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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Gibb Sahib Origins: Pay Me My Money Down (51* d) RE: Origins: Pay Me My Money Down 24 Apr 15


From the program notes of a performance I directed, April 2014:

"Pay Me My Money Down"...was part of the repertoire of stevedores of the Georgia Sea Islands. The men used it for loading heavy lumber onto schooners. ...the work was done—with a grunt—after the completion of the refrains. In an 1858 issue of The Atlantic Monthly the song was described for pumping out ship, and seamen from St. Lucia and Barbados recalled some form of the chanty in the early 20th century. But it was the stevedore style that reached the recently passed Folk Revival pioneer, Pete Seeger. Seeger's group The Weavers in 1957, thereafter The Kingston Trio and other "folkies," and more recently Bruce Springsteen, have all recorded the song. However, these modern versions have inadvertently projected a syncopation onto the song—a 20th century pop sensibility—that does not fit the timing of this as a work-song.


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