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"Where wuz you, Sweet Mama, When de boat went down? " "On de deck, Baby,
Hollerin', ' Alabama bounT"
James E. Morrow gives several of the shine reels featured by these singers, of which the following is an example:
Yon'er goes my Nora, gittin' drunk ergin, Yon'er goes my Nora, gittin' drunk ergin.
Oh, Miss Sudie!
She's got good booty,
Di'mon' rings and fine clo'es too,
But dat Nigger ain't gonna get
Nothin' from me.
Oh, dat woman can't friss me. Yon'er goes my Nora, gittin' drunk ergin!
Mr. Morrow says: "The Negro who sang this song was shining my shoes, and when I asked him to give another verse, he stopped. A little substantial persuasion, however, brought forth another, which he timed to the strokes of his shining cloth as it was drawn across my shoes.
" Another Negro boy had a different shine reel, for they all have something of the sort. He was shy and would sing but one.
"I went to de ribber an' my gal went, too,
Stepped in de boat an' de boat went through. Down de ribber we went, singin' an' er-huggin' an' er-kissin', She say, 'You can't lose me, Charlie.'"
Work-songs of the Arkansas Negroes have been collected by Mrs. Richard Clough Thompson, of Pine Bluff, who sends some of them for this volume. She gives a woodchopper's song, which must be impressive, intoned in the solitude of the woods, as the chopper wields his shining axe to bring down one of the big trees. The song of the Negro is more philosophic in its acceptance of inevitability than is that of the poet of Woodman, Spare That Tree, and its solemn tones have harmonious accompaniment in the ringing sound of the axe as it strikes the tree trunk.
Ole Mister Oak Tree, yo' day done cornel
Zim-zam-zip-zoom! Gwine chop you down an' cahy you home!