Goin' Home

DESCRIPTION: Sung to the swinging of a pick. "Ev'rywhere I look (hanh!), Where I look this mornin'... Look like rain." The singer describes his prowess wit the pick, tells how his girl wants him home, and hopes he can win a pardon from the governor
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1934
LONG DESCRIPTION: As a menhaden chantey: The singer will work "a few days longer" and go home. When he left his woman she cried and asked him not to go. He gets a letter from her every mail day asking him to come home. Looks like rain.
KEYWORDS: prisoner chaingang work separation pardon love home parting return reunion nonballad shanty worksong
FOUND IN: US(So)
REFERENCES (5 citations):
Lomax-ABFS, pp. 84-86, Goin' Home" (1 text, 1 tune)
Frye, p. 184, ("I Left my baby standin' in the back door cryin'"); Frye, p. 185, ("We're goin' home but got no ready made money") (2 texts)
GarrityBlake, p. 87, ("If I just had me one more dollar and a quarter"); GarrityBlake, p. 88, ("Do you see that dark cloud rising over yonder"); GarrityBlake, p. 99, ("I left my baby standing in the back door crying") (3 fragments)
ADDITIONAL: Zora Neale Hurston, Mules and Men (New York: Harper Perennial,1990 (paperback edition of J.B. Lippincott, 1935 original)), pp. 269-270, "Mule On de Mount" (1 text, 1 tune) (floating verses: see Notes)
Harold Anderson, "Spotlight on Culture: Menhaden Chanteys - An African American Maritime Legacy" in Maryland Marine Notes, Vol 14, No 1 (Jan-Feb 2000) available at http://www.mdsg.umd.edu/maryland-marine-notes-archive accessed November 12, 2016, p. 2, ("Chesapeake Bay ain't no money makin' country"); p. 5, ("Everywhere I look this morning") (2 texts)

Roud #15035
RECORDINGS:
Bright Light Quartet, ("Cap'n don't you see that dark cloud risin' over yonder") (on LomaxCD1708)
Menhaden Fishermen, "I'm Gonna Roll Here" (on USMenhaden01)
Northern Neck Chantey Singers, "Every Mail Day" (on USMenhaden02)
William Thompson and Group, "Every Mail Day" (on VaWork)

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Every Mail Day" (some verses)
NOTES [755 words]: The LomaxCD1708 song is part of the "Menhaden Chanteys" track.
VaWork "Every Mail Day" includes the "Hiking Jerry" verse, at least, from "Mule on the Mountain." These recordings on VaWork are by two different groups.
For more about Hurston's "Mule On de Mount" see "Mule on the Mountain."
"Goin' Home" is a menhaden chanty (as well as a prisoner work song). See the notes to "Help Me to Raise Them" for information about menhaden chanteys. As noted there, there is a general format and tune that seems especially suited for menhaden chanteys shared by "Biting Spider," "Drinking of the Wine," "Evalina," "Going Back to Weldon," "Goin' Home," "Mule on the Mountain," "My Ways Do Seem So Hard," "Poor Lazarus" and "Section Gang Song." In the following discussion, lower case is the precentor chanteyman lining out the verse; upper case is the crew; "(chatter)" is directions called out by the crew about hauling.
There is a *rough* analogy between the phrase structures of these menhaden chanteys and 12-bar blues.
To make my point clearer, here is the second verse of Richard "Rabbit" Brown's "James Alley Blues" (Victor 20578-A, 1927):
I done seen better days (phrase break) but I'm putting up with these
(instrumental response)
I done seen better days (phrase break) but I'm putting up with these
(instrumental response)
I'd have a much better time (phrase break) but these girls now are so hard to please
(instrumental response)
The (instrumental response) in twelve bar blues may vary from a brief pause to an interlude longer than the line that calls it. The (phrase break) may just be a breath.
Here is the second verse of USMenhaden01 version of "Goin' Home":
I left my baby (O LORD) STANDING IN THE BACK DOOR CRYING
(chatter)
I left my baby (O LORD) STANDING IN THE BACK DOOR CRYING
(chatter)
Saying daddy don't you go (O LORD LORD LORD) DADDY DON'T YOU GO
(chatter)
The phrase breaks in menhaden chanteys may be an exclamation -- (O LORD) or (O LORD LORD LORDY) -- or just a breath (as in "My Way Seems So Hard"). The (chatter) is often omitted from recordings.
In both blues and chantey the first line begins a thought without resolution, the second line repeats that to heighten the tension, and the third line resolves the thought. For the chantey the words to a particular verse may vary from crew to crew and perhaps from performance to performance. "Goin' Home" -- without repetition, breaks, chatter, or change of case -- illustrates the variation. (I've included the Hurston and Lomax-ABFS versions as well).
Going home:
I'm gonna roll/row here a few days longer ... I'm going home (Frye, USMenhaden01, VaWork)
If I can make June July and August ... I'll go back home (USMenhaden02, Hurston)
If I can make June July and August ... I'll be a man (GarrityBlake, LomaxCD1708)
Gonna make/If I had me one more dollar and a quarter ... Then I'm going/I'd go back home (Frye, GarrityBlake)
Ready-made money:
How can I stay home I got no ready-made money ... Get around (USMenhaden01)
I can't go home I got no ready-made money ... To pay my way/fare (GarrityBlake, USMenhaden02)
How can I get there ain't got no ready-made money ... To pay my way (VaWork)
I'd go home but I aint got no money ... To pay my way (Frye)
I ain't got no ready-made money ... I cain' go home (Lomax-ABFS)
The letter (also see indexed prison song "Every Mail Day" which includes Warner #173):
Every mail day I get a letter ... Saying daddy come home (USMenhaden01, USMenhaden02)
Every mail day I git a letter ... My son come home (Lomax-ABFS, Warner)
Every pay day I gits a letter ... Son come home (Hurston)
Money-making country:
North Carolina is a money-making country ... And that's my home (USMenhaden01)
Chesapeake Bay ain't no money making country ... How do you know, By self experience (Anderson)
Looks like rain:
O captain don't you see that dark cloud rising over yonder ... Looks like rain (USMenhaden01)
O captain don't you see that dark cloud rising over yonder ... First sign of rain (LomaxCD1708)
Everywhere I look this morning ... Sign of rain (Anderson)
Everywhere I look this mornin' ... Looks like rain (Lomax-ABFS)
For the "going home" set, Lomax-Singing has "I'm go'n' make these few days I started, Then I'm goin' home" (John A Lomax and Alan Lomax, Our Singing Country (New York: The Macmaillan Company, 1949)), pp. 380-381, "Take This Hammer").
For a lined out prison song with the same phrasing but without chatter except for the "huh" after the verse hear "On a Monday" on VaWork. - BS
Last updated in version 4.2
File: LxA084

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