Music and Texts of Gary Bachlund

 

 

'Weh Down Souf - (2017)    

Daniel Webster Davis

for medium voice and piano


 

O, de birds ar' sweetly singin,
Weh down Souf,
An de banjer is a-ringin,
Weh down Souf;
An my heart it is a-sighin,
Whil de moments am a-flyin,
Fur my hom I am a-cryin,
'Weh down Souf.

Dar de pickaninnies's playin',
'Weh down Souf,
An' fur dem I am a-prayin',
’Weh down Souf;
An' when I gits sum munny,
Yo' kin bet I’m goin', my hunny,
Fur de lan' dat am so sunny,
'Weh down Souf.

Whil' de win' up here's a-blowin',
'Weh down Souf
De corn is sweetly growin',
'Weh down Souf.
Dey tells me here ub freedum,
But I ain't a-gwine to heed um,
But I'se gwine fur to lebe um,
Fur 'weh down Souf.

I bin up here a-wuckin',
From 'weh down Souf,
An' I ain't a bin a-shurkin'—
I'm frum 'weh down Souf;
But I'm gittin' mighty werry,
An' de days a-gittin' drerry,
An' I'm hongry, O, so berry,
Fur my hom' down Souf.

O, de moon dar shines de brighter,
'Weh down Souf,
An' I know my heart is lighter,
'Weh down Souf;
An' de berry thought brings pledjur,
I'll be happy dar' dout medjur,
Fur dar I hab my tredjur,
'Weh down Souf..

[ 4 pages, circa 3' 45" ]


Daniel Webster Davis

 

One reads:  "...even with the fear of public criticism, and possibly public censure, I commit myself to its tender mercies. So many have asked for copies of' Emancipation' and other of my poems; the public press has spoken so kindly of them, that I indulge the hope that they may meet some favor. Perhaps some line may cheer and help a struggling brother, or bring some light and gladness into a stricken heart; but anyway, no line can bring ought but pleasure, as I believe a deep sense of the good, the beautiful and the true can be found on every page. Should the rhyme, the meter or the lines offend they at least are written from the heart." Daniel Webster Davis in his "Preface" to the poetry collection, "Idle Moments, Containing Emancipation and Other Poems," Davis and
Rose, 1895.

 

For more about this American poet who wrote both in dialect and standard English, see the page for my setting of Davis' delightfully humorous Hog Meat . As to the reference as in the title of poem and song setting, this was composed "way down South" on James Island, one of the sea islands of South Carolina and in between visits to Folly Beach where the Gershwins had worked on a portion of their setting of the story, Porgy and Bess.

 

 

As the text is a simple, five stanza form, the setting too is simple, two stanzas in B flat, the next two up a step and the last in a differing tempo a half step higher.

 

 

The score is available as a free PDF download, though any major commercial performance or recording of the work is prohibited without prior arrangement with the composer. Click on the graphic below for this piano-vocal score.

 

'Weh Down Souf