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Since drivin' through Texas, I've seen more windmills and less water, more cows and less milk, seen farther and seen less than any dadburn country I was ever in - A.P. Carter, "The Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers in Texas"

Author Topic: Songs from "Work & Pray"  (Read 168 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Songs from "Work & Pray"
« on: September 14, 2023, 03:33:48 PM »
Hi all,
"Work & Pray" is a CD of songs pertaining to work and church collected by Dr. Cortez Reese from black folks from many different walks of life in West Virginia and southeastern Ohio in the late 1940s and early 1950s. There are many wonderful performances on it and I'm really happy to have the Weenie YouTube channel now and to be able to put up some of the stellar performances there.

Clarence Harmon's "Lining Track" is one of my most favorite a capella recordings ever, right up there with Charlie Butler's "Diamond Joe" and Leadbelly's "I Ain't Goin' Down To The Well No More". Harmon sings call-and-response lines doing both parts and is somehow able to make the responses sound like they're arriving from a greater distance than the lead line. It is just beautiful, I think. I'd appreciate help with anything you think I have wrong. I'll show the response lines in parentheses. Here is "Lining Track":



Well, lovers, is you right? (Oh yes, we right)
Newborn baby born last night, walkin', talkin' 'fore daylight
Carry it to the mountain, boys, carry it to the mountain

Well, lovers, is you right? (Oh yes, we right)
Isaac late, Luke and John, all the prophets all are gone
Shake it to the river, boys, shake it to the river

Well, lovers, is you right? (Oh yes, we right)
Bluefield women read and write, Keystone women white and tight (unintelligible background comment]

Well, lovers, is you right? (Oh yes, we right)
See that woman with the red dress on, that's my woman just sure as you born
Shake it easy, boy

Well, lovers, is you right? (Oh yes, we right)
Center 'head and join back, come on, boys, let's line this track
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh Lord

Well, lovers, is you right? (Oh yes, we right)
Daddy killed a rabbit, bought him home, children got choked on a rabbit bone
Shake it easy, boys, shake it easy

Well, lovers, is you right? (Oh yes, we right)
Little girl, if you was mine, you wouldn't do nothin' but starch and iron
Move it over, boys, move it over

Hey, lovers, is you right? (Oh yes, we right)
I got a woman that lives upstairs, she don't do nothin' but put on airs
Get a-hold the gold, boys, get a-hold the gold

Hey, lovers, is you right? (Oh yes, we right)
Shake it easy, shake it light, come on, boys, let's get it right

All best,
Johnm


 

 
« Last Edit: September 16, 2023, 09:16:02 AM by Johnm »

Offline eric

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Re: Songs from "Work & Pray"
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2023, 07:33:01 PM »
I have no corrections to offer, John, but that is a really lovely piece of singing.
--
Eric

Offline Johnm

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Re: Songs from "Work & Pray"
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2023, 07:29:05 AM »
Hi all,
Another song from "Work & Pray" is "Ten Pound Hammer", performed by Albert McCoy. "Nine Pound Hammer" is a commonly sung song, but I had never heard "Ten Pound Hammer" sung before. This could be arranged really nicely on guitar. Here is "Ten Pound Hammer":



SPOKEN: Now, uh, this, uh, this is a song, songs, used to sing in nineteen-hundred laying steel on the Elkhorn, especially around the Elkhorn station, up on a high bluff 'round there.

SUNG: Oh, a ten-pound hammer, it killed John Henry
Ten-pound hammer, done killed John Henry
Ten-pound hammer, it killed John Henry
Won't kill me, Lord, it won't kill me

(spoken: said) This old hammer, shines like silver
This old hammer, it shine like silver
This old hammer, it shines like silver
Rings like gold, rings like gold

Says, I'm goin' back to East Colorado
I'm going back to East Colorado
I'm going back to East Colorado
That's my home, that's my home

Says, if you meet my woman in the morning
If you meet my woman in the morning
Tell 'er I'm gone, tell 'er I'm gone

Says, all I want is one can of tomatoes
All I want is one can of tomatoes
Two cans of corn, two cans of corn

Says, I'm goin' back to, home in Georgi'
I'm goin' back to my home in Georgi'
Lord, I'm goin' to stay, Lord, I'm goin' to stay

Says, this old hammer, gettin' mighty heavy
This old hammer, gettin' mighty heavy
This old hammer, gettin' mighty heavy
Gonna throw it away, gonna throw it away

All best,
Johnm





 


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