Edited by Azizi Powell
This post provides information about and lyrics for the African American Spiritual or early Gospel song "Hand Me Down My Sliver Trumpet, Gabriel" (also known as "Hand Me Down My Silver Trumpet"). Two video examples of this song are also included in this post.
Information, lyrics, and two video examples of secular songs with the title "Hand Me Down My Walking Shoes" are also included in this post. By no means does this post purport to cover the multiple songs from different genres that have the title "Hand Me Down My Walking Cane (or "Walking Shoes").
The Addendum to this post includes information and partial lyrics for the Blues song "Look On Yonder Wall". That song has the line "hand me down my walking cane".
Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2016/08/lou-rawls-song-memory-lane-kappa-alpha.html for a related pancocojams post on the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity song "Hand Me Down My Kappa Kane". Lyrics for and a sound file of Lou Rawls's 1965 song "Memory Lane" is featured in that post as I believe that "Memory Lane" is the direct source for that Kappa song.
The content of this post is presented for historical, folkloric, religious, and aesthetic purposes.
All copyrights remain with their owners.
Thanks to the composer/s of "Hand Me Down My Silver Trumpet". Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to all those who featured in these videos. In addition, thanks to the collectors of this song and thanks to the publishers of these videos on YouTube.
INFORMATION ABOUT AND LYRICS FOR THE SPIRITUAL "HAND ME DOWN MY SILVER TRUMPET, GABRIEL"
From http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=37822 Origin: Hand Me Down My Walking Cane
Date: 15 Aug 01 - 03:05 PM
"Do any of you know the origin of "Hand Me Down My Walking Cane" I have one source that says it was written by James A. Bland of "Golden Slippers" fame. However, that was the only one."
Date: 15 Aug 14 - 07:39 PM
...Black past has it James A. Bland, 1880.
From masato sakurai
Date: 17 Aug 01 - 12:39 PM
"The Great Song Thesaurus (Oxford UP) has an entry "(Oh) Hand Me Down My Walking Cane," and it says:
1865 w.m. traditional black American spiritual
Was it? What was the evidence? Erskine Peters' Lyrics of the Afro-American Spiritual (Greenwood) contains a seemingly related one:
Hand me down my silver trumpet, Gabriel,
Hand it down;
Hand me down my silver trumpet, Gabriel,
Hand me down
Hand me down my silver trumpet,
Hand me down my silver trumpet,
All my sins been washed away. (Traditional)
Well, this version looks like a spiritual. But the collection (without melody) doesn't give the date or place it collected. According to Index to Negro Spirituals (Cleveland Public Library), "Hand Me Down" (this short title) is located in Utica Jubilee Singers Spirituals (1930), which I have not seen. There is no mention of "Hand Me Down My Walking Cane" in Blues and Gospel Records 1890-1943 (Oxford UP); the titles of 10 recordings are "Hand Me Down the Silver Trumpet," "Hand Me Down the Trumpet Gabriel," "Hand Me Down the Silver Trumpet Gabriel," "Hand Me Down My Silver Trumpet, Gabriel," "Hand Me the Silver Trumpet," and "Hand Me Down" (and "Hand Me Down My Old Suitcase").
Surely, this version of "Hand Me Down My Walking Cane" (so the title goes) has the silver trumpet" line, so these two song families are related; at least they were intermingled somewhere. But, up to now, I cannot confirm the thesaurus.
The Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music has HAND ME DOWN DEM GOLDEN SHOES (Composer, Lyricist, Arranger: By Jacob J. Sawyer. Publication: Boston: W.A. Evans, 1883). The Library of Congress has two items of this song (this and this ). My guess (without any evidence)is, this was mistaken for James Bland's "Dem Golden Slippers." "
Pancocojams editor: The hyperlinks that were given as “this and this” in that 2001 comment now lead to a website page that has nothing to do with any song."
Date: 16 Aug 14 - 12:47 PM
"Was Bland first, or was its origin in spirituals like "All My Sins Done Taken Away"?
See St. Helena Island Spirituals Permathread, 130500
Bland was a member of the first all black minstrel group in the 1870s, the Georgia Minstrels. He heard spirituals from ex-slaves working on the Howard campus."
Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2015/05/lyrics-all-my-sins-done-taken-away.html for a pancocojams post on Part I of a two part series on the African American Spiritual "All My Sins Done Taken Away". That post includes a link to Part II of that series which showcases videos of that song.
SHOWCASE VIDEOS OF "HAND ME DOWN MY SILVER TRUMPET"
Example #1: Hand Me Down My Silver Trumpet. (Spiritual) . Cantorion Colin Jones.
bryntomos Published on Nov 16, 2014
A rousing spiritual. Soloist :Mr Norman Rogers Jones. Musical Director .Maestro Colin Jones. Recorded in 1999.
Example #2: Hand Me Down My Silver Trumpet, Gabriel (feat. Lew Green (Cornet)
Toni Lorenzo - Topic Uploaded on May 29, 2014
Provided to YouTube by Believe SAS
Hand Me Down My Silver Trumpet, Gabriel (feat. Lew Green (Cornet) · Toni Lorenzo, The Preservation Jazzband
Gospel & Spirituals from New Orleans
℗ Music Unlimited GmbH
The Wikipedia page for "Hand Me Down My Walking Shoes" has this brief notation: "Hand Me Down My Walking Cane" is a song written by African-American James A. Bland in 1880. It has acquired the status of a folk song, and is cataloged as Roud Folk Song Index No. 11,733....
The song has been recorded many times, in a variety of styles including country, cajun, jazz, mountain, bluegrass, rock and roll, and acoustic and electric blues.".
That Wikipedia page includes hyperlinks to a list of recording artists who have recorded a song or tune entitled "Hand Me Down My Walking Cane".
Given the information cited in the mudcat.com folk music forum discussion that are excerpted above, it's possible that James A. Bland didn't compose "Hand Me Down My Walking Cane". Or if he did compose it, he based it on previously sung African American Spirituals (i.e. "Hand Me Down My Silver Trumpet" and/or "All My Sins Done Taken Away".
The statement that "Hand Me Down My Walking Cane" has "acquired the status of a folk song" is reflective of the fact that there are so many different versions of that song.
The tune and textual structure for most versions of "Hand Me Down My Walking Cane" that I have heard on YouTube are the same as or very similar to the tune and textual structure for "Ain't Gonna Grieve My Lord No More" (also known as "Oh, You'll Never Get To Heaven".
SHOWCASE VIDEOS OF "HAND ME DOWN MY WALKING CANE"
These examples are given in chronological order based on the publishing date of this YouTube example, with the oldest dated video given first.
Example #1: Norman Blake - hand me down my walking cane
MonkWaits Published on Aug 27, 2012
one of my all-time favorite songs
Example #2: HAND ME DOWN MY WALKING CANE by Kelly Harrell Mountaineer's Song
cdbpdx, Published on Jan 30, 2014
A commenter wrote that this was recorded in 1926.
ADDENDUM- BLUES SONG "LOOK ON YONDER WALL"
James "Beale Street" Clark ("Memphis Jimmy")'s 1945 Blues song "Look On Yonder Wall" includes the line "hand me down my walkin' cane". Here are partial lyrics for that song from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Look_on_Yonder_Wall
"Now baby I've been worried, ever since victory day
Every time I pick up the paper, your man is comin' this a way
Look on yonder wall, hand me down my walkin' cane
Said I'm gonna find me woman, woo-hoo look here come your man
Now your man have been in the army, 'n' I know that awful rough
I don't know how many men he done killed, but I think he done killed enough"