Kate (kalohalo) wrote in woodcraft_folk,
Kate
kalohalo
woodcraft_folk

Have any of you heard of a song called Back of the Bus? I'm doing a project at college on the Civil Rights Movement in America, focusing on literature (I Have a Dream, To Kill a Mockingbird, and so on). I vaguely remember singing a song called Back of the Bus around Woodcraft campfires, but I can only remember the first verse and the chorus.

Could any of you help me out? I'm dying to put it in the presentation (the thought of forcing my English class to sing along as I brandish a tambourine is just too tempting), and wondered if any of you could remember the other verses. I'm not sure if it is a 'Woodcraft' song, but hopefully some of you from the same region will be able to help!

Thanks a lot,

~ Kate

If you come looking at the back of the bus,
And you can’t find me nowhere,
Come on over to the front of the bus,
‘Cause I’ll be riding up there.

I’ll be riding up there,
I’ll be riding up there,
Come on over to the front of the bus,
‘Cause I’ll be riding up there.
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Harry Belafonte - BACK OF THE BUS Lyrics

If you miss me at the back of the bus
You can't find me nowhere
Oh come on over to the front of the bus
Because I'll be riding up there
I'll be riding up there, I'll be riding up there
Come on over to the front of the bus
Because I'll be riding up there

If you miss me on the picket line
You can't find me nowhere
Come on over to the city jail
Because I'll be rooming over there
I'll be rooming over there
I'll be rooming over there oh
Come on over to the city jail
Because I'll be rooming over there

If you miss me at the Mississippi river
You can't find me nowhere
Come on over to the swimming pool
Because I'll be swimming over there
I'll be swimming over there, over there
I'll be swimming right there
Come on over to the swimming pool
Because I'll be swimming over there

If you miss me in the cotton fields
You can't find me nowhere
Come on over to the boating booth
Because I'll be a boating right there
I'll be boating right there, right there
I'll be boating right there
Well come on over to the boating booth
Because I'll be boating right there


Thanks a lot! This is a real help. I did search for ages, but I couldn't find the lyrics, so thank you!
Ooh there's wrong things there *gets "songs for pioneers" out*

2nd verse is the Swimming pool one and it's "if you miss me in the Mississippi mud" not river.

3rd verse is "if you miss me in the cotton field" "come on over to the courthouse and I'll be voting right there"

4th is "If you miss me in the picket line" "come on over to the jailhouse"

and then repeat "Back of the bus"

Sorry for slight obsessing over details, but this song is ace and the dodgy lyrics annoy me...
Anyone got some Harry Belafonte records, can tell what he sang on the recordings? Meanwhile, how about this:

http://www.outreach.olemiss.edu/Freedom_Riders/Resources/IfYouMissMe.pdf

'One of these songs, which chronicles the victories of the Civil Rights Movement, is “If You Miss Me from the Back of the Bus.” It was written by Charles Neblett of the Freedom Singers to the tune of “O Mary Don’t You Weep.”'

If You Miss Me from the Back of the Bus

1. If you miss me from the back of the bus
And you can’t find me nowhere
Come on up to the front of the bus
I’ll be riding up there (3x)

2. If you miss me from Jackson State
And you can’t find me nowhere
Come on over to Ole Miss
I’ll be studying over there (3x)

3. If you miss me from the cotton fields
And you can’t find me nowhere
Come on down to the courthouse
I’ll be voting right there (3x)

4. If you miss me from the Thrifty Drug Store
And you can’t find me nowhere
Come on over to Woolworth’s
’Cause I’ll be sitting in there (3x)

5. If you miss me from the picket line
And you can’t find me nowhere
Come on down to the jailhouse
I’ll be rooming down there (3x)

6. If you miss me from the Mississippi River
And you can’t find me nowhere
Come on down to the municipal plunge
’Cause I’ll be swimming in there (3x)

7. If you miss me from the front of the bus
And you can’t find me nowhere
Come on up to the driver’s seat
I’ll be driving up there (3x)
Well this will probably be the one Kate knew though, seeing as it's from a woodcraft songbook.
It is?

"Song lyrics to “If You Miss Me from the Back of the Bus” copyright © 1963 by Carver Neblett. Reprinted with permission from Sanga Music, Inc."
Well, whatever the one I wrote was from a Woodie songbook anyway - I don't know about the variations found on the internet.
Oh, I see what you mean, about you being able to look it up in your Pioneers book. I was looking for the most 'original' version using the Web, rather than the most Woodcrafty version :-) Still can't work out why 'Carver' Neblett is often credited, instead of 'Charlie Neblett' - guessing either a collaborator, or a nickname?
God knows, the Woodcraft book manages not to credit anyone for songs...

Thanks a lot! i think that this is the one that I knew, but I'm going to try to track down the record of the Harry Belafonte one too. Thanks so much!
I have the music chords if you want them. :)

Oooh, yes please! I can't actually play the guitar, but I'm sure I can find someone who does. My e-mail address is on my info page. Could you send them to me?
If you miss me at the toilet tents
And you can't find me nowhere (oh-oh-oh)
C'mon over to the slurry pits
and I'll be tippin' right there


My district is amazingly puerile...

There's also a (genuine) verse which says, if you miss me at the cotton fields... c'mon over to the court house, and I'll be votin' right there. Don't forget that one!
Yes, I think the original version might be 'voting' in the last verse as opposed to 'boating' in the Harry version. Seems to fit more with the rest of it - maybe he changed it..

Yes, I think so too. Maybe they just mis-heard it. I can't think what 'boating' has to do with Civil Rights!

*sniggers* Hooray for the good ol' Woodcraft spirit.

I've added that verse in (the one about the voting, not the toilet one). Thank you!