Collected for M.C. Parler Collected and transcribed
by Sara Jo Fendley
Mt. View, Ark., Jan. 11,1964 sung by Raymond Sanders learned from his father as a child.
Reel 420, Item 10
xxv The First Banjo
Theres a'goina be an overflowin' says Noah lookin' solemn he took down the Hearld and he read the river column put his men to work cryin' up timeber and patches we're goina build a boat to beat the steamer natchez
Oh Noah's wicked neighbors kept a cussin' and a Jawin'
Old Noah didn't mind he kept a chippin' and a sawin'
Old Noah layed wide awake he knew what's agoina happen For forty days and forty nights the rain it kept a drappin'
Oh Noah went around a'gatherin' up two of every kind of beases Every show that come along, he picked them all to pieces He found a Morgan colt, several head of Jersey cattle He drove them all on board the ark, he heard the thunder rattle
And such an ugly fall of rain, the rain it fell so heavy the river rose immediately, and bursted through the levee, all the people they were drowned, except Noah and the critters The men he had to run the boat, and some to mix the vittles
And the Ark it kept a'sailin', and a'sailin' and a'sailin'
the lion he got his dander up, and like to have broke the pailins
the tiger heard the panther scream and such a lot of fussin'
You could scarcely hear the mates, a bossin' and a'cussin
Oh Ham the only darkie, that was runnin' on the packet got lonesome in the barber shop and couldn't stand the racket Just to mus himself, he steamed some wood and bent it Then he had the banjo made, the first that was invented
He wet some leather strips, and on the bridges screwed an apron and whittled out a proper neck, so very long and tappered a piece of tin he twisted in, a thimble for to ring it then the might question 'rose How's you guine a' string it
Well the possum had as fine a tail, as this as I am singing
with hair so long and stiff and strong, just right for banjo stringing
the darkie shaved them close, then pushed them in the places
then he sized them by the size, and a little eased the basesReel 420, Item 10 (cont'd)
(continued from XXV)
He strung it up and struck a jig, called never mind the weather sounded like forty eleven bands, a'playin' all together Some began to pat some dance, so Noah called the figure Hammy sat and knocked a tune, the habits of all niggers
And 'till this day there hasn't been, the slightest hand a'showin' of the hair, upon the possum's tail a'growin' that is why some white folks say, a niggers' never lonesome where you find the coon, you find the banjo and the possum
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