ON THE TRAIL OF NEGRO FOLK-SONGS

A Collection Of Negro Traditional & Folk Songs with Sheet Music Lyrics & Commentaries - online book

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NEGRO FOLK-SONGS
9
or father, and I both loved and feared her. She had certain songs which she sang when she was angry, and I came to know them as Aunt Myra's temper songs.
When I 'm dead an' buried,
Don't you grieve atter me; When I'm dead an' buried,
Don't you grieve atter me; When I 'm dead an' buried,
Don't you grieve atter me, For I don't want you to grieve atter me.
When we heard that, we knew she was obliquely reminding us of how we should be smitten with sorrow and remorse if she were dead.
There was Tish, a young girl who worked for us when I was a child, a happy-hearted creature always laughing or singing. I recall scraps of her song, such as:
July Ann Johnson,
Don't you know, If you don't dress fine
You can't catch a beau?
I see a procession of black and yellow and cream-colored faces that have passed through our kitchen and house and garden some very impermanent and some remaining for years, but all singing. Now, when I sit on a porch at night, I am in fancy back at our old home, listening to the mellow, plaintive singing of a Negro congregation at a church a half-mile away a congregation which "ne'er broke up " at least before I went to sleep, and which gathered every night in a summer-long revival. I can project myself into the past and hear the wailful songs at Negro funerals, the shouting songs at baptizings in the creek or river, old break-downs at parties, lullabies crooned as marnmies rocked black or white babies to sleep, work-songs in cotton-