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Lyr Add: Texas Prison Songs

Q (Frank Staplin) 07 Apr 14 - 07:49 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 09 Apr 14 - 03:38 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 09 Apr 14 - 03:57 PM
Stewie 09 Apr 14 - 07:47 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 09 Apr 14 - 08:07 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 23 Apr 14 - 01:29 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 23 Apr 14 - 01:31 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: Texas Prison Songs
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 07 Apr 14 - 07:49 PM

Lyr. Add: TAMPA

You gonna kill your fool self drivin',
Tryin' to tamp like me, buddy
Tryin' to tamp like me.
You gonna kill your fool self drivin'
Tryin' to tamp like me, buddy
Tryin' to tamp like me.

I got a long tall yellow gal in Georgia,
Keep a writin' to me, buddy, keep a writin' to me.
I got a long tall yellow gal in Georgia,
Keep a writin' to me, buddy, keep a writin' to me.

When I roll my long time, Mama,
Back east I'm goin', back east I'm goin'.
(Group repeats both lines)

Well I tamped all the way from Tampa, Florida,
In twenty-one days, buddy, in twenty-one days.
(Group repeats both lines)

But I broke my brand new *hammer
Tampin' on my way, buddy, tampin' on my way.
(Group repeats both lines)

You gonna kill your fool self drivin',
Tryin' to tamp like me, buddy, tryin' to tamp like me.
...

Well I tamped all the way from Tampa, Florida,
In forty-one days, buddy, in forty-one days.
Yes, I tamped all the way from Tampa, Florida
In forty-one days, buddy, in forty-one days.

If you want to be a T. P. Tamper,
You got to tamp like me, buddy, you got to tamp like me
(Group repeats both lines)

(One of group-)
You got to raise your tamper higher
Up above your knees, buddy....
(Group continues with repetition)

Did you hear about Ada gettin' drownded,
In the Mobile Bay, buddy....

Well the poor girl she got drownded,
Tryin' to follow me, buddy, ....

(One of group)
Did you hear about the waterworks in Georgia,
Just a burnin' down, buddy, ....

Well I tamped all the way from New Ibery,
In forty-one days, buddy, ...

(One of group)
Did you hear 'bout Ada shootin' Shorty,
In the Mobile Bay, buddy, ...

(One of group)
If I don't be a number one tamper,
I'd a died on the way, buddy, ....

(One of group)
Raise your tamper up higher,
Up above your knee, buddy, ...

You can make a day dead easy,
If you tamp like me, buddy, ....

Well I tamped all the way from New Ibery,
In forty-one days, buddy, ...
etc.

Flat-weeding song.
64A, pp. 300-302, with musical score.

*hammer- applied to whatever tool being used.

Collected and edited by Bruce Jackson, 1972, "Wake Up Dead Man," Afro-American Worksongs from Texas Prisons. Harvard University Press.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Texas Prison Songs
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Apr 14 - 03:38 PM

Lyr. Add: DROP 'EM DOWN
Axe song

He coming back by old Darrington,
(axes)
He coming back by old Darrington,
(axes)
Drop 'em down,
Got my partner,
He gonna drop 'em down,
Got my partner,
Drop 'em down,
Well, we goin' to the bottom,
Drop 'em down,
Well, we goin' to the bottom,
Drop 'em down,
Well, I'm headed for the bottom,
Drop 'em down,
Well, I'm headed for the bottom,
Drop 'em down.

I got a life time to drop 'em, DROP 'EM DOWN
I got a life time to drop 'em, DROP 'EM DOWN.

I'm gonna drop 'em for the rider....
(Repetition, and burden continue as above)

I'm gnna drop 'em for the major....
I'm gonna drop it in the mornin'....

Well partner won't you help me....
I'm gonna drop 'em all day long....

Now partner tell my mama....
I gotta write away to Austin....

Have a talk with the gov'nor....
A-well to see will he pardon me....

What do you reckon that he told her....
A "Just ten years longer ....

Well-a then I might pardon him"....
That gov'nor must be crazy....

You can run and tell the sergeant....
A-that I've got a-worried....
Well, I'm headed for the Brazos....
A-well old Rattler can't hold me....
A-well I'm headed for Dallas....
Oh Dallas Carrie....
That's the girl I'm gonna marry....
Partner look-a look-a yonder....
A-well I b'lieve I spied a spirit....
Tell me what is the spirit....
"A-well it's nothing but a liveoak"....
Wo Lordy have mercy....
A-well the captain gone to Houston....
Gonna get me a diamond....
He comin' back by old Darrington....
He gonna get my partner....
Well we goin' to the bottom....
I gonna hew down the liveoak....
Gonna hew it down for the rider....
I'm gonna hew it in the mornin'....
Oh everybody gets a-worried....
A-gets a-worried with this diamond....
I drop 'em late in the evening....

Sung by Chinaman, with his musical score.
Diamond- an axe.
Rattler- tracking hound.
Rider- guard on horseback (a 'high' rider carried a shotgun).
Major- In the old days, the prison was in charge of a major; a captain was in charge of a camp; sergeant, the man in charge of the dogs (handled by an inmate, "dog boy."

Pp. 248-254, with versions and musical scores.
Bruce Jackson, ed., 1972, "Wake Up Dead Man," Afro-American Worksongs from Texas Prisons. Harvard University Press.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Texas Prison Songs
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Apr 14 - 03:57 PM

Some of this posted in other threads, but this is a brief summary.
The Texas Department of Corrections (in 1970s) consisted of 14 prisons, Darrington being one of them.
The system consisted of about 100,000 acres of land, mostly along the Brazos and Trinity Rivers, 2000 employees, large numbers of cattle and hogs, horses and dogs, and the 12,000 inmates.
Work crews were large, Chinaman would have as many as 300 axe-men singing along with him.

The songs are pretty much a thing of the past as the farms are mechanized, an the radio and television introduce songs of the world at large.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Texas Prison Songs
From: Stewie
Date: 09 Apr 14 - 07:47 PM

Q, it does not have the 2 songs that you posted, but this album is still available from Amazon and elsewhere:

Wake Up Dead Man.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Texas Prison Songs
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Apr 14 - 08:07 PM

Thanks, Stewie. The Amazon link has audio samples.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Texas Prison Songs
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 23 Apr 14 - 01:29 PM

Lyr. Add: DE GREY GOOSE (Prison)
Sung by iron Head

Well, las' Monday mornin',
Lawd, Lawd, Lawd,
Well, las' Monday mornin',
Lawd, Lawd, Lawd,
My daddy went a huntin', etc.

Huntin' for de grey goose, etc.,
An' he went to de big wood,
An' he took along his Zulu,
An' de houn' dog he wen' too,
Houn' dog 'gin to whinin',
Long come a grey goose,
Well, up to his shoulder,
An' 'ram back de hammer,
An' pull on de trigger,
An' de gun wen' boo-loo,
Down he come a-fallin', An' he put him on de waggin,
An' he taken him to de white house,
Oh, yo' wife an' my wife,
They'll give a feather pickin';
He was six weeks a-pickin',
An' dey put him on a-cookin';
He was six weeks a-cookin';
An' dey put him on de table,
An' de fork couldn' stick him.
Well, dey throwed him in de hog pen,
An' de hogs couldn' eat him,
Well, he broke the old sow's jawbone,
So dey taken him to se sawmill,
An' he broke de saw's teeth out,
An' de las' time I seed her,
She was flyin' 'cross de ocean,
Had a long string o' goslin's,
An' dey all went "Quonk, quonk,"
Lawd, Lawd, Lawd,
An' dey all went "Quonk, quonk,"
Lawd, Lawd, Lawd.

Pp. 242-143, with brief musical score;
John A. and Alan Lomax, American Ballads and Folk Songs. The Macmillan Co.,

A fragment is printed, with musical score; Grey Goose; in Bruce Jackson, Wake Up Dead Man; pp. 96-97. Harvard Univ. Press.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Texas Prison Songs
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 23 Apr 14 - 01:31 PM

Corrections:
Iron Head
Pp. 242-243


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