Angelina Backer was written by Stephen Foster and was first published in 1850. It was not one of his more popular songs; in fact in 7 years it earned him a whopping $16.87.
The song tells of the love of a slave for a beautiful young slaved named Angelina Baker. She was sold away and he consoles himself by beating on an old jawbone, an instrument that was used like a rattle.
Angelina Baker entered the repertoire of old-time music and has become a popular fiddle tune. As it ws passed from hand to hand, the melody was changed and the title became Angeline the Baker. The words to the original song were forgotten and new words were made up to take their place.
The following are the original words:
Way down on the old plantation thatís where I was born; I used to beat the whole creation hoeing in the corn. Oh, then I work and then I sing so happy all the day, Till Angelina Baker came and stole my heart away.
Angelina Baker! Angelina Bakerís gone; She left me here to weep and tear, and beat on the old jawbone.
Iíve seen my Angelina in the springtime and the fall
Iíve seen her in the cornfield, and Iíve seen her at the ball;
And every time I met her she was smiling like the sun,
But now Iím left to weep and tear cause Angelinaís gone.
Angelina am so tall she never sees the ground,
She has to take a telescope to look down on the town.
Angelina likes the boys as far as she can seeíem,
She used to run old massa round to ax him for to ree them.
Early in the morning of a lovely summer day,
I ax for Angelina and they say sheís gone away.
I donít know where to find her cause I donít know
Where sheís gone,
She left me here to weep a tear and beat on the old jawbone.