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): The song is largely Anglo-American in nature, although it has black influences.
Minstrel troupes freely added and removed verses, and folk singers have since added hundreds more. The song falls into the idiom of previous minstrel music, relying on rhythm and text declamation as its primary motivation.The piece starred Richard Pelham in the title role and Frank Brower as a black clown."Old Dan Tucker" did not appear on a Virginia Minstrels playbill until a March 7 and 8 performance at Boston's Masonic Temple. as if by accident, each one picked up his tools and joined in a chorus of "Old Dan Tucker," while Emmett was playing and singing.Emmett played "Old Dan Tucker" to the troupe manager's liking, and he debuted on the Mount Vernon, Ohio, village green in blackface to perform the song on the Fourth of July.Wintermute claims that the name Dan Tucker is a combination of Emmett's own name and that of his dog.