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
WORK-SONG
This has reference to weekly rations for a Negro on the old planta tions, which were three and one-half pounds of bacon and a peck of meal, with vegetables grown on the place.
Such customs have continued even in recent times. Samuel Derieux, of South Carolina, whose recent death was a loss to South­ern literature, told me of an occasion when Negroes came from miles around to his grandfather's plantation to shuck corn which had to be taken care of promptly after a fire had destroyed a big barn. The Negroes worked and sang all night, improvising inimitable har­monies from a few lines, whose words seemed nonsensical. Mr. Derieux said that when a gang of Negro workmen sing in unison they sometimes achieve extraordinary effects. He heard one gang of convicts working on the road, a chain-gang, singing a song of which he remembered only a fragment, but he recalled the mar­vellous part-singing and the harmonics evolved:
CITY OF REFUGE
Mr. Derieux could not remember the words for the first part of tJie tune, but only for the chorus.







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