This recording is available on the Florida Memory Project.

Time Annotation Layer
0:48 - 0:52 2714 B1 and 2 Library of Congress
0:51 Ta-ta! Library of Congress
5:41 - 5:44 2715 A1 and 2 Library of Congress
20:26 - 20:29 2716 B1 Library of Congress
23:28 2717 A1, 2, and 3 Library of Congress
27:49 - 27:53 2717 B1 and 2 Library of Congress
32:53 2718 A1 and 2 Library of Congress
37:37 - 37:41 2718 B1, 2 and 3 Library of Congress
42:22 - 42:24 2720 A1 and 2 Library of Congress
45:26 - 45:28 3135 A Library of Congress
49:29 3135 B1 and 2 Library of Congress
53:48 3136 A Library of Congress
58:18 3136 B Library of Congress
0:00 - 0:40 Men singing Songs
1:02 - 2:60 Women singing Songs
3:04 - 5:40 Man singing Songs
5:59 - 8:38 Men singing Songs
8:44 - 10:26 Men singing Songs
10:46 - 11:26 Instruments playing Songs
11:26 - 11:37 Man singing with instruments Songs
11:37 - 12:51 Instruments playing Songs
12:51 - 13:02 Man singing with instruments Songs
13:02 - 13:10 Instruments playing Songs
13:22 - 13:45 Instruments playing Songs
13:45 - 13:57 Man and woman singing with instruments Songs
13:57 - 14:32 Instruments playing Songs
14:32 - 14:45 Man and woman singing with instruments Songs
14:45 - 15:30 Instruments playing Songs
15:50 - 17:59 Women singing Songs
18:07 - 20:25 Women singing Songs
20:33 - 23:25 Women singing Songs
23:33 - 24:10 Instruments playing Songs
24:10 - 24:14 Man singing with instruments Songs
24:14 - 24:33 Instruments playing Songs
24:33 - 24:37 Man singing with instruments Songs
24:37 - 24:45 Instruments playing Songs
24:45 - 24:49 Man singing with instruments Songs
24:49 - 25:09 Instruments playing Songs
25:20 - 26:45 Instruments playing Songs
26:48 - 27:47 Instruments playing Songs
28:01 - 31:06 Man singing Songs
31:12 - 32:50 Man singing Songs
33:01 - 35:40 Woman singing with ukulele Songs
35:50 - 37:28 Woman singing Songs
37:54 - 40:33 Woman singing Songs
40:41 - 41:28 Children singing and clapping Songs
41:33 Children singing and clapping Songs
0:42 Men singing Songs
0:46 - 48:04 ZNH sings 'Gonna See My Long-Haired Babe' Songs
50:29 ZNH chants 'Let's Shake It' Songs
51:57 ZNH chants 'Let's Shake It' Songs
52:38 ZNH chants 'That Old Black Gal' Songs
54:12 ZNH sings 'Shove it over' Songs
0:53 - 1:01 [Inaudible] Notes
5:47 - 5:60 [Inaudible] Notes
15:44 - 15:50 [Inaudible] Notes
18:06 - 18:06 Herbert Halpert (HH): Alright. Notes
20:32 - 20:33 HH: Alright. Let's play. Notes
27:59 - 27:60 HH: Alright. Notes
32:60 HH: Alright. Notes
35:48 - 35:50 HH: [inaudible] Now go. Notes
37:43 - 37:54 [Inaudible] Notes
40:39 HH: Alright sing! Notes
41:31 - 41:33 HH: Go ahead. Sing it again. Notes
41:48 [Distortion] Notes
44:33 [Distortion] Notes
45:20 [Distortion] Notes
45:30 Zora Neale Hurston (ZNH): My name is Zora Neal Hurston. I was born in Eatonville, FLorida. I'm 35 years old. This song that I'm going to sing is a railroad song that I found on a railroad gang near Miami and was song to me by Max Ford. Notes
45:50 HH: How long ago was that? Notes
45:52 ZNH: That was in 1930. Notes
45:56 HH: How did you happen to be going around getting songs? Notes
45:58 ZNH: I was collecting folk material for Columbia University as part of the Barnard College, Columbia University. Notes
46:06 HH: What is the song called? Notes
46:07 ZNH: They call it Gonna see my long-haired babe and it's a railroad spiking song and the rhythm is kept with a spike and a hammer. Notes
46:17 HH: Will you try to emphasize, give me the approximate rhythm of the hammer with the stick by hitting it against that? Notes
46:23 ZNH: Yes, sir. Notes
48:04 ZNH: Let them hammers ring, boy. Notes
48:08 HH: I see you, you seem to be hitting down twice for a hammer. Why is that? Notes
48:15 ZNH: Uh, the men face each other with hammers and they call on each other; they're breasted, they stand breast to breast and one comes down and the other one comes down. Notes
48:23 HH: Immediately afterwards? Notes
48:24 ZNH: Yes, one comes down [strike, strike] Notes
48:27 HH: I see [strike, strike] and how long is that between the double strikes? Notes
48:33 ZNH: The minute that one goes down, the other is on the upstroke and comes right down behind it. Notes
48:37 HH: And who does the singing? Notes
48:38 ZNH: They sing in line. It's a man who doesn't work at all. And he walks up and down and gives the rhythm for the people to work. Notes
48:46 HH: Is this for a whole crew of men? Notes
48:47 ZNH: A whole crew of men singing this one time and the railroad has to pay the singing liner or else the men won't work. Notes
48:55 HH: What I'm asking you is if you hear that you only hear the one man singing on a whole section of track. Notes
49:01 ZNH: Not all the time, because different ones have verses they want to put in themselves and so they jump in and after they start the song but the singing liner always starts it. Notes
49:09 HH: Well now look, uh, the only thing is that you were giving a long piece of singing without the rhythm of the hammer and I want to know approximately how often that comes. Notes
49:19 ZNH: Well, they often do that and then after that they [distortion] get in there but they [distortion] Notes
49:34 HH: [inaudible] Notes
49:38 ZNH: Uh, this song I got in Callahan, Florida, which is a railroad center in the northern part of Florida. Notes
49:47 HH: Inaudible. Notes
49:49 ZNH: I got this in 1935. I don't remember the man's name who sung it to me but I got it at Callahan. It's a railroad camp. Notes
49:57 HH: What kind of song is it? Notes
49:59 ZNH: This is not exactly a song. It's a chant for the men lining. You know a railroad rail weighs 900 pounds and the men have to take these lining bars and get it in shape to spike it down. And while they're doing that why they have a chant that, uh, and also some songs that they be used to, the rhythm to work it into place and then the boss hollers 'Bring 'em a hammer gang' and they start to spike it down. And this is a chant for lining the rail. Notes
50:51 HH: I'd like you to do that again. But this time, when they have . . . What do they call the irons they use? Notes
50:56 ZNH: They call it a lining bar. Notes
50:57 HH: Alright. The lining bar. When they work but don't you hear the clink of it? Notes
51:02 ZNH: It's a 'hah'! Now you don't hear the lining bar because it's under the rail and they shove the rail with it. Notes
51:08 HH: They hit against it? Notes
51:09 ZNH: No, it's under it. You see, it's just like on this. It's a crow bar. Notes
51:13 HH: Because over in Mississippi, they showed me by hitting the thing. They said that the way that they did it was by several men taking a short hit. Notes
51:22 ZNH: Well, I've seen them put it between their legs this way and put it back and they get this, this splange under the rail, and then they 'heh, heh'. You know, like that. Notes
51:31 HH: Well, now what do they do? Are they pulling it, pulling it -- Notes
51:33 ZNH: Pulling it backwards, they're moving it backwards. Notes
51:34 HH: In other words, they have it underneath and they're using the lever to go forward. Notes
51:38 ZNH: That's right. Yes. Notes
51:40 HH: Alright. Notes
51:41 ZNH: And all the men, you know because it's always straining and they 'heh'. Notes
51:43 HH: About how many are there on a bar? Notes
51:44 HH: Oh, some time it's about 7 or 8 on at one time. Notes
51:49 HH: Hmhm. Well, I suppose you try it and you sing it over again. Notes
51:52 ZNH: Alright Notes
51:53 HH: Or chant it. Notes
52:23 ZNH: I got 'That Old Black Gal' is a spiking song that I got down there in Miami and was song by Max Ford the singing liner on this construction crew. Notes
52:34 HH: What's it used for? Notes
52:35 ZNH: Used for spiking down the rails. Notes
53:51 ZNH: This song they called 'Shove it Over' and it's the lining rhythm pretty generally distributed all over Florida. It was sung to me by Charlie Jones on a railroad construction camp in Lakeland, Florida. Notes
54:04 HH: About how long ago? Notes
54:06 ZNH: Uh, I gathered that in '33, 1933. Notes
56:01 HH: This is again for lining? Notes
56:03 - 56:03 ZNH: This is a lining rhythm. Notes
56:03 - 56:06 HH: Now where is the movement? Notes
56:06 - 56:12 ZNH: When they say Shacka-lacka-lacka like they are getting ready to pull back and when they say 'heh' they shove the rail over. Notes
56:12 - 56:16 HH: In other words, this song gives them quite a lot of rest in between. Notes
56:16 - 56:17 ZNH: Right a lot of rest in between. Notes
56:17 - 56:18 HH: And a harder shove? Notes
56:18 - 56:21 ZNH: And a harder shove at the end. And they say 'heh', they all go. Notes
56:21 - 56:26 HH: It seems to have had a different effect from the other lining one you gave, I mean that one about Mobile. Notes
56:26 - 56:36 ZNH: Yes, but someone was short and someone only just come to the mood of the liner. And the men work whatever song he sung, they work that rhythm. Notes
56:36 - 57:19 ZNH: Uh, now when the men are lining, they put the rail down, and then of course the captain, he's crouched straddle of it and uh, looks down it so he can tell when it's lined up in exact line with the others. And if they carry it, well he'll say shove it over and if they carry it too far, he'll say send it back and when they get it exactly in line, he'll tell em 'join it ahead' but then they corrupted that to 'join ahead' and all of them say 'join ahead' for 'join it ahead'. And, uh, so, uh, this song is about a lining and the rhythm goes with, they put this lining bar, this long steel bar, crow bar, between their legs so they have greater purchase and pull back on it. Notes
57:19 - 57:22 HH: Well, wait a minute. They pull back . . . and how are they facing in relation to the rail. Notes
57:22 - 57:25 ZNH: Their back is to the rail. Notes
57:25 - 57:28 HH: In other words, they're pulling up on the bar. Notes
57:28 - 57:33 ZNH: They're pulling up on the bar. They don't have to look at the rail because that's the captain's job to see when it's right. Notes
57:33 - 57:36 HH: Well, what do they do? Do they, how do they get it under the bar, the rail? Notes
57:36 - 57:41 ZNH: They just push the flange of this lining bar under the rail and then pull back on it. Notes
57:41 - 57:43 HH: Do they have to look back at it or do they just feel it? Notes
57:43 - 57:50 ZNH: Oh, they can just feel it. Sometimes they look back, you know, but most of them, they just can feel it and they send it back on there. Notes
57:50 - 57:60 HH: Well, uh, you were saying, you were explaining that there's different rhythms that they have. Are there any particular times when a faster on or a slower one would be used? Notes
57:60 - 58:28 ZNH: Well, it's different; it's not any particular time except just the feeling of the singing liner. Whatever song he starts. If it's a fast rhythm they work fast; if its's a slow one, well they work, you know, a little slower but they get just as much work done, it seems, somehow or another. Notes
58:28 - 58:31 ZNH singing low. Notes
58:31 - 58:32 HH: Alright. Notes
58:32 - 58:51 ZNH: Alright, this song I'm going to sing is a lining rhythm and I'm going to call it "Mule on the Mount" though you can start with any verse you want and give it a name and it's the most widely distributed work song in the United States and it has innumerable verses and whatnot about everything under the sun and it's a lining rhythm though they sometimes sing it just [cut off]. Notes

S1576 , T86-243 at Florida Memory Project.

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