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Crossover worksongs; Prison, Rail & Sail

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Barry Finn 08 Mar 07 - 12:52 AM
Barry Finn 08 Mar 07 - 11:56 PM
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Subject: Crossover worksongs; Prison, Rail & Sail?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 08 Mar 07 - 12:52 AM

I've found very few work songs that have grown out of one tradition or work experience & ended up being used by another. I've have found a few examples but not what I would've expected. The differences & the difficulties in the work itself can't be the only reason why this is so uncommon. The few examples that I have found of those used in both prisons, the railroads or onboard ship are few & none that I can find belong to all three. Obviously I'm working from within the Black experience & tradition here. One problem would be that the deep water sailor shanty tradition started to die before the turn of the begining of previous century where the shanty tradition of the black experience lasted up until the 1960's with the fisherfolk of the West Indies & surrounding waters, the menhaden fisheries & with the Georgia Sea Islands until maybe the 40's, the same with the track gangs working the rails. The prison worksongs were also still being used up until the 60's. So it pretty much leaves it all within only the Black culture.


Prison-Shanty
"Good-Bye My Lover Good-Bye" is, I believe a Great Lakes halyard shanty. Both Bruce Jackson (Ramsey state farm, Texas 1964) & John Lomax (Galax, Virginia 1937) collected this as a cotton or/& cane song but I'm not sure if they are both related. It would seem so from looking at them in print but I've only ever heard it sung as a shanty.
   
"Drinking That Wine" is found sung in both traditions
"Lazarus", "Every Mail Day", "I'm Gonna Roll Here" are shanties that are related to the prison worksong "Ol Alabama"
"Po Lazarus" is found in sung both traditions


Shanty-Railroad
"Paddy Works On The Railway"
"Old Moke Picking On A Banjo", "He-Bang, She-Bang"
"Let The Bulgine Run" these are all shanties that seem to have grown out of the rail experience but probably not as railroad worksongs


Prison-Railroad
"Lining Track" is from the rail experience but I believe also recorded at either Parchman Farm or at Angola as a worksong.

So does anyone wanna play this, has anyone got others that they can add to these lists?

Thanks
Barry


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Subject: RE: Crossover worksongs; Prison, Rail & Sail
From: Barry Finn
Date: 08 Mar 07 - 11:56 PM

Here's the prison verison of:


       Goodbye, My Lover, Goodbye


She loaded down with convict men

Goodbye, my lover, goodbye She loaded down with convict men

Goodbye, my lover, goodbye


Full Chorus: Well, it's bye, baby, bye

             Bye, baby, bye

             Bye, baby, bye

             Goodbye, my lover, goodbye


See that train comin' round the bend

Goodbye, my lover, goodbye

You see that train comin' round the bend

Goodbye, my lover, goodbye


Full Chorus:

He's got him on that one-way train

You know by that he ain't comin' back


One time she blowed for Bilo First

One time she blowfor Camp Eight


One time she blow for Ramsey Farm

Bow-leg is waitin' for you


Barry


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