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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7o
NEGRO FOLK-SONGS
Dat gal, she sho' had all my love, An' swore fum me she 'd never move, But Joe hoodooed her, don't you see, An' she run off wid him to Tennessee. I'd 'a' been married forty year ago Ef it had n't a-been for Cotton-eyed Joe!
Another ballad, which is said to be very old, since, as Mr. Charley Danne, of Trevilians, Virginia, who gave it to me, said, "The song about the fox was recalled at the request of my wife by an elderly gentleman who remembers having heard it often sung by slaves," is typical in that it shows the Negro's fondness for dramatic dialogue and his interest in animals. One can imagine how vividly the planta­tion slaves must have sung this spirited song recounting the wily fox's exploits and misfortunes.
The fox and the lawyer was different in kind.
The fox and the lawyer was different in mind.
The lawyer loved done meat because it was easy to chaw.
The fox was not choice but would take his blood raw.
Out from his den on a moonshiny night The fox caught a fat hen by his cunning and sleight. On the very same night, straight back to his den, Next morning surrounded by the tracks of dog men.
Men says, Surrender, Mister, I am at your door, For you shall never eat of my hens any more; For I shall never trust you out of my sight Till you and these dog men shall take a fair fight.
r O, how can you call such a fight as this fair
When there is but my one self and all these dogs hair [here]?
I'll take a fair race with the best dog you've got,
And if he will catch me I'll die on the spot.
Ah no, Mister, that scheme will not do, For I never intend to trust you nor none of your crew; For none but dog lawyers can plead on dog side And if they condemn you they'll tear off your hide.
Another song, said to be very old, was given me by Reverend J. G. Dickinson, of Evergreen, Alabama. It was sung by slaves on plan­tations before the war, and is still cherished, in some white families at least, until now. Elizabeth Dickinson, now of Columbia Univer-