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

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You better run,
You better run,
You better run to de City of Refuge,
You better run!
The basses would go to impressive depths, while the tenors and bari­tones would curl all round the heavier tones in improvised runs and quavers.
Mr. Derieux told of the singing of one Jake, who had what one folk-song calls "a ponstrous voice/' and who was a famous song leader. Jake ran a boot-legging joint in the bushes near a certain "baptizing pond" in South Carolina, and when the crowds assem­bled for a baptizing he did a rushing business. On one occasion a white man who had come to attend the ceremony called Jake aside and requested refreshment.
" Yessir, boss/' Jake replied, "but you have to wait awhile. My time be baptized next. After that I 'tend to you."
The customer was acquiescent, and so, after Jake emerged from the water and changed to dry clothes, he hastened to go on breaking the dry law.
Mr. Derieux said that he had lived near a convict camp in South Carolina and gone often to listen to the prisoners sing as they worked. A certain band of life-termers, who had been together for a long time, had sung together so much that they were in fine voice, and had wonderful harmony of part-singing. They sang all day-Sunday, as they had nothing else to do.
Mr. Derieux described the iron cage that was moved about for the gang to sleep in at night — something like a Pullman car, only very different as to comfort and looks. The convicts would be chained to the cage on Sunday, but allowed certain freedom of movement. They sang all day. He vividly recalled fragments of their songs.
0, Lawd, ain't dey rest fo' de weary one?
One star in de east, One star in de west. And I wish dat star was in mah breast!
Let us cross ober de ribber, Let us cross ober de ribber, Let us cross ober de ribber, An' rest.

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