A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from December 14, 2005
“Bowery Gals” (1853)
The song "Bowery Gals" is usually called "Buffalo Gals." The song has had many different names.

The following lyrics are "can't/won't you come out tonight and dance by the light of the moon?"

Lubly Fan
Composed as a song by Cool White, a blackface minstrel with the Virginia Serenaders, and published in 1844. The melody, usually known as "Buffalo Gals," or in the Upland South as "Round Town Girls," and appears under this title in some mid-19th century publications. Some sources say the tune had folk origins but was published in 1848 as a minstrel tune.

In the 1840s Cool White (real name: John Hodges), a blackface performer, sang a tune called "Lubly Fan, Won't You Come Out Tonight" with the Virginia Serenaders. He claimed to have composed it, and credit is often given to him, but it was first printed on sheet music in New York in 1848 with "author unknown." One tune has been found called "Midnight Serenade" in George P. Knauff's Virginia Reels, volume IV, printed in Baltimore in 1839, that is a set of "Buffalo Gals," and since it precedes the minstrel era or at least publication of "Lubly Fan," the tune may have been at the time in oral tradition at least in the Upland South.

A feature of the tune has long been the multiplicity of place names attached to it in the title. It has been called "Jimtown Gals," "Brown Town Gals," "Alabama Gals," "Roundtown Gals," "Johnstown Gals," "Lushbaugh Girls," "Louisiana Gals," "Bowery Gals," "Cincinnati Gals," "Hagtown Gals," and "Hagantown Gals," as well as "Buffalo Gals." Buffalo, N.Y., may have become the primary city name attached to the title because it was a common terminal point for the minstrel circuit from New York city to Albany across to westernmost Buffalo, the city's name and its frontier reputation made it an easy and appropriate substitute for performances of Lubly Fan.

January 1849, Southern Literary Messenger, pg. 23:
Then followed "Dandy Jim of Caroline" -- "Lubly gall, can't you come out to-night"
1 June 1850, Spirit of the Times, pg. 171:
I could stand no more, so wheeling my horse, I rode away in double quick time, whistling the popular air of "Buffalo Gals."

26 July 1851, Spirit of the Times, pg. 267:
"Buffalo girls, can't you come out to-night,
And dance by the light of the moon?"

26 October 1853, New York Daily Times, pg. 5:
GEO. CHRISTY and WOOD'S MINSTRELS, No. 444 Broadway. PROGRAMME for this evening:
...Bowery Gals...
Posted by Barry Popik
Music/Dance/Theatre/Film/Circus • Wednesday, December 14, 2005 • Permalink

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