ON THE TRAIL OF NEGRO FOLK-SONGS

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

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Easter Hymns



Share page  Visit Us On FB


Previous Contents Next
SONGS ABOUT ANIMALS
191
more attention to realism and less to sentimentalism, has more humor and less of the pathetic fallacy. He does not go into adjectival ecstasies over the song of the mocking-bird — or any other bird, so far as I know; nor does he choose the conventional effusions of com­parison. A bird is to him not a goddess of the sky, but a human being, a creature not of moonlit magic but of sunshine actuality, not a thing to be worshipped from afar but to be hailed as comrade of the field. In other words, a bird, not a trim-Shakespeare, not a light-winged dryad of the trees, no unbodied joy, or glow-worm golden, or anything of the sort. The darky of the South deals with birds in his own familiar manner.
The jay-bird, that lovely thing with a rascal nature and a ribald tongue, is well enough understood by the black man who works in the open near him all day and is convinced that you never see jay­birds on Friday because that day they all spend in torment, carrying sand for the devil. So there is no mawkish admiration for his beauty, no misconception of his attitudinizing. When the Negro sings of him this is what he says:
Jay-bird sittin' on a hickory limb; He winked at me and I winked at him, And I picked up a rock an' hit him on the chin. And he said, "Now, look here, Mr. Wilson, Don't you do dat agin."
Chorus
Jim crack corn — I don't care,
Jim crack corn — I don't care,
Jim crack corn — I don't care,
'Cause Massa's gone away.
Here the jay borrows for his own use the saucy chorus of an old Negro folk-song.
Or the audacious bird may be addressed as Mrs. Tom Bartlett reports, in a version which was one of her father's favorites. She writes: "In reading your book, 'From a Southern Porch/ I was re­minded of two songs that suggested themselves very naturally after reading the classic, Possum up a Gum-stumP that was one of my father's favorites, and Raccoon up a Simmon Tree"
Jay-bird settin' on a hickory limb; I picked up a rock an' hit him on the chin. "Good God, Nigger! Don't you do that again!" Whoo-jamboree, a-whoo-whoo!







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