Come Along Down
DESCRIPTION: "Come along down buddy... Drive 'em down big boy." "That's the blow... makes him go...." "Sally got great long bangs... Hangs way down...." "Who gonna curl them bangs... After I'm gone...." "One more time... That's all right."
EARLIEST DATE: 1980 (VaWork)
KEYWORDS: work nonballad worksong
FOUND IN: US(SE)
John Mantley and Group, "Come Along Down" (on VaWork)
NOTES: Glenn Hinson, liner notes to VaWork, pp. 9, 29: "Certainly the more visible industries associated with Afro-American worksongs have been outdoor occupations which require manual labor. Laying and straightening steel railroad tracks, loading and unloading heavy cargoes of seagoing ships, lifting and breaking stones in quarries, and building roads have all been associated with the rhythmic chants of Black workmen. One such class of occupational song which heretofore has never been documented consists of the 'horsing' chants of Afro-American boat caulkers, a hammer song tradition which disappeared in the late 1930's.... Comprised of a series of loosely structured quatrains, the song's lyrics are more directive than narrative, telling the hammerman when to strike.... This type of chant, with its multiple repetitions and fluid verse structure (using both the aaab and aabb line patterns), would have been sung by a single horsing team rather than in unison by several teams working on the same vessel." Hinson's notes explain "horsing" in some detail.
For the Sally verses see "Sally Let Your Bangs Hang Down." Guthrie T. Meade Jr. with Dick Spottswood and Douglas S. Meade, Country Music Sources (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002), p. 538, has the following note for that song: "Bowlegs, State Penitentiary, Parchman, Miss., 1933, AFS 1863 B2&3." - BS
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