Negro Folk Rhymes Wise & Otherwise - online book

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

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custom to call on the dancers to join with those of the circle, at intervals in the midst of the dance, in dancing other steps than the Jonah's Band step. Some dance leaders, for example, simply called in plain prose—"Dance the Mobile Buck," others call­ing for another step would rhyme their call. Thus arose the last lines to each stanza, such as—
"Raise yo' right foot, kick it up high! Knock dat 'Mobile Buck' in de eye!"
This is the genesis of the "Jonah's Band Party," found in our collection. The complete rhyme be­comes a fine description of an old-time Negro party. It is probable that much Dance Rhyme making originated in this or a similar way.
Let us assume that Negro customs in Slavery days were what they were in my childhood days, then it would come about that such an ocasional Rhyme making in a crowd would naturally stimu­late individual Rhyme makers, and from these in­dividuals would naturally grow up "crops" of Dance Rhymes. Of course I cannot absolutely know, but I think when I witnessed the making of the "Jonah's Band Party," that I witnessed the stimulus which had produced the Dance Rhyme through the decades of preceding years. I realize, however, that this does