Sunday, May 30, 2010

This rendition of a work song``We Don't Have No Payday Here'' sounds an awfully lot like Robert Johnson's recording of ``Last Fair Deal Gone Down.''
Both even share the line,
``If you cry about a nickel, you'll die about a dime.''
The work song was performed by convicts at the state prison in Raiford, Florida on June 4, 1939. Johnson recorded his tune in San Antonio, Texas in 1937.
Dispersion of folk culture -- passing it on, in other words -- never seizes to fascinate me.
I lifted the work song recording from the Library of Congress' American Memory archive.

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