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Drinkin’ that Wine

My singing of this song is amalgamated from multiple sources including a version from longshoremen of the Ball Steamship Company in Tampa Florida (AFC 7092 B2 – primary melody, verses 1 and 3), a menhaden fishing version released on the LP Virgina Traditions, sung by Walter Kegler and the crew of the Barnegat, recorded 8 August 1950 off Crab Island, NJ by an NBC radio crew (verses 1, 4, 5 and 6). My lyrics for verse 2 are taken from Lydia Parrish’s Slave Songs of the Georgia Sea Islands p. 250 where the song is called “Communion Hymn” but used for weed cutting. Other versions can be found in Odum & Johnson’s 1926 collection American Negro Songs and Spirituals p. 136; and Bruce Jackson’s classic collection of prison songs Wake Up Dead Man pp. 245 ff. which has versions used for logging and flatweeding.

  1. Oh, if my mother asks for me,
    Tell her that death done summon me,
    You ought to been there ten thousand years
    Drinkin’ that wine.
    Chorus:
    Drinkin’ that wine, wine wine
    Drinkin’ that wine, oh yes my Lord
    You oughta been there ten thousand years
    Drinkin’ that wine.
  2. Ain’t but one thing that I done wrong,
    Stayin’ in the wilderness mos’ too long.
  3. Down by the river, we’re gonna walk
    Me and my Lord gonna have a little talk.
  4. Two white horses side by side,
    One of them horses I’m gonna ride.
  5. If you get there before I do,
    Tell my mother I’m coming too.
  6. If my mother asks for me,
    Tell her that death done summon me.
Lyrics from the recording:
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