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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Three Examples Of The Children's Song "Go Around The Corn, Sally" (with lyrics)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part III of a three part series about the African American corn song "Round De (The) Corn, Sally".

Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2014/06/descriptions-of-corn-husking-corn-songs.html for Part I of this series. Part I provides excerpts from two online books about corn husking in the Southern United States during slavery. Part I also includes some comments about pre-mechanical corn husking in the United States apart from United States slavery.

Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2014/06/four-examples-of-round-corn-sally.html for Part II of this series. Part II presents several text examples of "Around The Corn, Sally". An Addendum to that post showcases a video example with a lengthy summary of the "Sea Shanty Around The Corner, Sally".

Part III provides video examples and lyrics of the children's song "Go Around The Corn, Sally" which is adapted from the work song "Around The Corn, Sally".

The content of this post is provided for folkloric, cultural, entertainment, and educational purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to those who created the adapted version of this corn song. Thanks also to those who are featured in these videos and thanks to the publishers of these videos on YouTube.

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EDITORIAL COMMENT
I like "Go Around The Corn, Sally". I think this adapted song is a fun way of teaching children rhythm. Each of these examples have the same tune. Kudus to the composer of this song and its lyricist. (Musical notation were given for one example of this song in Part II of this series, but since I don't read music, I'm not sure if the tunes are the same. My assumption is that "Go Around The Corn, Sally" doesn't have the same tune as the source song "Round De (The) Corn, Sally". )

I think "Go Around The Corn, Sally" could be a good way of introducing children to the concept of source songs and adapted songs. I'm concerned that even if the children are taught that "Go Around The Corn, Sally" is based on a much older song, they may think that this is the way that the source song was originally sung. I'm also concerned that the children may be taught misinformation that every African American work song was sung in order to regulate the way or the pace that the work was done. In point of fact, as the excerpts in Part II discuss, corn songs weren't sung to regulate the way the shucking corn was done, or the pace that work was done.

Also, contrary to what may be taught about this song*, it's very doubtful that the source song "Round De Corn, Sally" was sung while people harvested (picked) corn. It seems to me that children should be taught the conceptual difference between picking corn and shucking corn. *Notice the introduction to this song that is given in Example #2 below.

Even more than that, I'm concerned that this song might be used to "whitewash" the fact that those people who created it were not just "workers", they were enslaved people.

Several people who commented in the discussion threads to YouTube videos of this song-either these featured examples, or others- expressed surprise that this song came from a slavery work song. I don't think that fact should be hidden from children or from their parents/caretakers.

A commenter to the discussion thread of a YouTube video of this song indicated that since she (or he) had learned that "Go Around The Corn, Sally" came from a slavery work song, her (or his) child would no longer be allowed to sing it. I don't agree with that decision. I believe that were songs and dancing (including secular songs) helped enslaved Black people endure the horrors of slavery, and the corn husking "frolics" gave them something enjoyable to look forward to, in spite of the hard work the men did shucking and the women did cooking food for those doing that labor. I think we honor those people who sang and danced corn songs by remembering those songs-both the way they were sung, and various adaptations of those songs such as the sea shanty "Round The Corner, Sally" and the children's song "Go Around The Corn, Sally".

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FEATURED EXAMPLES
These examples are presented in chronological order based on the posting date of the video on YouTube, with the example with the oldest date given first.

Example #1: Go Around the Corn, Sally! (Danielle Solan's 08-09 BTE 2nd Grade Concert).mov



Danielle Solan, Uploaded on Dec 29, 2009

LYRICS*

Go around, go around
Go around the corn Sally
Go around go around
Go around the corn Sally
Hey now, hey now
Go around the corn, Sally
Hey now ,hey now
Go around the corn, Sally

Fly around, fly around
Fly around the corn, Sally
Fly around, fly around
Fly around the corn, Sally
Hey now, hey now
Fly around the corn, Sally
Hey now, hey now
Fly around the corn Sally

Spin around, spin around
Spin around the corn, Sally
Spin around, spin around
Spin around the corn, Sally
Hey now, hey now
Spin around the corn, Sally
Hey now, hey now
Spin around the corn, Sally

Clap around, clap around
Clap around the corn, Sally
Clap around, clap around
Clap around the corn, Sally
Hey now, hey now
Clap around the corn, Sally
Hey now, hey now
Clap around the corn, Sally
-snip-
Transcription by Azizi Powell from the video. Additions and corrections are welcome.
-snip-
This version is sung in unison. Its "zip" style" structure that substitute one verb (action word) for another provides a good opportunity to talk about how the source song's lyrics were improvised and how the designated leader of the song continued singing while others worked shucking corn until he couldn't think of any more witty rhyming verses. The group of children could then be asked to come up with other verbs to be sung with this adapted song.

Here's the introduction to this song given by a boy from that group:
"Go Around The Corn, Sally" is an African American work song that is almost 200 years old. Workers used to sing this song while picking corn in the fields."

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Example #2: 2nd Grade "Go Around the Corn Sally"



Winding Ridge, Published on Jun 8, 2012

2nd Graders singing "Go Around the Corn, Sally" during their spring concert.

LYRICS*:
First group- Go around, round and round
Second group-Go around the corn, Sally
First group- Go around, round and round
Second group-Go around the corn, Sally
First group-Hey now, Hey now
Second group-Go around the corn, Sally
First group-Hey now, Hey now
Second group-Go around the corn, Sally

First group-Past the skillet, past the skillet*
Second group-Round and round the corn, Sally
First group-Past the skillet, past the skillet*
Second group-Go around the corn,
First group- All around, all around
Second group-Go around the corn, Sally
-snip-
Transcription by Azizi Powell from the video. Additions and corrections are welcome.
-snip-
This song is sung in a call & response style. The source song also had a call & response structure.

I'm not sure if I correctly transcribed this line.

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Example #3: River & Relic 2013 concert - Go Around The Corn, Sally



Arcege, Published on Dec 6, 2013
-snip-
The lyrics to this song appear to be the same as those given for Example #2 and this rendition is also sung in call & response style. However, the tempo is slower than the other two renditions of this song.

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