Way Down Yonder In The Brickyard

Right-click to download

This song is brought to us from the Georgia Sea Islands by Bessie Jones, a great singer, teacher and popularizer of African-American culture in the 20th century. Here’s what she had to say about this song:

“My grandfather made up this song down in the brickyard out from Williamsburg, Virginia, many years ago in slavery time. They had to make bricks with their hands and roll them up and fix them up with their hands, work some kind of a hot kiln. They tell us ’bout how they used to do it. They wasn’t getting no pay for it and they just made up their mind that, they always did make up their mind that they sing song, they get the work off their mind. They got to pacify their self they would sing something and so that’s what they did. They made this up, and they said, ‘let’s go ahead and make the brick, do the work, and step it down.’ Step it down mean make yourself happy and be rejoicing anyhow. You don’t get no money for it no how, so go ahead, and be happy with it. But we do want them, when these bricks, you know they’re putting the bricks up, they’re going to build things with it, someday know that they will remember them. So that’s what it is…why it say ‘Remember me,’ after they go ‘long, right now some of them bricks and some of that stuff is still there. They can remember them, but they wasn’t gettin’ no pay for it, so they just named it ‘Step It Down.’”

One thought on “Way Down Yonder In The Brickyard

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *