Darlin' Nelly Grey | Bowing Down Home

About this tune

This is one of several 19th century US popular songs that are played by Island fiddlers as dance tunes; some others are Golden Slippers, Home Sweet Home, Jubilo aka Kingdom Comin’, and When You and I Were Young, Maggie.

Hanby, a songwriter from Ohio, composed Darlin' Nelly Grey in 1856; the lyrics describe a free, young black woman who is kidnapped into slavery. The chorus goes as follows.

Oh my darling Nellie Grey, they have taken you away,
And I'll never get to see you any more,
I'm a-sitting by the river and I'm weeping all the day,
For you've gone from the old Kentucky shore.

Notation for this tune as played by Johnny Morrissey is in Fiddle Music of Prince Edward Island.

Tune Selections

Bernard, Alvin - Nelly Grey Accompanied by: Edwin Simmons, gtr
Western Queens
Hancock, Howard - Darlin' Nelly Grey Accompanied by: Keith Nicholson, gtr; Norman Gillis, bass
Eastern Queens
MacIntyre, Stewart - Nelly Grey Accompanied by: Ken Perlman, bjo
Northeast Kings
O'Connor, Attwood - Nelly Grey Accompanied by: Ken Perlman, bjo
South Kings
Smith Mary (Mary Smith Band) - Nelly Grey Accompanied by: Mary Cousins, pno; Trudy Corbett, gtr; Theo Weigers, drums