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
would be in ecstasy at once, each surrounded by a group of admirers trying to control him, or her — usually her. Each group would be a centre of commotion in the general excitement.
The shouter would fall on the ground, writhing about as if in anguish, tearing her hair, beating off those who sought to calm her. Sometimes one, reeling too near in the throes of thanksgiving, would fall into the water and have to be fished out, somewhat subdued but still shrieking, and led off to dry in the sun.
I tried repeatedly to get a picture of the scene, but each time I adjusted the kodak, some shouter would start up beside me and all but push me into the pond. That little black box seemed to have an unfortunate effect on the crowd. One time I thought I would per­sist, but in the melee I was all but crushed. I was between the pond on one side and a barbed-wire fence on the other, with no chance for escape but a tree which I might have climbed had it not been a bois-d'arc, full of hard thorns. The crowd surged against me, and I had to put up my kodak hastily and become as inconspicuous as possible. I do not think they meant to harm me, but it was merely a matter of emotional excitement. Even my pencil taking down songs upset them.
Vendors of ice-cream cones and cigarettes went in and out through the crowd, selling refreshments to those who did not have their whole interest centred in the ordinance. I watched until the last candidate had been immersed and led off dripping across the field, and the last of the watchers had trickled away, singing snatches of song, shouting ejaculations, sometimes to each other and sometimes to the Lord.
There was an afternoon in Natchitoches, Louisiana, when I went to the Baptist church to see the janitor, who had promised to sing for me. A storm darkened and muttered in the distance, coming nearer and nearer, in awesome accompaniment to the gentle voice that echoed through the empty room as Parsons sang song after song. One that especially impressed me was about the cooling board, which means death-bed.
Gwine to lay me on a cooling board one of dese mornings, Gwine to lay me on a cooling board one of dese mornings, Gwine to lay me on a cooling board one of dese mornings, Hope I'll jine de band.
Chorus
Oh, my sister, oh, my sister, oh, my sister, Won't you come and go?