God Speed the Plough

(First verse off a mug at my grandmother's house)
(aka "the farmer's arms" the first verse is part of a song farmers in England apparently used to sing on Ploughman's Monday as a way to embarrass people who hadn't yet paid for their services... it was like trick-or-treat for farmers)
(It is also a Morris Dancing song...)

(Verses 2,3,4 by Bennett Konesni) 

Let the wealthy and great, roll in splendor and state, I envy them not I declare it
I eat my own lamb My own chickens and ham I shear my own fleece and I wear it
I have lawns I have bowers I have fruits I have flowers The lark is my early alarmer
So Jolly boys now Here's God speed the plough Long life and success to the farmer

Well I wake every morn To the dew on the corn when light hasn't quite touched the sky-o
To the lowing of cows And the grunting of sows And the mare with a glint in her eye-o
There are deals to be made, There are debts to be paid, To feed madame credit, the charmer
So Jolly boys now Here's God speed the plough Long life and success to the farmer

Well I think every day of my girl far away of the riches she'll find on her travels
of the sharp foreign smells and the barbaric yells and the fine silty loams and the gravels
But they can't be as fine As just spending some time in the field in the dusk in the summer
So Jolly boys now Here's God speed the plough Long life and success to the farmer

Well of all that I love Under heaven above these things are the best of them all-o
It's the smell of the land and the touch of your hand how it grips soft and warm close to mine-o
and your voice like a bell well it casts quite a spell an arrow to pierce through the armor
So Jolly boys now Here's God speed the plough Long life and success to the farmer
So Jolly boys now Here's God speed the plough Long life and success to the farmer

YWW 008 - Diamond Joe

Hi Worksongers!Your Weekly Worksong is... Diamond Joe   Background There are actually several songs that people refer to as Diamond Joe.  One is a cowboy song, another is a Woody Guthrie classic, and then there is this one, which has been referred to as a river shanty.  It was recorded first in 1937 at the Mississippi State Penitentiary, also known as Parchman Farm, a prison that is notorious for prisoner abuse and also for the extraordinary music of the inmates who were incarcerated there.  In this case, Diamond Joe was sung by an inmate named Charlie Butler for a Library of Congress collector named Duncan Emerich.   Diamond Jo was the name of a steamer on the upper Mississippi River, the Chicago, Fulton and River Line, commonly called the Diamond Jo line.  The owner of the company was Joseph “Diamond Jo” Reynolds, and the logo of the company was a diamond with the letters JO inside, and it was painted on the boat.  The flagship steamer was named “Diamond Jo” and along with 19 other steamboats they transported cargo and passengers.   We don’t know if Charlie Butler ever saw these steamships (the company sold in 1911), if he wrote the song or just passed it along, but his recording is epic, mysterious, subtle and haunting.  He probably would’ve sung it in the fields at Parchman, which was the home of a prison labor system that David Oshinsky calls “worse than slavery.”  Worksongs were a tradition that helped crews weed fields and chop wood as long as the sun was up.     Where I learned it I learned it from Max Godfrey, who was on the crew at Sylvester Manor in 2010 and 2011.  He has the most incredible rendition, which draws heavily on Charlie Butler but carries his unique style and emphasis.  Definitely check out the film that Andrew Plotsky made of him on worksongs.org   Why it’s a great song: - Great harmonies in the the chorus  - Simple lyrics  - Rhythm doesn’t have to be rigidly locked in - works for big fields    If you try it: - Holler like you mean it!     Check it out: Here is a link to the song on worksongs.org   -  This includes:  - a link to Charlie Butler Version  - lyrics from Mudcat.org  - a video of Max leading the song at the Plant & Sing festival on Shelter Island.  - a recording of Max leading it at NOFA-NY Conference 2012 - the original Diamond Jo logo Here is a great discussion on mudcat.org Worse than Slavery: Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice by David Oshinsky Wake Up Dead Man: Hard Labor and Southern Blues by Bruce Jackson 

Holler back with any questions or ideas!   And let me know if you decide to sing it... -Bennett 

PS.  If you missed past weeks of Your Weekly Worksong, I’ve posted them here...   

YWW 001 - Stewball

Hi Worksonger! Your Weekly Worksong is... Stewball

"Stewball was an irish racehorse who fame has survived on both sides of the Atlantic.  Laws notes several versions of the song from Kentucky and quote D.K. Wilgus on "Ten Broeck and Mollie,: the American counterpart of the Irish horserace: "The July 4, 1878, march race in which the Kentucky thoroughbred Ten Broeck deeated the mare Miss Millie McCarthur, went into the record books as the last four-mile heat race in American turf history" (Laws, p 243).  But it is the Irish horse and hisrace that have survived in American Negro folksong."

- Bruce Jackson, "Wake Up Dead Man" p 102

"The facts are that sometime around 1790 a race took place on the curragh of Kildare (near Dublin) between a skewbald horse owned by Sir Arthur Marvel and "Miss Portly", a gray mare owned by Sir Ralph Gore. The race seemed to take the balladmakers' fancies, and must have been widely sung; an early printed version appeared in an American song book dated 1829." - mudcat.org  lyrics page

It wasn't the American Negro folksong or an American Songbook introducedStewball to me, though- it was Andy Irvine, who sing a completely different version on the iconic album Andy Irvine / Paul Brady.  Theirs, which is called "Plains of Kildaire" details the story extensively and so when I heard the more mysterious version as sung by Leadbelly (and introduced to me by Max Godfrey) I thought- hey- I know about Stewball!

But of course I was only just getting to know the driving rhythm, the rippling, dissonant harmonies, and the overlapping call and response of Max's version.  This song became an instant favorite.  Here's why:

1) It is easy to teach.  The response lyrics repeat and you can be half-numb and still remember them.

2) It drives.  Whatever frustration you've got going, whatever hard work you're chopping or hoeing at, you can channel that right into the song.

3) It's positive.  Everybody's singing uh-huh and oh yeah.  Nice way to turn around an ugly mood out in the field.

4) It's old-timey and hairy.  Racehorses?  Gambling?  Girls?  Does it get any better?

Bruce Jackson recorded this one four separate times in 1964 and 1965 at Ramsey and Wynne prisons in Texas.  Maybe that's where Leadbelly learned it, in prison, and incorporated it into his performance repertoire.

Any case, enjoy Leadbelly's version of it on worksongs.org, and let me know what other versions of Stewball (Irish, Kentucky, Texas or otherwise) you like.   And memorize it, for god's sake!  It's one of the best!

Holler back... -Bennett

Check it out: - More Bruce Jackson on Stewball in "Wake Up Dead Man" - Paul Brady and Andy Irvine's Stewball, "The Plains of Kildaire" - Leadbelly's versionMassive amounts of discussion on Mudcat.org

Dada Mele

Click here to hear Dadamele
 

Part A:

Call: Dada mele, acha maringo yako,
maringo hayoo, yatakuuaa

Response:
Dada mele, acha maringo yako,
maringo hayoo, yatakuuaa

Part B:

C: Namlilia mwana
R: Namlilia mwana sana
C: Mwana wangu
R: Namlilia mwana sana

C: Namlilia mama
R: Namlilia mama sana
C: Mama yangu
R: Namlilia mama sana

x2

 

This Mchakamchaka song is used to aid and enliven group jogging.  It was taught to me by Yohanne "Kiddo" Kidolezi, my college roommate  Freshman year at Middlebury College, 2001.  Kiddo grew up singing these songs as a warm up for the schoolday with his classmates.

 

Hal an Tow

And here is what it sounds like when you get 70 young farmers together singing it, led by Nate Kraus-Mallet and Mia Bertelli:

 

CHORUS

Hal-an-Tow, jolly rumble-o,
We were up long before the day-o,
To welcome in the summer,
To welcome in the May-o –
For summer is a-coming,
And the winter’s gone away-o! 

Since man was first created
His works have been debated
And we have celebrated
The coming of the spring

Take no scorn to wear the horns,
It was the crest when you were born;
Your father’s father wore it,
And your father wore it too.

CHORUS

Robin Hood and Little John
Have both gone to the fair-o,
And we shall to the merry green wood,
To hunt the buck and hare-o!

CHORUS

What happened to the Spaniards
That made so great a boast, oh?
They shall eat the feathered goose,
And we shall eat the roast, oh!

CHORUS

And as for that good knight, St. George
St. George he was a knight o
Of all the knights of Christendom
St. George is the right o

CHORUS

God bless Aunt Mary Moses
With all her power and might-o;
Send us peace in England,
Send us peace by day and night-o!

CHORUS

More info:
Quite a long Mudcat Discussion
An MP3 of how the Watersons sang it.

Moses, Moses, Don't Get Lost

John Davis and the Georgia Sea Island Singers

 

Moses, Moses, don’t get lost | In that red sea
Smite your rod and come across | In that red sea

Oh Moses, Moses take my hand | In that red sea
Take me out of Egypt land | In that red sea

Oh Moses, Moses part the waters | In that red sea
Take us to the lands of our fathers | In that red sea

Moses, Moses, Pharoah coming | In that red sea
Don’t you hear those horses running | In that red sea

Promised land is just across | Across that red sea
Moses, Moses don’t get lost | In that red sea

Stop and talk about your host got lost, got lost, got lost
Talkin’ about your host got lost | In that red sea

Stop and talk about your host got lost, got lost, got lost
Talkin’ about your host got lost | In that red sea

Oh Moses, Moses, don’t get lost | In that red sea
Smite your rod and come across | In that red sea

Oh Moses, Moses, don’t get lost | In that red sea
Smite your rod and come across | In that red sea

Yeah, ol Pharoah and the host got lost, got lost, got lost
Pharoah and the host got lost| In that red sea

Yeah, ol Pharoah and the host got lost, got lost, got lost
Pharoah and the host got lost| In that red sea

Oh Moses, Moses, don’t get lost | In that red sea
Smite your rod and come across | In that red sea

Oh Moses, Moses, don’t get lost | In that red sea
Smite your rod and come across | In that red sea

Oh Moses, Moses, don’t get lost | In that red sea
Smite your rod and come across | In that red sea

Moses, Moses, don’t get lost | In that red sea
Smite your rod and come across | In that red sea
In that red sea
In that red sea

Join the Band

A hauling tune from the days when the big sailing schooners used to load timber at Brunswick, Georgia. Recorded by Alan Lomax at St. Simon's Island, Georgia, on October 12, 1959.

 

All ready?
Join the band
Oh come ’round and join the band

All ready?
Join the band
Everyone come ’round and join the band

bo bo bo bo bo bo bo band…
bo bo bo bo bo bo bo band…

All ready?
Join the band
Hey run along come join the band

All ready?
Join the band
My big bullride come join the band

bo bo bo bo bo bo bo band…
bo bo bo bo bo bo bo band…

All ready?
Join the band
Hey run along come join the band

All ready?
Join the band
Everyone come around come join the band

bo bo bo bo bo bo bo band…
bo bo bo bo bo bo bo band…

All ready?
Join the band
Everyone come ’round come join the band

All ready?
Join the band
My big bullride come join the band

Go To Sleep Little Baby

A go to sleep you little baby
go to sleep you little baby
your momma gone away and your daddys gone to stay
didn't leave nobody but the baby

go to sleep you little baby
go to sleep you little baby
everybody's gone in the cotton and the corn
didn't leave nobody but the baby

you're a sweet little baby
you're a sweet little baby
honey on a rock and the sugar don't stop
gonna bring the bottle to the baby

don't you weep pretty baby
don't you weep pretty baby
shes long gone with her red shoes on
gonna need another loving baby

don't you weep pretty baby
don't you weep pretty baby
you and me and the devil makes three
don't need no other loving baby

go to sleep you little baby
go to sleep you little baby
come lay your bones
on the alabaster stones and be my ever loving baby

Whoa Back Buck

Lead Belly sang two versions of this song. One usedthe mule-driver appropriate "God Damn" and the other replaced it with "Cunningham" which Lead Belly thought was better for polite company.

The God Damn version:

The Cunningham version:

Here is a a discussion on the song over at Mudcat.org

Here is a composite of verses taken from different several
different sources.

Tom done buck and Bill won’t pull,
Papa gonna cut that other little bull.
Whoa back Buck, an’ gee by the Lamb!
Who made the back-band? Whoa, goddam!

Whoa, Buck, an’ gee, by the Lamb!
Who made the back-band? Whoa, goddam! (x2)
Whoa, goddam, an’-a whoa, goddam!
Who made the back-band? Whoa, goddam!

I taken my gal to the country store,
I bought my gal some calico,
I bought my gal some calico,
I taken my gal to the party-o

Me and my gal walkin’ down the road,
Her knees knock together playin’ “Sugar In The Gourd”,
Sugar in the gourd and the gourd in the ground,
If you want a little sugar got to roll the gourd around.

Eighteen, nineteen, twenty years ago,
I taken Sal to the party-o,
I taken Sal to the party-o,
Wouldn’ let her dance but a set or so.

18, 19–20 years ago,
Took my gal to the country store,
Took my gal to the country store,
Buy m’ pretty little gal little calico.

Chicken in the bread-tray, mighty good stuff,
Mama cook him chicken an’ he never get enough,
Jawbone eat an’-a jawbone talk,
Jawbone eat with a knife an’ fawk.

My old man’s good old man
Washed his face in a frying pan,
Combed his hair with a wagon wheel,
And died with a toothache in his heel.

Papa loved mama—mama loved men,(three times)
Mama’s in the graveyard and papa’s in the pen.

I gee to the mule but the mule wouldn’t gee, (3 times)
So I hit him side the head with the single tree.

I haw to the mule but the mule wouldn’t haw, (3 times)
So I broke his back with my mother-in-law.

Eastbound train on the westbound track
Westbound train on the eastbound track
Both those trains were running fine
But what a terrible way to run a railroad line!

 

CC Rider

You C C Rider, see what you done done
C C Rider, you see what you done done
You C C Rider, you see what you done done
You done made me love you and now your man don't come

My home is on the water, I don't like no land at all
Home's on the water and I don't like no land at all
My home's on the water and I don't like no land at all
I'd rather be dead than to stay here and be your dog

So you C C Rider, see what you done done
C C Rider, you see what you done done
You C C Rider, you see what you done done
You made me love you and now your man don't come

I'm goin' away baby, sure don't wanna go
Goin' away baby, but I sure don't wanna go
I'm goin' away baby, but I sure don't wanna go
When I leave this time you never see me no more

So you C C Rider, see what you done done
C C Rider, you see what you done done
You C C Rider, you see what you done done
You have made me love you and now your man don't come

My home is on the water and I don't like no land at all
Home's on the water and I don't like no land at all
My home's on the water and I don't like no land at all
So goodbye baby I'm tired of bein' your dog

So you C C Rider, see what you done done 
C C Rider, you see what you done done 
You C C Rider, you see what you done done 
You have made me love you and now your man don't come

So I'm goin' away now baby, and I won't be back till fall
I'm goin' away now baby, and I won't be back till fall,
I'm goin' away now baby, and I won't be back till fall, 
Just might find me a good girl, might not be comin' back at all

Well now see, C C Rider, see now the moon is shining bright
Well now see, C C Rider, see now the moon is shining bright
Well now see, C C Rider, see now the moon is shining bright 
Just might find me that good girl, and everything would be alright

Go Down Old Hannah

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qihABs5sQk&w=420&h=315] Why don't you go down old Hannah, well, well, well, Don't you rise no more, don't you rise no more, Why don't you go down old Hannah, Hannah, Don't you rise no more.

If you rise in the morning, well, well, well, Bring judgement sure, bring judgement sure, If you rise in the morning, morning, Bring judgement sure.

Well, I looked at old Hannah, well, well, well, She was turning red, she was... Then I looked at my partner, partner, He was almost dead.

You should-a been on this old Brazos, Back in nineteen and fo' You could find a dead man, Layin' across your row.

Why don't you wake up old dead man, Help me carry my row,... (repeat)

You should-a been on this old river, Nineteen and ten,... You could find them workin' the women, And killin' the men

My mother called me And I answered, Ma'am,... She said ain't you tired of rolling,... Rolling for that old sun-down man?

Then my father he called me And I answered Sir He said if you're tired of rolling,... What do you stay here for.

Then my sister she called me, ... And I answered hey,... She said ain't you tired of rolling,... Why don't you run away.

Then my brother he called me, And I answered huh, He said if you're tired of rolling,... You know you got too long.

I got a letter from the Governor, What do you think he said,... He said he'd give me a pardon,... If I didn't drop dead.

Mudcat

Good Lord (Run old Jeremiah)

By myself. (5)
You know I’ve got to go.
You got to run.
I’ve got to run.
You got to run.
By myself. (3)
I got a letter, (2)
Ol’ brownskin.
Tell you what she say.
“Leavin’ tomorrow,
Tell you goodbye.”
O my Lordy. (6)
Well, well, well. (2)
O my Lord. (2)
O my Lordy. (2 )
Well, well, well. (2 )
I’ve got a rock.
You got a rock.
Rock is death.
O my Lordy.
O my Lord.
Well, well, well.
Run here, Jeremiah. (2)
I must go
On my way. (4)
Who’s that ridin’ the chariot? (2)
Well, well, well . . .

(New Leader:)

One mornin’
Before the evening
Sun was goin’ down (3)
Behind them western hills. (3)
Old number 12
Comin’ down the track. (3)
See that black smoke.
See that old engineer.
See that engineer. (2)
Tol’ that old fireman
Ring his ol’ bell
With his hand.
Rung his engine bell. (2)
Well, well, well. (2 )
Jesus tell the man,
Say, I got your life
In My Hand;
I got your life
In My Hand. (2 )
Well, well, well.
0l’ fireman told,
Told that engineer,
Ring your black bell,
Ding, ding, ding,
Ding, ding, ding, ding.
0l’ fireman say
——?—- -
——?—- -
——?—- -
That mornin’,
Well, well, well, (2)
0l’ fireman say,
Well, well,
I’m gonna grab my
Old whistle too.
Wah, wah, ho,
Wah, wah, wah, wah, ho,
Wah, wah, ho,
Wah, wah, wah, ho. (etc.)
Mmmmmmm
Soon, soon, soon,
Wah——— -o.
Well, well, well,
0l’ engineer,
I’ve got your life
In my hands. (2)
Tol’ your father, (2)
Well, well, well,
I was travellin’, (2)
I was ridin’ (3)
Over there. (2)
Ol’ engineer.
This is the chariot. (2)

Lead Me To The Rock

 

Mmmm…lead me, my Lord.

I wonder what my mother want to stay here for?
Well this old world ain’t no friend to her.

CHORUS:
Well you can dig-uh my grave about ten feet deep
And you can make-uh my grave about four feet wide
And you can bury my body on solid rock
And you can lead
Oh, Lord!
Why don’t you lead me to that racial rock, higher and higher?

I wonder what old Satan keeps a-grumblin’ about?
Well, he’s chained in Hell and he can’t come out.

CHORUS

Well, some come cripple and some come lame.
Well, some come limpin’ in my Jesus’ name.

CHORUS (Improvisation)

Mudcat

Thousands or More

The time passes over more cheerful and gay,
Since we’ve learnt a new act to drive sorrows away.
Sorrows away, sorrows away, sorrows away,
Since we’ve learnt a new act to drive sorrows away.

Bright Phoebe awakes so high up in the sky
With her red, rosy cheeks and her sparkaling eye,
Sparkaling eye, sparkaling eye, sparkaling eye,
With her red, rosy cheeks and her sparkaling eye.

If you ask for my credit you’ll find I have none,
With my bottle and friend you will find me at home.
Find me at home, find me at home, find me at home,
With my bottle and friend you will find me at home.

Although I’m not rich and although I’m not poor
I’m as happy as those that’s got thousands or more,
Thousands or more, thousands or more, thousands or more,
I’m as happy as those that’s got thousands or more.

The Copper Family:

This is a slightly newer recording. The thing to do though, is to find the oldest recordings. They were reissued recently on a release called "Come Write Ye Down."


Diamond Joe

Max Godfrey Leads Diamond Joe at the NOFA-NY Winter Conference 2012: 

 

Diamond Joe, come a-getta me
Diamond Joe, come a-getta me
Diamond Joe, come a-getta me
Diamond Joe

Went up on that mountain
Give my horn a blow
Thought I heard Miss Maybelle say
Yonder come my beau

Diamond Joe, come a-getta me
Diamond Joe, come a-getta me
Diamond Joe, come a-getta me
Diamond Joe

Ain't gonna work in the country
And neither on Parchment Farm
I'm gonna stay till my Maybelle come
And she gonna call-a me Tom

Diamond Joe, come a-getta me
Diamond Joe, come a-getta me
Diamond Joe, come a-getta me Diamond Joe

Ain't gonna tell you no story
And neither word or lie
One of them my Maybelle say
Didn't she keep on by

Diamond Joe, come a-getta me
Diamond Joe, come a-getta me
Diamond Joe, come a-getta me
Diamond Joe

Diamond Joe, where you ?
Diamond Joe, where you ?
Diamond Joe, where you ?
Diamond Joe

Diamond Joe, come a-getta me 
Diamond Joe, come a-getta me 
Diamond Joe, come a-getta me 
Diamond Joe

Ain't gonna work in the country
And neither on Parchment Farm
I'm gonna stay till my Maybelle come
And she gonna call-a me Tom

Diamond Joe, come a-getta me 
Diamond Joe, come a-getta me 
Diamond Joe, come a-getta me 
Diamond Joe


Source: recording by John A. Lomax of Charlie Butler in Parchman, Mississippi, 8 March 1937. Reissued in Various Artists 'A Treasury of Library of Congress Field Recordings' Rounder CD 1500 [Compiled and annotated by Stephen Wade].

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