The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #90399   Message #1713737
Posted By: Jeri
09-Apr-06 - 10:44 AM
Thread Name: Origins: Pick a Bale of Cotton
Subject: RE: Pick a Bale of Cotton.
Pick a Bale of Get A Clue by Penda (MontiLee)
"Pick a Bale of Cotton" is one of my favorite folk songs. Huddie Ledbetter did the most famous version. ABBA has covered it. We used to sing it in Girl Scouts and talked about where it came from. This song is a part of our history, and when people decide that parts of history are too painful and insensitive to revist, they become forgotten or worse, dimished. This song has survived despite slaves not being considered humans worthy of rights. This is a part of our history, but we'd better not dwell on it because we don't like to remember we were slaves once.
...and that's why I feel the way I do about it.

Now for something on topic, and probably stated on some other thread. As to the currently (un)popular version, Pete Seeger, as quoted in Rise Up Singing, said on Pete Seeger Sings Leadbelly and At Carnegie Hall, "A good work song makes the long day seem shorter. In the fields this was sung medium slowly. Leadbelly made a party song out of it by speeding it up and adding guitar."

The Leadbelly version of the song is still ©Folkways Music Publishers Inc. Older versions appear to be Public Domain