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Lyr Add: Roll On, Boys

Q (Frank Staplin) 09 Mar 14 - 07:40 PM
Joe Offer 10 Mar 14 - 01:07 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 10 Mar 14 - 07:20 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 12 Mar 14 - 01:48 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 12 Mar 14 - 03:25 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 12 Mar 14 - 03:35 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: Roll On, Boys
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Mar 14 - 07:40 PM

Lyr. Add: ROLL ON, BOYS
Sung by John D. Vass, Virginia, 1960

1
Roll on, boys,
You make your time;
I am so broke down,
I can't make mine.
2
I look at the sun,
And the sun looks high;
I look at the boss,
And close my eye.
3
Roll on, boys,
You make your dough;
I'm so broke down,
I cannot go.
4
I once was young,
As you must see;
But age has got
The best of me.
5
Roll on, boys,
The time's not long;
You'll call my name
And I'll be gone.
6
Roll on, boys,
And make your dough;
Don't look for me,
I am gone, you know.
7
Someday you'll think
Of me, I know,
When you are old
And cannot go.
8
May God but spare
You all along,
Forgive us all
For all our wrongs.

The singer said these words were uttered by an old man who'd worn himself out in a wheelbarrow gang working in the ore mines.
It may be related to the NC song, "Some of these days and it won't be long," possibly of Negro origin.

P. 47, with musical score.
Herbert Shellans, 1968, "Folk Songs of the Blue Ridge Mountains," Oak Publications.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Roll On, Boys
From: Joe Offer
Date: 10 Mar 14 - 01:07 AM

Interesting song. Here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry:

    Roll On, Boys

    DESCRIPTION: "Roll on, boys, You make your time; I am so broke down, I can't make mine." "I once was young, As you must see; But age has got The best of me." "Someday you'll think Of me I know When you are old And cannot go." Other verses of hard work and old age
    AUTHOR: adapted by John Daniel Vass?
    EARLIEST DATE: 1960 (collected by Shellans from John Daniel Vass)
    KEYWORDS: work hardtimes age nonballad floatingverses
    FOUND IN: US(SE)
    REFERENCES (1 citation):
    Shellans, p. 47, "Roll On, Boys" (1 text, 1 tune)
    Roud #7329
    CROSS-REFERENCES:
    cf. "Take This Hammer" (lyrics, theme)
    NOTES: This song is quite a conundrum. It seems clearly related to the "Roll On, Buddy" versions of "Take This Hammer," but it never uses either the words "Roll on, buddy" or "take this hammer," and much of the song is about the worker failing because of age.
    Plus we know that the informant, John Daniel Vass, was capable of rewriting a song; Shellans has several instances of items Vass reworked from traditional materials. Shellans does not say that that happened here, but it seems the best explanation. On that basis, I'm classifying this very tentatively as its own song, but one that clearly should be linked with the extended "Take This Hammer" family. - RBW
    File: Shell047

    Go to the Ballad Search form
    Go to the Ballad Index Song List

    Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
    Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

    The Ballad Index Copyright 2014 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Roll On, Boys
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 10 Mar 14 - 07:20 PM

Lyr. Add: SOME OF THESE DAYS AND IT WON'T BE LONG
Gang work song, NC; Negro?

1
Some of these days and it won't be long
When the sun goes down you'll roll no more.

Chorus-
Oh, boys, don't roll so slow.
When the sun goes down you'll roll no more.
2
I wish to the Lord the train would come
For to carry me back where I come from.
3
I wish I was a rich man's son,
I'd stand on the banks and see the work [done?]
4
But as it is I am a poor man son;
I'll wait in the cut until the pay train comes.
5
Oh, the pay train come and time gone,
Poor me here for to weep and to moan.
6
O when I was sick and in my bed
I had my diney [Dinah?] for to hold my head.
7
Roll on, boys, and make your time,
For the day will come and I'll make mine.

Roll on, boys.

No. 241, pp. 267-268, Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore, vol. 3, edit. H. M. Belden and A. OP. Hudson.
Musical score, vol. 5, No. 241B, pp. 151-152, sung by Howell J. Hatcher, 1919.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Roll On, Boys
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 12 Mar 14 - 01:48 PM

Lyr. Add: OH, ROLL ON BABE
Negro origin? Kentucky 1937

Chorus-
Oh, roll on babe, don't roll so slow,
When the sun goes down, you'll roll no more.

1
I dremp last night poor Lulu were dead
And her apern strings tied round my head.

Oh, roll on, babe, and make your time,
My wheel's broke down, and I can't make mine.
2
I asked that girl to be my bride;
She said she would before she died.

Oh, roll on, babe, and do your best,
When the sun goes down, sit down and rest.
3
I looked at the east, and I looked at the west,
I looked at the girl that I love best.

Oh. roll on, babe, don't roll so slow
When the sun goes down, you'll roll no more.
4
I ain't got no money, but I will have some
A-Saturday night when the pay train comes.

Oh, roll on, babe, don't roll so slow,
When the pay train comes, you will roll no more.
5
I love nobody, nobody loves me,
I'm a-lonely and single, spend my money free.

Oh, roll on, babe, and make your time,
For I am sick, and I can't make mine.
6
I looked at the train as she blew by,
I thought of home, sat down and cried.

Oh, roll on, babe, don't roll so slow,
When the sun goes down, you'll roll no more.
7
I looked at the sun, and the sun looked high,
I looked at my love and she looked shy.

Oh, roll on, babe, and do your best,
When the sun goes down, sit down and rest.
8
That same old sun that runs the track,
That same old train will bring me back.

Oh, roll on, babe, don't roll so slow,
When the sun goes down, you'll roll no more.

--------
I met a man the other day I never met before,
He asked me if I needed a job a-shoveling iron ore.
I asked him what the wages were,
He said, "T'en cents a ton."
I said, "Old fellow, go chase yourself, I'd rather be a bum."

Work awhile and make a pay day,
Rides the cushion or de beam;
Boys, de itchin' done got me,
Home ain't nothin' but a dream.


It looks like Lomax and Lomax have put together a miner's and a surface laborer's versions, both belonging to the "Roll On, Boys," song.

The Traditional Ballad Index, and most song collectors, have put "Roll On, Boys," and "Take This Hammer" together, but I think that they are two different songs that share some floating verses and ideas.

Pp. 264-266, with musical score.
John A. and Alan Lomax, 1941 (Dover reprint 2000), "Our Singing Country, Folk Songs and Ballads."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Roll On, Boys
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 12 Mar 14 - 03:25 PM

Lyr. Add: SKINNER'S SONG
Texas

I looked at the sun and the sun looked high,
I looked at the Cap'n and he wunk his eye;
And he wunk his eye, and he wunk his eye,
I looked at the Cap'n and he wunk his eye.

I looked at the sun and the sun looked red,
I looked at the Cap'n and he turned his head;
And he turned his head, and he turned his head
I looked at the Cap'n and he turned his head.

Possibly related song; a "skinner" is a teamster.
Coll. by W. H. Thomas, fragment(?), Texas. Another song heard by him was "Don't Let Your Watch Run Down, Cap'n!"

Quoted in Dorothy Scarborough, 1925 (reprint Folklore Associates, 1963), p. 230, with musical score, "On the Trail of Negro Folk-Songs."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Roll On, Boys
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 12 Mar 14 - 03:35 PM

Untitled verse from Louisiana

Workin' on de levee,
Yes, I am,
Wid my razor in my hand.
Don't love nobody-
Nobody loves me.

Coll. fragment by Mrs. Cammilla Breaszeale. Quoted in Dorothy Scarborogh, p. 229 (reference above).


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