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Origins: Drinkin' That Wine

Related threads:
Lyr Add: Drinkin' Wine (15)
Lyr Req: Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee (7)


Eve Goldberg 05 Sep 04 - 12:35 PM
Jeri 06 Sep 04 - 10:15 AM
wysiwyg 06 Sep 04 - 10:50 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 06 Sep 04 - 12:47 PM
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Subject: Origins: Drinkin' That Wine
From: Eve Goldberg
Date: 05 Sep 04 - 12:35 PM

OK --

I learned the African American song "Drinkin' That Wine" from Bob Walser, who I think learned it from the Manhaden Chanteymen. It has the refrain:

Drinkin' that wine, wine, wine
Drinkin' that wine oh yes, my lord
You oughta been there ten thousand years
Drinkin' that wine

I found some different lyrics and information in this thread

But what I'm wondering about is, does "You oughta been there ten thousand years, Drinkin' that wine" refer to something specific? A bible story, perhaps?

Eve


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Subject: RE: Origins: Drinkin' That Wine
From: Jeri
Date: 06 Sep 04 - 10:15 AM

Eve, there are people around here who can undoubtedly provide better information or have greater understanding.

Creationists believe that the earth is 6,000 to 10,000 years old. I found an interesting page here: The Re-Creation of the Earth (Angels, in space ships, with light sabers sound pretty cool.)

The site above tells that the world wasn't created 10,000 years ago, but had existed prior to that. Big war between loyal angels and rebellious angels. Destroyed everything. Earth rebuilt, Garden of Eden created. Adam and Eve created and placed in Garden. They misbehaved and were kicked out...6,000 to 10,000 year ago.

Perhaps the reference in the song means that the singer would have liked to have been drinking wine since the beginning of humankind. Or since wine was discovered/invented.

I may be totally whacked, but I wonder if the 'forbidden fruit' might have been somewhat fermented, and what got Adam and Eve evicted 10,000 years ago was getting loaded on filched forbidden fermented fruit. I don't mean to be serious about this, but it may be the idea the songwriter wanted to come across.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Drinkin' That Wine
From: wysiwyg
Date: 06 Sep 04 - 10:50 AM

In the thread Eve links above, it's clear the song was around long before the recording industry:

From: Loyal Jones, Minstrel of the Appalachians: The Story of Bascom Lamar Lunsford (1984; University of Kentucky Press, 2002, p. 220; with music); 'I [Lunsford] heard this in 1903 at a Children's Day Program in a Negro congregation in the Yadkin Valley, Wilkes County, N.C.'"(p. 157)

Other documentation in that thread further shows it's a very early song. Since it was used as a work song (rowing, etc.), that probably means it started as a spiritual. (Please, USE the Spirituals permathread!)

The more you listen to the spirituals that are documented as authentic spirituals, the more you hear songs that you realize later became blues or some variant of "gospel" you might have heard on a commercial recording. When these adaptations got recorded, whoever recorded it often grabbed a songwriting or arranging copyright, and thus established a toehold in the commercial music economy by making fair use of songs they had heard from their cradles. We confuse ourselves when we assume that they sat down one day and actually composed the song. As you hear the spirituals, you realize these commercial songs mostly floated up out of people's bellies, memories, and souls.

Stylistic features attributed to particular performers (especially the guitar work that fascinates us today) are actually representations of what they'd heard sung-- vocalizations improvised originally and then folk-processed into traditional parts of songs.

As an example, I always thought Gary Davis wrote some really cool gospel. Well, he didn't. He applied what he had heard, in so many cases I have found, that I suspect that's true of ALL his gospel work. "Wrote" is a pretty loose term, it turns out.


So "origins" questions can be, "what did this first mean" or "what is the earliest recording" or "when was it written down" or "who has copyright and why" or "who collected it in the field and when" or "who made the first dollar on this"......... And in our own time, "who recorded it" usually means vinyl. But to me it means WAX-- field recordings. Cuz it's FOLK music, whether it later got commercial enough to catch others' attention, or not.

At a certain point you stop documenting these relationships between spirituals and later, commercial songs, because there are too many, and there are so many versions, that it all finally just comes across as music to be enjoyed and taken into oneself.


Back to this song's possible meanings. As I've posted numerous times (please USE the permathread!), spirituals often blended several Scriptural themes into one song. One theme mnight appear in the call part of the verse, another in the response, a third in the chorus, or even a third and fourth in a secondary call-response pattern. (The songs also were used to transmit Bible lessons to non-readers.)

The Scripture references can be precise Bible quotation or half-remembered incorrect quotes, or mixed-together images evocative of both Christian and tribal spiritualities. Like the Native Americans, a lot more was going on for black folks spiritually than mere words can accurately capture-- thus the music, to transcend the words and reflect or express what was happening in the soul.

One of Lunsford's verses includes: root of a tender tree. Does this seem to suggest that the wine is flowing from the tree of life? (Not to be confused with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil where that apple came from). Perhaps the reference is also about drinking from the living stream that Jesus talks about with the woman at the well.

Other versions/verses tell that Christ was there four thousand years ago, Drinkin' of the wine.

That would be a Creation reference.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Origins: Drinkin' That Wine
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 06 Sep 04 - 12:47 PM

See thread 41142 for newly posted version (Sea Islands work song) and more comments. Drinkin Wine


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