Negro Folk Rhymes Wise & Otherwise - online book

A detailed study of Negro folk music, includes lyrics & sheet music samples.

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praise meeting, and thanked God that he had broken all the Commandments, but had kept his religion.
Though decent rhyme is often wanting, and in the case of the "Song to the Runaway Slave," there is no rhyme at all, the rhythm is found almost per­fect in all of them.
A few of the Rhymes bear the mark of a some­what recent date in composition. The majority of them, however, wTere sung by Negro fathers and mothers in the dark days of American slavery to their children who listened with eyes as large as saucers and drank them down with mouths wide open. The little songs were similar in structure to the Jubilee Songs, also of Negro Folk origin.
If one will but examine the recorded Jubilee songs, he wTill find that it is common for stanzas, which are apparently most distantly related in structure, to sing along in perfect rhythm in the same tune that carefully counts from measure to measure one, two; or one, two, three, four. Here is an example of two stanzas taken from the Jubilee song, "Wasn't That a Wide River?"
i. "Old Satan's just like a snake in the grass, He's a-watching for to bite you as you pass.
2. Shout! Shout! Satan's about.
Just shut your door, and keep him out."