Thursday, January 15, 2009

Shortning Bread (Shortnin' Bread)

Traditional (southern black American)
Rise Up Singing chapter: Home and Family, p.112
C - - - / - - G7 C ://

Some info from Wikipedia. You can check out its sources yourself:
"[Shortening Bread] is often thought of as a traditional Negro plantation song. However the first version was written by James Whitcomb Riley in 1900... E.C. Perrow published the first folk version of this song in 1915, which he collected from East Tennessee in 1912."

Apparently the pigeon-wing was a dance move (among southern black Americans, I presume). It must have been harder than the cake-walk anyway, if the kid only "almost" cut it.


Three little children, lyin' in bed
Two was sick and the other 'most dead
Sent for the doctor, the doctor said:
Feed those children on shortnin' bread

(Mama's, Mommy's) Mammy's little baby loves shortnin', shortnin'
Mammy's little baby loves shortnin' bread

Put on the skillet, put on the lid
Mammy's going to bake a little shortnin' bread
That ain't all she's going to do
Mammy's going to make a little coffe too

(Note: I sang hot chocholate, because coffee's kind of gross. And hot chocolate and shortning bread sounds delicioius.)

The little child sick in bed
When he hear tell o' shortnin' bread
Popped up well, he dance and sing
He almost cut the pigeon wing

I slip to the kitchen, slip up the lid
Fill my pocket full o' shortnin' bread
Stole the skillet, stole the lid
Stole the gal making shortnin' bread

They caught me with the skillet, caught me with the lid
They caught me with the gal making shortnin' bread
Paid six dollars for the skillet, six dollars for the lid
Spent six months in jail eating shortnin' bread

1 comment:

  1. For God's sake, tune that guitar!!!! That is painful to hear..