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Lyrics challenge Courtesy of Michael Cooney.

by Ziks511 / May 30, 2005 12:43 PM PDT

A song that we all probably learned in grade school, though not this verse. Many thanks to my old friend Mike Cooney whom I haven't seen in 30 years sadly. Its included on his Folk Legacy album if that's any help.

"Said the sheldrake to the crane,
When do you think we'll have some rain,
The creek's so muddy, the holes gone dry,
If it wasn't for the tadpoles we'd all die."

then the oh so familiar chorus.

Rob Boyter

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by Mark5019 / May 30, 2005 3:27 PM PDT

When I was a boy I used to wait
On Master's table and pass the plate,
Hand round the bottle when he got dry,
And brush away the blue-tailed fly

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(NT) (NT) burl ives? :-)
by jonah jones / May 30, 2005 8:28 PM PDT
In reply to: ok
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Got it from your verse, Mark (not his...)
by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / May 31, 2005 1:00 AM PDT
In reply to: ok

The key clue for me was "master."

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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Good on you Mark. Mike Cooney's version has a couple of
by Ziks511 / May 31, 2005 3:10 PM PDT
In reply to: ok

unfamiliar verses as well as the one you quoted and a slightly different rhythm to the version we learned in school, and the chorus goes

Jim crack corn, I don't care x3
My masters gone away.


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I love this stuff and whether the interpretation

is correct or not, these make great stories. So much of history is hidden from us. It never makes the textbooks and often the later writings are more conjecture than fact. Folk history is more rich than the aristocratic but the latter more available to study. So much great music and poetry existed in the hills and dales of our nation here and others and this was the real stuff that carries a history that is not presented to us. We need to dig for it. Slave songs and others of oppressed peoples give us a different view of how these folks actually handled their own lives and our perceptions of their existance are muddied. In their songs, it's strange that these folks often see and relate the optomistic side of their own lives while we see only the misery. They had a survival instinct we just no longer seem to have. At least one interpretation of ''Jimmy crack corn'' I have heard is the notion that the slaves would celebrate the ''masters'' absence by running amok. Cracking corn could mean making or drinking whiskey or other spirits but you'll never find the true authors or what they meant as the song probably developed over a period of time until some collector recorded it. Folks who grew up in the '60s with the likes of PP&M, Dylan, Donovan, The Kingston Trio, etc. (way too many to mention) and just hung with that as being the whole message of folk music are, IMO, sorely naive.

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A sheldrake is a generic term for mergansers on this side of
by Ziks511 / May 31, 2005 5:29 PM PDT

the water. Just thought you'd like to know.


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