible to most people
and record space did not permit the frequent interpolations.
This record was made by Mr. Holman Willis, who spent his early life
in Piedmont Virginia, and in a country community of the deep south where
the population consisted largely of Negroes, many of whom were grown
men and women when freed from slavery. The dialect of these people,
constituting about ten per cent of our population, was practically
a language in itself. It seems incredible that we are to lose this
language, when true recordings of it can still be made. We are flooded
with accounts of the progress of the Negro but the history of the
rise of the race will not be complete without standards for comparison
by which that rise may be measured.
As Mr. Willis has seen the old Negroes who spoke their
original dialect rapidly dying and has heard the frequently ridiculous
imitations current, he has become interested in pre-serving not only the
pronunciation but the hundreds of quaint constructions they used.
It is so much a part of our history, but it can not be written.
There is hardly a. handful of people alive today who can read Uncle Remus
and pronounce the words as the Negroes did and fewer still who can use the
little inflections and nuances as in the original.