Historic Sheet Music Collection


Shelton Brooks

Document Type


Publication Date



Title: The Darktown Strutters’Ball

Lyrics and music by: Shelton Brooks

Publisher: Leo Feist Inc. New York

Copyright: 1917 by Will Rossiter. Copyright assigned 1917 by Leo Feist Inc. Feist Building, N.Y.

Advertisements: back page – exact copy of the full page $5,000 advertisement which appeared in The Saturday Evening Post (advertisement for “Over There”).

Some of these resources may contain offensive language or negative stereotypes. Such materials should be seen in the context of the time period and as a reflection of the attitudes of the time. The items are part of the historical record, and do not represent the views of the libraries or the institution.


[Verse 1]
I’ve got some good news, Honey, an invitation to the Darktown Ball,
It’s a very swell affair, all the “high-browns” will be there,
I’ll wear my high silk hat, and a frock tail coat, you wear your Paris gown, and your
news silk shawl
There ain’t no doubt about it babe, we’ll be the best dressed in the hall.

I’ll be down to get you in a taxi honey, you better be ready about half past eight
Now dearie, don’t be late, I want to be there when the band starts playing
Remember when we get there, honey, the two steps I’m goin’ to have ‘em all
Goin’ to dance out both my shoes when they play the “Jelly Roll Blues”
Tomorrow night, at the Darktown Strutters’ Ball.

[Verse 2]
We’ll meet our high-toned neighbors, an exhibition of the “Baby Dolls”
And each one will do their best, just to out-class all the rest,
And there’ll be dancers from ev’ry foreign land, The classic, buck and wing, and
the wooden clog
We’ll win that fifty dollar prize, when we step out and “Walk the Dog”

[Chorus x2]


The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author.