Follow The Drinking Gourd
From Plank Road Publishingarr. Paul Jennings
Perfect for use in a unit on the Underground Railroad, this much requested "code song" is one that also has a number of classroom resources to support the learning experience. Like many old songs, there are various stories to this song. Probably the most prevalent is that there was an itinerant carpenter named Peg Leg Joe, who traveled each winter throughout the south, moving from plantation to plantation. In each new location, he taught the song to the slaves. Buried in the lyrics of the song are instructions for escaping to the north.
This recording provides one of several similar sets of lyrics, and is arranged in a singable folk style. The ensemble accompanying it includes several types of guitar, banjo, and a virtuoso harmonica player. However you choose to perform it, "Follow The Drinking Gourd" will provide you with an excellent singing opportunity, along with a fascinating page from American history. (from Music K-8, Vol. 13, No. 3)
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