The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #3702   Message #3314784
Posted By: Joe Offer
28-Feb-12 - 04:56 PM
Thread Name: Selma Song - Right! Right! (Len Chandler)
Subject: ADD: Right! Right! (Len Chandler)
Ah, I had the right book in my 1998 post, but didn't know the title of the song and didn't find it. Good job, 999!

(Len Chandler)

Pick 'em up and lay 'em down Right! Right!
Pick 'em up and lay 'em down Right! Right!
Pick 'em up and lay 'em down Right! Right!
All the way from Selma town. Right! Right!

Oh the mud was deep, Right! Right!
The hills were steep, Right, etc.
Now we've made some level ground
Let Wallace hear the sound

I've been walking so long
I've put blisters on the street
Well I caught the Freedom fever
And it settled in my feet

Did the rain come down
Well I thought I would drown
Then I thought of Sheriff Jim
Something said you'd better swim

Jim Letherer's* leg got left
But he's still in the fight
Been walking day and night
Jim's left leg is all right

I been walking so long
I got blisters on my feet
Make me want to skip a beat
I been walking so long
My feet done turn to wheels
I don't think no more of riding
I disremember how it feels
Is freedom all.....
Right! Right!

Copyright 1965 by Fall River Music.

Notes from Len Chandler: *There was a guy named Jim Letherer who had one leg. He went all the way. There was a picture of us in the NY Times and it said something about the last leg of the march. Jim said, "Hey, Len, make me a verse."

We were marching along and some old Army guys were calling cadence -- Hup, hip, to your your left, right, left. I started thinking that left isn't a thing that we want to get. I mean we want to keep up...we want to go along...we want to go to Montgomery which is not getting left. Right is an affirmative statement, so I said whey don't we accent on the right foot. And so a-right, right, and then you can put together verses and the answers from the group would be right...right...right. And so I started singing...
-Len Chandler-

from Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Songs of the Freedom Movement, by Guy and Candie Carawan (Oak Publications, 1968), page 159

MIDI available on request.

Note: in 1990, Sing Out! published a book titled Sing For Freedom: The story of the Civil Rights Movement through its songs, edited and compiled by Guy and Candie Carawan. This newer book includes the entire text of Freedom Is a Constant Struggle, plus the 1963 Oak Publications book titled We Shall Overcome: Songs of the Southern Freedom Movement, also by Guy and Candie Carawan. "Right! Right!" appears on page 259 of the newer book.