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History of Cotton in song

Menolly 30 Sep 08 - 06:07 PM
John MacKenzie 30 Sep 08 - 06:19 PM
Jim Carroll 30 Sep 08 - 06:34 PM
Mark Dowding 30 Sep 08 - 06:48 PM
Menolly 30 Sep 08 - 06:57 PM
Menolly 30 Sep 08 - 07:01 PM
oldhippie 30 Sep 08 - 07:31 PM
Charley Noble 30 Sep 08 - 07:33 PM
Q 30 Sep 08 - 08:31 PM
mg 30 Sep 08 - 11:11 PM
mg 01 Oct 08 - 02:11 AM
Dave Hanson 01 Oct 08 - 03:33 AM
GUEST, Sminky 01 Oct 08 - 05:32 AM
Bryn Pugh 01 Oct 08 - 05:43 AM
Dead Horse 01 Oct 08 - 06:33 AM
GUEST, Sminky 01 Oct 08 - 06:37 AM
Bryn Pugh 01 Oct 08 - 07:38 AM
John MacKenzie 01 Oct 08 - 08:15 AM
Menolly 02 Oct 08 - 06:11 PM
Barry Finn 02 Oct 08 - 11:07 PM
VirginiaTam 03 Oct 08 - 02:44 PM
Q 03 Oct 08 - 05:15 PM
GUEST,AnneMC 04 Oct 08 - 07:19 AM
greg stephens 04 Oct 08 - 07:23 AM
VirginiaTam 04 Oct 08 - 08:30 AM
Q 04 Oct 08 - 02:58 PM
GUEST 05 Oct 08 - 04:14 PM
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Subject: History of Cotton in song
From: Menolly
Date: 30 Sep 08 - 06:07 PM

My grandaughter has a project to do in the history of the cotton industry and she asked me if it could be done with folk songs. My first thoughts came up with The Four Loom Weaver, Go to work on Monday, Handloom v Powerloom, Pick a bale of Cotton, The Weaver and teh Factory Maid, King Cotton, Ashton Famine Song, July Wakes, The Little Piecer, In the Shade of the Old 'Arris Mill, Waiting for me Pay Day and The Weaver of Wellbrook. Any other ideas?


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Subject: RE: History of Cotton in song
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 30 Sep 08 - 06:19 PM

Oh dear me, the mill's gaun sae fast, the puir wee shifters canny get their rest.
Shiftin' bobbins coorse and fine, they shairly mak ye wark fur yer ten and nine.
Can't remember what it's called though.

JM


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Subject: RE: History of Cotton in song
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Sep 08 - 06:34 PM

"Oh dear me, the mill's gaun sae fast,"
It's called 'Oh Dear Me', written by Mary Brooksbank a Dundee weaver.
Will dig out the text tomorrow if somebody doesn't beat me to it.
Also by Mary is 'The Dundee Lassie'.
Nice poem (Samuel Bamford or Edwin Waugh) made into a song by Harry Boardman called 'Shurat Weavers Lament' about the cotton famine during the American Civil War when the weavers were forced to use inferior cotton from Surat(?) in India which made their fingers bleed. (think I've still got a text somewhere).
Will dig out anything I have if they are any use.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: History of Cotton in song
From: Mark Dowding
Date: 30 Sep 08 - 06:48 PM

Well...
The Handloom Weaver's Lament
The Merry Little Doffer
The Bury New Loom (very double entendre - how old is she?)
A Weaver's Song
Hard Times
Billy Suet's Song
Shurat Weaver's Song
Our Factory School
Peterloo/With Henry Hunt we'll go
The Spinner's Lamentation
John o' Grinfilt jr (better than The Four Loom Weaver)
The Little Piecer
First Day at t' Mill
Success to the Weavers
A Piecer's Tale
Manchester's Improving Daily
Johnny Green's Trip from Owdham to see the Manchester Railway
Poor Little Hauve Timer
Spinning Shoddy
The Cotton Lords of Preston
Short Time Come Again No More
Along the Rossendale
Sewing Class Song

There are probably a few more that I can't remember at this time of night.
If it's any help I can send you a copy of the script of "The Lancashire Cotton Famine" and also a draft of "Singing Histories - The Lancashire Cotton Industry" that was performed by myself and a couple of others at Ryland's Library in Manchester in August.
PM me with your email address please Menolly.

I presume it's a school project. Where is she based - presumably Lancashire but could be anywhere of course. Is it primary/junior school or secondary school?

Cheers
Mark


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Subject: RE: History of Cotton in song
From: Menolly
Date: 30 Sep 08 - 06:57 PM

Thanks , this is a great help. I had thought of Bury New Loom but she is 11 and so I rejected it.


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Subject: RE: History of Cotton in song
From: Menolly
Date: 30 Sep 08 - 07:01 PM

Hi Mark, Yes North Lancashire and first year of high school.


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Subject: RE: History of Cotton in song
From: oldhippie
Date: 30 Sep 08 - 07:31 PM

The only time I have documented that folksingers lied; "When I was a little bitty baby, Mama would rock me in the cradle, In them old cotton fields back home....."

(It's been rewritten to tell the truth - "in them old marijuana fields back home").


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Subject: RE: History of Cotton in song
From: Charley Noble
Date: 30 Sep 08 - 07:33 PM

"Fire Maringo" is a stevedore work song that was used for loading and compressing bales of cotton in the Gulf ports of New orleans and Mobile:

Primarily from the singing of Forebitter
Unmooring CD, © 1995 Mystic Seaport Museum.
Tune by Royston Wood of the British folk revival group Young Tradition, 1967
Traditional Cotton Stowing Shanty


Fire, Maringo


Am----C-----D------------Am
Lift 'im up an' carry 'im a-long,
----------G-------Bm---
Fire, Ma-rin-go, fire 'im a-way!
Am-------------------------C---Em
Lay 'im in the hold where he be-long,
---------------D--Am----G-Am
Fire, Ma-rin-go, fire 'im a-way!


Lay 'im down in the hold below...
It's time for us to roll and go...

Ease 'im down and let 'im lay...
Screw 'im in and there he'll stay...

Shift that bale, an' screw it down...
Let's get back to Liverpool Town...

When I gets to Liverpool Town...
Gonna pass a line to little Sally Brown...

Sally Brown, she's a handy little craft...
Sharp up forward, rounded in the aft...

Haul 'er high an' haul 'er low…
Bust 'er blocks before I go…

One more turn an' that'll do...
We's the bullys to kick 'er through...


Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: History of Cotton in song
From: Q
Date: 30 Sep 08 - 08:31 PM

Boll Weevil Song
This litle critter did great damage to the cotton bolls and put some cotton farmers out of business.


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Subject: RE: History of Cotton in song
From: mg
Date: 30 Sep 08 - 11:11 PM

Cotton Jenny
Cotton Mill Girls


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Subject: RE: History of Cotton in song
From: mg
Date: 01 Oct 08 - 02:11 AM

Aragon mill? About cotton? I can't remember.
Poverty knock.


This is a big project for an 11 year old...but there are some great songs. She will need to understand a bit about slavery and how it is all connected...how hard the work was in the fields, in the mills, etc. mg


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Subject: RE: History of Cotton in song
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 01 Oct 08 - 03:33 AM

Mary Brooksbanks song is also called ' The Jute Mill Song ' nothing to do with cotton.

eric


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Subject: RE: History of Cotton in song
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 01 Oct 08 - 05:32 AM

Harland and Wilkinson's Ballads and songs of Lancashire, ancient and modern is available online and contains the texts of several songs mentioned above, plus others.

The Minor Victorian Poets site houses the complete works of Bamford, Billington, Laycock, Waugh etc.


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Subject: RE: History of Cotton in song
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 01 Oct 08 - 05:43 AM

For a little light humour, "Droylesden Wakes" ?

Marie Little used to sing "The Story of Cotton", and might still, for all I know. Either Marie, or her Old Man Pete Smith,
set this poem, I think.

It might be worth trying to get hold of "Deep Lancashire", Topic, which had not a few of the Lancashire songs to which Mark D makes reference, supra.

Regards, B


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Subject: RE: History of Cotton in song
From: Dead Horse
Date: 01 Oct 08 - 06:33 AM

Roll The Cotton Down.
Sea shanty used for stowing cotton on vessels bound for England & beyond.
Sang by ships crew and by dockside labour gangs (mostly coloured) and not at all pc, but could be cleaned up for a more sensitive age.

Oh, away down south where I was born,
Oh, roll the cotton down!
Oh, in Alabam one early morn,
Oooh, roll the cotton down!
Roll the cotton
Oh Roll the cotton Moses
Roll that cotton
Oooh Roll the cotton down.

I lived down south in Tennessee,
Roll the cotton down
My ole massa he said to me
Roll the cotton down.

Oh the nigger he works for the white man boss,
He the one on de big black hoss.

If the sun dont shine dem hens dont lay,
If the nigger dont work, the boss dont pay.

God made bees & the bees make honey,
Devil made the women for to take our money.

Oh the nigger he work the whole day long,
So stretch it aft & sing this song.

Lift him up & carry him along,
Screw him down where he belong.

We'll fill her up from fore to aft,
Five thousand bales for this ole craft.

Row on row we'll stow 'em, neat,
Until this job is made complete.

We'll screw 'em up so handsomely,
And roll 'em over cheerily.

Oh, in Alabam where I was born,
Screwing cotton on a summers morn.


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Subject: RE: History of Cotton in song
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 01 Oct 08 - 06:37 AM

For anyone interested in the Lancashire Cotton Industry Spinning the Web is an excellent online resource.

It also includes songs (use the search facility for a complete list).


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Subject: RE: History of Cotton in song
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 01 Oct 08 - 07:38 AM

There is a (I think) Caribbean shantey, "Johnny come down to Hilo" :

I never (nebber)seen the (de) like since I been born
When a big buck n*g*e* with (wid) his se-boots on sang
(Omnes) Johnny come down to Hilo-
Poor ole man !

Chor : O wake her ! O shake her!
O wake dat gal wid de blue dress on
When Johnny comes down to Hilo-
Poor old man.

I lub a little gal across de sea
She a Bajan beauty and she say to me
Johnny come down to Hilo -
Poor ole man. (Cho.)

Hab you see de cotton plantation boss
Wid he black-haired woman an he high-tailed hoss
Sing ! Johnny, etc. (Cho.)

O was you ebber in Moblie Bay
A-screwin' de cotton at a doloar a day,
Sing ! Johnny, etc. (Cho.)

Love this one for the tune. We learned this at an all-lads grammar school in the mid-1950s. There was one black lad in the class, and everyone looked at him when the first verse was sung. But, we didn't know any differently, then.


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Subject: RE: History of Cotton in song
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 01 Oct 08 - 08:15 AM

Yes it is a song which was inspired by working in a Jute Mill, but it is about the 'Work O' the Weaver', and doesn't mention jute, or cotton.
As such it's an example of the hard life endured by mill workers.

JM


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Subject: RE: History of Cotton in song
From: Menolly
Date: 02 Oct 08 - 06:11 PM

Thank you for all the help. I haven't found the words to all the songs mentioned but I have quite a thick file and I am sure she/we will make something useful from them all. I bet the teacher will be surprised!
Gillian


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Subject: RE: History of Cotton in song
From: Barry Finn
Date: 02 Oct 08 - 11:07 PM

Mike Harding's King Cotton is a great song that sings of how the industry plays a role of it's surroundings.

Barry


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Subject: RE: History of Cotton in song
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 03 Oct 08 - 02:44 PM

I think the following is a negro holler about waiting for the steamer boat carrying cotton to dock at some port on the Mississippi in the hopes of gettting work unloading the cotton bales.
but I can't find the anything about in a google search.

Following is all I know of the song:

Sittin by the river on the levee
Waitin for the sun to go down
Cotton mills are loadin mighty heavy
for miles and miles around
thought I heard the steamer when she landed
landed on the levee below
Sittin by the river on the levee
Waitin for the sun to go down

who built the ark, brother Noah Noah
who built the ark, brother Noah Noah
Broher the Noah built the ark


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Subject: RE: History of Cotton in song
From: Q
Date: 03 Oct 08 - 05:15 PM

Sittin' by the River, and Noah Built the Ark are two different songs, combined into a recording (can't remember who).
Both covered by previous threads-

Sittin' by the River- Sittin'

Didn't Noah Build the Ark- Built the Ark

The songs are not hollers.


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Subject: RE: History of Cotton in song
From: GUEST,AnneMC
Date: 04 Oct 08 - 07:19 AM

This is a cotton song that I have recently acquired. Sung by The Gordons, and I think they wrote it too. From the perspective of a 12 year girl. A sad haunting sort of tune, about the harshness of life for cotton workers.

                                Cottonmill        - Sung by The Gordons                                

Years ago a letter came,
from far across the sea
Saying "Come, orphan child,
to the land of the free
No more shall you be homeless,
I'll pay your daily bread
Come to the great America,
a place to lay your head.

Now I am only 12 years old,
my eyes are growing dim
My hands I've worked them to the bone,
My face is pale and thin
And every hour is like a day,
Each day a year goes by
I wither in the gloomy light,
alone I sit and cry

CHORUS:
Oh cotton mill, you'll never be my home
Seems I've worked a hundred years,
I'll work a hundred more
Oh cotton mill, you robbed me of my soul
I'll never see the sun come up,
behind your cold prison door
                                                                   
Now I live my life in shame,
No-one knows my name
No freedom at the cottonmill,
My journey was in vain
If I   could only fly away,
no more to weave and sew
I'd warn the child who follows me
of loneliness and woe


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Subject: RE: History of Cotton in song
From: greg stephens
Date: 04 Oct 08 - 07:23 AM

Has anyone mentioned Mike Harding's song...was it called King Cotton?
Then there's Cotton Eyed Joe, but it's not about cotton.


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Subject: RE: History of Cotton in song
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 04 Oct 08 - 08:30 AM

Q - I sit partially corrected. I did say I "think" it is holler song. Thanks for the clarification and links.

However the Who Built the Ark I referred does not resemble what I read in the link you provided or in any other mudcat or google search. There are verses that have a lot of New testament references in. So perhaps what I heard was a concoction of several songs or has new stuff added in.

The song I heard and described in above post is titled Who Built the Ark (traditional). It is credtied to "Forbitter" a shanty crew based at Mystic Seaport Museum, USA. Richard Halpert originally collected the song in 1939 from Josephine Douglas who was an imate at a women's correctional farm in Mississippi. It is described as a rousing gospel style river song.

If anyone is interested the recording is on Flickering Light by Ramskyte

Ramskyte thread on Mudcat
Morris shop where you can buy CD


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Subject: RE: History of Cotton in song
From: Q
Date: 04 Oct 08 - 02:58 PM

There are probably as many versions of that 'ark' song as there were black churches in the South. Floating verses and many biblical references, some not all that pertinent, appear in the songs.
Here are some fragments.

Who built the ark? Noah built the ark;
Some say Noah was a foolish man,
But I says he's a wise man,
For he built his ark on hard ole ground,
He built his ark of gopher wood.
All beasts' kind went to his ark,
Noah came riding by,
And they poked a scorning finger at him,
Old Noah tell the ark to move, move, move.
Auburn, AL, 1915

No-eh built de ark,
Yes he di-id,
etc.
NC, 1919, heard c. 1907.
The song and its variations was already popular among white people at that time.
N. I. White, American Negro Folk Songs, pp. 99-100.

Who built the ark? Brother Noah-e, etc. Gospel Messengers, thread 38691.
Many white groups have added variants of the song to their repertoire.
I am not surprised that modern shanty singers have revised it for their groups.
Courlander collected a version at Ramsey State Prison Farm that combines it with the songs about the rainbow sign and Noah (Norah) swinging his hammer, "ring in the timber."
Scarborough (1925) also has the story made into a hammer song.
Well, who built de ark?
Norah build it.
Hammer keep a-ringin', said "Norah build it!" Etc.


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Subject: RE: History of Cotton in song
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Oct 08 - 04:14 PM

Arkie-Okie

NE Ark cotton picker !

Song about cotton I remember is:

"Them ole cotton fields back home"


When I was a little bitty baby my
Mama used to rock me in the cradle
In them ole cotton fields back home
Now when them cotton balls get rotten
you can't pick very much cotton
In them ole cotton fields back home
Now it was down in Lousiania
Just a mile from Texarkana
in them ole cotton fields back home

Not sure other words or the author or the singer !


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