Tuesday, November 25, 2014

I Don't Do Nobody Nothin (African American Prison Work Song)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases a prison work song entitled "I Don't Do Nobody Nothin".

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

All copyrights remain with their owner.

Thanks to the unknown composer and singer of this song for putting into words what is felt when people are unjustly treated because of their race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, gender orientation, and/or other things that some people wrongfully consider reasons for injustice.

Thanks also to the publisher of this sound file on YouTube.

SHOWCASE SOUND FILE - I don't do nobody nothin

RosieKeepinthepromis, Uploaded on May 5, 2009

***update*** I've turned off the comments for this video. I never thought I'd have to do that since I mainly just post historical music recording on this account. However, for some reason, this particular video drew ridiculous, and some racist, bickering in the comments. I just got tired of getting notices of comments on this video from the flame war back and forth. I hope to turn the comments back on in the future. Until then, maybe a time out will give certain people a chance to grow up, or at the very least to get a life.

This is a historical recording, and I feel it is important to our (everyone's) musical history. The reason why I post these on youtube is to make them easily accessible to everyone, particularly to people who might not have ever encountered it otherwise (from what I can tell, surfing youtube is a much more popular past time that surfing the Library of Congress website). Even if you don't enjoy this kind of music, or this song in particular, I hope that you will at least acknowledge that these kind of recordings are important from a historical standpoint.

This is a recording I got from the Library of Congress AFC 1939/001 2671b1. It is a recording of Rev. Nathaniel Hawkins, a.k.a. C.W. "Preacher" Smith and some other unidentified singers. Recorded in 1939 in Arkansas at the Cummins State Farm by John and Ruby Lomax.
Photo is also from Library of Congress call number LOT 7414-E, no. N137, may have been taken at Cummins State Farm 1934.

and here's the lyrics (roughly), if you hear something different, let me know!

Refrain: I don't do nobody nothin', Jesus
But they hates me just the same (repeat these two lines,) Oh, well, well, it's among that Christian family
That They cause my heart to pain
The sinner he don't know nothin' 'bout me oh lord
He don't carry my name;

"State farm" is a referent for a state prison.

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