Meet Uncle Billy McCrea.

Uncle Billy McCrea was from Jasper, Texas.

He estimated his age to be about 89, although two differnt court documents pegged his age at either 98, or 117, depending on what record is read.

Uncle Billy must have been enslaved in his early teens, since this interview was conducted by John Lomax in 1940.

This recording is from one of the 26 known existing audio recordings of from ex-slaves that have been found so far.

The slave singing contained below was recorded by John Lomax in 1940, during one of his trips through the south, to record and document the native folk music of the land.

Between 1932 and 1975, interviews with formers slaves took place in nine Southern states, with 23 individuals, born between 1823 and 1860.

Only 26 known recordings of slaves, including the clip below, are currently known to exist.

The song is titled “Blow Cornie Blow,” which was an old steamboat song the slaves would sing as they transported salt to the docks.

Uncle Billy McCrea had 36 children, 18 of them were boys and 16 of them were raised in Jasper County.

I think I hear the captain call me, blow cornie blow.
I think I hear the captain calling, blow cornie blow.
A blow cornie blow.
Blow cornie blow.
A blew it cold, loud and mournful.
Blow cornie blow.
I think I hear the captain??? –blow cornie blow.
They carried lo-o-o-o-ong onto bend.
Blow cornie blow.
They soon will be to the landing corner.
Blow cornie blow.
De captain hand me down my ???
Blow cornie blow.
Oh, blow boy and let them hear you.
Blow cornie blow.
Oh, blow loud and ???
Blow cornie blow.
Oh, blow loud just so he can hear you.
Blow cornie blow.
I think I hear the captain call you.
Blow cornie blow.


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