Today is the birthday of George “Honey Boy” Evans (1870-1915), Welsh-born minstrel ** man and co-author of the song “In the Good Old Summertime”, among countless others. He is also famous for introducing W.C. Handy’s “Memphis Blues” to the public. Here’s Billy Murray’s version of the Honey Boy’s best known tune:
To learn more about the roots of variety entertainment, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.
**Obligatory Disclaimer: It is the official position of this blog that Caucasians-in-Blackface is NEVER okay. It was bad then, and it’s bad now. We occasionally show images depicting the practice, or refer to it in our writing, because it is necessary to tell the story of American show business, which like the history of humanity, is a mix of good and bad.