Pick a Bale of Cotton (Encore)

Folk/blues/Traditional

Popularized by Leadbelly, learned by school children throughout the country, and denounced in modern times as racist, this song has been covered by many artists including Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, Harry Belafonte, and Johnny Cash, and sampled by Ludacris in “Potion”,  all singing the  same telling song of hard slave labor in the cotton fields of our American South.

Here is one of my favorite versions. Behind his upbeat rendition, Donegan gives us visual reminders of what must never be forgotten.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ILbUduwBkg  (Lonnie Donegan)

I’m gonna jump down turn around, pick a bale of cotton
Jump down turn around, pick a bale a day
Jump down turn around, pick a bale of cotton
Jump down turn around, pick a bale a day

Oh Lordy, pick a bale of cotton
Well, oh Lordy, pick a bale a day
Well, oh Lordy, pick a bale of cotton
Well, oh Lordy, pick a bale of hay

You got to jump down, turn around, pick a bale of cotton
You got to jump down, turn around, pick a bale of hay
You got to jump down, turn around, pick a bale of cotton
You got to jump down, turn around, pick a bale of hay

Well, oh Lordy, pick a bale of cotton

Me and my [wife, gal, buddy. partner] can pick a bale of cotton

Well, oh Lordy, pick a bale of cotton

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