The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #17760   Message #172625
Posted By: Barry Finn
02-Feb-00 - 09:20 PM
Thread Name: Origins/Meaning: Follow the Drinking Gourd
Subject: RE: Help: Follow the Drinking Gourd meanings
From Lomax's American Ballads & Folk Songs. A sailor named Peg Leg Joe helped runaway slaves. This was in the country north of Mobile & the trail discribed in the song followed north to the headwaters of the Tombigbee River, then over the Divide & down the Ohio River. They were to follow the trail marked by a left footprint & a hole. The gourd=big dipper
the great big one=Ohio River

"The river's bank is a very good road
The dead trees show the way
Left foot, peg foot going on
Follow the dr........

The river ends between 2 hills
Follow the dr.........
Another river on the other side
Follow th............

Where the little river
meets the great big one
the ol' man waits
Follow th....

Frankie Qumbie(sp?) of the Georgia Sea Island Singers does quite a job on these slave "Code Songs" . She mentioned one they'd sing when Harriet Tubman (sp? again?) would be coming through, so every one (slaves only) who was going better get ready to go. Barry