Told My Cap'n

Josh White
Language: English

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Nel disco intitolato “Chain Gang”, con il gruppo dei Carolinians

Chain Gang

"Columbia Records proudly presents what is perhaps the most genuine folk music of our times... Seven Negro laments of the chain gang sung by Joshua White and his Carolinians" (from liner notes)

Paul Muni in una scena di  “I’m a Fugitive From a Chain Gang”, diretto da Mervyn LeRoy, 1932.
Paul Muni in una scena di “I’m a Fugitive From a Chain Gang”, diretto da Mervyn LeRoy, 1932.

Ancora una canzone sulle chain gang, le squadre di prigionieri alla catena, o work gang, sempre composte in gran parte da neri, data la loro altissima percentuale fra la popolazione carceraria.
Anche qui il captain (in altre canzoni è il walker) esercita il totale arbitrio e la più spietata violenza sui prigionieri, arrivando ad ucciderne uno a sangue freddo… Ma – come in Nine Foot Shovel – il carnefice ha le ore contate…
Senz’altro il testo non è farina del sacco di White ma deriva da canti dei detenuti nelle prison farms del Sud negli anni 20, come la Grade Song che trovo su Mudcat Café…
Told my cap'n
My hands were cold.
God damn your hands, boy,
Let the wheelin' roll!

Told my cap'n
My feet were cold.
God damn your feet, boy,
Let the wheelin' roll!

Cap'n, cap'n
You must be blin'
Look at your watch
It's past quittin' time.

Cap'n, cap'n
How can it be,
Whistle done blow
You still workin' me?

Asked my cap'n
To give me my time
Dam' old cap'n
Wouldn't pay me no mind.

If I'd-a had my
Weight in lime [1]
Would've whupped that cap'n
Till he went stone blind.

Raised my hand
To wipe the sweat from my head
Damned old cap'n
Shot my buddy dead.

If you don't believe
That my buddy's dead
Just look at the hole
In my buddy's head.

Cap'n walkin' up and down
Buddy's lyin' on the burning ground.
Buzzards circling 'round the sky
Buzzards sure know
Cap'n's gonna die.
[1] If I was white (or if I were on equal terms for a fair fight) – Cioè nel senso di “se fossi bianco”, o “se potessi avere uno scontro alla pari”

Contributed by Bernart Bartleby - 2016/2/8 - 15:22

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