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Buhds in de branches fin' anodder nes'!
Zim-zam-zip-zoom! Ole Mister Oak Tree, he gwine to hees res'!
White folks callin' for day wahm wintah rlah!
Zim-zam-zip-zoom! Lif' de axe, Black Boy, hyah, hyah, hyah!
Mrs. Thompson says: "It is difficult to represent the musical sounds of the refrain, which are like hissing, humming, whistling, and long-drawn-out crooning tones emphasized by the blows of the axe."
Mrs. Thompson also sends a spinning-song, a favorite of the Negro women in the days when spinning was done at home, by hand.
Spin, ladies, spin all day, Spin, ladies, spin all day.
Sheep shell corn,
Rain rattles up a horn, Spin, ladies, spin all day, Spin, ladies, spin all day, Spin, ladies, spin all day.
In her record of slavery days, called "When I Was a Little Girl," Anna Hardeman Meade gives a song that "Nervy" used, to make butter come, when the churning proved a long and tiresome task. This is in the nature of an invocation as well as an apostrophe, since churns may be hoodooed so effectually that the butter will never come unless some special means be used to lift the evil charm. At the old plantation Penultima Nervy used to sing:
Come, butter, come! De King an' de Queen Is er-standin' at de gate, Er-waitinJ for some butter An* a cake. Oh, come, butter, come!
The pickaxe is a good musical instrument in the hands of a Negro man — or, at least, it serves as tuning-fork to line out the metre. Clare Virginia Forrest contributes this fragment of a work-song, which she says was sung by Negroes working on the roads in Norfolk, Virginia.