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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Barry Finn Lyr Req: Berta (from August Wilson's 'Piano Lesson (16) Lyr Add: BERTA (from Parchman Farm) 22 Sep 00


It's been posted in another thread but I don't know how you'd find it. The song's called Berta. This version is from Parchment Farm but it's found in many other forms throughout most of the prison work farms in the southern US. Some of the other versions are: Ol Dollar Mamie, 18 Hammers, Alberta, Rosie, etc, etc. I think (I can't check now, not at home) some of these versions can be found on a CD release from Rounder called "Wake Up Dead Man" which was originally the companion to the book by Bruce Jackson by the same name "Wake Up Dead Man". His was the last of the major collections of prisons worksongs (1960's)before that type of song & work disappeared. Lomax also does quite a cover of these (& many of these versions of this) in his "Southern Journey" (2 CD's) collection. Barry

Berta

Go ahead and marry don't ya wait on me
oh, ha
Go ahead and marry don't ya wait on me
Well now
Might not want ya when I go free
oh, ha
Might not want ya when I go free
Well now
Oh Alberta, Berta, oh, Lord gal, oh ha,
Oh Alberta, Berta, oh, Lord gal, well now (2x)

(same structure)

Raise em up higher let em drop on down (2x)
I'm on ol Parchment, got ya, work on lead

When you marry don't-ya marry a farming man
Every day a Monday hoe-hammer in your hand

When you marry, marry a railroad man
Every day a Sunay dollar in your hand

(some verses not sung in the movie)

Sit on the cooler let my feet hand down
All she got on on is a morning gown

Ol Dollar Mamie told ol Dollar
Dress that she wanted cost a dollar a yard


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