American Ballads and Folk Songs: page - 0168

Complete Text, Lyrics & Sheet Music

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Voucher Codes

Share page  Visit Us On FB

Previous Contents Index Next
American Ballads and Folk Songs_____________
Skew Ball was an Irish race horse of broadside fame. The song came over to America and was turned into a work song by the slaves as some of the quoted stanzas will testify. And now Skew Ball has be­come "Stewball" and his race is sung in the prisons of Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, and Tennessee. It is the most widely known of the chain-gang songs in the states we visited, and by far the most con­stant as to tune and words.
The following stanza illustrates the way Stewball is sung by a gang of Negro workmen in the fields. The accents mark the hoe or ax blows.
Leader                                         Chorus
Way out in                                    Unh-hunh—
Californy,                                      Unh-hunh—
Where oP Stewball                        Unh-hunh—
Was born,                                      Was born—
All de jockeys                                Unh-hunh—
In de country                                 Unh-hunh—
Said he blew there                          Unh-hunh—
In a storm,                                     In a storm—
In a storm, man,                            Unh-hunh—
In a storm.                                     In a storm.

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III