Mudcat Café message #2280777 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #25358   Message #2280777
Posted By: Croco Maes
05-Mar-08 - 09:00 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Go Tell Aunt Rhody
Subject: RE: Origins: Go Tell Aunt Rhody
I first came across this song in a recording of a Pete Seeger Singalong. I believe it was a live recording made in 1980 or '81 at a university up north (I believe it was Massachusetts). Seger song and banjoed hie way through 5 strophes with the public joining in:

=> Go tell Aunt Rhodie - The old grey goose is death

=> The one she has been saving - to make a feather bed

=> The old gander's weeping - because his wife is death

=> the gosslings are a-mourning - because their mother's death

=> she died in the millpond - a-standing on her head

Seeger always lead the first verse, let the public catch in on the second and third and then give the conclusion line. He seemed to accentuate the words 'saving' 'a-mourning' and so on, to make it sound like a spiritual with a preacher leading the song and the congregation falling in. Therefore, my first idea was that the sone was a kind of spoof on a black spiritual, making it sound like a religious song, but with a set of nonsensical verses.

Subsequently I started singing the song as a spoof spiritual, me playing the preacher, laying out the first line, having the 'choir' fall in with lots of 'hallelujah' and 'Ooh-Lord' in between the lines.The fourth line (the conclusion) I would speak --- preach--- with my 'congregation' repeating it.

Ps, my 'choir' mostly being young male co-workers we would always sing the third verse: the old gander's weeping - For the best (explicit) he ever had