Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

Sunday Night Concert: “Pay Me My Money Down”

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on December 2, 2012

In 1944 Alan Lomax recorded a song, “Pay Me,” sung by African American stevedores in Brunswick, Georgia. In 1960 Lomax wrote:

They bellowed songs as they hoisted, heaved and screwed down their cargoes, as had twelve generations of their forebears. By the 1940s, however, their songs were no longer nostalgic or oblique. . . . [Their songs] said directly and openly what they thought, and their song has proved enormously appealing to young people all across America.

The song, with a simple melody and simpler lyrics, became a popular his during the folk music revival of the late 1950s and early 1960s. One of the young people Lomax was talking about in the early ’60s was a kid from Freehold Borough, New Jersey named Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen. He revived the song a few years ago for his Seeger Sessions Band. Their cover may not sound much like the one Lomax heard in Brunswick sixty-odd years before, but it is guaranteed to lift your spirits.

[This is a repeat post from September 2011, because today I heard someone butcher this song. This repeat will help get that out of my head.]



3 Responses

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  1. ben benninghoff said, on December 2, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    And this relates to the ACW, how…?

  2. Bummer said, on December 3, 2012 at 7:01 am

    Perfect response Andy. After all, whose ball park is it.


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