ed. John Michael Cooper

  • Voice, piano
  • 3 min
  • the composer
  • English

Programme Note

Don't You Tell Me No falls into a family of lighthearted pieces that Price apparently composed for the musical theater. The manuscript is undated and contains a confusing address, but since Price worked in Chicago's "Black Belt" of theaters along State Street between 31st and 35th Streets during the economic privations of the early 1930s, the song's lyrics and theatrical style, complete with vamp (so designated), suggest that it may date from that period. The lyric is Price's own — something not unheard-of but also not common in her output. And the music includes not only references to cakewalk and ragtime styles, but also the modally ambivalent blue thirds (A-natural vs. A-flat or G-sharp) characteristic of much Black vernacular music.

— John Michael Cooper