Alabama Bound (II)

DESCRIPTION: "I'm Alabama bound, I'm Alabama bound/And if the train don't stop and turn around/I'm Alabama bound"; "Don't you leave me here... If you must go... leave me a dime for beer"; "Don't you be like me... You can drink... sherry wine and let the whiskey be."
AUTHOR: Words: unknown; Tune: credited on 1910 record and 1909 sheet music to Robert Hoffman
EARLIEST DATE: Tune: 1909 (copyright date on sheet music)
KEYWORDS: nonballad floatingverses train travel drink abandonment
FOUND IN: US(So)
REFERENCES (9 citations):
Lomax-ABFS, pp. 206-209, "Alabama-Bound" (1 text, 1 tune, probably composite)
MWheeler, pp. 54-55, "I'm Alabama Bound" (1 text, 1 tune)
BrownIII 237, "If the Seaboard Train Wrecks I Got a Mule to Ride" (1 4-line text with lyrics seemingly from three different songs, but filed here because of the final line)
Scarborough-NegroFS, pp. 213-214, "Shine Reel" (1 fragment, 1 tune, mentioning being "Alabama Bound" but also mentioning some being on a boat that sank, so it might be part of "Shine and the Titanic")
Cohen-LSRail, pp. 450-451, "Railroad Blues (I)" (1 text, 1 tune, which Cohen apparently considers a separate song by Trixie Smith, but her song seems to have no independent circulation and shares enough lyrics with this piece that I file it here, particularly since the change in tune might be due to the jazz arrangement)
PSeeger-AFB, p. 44 "Alabama Bound" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-FSWB, p. 47, "Alabama Bound" (1 text)
DT, ALABOUND*
ADDITIONAL: Moses Asch and Alan Lomax, Editors, _The Leadbelly Songbook_, Oak, 1962, p. 75, "Alabama Bound" (1 text, 1 tune)

Roud #10017
RECORDINGS:
Mississippi John Hurt, "Alabama Bound" (on MJHurt05)
Prince's Orchestra “I'm Alabama Bound“ [instrumental] (Columbia A901, 1910)
Pete Seeger, "Alabama Bound" (on PeteSeeger18) (on PeteSeeger22) (on PeteSeeger43)
Trixie Smith, "Railroad Blues" (Paramount 12262, 1925)
Alf "Kid" Valentine, “Alabama Bound” (AFC 2673A01, 1939)

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Don't You Leave Me Here" (lyrics)
NOTES [334 words]: This should not be confused with "Alabama Bound (I)."
There is also a popular song, "Alabamy Bound," with words and music by Bud De Sylva, Bud Green, and Ray Henderson, published in 1925. As far as I can determine, it's not related to this song. - PJS
Norm Cohen tells Paul Stamler that "Don't You Leave Me Here," a song sung by Jelly Roll Morton, not only shares lyrics with but is a version of this song. In the absence of a definitely traditional version of the latter, we leave the question open. - (PJS, RBW)
The history of the song, or at least of its lyrics, is still something of a muddle. Wikipedia incorrectly states that the recording by Prince's Orchestra includes lyrics, which it does not. Neither do either of the sheet music publications available online. The song is part of a cluster, including "Don't You Leave Me Here", "Elder Green", and "She Left Me a Mule to Ride" (see the Brown reference) with verses swapping between the songs. My ears tell me that Trixie Smith's "Railroad Blues" is not a member of the cluster; unlike the other songs it's a straightforward 12-bar blues, and the only overlap with the common form of "Alabama Bound" is the use of the title phrase, while none of the other members of the cluster are present. The field recording of Alf "Kid" Valentine at Arkansas's Cummins Prison Farm is clearly "Alabama Bound" (he tells John A. Lomax so on the recording), but it includes verses (and tune) from the other members of the cluster. How did it get to Lead Belly? He was the Lomaxes' driver on the 1939 recording trip, so he presumably was present when the Valentine recording was made - and, except for the first verse (which he sings as a chorus) his verses are essentially the same as Valentine's, while his tune is identical to Robert Hoffman's copyrighted ragtime piece, recorded by Prince's Band, whereas Valentine sings the "Don't You Leave Me Here/Elder Green" tune, which is similar but not identical, and for which Jelly Roll Morton claimed authorship. -PJS
Last updated in version 4.3
File: PSAFB044

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