Shortnin' Bread

(Traditional)

FZ album(s) in which song has appeared

Comments

Marc De Bruyn (emdebe@village.uunet.be), August 31, 2003:

"Shortnin' Bread" was a Negro plantation song (an Afro-American traditional, then called "la manière nègre") that enjoyed a revival during the golden days of the radio. Lawrence Tibbett (1896-1960, American baritone, principal of the Met for 27 seasons) made a famous recording of it—and America embraced the song. Tibbett became a national legend through several films in which he appeared as the hero, and he was a significant force in early American radio.

Lawrence Tibbett's Many Faces

"Shortnin' Bread" later became associated with Nelson Eddy. "Mammy's L'il Baby Loves Shortnin' Bread" featured in the movie "Maytime" (MGM, 1937), a prime example of popular Depression-era entertainment, starring John Barrymore, Tom Brown, Nelson Eddy, and Rafaela Ottiano; the film was directed by Robert Z. Leonard and produced by Hunt Stromberg.

Shortnin' bread Cookies

Shortnin' bread—a term used to describe the preparation of many Southern quick breads—is like corn bread with strips of bacon. The word "shortening" actually refers to all types of fat used in baking, including: butter, lard, solid shortening, oil and margarine. However, a number of quick breads (banana, zucchini, cranberry, rhubarb and pumpkin) don't seem to fit this category very well, because shortening isn't really the "featured" ingredient. If you're open to interpretation, the term "Shortnin' Bread" implies not much more than a recipe containing fat and flour. Therefore, it could be argued that certain butter-rich cookies (Scottish shortbread) and cakes (shortcake) fall into this category.

"Mamma's little baby loves shortnin', shortnin', mamma's little baby loves shortnin' bread. Mamma's little baby loves shortnin', shortnin', mamma's little baby loves shortnin' bread. Three little children layin' in the bed. Two were sick and the other 'most dead. Sent for the doctor, the doctor said, "Feed those children on shortnin' bread". Mamma's little baby loves shortnin', shortnin', mamma's little baby loves shortnin' bread. Mamma's little baby loves shortnin', shortnin', mamma's little baby loves shortnin' bread. When those children layin' in the bed, heard that talk about shortnin' bread. They popped up well and started to sing, skipping 'round the room doing the pigeon wing. Mamma's little baby loves shortnin', shortnin', mamma's little baby loves shortnin' bread. Mamma's little baby loves shortnin', shortnin', mamma's little baby loves shortnin' bread. Put on the skillet! Put on the lid! Mamma's going to make some shortnin' bread. That's not all she's going to do. Mamma's going to cook us some cocoa too! Mamma's little baby loves shortnin', shortnin', mamma's little baby loves shortnin' bread. Mamma's little baby loves shortnin', shortnin', mamma's little baby loves shortnin' bread. I snuck to the kitchen, picked up the lid, I filled my pockets full of shortnin' bread. I winked at the pretty little girl and said, "Baby, how'd you like some shortnin' bread?" Mamma's little baby loves shortnin', shortnin', mamma's little baby loves shortnin' bread. Mamma's little baby loves shortnin', shortnin', mamma's little baby loves shortnin' bread. Got caught with the skillet. Got caught with the lid. Got caught with my mouth full of shortnin' bread. Six months for the skillet, six months for the lid, Six months in the jail eatin' shortnin' bread. Mamma's little baby loves shortnin', shortnin', mamma's little baby loves shortnin' bread. Mamma's little baby loves shortnin', shortnin', mamma's little baby loves shortnin' bread."

 

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This page updated: 2003-09-13