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
17
Gwine to lay me in my coffin one of dese mornings, Gwine to lay me in my coffin one of dese mornings, Gwine to lay me in my coffin one of dese mornings, Hope I'll jine de band.
Chorus
Gwine to wrap me in a white sheet one of dese mornings, Gwine to wrap me in a white sheet one of dese mornings, Gwine to wrap me in a white sheet one of dese mornings, Hope I'll jine de band.
Chorus
Oh, pore mourner, oh, pore mourner, oh, pore mourner, Won't you come and go wid me?
A cordial invitation, but one that did not tempt me to accept!
It was in Natchitoches Parish that Sebron Mallard, who had been one of my grandfather's slaves, came to see me. He said, "I was ploughing when I got the word that Mister Johnny's daughter was nigh here, and I drapped the plough and made tracks toward you." He could not sing, he told me, but he gave me information of value about some of the songs I was investigating, helping me to establish their antiquity by the fact that he had heard them in his childhood. He told me much about my grandparents — the grandfather and grandmother who had died long before I was born; and he gave me many little intimate details about my dead father's boyhood. He said, " Mister Johnny war de youngest of all de boys, but he knowed how to work harder and laugh more than any of 'em."
He said, "Li'l mistis, is you well? Is you happy?"
"Yes, Uncle Sebron, I'm always well, and I'm very happy/' I told him.
He looked at me with dimming eyes.
"My ole pappy tol' me befo' he died that good luck would be bound to go with ol' Marster's fambly becase they was alius so good to their pore slaves. They brought us up mannerble, and I brought my chillun up thataway, too. And ain't none of us never been ar­rested nor had no trouble. But some of the young folks these days is n't that way and it makes trouble. Us old folks sees when dey do wrong, and it hurts us, but we can't do nothing, cause we's feeble and we's few.
"White folks and black folks look like they ain't live lovely to­gether like they used to."
I got some interesting material from a Negro in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Some members of a colored church where I attended