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

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Oh, baby, what you gwine to do? Three C Railroad done run through!
Me and my pardner, him and me! Him and me-e-e him and me! Him and me!
Oh, baby, what you gwine to do? Seaboard Air-line done run through!
Oh, baby, what you gwine to do? B and 0 Railroad done run through!
Each stanza celebrates the completion of some railroad or public work, so that a list of them would give a history of construction work in the South, where these roving bands of Negroes had been employed. There are endless possibilities for stanza subjects, as one would suppose.
Mr. Derieux said that he heard a paid gang of Negroes working on a road at Greenville, South Carolina, when wages were a dollar a day. They sang an antiphonal chant,
Million dollars Million days!
Dr. Oren More, of Charlotte, North Carolina, gave Miss Gulledge a work-song that he had heard Negroes singing in a brickyard and clay-pit in South Carolina, when he was ten years old. The first part is the same as I've Been Working on the Railroad, and was sung by Negroes working with picks at what they called a "pick party."

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