An Alabama Songbook: Ballads, Folksongs, and Spirituals by Robert W. Halli Jr.

By Robert W. Halli Jr.

A lavish presentation of 208 folksongs accumulated all through Alabama within the 1940s.

Alabama is a nation wealthy in folksong culture, from outdated English ballads sung alongside the Tennessee River to kid's online game songs performed in cellular, from the rhythmic paintings songs of the railroad gandy dancers of Gadsden to the spirituals of the Black Belt. The musical history of blacks and whites, wealthy and negative, hill folks and cotton farmers, those songs suffer as a residing a part of the state's diverse past.

In the mid Nineteen Forties Byron Arnold, an keen younger song professor from The college of Alabama, got down to locate and checklist as lots of those songs as he might and used to be rewarded via unstinting cooperation from many informants. Mrs. Julia Greer Marechal of cellular, for instance, used to be ninety years previous, blind, and a semi-invalid, yet she sang for Arnold for 3 hours, permitting the recording of 33 songs and onerous Arnold and his technician. Helped via such residing repositories as Mrs. Marechal, the Arnold assortment grew to good over 500 songs, augmented through box notes and memorable biographical info at the singers.

An Alabama Songbook is the results of Arnold's efforts and people of his informants around the country and has been formed via Robert W. Halli Jr. right into a narrative enriched by way of greater than two hundred major songs-lullabies, Civil conflict anthems, African-American gospel and secular songs, mess around tunes, temperance songs, love ballads, play-party rhymes, and paintings songs. within the culture of Alan Lomax's The people Songs of North America and Vance Randolph's Ozark Folksongs, this quantity will entice basic audiences, folklorists, ethnomusicologists, preservationists, conventional musicians, and historians.

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Additional resources for An Alabama Songbook: Ballads, Folksongs, and Spirituals Collected by Byron Arnold

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Hester’s treatment makes narrative and musical sense. She evidently considered the song a lullabye and, following the sixth stanza, she told Arnold: “Additional verses may be added here, substituting ‘brother’ or ‘sister’ or any other relative until you run out of breath. ” The prisoner’s calling the executioner “dear hangman” is found in many other versions of the ballad. Sung by Mrs. Myrtle Love Hester, Florence, 8 June 1947. “Oh hang man, dear hang man, hang up your rope, And wait while; see my er I think I moth a a Oh Moth er, dear Moth er, did you bring me my gold?

13 He took the brown girl by the hand And led her through the hall, Drew out his sword, cut off her head, And kicked it against the wall, And kicked it against the wall. 14 “Oh Father, oh Father, go dig my grave, Go dig it long and deep, And bury the sharp sword at my side, The penknife at my feet, The penknife at my feet. ” 16 He placed the sharp sword on the ®oor, His back upon it lay, He pierced the penknife in his breast, “Here comes three lovers all at once. ” Barbara Allen (Child 84) This song, praised by Samuel Pepys in his diary in 1666, is the single most frequently found Child ballad, both throughout the United States and in Alabama.

Most frequently, she asks him to avert his eyes from her nakedness, as in Mrs. Ezell’s version, which is otherwise less complete and interesting than the A text. Like a number of American singers, Hill may have considered allusion to a naked woman in poor taste. In many versions, when the heroine returns home her parrot threatens to tell all it knows of her rendezvous and is silenced only by the promise of a ¤ne new cage. All that is left here of this scene is the somewhat confusing last stanza and a misplaced reference to the heroine herself as “pert bird” in the ¤fth stanza.

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