Follow the Drinking Gourd

My five-year-old brain understood that “the drinking gourd” in this song meant the Big Dipper.

My five-year-old brain must have been too excited to be singing in Big Sister’s 1st grade class to learn the rest of the song. Until 30 minutes ago, I didn’t know there was “the rest of the song”.

Peg Leg Joe’s song mapped out the way north for slaves, from Alabama to Ohio. When you realize that it was a gazillion years ahead of Google Maps and the like, you start wondering how to set your GPS to sing you to work and around town. Should cut way down on road rage, yes?



Hey Teachers and Music People, you’ll want to read Joel Bresler‘s fascinating in-depth analysis of the song.


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