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

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254                         NEGRO FOLK-SONGS
I'm on my way to heaven, oh, yes!
I'm on my way to heaven, oh, yes!
I'm on my way to heaven, I'm on my way to heaven,
I'm on my way to heaven, oh, yes!
She makes comment on Negro songs in general:
" Analysis of the Negro folk-song shows a strict rhythm that is re­markable when we stop to consider that untutored minds with no musical cultivation gave them birth. There is an absence of triple time, due to the fact that these songs are usually accompanied with clapping of the hands, swaying of the body or beating of the foot. It is noticeable, too, that 'ti' and 'fa' do not often occur in these melodies, and there are many little 'turns' and 'curls' (which are in­jected by the singers in different places of the songs), which we can­not easily express in musical notes.
"I happened to be one of the Fisk Jubilee singers for several years, travelling in this country and abroad, and being daily asso­ciated with two of the original Jubilee singers, who had the training of the company in charge. From them I gathered a great many ideas about the proper rendition of these songs, and I have a great love and appreciation for them which I can hardly express.
"I send you two songs which I've never heard, only when my mother sang them to me years ago."
A couple of songs of the " gospel train" are given as sung by the Negroes in South Carolina, by Emilie C. Walter. The first is in the gullah dialect, and is sung in the rooms of those who are dying. Negroes in certain rural districts share this habit of song for the dy­ing, with various primitive folk — a custom sympathetic in purpose, of course, but one wonders how often it has hurried off an invalid who might otherwise have pulled through!
De Gospel Train Am Leabin'
De gospel train am leabin', An' I year um say she blow. Git yo' ticket ready, Dere's room for many a mo'.
Git on bo'd, little chillun,
Git on bo'd, little chillun,
Git on bo'd [little chillun?],
Dere's room for many a mo'.

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