Jelly Roll Morton, Inventor Of Jazz, Online Book by Alan Lomax

with Some sheet music & lyrics.

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Steal away, steal away, Steal away home to Jesus.
I tell you we had beautiful numbers to sing at those wakes.
Of course, as I told you, everybody in the City of New Or­leans was always organization minded, which I guess the world knows, and a dead man always belonged to several or­ganizations—secret orders and so forth and so on. So when anybody died, there was always a big band turned out on the day he was supposed to be buried. Never buried at night, al­ways in the day and right in the heart of the city. You could hear the band come up the street taking the gentleman for his last ride, playing different dead marches like Flee as the Bird to the Mountain.
In New Orleans very seldom they would bury them in the deep in the mud. They would always bury urn in a vault. . . . So they would leave the graveyard . . . the band would get ready to strike up. They'd have a second line behind urn, maybe a couple of blocks long with baseball bats, axe handles, knives, and all forms of ammunition to combat some of the foe when they came to the dividing lines. Then the band would get started and you could hear the drums, rolling a deep, slow rhythm. A few bars of that and then the snare drummer would make a hot roll on his drums and the boys in the band would just tear loose, while second line swung down the street, sing­ing . . .
Didn't he ramble?
He rambled.
Rambled all around,
In and out the town.
Didn't he ramble?
He rambled.
He rambled till the butchers cut him down.
That would be the last of the dead man. He's gone and everybody came back home, singing. In New Orleans they be-