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Origins: Way down yonder in the brickyard

black walnut 15 Sep 03 - 08:59 AM
Joe Offer 15 Sep 03 - 08:17 PM
Robin2 15 Sep 03 - 09:25 PM
masato sakurai 15 Sep 03 - 10:46 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 15 Sep 03 - 11:16 PM
Desert Dancer 16 Sep 03 - 12:18 AM
black walnut 16 Sep 03 - 03:52 PM
black walnut 17 Sep 03 - 07:26 AM
catspaw49 17 Sep 03 - 07:30 AM
GUEST,Angie-chan 01 Jun 09 - 05:22 PM
Azizi 02 Jun 09 - 08:49 AM
Azizi 02 Jun 09 - 09:20 AM
GUEST,Leah 21 Jun 10 - 02:53 PM
GUEST,jane 22 Apr 11 - 01:11 AM
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Subject: Origins: Way down yonder in the brickyard
From: black walnut
Date: 15 Sep 03 - 08:59 AM

I came across this song but don't know much about it. I'm told it was a slave song, but I suspect that the swing part was added later. Does anyone have background information on this one?

Way down yonder in the brickyard
Remember me
Way down yonder in the brickyard
Remember me

Oh step it, step it, step it down
Remember me
Oh step it, step it, step it down
Remember me

Oh swing your love and turn around
Remember me
Oh swing your love and turn around
Remember me

Thanks,
~black walnut


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Subject: RE: Origins: Way down yonder in the brickyard
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Sep 03 - 08:17 PM

Where'd you find it, Black Walnut?
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Way down yonder in the brickyard
From: Robin2
Date: 15 Sep 03 - 09:25 PM

we've done this as a playparty with kids for alot of years. There is a simple dance that goes with it. I don't have a source to cite, but was told when I learned it that it dates to around the 1920's. I don't know how accurate that info is.

Robin


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Subject: RE: Origins: Way down yonder in the brickyard
From: masato sakurai
Date: 15 Sep 03 - 10:46 PM

The version I know is by Bessie Jones. It is on Bessie Jones: Put Your Hand On Your Hip & Let Your Backbone Slip (Rounder).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Way down yonder in the brickyard
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 15 Sep 03 - 11:16 PM

Watch it JOE...you are beginning to assume my role here.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


    Heaven forbid.... [grin]
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Way down yonder in the brickyard
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 12:18 AM

This song comes from Bessie Jones (as cited above), and from her via Bess Hawes and Tony Saletan. She says it goes back to her grandfather, Jet Samson (who died in 1941 at age 105). She says he wrote it "down in the brickyard out from Williamsburg, Virginia, many years ago in slavery time."

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Origins: Way down yonder in the brickyard
From: black walnut
Date: 16 Sep 03 - 03:52 PM

Thank you. So good to hear the Bessie Jones soundclip! And it included the swing and turn verse - so I was wrong about it being added later.

I found the version I quoted up above in a book called "Down in the Valley" (New England Dancing Masters Productions), which says "In Bessie Jones book 'For the Ancestors, Biographical Memories', collected and edited by John Stewart (Univ. of Illinois Press 1983, p. 45-46), Bessie says these games were a way for slaves to talk to the white man. Since slaves in Virginia, like her grandfather, made the bricks for the roads in Williamsburg, they were saying, 'you not paying me nothing, ... but someday maybe you'll remember me'. They sang 'to get the pressure off their minds'; they clapped and danced to feel good, as they put the bricks down with their feet, stepping them down. We learned this from New Hampshire caller Mary DesRosier."

~b.w.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Way down yonder in the brickyard
From: black walnut
Date: 17 Sep 03 - 07:26 AM

I just want to add that I'd been searching with the words "Way down yonder" instead of "Step it down", which obviously would have been more successful.

~b.w.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Way down yonder in the brickyard
From: catspaw49
Date: 17 Sep 03 - 07:30 AM

Williamsburg? I thought everyone knew "The Brickyard" was in Indianapolis.

Just a joke.....go on with your discussion......

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Origins: Way down yonder in the brickyard
From: GUEST,Angie-chan
Date: 01 Jun 09 - 05:22 PM

I danced to it when i was in 3rd grade. I still remembr the dance. There are two rows of people right? well one side is men and the other women.

In the beginning with way down yonder in the brick yard you do that swing with your arms and your partner.

Then when it say's 'step it stepit step it down'
you walk down in line.

Then 'Twist your partner turn around.

The guy hold up the girls right hand and she spins.

thats how i was taught.

This song is traditonal in the South. I live was born inthe south and i luv this song.

My Native american ansectors were Cherokee and lived in North Carolina at the tme od slavery my other ansectors were in Germany.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Way down yonder in the brickyard
From: Azizi
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 08:49 AM

,Angie-chan, thanks for sharing information about that game song! These old songs may have been regional. I'm African American and lived in New Jersey as a child and I never heard of "Way down yonder in the brickyard" or the "step it down movement". Furthermore, we didn't do any parallel line children's games when I was growing up, and only became acquainted with that concept through the 1971 to 2006 R&B dance show Soul Train with its "Soul Train line" of females and males facing each other and one person or two people taking turns dancing or struttin' down the middle aisle.

**

A glimpse of a children's line game is found in "Pizza Pizza Daddy-O", a 1967 Bess Lomax-Hawes film of African American school girls in Los Angeles:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2YodFqZ7nQ

And here's a link to a YouTube video of a Soul Train line:

a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C18CTFrI-tU">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C18CTFrI-tU


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Subject: RE: Origins: Way down yonder in the brickyard
From: Azizi
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 09:20 AM

Sorry, let me post that Soul Train line link again:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ti_Xq5lK8I4

[This is a different link than the other one with better video quality].


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Subject: RE: Origins: Way down yonder in the brickyard
From: GUEST,Leah
Date: 21 Jun 10 - 02:53 PM

I have heard it was made by a slave when it says swing your love the slave is refering to his or hers love they lost.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Way down yonder in the brickyard
From: GUEST,jane
Date: 22 Apr 11 - 01:11 AM

you are wrong its swing your lady turn her around


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