Step it Down

$19.95

SKU: 978082030960 Category:

Description

Games, Plays, Songs & Stories from the Afro-American Heritage

by Bessie Jones and Bess Lomax Hawes.

Growing up in the rural South, Bessie Jones sang her way through long hours of field work and child tending, entertaining her young companions with chants and riddles or joining them for a rousing evening of ring dances and singing plays. These songs and games, recorded in Step It Down by folklorist Bess Lomax Hawes, capture the shape and color of the crowded, impoverished, life-demanding, and life-loving days of the black family long ago, revealing the strength and vitality of African and slave traditions in black American life.

The power of music and motion to transform a world of scarcity and hardship into one of laughter and joy echoes throughout Bessie Jonesís words:

ìAnd the other childrens and I would go in the bottom and have a frolic, instead of going to bed. I was just up for that singing, and I remembered they used to say . . . ëCome on, Lizzie!í and weíd go down a way and weíd have a dance. Oh it was pretty. . . . You know, it was just as good as the bluesóbetter, better in a way. When the old folks would go to work or go off or something, weíd put on them long dresses and, boy, weíd have a time.î

Step It Down weaves together the lyrics, music, and description of traditional Afro-American childrenís songs as well as Jonesís comments on their meaning and ìfeel.î Whether reciting ìTom, Tom, Greedy Gutî or demonstrating the more complex steps of ìRanky Tankî and ìBuzzardís Lope,î Bessie Jones always viewed the amusements of the young as preparation for adult roles and relationships, and as a teacher, she developed her own philosophy of how a black child is socialized into the larger community. Grounded in the values of black society, her songs taught children about cooperative interaction and mutual concern, not about competition and individual achievement, showing them how to create fun out of nothing more than their hands, feet, voices, and imaginations.

Contents:

BABY GAMES AND PLAYS:

Go to Sleepy, Little Baby

This Little Piggy

Jump That Jody

Ride, Charley, Ride

Finger Names

Patty Cake

Tom, Tom, Greedy-Gut

CLAPPING PLAYS:

Green Sally Up

One-ry, Two-ry

One Saw, Two Saw

Head and Shoulder, Baby

Hambone

Juba

JUMPS AND SKIPS:

Skip to the Barbership

Just from the Kitchen

Shoo, Turkey

Knock Jim Crow

Josephine

Elephant Fair

Pizza, Pizza, Mighty Moe

SINGING PLAYS:

Green, Green, the Crab Apple Tree

Johnny Cuckoo

Oh Green Fields, Roxie

Go In and Out the Window

Draw Me a Bucket of Water

Nana, Thread Needle

RING PLAYS:

Little Johnny Brown

East Coast Line

Sir Mister Brown

Way Down Yonder, Sometimes

Soup, Soup

Punchinello

Little Sally Walker

Uncle Jessie

Way Down Yonder in the Brickyard

Way Go, Lily

Steal Up, Young Lady

DANCES:

Possum-La

Ranky Tank

Coonshine

Sandy Ree

Zudie-O

I’m Going Away to See Aunt Dinah

Daniel

HOUSE PLAYS AND HOME AMUSEMENTS:

William, William, Trembletoe

Club Fist

Uncle Tom

Moneyfoot

Jack in the Bush

Bob-a-Needle

Whose Bag Is My Gold Ring?

Pawns

Wade in the Green Valley

OUTDOOR GAMES

Miss Lucy

Horse and the Buggy

Won’t You Let the Birdie Out?

Engine Rubber Number Nine

London Bridge

All Hid

Rap JackSONGS AND STORIES:

I Had an Old Rooster

Owl Talk

Pretty Pear Tree

Riddles

Way Down on the Bingo Farm

Have Courage to Say No

Brother Rabbit and Mister Railroad’s Taters

Old Bill the Rolling Pin

Rabbit and the Possum (Ain’t It Hard to Be a Farmer)

Peep, Squirrel

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