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African American Secular Folk Songs

Related threads:
African-American Spirituals Permathread (96)
Song Origins PermaThread™ (16)
Origins of: Found on Mudcat:PART THREE (48)
Origins of: Found on Mudcat -PART TWO (79) (closed)
Origins of: Found on Mudcat (121) (closed)


sian, west wales 21 Oct 09 - 05:35 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 31 Jan 09 - 01:37 PM
Azizi 31 Jan 09 - 07:25 AM
Azizi 31 Jan 09 - 07:21 AM
Azizi 31 Jan 09 - 07:01 AM
Azizi 31 Jan 09 - 06:53 AM
Azizi 31 Jan 09 - 06:26 AM
meself 31 Jan 09 - 03:57 AM
Megan L 31 Jan 09 - 03:31 AM
wysiwyg 30 Jan 09 - 11:34 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 30 Jan 09 - 10:51 PM
Azizi 30 Jan 09 - 08:12 PM
Azizi 30 Jan 09 - 08:03 PM
Azizi 30 Jan 09 - 07:30 PM
Megan L 30 Jan 09 - 06:43 PM
Azizi 30 Jan 09 - 06:28 PM
Azizi 30 Jan 09 - 04:50 PM
Stringsinger 30 Jan 09 - 04:28 PM
wysiwyg 30 Jan 09 - 02:16 PM
Azizi 29 Jan 09 - 10:46 PM
TinDor 29 Jan 09 - 03:24 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 06 Jul 05 - 03:02 PM
Azizi 06 Jul 05 - 10:47 AM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 06 Jul 05 - 08:33 AM
Abby Sale 06 Jul 05 - 07:55 AM
Le Scaramouche 06 Jul 05 - 03:07 AM
GUEST,Azizi 05 Jul 05 - 08:06 PM
Le Scaramouche 05 Jul 05 - 06:56 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 05 Jul 05 - 01:28 PM
GUEST,Azizi 05 Jul 05 - 01:17 PM
Le Scaramouche 05 Jul 05 - 11:07 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 06 Jun 05 - 03:51 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 06 Jun 05 - 03:37 PM
Azizi 06 Jun 05 - 09:21 AM
Azizi 06 Jun 05 - 09:02 AM
Abby Sale 06 Jun 05 - 08:53 AM
Azizi 06 Jun 05 - 08:41 AM
mg 06 Jun 05 - 02:24 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 06 Jun 05 - 01:19 AM
Azizi 05 Jun 05 - 11:28 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 05 Jun 05 - 09:59 PM
wysiwyg 05 Jun 05 - 09:47 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 05 Jun 05 - 07:55 PM
Azizi 05 Jun 05 - 05:22 PM
Azizi 05 Jun 05 - 05:20 PM
Azizi 05 Jun 05 - 04:58 PM
wysiwyg 05 Jun 05 - 04:40 PM
Azizi 05 Jun 05 - 04:31 PM
GUEST 05 Jun 05 - 01:52 PM
wysiwyg 05 Jun 05 - 12:39 PM
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Subject: RE: African American Secular Folk Songs
From: sian, west wales
Date: 21 Oct 09 - 05:35 AM

Just received this information on the V&A Museum Black Heritage Season which may be of interest.

sian


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Subject: RE: African American Secular Folk Songs
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 31 Jan 09 - 01:37 PM

"Blacks in Deep Snow," Colin A. Thomson, tells the story of Black settlement and pioneering in Canada. The first slave of record was sold in 1628 in Montreal.The first large group were slaves brought to Canada by United Empire Loyalists at the time of the American Revolution. Slavery was abolished in the British Empire in 1833.
Segregation, legally separate schools in some areas and discrimiation remained strong, however, until after WW2. The KKK was prominent, especially on the prairies, in the 1920s-1930s. One of their meetings in the small town of Moosejaw drew 8000. Crowds at meetings in Calgary are shown in photogrphs taken at the time. Family papers in provincial archives often include KKK membership cards.

Adding to the Ware story, his wife was from the first Black family, Lewis, to settle in what is now Alberta. His first holding, west of Millerville, is still a pretty area of mountains, foothills and small fields, but has become popular with Calgarians who like a more 'country' lifestyle. His old holding partially has been carved into 1/4 section home sites (only 40 minutes from the City).


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Subject: RE: African American Secular Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 31 Jan 09 - 07:25 AM

To return to the subject of this thread, here's another video link:

Sweet Honey In The Rock - Sylvie - 1990 – Sydney


posted by marksydow on May 29, 2008


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Subject: RE: African American Secular Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 31 Jan 09 - 07:21 AM

I apologize for the numerous typographical,grammatical, and content errors in my recent (and my not so recent) posts to this thread.

For example, "the Maulana Ron Karenga" should be Maulana Ron Karenga.

And the corrected form of this sentence is "you will note how many Black people have chosen afrocentric symbols including the red, black, and green colors that are said to represent African Americans, or the green, gold, and red that represent Ethiopia and some other African countries and cultures such as the Rastafarians".

-snip-

From now on, I'll try to be more careful in my postings.


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Subject: RE: African American Secular Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 31 Jan 09 - 07:01 AM

To return to the stated subject of this thread, here are links to two YouTube videos of African American secular folk songs:


All the Pretty Little Horses Lullaby -Kathleen Battle

posted by Paideia360 on January 23, 2009

Lyrics to this song are provided in the video's summary.

**

Hush Little Baby -Yo-Yo Ma and Bobby McFerrin

posted by skicnik on December 12, 2007

Lyrics to this song are provided in the video's summary.


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Subject: RE: African American Secular Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 31 Jan 09 - 06:53 AM

Continuing with this particular digression, let me correct this one admittedly convoluted sentence:

...in the late 1960s and early 1970s {the decades of the flowering-or the reflowering-of the 20th century afrocentricity in the USA}...

For some, "afrocentricity" is a way of approaching history and/or it has a political meaning. See for example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afrocentrism .

However, for me, and I believe for a great many African Americans and other people of the African Diaspora, what being afrocentric means is acknowledging the relevance of African cultures to the group identity of peoples of African descent and expressing our knowledge and appreciation of African cultures through our choices of clothing, our home deccoration such as our purchase of artwork and decor, our choices of symbols, personal names, group names for our cultural or community organizations, our collection or playing of African musical instruments, our telling African folk tales, our knowledge of African proverbs, our use of African hair styles, our use of African scenes and African symbols on gift bags, greeting cards, wedding invitations etc. etc. etc.

See for example, for those who are interested, see my choice of one of the adinkra symbols as my symbol on my Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/cocojams

{If you care to take the time looking through my page of friends' photographs}, you will note how many Black people have chosen afrocentric symbols, including the red, black, and green colors that are said to represent African Americans, or the green, gold, and black that are represent Ethiopia and other African countries and cultures such as the Rastafarians}.

For all those who think this is an indirect way for me to promote my Myspace page-well you're at least partly right.

:o)


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Subject: RE: African American Secular Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 31 Jan 09 - 06:26 AM

Megan, I appreciate the fact that your comment emphasizes the point that Africa is a huge continent.

I'm surprised that you appear to think that I think otherwise. I am also surprised that you appear to think that my statements on this thread or elsewhere in this forum indicate that I have applied or that I apply stereotypes to Africa or African people.

Because few African Americans know which ethnic group/s and which nation/s our African ancestors came from, those African Americans who have embraced our connection to mother Africa, tend to speak in generalities about Africa. We {that is to say, in my opinion, many afrocentric African Americans {afrocentric here meaning those who are interested in African history and cultures} tend to embrace and to claim as their own all the positive traditional African culturally indices that we become aware of. For example, in the late 1960s and early 1970s {the decades of the flowering-or the reflowering-of the 20th century Afrocentric in the USA}, the Egyptian ankh was highly favored by Afro-centric African Americans. In those decades, that Egyptian symbol of life became a symbol for a number of African Americans and other people of the African Diaspora of African cultural awareness. Not only was the ankh used in necklaces pendents, earrings, and rings {worn by both Black people and non-Black people}, but often the ankh was used as logos for many African American cultural organizations. The ankh symbol is still being used by African Americans to symbolize our connection to the continent of Africa and not necessarily the ancient country of Egypt, and even less so the modern nation of Egypt.

To cite a few other examples of African Americans claiming a patchwork quilt of African cultural artifacts and customs as the way we identify with our African heritage-

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Maulana Ron Karenga used Swahili words rather than Wolof or Ibo words for Kwanzaa, the African American holiday that he created. And a number of African Americans {such as me} either selected or were given KiSwahili personal names, and not names from West African languages {though some African Americans did select or were given Akan or Yoruba personal name}* Note that by changing our names to Swahili names, we weren't particularly claiming any East African or East Central African descent. Instead we were celebrating the fact that we were of some African descent.*

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, many Afrocentric African Americans became aware of traditional African music through the albums of Babatunde Olatunji. Some afrocentric African American men wore dashikis which were based on the Yoruba men's dansiki, and some afrocentric African American women wore Yoruba and/Senegalese clothing. As a member of the cultural nationalist group based in Newark, New Jersey in 1967-1969, I recall that in the same conversation, we might use the Swahili word "harambee" {all pull together}, the Swahili word "asante" {thank you}, and the Zulu word "yebo" {yes}.

And by at least the early 1990s, Akan kente cloth from parts of Ghana and Cote d'lvoire, West Africa and adinkra symbols from these same people, particularly sankofa had overtaken the Egyptian ankh as the preferred symbols of Black Americans' connection with mother Africa.

Of course, this is a greatly abbreviated overview of how African Americans have selected various indices of African heritage to express our "Africanness". This overview fails to adequately discuss African Americans' interest in ancient Ethiopian culture & its cultural artifacts, and does not mention the connection between the Ethiopian cultures and the Rastafarian religion and lifestyle, and music {though this is based in Jamaica, there are many African Americans of Jamaican ancestry}. Furthermore, this overview does not discuss the conversion that some contemporary African Americans have made to the "traditional" Yoruba/Benin religions. And this overview doesn't discuss Black Americans' interest in ancient Malian culture and the meaning to us of our use of one of Mali's cultural artifacts, mud cloth (bogolanfini) fabric.

This brief comment also does not adequately discuss African Americans' symbolic association with such historical figures as Egyptian pharoah Akenaton, Egyptian Queen Cleopatra, South African King Shaka Zulu, and Angolan Queen Nzinga. Furthermore, this comment doesn't discuss the African Americans' embrace of many types of African musical instruments, but particularly since the 1990s, the djembe drum. Indeed, as soon as I submit this post, I'm sure I'll think of other ways in which the cultural diversity of the African continent is reflected in contemporary African Americans embrace of different cultural indices from that continent.

If it were possible for us to know which African ethnic group/s we descended from, we may not have has such a transcultural embrace of Africa. But, for the record. when I talk about Africa on this forum and elsewhere, I mean all of this-and more.


*I believe African Americans' during those times relative familiarity with Swahili names in contrast with our relative unfamiliarity with Ibo, Yoruba, Wolof, Lingala, and other West African languages, and the relative ease in pronouncing Swahili names, were high among the reasons why so many African Americans resonanted to Swahili perrsonal names for themselves and/or for their children.


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Subject: RE: African American Secular Folk Songs
From: meself
Date: 31 Jan 09 - 03:57 AM

Continuing with Q's thread drift, here's more info. on John Ware, as well the Black communities in Alberta: http://blackpioneers.albertasource.ca/people/john_ware.html.


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Subject: RE: African American Secular Folk Songs
From: Megan L
Date: 31 Jan 09 - 03:31 AM

Please Azizi stop refering to Africa as though it was one homgenuous lump of country. It is a continent with many countries and many wonderfully varied peoples living there. I get so sick of people stereotyping others.


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Subject: RE: African American Secular Folk Songs
From: wysiwyg
Date: 30 Jan 09 - 11:34 PM

Regarding discrimination, yes, I am sure there was quite a lot. However my comment was about cultural diffusion throughout the cowboy population and the music exchanges around campfires that surely occurred in "mixed-race" cowboy crews. And that therefore a number of the DT and posted songs listed as cowboy songs may also be AA songs.

I'm suggesting that cowboy may be cowboy may be cowboy.

~S~


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Subject: RE: African American Secular Folk Songs
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 30 Jan 09 - 10:51 PM

More digression-
Our mental picture of the cowboy tends to concentrate on the period of the great cattle drives, 1870s, when cattle had to be taken long distances to a railhead, or to the Dakotas to feed corraled Indians after the buffalo essentially were exterminated.
Durham and Jones are correct that the roster on trail drives was small. The trail boss, wrangler, coosie (cocinero), and a few cowboys, some with experience, some not. The crew was white, the cook black, Mexican or white (There were a few exceptions, one is discussed below).
Abilene KS was a loading point; its population was small, serving the yards for the cattle and the crews who brought them to town and the few farmers in the area; reportedly it had a few African-Americans in the holding yards, but I have not been able to verify this.

One of the few Black cowboys on drives to North Dakota and Montana was John Ware, who settled across the border in Alberta. He had worked on ranches, joined trail drives, and eventually settled as a ranchhand on a large holding. Large (6'3"), athletic and self-contained, he came to be accepted by the predominantly Scotch, English and American ranchers who came to this new ranching area which was opening up. He was respected as a hard worker and a good cattleman, and the best broncbuster in the region. Some notes referred to him as Nigger John Ware, but this was typical of the time, when the Encyclopedia Britannica (see 1911 ed.) pointed out physical and mental differences between Negroes and other races, characterizing them as inferior, prone to fights, but with much musical ability.
Ware worked for a spell on two of the large ranches before he was able to buy his own place. His brand, 9999, reportedly stemmed from his age of 9 years when the slaves were emancipated, and he considered it his lucky number. A small bull trout breeder stream which runs through his property, now called Wareabouts by its present owners, bears the name Ware Creek. He is one of the "Fifty Mighty Men" in a book on Albertans by Grant McEwan.
A few other African-Americans were coming to the Canadian prairie; he married the daughter of a carpenter who had settled in Calgary. He later was able to buy a larger spread on the Red Deer River.

On large ranches, conditions were quite different. Texas ranches like the Kennedy have many Mexican-American famillies, some of whom represent the third generation or so living on the ranch. Tex-Mex music is often heard.
I don't have any statistics, but I am sure that some African-American families are equally long-term.

Small ranches are quite different. Typically in Alberta, several will join together at branding times, or on moves from high to lower pastures. Entire families (and sometimes friends and relatives from town) take part in the drives, and in the branding, immunization and castration of calves, and the party that follows. Usually the ranch with good facilities and location is selected, and kitchen duties and liquor costs shared. Two ropers at least are essential to keep the calves coming to where the work is done, and two teams to do the fixin'. Never heard a genyouwine folk song, secular or other, sung at these events, but some country wannabe generally brings a guitar.


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Subject: RE: African American Secular Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 30 Jan 09 - 08:12 PM

Here's another gem of a video, though I'm not going to try to transcribe the singing and the spoken word the main singer intermixes with it:

Whistler's Jug Band - Foldin' Bed (May 25, 1930)

"Louisville, KY
Tear It Down, Bed Slats and All"

2:37; posted by peglegsam on December 30, 2006

This video may not actually fit the category of this thread, but it's just too historically important not to be included on some Mudcat folk & blues discussion thread.

Here are some viewers' comments about this video:

paulvernon100 (2 years ago) "an absolute classic; arguably the earliest rural blues-based footage"

seldenkid (1 year ago) "This is a gem of a video thanks to You tube we go back in to time Now thats what I call a great band"

palindromei (1 year ago) "crazy to imagine that jug band music was one of the most popular styles of music in the urban south in the late 20s and early 30s."

luvureally (4 months ago) "I am Black American and I do not find anything offensive about this. Because for one it is not staged for the amusement of a white audience - overalls, dusty brogans, "skinnin & grinnin", contrived buck dancing. Well dressed just as most Black men of the era would have been if being photographed or filmed. Just like the photos I have of my grandfather & great-grandfather. They seem to be presenting their music on their own terms."


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Subject: RE: African American Secular Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 30 Jan 09 - 08:03 PM

Here is a gem of a YouTube video, 90 year old Elizabeth Cotton being interviewed by "Shetland Fiddler Aly Bain, from his 1985 Series Down Home."

Re: Elizabeth Cotten - Freight Train

7:05 minutes; posted by crtUK on September 03, 2007

-snip-

At .36-1:32, Elizabeth Cotton plays a banjo and sings a song the song "Georgy Buck" {or is she saying Georgian Buck?}

Here's my transcription of that song {which is subject to error}

GEORGY BUCK
Oh Georgy Buck
Oh Georgy Buck
Oh Georgia Buck
Say it so.

Georgy bumped his head.
Last words he said
Didn't want no shortnin' in his bread.

They put shortnin' in his bread.
It went swimmin' in his head.
Ah-ah-ah-ah

[banjo chords]

-snip-

At 3:44, the interviewer says to Ms. Cotton "You wrote one of the most fanous folk songs of all times".* Ms. Cotton then talks about how she came to write that song. She then plays her guitar and sings her composition "Freight Train".

I'll end this post as I started it. This is an absolute gem of a video.


* Of course, some people will say that if the composer of a song is known, then its not a folk song. But that's a battle for a thousand other Mudcat threads, and hopefully not this one.


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Subject: RE: African American Secular Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 30 Jan 09 - 07:30 PM

Thanks for that explanation, Megan.

Because of my sociological background, I'm prone to credit history and cultural socialization for reasons why African American music is as it is -with "history" starting in Africa.

I admit to having a very negative visceral [excuse the pun] reaction to theories that body type have something to do with intellect. So to think that body types have something to do with how a group of people as diverse as African Americans sing...If I correctly understand what is being said, and admitting that I just don't know enough about the subject, my initial reaction is to give that theory two thumbs down.


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Subject: RE: African American Secular Folk Songs
From: Megan L
Date: 30 Jan 09 - 06:43 PM

Sound requires something to creat a vibration and a soundbox to amplify that vibration to an audible level. Therefore in a fiddle the strings vibrate and the soundbox(Body of the fiddle amplifies the sound. The length and thickness of the strings determine the vibration and the shape and size of the soundbox effect the amplification and to a degree the tone of the produced sound, A fiddle may be roughly the same shape as a Cello but the sound is vastly different.

In the human instrument i.e. voice the vibrations are produced by the the two membranes of the voicebox and the amplification and tone by the oral cavity. Therefore the shape and bone structure of any human or particular group of humans will create slightly different sound patterns.


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Subject: RE: African American Secular Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 30 Jan 09 - 06:28 PM

Frank, thanks for your comment, though I confess that I don't understand what you mean by "phenotypical aspects of African-American music", and "The facial construction of singers make a difference in vocal quality and tone production."

Because I know too little about this subject, I'm not sure if I agree with you or not. On the face of it {no pun intended}, I'm prone to agree with Alan Lomax's position that the music is cultural. But then again, not knowing what you mean, I'm not sure if the truth is one or the other, or both of these positions.

I'm sure that other people besides me would be interested in you posting more on this subject.

**

I want to give a shout out to TinDor for refreshing this thread that I had forgotten about. Thanks!

This thread was started before YouTube videos exploded on the scene. It's hard to imagine a time when there was no YouTube. I think that this thread would be enriched by links to any videos of African American secular songs from slavery or the late 19th century or early 20th century.

I'm going to look for such songs and post their links.

Of course, people are still welcome to post any comments or song lyrics in this thread.


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Subject: RE: African American Secular Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 30 Jan 09 - 04:50 PM

Ditto what Susan said about the great resource that is Mudcat.

However, for the record, while it appears that by virtue of the demands of that role, there was far less segregation for African American cowboys than there was for many other Black Americans at that time, Black cowboys and of other Black people who lived in the pioneer American West did experience some discriminatory treatment.

For more on that subject, see this excerpt from this online article:

..."The two best general works on African American cowboys, however, explode the myth that there were no (or almost no) blacks on the western ranches, ranges, and cattle trails. In 1965 two University of California at Los Angeles English professors, Philip Durham and Everett L. Jones, published a book called The Negro Cowboys. They estimated that there were at least five thousand black cowhands in the late nineteenth-century American West. Four years later, University of Oregon history professor, Kenneth Wiggins Porter, argued that the number was closer to eight thousand or nine thousand--about 25 per cent--of the 35,000 or so cowboys who worked in the frontier cattle industry. (6)

Moreover, Porter argued that the conditions black cowboys experienced on western ranches and cattle drives were--from economic and social standpoints--much better than those of blacks in the South. He wrote that "[d]uring the halcyon days of the cattle range, Negroes there frequently enjoyed greater opportunities for a dignified life than anywhere else in the United States.... The skilled and handy Negro probably had a more enjoyable, if a rougher, existence as a cowhand then [sic] he would have had as a sharecropper or laborer in the South. Certainly, however, racial discrimination occurred on the cattle frontier. Blacks could not stay in white hotels, eat in white restaurants, or patronize white prostitutes. Blacks were almost required to avoid trouble with whites because prejudice might lead to more violent confrontations than would be the case if race were not a factor. Moreover, blacks were rarely promoted to the exalted position of trail boss. .Nevertheless, wages for blacks and whites were generally equal, the two groups of cowhands shared bunkhouses, and they worked and ate side-by-side. (7)

Other authors also have maintained that there was little prejudice among cowboys because ranch and trail crews stuck together. And, certainly, it was often the case that blacks and whites worked together in the western cattle industry. White cowboys would often defend their black co-workers from other whites who tried to start trouble. Because most cattle herds rarely exceeded twenty-five hundred in number, only a few drovers were needed to get them to market. According to Durham and Jones, "an average crew contained about eleven men: the trail boss, eight cowboys, a wrangler, and a cook." The boss was almost always white, but two or three of the cowboys, the wrangler, and the cook might typically be black. A few blacks, however, did become ranch and trail bosses. Moreover, several African American cowboys--whether bosses or not--have become fairly well known to historians of the subject. (8)

African American cowboys on the western frontier
Negro History Bulletin , Jan-Dec, 2001   by Roger D. Hardaway

[Italics added by me for emphasis]

-snip-

For those interested in reading more about this subject, see this online listing of books from Black Pioneers, Settlers, Cowboys and Outlaws

"During the western migration, during the period we call the "Wild West", 1 in 3 cowboys was either Black or Mexican. Hollywood seems to have left a third of the cowboy population out of its hundreds of cowboy movies. Maybe they just didn't know better.
Most of the information here is from the wonderful book, "The Black West" by William Loren Katz, published in 1987 by Ethrac Publications, Inc.

Other souces of information about Black cowboys and settlers are, "Black California, The History of African-Americans in the Golden State", by B. Gordon Wheeler, and "The Negro in American History" series by Encyclopedia Britannica Educational Corporation.

A great book about Black cowboys is "The Negro Cowboy" by Philip Durham and Everett L. Jones. It has great stories, photographs, maps and illustrations as well as an extensive bibliography.

This is not a comprehensive listing, but represents some of the most colorful and obscure Black men and women who helped tame "The Wild West".

By the way, if you're in Colorado or planning a trip there, stop by the Black American West Museum and Heritage Center in Denver."

-snip-

That website also has short biographical notes on various famous Black cowboys, settlers, pioneers, and outlaws.


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Subject: RE: African American Secular Folk Songs
From: Stringsinger
Date: 30 Jan 09 - 04:28 PM

Hi Azizi,

In response to:

"I am interested in knowing whether you think it is appropriate and/or important to include information that is known about the racial/ethnic origin of folk songs"

I think it is vitally important. The African-American culture is a strong element in American music. There are certain phenotypical as well as genotypical and anthropological elements that need to be identified. These elements influence musical style, scale selection and rhythm choices. (For example, African-American scales tend to flat the seventh note of a blues scale whereby the Appalachian singing style tends to sharpen that note. The flatted third, seventh and fifth notes of the blues scale have African origins.)

In general, African-American singing styles tend to be physicalized more than the stationary stance by Appalachian or Anglo-American folk singers. Much of African-American music is dance oriented. The "beat" is always there.

The facial construction of singers make a difference in vocal quality and tone production. This is a factor in musical choices in style. I had a long drawn-out discussion about this with Alan Lomax who took the "blank slate" approach that all African-American musical styles were cultural. I disagreed. I think they are "phenotypical" involving physical characteristics.

Case in point regarding singing: There has never been a Caucasion singer who could emulate Mahalia Jackson's unique gospel style successfully. That could also be applied
to Leadbelly or Ironhead Baker as well.

The aforementioned points in no way suggest that these characteristics are part of cases. There will always be discrepancies to any trend.

It is extremely important to chase down cultural and phenotypical aspects of African-American music just as it was deemed important to evaluate and analyze European so-called "Classical" music.

Secular African-American music such as Blues in its divergent categories from field holler to be-bop, Piedmont style finger picking on guitar, bottle-neck and knife-teasing guitar styles, cabaret belting from the cat-house New Orleans days, ragtime piano and the "perfessers" such as Morton, Joplin, Johnson etc..Jazz singers and blues shouters such as Ella, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith, Victoria Spivey, Trixie Smith, Chippie Hill, Alberta Hunter, Ma Rainey and others, early pre-Presley rockers (rock and roll being another euphemism from the "jass" days), work related chain-gang and field hollers, bamboo pan pipes, unique banjo and fiddle playing styles, drum bands, and the development of wind instruments from the end of the Civil War in the hands of African-American musicians all have a bearing on defining African-American music. The knowledge of these roots and tributaries are so important to define what we know as American music.

Secular African-American music and its impact on Anglo-American string band music including bluegrass is important here. Also, its influence in the questionable Minstrel show tradition.

Certainly overlapping of cultures take place in music but I think it's important to know how and from where the overlapping began.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: African American Secular Folk Songs
From: wysiwyg
Date: 30 Jan 09 - 02:16 PM

TinDor,

As I understand it, cowboys tended not to experience the forced segregation much of the rest of the country endured in American history; I'd expect that cowboy songs flowed across cultures of origin, as well. So, I hope you will look beyond this thread into the wealth of resources captured among the various site features. Feel free also to PM anyone anytime to enquire further about how to find things of interest.

For example, the millions of cowboy songs collected at Mudcat to date (slight exaggeration) can be found by using the blue-gray Lyrics & Knowledge Search on the keyword cowboy or @cowboy. That search turns up not only songs collected into the Digital Tradition (with keywords), but also the discussion threads where even more songs have been posted and discussed.

As with the African-American Spirituals Permathread-indexed songs, the scholarship on the songs is in the individual threads, song by song. These threads are still "live" and it is not at all uncommon for a poster who has found an old thread to revive it, add to the discussion, and spark a new round of additional contributions from members.

Mudcat's general membership has always been interested in songs regardless of "racial" origin; it began as a Blues site. African American songwriters', singers', and musicians' contributions are well known and deeply valued. Please do add to the treasures.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: African American Secular Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 10:46 PM

Hello, TinDor.

Feel free to post the titles or words of any songs that you believe belong to this thread category.

Thanks,

Azizi


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Subject: RE: African American Secular Folk Songs
From: TinDor
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 03:24 AM

Does this include Ballads/Black Cowboy type songs?


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Subject: RE: African American Secular Folk Songs
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 06 Jul 05 - 03:02 PM

Bob Cotman makes a valid point about books after 1945 (WW2 era); and some even before then. Some collectors seem to think that the sources were uncontaminated by contacts, insulated in a time capsule from the past. Schools, migration from the south to the north to find work and the backflow of ideas and information, the radio, the growth of prison farms, etc., strongly affected (impacted the modern word) local cultures.

Two very important sources not listed:

Perrow, E. C., 1911-1915, "Songs and Rhymes from the South, Jour. Amer. Folklore, vol. 25, 137-155; vol. 26, 123-173; vol. 28, 128-190. Thanks to www.immortalia.com, these articles are on line and may be downloaded.
Some 275 songs or fragments are in this collection, many from black communities.
Immortalia

Krehbiel, H. E., 1913 (and reprints), "Afro-American Folk-Songs." Especially useful for songs of the Black Creoles (from areas where the Catholic and Anglican religions were strong), which are often closer to African roots than the songs preserved from areas with Protestant slave holders. In spite of the 1913 date, many were collected in the 1880s.
Paperback reprints are reasonable.


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Subject: RE: African American Secular Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 06 Jul 05 - 10:47 AM

Bob,

Thanks for you comment.

Would you agree that Thomas W. Talley's "Negro Folk Rhymes" should be included in the list of outstanding sources?

I would also include Bessie Jones, and Bess Lomax Hawes' "Step It Down" in this list if the study includes African American children's rhymes.


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Subject: RE: African American Secular Folk Songs
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 06 Jul 05 - 08:33 AM

This discussion is close to my heart. For some years I've been trying to isolate reliable sources of genuine 19th and early 20th century African American secular songs.

Books are about all we've got. In general it's best to stay away from those printed after about 1945, as they tend to suffer from "version creep" due to the Folk Scare. It should be emphasized over and over again that the best printed primary sources are the earliest. (I.e. not Burl Ives, though "Buckeye Jim," descended from a New Orleans roustabout song, is an example of something good in his collection.)

Some of the following works have been cited above in scattered references, but it helps to pull them together as a working collection. These are outstanding, the best:

Odum and Johnson, Negro Workaday Songs
Odum and Johnson, The Negro and His Songs
Scarborough, Dorothy, On the Trail of Negro Folk Songs
Newman I. White, American Negro Folk Songs
Wolfe, Charles, Thomas W. Talley's Negro Folk Rhymes

These further collections focus on spirituals but have some secular songs and they're good early versions:

Allen William Francis et al, Slave Songs of the United States
Parrish, Lydia, Slave Songs of the Georgia Sea Islands
Work, John C., American Negro Songs and Spirituals

General collections with much good Afro-American secular material are:

Lomax, John A and Alan, American Folk Songs and Ballads
Lomax, John A and Alan, Our Singing Country
Sandburg, Carl, American Songbag

Later Lomax collections should be avoided because of Alan Lomax's unfortunate habit of collating, rearranging and now and then recomposing material, but the above two books are fairly sound.

A great collection of largely Afro-American roustabout songs is:

Eddy, Mary O., Steamboatin' Days.

All these books are more or less hard to find, but copies may be available on Amazon-used, Abe or Alibris.

Take a look at any collections of minstrel songs you can find. Particularly in the early (1830s-1850s) history of minstrel shows in America, so far as we can tell at this late date, a number of genuine traditional Afro-American songs were used on stage. Though the degree of composition by such early performers will always be at issue (and Dan Emmett in particular composed a lot of his own material), songs like "Juba," "My Old Dad," "Jaw Bone," "Turkey Buzzard," "Clare De Kitchen," "Johnny Boker," Sally Is Your Hoecake Done," "Shew Fly," "Take Your Foot Out The Mud" and maybe "Boatman's Dance" seem to show folk origins.

Lastly, beware of recorded versions! Relatively little on record is true to the older styles. But a few songsters like Henry Thomas, Elizabeth Cotten and Blind Willie McTell (and even Leadbelly) have a few choice songs each.

On the other hand, the best modern groups like Martin, Bogan and Armstrong and Joe and Odell Thompson had a great feel for older material and are worth a hearing.

And always check the Library of Congress and other field recording collections for the Afro-American songs and music they have made available.

When you cover this much ground, you realize there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of excellent early Afro-American traditional songs out there in more or less authentic form. They turn up in strange places, like the songs Joel Chandler Harris included in two of his Uncle Remus books, some obviously his poetry, but a few sounding reasonably genuine.

Enjoy!

Bob


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Subject: Lyr Add: WAKE UP BABY
From: Abby Sale
Date: 06 Jul 05 - 07:55 AM

I never had the impression Odetta's version was an especially AA one. I took it to simply be one she'd picked up on the folk circuit. And then made it a distinctively Odetta song. I'd be very interested to learn otherwise.

---

I don't recall that Scarborough mentions Our Goodman (X Nights Drunk, #274) but it's about the only Child ballad I know that made it all the way to blues. Of course the topic matter is a natural for Chicago Blues.

Sonny Boy Williamson #2, (Aleck `Rice' Miller) does a complete & fine version (accompanied by no less than Robert Jr. Lockwood, Luther Tucker, Otis Spann & Wee Willie Dixon) on Chess CH-9257 (1958 & 1989). It's most similar to Bronson ver. #28.

         Wake Up Baby

         I come home one night,
         I was tired as a man could be.
         I saw a mule in my stable,
         Whar' my mule supposed to be.

         Wake up. Baby.
         Explain all this stuff to me.
         Who's mule's that in my stable,
         Whar' my mule supposed to be?

         Said, "You must be silly, you talk right funny,
         Why don't you open up your eyes and see,
         You know that ain't nothin' but a milk-cow,
         That my mother sent to me."

         I been all over the world.
         To Gulf of Mexico.
         I never saw no milk-cow,
         With a saddle on its back befo'.

         Next night when I come home, I was tired as a man could be.
         I saw a hat on the dresser, Whar' my hat supposed to be.

         I said, "Wake up. Darlin'. Explain all this stuff to me.
         Who's hat on the dresser, Whar' my hat supposed to be?"

         Said, "You must be silly. Daddy you ain't talkin' right,
         Why don't you open up your eyes and see,
         You know that ain't nothin' but a wash-pan,
         That my grandmother sent to me.

         I been all over the world. And to Gulf o' Mexico.
         You know I never saw no washpan, With a hatband around it befo'.

         The next night when I come home, I was tired as a man could be.
         I saw a coat on my hanger, Whar' my coat supposed to be.

         I said, "Wake up. Little girl. And Explain all this stuff to me.

         Who's coat on my hanger, Whar' my coat supposed to be?".

         Said, "Daddy, you talk right silly,
         Why don't you open up yo' eyes and see,
         You know that ain't nothin' but a blanket,
         My mother-in-law sent to me."

         I been all over the world. And to Gulf o' Mexico.
         I ain't never saw no blanket, With two sleeves in them befo'.


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Subject: RE: African American Secular Folk Songs
From: Le Scaramouche
Date: 06 Jul 05 - 03:07 AM

Fascinating. Thanks.
Interesting that the man doesn't inform her of his Bluebeardish tendencies.


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Subject: Lyr Add: LADY ISABEL AND THE ELF KNIGHT
From: GUEST,Azizi
Date: 05 Jul 05 - 08:06 PM

Add Lyrics:

LADY ISABEL AND THE ELF KNIGHT

Source: Dorothy Scarborough "On The Trail Of Negro Folk Songs"
       Folklore Associates Edition, 1963; pp 44-45
       {originally published in 1925; Harvard University Press


There was a tall an' handsome man,
Who come a'courtin' me.
He said, "Steal out after dark to-night
An' come a-ridin' with me, with me,
An' come a-ridin' with me.

"An' you may ride your milk-white steed
An' I my apple bay."
We rid out from my mother's house
Three hours befo' de day, de day,
Three hours befo' de day.

I mounted on my milk-white steed
And he rode hi apple bay.
We rid on till we got to the oean,
An' den my lover say, lover say.
An' den my lover say:

"Sit down, sit down, sweetheart," he say,
"An' listen you to me.
Pull off dat golden robe you wears
An' fold hit on yo' knee, yo' knee,
An' fold hit on yo' knee.

O ax him why my golden robe
Must be folded on his knee.
"It is too precious to be rotted away
By the salt water sea, water sea,
By the salt water sea."

I say, "Oh, sweetheart, carry me back home,
My mother for to see,
For I'm afeared I'll drowned be
In this salt water sea, water sea,
In this salt water sea."

He tuck my hand and drug me in
.............................

I say, "Oh sweetheart, take me back!
The water's up to my feet, my feet,
The water's up to my feet."

He smile at me an' draw me on.
"Come on, sweetheart, sweetheart,
We soon will be across the stream,
We've reached the deepest part, deepest part,
We've reached the deepest part.

As I went on I cry an' say,
"The water's up to my knees!
Oh, take me home! I'm afeared to be drowned
In this salt water sea, water sea,
In this salt water sea."

He pull me on an' say, "Sweetheart,
Lay all your fears aside.
We soon will be across it now
We've reached the deepest tide, deepest tide,
We've reached the deepest tide."

I sank down in the stream an' cry,
"The water's up to my waist,"
He pull at me an' drug me on;
He say, "Make haste, make haste, make haste,"
He say, "Make haste, make haste."

I cry to him, "The water's up to my neck."
"Lay all your fears aside.
We soon will be across it now,
We've reached the deepest tide, deepest tide,
We've reached the deepest tide."

........................

O cought hol' of de tail of my milk-white steed,
He was drowned wid his apple bay.
I pulled out of de water an' landed at my mother's house
An hour befo' de day, de day.
An hour befo' de day.

My mother say, "Pretty Polly, who is dat,
A-movin' softily?"
An' I say to my Polly, "Pretty Polly,
Don't you tell no tales on me, on me,
Don't you tell no tales on me."

An' my mother saym "Is dat you Polly?
Up so early befo' day?"
"Oh, dat mus' be a kitty at yo' door,"
Is all my Polly say, Polly say,
Is all my Polly say.

-snip-

Scarborough wrote that she overheard and old Negro woman in Waco, Texas crooning this song to a baby.

The dots are gaps in the woman's memory of the lyrics.


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Subject: RE: African American Secular Folk Songs
From: Le Scaramouche
Date: 05 Jul 05 - 06:56 PM

I know the Leadbelly version, very famous, in fact knew it before ever hearing the Prickle-Eye (hollie, whatever) refrain. His version was also covered by Led Zeppelin.
Nobody was saying the transcript in the link WAS American, I want to know about the modern reworking from '65.

Azizi, do you have the the lyrics to that version of the Elf Knight?
And does it feature the blasted budgie?


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Subject: RE: African American Secular Folk Songs
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 05 Jul 05 - 01:28 PM

Bronson, in "The Singing Tradition of Child's Popular Ballads," remarked that the English variants have a "prickly bush burden" which has been lost in America. See also the long entry in "The Traditional Ballad Index."
The song variants of "The Maid Freed from the Gallows" has been collected from many singers in America, mostly white, although Bronson noted that "among the Negroes the ballad is still sung and said in the form of a cante-fable" (writing in 1976).
I presume that the Lead Belly version, like other American versions, lacks the 'prickly bush' lines.
Since the song has been so widespread, it would be hard to say where Lead Belly got his version, although I can see that the subject of hanging could influence the attitude of African-Americans to the ballad.
The note by Lloyd is not helpful. The version given in the writeup is not American.


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Subject: RE: African American Secular Folk Songs
From: GUEST,Azizi
Date: 05 Jul 05 - 01:17 PM

The first folk album that I can recall hearing was by Odetta.

I was impressed by Odetta's voice, the songs, and the fact that was one of the first Black woman I had ever seen who wore her hair in an afro.

All these many years later I have forgotten the name of that album, but remember that she performed that hangman song.

****

Dorothy Scaborough's "On The Trail Of Negro Folk Songs", Folklore Associates edition, 1963; originally published in 1925 by Harvard University Press, has an entire section on African American's perservation and reworking of Traditional [UK] songs and ballads.
That chapter includes a 3 1/2 page example of "Hangman"m complete with stage directions.

Example:
{To Father}
Father, have you come?
And have you come at last?
And have you brought my gold?
And will you pay my fee?
Or is it your intention to see me hang
Here all under this willow tree?

{Father to Son}
Yes, I've come, I've come.
I have not brought your gold.
I will not pay your fee.
T' my intention to see you hung
Here all under this willow tree.

-snip-

That chapter includes other variants of this song entitled "Hangman, Slack on the Line".

That chapter also includes versions of "Lady Isabel and Teh Elf Knight", "Frog Went A'Courtin", "Old Bangum", "A Little Boy Threw His Ball", "Lord Lovell", "So We Hunted and We Hollered", and other songs...


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Subject: RE: African American Secular Folk Songs
From: Le Scaramouche
Date: 05 Jul 05 - 11:07 AM

In the notes to the Waterson's version of the Pirckle-Holly Bush ( Child 95 Maid Freed from the Gallows, Gallis Pole, Hangman) Bert Lloyd wrote:

American blacks took to the song (Leadbelly had a good version), and after the Watts ghetto riots of 1965, a set appeared in which a young black looter appears in court to face a heavy fine or the "gallows twine." The rescuer in this case is neither father, mother nor sweetheart but a social worker who arrives with the money just in time.

Does anyone know of this (or any others like) reworking, or have lyrics?
I do hope it's not just him.


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Subject: RE: African American Secular Folk Songs
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 06 Jun 05 - 03:51 PM

Corrections:
Verse 4- négresse, not néress

Last verse in Patois:
Yé prend maitr' Préval yé metté li prison,
Pasque li donnin bal pou vol nous l'arzan.


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Subject: Lyr Add: MICHIÉ PRÉVAL
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 06 Jun 05 - 03:37 PM

Lyr. Add: MICHIÉ PRÉVAL

Michié Préval li donnin gran' bal,
Li fait nèg payé pou'sauter in pé.

(Alternate 1st verse from Cable)
Miché Préval li donné youn bal,
Le fé naig payé trois piass pou rentré

Dansé, Calinda, *boudjoum, boudjoum,
Dansé, Calinda, boudjoum, boudjoum.
* Cable; Krehbiel substituted boudoum.

Dans l'equi vié la yavé gran gala;
Mo cré soual la yé té *b'en étonné.
* bien

Miché Préval, li té Capitaine bal;
Et so coché, Louis, té maitr' cérémonie.

Y'avé de néress belles passé maitresse,
Qui volé bel-bel dans l'ormoire momselle.

"Comment, Sazou, té volé mo cuilotte?"
"Non, no maitr', mo ddi vous mo zes prend bottes."

Ala maite la geôle li trouvé si drôle,
Li dit, "Moin aussi, mo fé bal ici."

Ouatchman la yé yé tombé la dans;
Yé fé gran' déga dans léquirie la."

Yé prend maitr' Préval yé mett*#233; li prison,
Pasque li donnin bal pou volé nous l'arzan.
Etc., not given in Cable or Krehbiel.

The following is a translation provided in a letter to krehbiel from Lafcadio Hearn. It is not exactly correct as Hearn tried to be humorous. He also added translations of verses that are not given in gombo above.

Monsieur Préval gave a big ball; he made the darkies pay for their little hop.
The grand gala took place in the stable; I fancy the horses were greatly amazed.
M. Préval was Captain of the ball; his coachman, Louis, was Master of ceremonies.
He gave a supper to regale the darkies; his old music was enough to give one the colic.
Then the old jackass came in to dance; danced precisely as he reared, on his hind legs.
There were negresses there prettier than their mistresses; they had stolen all manner of fine things from the wardrobes of their young mistresses.
Black and white both danced the bamboula; never again will you see such a fine time.
Nancy Latiche (?) to fill out her stockings put in the false calves of her madame.
"How, now, Sazou, you stole my trousers?" "No, my master, I took only your boots."
And a little miss cried out: "See here, you negress, you stole my dress."
It all seemed very droll to the keeper of the jail; he said, "I'll get up a dance (of another sort) for you here."
At M. Préval's, in Hospital Street, the darkies had to pay for their little hop.
He took M. Préval and put him in the lock-up, because he gave a ball to steal our money.
Poor M. Préval! I guess he feels pretty sick; he'll give no more balls in Hospital Street.
He had to pay $100 and had a pretty time finding the money.
He said: "Here's an end of that; no more balls without a permit."

This satirical song is said to preserve the rhythm of the Calinda (calienda, la calenda), the name possibly derived from Spanish Qué linda!
The lyrics suggest the time in New Orleans when well-to do whites would set up their slave mistresses in a house, with rooms for the mother and a slave maid. The mistress sometimes made sufficient money to buy her freedom.
Lyrics from Krehbiel, with music, supplemented from Cable (also with music, slightly different). Krehbiel described it as a satirical song, not using the name Calinda. Words and music, Henry E. Krehbiel, pp. 152-153, 1913, "Afro-American Folk-Songs."
It seems that the true Calinda disappeared(?) from Louisiana sometime before the Civil War, when much of the Sunday activity was prohibited in Place Congo.
From old reports, the dance, performed to drums, was active, performed by men twirling sticks in mock fight (with a crowd giving responses), the form never recorded and its choreographic history not yet determined (Dena Epstein, p. 33. The Louisiana planter, Le Page du Pratz (reported in Moreau de Sainte-Méry, 1797)said: "Nothing is more to be dreaded than to see the Negroes assemble together on Sundays, since under pretense of Calinda, or the dance, they sometimes get together to the number of three or four hundred, and make a kind of Sabbath, which it is always prudent to avoid; for it is in those tumultous meetings that they .... plot their rebellions." (From Dena J. Epstein, 1977, p. 32, "Sinful Tunes and Spirituals, Black Folk Music to the Civil War"). Hearn observed the Calinda in the West Indies, where sometimes the mock fight became real, and even cutlasses were used. (Letters to Krehbiel, 1880s). Krehbiel surmised that its origin may have been a war dance.

Cable commented: "The Calinda was a dance of multitude." He notes its confusion with the Chica, "a kind of fandango, they say in which the Madras kerchief held by its tip-ends played a graceful part."


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Subject: RE: African American Secular Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 06 Jun 05 - 09:21 AM

Abby,

I had forgotten that I had posted to that thread in 2004.

And what is a hoot is that I used basically the same words in mentioning that article that I can't find about the disappearance of rabbit songs.

Well, at least I shared another rabbit song in this thread and not the same one as that other thread that you linked to!

And while I'm at it, let me correct a typo that I made:

"Rabbit! Rabbit! You'se a mighty habit,
A-runnin' through de grass,
Eatin' up my cabbages;
But I'll git you shore at las'"

-snip-

Best wishes,

Azizi

PS. I also found that Aug 2004 post to be interesting to me as I had thought my first post on Mucat was in September 2004.

I guess I've been here a little bit longer than I thought.

Time passes when you're havin fun!


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Subject: RE: African American Secular Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 06 Jun 05 - 09:02 AM

Still more on 'Candjo':

The problem with linquistics is that there are multiple words with similar spelling and sound but with very different origins and meanings.

Take this word "Candjo".

Here's the excerpt from Q's 05 Jun 05 - 09:59 PM post:

"A note to Krehbiel from Lafcadio Hearn who (at that time a resident of New Orleans), says: "My quadroon neighbor, Mamzelle Eglantine, tells me that the word koundjo (in the West Indies Candio or Candjo) refers to an old African dance which used to be danced with drums. The 'Criole Candjo' ... is sort of a [black] Creole dandy who charms and cajoles women by his dancing- what the French would call un beau valseur."

-snip-

Note the reference to New Orleans, quadroon, and Creole.

And see this quote from Courlander's book Negro Folk Rhymes, U.S.A {p, 193}:

"Errors of fact compounded errors of understanding. Cable [a White man who provided documentation of Black dances in New Orleans' Congo Square, 19th century] referred both in articles and stories to the 'candio', which he identified as an African of royal blood.
In actuality, the 'candio {pronounced 'canzo' in Haiti and West Africa} was a mmber of an elevated level of the Vodoun cult. A person who was of 'canzo' rank had passed through a fire ordeal and had thus risen about the level of the ordinary servitor."

-snip-

BTW, I like that sentence "Errors of fact compounded errors of understanding" and believe it may be relevant to my 'Akan name theory." First of all, I have no idea if any Akan persons at all were enslaved in the New Orleans are, but I know that the religion that came to be called 'voodoo' [hoodoo] was very much a part of New Orleans culture.

So this is a example where my enthusiasm got in the way of my judgement.

To use a Hip-Hop phrase: "My bad".

****

Mg, you asked "How about sea shanties and river boat loading songs?"

I haven't been collecting these songs. I understand that boat crews were quite integrated, but certainly the call & response pattern of these songs suggests some African {Black} influence. And there may be some floating verses in those songs that are common to other Black folk songs of those times.

I will check through books that I have to see whether there are examples that I can post.

And, hopefully, others will posts some of these songs.



Azizi


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Subject: RE: African American Secular Folk Songs
From: Abby Sale
Date: 06 Jun 05 - 08:53 AM

But not always, of course.

Note good text & material on "Mister Rabbit" as a lullaby and game song, properly cited several times but not in the data base that I can find.

Pretty song, as I know it.

Rabbit

(Azizi already popsted there)


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Subject: RE: African American Secular Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 06 Jun 05 - 08:41 AM

More on 'Candjo':

See this excerpt from harold Courlander's Negro Folk Music, U.S.A {Columbia University Prss, p. 192; 1968} that refutes what I wrote earlier:

"The term Counjaille, or Coonjine, is still used in southern United States waterfront areas to mean moving or loading cotton, an activity that once in all probability, was accompanied by Counjaille-type songs and rhythms. Negro children on the docks and levies sang such songs as:

Throw me a nickel, throw me a dime
if you want to see me do the Coonjine."

-snip-

I take it the children were asking White passerbyers to throw them money and they would do a dance that was patterned after movements made by those loading cotton.

I remember this verse pattern when I was growing up in Atlantic City, New Jersey {1950s, early 1960s} as

You get a nickel, and I'll get a dime
And we'll go out and buy some wine.
Drinkin wine, wine, wine
Drinkin wine, wine, wine
Drinkin wine all the time.

-snip-

This might have come from some recorded song that we had heard.

****

In his chapter on books Courlander also writes about The Calinda dance that Moreau de St. Mery saw in the West Indies in 1798.
Courlander also mentions the fact that there was an old Rumanian dance called the Colinda, but doesn't give any information about that dance's movements.


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Subject: RE: African American Secular Folk Songs
From: mg
Date: 06 Jun 05 - 02:24 AM

how about sea shanties and river boat loading songs? mg


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Subject: RE: African American Secular Folk Songs
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 06 Jun 05 - 01:19 AM

Allen et al. show that in their area, the dances had been lost- The coonjar was a type of minuet and the calinda a sort of contradance.
(Or were hidden?)
Tomorrow I will post some Calinda and Bamboula, as they were called by Hearn, Krehbiel and Cable, and observed in Place Congo and in the West Indies. There were other dances, but they were not described, so their nature is uncertain.

These terms may not have the same meaning in all areas.

Cable said the Calinda in Louisiana was always a grossly personal satirical ballad..." "The Calinda was a dance of multitude, a sort of vehement cotillion." Hearn says that in Martinique the Calinda and Bele were danced to the drum. I must locate Hearn's book on the West Indies, which I have somewhere.


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Subject: RE: African American Secular Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 05 Jun 05 - 11:28 PM

Q,

I consulted three books that I have on dances during 17th-19th slavery in the Caribbean and the United States and can find no reference to a dance called the 'Candjo'.

I'm wondering if the quadroon neigbor meant the 'Calenda '{Kalinda} which is one of the early African derived dances that is extensively documented in the Caribbean and Southern USA. {the others being the Chica, Juba {guiba} and Bamboula}.

Here's an excerpt from an essay by Nathaniel Hamilton Crowell, Jr entitled 'What is Congolese In Caribbean Dance' that is included in Caribbean Dance from Abakua to Zouk: How Movement Shapes Identity {Susanna Sloat, editor; University of Florida, 2002; p.15}:

"A description of thee calenda as danced in the French West Indies at the end of the eighteenth century states:

One male and one female dancer, or an equal number of dancers of each sex push to the middle of the circle and begin to dance, remaining in pairs, This repetitious dance consists of a very simple step where, as in the "Anglais" one alternatively extends each foot and withdrwas it, tapping several times with the heel and toe. All one sees is the man spinning himself or swirling around his partner, who, herself, also spins and moves about, unless one is to count the raising and lowering of the arms of the dancerrs who hold their elbows close to their sides with the hands almost clenched. The woman holds both ends of a kerchief which she rocks from side to side. When one has not witnessed it himself, it is hard to believe how lively and animated it is as well as how the rigourous following of the meter gives it such grace. {Moreau de St Mery, quoted in Emery, 1988, 22-23"

-snip-

"Emery" is Lynne Fauley Emery, author of "Black Dance from 1619 To Today", Second Revised Edition;Princeton Book Co. ]I was delighted to find this book at a used book store!]

****

As a theory that might or might not have any 'legs', I'm wondering if the 'Criole Candjo' {who} is sort of a [black] Creole dandy who charms and cajoles women by his dancing"...and is also called "koundjo (in the West Indies Candio or Candjo)" might refer to the Ghanaian Akan day name "Kwadwo" which is more commonly written as "Cudjo" and means "male born on Monday". The Ewe form of this name is "Coujoe" and also means "male born on Monday" *

Has anyone else made a connection between that rather widely used day name {particularly during 17th and 18th century slavery} and the name of that dance as noted by Lafcadio Hearn?

* "Kofi" {male born on Friday} was another common Akan day name found among enslaved Black men in the Caribbean and the USA..This name eventually became "Cuff"; and "Coffee". "Kwaku" [and its variant "Quack"] was another common Akan name {male born on Wednesday} that is found in slave records.

Perhaps because they did not sound as much like "English" names", the other Akan male day names don't appear as ofren in slave records "Kwabena" ["Kobena"; though this might have been transformed to "Ben"] {male born on Tuesday}; "Kwame" {male born on Saturday, "Kwesi" {male born on Sunday} and "Yao" ["Yaw"] {male born on Thursday}.

The retention of female Akan names is a whole 'nother subject.

See this list of Akan female day names:
Sunday {Esi} [which became "Essie"??]; Monday {Adwoa}; Tuesday
{Abena}; Wednesday {Ekua}; Thursday {Yaa} ; Friday {Efua};
and Saturday {Ama}[could this be one explaination for the Afrian American custom still practiced today of calling little girls "Mama"???]   



Azizi Powell


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Subject: Lyr Add: CRIOLE CANDJO
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 05 Jun 05 - 09:59 PM

LYR. ADD: CRIOLE CANDJO
Arr. by H. E. Krebiel

(Creole coonjar, cundio, Koundjo, counjaille)

In zou' in zéne Criole candjo,
Belle passé blanc dan-dan là yo,
Li té tout tans apé dire,
"Vini, zamie, pou' nous rire."
"Non, Miché, m'pas oulé rire moin,
Non Miché, m'pas oulé rire;
Non, Miché, m'pas onlé rire moin,
Non, Miché, m'pas oulé rire."

Mo courri dans youn bois viosin,
Mais Criole là prend même ci min,
Et tous tans li m'apé dire,
"Vini, zamie, pou' nous rire."
"Non, Miché, m'pas oulé rire moin,
Non, Miché, m'pas oulé rire."

Mais li té tant cicané moi,
Pou li té quitté moin youn fois
Mo té 'blizé pou' li dire,
"Oui, Miché, mo oulé rire,
Oui, Miché, mo oulé rire moin,
Oui, Miché, mo oulé rire."

Zant tous qu'ap'ès rire moin là-bas
Si zaut te conne Candjo là,
Qui belle façon li pou' rire,
Djé pini moin! zaut s'ré dire,
"Oui, Miché, mo oulé rire moin,
Oui, Miché, mo oulé rire."

One day one young Creole Candio,
Mo' fineh dan sho' nuff white beau,
Kip all de time meckin' free,
"Swit-hawt, meck merrie wid me!"
"Naw, sah, I dawn't want meck merrie, me,
Naw sah, I dawn't want meck merrie;
Naw sah, I dawn't want meck merrie, me,
Naw sah, I dawn't want meck merrie!"

(I go teck walk in wood close by,
But Creole teck same road and try
All time all time to meck free-
"Swithawt, meck merrie wid me."
"Naw sah, I dawn't want meck merrie, me,
Nah sah, I dawn't want meck merrie."

But him slide 'round an 'round dis chile,
Tell jis fo' sheck 'im off lill while
Me I was bleedze fo' say: "Shoo!
If I'll meck merrie wid you?
O, yass, I ziss leave meck merrie, me,
Yass, sah, I ziss leave meck merrie."

You-alls wat laugh at me so well,
I wish you'd knowed dat Creole swell,
Wid all 'is swit, smilin' trick.
'Pon my soul! you'd done say, quick,
"O, yass, I ziss leave meck merrie, me.
Yass, sah. I ziss leave meck merrie,"

The melody written down by Mr. Macrum. English paraphrase by George W. Cable. A note to Krehbiel from Lafcadio Hearn who (at that time a resident of New Orleans), says: "My quadroon neighbor, Mamzelle Eglantine, tells me that the word koundjo (in the West Indies Candio or Candjo) refers to an old African dance which used to be danced with drums. The 'Criole Candjo' ... is sort of a [black] Creole dandy who charms and cajoles women by his dancing- what the French would call un beau valseur."

pp. 118-120, H. E. Krehbiel, 1913, "Afro-American Folk-Songs." Krehbiel corresponded with Lafcadio Hearn in New Orleans in the period 1877-1884, and discussed this and other secular songs with him. George Cable was in correspondence with both Krehbiel and Hearn, and inchuded the above version of the song, credited to krehbiel, in the article "Creole Slave Songs," printed in the Century Magazine, 1886.
Cable, in his description of dances he saw in Place Congo, said the counjaile was accompanied by posing, breast-patting and chanting. He remarked that the counjaile songs were never complete, ending only at the caprice of the improvisator, "whose rich, stentorian voice sounded alone between the refrains. Of the dancers, cable said, "let one flag, another has his place, and a new song gives new vehemence, new inventions in steps, turns, and attitudes." Cable, 1885, "The Dance in Place Congo," Century Magazine, vol. 31, pp. 517-532, Dec.
The Century Magazine is reproduced on line,
http://cdl.library.cornell.edu/moa/browse.journals/cent.html


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Subject: RE: African American Secular Folk Songs
From: wysiwyg
Date: 05 Jun 05 - 09:47 PM

Q, "song title on the first line IN ALL CAPS" means the first line of the post when posting a song, or the first line of the song if it comes in mid-post. The reason is because that's the format the DT harvestors want, to limit the amount of fixing and standardizing a harvestor has to do, to put the song into the DT's next update.

Regarding subject lines, it's been discussed many, many times, and it appears in FAQ Joe's post at the end of the third paragraph.

It's "LOST in the FAQ" if one uses the handy table of contents. From the links in the TOC (either "Guide for Posting Lyrics" or "Posting Lyrics") appears the following in Joe's 19 Mar 00 - 09:24 PM post:

I'm working on refining guidelines for submitting lyrics. Here's a copy of my e-mail to somebody:

Hi - we'd love to have any folk lyrics you'd like to post at the Mudcat Cafe. All lyrics that are submitted stay in the forum, and people can find them using our search engines. Many of the lyrics are also "harvested" and included in the Digital Tradition Folk Song Database, which now has lyrics for some 9,000 songs (you can access the database in the blue DigiTrad search box you find on most Mudcat pages).
If you'd like to post a song, first check that database to see whether it's already there or not. Make sure you put the lyrics in a thread that has a title that's related to the song (like an ongoing thread that's collecting train songs, if that's appropriate; or a thread you start that has the song title as the title of the thread.). The SUBJECT line for the message with the lyrics should include this information:
LYRICS ADD: title of song here

Ideally, you should follow the Digital Tradition Format:
song title on the first line IN ALL CAPS
songwriter name (in parentheses) on the second line
skip a pace
then the lyrics
then any notes
and then finish off with your initials
Yes, there are copyright questions, but we leave it to the operators of the Digital Tradition to deal with them. In the meantime, we ask people to feel free to post whatever lyrics they'd like in the Mudcat Forum - keeping in mind that we are primarily a folk and blues site.

-Joe Offer, Sacramento, California-

============================================================

And it's been said over and over aagin in numerous threads in the main forumn and in the Help forum, that if one forgets, one can simply post a fresh post with the changed subject line, indicating in the post "Please see previous post [date] [time] from [name of poster].

As far as "woirking on refining," the whole FAQ is a constant work in progress of being refined. If it's been in there for awhile (not been removed in a recent edit), it's valid.

Mechanically, it's done just the same way one changes the subject line of a PM.

BTW, any time you're looking for text you think is lost in a sea of text, you can always use your browser's "Find in Page" feature to skip right to the text you want. It's very handy when you Google and need to see just the item you Googled to see if it's a result you want. It's also a handy way of finding things within the FAQ.

~Susan
    It's no big deal if the message title isn't changed, Susan. I monitor all lyrics threads pretty well. If lyrics are posted and not tagged or formatted properly, I'll fix them. Not to worry.
    It's probably better not to waylay music discussions with instructions on format.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: ADD: SONG TITLE
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 05 Jun 05 - 07:55 PM

Azizi, some 14 of the songs you posted were not put in the subject heading. A number of mine are seemingly BURIED as well, since I also thought ADD Lyrics: ---- in the body of the text was sufficient.
Instructions on posting lyrics are about as clear as creamed potato soup.

Question to wysiwyg or Joe. Would it be sufficient to post them as subjects ?

LOST in the FAQ are instructions in a post 19 Mar 00. One has to scroll down through pages of material to find them.
In a second paragraph it states that "I'm working on refining guidelines for submitting lyrics."
The first paragraph 1st line states -song title in the first line ALL IN CAPS. In the 1st paragraph it says TITLE OF SONG IN ALL CAPS.
WHAT first line?
"Very simple posting guidelines"?

Where does it say THAT IT SHOULD BE THE SUBJECT LINE?.


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Subject: RE: African American Secular Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 05 Jun 05 - 05:22 PM

Hmmm,

Let me correct a typo:

"Here's a new African proverb "Bickering belittles the
bickerer{s}".


Azizi


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Subject: Lyr Add: LOVE IS JUST A THING OF FANCY
From: Azizi
Date: 05 Jun 05 - 05:20 PM

In 1965 or thereabouts the R&B group "The Temptations" recorded the hit song "Beauty's Only Skin Deep". That title comes from a still widely used African American folk saying:

"Beauty's only skin deep but ugly is clean to the bone."

IMO, this African American secular slave folk rhyme is the origin of those sayings:

LOVE IS JUST A THING OF FANCY
Talley, "Negro Folk Rhymes", p. 2

Love is jes a thing o' fancy,
Beauty's jes a blossom;
If you wantrs to git yo' finger bit,
Stick it at a 'possum.

Beauty, it's jes skin deep;
Ugly, it;s to de bone.
Beauty, it'll jes fad 'way;
But Ugly'll hol' er own.

****

Here's two versions of a mid to late 1980s dance style cheerleader/foot stomping cheer that has the same 'dissin' theme:

U-G-L-Y
You ain't got no alibi
You ugly.
Yeah Yeah
you ugly.

M-O-MM-A
this is how you got that way
You're momma
Yeah Yeah
You're momma.

Source {"Wildcats" movie, 1986}

U-G-L-Y
You ain't got no alibi
You ugly.
What?! What?!
you ugly.

Source: Janelle Howard {African American female, Pittsburgh, Penn; ; memories of Pittsburgh in early late 1980s; collected by Azizi Powell, 9/2004; Janelle said that her school's cheerleaders had been saying this rhyme long before the movie "Wildcats". In that movie a "ghettofied" African American cheerleading troup chanted this rhyme to the other team's much more 'sedate' cheerleaders.





Ms. Azizi Powell


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Subject: Lyr Add: HE IS MY HORSE
From: Azizi
Date: 05 Jun 05 - 04:58 PM

I've been meaning to include this particular song, and now is as good a time as any:

ADD lyrics: HE IS MY HORSE
Talley, "Negro Folk Rhymes" p. 16

One day as I wus a-ridin' by
Said dey: "Ole man, yo' hoss will die"=
If he dies, he is my loss;
An' if he lives, he is my hoss"

Nex' day w'en I come a-ridin' by,
Dey said: "Ole man yo' hoss may die,"
"If he dies, I'll tan 'is skin:
An' if he lives, I'll ride 'im ag'in."




Drn ag'in w'en I come a-ridin' by,
Said dey: "Ole man, yo' hoss mought die."-
"If he dies, I'll eat his co'n"
And if he lives, I'll ride 'im on."


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Subject: RE: African American Secular Folk Songs
From: wysiwyg
Date: 05 Jun 05 - 04:40 PM

Azizi, as you know, I've offered to help you keep track of it all, and I've offered to help fix posts. I've offered a place to keep an index. You want to get defensive about that, it's on you.

It's not bickering to ask people to follow very simple posting guidelines that apply to us all. This is important work-- I'm just aksing that it be treated as such so that it might actually benefit others. You want it to benefit others, I hope-- or is this just a place to collect "field data" and then keep it where no one but you can benefit from it?

It surprises me that a "scholar" prefers to do sloppy work rather than work with people. But hey, OK by me!

~S~


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Subject: RE: African American Secular Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 05 Jun 05 - 04:31 PM

Thanks Guest.

I appreciate your comment.

****

And here's a new African proverb "Bickering belittles the bicker".


Azizi


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Subject: RE: African American Secular Folk Songs
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Jun 05 - 01:52 PM

Excellent thread azizi. You sure know your stuff! Thanks for some fine reading.


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Subject: RE: African American Secular Folk Songs
From: wysiwyg
Date: 05 Jun 05 - 12:39 PM

This thread contains a number of posted songs, poems, etc. that have not been added in the way the FAQ asks us to add them. This means they will be hard to find if others come searching. Do you want to hide your contributions so others can't make use of them? That's the effect that occurs when you don't follow the guidlines. It would be like habitually putting books back in a library, in the wrong place.

I hope the people who posted them will do the "fix" often suggested, which is to post a new post with ADD: [song title] as the subject-- not in the body of the post, but IN THE SUBJECT LINE box that appears above the "compose" box. Anyone can do it as a favor to everyone, so maybe since Azizi is caling this her thread, she'll do it.

~S~


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