Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Jump Down Turn Around

Lead belly wrote and sang a song called Pick a Bale of Cotton in the 40’s. You can see a film of him singing it on Youtube:  Leadbelly Pick a Bale of Cotton

Whenever I hear the words hay and bale in the same sentence I always think of this song. And guess what. After all these years I have just learned that what he says is not pick a bale of Hay at the end of the phrase, it’s pick a bale a DAY! I know I must have known this at one time in my life, but I forgot it!
When I was a little ‘un, my mother used to play this song, and others, for my sister and I and we loved to dance to it, sing to it, play with it till we couldn’t breathe from laughing and dancing. I know it’s a working song but for my sister and me it was a fun one. We did the motions of jumping down, turning round and mimicked picking cotton as best we knew how. Giggles always ensued, just as they did when we sang along to “Chawing Chewing Gum.” I found a version of it by the Carter Family on Youtube! Oh memories. The Carter Family Chawin' Chewin' Gum

Now that I’m older and thinking about the origins of these songs I know they came from a time less kind for Lead belly and his forefathers/mothers. I never had to pick cotton. I never had to bale hay. But his words and his music touched me all the same and the memories have stayed with me through the years. I hope it would please Lead Belly to know he brought that joy, laughter and dance into my life. That he gave me memories I don’t ever want to lose: that a little girl and the woman she grew into, though outside of his world, gained more meaning and joy in her own thanks to his music.

Photos from:

Hope you enjoy the music!



  1. Very interesting post, I hadn't heard of this musician before but find that era of history fascinating.

  2. Thanks Charmaine. I love your name. I appreciate your visit and comment. I'm now following your blog because it looks interesting. Have a great day and come back to visit!


Thank you so much for commenting on my blog. I may not always be able to respond to the comments you leave, however, I appreciate you dropping by and will do my best to visit your blog as well, if you have one!