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Lyr Add: I Stood on de Ribber ob Jerdon

Q (Frank Staplin) 11 Jul 05 - 10:59 PM
harpgirl 11 Jul 05 - 11:05 PM
masato sakurai 11 Jul 05 - 11:49 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 12 Jul 05 - 09:44 AM
GUEST,Bainbo 12 Jul 05 - 11:48 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 12 Jul 05 - 12:40 PM
GUEST,leeneia 12 Jul 05 - 01:18 PM
GUEST,leeneia 12 Jul 05 - 01:26 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 12 Jul 05 - 02:50 PM
Le Scaramouche 12 Jul 05 - 03:21 PM
harpgirl 12 Jul 05 - 03:46 PM
wysiwyg 12 Jul 05 - 05:32 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 12 Jul 05 - 06:00 PM
wysiwyg 12 Jul 05 - 09:24 PM
Azizi 13 Jul 05 - 12:19 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 13 Jul 05 - 08:30 AM
ard mhacha 13 Jul 05 - 08:57 AM
GUEST,leeneia 13 Jul 05 - 09:05 AM
wysiwyg 13 Jul 05 - 10:31 AM
GUEST,Azizi 13 Jul 05 - 11:53 AM
Highlandman 13 Jul 05 - 12:19 PM
Ebbie 13 Jul 05 - 12:22 PM
Highlandman 13 Jul 05 - 12:54 PM
Bill D 13 Jul 05 - 02:01 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 13 Jul 05 - 06:26 PM
Le Scaramouche 13 Jul 05 - 06:37 PM
Azizi 13 Jul 05 - 07:52 PM
Bill D 13 Jul 05 - 10:03 PM
The Fooles Troupe 13 Jul 05 - 11:14 PM
wysiwyg 14 Jul 05 - 08:55 PM
Azizi 14 Jul 05 - 09:18 PM
wysiwyg 14 Jul 05 - 10:51 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: I STOOD ON DE RIBBER OB JERDON
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 11 Jul 05 - 10:59 PM

Lyr. Add: I Stood on de Ribber ob Jerdon
Lyr. trad., Music Henry Thacker Burleigh?

I stood on de ribber ob Jerdon
To see dat ship come sailin' ober;
Stood on de ribber ob Jerdon
To see dat ship sail by.

O moaner, don' ya weep,
When ya see dat ship come sailin' ober,
Shout "Glory Hallelujah!
When ya see dat ship sail by.

O sister, ya bettuh be ready
To see dat ship come sailin' ober,
etc.
O brother, ya bettuh be ready, etc.

(or combine):
O sister, ya bettuh be ready
To see dat ship come sailin' ober;
Brother, ya bettuh be ready
To see dat ship sail by.

O preacher...
O deacon....

From Cleveland and Nix, 1981, "Songs of Zion," no. 149, with music and chords, Harmony by Cleveland and Nix (1930s). Abingdon Press, Nashville. Not listed in the Cleveland Index. Also at negrospirituals.com: River

Sung by Clinton Irving, base baritone, "Clinton Irving Sings Spirituals," 23 tracks, 2001. Currently only available used.
One website cites Henry Thacker Burleigh (1866-1949) for the melody, but he may have arranged it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I STOOD ON DE RIBBER OB JERDON
From: harpgirl
Date: 11 Jul 05 - 11:05 PM

...so this is the white spelling of the negro dialect?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I STOOD ON DE RIBBER OB JERDON
From: masato sakurai
Date: 11 Jul 05 - 11:49 PM

The original sheet music is at American Memory.

"I stood on de ribber ob Jerdon. Negro spirituals," arranged by H.T. Burleigh (New York, New York: G. Ricordi, 1918)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I STOOD ON DE RIBBER OB JERDON
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 12 Jul 05 - 09:44 AM

We do this song with the Mens' Chorus the Messengers sing in, and Joe does the lead. He doesn't sing Ribber Ob Jordan, though. Because I don't sing the lead, I'm not sure about the verses. I'll talk to Joe and try to get the words from him and post them here.

Today's black folks don't talk or sing like the old dialects. It would sound as phony for them to do it as it would for me.

Nobody knows de troubles obscene.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I STOOD ON DE RIBBER OB JERDON
From: GUEST,Bainbo
Date: 12 Jul 05 - 11:48 AM

Hab you dot a cold in de nose?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I STOOD ON DE RIBBER OB JERDON
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 12 Jul 05 - 12:40 PM

H. T. Burleigh was black, the grandson of a slave.

This is the dialect Burleigh knew from his youth, and his rendering of it. Not some white's interpretation.

Burleigh was well-known as a singer and composer, studying under Dvorak. His setting of "Deep River" had much to do with establishing the spiritual as an art song form and making them familiar to a new audience. He never forgot the plantation melodies of his childhood. See the following brief biography:
Burleigh

It must be added that "Songs of Zion," the book from which this spiritual was taken, originated from the leaders of Black churches. "Growing out of the Consultation on the Black Church in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1973, sponsored by the Board of Discipleship, was a specific recommendation that the Section on Worship develop a songbook from the Black religious tradition to be made available to United Methodist churches." The Black editors, Nix and Cleveland, made a great contribution to African-American sacred music .


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I STOOD ON DE RIBBER OB JERDON
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 12 Jul 05 - 01:18 PM


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I STOOD ON DE RIBBER OB JERDON
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 12 Jul 05 - 01:26 PM

I'd be willing to bet that if we could hear the original singer of this song singing it, then the final sound in "ob" wouldn't really be a b, it would be a sound partway between our V and B. I doubt if there was any real reason to spell it funny.

In the phrase "River of Jerdan," the final sound in "of" is hardly pronounced at all, because the J of "Jerdan" is so much more complex and important. I tried singing the phrase, and I could't tell you myself what sound it was.

As for "dat," thousands of English speakers say "dat" all the time, including many educated people who don't even realize that they did it. Not to mention everybody with a cold, sinus, or allergy problems.

Personally, I think it's time to forget these quaint spellings. Their time is past.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I STOOD ON DE RIBBER OB JERDON
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 12 Jul 05 - 02:50 PM

More than quaint. Citations should use the reference spellings.
Leeneia, are you saying that Burleigh, a black singer and composer, didn't know how to write and sing the dialect he knew?

These dialects also varied regionally. If his folks had been from the Sea Islands, he would have written it differently.

Jerry, it is true that the old accents are mostly lost, and they have become 'incorrect'. Only 25 years ago, in 1981, the black editors of "Songs of Zion", written for use in black or united black and white churches, gave these recommendations for singing Negro spirituals:
"Negro Spirituals
"Perform these compositions as written; however many can be improvised to a restricted degree without distorting the overall effect.
Pay close attention to the DIALECT. Do not change it into correct English or overexaggerate it because both would DESTROY the intent of the composition, as well as its performance." (emphasis in the text)
"General guidelines to follow when using dialect:
1. The dialect should be articulated as clearly as you would sing the words in other songs.
2. The English words "the," "this," and "that" in dialect would become "de," "dis," and "dat." "
And so on.

In other words, an attempt was being made to preserve the form of the old spirituals.
This has changed in one generation and is now disparaged.

Another discussion of Burleigh, and his arrangements, can be found at this George Washington University site:
A Tradition of Spirituals
Here, you will find his arrangement of "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child (Chile)," another spiritual which he first brought to the attention of white audiences in about 1916.

I can't find any vocal recordings of Burleigh, but many black singers credited his arrangements.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I STOOD ON DE RIBBER OB JERDON
From: Le Scaramouche
Date: 12 Jul 05 - 03:21 PM

Motherless Child opened Woodstock did it not?
There is a major difference between someone writting in dialect now and say, a hundred years ago. Would you Anglicise Burns because you didn't like reading Scots?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I STOOD ON DE RIBBER OB JERDON
From: harpgirl
Date: 12 Jul 05 - 03:46 PM

Thanks Q. I knew you would have something interesting and informative to say about it. That's why I asked the question.

love, harpgirl


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I STOOD ON DE RIBBER OB JERDON
From: wysiwyg
Date: 12 Jul 05 - 05:32 PM

An African American singer who appeared in concert at our church specializes in spirituals (lucky me!), and we discussed the practice of singing/not singing in dialect at least as far as "concert song" style. He explained that the classically-trained singers' approach has long been that when the dialect provides a consonant that helps the clarity of the sound produced-- the overall singing diction-- one might choose the dialect word over the more current pronunciation. But, he said, and I agree with this, one does not use dialect to imitate, even if attempting to be faithful to history-- the songs are meant to be sung in the idiom of the singer, as were the originals. These are my paraphrases-- he had the technical terms at hand, and I don't, at the moment. But that was his take on the question of dialect.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I STOOD ON DE RIBBER OB JERDON
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 12 Jul 05 - 06:00 PM

Wysiwyg, the statement by the Af-Am singer reflects the general practice now, I believe. And your paraphrases are better than throwing technical terms at us.

I will continue to place the words in which the spiritual (or other song) was collected or composed in Mudcat, but as the singer said, it is up to the interpreter to choose his own idiom.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I STOOD ON DE RIBBER OB JERDON
From: wysiwyg
Date: 12 Jul 05 - 09:24 PM

I agree!

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I STOOD ON DE RIBBER OB JERDON
From: Azizi
Date: 13 Jul 05 - 12:19 AM

Jerry,

Great play on words:

"Nobody knows de troubles obscene."

****

As to singing spirituals in real or supposedly Southern African American dialect, I'm not been a frequent churchgoer for a while now..But my daughter is, and most of my extended family is. As a matter of fact, my brother has been the Minister of Music for a number of Black Baptist churches in New Jersey...

All of this to say, that I decided to call my mother & my brother {from Atlantic City, New Jeresey} and ask my daughter {in Pittsburh, PA} about the frequency that spirituals are sung in church, and how they are sung {with or without dialect}.

Based on my experience, and the experiences of these family members, I believe that spirituals are rarely sung in African American churches nowadays. Gospel is by far the religious music of choice..

I'm not saying that this is good or bad. I'm saying that this appears to be the case.

I also don't feel that I am incorrect in saying that in the cities that I am most familiar with {in Pittsburgh area, and Southern & nothern New Jersey} the congregations would NEVER sing spirituals in that {or any other dialect}. And if a choir did, IMO, they wouldn't be well received by that congregation.

For the historical record, I understand that we have to preserve these artifacts with their original dialect. But sing them that way-NOT ME. NEVER.


Azizi


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I STOOD ON DE RIBBER OB JERDON
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 13 Jul 05 - 08:30 AM

I've probably sung in or heard choirs and soloists sing in a couple of dozen black churches in the last few years. I've never heard anyone sing in a dialect other than their own. There is a great variety of music sung in black churches with what is now called "Praise and Worship" music becoming increasingly prominent. There are still many churches in Connecticut, New York, and even Wisconsin and Illinois who still sing the old gospel, and spirituals. The Men's Chorus I sing in regularly does this song, and many other spirituals. We just did our annual concert and my friend Frankie sang Nobody knows the Troubles I've Seen, with nary a De or Dat (or Obscene) in the song.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I STOOD ON DE RIBBER OB JERDON
From: ard mhacha
Date: 13 Jul 05 - 08:57 AM

How disappointing, when I saw the heading to this Thread I thought George Bush had joined us.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I STOOD ON DE RIBBER OB JERDON
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 13 Jul 05 - 09:05 AM

Re:Leeneia, are you saying that Burleigh, a black singer and composer, didn't know how to write and sing the dialect he knew?"

No, I'm saying that there mere 26 letters of our alphabet don't begin to cover the wide and subtle range of pronunciations of English around the world. If we really attempted to convey all those differences in print, many people would stop reading.

If a singer really feels respect for another group's dialect, then the singer ought to listen to it. Print will never do the job.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I STOOD ON DE RIBBER OB JERDON
From: wysiwyg
Date: 13 Jul 05 - 10:31 AM

Much of the following was originally posted here:

Subject: RE: Common Lyric: Jordan's River is Chilly
From: WYSIWYG - PM
Date: 09 Jul 05 - 02:57 PM

But I've done some editing/adding.

I learned some things from African Americans I worked with, and who were members of a close community I was part of in the 80's, that I think pertain to this discussion. The setting was one where people opened up in personal vulnerability-- it was my privilege to be part of an atmosphere where things were shared that were not normally "said outside the Black Community" (their words). Their voices stay with me to this day....

Later, my interest in the spirituals led me to many of the same viewpoints, from AA scholars in the field. I'll try to summarize below.

In addition to the north/south aspect of pronunciation, there's a socio-economic ("class") angle as well-- perhaps a stronger one than the regional angle.

A lot of pronunciation/dialect was "sanitized" (I prefer to think of it as censorship) as the slave-times culture of African Americans moved north, and as individuals began to prosper. For a variety of reasons documented by African American writers then and since, the AA people working hard to gain respect in middle-class America were reluctant to be associated with the times and culture of the slaves, for a long, long time.

It had not been long since free Blacks could be (and often were) picked up by slave hunters under the Fugitive Slave Act, and so they were subject to re-enslavement, "punishment" by death, death under slavery itself, and/or separation from families.

This realtime need to "assimilate" was later enculturated into the succeeding generations, even after slavery itself was abolished. This is understandable, given the treatment poor African Americans continued to receive in most of the USA.... it was thought that one way to protect children from harm was to raise them "mainstream."

Many, many cultures do this "mainstreaming" to one extent or another. A longstanding issue in the Jewish Community, for example, is, "Who is a Jew?" How "Jewish" is one? Who is "entitled" to claim the cultural heritage? It's a way cultures allow oppression, imposed by the surrounding culture, to divide them.


This is one reason why I'm glad to see the work Azizi does to bring ALL African American culture to light. I'm pleased to see how she brings observed customs forward, even though they may not be exactly the customs she participated in, growing up. It tends to reduce the divisions within AA culture, that she embraces it all.


Another factor affecting pronunication and textual content of spirituals-- In common with many cultures, as material moved into hymnals, a lot of these sorts of changes became somewhat set in stone and are now assumed to be "right." In fact, no hymns that began in a folk tradition can ever really be documents as "right," tho they may be "copyrighted."

The floating and zipper verses-- and indeed the spirituals themselves as a genre-- MOST especially defy "right" versioning, as they tended to originate in the creativity and deep feeling of the moment. Songs sprang up in a day's work or a night's lament, and a few-- very few comparatively-- were transcribed. Many more were passed around orally, and folk-processed into "songs" as we would recognize them today. But the folk-processing still continues.

It's just a very, very fluid genre operating in a pluralistic culture that has a lot of difficult and/or unexamined realities. At the end of the day, I think most singers do what they do with these, with some intentionality guiding the interpretive choices they make. And I think there are "good" reasons behind these choices, no matter what the eventual choice may be.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I STOOD ON DE RIBBER OB JERDON
From: GUEST,Azizi
Date: 13 Jul 05 - 11:53 AM

Thanks, Susan for your comments.

However, I don't embrace all African American culture, any more than a person of another race or ethnicity embraces ALL of their culture...

And I never thought I was sharing information about African Ameican culture here as a means of "reducing the divisions in African American culture." I thought I was sharing information because I was interested in that information and wanted to share it with members and non-members of the community that I had joined. {Just like anyone else here shares information}.

As to some other points you made: I think part of the problem I ahve with these types of discussions is the phrase "African American culture". It's similar to the problem that I have with the phrase African American {or Black people; or black people}BTW, the referent negro people [paricularly with a small 'n' makes me cringe..This has sooo much negative baggage that it still amazes me that people still use it in the 21st century, even if they are talking about the 17th, 18, and 19th century...

The phrase "African American culture' implies that there is only monolithic culture and not a multiplicity of cultures based on geographic region, economic class, religion, age, gender, political interest, cultural, recreational, & social interests [such as the very active undergraduate and graduate university based fraternities and sororities]. Furthermore, African Americans can be sub-categorized by our ethnic origin [for example African Americans of Caribbean, Latino, Native American and/or Gullah background]...

Needless to say, Black folks in the USA are part of multiple sub-categories and have meaningful interactions with those who see themselves largely through the lenses of those affiliations.

Susan, while I agree with the point that you made that after slavery was legally abolished in the USA, many Black folks wanted to turn their backs on secular slave songs and spirituals because they wanted to be accepted by the mainstream culture {read establishment 'White' culture}. However, I'm not sure that that is the reason why African Americans aren't interested in these songs now.

Yes,I do think that some African Americans are embarrassed by that dialect talk, but I think even more don't know about it. And if they are aware of dialect poems and songs, they don't like them because [in their view] a}those songs are considered to be hard to understand {they evoke a "What the heck are they saying?" response}; b} these songs are considered to have nothing to do with folks' life right now {they evoke a "What does that got to do with me?" response} and c} those songs are considered to be relics of the past and IMO African Americans are present/future folks-besides for a few old school/golden oldies, Black people in the USA quickly ditch old music and move on to {and move to} new [or re-worked old] songs...Not to mention old slang terms, but that's a whole 'nother thread.

Besides, you can't dance to spirituals and secular slave songs {note there are some very syncopated Gospels songs that you can 'stomp' and move to}. The fact that you can't dance or "get your move on" to secular slave songs or spirituals dooms them for many African Americans....Consider the few African Americans who are 'into' Blues and Jazz. Once they stopped being dance music {or primarily dance music}, we ditched them and moved on to R&B and Hip-Hop and Bass music and Dancehall Reggae...

****
And another thing, while I'm here and on a roll:

It's been some time since I raised this question, so I will repeat it now:

With regard to Mudcat: WHERE ARE ALL THE BLACK PEOPLE?

I do NOT want to be the only person of acknowledged African American descent who posts on this forum.

I didn't come here to be a spokesperson for ANY person besides myself. If I come across as a spokesperson for all African Americans or any other African American, I'm very sorry.

I've learned alot during my almost one year at Mudcat and I have met some great people.

I'd much rather be here than not...

I just wish that there were more African Americans and other people of color here too.


Peace,

Azizi


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I STOOD ON DE RIBBER OB JERDON
From: Highlandman
Date: 13 Jul 05 - 12:19 PM

I didn't come here to be a spokesperson for ANY person besides myself. If I come across as a spokesperson for all African Americans or any other African American, I'm very sorry.
Azizi, I at least don't think you come across that way -- if anyone gets that impression, it may be just the price you pay for being someone both very knowledgable and notably skilled at sharing what you have learned with folks from 'way different backgrounds. (What, me suck up? ha!)
Seriously, I enjoy your posts, and I have great respect for your studies and your ability to put unfamiliar (to me of course) ideas across clearly. Keep at it!
-HM


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I STOOD ON DE RIBBER OB JERDON
From: Ebbie
Date: 13 Jul 05 - 12:22 PM

To paint with a broad brush here: It seems that American folk music (What is folk?) is not what most African Americans are into, so my question is, How did you, Azizi, find out about Mudcat? Maybe we can spread our net that way?

'Most' isn't really definitive, of course. I have a Black friend, originally from New Jersey, here in Juneau who is into Country music, although his interest is highly specialized. He is interested only in 'old' country- say, up to about 1960 - and that's what he sings. He has a wonderful voice and a tremendous repetoire of songs and singers and their careers. (He also has a radio show called 'Mule Train' every Tuesday night.)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I STOOD ON DE RIBBER OB JERDON
From: Highlandman
Date: 13 Jul 05 - 12:54 PM

Old thread on singing in dialect may be of interest here.

Over the years I've become grudgingly comfortable with my own approach to this: keep the vocabulary, let the words drive the accent if they want to, and don't force anything beyond that. If the dialect in a particular song is too thick, I leave it for someone else's repertoire.

Then again, if I'm actually trying to sing in a different language (French, Gaelic) I do my level best to pronounce it decently, and a song like "Wee deoch an doras" just requires the thickest put-on accent I can manage -- and in that case no one thinks I'm trying to make 'em believe I'm from Glasca. But for the most part I try to be myself and let the song come through on its own.

The result is that I sing AA spirituals like a white southerner. Some are real gems even when sung that way, some I have to leave be.

It would be no less laughable for me to try to duplicate Burleigh's dialect than to duplicate Paul Robeson's voice.

-HM


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I STOOD ON DE RIBBER OB JERDON
From: Bill D
Date: 13 Jul 05 - 02:01 PM

hi, Azizi..since I just finished shooting my mouth off on the 'slang' thread, I guess I might as well open it here too...

"With regard to Mudcat: WHERE ARE ALL THE BLACK PEOPLE?

I do NOT want to be the only person of acknowledged African American descent who posts on this forum."

well, I have been in folk music groups for 40 years, and I have often wondered similar things. I knew a lovely black woman in Kansas who played Bluegrass viola and simply moved between ethnic groups as if she was not aware of color...she knew who & what she was...she just didn't consider it relevant to her music.

Here..(in the Wash DC area).. I used to see a young black guy who played banjo, and he was just accepted AS a banjo player.

When FSGW puts on events (two festivals a year, plus concerts) we often have black musicians, but they are 'almost' always doing blues, gospel, or music of a particular African or Caribbean heritage.

I suppose that since Mudcat has SO much Anglo-Celtic discussion going on, those whose only interests are in Blues tend to feel lost or ignored- even though Max's favorite music IS blues. We have had many, many discussions of blues and gospel music here, but you'd have to ask black musicians why they don't come here and talk about it OR other things. Perhaps it is related to my post on the 'slang' thread, that some ethnic groups just prefer to do their debates and conversations within their perceived group, so that they don't have to moderate their conversation and references...*shrug*

I spent MUCH of my college life being part of the civil rights movement, and often attending NAACP meetings and such, and the question came up several times, and the answer, boiled down, seemed to be "we are grateful for the help, breaking down barriers and righting wrongs...but once you have done what's needed, get out of the way and let us do our thing in peace." .....Now that is not necessarily the universal opinion, but I heard it expressed a number of times in similar forms. Times HAVE changed a bit since then, but I guess that many blacks STILL feel more comfortable not mixing in wildly diverse groups like this.

glad there's one exception..*smile*...maybe you can drag in others eventually....


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I STOOD ON DE RIBBER OB JERDON
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 13 Jul 05 - 06:26 PM

As far as black folks and folk music, there are many black friends of mine who enjoy folk music, country and blues. They just aren't that familiar with the term "folk music." Over the years when I've said that I play folk music, the first question invariably is "What's that?" And yet, many friends grew up listening to blues and country music (and yes, folk songs) in the South, without ever thinking of them as "folk Music." Joe and Frankie in my quartet love bluegrass and blues, and they like a lot of the folk and original material that I sing. They love going to workshops at festivals, and are familiar with people like Uncle Dave Macon. I can't believe that they are unique.

If folk music was looked upon as inclusive of black gospel and blues, and just "old songs" folks used to sing, I think that there'd be more people who had a curiosity about it. That's how I look at it...

And I'm with Azizi on the beat. I'm not aware of a lot of ballads from the black tradition. From the Lindy Hop to the big band era to the Twist to hip hop, music and dancing have been almost inseparable.
Even in "folk music" the old-time bands and duets were often dance music. The folk revival emphasized sit with a cup of coffee and listen, Damn it! music.

Even today, dancing in the aisle happens in many balck churches. Go to Africa if you want to see truly joyful dancing, and go to a church.
We've had people get out into the aisles and dance when we played and sang music at funerals.

And the beat goes on..

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I STOOD ON DE RIBBER OB JERDON
From: Le Scaramouche
Date: 13 Jul 05 - 06:37 PM

Ahh, but I'm pretty sure dance music and songs for singing were separate in the Anglo-Saxon/British Isles tradition.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I STOOD ON DE RIBBER OB JERDON
From: Azizi
Date: 13 Jul 05 - 07:52 PM

Highlandman, thank you. I appreciate your comments.

****

Ebbie & Bill, because my experiences might shed some light on this issue of why there are so few people of color on Mudcat {and other predominately White Internet discussion forums {?}, I will be somewhat lengthy in relating the story about how I became a Mudcatter.

In 2002 I launched a website [www.cocojams.com] for the presentation of examples of and comments on African American children's game songs, rhymes, and cheers. At the last minute, I decided to include examples of and commentary about African American slavery dance songs. I made this decision because I believed {and still believe} that some of the lyrics to these songs live on as floating verses in a number of contemporary children's game songs, handclap and foot stomping rhymes {that I also call 'cheers'}.

"Jim Along Josie" was one of the dance songs that I arbitrarily chose to include on that website. A 'Catter who is now known as Q visited my site and exchanged emails with me about that song. Q also told me about Mudcat and encouraged me to visit this site.

I eventually did visit Mudcat that same year but I wasn't computer savy enough to "get it". I found Mudcat to be not at all aesthetically pleasing {no photos and no sound}. Furthermore, I wasn't at all familiar with the names of many of the songs that were being discussed and {though I didn't know it then} there were alot of references to UK events that were completely foreign to me...

When I finally figured out that you were supposed to click on a subject to read the comment, I found not only were the subjects largly unfamiliar to me, but so too were some of the words and abbreviations used {such as threads, lurking, trolls, flames, LOL, **BG** }.

And I also have to admit that I was fearful of the Internet period. I'm not just talking about the technical stuff like how to surf the Internet and cut & paste and link and all of that, although that was certainly true..I'm also talking about the fear of being known by the powers that be-1984-Big Brother-is-watching-thing. If a person post on the Internet, she or he might focus attention on her or himself that might not be in her or his own interest.

So I had to get pass that fear and also learn the techniques of what the Internet and discussion forums were all about. I was lucky enough to have a computer at my former place of employment and Information systems staff people who answered by 'dumb' questions and walked me through things like 'what is "refresh", and "Oh, no! I lost my toolbar! What do I do now!!" I also had the expertise and support of a friend who was {and still is} the Webmaster/technical person for my cocojams website and my other website on personal names used by African Americans {www.alafianames.com}. Also I was {and am} blessed to have a computer at home. Alot of African Americans don't have a home computer or don't have one that is Internet accessible.

I learned my computer skills by doing..In particular I jumped into the Internet blog world through posting regualarly on the Wesley Clark for President blog. When that blog abruptly closed, I was devastated {for a number of reasons}. I realized that I had become accustomed to interacting with folks through the Internet..I liked the fact that I learned from posting on real time message boards and I had fun doing it too.

So, I went looking for a new Internet home, and remembered that this man who is now known as Q had invited me to visit Mudcat. And so I did in August 2004. In September 2004 I posted a rather snippy comment to a thread [about the origin of Kumbayah} and three Catters encouraged me to join this forum. I did so and have been here ever since.

In summary:
1)I had access to a computer at home and at work
2}I had hands on technical support
3)I had a reason that drove me to the Internet {Initially. I wanted
to learn more about this presidential candidate who I had sparked
my interest as a result of his appearances on CNN TV}
4)I had to conquer my fear of the Internet
5)I was encouraged to visit this website {Q engaged in outreach?}
6)I had positive experiences at one Internet blog
7)I lost my Internet 'home' and went looking for another   
6)I had positive responses to my initial comments as a Mudcat
guest
7}I had to give Mudcat a chance and not rush the get-to-know
you-period. In other words, I had to forget about the lack of
aesthetics. There's SO much treasure here -in the current and
archived threads and the Song Indexes. And besides the
information and support, the BS threads [which I avoided for
quite a while] are soo entertaining. As a matter of fact, I didn't
risk visiting below the line until someone PMed me or posted a
request in a music thread that I give a look/see to a particular
more serious BS thread.

And so on and so forth...I continue to post on Mudcat because I have grown to love communicating through this medium, and I have come to respect and admire the creativity and intellect and wit and spirit and souls of a great many people.

I will continue to promote Mudcat to others [regardless of race or ethnicity]. I will continue to hope that,in time, more people of color join Mudcat and post on this discussion forum on a regular bases. I also hope that some of these people at least some of the time will see the relevancy of acknowledging their race/ethnicity when they are sharing their real life experiences.

Peace,

Azizi


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I STOOD ON DE RIBBER OB JERDON
From: Bill D
Date: 13 Jul 05 - 10:03 PM

well...quite a history, Azizi! I see why it took you so long to work things out...some related to ethnicity, and some just because this 'internet' thing can be intimidating. It's good to see you now share the opinion of many of us that Mudcat can be a fascinating, wonderful...and occasionally mean or awkward place....but we have SO many folks here who have intelligent, thoughtful...if not always identical *grin* ...opinions.

It is the case that some ethnic groups have been slow to adopt computer communications...or to use it in only narrow, limited ways. No doubt that will gradually change....and no doubt there will always be a majority of white Anglo-Saxons here...just because the main focus is as it is. But I hope that ANY person who enjoys folklore, blues, gospel...or just visiting about the world....will find something useful here... and contribute when it seems comfortable.

Thanks for the clarification...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I STOOD ON DE RIBBER OB JERDON
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 13 Jul 05 - 11:14 PM

Remember:

it doesn't matter how you spell it, you can still pronounce it wrong...

;-)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I STOOD ON DE RIBBER OB JERDON
From: wysiwyg
Date: 14 Jul 05 - 08:55 PM

Azizi,

Although your intent may not have been to reduce divisions in what I, too, understand as a multifaced "African American culture," I do think it is an effect. I also think that any cultural inquiry that focuses on children's games, rhymes, etc., surely embraces most of the conceivable facets of that culture-- children draw from anything they are exposed to, and use it as the raw material of their play. One might say this is the place where the things that we would want to see mixing (perhaps a better image than the "melting pot") do mix, with best effect. Again, this may not be a conscious intention on your part, but I believe it is true, nonetheless. Good work often results in more positive gain than we might have first dreamed, and I appreciate any positive movement our society can reflect!

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I STOOD ON DE RIBBER OB JERDON
From: Azizi
Date: 14 Jul 05 - 09:18 PM

Susan,

Thank you for your comments.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: I STOOD ON DE RIBBER OB JERDON
From: wysiwyg
Date: 14 Jul 05 - 10:51 PM

Pardon my typo last post-- multiFACETed, not multifaced!

~Susan


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