Library of Congress fieldworkers have recorded bedtime songs in a few dialects over the United States, including the English-language “Come Up Horsey, Hey, Hey,” the Icelandic-language “Budar ei lofti,” and the Arabic-language “Ughniyah li al-Atfal.”
Much the same as guardians speaking with oohyah.com who haven’t yet figured out how to talk, cattle rustlers expected to utilize unadulterated sound to speak with their creatures. When attempting to control a crowd of steeds or dairy animals, they made alleviating, mumbling sounds, and infrequent yells and snorts. They at times fused these sounds into melodies, and truly sang to their creatures to keep them quiet and on-track.
One of these melodies, called the “Night Herding Song,” was gathered by John Lomax from its creator, the Texas cowhand Harry Stephens. In light of the prominence of Lomax’s productions, renditions of this tune have since been recorded by Roy Rogers, Tex Ritter, Don Edwards, and other prominent cattle rustler vocalists.
The “Night Herding Song” is just a single case of a work tune joined into mainstream culture. From the most punctual long stretches of recorded famous music (particularly the blues and down home music) work melodies have been adjusted to fit the styles of artists who at that point progressed toward becoming models for later ages.
In 1929, Mississippi John Hurt recorded the well known tune “Spike Driver Blues,” his adjustment of the conventional “Take This Hammer.” The work melody “Dark Betty,” first archived by the Library of Congress, has been recorded by musical crews Ram Jam (1977), Spiderbait (2004), and The Melvins (2011).
Along these lines, in the driving rhythms and pitiful verses of contemporary popular music, one can in any case hear echoes of the slashing, pounding, and staring off into space of hundreds of years of American laborers.