Sheep, Sheep Don't Ya Know The Road?
PEAS
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Thank Ewe!
The last to breathe
is the first to drown
Sheep Sheep Don'tcha Know The Road

This recording, made by Alan Lomax, features The Sea Island Singers.

The Georgia Sea Islands were relatively isolated. As a result, much
slave culture that was lost elsewhere has survived there.

This recording is an example of the African foundational element
known as "call-and-response." Call and response differs from lining
out in that it is literally question and answer. "Don'tcha know the
road?" "Yes Lord, I know the road." Conversely, lining out is singing
out the verse solo and having the group repeat it word for word.

The most striking difference between the  
Guide Me Great Jehovah
selection and this one is the difference in rhythmic treatment.
Guide Me Great Jehovah is slow and free flowing, the spirit of the
moment dictating the duration of the notes.
It does not seem to have any set meter.

In contrast, Sheep, Sheep Don'tcha Know The Road has a prominent
rhythm that is clapped out. The "metronomic pulse."

The clapping is done on beats 2 and 4 (1 2 3 4), the characteristic
backbeat of African-American Music.

Lomax describes the clapping at the end of the song as following
"polyrhythms," another of the African foundational elements.   
There is a palpable sense of joy and of movement in this hymn.



Isn't that so cool!

It makes me wish I had rhythm!
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