The Drinking Gourd
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Barry Taylor


Information
Lyrics
Before the Civil War an intinerent carpenter, Peg Leg Joe, travelled throughout the South, passing the tune to slaves. The words contained coded directions to travel north. The Drinking Gourd was code for the Big Dipper.

See below for related links, including ones that "decode" the words.

When the sun goes back
    and the first quail calls
Follow the drinking gourd
The old man is a-waitin' for
    to carry you to freedom
Follow the drinking gourd

Chorus
Follow the drinking gourd,
follow the drinking gourd
For the old man is a-waitin'
to carry you to freedom
Follow the drinking gourd

The river bed makes a mighty fine road,
Dead trees to show you the way
And it's left foot, peg foot, traveling on
Follow the drinking gourd

Chorus
Follow the drinking gourd,
follow the drinking gourd
For the old man is a-waitin'
to carry you to freedom
Follow the drinking gourd

The river ends between two hills
Follow the drinking gourd
There's another river on the other side
Follow the drinking gourd

Chorus
Follow the drinking gourd,
follow the drinking gourd
For the old man is a-waitin'
to carry you to freedom
Follow the drinking gourd

I thought I heard the angels say
Follow the drinking gourd
The stars in the heavens
     gonna show you the way
Follow the drinking gourd

Chorus
Follow the drinking gourd,
follow the drinking gourd
For the old man is a-waitin'
to carry you to freedom
Follow the drinking gourd

Related Links
Lyrics from The Mudcat Cafe