This post-World War I foxtrot is about a person looking for a “sweetie” who would, “Buzz around me like a Bumble Bee”. The lyrics mention being blue and suffering sleepless nights, “Regretting the day that I was born” and pleading, “won’t someone come and take a chance with me”. Near the end of the song the lyrics beg, “Lots of loving is what I crave, Love me when I’m dead and in my grave” implying this person is looking for a partner not just a quick romance. Within the song there are no clear clues as to the gender of this sad person looking for love in the transitional period immediately following World War I.
The cover of this sheet music shows a photograph of a woman seated at an upright piano in what is probably the home’s parlor. The parlor was the best room in the house and oftentimes contained a piano. The parlor functioned as the place where home entertainment, such entertaining guests and the playing of piano music, centered in the home. On the top of the piano is fancy decorative pottery and glassware that was popular in that period, signaling this room was reserved for the very best things a family possessed. The duos name’s Tyus and Tyus are superimposed on the piano scarf, which suggests the woman at the piano and the man standing at the right, are the composers. Janice Cleary who owns this amazing collection believes Effie and Charles Tyus were entertainers.
The woman is wearing a typical dress from the immediate post World War I era yet the man is outfitted in a top hat and tuxedo. This implies by playing this song, the wider world of exciting entertainment enters a family’s parlor. The man is in blackface, which comes from the minstrel tradition where entertainers both African American and white would apply a layer of burnt cork, shoe polish, or other black substances to their faces and exaggerate their lips and other features with makeup. The use of Blackface reinforced negative stereotypes about African Americans. In the post World War I era, many people viewed these exaggerated images as factual rather than a farcical vehicle of popular entertainment.
Charles Jefferson Tyus wrote the lyrics and Effie Tyus wrote the music published by Tyus and Tyus Music Publishing Company. The song is copyrighted to Charles Jefferson Tyus Music Company, 2524 Patrick Avenue, Omaha Nebraska. The back page of the sheet music includes a promotion for forthcoming Tyus and Tyus Music Publishing Company songs. The listing includes, “I Just Can’t Live Without You, Dearie!”, “I’m Tired Living in this Pig-Iron World Alone!”, “I’m Jazz Crazy, Too!”, and “I Want to Go Back to the Farm!”.
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