Darktown Strutter´s Ball

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1917© Music and Lyrics by Shelton Brooks

Shelton Brooks * Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada, May 4, 1886
† Los Angeles, CA Sep 6, 1975

I’ve got some good news, honey
An invitation to the Darktown Ball
It’s a very swell affair
All the “high-browns” will be there
I’ll wear my high silk hat and frock tail coat
You wear your Paris gown and your new silk shawl
There ain’t no doubt about it babe
We’ll be the best dressed in the hall

I’ll be down to get you in a taxi, honey
You better be ready about half past eight
Now dearie, don’t be late
I want to be there when the band starts playing
Remember when we get there, honey
The two-steps I’m goin’ to have ’em all
Goin’ to dance out both my shoes
When they play the “Jelly Roll Blues”
Tomorrow night, at the Darktown Strutter’s Ball

We’ll meet our hightoned neighbors
An exhibition of the “Baby Dolls”
And each one will do their best
Just to outclass the rest
And there’ll be dancers from ev’ry foreign land
The classic, buck and wing, and the wooden clog
We’ll win that fifty dollar prize
When we step out and “Walk The Dog”

About the song:
The words and music, by Shelton Brooks, were inspired by a ball at the 1915 Pacific-Panama Exposition in San Francisco. The music, in arrangements for band and for orchestra, was first published 18 Jan 1917 by Will Rossiter, Chicago. The version recorded 30 Jan 1917 by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band may be the earliest commercially made jazz record. ‘Darktown Strutters’ Ball’ was subsequently recorded by many pop and jazz artists. Betty Nygaard King