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Lyr Add: Hush, Little Baby (North Carolina)

Q (Frank Staplin) 22 Oct 09 - 06:08 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 22 Oct 09 - 06:16 PM
Amos 22 Oct 09 - 06:50 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 22 Oct 09 - 07:59 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: Hush, Little Baby (North Carolina)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 Oct 09 - 06:08 PM

Lyr. Add: Hush, Little Baby
Coll. from Catherine Bennett, c. 1927-28

1
Hush, little baby, and don't you cry;
Yo' mudder an' fader is bo'n to die!
Jesus done taken my driftin' han'.
Good Lord, Lord, Lord!
Over de hills bright shinin' lan'.
Oh, my Jesus done taken my driftin' han'.
Good Lord, Lord, Lord!
2
Mind out, Sister, hows you step on de cross;
Yo' right foot slippin'- you'll sho' be los'!
Jesus done taken my driftin' han'.
Good Lord, Lord, Lord!
Over de hills, bright shinin' lan'.
Jesus done taken my driftin' han'.
Good Lord, Lord, Lord!
3
If you see mu Mudder, won't you tell her fo' me
I'm on my hosses in de battlefield.
Jesus done taken my driftin' han'.
Good Lord, Lord, Lord!
Ober de hills bright shinin' lan'.
Jesus done taken my driftin' han'.
Good Lord, Lord, Lord!

"This has the first line in common with a song in Dorothy G. Bolton, "Old Songs Hymnal" New York, 1929."
"'Hush, Oh, Baby, Don't You Cry.' From Julian P. Boyd, as collected from Catherine Bennett, a pupil of the school at Alliance, Pamlico county; undated, but c. 1927-28. "Negro fragment.""

No. 580, "Folk Songs from North Carolina," Ed. H. M. Belden and A. P. Hudson, vol. 3, Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore, Duke University Press, 1952.

The first two lines of verse one are reminiscent of those of verse one of the song, "All My Trials."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Hush, Little Baby (North Carolina)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 Oct 09 - 06:16 PM

Can't find Dorothy G. Bolton, "Old Songs Hymnal." Anyone have it in their collection?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Hush, Little Baby (North Carolina)
From: Amos
Date: 22 Oct 09 - 06:50 PM

Here's an excerpt from an article on its background:

"Harry Burleigh's demeanor has been described variously by some of the younger artists of the Harlem Renaissance as elegant and refined or as aloof and removed. Although many saw dignity in Burleigh's bearing as well as in his artistic arrangements of spirituals, others saw something else. Harlem Renaissance choral arranger and director Eva Jessye intimated that Burleigh's deportment was "related to his desire to disclaim his racial heritage" (quoted in Spencer 1997, 6). Zora Neale Hurston struck a similar note in a 1931 letter to Charlotte Mason, asserting that Harry Burleigh "has less sympathy for the Negro than anyone ... [that I] can imagine" (6). Either complaint may have stemmed partly from Burleigh's focus on art song arrangements of spirituals instead of a more folk-centric attempt at presenting this music. And yet, it is interesting to note that during the 1920s and early 1930s, Harry Burleigh regularly traveled to rural Georgia to transcribe spirituals from black tenant farmers. Burleigh was well aware of the spiritual as it existed in the folk sphere in the 1920s, not to mention the plight of southern Negros and issues surrounding the preservation of their racial heritage. Of the more than 600 extant transcriptions that Burleigh made of African-American folksongs (Burleigh [ca. 1929]), 187 spirituals were published jointly with Burleigh's collaborator, Dorothy Bolton, in a hymnal titled The Old Songs Hymnal, Words and Melodies from the State of Georgia (Bolton and Burleigh 1929). Burleigh's work on this hymnal and his journey to transcribe folk tunes in rural Georgia remain an unknown but significant chapter in his biography. In order to fill in this lacuna, this article briefly surveys Burleigh's transcriptions and arrangements of spirituals, as well as the known biographies of some of his informants and his collaborator, Dorothy Bolton.

The details of Burleigh's work in rural Georgia must be inferred from the extant manuscripts and the Old Songs Hymnal. The majority of both Dorothy Bolton's and Harry Burleigh's personal correspondence appears to have been destroyed, which precludes definitive conclusions about motives and methods. The only oral accounts of Burleigh's trip come from Dorothy Bolton's grandsons, who are now in possession of Burleigh's manuscripts. They claim that Bolton employed Burleigh because she saw him as the leading expert on spirituals in America (Bolton 2003). Although Bolton had collected the texts of many African-American folktales and folksongs, she could not transcribe the music. According to her descendants, Bolton transcribed the lyrics of the spirituals, and Burleigh transcribed the tunes. Later, the two published a hymnal containing many of these songs. Neither grandson remembers Burleigh, although both were alive (under ten years old) and living nearby during his last datable visit in 1933.

There are two types of manuscripts extant. The first is a legible transcription of a spiritual, with the music handwritten in pen (see Ex. 1). The musical notes are clearly written without mistakes in Burleigh's unambiguous hand. Words referring to the music, such as "verse," "cho" (for chorus), "slower," or "rubato," also appear in Burleigh's handwriting. The sureness of Burleigh's musical penmanship, which dates from his early training as a stenographer and is better known through his more famous work with Dvorak, is clearly reflected in these transcriptions. The texts of the spirituals are typed beneath the music, the syllables aligning with the notes and the extra verses appearing below the music. It seems likely that Bolton typed the text into Burleigh's musical manuscripts. (1) These legible transcriptions include 500 pieces of African-American folk music. Dorothy Bolton created an index for most of these songs, although the extant indices do not fully match the titles of the songs. Of these tunes, 187 furnish the soprano lines and texts for the arrangements in the Old Songs Hymnal. Most of these pen transcriptions are spirituals that likely came from Mansfield, Georgia. But around a dozen bear typed descriptions indicating a different provenance; for example, the "Convict Song from Augusta" contains a typed description of the song's origin:

The women convicts, at their noon hour marched in a circle chanting this song--they kept time by dropping one knee on the beat as though they had gone lame and snapping their fingers at the same time. The persons mentioned by name [in the songs] are or were well known persons in Augusta about ten years ago.


The second type of manuscript appears to be the pencil transcription taken in real time at the moment of singing. All of these manuscripts appear in two softcover books of notation paper, and some of the transcriptions contain dates. Most of the dates include various days in January, February, and July but do not provide a year; however, several transcriptions do give the year 1933, suggesting that these songs were gathered after the 1929 publication of the Old Songs Hymnal. "


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Hush, Little Baby (North Carolina)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 Oct 09 - 07:59 PM

Thanks, Amos. Interesting background. His compilations (Plantation Melodies ... and Old Songs Hymnal) don't seem to be available at the used bookstores, although there are some songs as individual sheet music or 5 or so stapled together.


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