Monday, September 14, 2015

Vera Hall - "Another Man Done Gone" (sound file, lyrics, & comments)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases Vera Hall singing the song "Another Man Done Gone". Information about Vera Hall is also included in this post.

Click for a companion post of Odetta singing "Another Man Done Gone".

The content of this post is presented for cultural and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to the composer of this song, and thanks to Vera Hall for her musical legacy. Thanks also to the collectors of this song, the publisher of this example on YouTube, and all those who are quoted in this post. Also, thanks to Black Lives Matter and all those who are working for systemic change of the United States' criminal justice system.

"Adell Hall Ward, better known as Vera Hall (April 6, 1902 – January 29, 1964)[1] was an American folk singer, born in Livingston, Alabama.[2] Best known for her song "Trouble So Hard", she was inducted into the Alabama Women's Hall of Fame in 2005.[3]

...John Avery Lomax, ethnomusicologist, met Hall in the 1930s and recorded her for the Library of Congress.[2] Lomax wrote that she had the loveliest voice he had ever recorded.[citation needed] The BBC played Hall's recording of "Another Man Done Gone" in 1943 as a sample of American folk music. The Library of Congress played the song the same year in commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. In 1945, Hall recorded with Byron Arnold. In 1984, the recordings were released as a collection of folk songs entitled Cornbread Crumbled in Gravy."...

From "another man done gone to the county farm", posted by Fred McCormick, 24 Jun 13 - 11:58 AM ,
"Another Man Done Gone was collected from the magnificent Vera Hall Ward of Livingstone, Alabama in 1940 by John Lomax and in 1947 by Alan Lomax. A third recording of her singing it dates from 1950 and was collected by Harold Courlander.

It appears to be a pretty rare song and the only other version of it I've been able to trace was recorded by Harold Courlander from Willie Harris, also of Livingstone, Alabama, again in 1950.

The text of Mrs Hall's 1940 recording is as follows.

Another man done gone x3
From the County farm,
Another man done gone.

I didn't know his name x4

He had a long chain on x4

He killed another man x4

I don't know where he's gone x4

I'm gonna walk your log (?) x4.

Clearly, as far as Vera Hall's text is concerned, the song is about a prisoner breaking out of the county farm, or conceiveably dying while inside, rather than someone being sent to prison.

You can find it on Rounder CD 1500, A Treasury of Library of Congress Field Recordings. It also appears on the Alan Lomax produced radio programme, Blues in the Mississippi Night."
"the county farm" = the county prison

Read the comment about the meaning of "I'm gonna walk your log" which is given after the YouTube sound file.

SHOWCASE EXAMPLE: Vera Hall - another man done gone

frantz1, Uploaded on Jun 12, 2011
Selected comments from this sound file's discussion thread:
MerlePsyA, 2014
"The first recording of this song is of Vera Hall, collected by Alan Lomax. She sings "He killed another man". Later versions have a different edge, a different meaning -- "They killed another man"."

jacksawhavocm, 2014
"I understand all the lyrics but the last verse. "im gonna work your log" ? "im gonna walk your law" ???"

MerlePsyA, 2014
"I'm gonna walk your log -- It means crossing a river, near the waterfall, walking over a fallen log that spans the river. Other versions say, "I'm gonna walk your log down by the waterfall". walking the log is the escape route."

jacksawhavoc, 2014
"Wow that's great thank you for sharing your knowledge :)"

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1 comment:

  1. In my comments above I thanked those who are active in the Black Lives Matter movement.

    As a reminder, the name for the "Black Life Matters movement means "Black Lives Also Matter."