BLACK BROWN OR WHITE

Posted on Posted in Breedloves's Folk Songs

BLACK BROWN OR WHITE

Big Bill Broonzy was a prolific American blues singer, songwriter and guitarist. His
career began in the 1920s when he played Country blues to mostly black audiences.
Through the ‘30s and ‘40s he successfully navigated a transition in style to a more urban
blues sound popular with white audiences. In the 1950s a return to his traditional folk-
blues roots made him one of the leading figures of the emerging American folk music
revival and an international star. His long and varied career marks him as one of the key
figures in the development of blues music in the 20th century. Broonzy copyrighted more
than 300 songs during his lifetime, including both adaptations of traditional folk songs
and original blues songs. As a blues composer, he was unique in that his compositions
reflected the many vantage points of his rural-to-urban experiences.
This little song that I’m singin’ about
People you know it’s true
If you’re black and gotta work for a living
This is what they will say to you
They says if you was white, should be all right
If you was brown, stick around
But as you’s black, m-mm brother, git back git back git back
I was in a place one night
They was all having fun
They was all byin’ beer and wine
But they would not sell me none
They said if you was white, should be all right
If you was brown, stick around
But if you black, m-mm brother, git back git back git back
Me and a man was workin’ side by side
This is what it meant
They was paying him a dollar an hour
And they was paying me fifty cent
They said if you was white, ‘t should be all right
If you was brown, could stick around
But as you black, m-mm boy, git back git back git back
I went to an employment office
Got a number ‘n’ I got in line
They called everybody’s number
But they never did call min