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Shortenin’ Bread

   

Song lyrics to Shortenin’ Bread – an African-American folk song dating back at least to the 1890s. James Whitcomb Riley published it as a poem in 1900, building on older lyrics.

Put on the skillet, put on the lid
Mama’s gonna make a little short’nin’ bread
That ain’t all s Mama’s gonna do
She’s gonna make a little coffee, too

Mama’s little baby loves short’nin’, short’nin’,
Mama’s little baby loves short’nin’ bread
Mama’s little baby loves short’nin’, short’nin’
Her little baby loves short’nin’ bread

Three little children, lyin’ in bed
Two were sick and the other ‘most dead
Sent for the doctor and the doctor said
“Feed those babies some short’nin’ bread”

Mama’s baby loves short’nin’
Mama’s baby loves bread
Mama’s baby loves short’nin’
Mama’s little baby loves short’nin’ bread

Slipped to the kitchen, slipped up the led
Slipped up the pockets full of short’nin’ bread
She stole the skillet, she stole the led
Stole the gal makin’ short’nin’ bread

Oh, Mama’s baby loves short’nin’
Oh, Mama’s baby loves short’nin’
Oh, Mama’s baby loves short’nin’ bread
The short’nin’ bread is always the thing to have, the thing to have, ah-da-dah

They must have their bread
They caught me with the skillet, they caught me with the lid
They caught me with the gal makin’ short’nin’ bread
Paid six dollars for the skillet, paid six dollars for the led

Spent six months in jail eatin’ short’nin’ bread
Mama’s little baby loves short’nin’, short’nin’
Mama’s little baby loves short’nin’ bread
Mama’s little baby loves short’nin’, short’nin’, rip
Oh, short’nin’ bread
Oh Mama, give us bread

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