Annotations and transcription by Tanya Clement
Recording link at https://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/238023

Time Annotation Layer
0:00 HH: But, did they always have the same tune to it? Notes
0:02 HaH: Oh yes, they had the same tune all the time but different wording, you know. They would make up words all the time. You see, the fellows from different railroads would come and work on this track with us and each fellow, perhaps he'd have a new verse that he'd add to the song. Notes
0:17 HH: Well, good. Well now, let's hear it the way that you remember it. Notes
0:20 HaH: Well, sing it over again? Sing it now? Notes
0:23 HH: Start from the beginning, alright? Notes
1:43 HH: Tell us about this. Notes
1:45 HaH: Every morning about four o'clock, the foreman, the tent, sack rouster, would go around and knock on the tent with his axe handle. Says 'Alright boys, let's go back'. Says 'Let's go back boys to double track. The work ain't hard, the man ain't mean. The cook ain't nasty, but the grub ain't clean. You sleep on my good bed and you call 'em bunks. You eat my good ration, and you call it junk. So, now let's go back.' Notes
2:14 HH: How was the arrangement, how was the arrangement of the tents? Notes
2:16 HaH: The tents were in circles. And each, they were built in circles so as when he'd leave the last tent, he would be at the first tent again. He'd go all around and when he leave the lest tent, he'd be right back at the first tent again. Notes
2:35 HH: Well, he was the foreman of the job? Notes
2:36 HaH: Well, he was one of the foremans on the job. Notes
2:39 HH: Uh-huh. Notes
2:39 HaH: They would take turns in arousing the men every morning but this particular man, he would use those phrase. Notes
2:45 HH: Uh-huh. And he just said them like that? Notes
2:47 HaH: Yes, he didn't have no expression whatever. [Laughter]. It was just dry. Notes
2:54 HH: [Laughter]. Even if he had no expression, let's hear it again. Notes
2:59 HaH: 'Come on boys, let's go back to double track. The work ain't hard, and the man ain't mean. The cook ain't nasty, but the grub ain't clean. You sleep on the good beds and you call 'em bunk. You eat my good rations, and you call it junk. So, now let's go back.' Notes
3:22 HH: Tell me when it would be different. Notes
3:24 HaH: Well, sometime, when the boss man wouldn't go around himself, he'd send some of the fellas, colored fellas, around to arouse the men. They'd say 'Come on boys, let's go back. Yes, you sleep on his good bed and you call it bunk, You eat his good rations, and you call 'em junk. So, now if I have a calling, you want to fight. Now that white man call it, it's captain alright. Now, let's go back. Notes
3:55 HH: Alright. Tell us about it. Notes
3:56 HaH: All of these songs that I'm singing, they didn't have no particular title. We just began singing them as the feelings would come on. Notes
4:04 HH: Alright, when did the feelings come on for this one? Notes
4:08 HaH: Well, sometimes the fellas, it'd be near pay day, and some of the fellas would think about going away to another job and they began feeling good. They began singing some of these songs and this one, in particular. Notes
6:08 HH: Go ahead. Notes
6:12 HWS: During the early days of the settlers in South Carolina, Buford County, when the church was first established there, before there were schools and seminaries, why the preachers preached mostly by imagination, and as I've been in contact during my boyhood days with quite a few settlers from that part of the state, I've learned this sermon how an old minister use to preach it a long time ago and instead of being able to reiterate from the bible, he just imagined something and went on to preach it in a form of dialect as I shall give you now as near as I can imitate him. Notes
9:37 HH: What was that song? When did that song come in? Notes
9:40 [Laughter] On the close of the sermon, they open the doors of the church after he got through. Notes
9:44 HH: Yeah and who would sing it? Notes
9:46 HWS: Old sister in the corner. Notes
9:48 HH: Well I mean was there any particular reason for singing this song? Was that at the opening of the church door? Notes
9:53 HWS: At the opening of the church door according to the members, the church members. Notes
9:56 HH: And this was the song that was used, she would use? Notes
9:58 HH: Would you sing it over again, please? Notes
10:18 ZNH: Uh Zora Hurston speaking. In all the big work camps, sawmills, and turpentine, still, and road camps and whatnot they have a man to go down and wake up the camp. And he has various chants and hollers to wake them up and sometimes he wakes them up as he goes along. Notes
10:35 HH: Well, speaking about what you're getting ready to, Where'd you hear that? Notes
10:40 ZNH: Well, I heard these at Laughman, a big sawmill down state in Polk County. Notes
11:54 HH: Alright Notes
11:55 CC: What kind of a song is this, Zora? Notes
11:57 ZNH: This is a Nassau song from the Bahamas. Notes
11:60 CC: When is it used? Notes
12:01 ZNH: Well, they sing this song when they're jumping the fire dance. Notes
12:06 CC: What is the fire dance? Notes
12:08 ZNH: The fire dance is some sort of African survival in the West Indies and they beat the drums and sing these little songs. Notes
12:15 CC: And how did you happen to learn it? Notes
12:17 ZNH: Well, I was doing research down there, collecting songs out of Columbia University and I collected quite a few of them and this is just one of them. Notes
12:25 ZNH sings Oh Mr. Brown Notes
12:44 ZNH: And they keep that up until the drum is cold and then they change it and they sing another song of the same kind. Notes
12:51 CC: What is this? Notes
12:51 HH: You better sing another song of the same kind. Notes
12:53 ZNH: Uh, this one, this song is Notes
13:04 HH: Go ahead. Next song. Notes
13:07 HH: This little song is a story. Uh, the young lady thinks that it's time for them to get married. in fact, she thinks they just have to and the boy doesn't want to marry and so this song is about it. Notes
14:02 CC: Are those songs sung in Florida as well as in the West Indies? Notes
14:07 ZNH: Yes, Dr. Corse. Uh, they are sung in Key West and Miami and Palm Beach and out in the Everglades where a great number of Nassaus are working in the bean fields and whatnot. Uh, there are a great number of them in Florida who hold jumping dances each week. Notes
14:24 CC: I think it's very interesting that we have inferences from the West Indies as well as the rurual South in our Florida Negro folklore. Notes
14:44 Man speaks in Spanish Notes
14:60 AP: What Mr. Gilberto [inaudible] just said is that he is manager of a Latin group now playing at the Cuban Club in Tampa Florida who are going to sing for you some of their traditional Cuban songs. I am the pianist of the unit and will play some of them for you myself. Notes
15:23 HH: Uh, Mr. Pages, Will you tell me where are the people from? Notes
15:28 AP: Uh, all these units, all of the actors in the unit are all native Cubans and they came from Cuba two or three months ago. Notes
15:37 HH: Uh, will you, can you, tell me in their performance do they play some of the old songs? The traditional songs? Notes
15:43 AP: They have to for they are requested to do so. Notes
15:50 HH: Go ahead. Notes
15:51 AP: Uh, the melody that Stella [inaudible] will sing for you next is a typical Cuban melody. This is sung in the country by the peasants. It's probably uh . . . I don't know what to say. Notes
16:11 HH: Well, stay there. How long has she known this song? Notes
16:16 AP: Oh, that, she's probably heard it all her life from her parents and so forth. Notes
16:21 HH: Well, you go up there and ask her. You ask her. Notes
16:24 AP: Do you want me to do that in Spanish? Notes
16:26 HH: Go ahead and ask her. Notes
16:26 AP: In Spanish? Notes
16:27 HH: Sure. Go ahead. Notes
16:29 Asks question in Spanish and Estella responds. Notes
16:48 HH: Explain that to us what she said. Notes
16:51 AP: Uh, she has said that she has, uh, heard that melody, of course, recently dut to the fact that she is very young but she has heard her parents say that have heard it for years and years back. Notes
18:29 AP: Uh, the Cuban persons use songs to call on their loved ones especially at night and in the morning. The song that Estella [inaudible] sang is one of them. Uh, roughly, it is morning and he is singing to his loved one and though he claims that the sun is just out and he can see everything clearly, it seems like there is nothing around until he's seen her. Notes
19:05 Man speaks in Spanish Notes
21:10 HH: [inaudible] Explain what that song tells us [inaudible] Notes
21:19 AP: The young man that you have just heard sing is Carlos Poz. He is the blackfaced comedian of the unit, of the Cuban unit. He just sung for you a typical African song, songs that were sung by the slaves when they were brought to Cuba and he has picked that from tradition. That is, he has heard that type of song over and over. It is always heard in Cuba. Notes
21:51 HH: How is it, how is it accompanied when it is heard in Cuba? Notes
21:54 AP: Uh, they usually use Cuban drums and gourds and sticks like they used to use in the days of the slaves when they didn't have any musical instruments and they were accompanied by sticks and drums and so on. Notes
22:11 HH: And that song is part of the regular [inaudible] around cane? Notes
22:14 AP: It is. We use it here, we use that type of song here often. Notes
22:21 HH: Is it sung in Cuba by the whites or by the negroes? Notes
22:25 AP: Well, no, they, uh, it has been picked by the negroes but it is used by actors. Notes
22:33 HH: What's that? Notes
22:34 [inaudible] Notes
22:36 AP: Oh, they love it. It's such a strange rhythm to most of all people that they prefer to hear that song to any other. Notes
22:46 HH: Thank you, Mr. Pages. Notes
22:52 AP: Uh, the song that you have just heard Carlos Poz sing, it's sort of a negro song. It is a negro telling his girl not to mix with another, uh, tribe, because he does not consider them as good as they are and does not want to, uh, mix the tribes. And -- Notes
23:13 HH: What do you mean by mix the tribes? Notes
23:15 AP: Well, he does that, it seems like the, uh, girl is in love with someone and she, uh, goes to a nearby tribe and he does not want her to continue to go over there and he is asking her to please stay in her, in their grounds. Notes
23:29 HH: He doesn't want to have children from the other tribe. Notes
23:31 AP: That's right [laughter]. Notes
25:40 AP: The song you have just heard was sung by [inaudible] Martinez. The name of the song is Merce. It is a different type of song that have been sung before, for this one is dance, in dance halls in Cuba, that is that rhythm. You have also heard some Cuban drums played by Roman [inaudible] and Mr. Delfino was playing gourds and I was at the piano, Art Pages. Notes
26:11 HH: [inaudible] Notes
26:12 AP: Carlos Poz helped her out by helping her sing in the montonu, that is the fast part of the number. The number is divided into two parts. The first part is sung a little slower than the second part. The second part is a little faster. They keep on getting faster until, uh, it takes up to a very fast tempo. Notes
26:33 HH: Now would you explain, translate what the words of the song are, what the words of the song are about? Roughly. Notes
26:39 HH: Roughly, just offhand what does it say? Notes
26:39 What is it about? What is it about? Notes
26:44 What is it about? What is it about? Notes
26:44 HH: If you give me a chance. Would you cut it out? Notes
26:50 HH: Alright. Notes
26:51 AP: The idea of the song is uh, the name of the song is 'Merce' and that's a, uh, name, a proper name. It's a negro girl's name and she is supposed to be the most popular of the party and the song refers to her popularity, that is her way of dancing and acting and speaking and so forth and everybody sings to her beauty and her pep, would you say? And the whole song is based on her. Notes
27:22 HH: [inaudible] Notes
27:23 And did you get this one in [audible]. Did you say that? Notes
28:53 HH: Can you stand up there and explain, give me names [inaudible]? Notes
29:02 AP: Uh, the song that you heard was sung by Gilberto Elfino, manager of the unit. And the name of the song is 'Nina'. Notes
29:14 HH: Now, can you tell m, what type of song is it? Notes
29:17 AP: Uh, this is probably the oldest type of Cuban song that has ever, uh, that has been known to be the oldest. Notes
29:28 HH: And, uh, where is it learned and how is such a song learned? Notes
29:31 AP: Uh, there is no way of tracing it to its author or its originality. It has just been picked from one generation to the other. Notes
29:42 HH: Now, can you tell what it's about that song? What does it say? Notes
29:47 AP: Well, I don't know. Notes
29:56 Man speaks in Spanish. Notes
30:02 AP: Uh, this is a typical song that is sung to a girl by a window, a Spanish, uh, window. And that's about all I know about the song. Notes
30:16 HH: Well, did you get the words from them? Notes
30:17 AP: No, I couldn't. Notes
30:18 HH: Ask them what the words are and you translate. Notes
30:21 Men speak Spanish Notes
30:35 AP: He just sing to her and telling her how much he loves her, and uh, i other words, uh, calling her to the window in order to start a conversation or something, a song to start a conversation. Notes
30:52 AP: We are now going to give you an idea of the different Cuban rhythms. The first one is a song, that is a slow rumba. Notes
31:11 AP: Now, he will play a rumba. That's a faster rhythm. Notes
31:21 AP: And now a Bembe. That's a typical African rhythm. Notes
31:32 AP: And now, a conga. Notes
31:43 AP: And now, mane. This is probably the oldest rhythm going. Notes
31:53 HH: Just tell him, tell him -- Notes
31:55 AP: This was done by Ramon [inaudible] a Cuban drummer. Notes
31:59 HH: And Art Pages, a pianist, was giving the announcement. Notes
32:12 [inaudible] Notes
34:45 HH: [inaudible] Notes
34:50 Roberts: A very long time ago I learned about a funny song, that's all I know. If you like funny songs. Notes
34:58 HH: Where did you learn that song? Notes
34:59 Roberts: I learned it all in the [inaudible]. Notes
35:01 HH: Go ahead and sing it to me. Notes
35:34 HH: [inaudible] the last lines of that song, Mr. Roberts. Repeat it for me. Notes
35:39 Roberts: The last lines? Notes
35:44 HH: You said there's something in my . . . there's something in my hammond. Notes
35:54 Roberts: yes [inaudible]. Notes
36:02 HH: What did you mean by that last line? Notes
36:05 Roberts: I meant that uh, to clear my throat. There's something in my hammond, see? And then I said [clears throat, There's something in my hammond, See? That's the end of my song when I said there's something in my hammond. Notes
38:59 HH: What song are you going to sing next, Mr. Roberts? Notes
39:54 Roberts: . . . down the well and he'd sit there down in the well and they'd call his name so when after he got a song writ up [inaudible] he said, that's my name Betty Notes
40:21 HH: Will you tell us the riddle that you're talking about, Mr. Roberts. Notes
40:25 Roberts: Oh, about the men? Notes
40:26 HH: That's right. Notes
43:51 [Inaudible] Notes
44:24 [Inaudible] Notes
46:14 HH: [Inaudible] Notes
46:56 What do you want me to sing now? Notes
47:22 [inaudible] Notes
49:05 [inaudible] Notes
49:46 Feel like I could give you a sample [inaudible]. I'm going to sing it now, eh? Notes
51:53 [inaudible] Notes
52:50 [Inaudible] Notes
53:04 Well, I want to tell you just about how good tobacco is. Notes
55:26 . . . up there, up there from where the hurricanes always start from, what's it called, Puerto Rico. Notes
55:33 HH: He was the one who told you that story? Notes
55:34 Roberts: Yes. Notes
55:35 Was he a Puerto Rican? Notes
55:36 Roberts: Yes. Notes
55:39 HH: How'd he come to tell it to you? Notes
55:40 Roberts: I don't know [laughter][inaudible] Notes
55:45 HH: Where were you then? Notes
55:46 Roberts: I was here in Florida and he was in Florida too [inaudible] Notes
55:59 [inaudible] Notes
56:03 [inaudible] Notes
56:12 [inaudible] Notes
56:18 HH: [inaudible] Where were you born, Mr. Roberts? Notes
56:21 Roberts: I was born in [inaudible] about a hundred miles and that's all [inaudible] Notes
56:25 [inaudible] Notes
1:38 3143 B1, 2, and 3 LOC
6:07 3144 A LOC
10:14 3144 B1, 2, and 3 LOC
14:37 3135 A1 and 2 LOC
19:05 3145 B1 and 2 LOC
23:39 3136 A1, 2, and 3 LOC
27:30 3146 B1, 2, and 3 LOC
32:07 3378 A1, 2 and 3 LOC
37:15 3378 B1, 2, 3, and 4 LOC
47:48 3379 B1, 2, and 3 LOC
52:01 3380 A1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 LOC
0:25 - 1:37 HaH sings 'John Henry' Songs
5:05 - 6:04 HaH sings 'There's a Big Day in Atlanta' Songs
6:52 - 9:35 HWS preaches Songs
9:60 - 10:10 HWS sings Songs
10:47 - 11:49 ZNH sings 'Wake Up Jacob' Songs
12:25 ZNH sings 'Oh Mr. Brown' Songs
13:19 - 14:01 ZNH sings 'Tilly, Lend me Your Pigeon' Songs
17:25 - 18:24 Woman sings with piano, drums, maracas Songs
19:29 - 21:12 Man sings with piano, maracas, and drums Songs
23:44 - 25:38 Woman sings in Spanish with drums, maracas, and piano Songs
27:37 - 28:51 Man sings with piano Songs
30:60 - 31:11 Slow rumba is played Songs
31:12 - 31:14 Faster rumba is played Songs
31:23 A Bembe is played Songs
31:34 - 31:43 A conga is played Songs
31:45 - 31:53 A mane is played Songs
32:29 - 34:49 Man singing Songs
35:04 - 35:26 Man sings Songs
36:28 - 37:14 Roberts sings Songs
37:21 - 38:58 Roberts sings Songs
39:15 - 39:52 Roberts sings Songs
40:28 - 40:59 Roberts tells a riddle Songs
40:60 - 42:19 Roberts sings Songs
42:24 - 43:51 Woman sings Songs
43:55 - 44:24 Woman sings Songs
44:45 - 45:07 Woman sings Yankee Doodle Songs
45:08 - 46:14 Woman tells a story Songs
46:17 - 46:43 Woman recites a ballad Songs
46:44 - 46:55 Woman tells a story Songs
46:60 - 47:08 Woman sings a song Songs
47:12 - 47:23 Woman tells a story Songs
47:27 - 47:47 Woman sings a song Songs
47:52 - 49:03 Woman sings a song Songs
49:16 - 49:45 Woman sings a song Songs
49:59 - 51:37 Woman sings a song Songs
51:39 - 51:53 Woman sings a song Songs
52:07 - 52:33 Woman sings multiple version of same song Songs
53:09 - 55:22 Man recites riddles Songs

Home page for T86-245 at Florida Memory Project.

IIIF manifest: https://tanyaclement.github.io/znh_jacksonville_1939/t86-245/manifest.json