"Old Folks at Home"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Tue Jan 19 15:39:45 UTC 2010

When we sang the song in fifth grade, in a NYC public school, the chorus had
already been changed to the harmless, if vaguely Christian, "Oh, brothers!"


On Tue, Jan 19, 2010 at 10:30 AM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at att.net> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> Subject:      Re: "Old Folks at Home"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Tom, see the Wikipedia article for discussion and the original
> lyrics, as first adopted by Florida and not changed until 2008:
>     1st verse
>     Way down upon de Swanee ribber (river)
>     Far, far away,
>     Dere's wha my heart is turning ebber,
>     Dere's wha de old folks stay.
>     All up and down de whole creation
>     Sadly I roam,
>     Still longing for de old plantation
>     And for de old folks at home.
>         Chorus
>         All de world am sad and dreary,
>         Ebry where I roam,
>         Oh! darkies how my heart grows weary,
>         Far from de old folks at home.
>     2nd verse
>     All round de little farm I wandered
>     When I was young,
>     Den many happy days I squandered,
>     Many de songs I sung.
>     When I was playing wid my brudder
>     Happy was I
>     Oh! take me to my kind old mudder,
>     Dere let me live and die.
>         Chorus
>     3rd verse
>     One little hut amond de bushes,
>     One dat I love,
>     Still sadly to my mem'ry rushes,
>     No matter where I rove
>     When will I see de bees a humming
>     All round de comb?
>     When will I hear de banjo tumming
>     Down in my good old home?
> (I imagine it's still offensive as the Florida state song to the
> "darkies".)
> Joel
> At 1/19/2010 10:19 AM, Tom Zurinskas wrote:
> >It seems like this song is from a "darkie" singing to his fellow
> >darkies.  It was written by a whitie.
> >
> >Official Song of the State of Florida
> >The Swanee River (Old Folks at Home)
> >
> >Stephen Foster, 1851
> >
> >Way down upon the Swanee River,
> >Far, far away
> >That's where my heart is turning ever
> >That's where the old folks stay
> >All up and down the whole creation,
> >Sadly I roam
> >Still longing for the old plantation
> >And for the old folks at home
> >
> >Chorus:
> >All the world is sad and dreary everywhere I roam
> >Oh darkies, how my heart grows weary
> >Far from the old folks at home
> >
> >2. All 'round the little farm I wandered,
> >When I was young
> >Then many happy days I squandered,
> >Many the songs I sung
> >When I was playing with my brother,
> >Happy was I
> >Oh, take me to my kind old mother,
> >There let me live and die
> >Chorus:
> >
> >2. One little hut among the bushes,
> >One that I love
> >Still sadly to my mem'ry rushes,
> >No matter where I rove
> >When shall I see the bees a humming,
> >All 'round the comb
> >When shall I hear the banjo strumming,
> >Down by my good old home
> >Chorus:
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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