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Follow the Drinking Gourd

Traditional American Folk Song

"Follow the Drinking Gourd" is an African American folk song first published in 1928. The Drinking Gourd is another name for the Big Dipper asterism. Folklore has it that slaves in the United States used it as a point of reference so they would not get lost. According to legend, the song was used by a conductor of the Underground Railroad, called Peg Leg Joe, to guide some fugitive slaves. While the song may possibly refer to some lost fragment of history, the origin and context remain a mystery. A more recent source challenges the authenticity of the claim that the song was used to help slaves escape to the North and to freedom

    Release Date: 1928


Follow the Drinking Gourd

Follow the Drinking Gourd

The wistful layered melodies, undulating piano accompaniment and plaintive violin obbligato create a mysterious atmosphere in this accessible work that tells the story of the Underground Railroad.

Voicing: SSA



Songbooks, Arrangements and/or Media

Displaying 1-5 of 5 items.


Jay Althouse : Folk Songs for Solo Singers, Vol. 2 - Medium High : Solo : Songbook & CD : 038081136516  : 00-16304

Jay Althouse : Folk Songs for Solo Singers, Vol. 2 - Medium High

This volume of best-loved folk songs for solo voice and piano contains fourteen memorable works arranged by three of Alfred's top writers: Jay Althouse, Mark Hayes and Ruth Elaine Schram. Includes "Camptown Races," "Follow the Drinking Gourd" and more!

Songlist: The Water Is Wide , Cindy, All Through The Night , Poor Boy , Camptown Races , Go 'Way From My Window , Simple Gifts , Poor Wayfaring Stranger, He's Gone Away , Old Dan Tucker , All My Trials , Follow the Drinking Gourd , Fire Down Below , Shenandoah

More details
Voicing: Solo | 5366b | Songbook & CD | $20.95


Jay Althouse : Folk Songs for Solo Singers, Vol. 2 - Medium Low : Solo : Songbook & CD : 038081136523  : 00-16305

Jay Althouse : Folk Songs for Solo Singers, Vol. 2 - Medium Low

This volume of best-loved folk songs for solo voice and piano contains fourteen memorable works arranged by three of Alfred's top writers: Jay Althouse, Mark Hayes and Ruth Elaine Schram. Includes "Camptown Races," "Follow the Drinking Gourd" and more!

Songlist: The Water Is Wide , Cindy, All Through The Night , Poor Boy , Camptown Races , Go 'Way From My Window , Simple Gifts , Poor Wayfaring Stranger, He's Gone Away , Old Dan Tucker , All My Trials , Follow the Drinking Gourd , Fire Down Below , Shenandoah

More details
Voicing: Solo | 5367b | Songbook & CD | $20.95


American Spiritual Ensemble : The Spirituals : 00  1 CD

American Spiritual Ensemble : The Spirituals

The American Spiritual Ensemble has grown to 42 members for this memorable recording "The Spirituals." Two powerful pictures in the liner notes, depicting a slave couple at a mean cabin, dreaming of escaping their bondage, and then on the cover, striking out across a fog-shrouded field in the early morning, tell us the story of these 15 authentic songs. "Crossin' Ovah," "Follow The Drinking Gourd," "There Is A Balm in Gilead," "It's Me Oh Lord," "Guide My Feet," "Here's One," "Give Me Jesus," "I Want Jesus to Walk With Me" and "We Shall Overcome" speak of the tremendous struggle of African-Americans to gain their freedom and equality. The soulful leads and harmonies of these powerful coded songs actually helped some of the singers find their way out of bondage. Powerful, wonderful stuff from the American Spiritual Ensemble! Some piano accompaniment.

Songlist: Plenty Good Room, Crossin' Ovah, Follow The Drinking Gourd, Steal Away, There is a Balm in Gilead, Follow The Drinking Gourd, It's Me Oh Lord, Guide My Feet, Ev'ry Time I Feel the Spirit, Follow The Drinking Gourd, Here's One, Give Me Jesus, Follow The Drinking Gourd, I Want Jesus to Walk with Me, We Shall Overcome

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2298c | 1 CD | $14.95 | A Cappella


Realtime : Take 5 : 00  1 CD

Realtime : Take 5

Based in Vancouver, Canada and Bellingham, WA, a very talented pair of brothers, Tim & Doug Broersma and Mark & Tom Metzger, form four part a cappella quartet Realtime, who have been singing together since 2003. They quickly placed 2nd in the Harmony Sweeps Pacific Northwest Regional in 2004, then they became the 2005 International Quartet Champions of the Barbershop Harmony Society in Salt Lake City! Having reached the pinnacle of the barbershop world, they stopped competing in Barbershop contests. However, they continued to compete in the Harmony Sweeps, winning the Pacific Northwest again in 2007, and again in 2010, where this supergroup is an early favorite to win the upcoming National Finals May 15th! Listening to their jazzy, wonderfully arranged rendition of Dave Brubeck's jazz standard "Take 5" underlines the group's determination to "sing and record music of many styles, whatever (we) decide we like!" What Realtime likes includes 13 diverse selections, Lennon/McCartney's pop hits "With A Little Help From My Friends" and "Blackbird," "Over the Rainbow" from The Wizard of Oz, the Tennessee country anthem "Rocky Top," The show tune "On A Clear Day" (You Can See Forever), the scattish jazz favorite "Flight of the Foo Birds," the haunting spiritual "Follow the Drinking Gourd," and the Doobie Brothers' foot-tapping rocker "Listen to the Music." The last two cuts, "Funny Valentine" and "Georgia On My Mind," are harmoniously performed with the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra. "Take 5" is great stuff, the rock-solid harmonies and pure entertainment chops of this gold-medal-winning Barbershop group, joyously applied to some of our favorite tunes in other genres. Listening to it, we can't wait to hear Realtime at the Finals!

Songlist: Take Five, With A Little Help From My Friends, Over the Rainbow, Rocky Top, Blackbird, On A Clear Day, Beautiful Love, Little Boy Lost, Flight of the Foo Birds, Follow the Drinking Gourd, Listen to the Music, Funny Valentine, Georgia On My Mind

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2783c | 1 CD | $14.95 | A Cappella


Saturday Evening Post : 3rd Edition : 00  1 CD

Saturday Evening Post : 3rd Edition

Consistently up there with the very best Barbershop quartets, Colorado Springs-based SEP placed 5th at the 2004 SPEBSQSA finals in Louisville, and 7th at the 2005 Finals in Salt Lake City. "That's A Plenty" is the group's 3rd excellent CD, and it showcases the group's love of Americana classics, from the early 1900s through the big band era and into the beat of the 1950s and 60s, their lively personalities and sense of fun, and harmonies that ring until somebody answers. 15 songs, the title tune (which is also performed with rock legends The Band, "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows," "End of the World," pop/doo-wop classics "Barbara Ann" and "In the Still of the Night," the spiritual ""Follow the Drinking Gourd," "Blues in the Night," "Gospel Medley," the powerful "It is Well with My Soul," and bonus live track "The Ragin' Cajun," are favorites. If you'll forgive us, "That's A Plenty" good stuff from veteran harmonizers and entertainers, Saturday Evening Post!"

Songlist: That's A Plenty, Tin Roof Blues, I'm Always Chasing Rainbows, I Hear Music, Moa Li Hua, End of the World, Barbara Ann, In the Still of the Night, Pokarekare Ana, Follow the Drinking Gourd, Blues In the Night, It Is Well With My Soul, Gospel Medley, New Zealand National Anthem, That's A Plenty (With the Band), BONUS TRACK - The Ragin' Cajun

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5681c | 1 CD | $14.98 | A Cappella


Individual Folios

Displaying 1-7 of 7 items.


Follow the Drinking Gourd : SAB : Jay Althouse :  1 CD : 00-11600 : 038081118277

Jay Althouse : Follow the Drinking Gourdnew

An exceptional arrangement of the traditional African-American folk song pertaining to the Big Dipper (the "Drinking Gourd") and how it points north t freedom. Features solid choral writing with a haunting piano accompaniment. Comfortable ranges, no solos, no divisi. Good for multi-cultural programs.

Arranger: Jay Althouse | Country: American Folk

More details
Voicing: SAB | Sheet Music | $2.25 |
(Minimum order 4 copies)
| 00-11600


Follow the Drinking Gourd : 2-Part : Jay Althouse : Sheet Music : 00-11601 : 038081118284

Jay Althouse : Follow the Drinking Gourdnew

An exceptional arrangement of the traditional African-American folk song pertaining to the Big Dipper (the "Drinking Gourd") and how it points north t freedom. Features solid choral writing with a haunting piano accompaniment. Comfortable ranges, no solos, no divisi. Good for multi-cultural programs.

Arranger: Jay Althouse | Country: American Folk

More details
Voicing: 2-Part | Sheet Music | $2.25 |
(Minimum order 4 copies)
| 00-11601


Follow the Drinking Gourd : SATB divisi : Allen Koepke : Allen Koepke : Sheet Music : SBMP756 : 964807007566

Allen Koepke : Follow the Drinking Gourd

The composer has achieved great notoriety for his spiritual arrangements; his fans will delight to discover another great one. This setting is poignant with its message, and highly rhythmic in its design as it and builds to a dramatic conclusion. The text contains coded lyrics as is typical of many spirituals; their significance and meaning is documented in the printed score.

Composer: Allen Koepke

More details
Voicing: SATB divisi | Sheet Music | $2.10 | A Cappella |
(Minimum order 4 copies)
| SBMP756


Follow the Drinking Gourd : SSA : Emily Crocker : Sheet Music : 00210444 : 888680659875

Emily Crocker : Follow the Drinking Gourd

The wistful layered melodies, undulating piano accompaniment and plaintive violin obbligato create a mysterious atmosphere in this accessible work that tells the story of the Underground Railroad.

Arranger: Emily Crocker

More details
Voicing: SSA | Sheet Music | $2.10 |
(Minimum order 4 copies)
| 00210444


Follow the Drinking Gourd : 2-Part : Rollo Dilworth : Sheet Music : 08748736 : 884088239329

Rollo Dilworth : Follow the Drinking Gourd

The modal melodies, bluesy piano accompaniment, whispered warnings and layered percussion in this setting of the traditional spiritual create a mysterious atmosphere that dramatically tells the story of the Underground Railroad. Duration: ca. 3:00.

Arranger: Rollo Dilworth

More details
Voicing: 2-Part | Sheet Music | $1.90 | With Piano |
(Minimum order 4 copies)
| 08748736


Follow the Drinking Gourd : SATB : Glenda E. Franklin : Sheet Music : 35029192 : 884088945855 : 1480353930

Glenda E. Franklin : Follow the Drinking Gourd

Believed to be written after the Civil War, this American folk song is often credited as a spiritual based on the idea that the words are encoded escape instructions and a map for fleeing slaves on their way north. The supportive and interesting piano accompaniment can be enhanced with ad lib. percussion while the melody, harmony, text, and rhythm combine to create an unforgettable performance.

Arranger: Glenda E. Franklin

More details
Voicing: SATB | Sheet Music | $1.95 | With Piano |
(Minimum order 4 copies)
| 35029192


Follow the Drinking Gourd : SAB : Glenda E. Franklin : Sheet Music : 35029193 : 884088945862 : 1480353949

Glenda E. Franklin : Follow the Drinking Gourd

Believed to be written after the Civil War, this American folk song is often credited as a spiritual based on the idea that the words are encoded escape instructions and a map for fleeing slaves on their way north. The supportive and interesting piano accompaniment can be enhanced with ad lib. percussion while the melody, harmony, text, and rhythm combine to create an unforgettable performance.

Arranger: Glenda E. Franklin

More details
Voicing: SAB | Sheet Music | $1.95 | With Piano |
(Minimum order 4 copies)
| 35029193

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