PICK A BALE OF COTTON

Posted on Posted in Breedloves's Folk Songs
  • PICK A BALE OF COTTON
    “Pick a Bale of Cotton” has been classed as a work song but it also was used frequently
    during slave times as a dance tune or reel. As a work song it has a “John Henry” twist in
    that the lyric speaks of picking a bale of cotton a day, an impossible task for one person.
    This version of the song is credited to the late Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter and is more
    of a joyous dance interpretation than a work lament. Sonny Terry sings the verse over and
    over with the other two singers filling in a low chanted background. Abale of cotton
    weighs about a quarter of a ton. Nobody ever picked a bale in a day. An astounding
    number of folkies sing “pick a bale of hay”. That’s not bragging; it’s just silly. You don’t
    pick hay.
    Gonna jump down
    Turn around
    Pick a bale of cotton
    Gonna jump down
    Turn around
    Pick a bale a day
    Gonna jump down
    Turn around
    Pick a bale of cotton
    Gonna jump down
    Turn around
    Pick a bale a day
    Oh, lordy
    Pick a bale of cotton
    Oh, lordy
    Pick a bale a day
    Oh, lordy
    Pick a bale of cotton
    Oh, lordy
    Pick a bale a day
    I said
    Me and my buddy gonna pick a bale of cotton
    Now
    Me and my buddy gonna pick a bale a day
    I said
    Me and my buddy gonna pick a bale of cotton
    Now
    Me and my buddy gonna pick a bale a day
    Oh, lordy
  • Pick a bale of cotton
    Oh, lordy
    Pick a bale a day
    Oh, lordy
    Pick a bale of cotton
    Oh, lordy
    Pick a bale a day
    Gonna jump down
    Turn around
    Pick a bale of cotton
    Gonna jump down
    Turn around
    Pick a bale a day