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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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SECOND LINE

THIS IS AN INSTRUMENTAL. THE MUSIC GIVES THE IMPRESSION
OF A SNAPPY MARCH.

Submitter comment: THE 'SECOND LINE ' IS NOT ONLY A SONG, BUT A DANCE OR STRUT.
IT IS VERY POPULAR AMONG BLACKS IN NEW ORLEANS. THIS STRUT
IS NOT ONLY PERFORMED DURING THE MARDI GRAS SEASON, IT IS
PERFORMED AT THE END OF LAMOST EVERY DANCE, WHITE OR BALCK.
WHEN YOU HEAR THE BLAST OF THE TRUMPETS, IT IS LIKE CALLING
ALL THE PEOPLE TO THE DANCE FLOOR. YOUNG AND OLD ALIKE
CANNOT BEAR TO SIT WHILE THIS TUNE IS PLAYING.
IT IS ALWAYS THE LAST DANCE OF THE BALL. THE SECOND
LINE TUNE IS ALSO PLAYED AFTER A JAZZ FUNERAL, BUT THEY
USUALLY REMEMBER THE SONG 'WHEN THE SAINTS GO MARCHING IN.'
ON MARDI GRAS DAY YOU WILL SEE THE INDIANS DOING THE
'SECOND LINE DANCE' TO THEIR CHANTS AND TO THE MUSIC THAT
THEY MAKE.
THE TUNE ITSELF CAN BE PLAYED AT A RELATIVELY SLOW TEMPO FOR
THE PRESENTATIONS OF THE MEMBERS OF THE CLUB GIVING
THE BALL. THE TEMPO IS QUICKENED FOR THE FINALAE OF THE BALL.
THE SECOND LINE DANCE IS KNOWN BY MANY WHITES IN NEW ORLEANS,
BUT IT IS BASICALLY A TRADITION OF THE BLACKS THERE.

Where learned: LOUISIANA ; New Orleans

James Callow Keyword(s): INTERRACIALISM, NOT RACISM

Subject headings: 663 Mardi Gras
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Dance
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Festival C436.663
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Music
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial

Date learned: 02-11-1975

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