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Lyr Add: Ain't It Hard to Be a Nigger

Q 07 Oct 12 - 03:36 PM
Henry Krinkle 08 Oct 12 - 12:43 AM
Henry Krinkle 08 Oct 12 - 12:08 PM
GUEST,Richie 08 Oct 12 - 10:31 PM
Q 09 Oct 12 - 12:16 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: AIN'T IT HARD TO BE A NIGGER?
From: Q
Date: 07 Oct 12 - 03:36 PM

Ain't It Hard To Be A Nigger?
Minstrel and Folk


AIN'T IT HARD TO BE A NIGGER?

1 (and chorus)
Ain't it hard, ain't it hard,
Ain't it hard to be a nigger, nigger, nigger?
Ain't it hard, ain't it hard?
For you can't git yo' money when it's due.

2
Well, it make no difference,
How you make out yo' time;
White man sho bring a
Nigger out behin'.

3
Nigger an' white man
Playin' seven-up;
Nigger win de money-
Skeered to pick 'em up.

4
If a nigger git 'rested,
An' can't pay his fine,
They sho send him out
To the county gang.

5
A nigger went to a white man,
An' asked him for work;
White man told nigger;
Yes, git out o' yo' shirt.

6
Nigger got out o' his shirt
An' went to work;
When pay-day come,
White man say he ain't work 'nuf.

7
If you work all the week,
An' work all the time,
White man sho to bring
Nigger out behin'.


Odum and Johnson remark, "Another favorite of the workman, which reveals something of the attitude of the Negro toward the white man, but which the white man rarely has the privilege of hearing,….."
This song originated with the Armstrong minstrels, 1880. There is no record of just how broadly this song entered Black culture; it was not mentioned by Newman White, another collector of the period, and Odum and Johnson say nothing about their source.
"Hard, Ain't It Hard," song by Woody Guthrie, seems to be related to the Railroad Boy-Butcher's Boy songs.
Howard W. Odum and Guy B. Johnson, 1925; 1968 and ff., "The Negro and His Songs, A Study of Typical Negro Songs in the South;" Negro Universities Press; pp. 254-255, lyric only. First published by Odum in Journal of American Folklore, vol. 24.

Dorothy Scarborough, 1925, "On the Trail of Negro Folk-Songs," Harvard Univ. Press and reprints, copied the song from Odum, pp. 227-228.
Songs of this type were sung; Scarborough gives verses of two, the first from Louisiana and the second without source, "sung by slaves before the war.

1
Here sits the woodpecker
Learning how to figger,
All for de white man
And nothing for de Nigger!

2
Monday mornin' 'way'fo day,
White folks got me gwine,
Sad'day night when de sun go down,
True lub in my mind.

Chorus
Oh, ho, Miss Mary, oh, ho, mah darlin',
Hi, hi, Miss Mary, oh, ho, mah honey.

2
Little bees suck de blossoms,
Big bees eats de honey,
Niggers make the cotton an' corn,
White folks 'ceive de money.

Traditional Music- http://www.traditionalmusic.co.uk/american-ballads-and-folk-songs/american-ballads-and-folk-songs%20-%200333.htm
The same chorus from Odum, one Lomax verse.

J. A. Lomax and Alan Lomax, 1934 and reprints, "American Ballads and Folk Songs," pp. 233-234. Macmillan.
The same chorus, but two different verses.

Lemme tell you, white man,
Lemme tell you, honey,
Nigger makes de cotton,
White folks gets de money

Naught's a naught,
Figger's a figger,
Figger fer de white man,
Naught fer de nigger.

A song of this title sung by Mable Hillery (not heard)




IT'S HARD TO BE A NIGGER
J. Hagood Armstrong, 1881-1883; Armstrong Minstrels

1
You can work for dis 'un, you can work for dat,
You can work for wages or part ob de crop,
For it makes no dif'rence you'll find in time,
White man's been fo' bring you out behime.

Refrain
Oh it's hard, it's hard, it's hard to be a nigger,
Oh it's hard! It's hard!
It's hard to be a nigger if you can't get your wages when dey's jue,

2
You can plant your cotton, you can plant your corn,
You will house all ob it in de white man's barn,
Work 'roun de house in big meet'n time,
Makes no dif'rence you's comin' out behime,

3
You can work at de railroad, load all the freight,
Begin in de mornin' and you work till late,
You can wait on de boss, be berry kind,
Makes no difference, you're comin' out b'hime.

4
Eder wet or cole, you can dribe an ole dray,
An' you be so hongry de whole blessed day,
You eats three meals at home suppertime,
Makes no difference, you're comin' out b'hime.

5
Look at ole Judge Davis and Billy Mahone,
Dey am fightin' an scratchin' for self alone,
An' you will find in double quick time
Wjhite man's gwine to bring um out behime.

6
You can jine de league or you can jine de strike,
You can hold your meetins ebbry blessed night,
You can cut a swell, or cut a shine,
White man's boun to bring you out behime.

Sheet music, 1883, Ludden & Bates, Savannah,; McSmith Music House, Charlotte, NC.
From American Memory, Music for the Nation, Library of Congress


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ain't It Hard to Be a Nigger
From: Henry Krinkle
Date: 08 Oct 12 - 12:43 AM

Take Me Back To Tulsa by Bob Wills and Tommy Duncan use the line about the bees.
Bees


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ain't It Hard to Be a Nigger
From: Henry Krinkle
Date: 08 Oct 12 - 12:08 PM

(:-( D)=


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ain't It Hard to Be a Nigger
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 08 Oct 12 - 10:31 PM

Perhaps adapted by Guthrie:

Hard, Ain't It Hard
Words and Music by Woody Guthrie

There is a house in this old town,
And that's where my true love lays around.
And he takes other women right down on his knee
And he tells them a little tale he won't tell me.

It's a-hard and it's hard, ain't it hard
To love one that never did love you?
It's a-hard, and it's hard, ain't it hard, great God,
To love one that never will be true?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ain't It Hard to Be a Nigger
From: Q
Date: 09 Oct 12 - 12:16 PM

Perhaps, but the content is unrelated; hence two threads.


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