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

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The Negro has a special tact in dealing with animals, and can get more sympathetic response from them than can a white person, as a rule. The voice of an old fellow urging on the race horse he has tended can speed him to victory better than another. This imme­morial fellowship with what we call the lower creatures is a part of the Negro's being and sings itself in his folk-songs. Folk-songs are dateless and can be placed with respect to time only as they cele­brate certain events or changing conditions of society, but many of the songs known to belong to slavery times are about animals. For example, in " Slave Songs of the United States," published in 1867, we find the following, which was even then so old that it had no tradition of authorship. It seems really a combination of fragments from various Negro folk-songs of early origin.
As I walked down the new-cut road, I met the tap and then the toad. The toad commenced to whistle and sing, And the possum cut the pigeon's wing.

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