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Origins: All the Pretty Little Horses-2

DigiTrad:
ALL THE PRETTY LITTLE HORSES


Related threads:
Lyr Add: Baa, Baa, Black Sheep (6)
Lyr Req: 'rock-a-bye, don't you cry' (11)
Lyr Req: All the Pretty Little Ponies (3) (closed)
(origins) Origins: All the pretty little horses (6) (closed)
Lyr/Chords Req: Whole Heap of Little Horses (14)


GUEST,Cinnamon_Johnson@baylor.edu 31 Jan 01 - 01:44 PM
Ian HP 31 Jan 01 - 01:49 PM
Mark Clark 31 Jan 01 - 02:04 PM
Joe Offer 31 Jan 01 - 04:08 PM
Susan-Marie 31 Jan 01 - 09:29 PM
Lox 31 Jan 01 - 10:36 PM
GUEST 01 Feb 01 - 12:07 AM
Stewie 01 Feb 01 - 01:14 AM
GUEST,Cinnamon_Johnson@baylor.edu 01 Feb 01 - 09:38 AM
GUEST,Cinnamon_Johnson@baylor.edu 01 Feb 01 - 09:42 AM
Mark Clark 07 Feb 01 - 10:49 PM
GUEST,Wendy 08 Feb 01 - 12:28 AM
Mark Clark 08 Feb 01 - 09:23 PM
GUEST,Wendy 08 Feb 01 - 11:13 PM
GUEST,Wendy 08 Feb 01 - 11:16 PM
bob jr 09 Feb 01 - 02:42 AM
Mrrzy 09 Feb 01 - 02:29 PM
Susan-Marie 09 Feb 01 - 05:41 PM
Stewie 15 Oct 01 - 08:42 PM
Charley Noble 15 Oct 01 - 09:35 PM
Mary in Kentucky 15 Oct 01 - 09:53 PM
kytrad 18 Oct 01 - 07:04 PM
Dicho 22 May 02 - 04:38 PM
Dicho 22 May 02 - 04:49 PM
W y s i w y G ! 23 May 02 - 12:54 AM
Mrrzy 23 May 02 - 09:32 AM
Dicho 23 May 02 - 03:34 PM
GUEST,Geo 23 Nov 04 - 07:26 PM
Joe Offer 23 Nov 04 - 07:43 PM
Pauline L 24 Nov 04 - 12:54 PM
Joe Offer 25 Nov 04 - 03:16 AM
W y s i w y G ! 25 Mar 05 - 11:21 AM
Q 25 Mar 05 - 02:56 PM
dick greenhaus 25 Mar 05 - 03:16 PM
W y s i w y G ! 25 Mar 05 - 03:18 PM
Q 25 Mar 05 - 04:37 PM
W y s i w y G ! 25 Mar 05 - 06:13 PM
W y s i w y G ! 17 Apr 05 - 06:10 PM
GUEST,WYSIWYG 27 Apr 05 - 10:48 PM
GUEST 17 Jun 06 - 11:34 PM
Mo the caller 18 Jun 06 - 05:39 AM
Richie 27 Jan 07 - 08:37 AM
TinDor 29 Jan 09 - 03:13 AM
John Minear 29 Jan 09 - 07:15 AM
GUEST 15 Mar 09 - 04:41 PM
GUEST,Skullcrusher 01 May 09 - 10:21 PM
Richie 28 Dec 09 - 11:02 PM
Richie 29 Dec 09 - 04:47 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 26 May 11 - 04:59 AM
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Subject: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: GUEST,Cinnamon_Johnson@baylor.edu
Date: 31 Jan 01 - 01:44 PM

I am looking for an explanation about the words to the folk song "All the Pretty Little Horses." What are the historical/social reasons a lullaby would talk about the baby getting cake and all the pretty little horses??? I am doing an arrangement of this song with one of my high school choirs and need to explain this to them.


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Subject: RE: Help: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: Ian HP
Date: 31 Jan 01 - 01:49 PM

I too am intrigued by this song and lacked an explanation until I heard it on the Snakefarm album, 'Songs From My Funeral'. The Snakefarm website says that this was a lullaby sung to the master's child by a slave listening to the cries of her own baby left alone. That's as much as they say. My guess is that cake and horses were things that slaves could only dream of having, as in slave songs about having shoes, freedom, etc. in heaven, when the Lord will provide, etc.. Hope this helps.


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Subject: RE: Help: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: Mark Clark
Date: 31 Jan 01 - 02:04 PM

Ian has it right. It's the African wet nurse giving her milk to massa's baby while her own baby, lies unfed and unattended. All the pretty little horses refers to the wonderful things available to the owner's family that are not available to the African slaves.

I think this is essentially the same theme---and almost the same song---as Gershwin's "Summertime." Of course Gershwin's composition is softened for popular consumption.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Help: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: Joe Offer
Date: 31 Jan 01 - 04:08 PM

Here's the entry from the Traditional Ballad Index. It's not particularly helpful this time, but it does give a number of songbook references. -Joe Offer-

All the Pretty Little Horses

DESCRIPTION: "Hush-a-bye, don't you cry, Go to sleep you little baby. When you wake, you shall have All the pretty little horses." The horses are described. Another verse describes a baby (lamb) left in a meadow at the mercy of the birds
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1918 (Cecil Sharp collection)
KEYWORDS: lullaby animal horse
FOUND IN: US(Ap,SE,So)
REFERENCES (15 citations):
Randolph 269, "Black Sheep Lullaby" (2 short texts, both rather far removed from the usual form; 1 tune)
BrownIII 115, "Hush-a-Bye, Don't You Cry" (3 text plus mention of 1 more); also
"Poor Little Lamb Cries Mammy" (3 short texts, perhaps related to the Randolph version)
Scarborough-NegroFS, pp.145-148, "Lullaby," (no title), "Go to Sleepy, Little Baby," "Got to Sleep, Little Baby," (no title), (no title), "Ole Cow," (no title) (8 texts, most short, 2 tunes); also probably pp. 148-149, "Baa-Baa Black Sheep" (1 short text, one tune, which is much like this piece except for the first line)
Sandburg, pp. 454-455, "Go To Sleepy" (1 text, 1 tune, in which the child is promised rewards upon waking -- but seemingly also threatened with the "booger man" if it won't sleep)
SharpAp 233, "Mammy Loves" (1 text, 1 tune)
Scott-BoA, pp. 204-205, "Hushabye (All the Pretty Little Horses)" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-FSUSA 2, "All the Pretty Little Horses" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-ABFS, pp. 304-305, "All the Pretty Little Horses" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-FSNA 265, "Black Sheep" (1 text, 1 tune)
Ritchie-SingFam, pp. 217-218, "[Horsey Song]" (1 text, 1 tune, partly repeated on page 223)
Botkin-SoFolklr, p. 704, "You Shall Have a Horse to Ride" (1 text, 1 tune)
Pankake-PHCFSB, p. 224, "All the Pretty Little Horses" (1 text); also probably p. 235, "Go to Sleepy, Little Baby" (very short fragment)
Silber-FSWB, p. 407, "All The Pretty Little Horses" (1 text)
DT, ALLHORSE

Roud #6705
RECORDINGS:
Texas Gladden, "Whole Heap a Little Horses" (on LomaxCD1702)
Pete Seeger, "All the Pretty Little Horses" (on GrowOn2)

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "The Lost Babe" (theme of young one at the mercy of birds)
File: LxU002

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Bibiography
Go to the Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright $TrueYear by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: Help: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: Susan-Marie
Date: 31 Jan 01 - 09:29 PM

Yikes - my daughter loves horses so I used to sing this to her all the time, but now I don't think I can. I can't bear thinking about how painful it would be to listen to your baby cry and not be able to feed her. Oh well, that makes two folk songs ruined by understanding (the first one was Oh Shenandoah, what an eye-opening thread that was!)


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Subject: RE: Help: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: Lox
Date: 31 Jan 01 - 10:36 PM

Cormac McArthy wrote a book called "All the pretty horses" which I recommend in the highest possible terms.

If you haven't read it, read it! It's a beauty.

(Thread creep over)

lox


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Subject: Lyr Add: WHOLE HEAP A LITTLE HORSES
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Feb 01 - 12:07 AM

In the liner notes to "At the Gate of Horn", Odetta says of this song, "A woman crooning a lullaby to a baby while she leaves her own unattended in order to earn money for bread. In the song she refers to her own child as the lambie in the meadow. This lullaby comes from the South, post Civil War." (The version of the lyrics that I see in DT, here , includes this lamb verse.)

Here's a version with a different feel to it:

WHOLE HEAP A LITTLE HORSES

Go to sleep, go to sleep,
Go to sleep little baby.
When you wake, get some cake,
And ride them pretty little horses.

Black and a bay, sorrel and a gray,
Whole heap a' little horses.
Black and a bay, sorrel and a gray,
Whole heap a' little horses.

Little old horse, little old cow,
Ambling around the old hay mound.
Little old horse, he took a chew,
"Darned if I don't," said the old cow too.

Texas Gladden sings this to her grand-daughter on the Alan Lomax Southern Journey series, volume 2, Ballads and Breakdowns. According to the liner notes, Shirley, Alan's older sister remembers their mother and grand-mother singing it.

Is there a relationship anyone knows about between this song and HUSH, L'IL BABY ? They seem similar to me.


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Subject: RE: Help: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: Stewie
Date: 01 Feb 01 - 01:14 AM

The version in Lomax's ABFS has a rather macabre second verse:

Hushaby
Don't you cry
Go to sleep, little baby,
Way down yonder
In de medder
There's a po' lil lambie
De bees an' de butterflies
Peckin' out its eyes,
De po' lil thing cried, mammy!
Hushaby
Don't you cry
Go to sleepy, little baby

I'll bet the psychoanalysts could make a thing or two out of that.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Help: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: GUEST,Cinnamon_Johnson@baylor.edu
Date: 01 Feb 01 - 09:38 AM

Thanks, everyone! That's pretty depressing--but I guess it makes the song all the more haunting.


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Subject: RE: Help: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: GUEST,Cinnamon_Johnson@baylor.edu
Date: 01 Feb 01 - 09:42 AM

Sorry, I meant to ask Susan-Marie what the deal is with "Shenandoah." That was my grandmother's favorite song.

Also, I have read McCarthy's book, and I also recommend it. Read it before you see the movie. I haven't seen it, but you know how movies always destroy great books.


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Subject: RE: Help: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: Mark Clark
Date: 07 Feb 01 - 10:49 PM

Stewie,

That's the only other verse I've ever known or heard for the song. That's the mournful longing for her own baby as the singer is forced to suckle the white owner's baby instead.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Help: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: GUEST,Wendy
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 12:28 AM

This song came up again in another thread here .

The version of the song with the sad lambie verse is most familiar to me, but Texas Gladden sings different words (as posted by me above and by Stewie in the other thread). Also, there are some other variations on the song available at the Library of Congress/American Memory website. (Enter "all the pretty little horses" here . For example, J.L. Goree's "Pretty Little Ponies".

So I'm wondering, are the people who don't sing the lambie verse singing "sanitized" version? (Seems like Shirley Lomax might be - if you check out the field notes for her recordings, she exhorts people not to sing that disturbing verse to children.) Or, did the lullaby exist first, and get personalized by a singer having to care for another's baby?


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Subject: RE: Help: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: Mark Clark
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 09:23 PM

I don't know what academics have written about this song but it rings true to me. How often do we speak to infants or even to animals saying what is in our hearts without the slightest expectation that we are understood? How better for the mammy to express her own rage without violating the innocence in her arms?

This brings to mind another interesting question. How best to balance the doses of reality and fantasy we give our children? Is it sound, or even wise, to create for children an imaginary reality that they must one day discover is a lie?

I've sung "All The Pretty Little Horses" to my daughters and granddaughters for thirty-seven years and I always told them what it was really about, even at preschool age. I've tried to teach them that the world can be a wonderful place in spite of---or maybe because of---all the things we would like to improve. To help them learn that something may be beautiful and sorrowful at the same time. Funny thing, the song never kept them awake.

I'm curious to know how others resolve this dilemma. Do you sanitize songs and stories for young children or teach them to understand the hurt?

      = Mark


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Subject: RE: Help: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: GUEST,Wendy
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 11:13 PM

Hi Mark - Just to clarify, I did not site Shirley Lomax in order to endorse her view on singing the lambie lyrics. Don't really think I have any particular insight intoI grew up listening to them. I leave it to others to judge the results... :)

Obviously, I am curious about the "academics" - that's why I ask. But whatever the answer to the chicken/egg question, the lambie version of "All the pretty little horses" is an expressive song with powerful imagery. And when Texas Gladden sings a happy, silly version to her grand-child, that's also true to me.

Wendy


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Subject: RE: Help: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: GUEST,Wendy
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 11:16 PM

Whoops - accidentally hit the submit key....

That is suppossed to read:

Don't really think I have any particular insight into that. I grew up listening to them and liking them - I leave it to others to judge the results.... :)

Wendy


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Subject: RE: Help: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: bob jr
Date: 09 Feb 01 - 02:42 AM

well i learned the version of this song as heap of pretty horses that has no lambs and no cake in it and it was in my area (northern minnosata) the most common version i dont know if its just been cleaned up over the years but it had only 3 verses and is usually sung as a round


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Subject: RE: Help: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: Mrrzy
Date: 09 Feb 01 - 02:29 PM

THis is my kids' favorite, I don't think I'll tell them what it means till they're older, somehow... what do you all think about that? Should they know now? Why or why not? Sorry about the thread creep... just wondering after the comment about not being able to sing a song once you understand what it's about...


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Subject: RE: Help: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: Susan-Marie
Date: 09 Feb 01 - 05:41 PM

Mrrzy - It's not that I can't sing a song once I understand it, it's just that in this case it takes on a whole new feeling and I'm not able to separate the music from the emotion I feel picturing the story the song tells. Just overly sentimental, I guess, and maybe it's personal because I nursed both my kids.

I will tell my daughters what it means, don't know when (they're 5 and 1 now), probably wait for an opportune moment (some serendipitous conjunction of black history month and a lullaby song-fest maybe)

Guest Cinnamon Johnson - do a forum search on Shenandoah and you'll find a very entertaining set of discussions that includes an assertion that the original lyrics went along the lines of "I love the place where you make water" (we're speaking anatomically here). The song has just never been the same for me since I read that, but I do still sing it!


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Subject: ADD: POOR LITTLE THING CRIED MAMMY
From: Stewie
Date: 15 Oct 01 - 08:42 PM

Here's another song that uses the refrain 'Poor little thing cried mammy'.

POOR LITTLE THING CRIED MAMMY
(Traditional)

As a little boy, I lived by myself
Away down in the valley
All my bread and the cheese, I laid it on the shelf
And the poor little thing cried mammy

The rats and the mice, they led me such a life
Away down in the valley
Had to go to Baltimore to get me a wife
And the poor little thing cried mammy

The road was so long, and the lanes so far
Away down in the valley
Had to fetch her home in a little wheel barrow
And the poor little thing cried mammy.

My foot just slipped and I got a fall
Away down in the valley
Down fell wheel barrow, little wife and all
And the poor little thing cried mammy

I swapped my wheel barrow and got me a horse
Away down in the valley
And then I rid from cross to cross
And the poor little thing cried mammy

I swapped my horse and I got me a mare
Away down in the valley
And then I rid from fair to fair
And the poor little thing cried mammy

I swapped my mare and I got me a cow
Away down in the valley
And in that trade I learned just how
And the poor little thing cried mammy

I swapped my cow and I got me a calf
Away down in the valley
And in that trade I lost just half
And the poor little thing cried mammy

I swapped my calf and I got me a mule
Away down in the valley
And then I rid like a doggone fool
And the poor little thing cried mammy

I swapped my mule and I got me a sheep
Away down in the valley
And then I rid myself to sleep
And the poor little thing cried mammy

I swapped my sheep and I got me a hen
Away down in the valley
Oh what a pretty thing I had then
And the poor little thing cried mammy

I swapped my hen, and I got me a mole
Away down in the valley
And the doggone thing went straight in its hole
And the poor little thing cried mammy

Source: transcription of Three Georgia Crackers 'Poor Little Thing Cried Mammy' [Perfect 12685]. Reissued on Various Artists 'The Story the Crow Told Me: Early American Rural Children's Songs Vol 1' Yazoo CD 2051.

Note: Three Georgia Crackers were the Canova Family - Anne, Judy and Zeke Canova.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Help: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: Charley Noble
Date: 15 Oct 01 - 09:35 PM

I remember hearing Odetta's recording of this and thinking "How lovely" and then when I thought of singing it, realizing how much more was in the song than a lullaby. I would still sing it to children when I thought they were ready for some disturbing social commentary, which with regard to nannies is not so far removed historically from our present day.


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Subject: RE: Help: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 15 Oct 01 - 09:53 PM

Maybe Jean (kytrad) will stop by and share her experiences with hearing Child murder ballads for lullabies.


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Subject: RE: Help: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: kytrad
Date: 18 Oct 01 - 07:04 PM

Hello Mary, and all, "All the Pretty Little Horses" was, in our family, just a happy,"trot-a-horsey' kind of thing; I suppose the slave-mother version came first, then got adapted in different localities, and the "pretty little horses" image took over from the sadder one. We sang it to our babies with a bright, bouncy tune:

Go to sleepy, little baby
Fore the boogerman gets you!
When you wake, you'll have a piece o'cake
And all the pretty little horses:
Blacks n'bays 'n dapples 'n grays, so
Go to sleepy, little baby
Fore the boogerman gets you!

Go to sleepy, little baby
Fore the boogerman gets you!
When you wake you'll have a piece 'o cake
An' a coach and sixa little ponies,
Two blacks an'a bay, two dapples an' a gray, so
Go to sleepy, little baby
Fore the boogerman gets you!

It wasn't until after I came to New York, and heard Frank Warner sing it, that I got to know the older (probably) version, with the poor little lambie.

If you've read SINGING FAMILY OF THE CUMBERLANDS,my book about the family, you'll know that even our happy version became a sad reminder for us of the death of my baby nephew, Little Winkie. A great family tragedy.


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Subject: Lyr Add: BLACK SHEEP, WHERE YOU LEFT YOU' LAMB
From: Dicho
Date: 22 May 02 - 04:38 PM

Another version of the old Negro lullaby, "Black Sheep"

Lyr. Add: BLACK SHEEP, WHERE YOU LEFT YOU' LAMB

Black sheep, black sheep, where you left you' lamb,
'Way down in the pasture?
The buzzards an' the flies- A-pickin' out his eyes,
An' the poor li'l lamb say, "Mammy,"
An' the poor li'l lamb say, "Mammy."

Hush-a-bye, don't you cry,
Go to sleep, li'l baby;

My sweet lamb, safe from harm,
Go to sleep, li'l baby.
Hog an' a sheep 'way down in the pasture,
Hog say, "Sheep, can't you go a little faster?"

Hush-a-bye, don't you cry.
Go to sleep, little baby,
Go to sleep, li'l baby.

W. A. Fisher, 1926, Seventy Negro Spirituals, Oliver Ditson Co, Boston, pp. 4-7, with music; Kentucky melody, collection of Miss. M. Crudup Vesey. "...as sung by various black mammys has hushed to sleep five generations of babies in one old Kentucky family." "The melody, in the minor mode, is with lowered seventh."
@lullaby @Negro


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Subject: RE: Help: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: Dicho
Date: 22 May 02 - 04:49 PM

Also see thread 30511: Horses

There are many lullaby threads, some listed here by number: 2871, 5119, 5468, 5582, 5742, 5801, 5582, 6529, 7267, 7699, 11512, 14075, 20322, 21812, 29346, 30230, 30511, etc.
(lullaby, entered lower case in the Digitrad and Forum Search, seems to bring up the most threads)


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Subject: RE: Help: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: W y s i w y G !
Date: 23 May 02 - 12:54 AM

Oh!

~S~


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Subject: RE: Help: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: Mrrzy
Date: 23 May 02 - 09:32 AM

This is one of my twins' faves, and I had already decided not to tell them what I'd learned about it. But the other day they asked, and I answered. They still like the song, but they think about it too. They are little socially conscious things, they are. No sanitization, and they're fine. They do still ask for it but maybe not as invariantly as they usta.


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Subject: RE: Help: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: Dicho
Date: 23 May 02 - 03:34 PM

Many collectors have lumped "All the Pretty Little Horses" with the "Black Sheep Lullaby." There are floating verses between the two, but I am not so sure that they were originally the same song.
The "Horses" version posted by Kytrad is close to "Go To Sleepy" in Carl Sandburg's The American Songbag, pp.454-455. The child is promised "And a whole lot of little horses." In the second verse, the child only gets four horses for his coach.
Randolph, Ozark Folk Songs, vol. 2, pp. 345-346, printed two versions of "The Black Sheep Lullaby."

BLACK SHEEP LULLABY, A

Black sheep, black sheep, where'd you leave your lamb?
Left it over in the medder,
The buzzards an' de flies kept a-peckin' at its eyes,
Little lamb cried for its mother.
Way over yonder in that field,
All them pretty little horses,
Black an' bay an' dapple gray,
All belong to little Mary.

Lines here suggest both "Baa, Baa, Black Sheep" and "All The Pretty Little Horses."

BLACK SHEEP LULLABY, B

Black sheepy, black sheepy,
Where is your lambie?
Way down yonder in the valley,
The gnats and the flies
Pecking out its eyes,
Poor little lambie!

Poor little black sheepy,
Got no mammy, got no mammy,
Got no mammy, oh!

The first from Tennessee, the second from Missouri. Randolph says Scarborough reported nine variants from Negro singers in TX, Miss. and VA. Also popular with whites.


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Subject: info rqd: all the pretty little horses
From: GUEST,Geo
Date: 23 Nov 04 - 07:26 PM

What is the origin of this song? I've been told it's from the Georgia Sea Islands?


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Subject: RE: Help: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Nov 04 - 07:43 PM

Hi, Geo - I moved you over to this thread, which should answer most of your questions.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Origins: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: Pauline L
Date: 24 Nov 04 - 12:54 PM

Kathleen Battle, an African American soprano who sings opera, gospel, and jazz, has recorded "All the Pretty Little Horses" on her album "So Many Stars." She does not sing the verse about the poor little lambie. I don't know whether there is a political message here. She sings it beautifully, in a way that brings me the feeling of a good, loving mother. Her performance is quite different from that of such folk singers as Elizabeth LaPrelle. I think both are beautiful.

Would someone please tell us more about the books mentioned in this thread?


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Subject: RE: Origins: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 Nov 04 - 03:16 AM

Hi, Pauline - I updated my post from the Traditional Ballad Index above (click), and added the names of all the songbooks. I hope that helps.

The Ballad Index bibliography is here (click). The discography is here (click).

Kathleen Battle has a lovely voice, but I think she pasteurizes all her songs before she sings them, taking every bit of "spice" out of a song to make sure it's suitable for sensitive listeners. I wish she wouldn't sound so damn cultured when she's singing folk songs.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Origins: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: W y s i w y G !
Date: 25 Mar 05 - 11:21 AM

All of the above titles above have been entered for indexing in the AFRICAN-AMERICAN SPIRITUALS PERMATHREAD.

If songs with new TITLES are added to this thread, please take a moment to post that title and this thread's ID number (or full URL) in the AFRICAN-AMERICAN SPIRITUALS PERMATHREAD, so it can be included when the index is updated.

Thanks!

~S~


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Subject: RE: Origins: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: Q
Date: 25 Mar 05 - 02:56 PM

As mentioned above, Scarborough has several versions of this lullaby.
One, with music, is simply titled "Lullaby." It is crossed often with "Baa-Baa, Black Sheep" (the gruesome version).

Lyr. Add: LULLABY (Pretty Little Ponies)

Hushaby,
Don't you cry,
Go to sleep, little baby.
And when you wake,
You shall have a cake,
And all the pretty little ponies.
Paint and bay,
Sorrel and gray,
All the pretty little ponies.
So hushaby,
Don't you cry,
Go to sleep, little baby.

"Learned from Negroes in Grimes Co., Texas

BAA-BAA, BLACK SHEEP

"Baa-baa, black sheep,
Where you lef' yo' mammy?"
"Way down yonder in de co'nfiel'.
Gnats and flies
A-pickin' out its eyes-
And de po' li'l sheep a-holler, Mammy!"

Collected in Virginia.

Lyr. Ad: LULLABY (Daddy Run Away)

Go to sleep, little baby.
Daddy run away,
An lef' nobody with the baby!

Daddy and Mammy went down town
To see their pretty little horses.
All the horses in that stable
Belong to this little baby!

"Mrs. Miller, of Louisiana, gave me a version which she had heard sung in her childhood by the Negroes on a Mississippi plantation.

A crossed version-

Lyr. Add: LULLABY (Black Sheep and Ponies)

Go to sleep, little baby,
When you wake
You shall have
All the mulies in the stable.
Buzzards and flies
Picking out its eyes,
Pore little baby crying,
Mamma, mamma!

Location unstated. "Mrs. Cammilla Breaseale sends a version given her by a Negro woman, who said it was a 'baby' song. This is an interesting combination of the lullaby given above and another more gruesome one, which is yet sung in various places."

A third song enters here:

Three old black crows sat on a tree,
And all were black as black can be,
Pappa's old horse took sick and died,
And the old black crows picked out its eyes.
(from plantation in north Louisiana.

Dorothy Scarborough, "On the Trail of Negro Folk Songs," 1925 (1963 reprint by Folklore Associates, pp. 144-149.


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Subject: RE: Origins: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 25 Mar 05 - 03:16 PM

Am I the only one who wonders if the "African wet nurse giving her milk to massa's baby while her own baby, lies unfed and unattended. All the pretty little horses refers to the wonderful things available to the owner's family that are not available to the African slaves" background is (dare I say it?) fakelore?

Is there any source for it more reliable than relatively recent jacket notes?


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Subject: RE: Origins: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: W y s i w y G !
Date: 25 Mar 05 - 03:18 PM

This is how I would add those titles to the permathread:

LULLABY (Pretty Little Ponies)
BAA-BAA, BLACK SHEEP
LULLABY (Daddy Run Away)
LULLABY (Black Sheep and Ponies)
Three old black crows sat on a tree (first line)

Q, will you enter those or shall I this time?

~S~


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Subject: RE: Origins: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: Q
Date: 25 Mar 05 - 04:37 PM

Why? They have nothing to do with the Spirituals Permathread.


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Subject: RE: Origins: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: W y s i w y G !
Date: 25 Mar 05 - 06:13 PM

??????

If they were sung by plantation slaves as indicated above, and passed along orally from that time, they sure do have something to do with the permathread. I'm hearing all kinds of recorded music right now, where the singer refers to the songs as "spirituals." My assumption is that they may know somehting we don't. So if someone comes here looking for a lyric to go with what they've heard-- just as Im now mining the threads for several hundred songs this season-- then they belong in that index. Remember, as it points out in the permathread, if a song is in doubt, it goes in there. The scholarship over each song (being, or not-being, a "spiritual" by whatever definition one wants to apply)-- goes in the thread. The index just facilitates getting to the thread.

We don't get to decide what is and is not a spiritual. If an African American singer said, when recording years ago, that s/he learned a song as a spiritual, then I'm going to take his/her word for it long enough to list it and discuss it.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Origins: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: W y s i w y G !
Date: 17 Apr 05 - 06:10 PM

Indexed

~S~


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Subject: Add: BAA, BAA, BLACK SHEEP
From: GUEST,WYSIWYG
Date: 27 Apr 05 - 10:48 PM

Originally posted as:
Subject: Lyr Add: BAA, BAA, BLACK SHEEP
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 26 Apr 05 - 05:52 PM


BAA, BAA, BLACK SHEEP

Baa, baa, black sheep, where'd you leave your lamb?
Way down yonder the valley,
The birds and the butterflies a-picking out it eyes
And the poor little thing cried, "Ma-a-amy."

Mammy told me before she went away
To take good care of the baby.
But then I went away and the baby ran away,
And the poor little thing was cried, "Ma-a-amy."

The birds and the butterflies a-flying all around,
And the poor little thing was crying, "Ma-a-amy."


Emrich, Duncan, American Folk Poetry - An anthology "Children's Songs," Little Brown and Co. 1974, p6. "Baa, Baa, Black Sheep" was recorded by Artus M. Moser from the singing of Bascom Lamar Lunsford of South Turkey Creek, North Carolina, at Swannanoa, North Carola, 1946 Library of Congress record LP20.

AFS L 20:ANGLO-AMERICAN SONGS AND BALLADS ($8.95)
Recorded in various parts of U.S. by several collectors, 1938-46.
Edited by Duncan Emrich. 8-page brochure.http://www.loc.gov/folklife/folkcat.html

Another version in Sheet Music (four male voices 1881 by Wiske, C. M..publisher Geo. Mollineaux) http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/


Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Origins: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Jun 06 - 11:34 PM

mammy mammyy birds flies suck out your eyes


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Subject: RE: Origins: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: Mo the caller
Date: 18 Jun 06 - 05:39 AM

It is know in the UK without its second verse but otherwise much as the DT version. It used to be played on a radio programme for preschool children "Listen with Mother"

Emu of England


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Subject: RE: Origins: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: Richie
Date: 27 Jan 07 - 08:37 AM

I'm painting a series of folk paintings based on the lyrics of folk songs. Here is a link to my painting "All the Pretty little Horses" done in 2006:

http://www.richardlofton.org/littlehorses.html

It's a bit hard to see but the butterflies turn into the lamb and the horses turn into the sleeping baby (also in the foreground).

Just thought I'd share it with you,

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: TinDor
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 03:13 AM

I heard the Kathleen Battle version of this song the other day on some radio station


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Subject: RE: Origins: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: John Minear
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 07:15 AM

After looking at all of these sources and interconnections in my search for the "more original" version of "All the Pretty Little Horses" as I first heard it sung by Odetta, I have come to the following conclusion, and I would be interested to know if anybody else has a different suggestion. I think Odetta's version, and the most familiar version from the folk revival, is basically the one printed in the Digitrad above, which comes straight out of the Lomax book Folk Song, U.S.A. While I have found earlier sources for all of the elements used in that version, I have not found an example of it as such, nor have I found an example of that tune as such. I have concluded, for the time being, that we can thank Lomax, along with Charles and Ruth Crawford Seeger for this version. They "created" it. I put this conclusion out as a challenge rather than as any kind of final word on the subject. I have not found any particularly helpful commentary on this from Lomax himself. I suspect that Scarborough's collection printed above offered most of the resources for the end product in Folk Song, U.S.A.


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Subject: RE: Origins: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Mar 09 - 04:41 PM

I too was sung this version by my grandmother.She was from Charlotte,nc
where were you from


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Subject: RE: Origins: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: GUEST,Skullcrusher
Date: 01 May 09 - 10:21 PM

My mother remembered the line "buzzards [or perhaps crows] and the flies pecking out his [or perhaps her or its] eyes" from a song her mother sang to her in rural Mississippi when she was very young. She'd been struck by the gruesomeness of it. I figured the internet would let me find it pretty fast and sure enough I find it on the first hit. For the record her family were white farmers who'd been in Mississippi at least as far back as 1819. I seriously doubt they considered it social commentary on the plight of slaves.


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Subject: RE: Origins: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: Richie
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 11:02 PM

Hi,

I recorded an MP3 with my neice Kara singing and thought I'd share it with you:
http://bluegrassmessengers.com.temp.realssl.com/all-the-pretty-little-horses--bluegrass-messengers.aspx

I did a painting of the song in 2006. Here are some close-ups:
http://www.mattesonart.com/11111111111111close-ups.aspx

The photos aren't as high quality as my recent scan and reproductions but you get the idea.

Hope you like it the MP3.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: Richie
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 04:47 PM

Hi,

I also did a video of the song with my art on youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hpvo_zwRVWM

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 26 May 11 - 04:59 AM

Is there any way to verify the story that this song was composed by a slave woman? All the sites I've checked on this song state this, but if true, why can no one turn up the name of this anonymous woman, or the date when she created the song, or the place where she lived and worked? It's always 'a slave woman" or "this song was sung by slaves". Are there any oral accounts from slaves- many of them would mention songs that were sung- that mention this song? The only citation I've found for the slave connection to this song is (Lacy:1982).


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Subject: RE: Origins: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: GUEST,Kat
Date: 19 Jan 12 - 01:32 AM

I always thought it was a native American song


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Subject: RE: Origins: All the Pretty Little Horses-2
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 12 Apr 14 - 03:16 PM

My mother was born on a farm in MS in 1921 - with a "wet nurse" and all. When she was little, her older sister used to sing this lullaby to her, trying to make her cry! My mother said it always worked & her sister always got in trouble for it. Their version was:

"Black sheep, black sheep
Where's ya mammie?
Way over in the pasture.
Buzzards and the crows
Pecking out her eyes
Black sheep's got no mammie."

For more than forty years, this crazy song has intrigued me & I never once sang it to my own child! :)


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