JP & The Seeger Sessions Band. "Pay Me My Money Down". New Live Music Video.

JP & The Seeger Sessions Band sing "Pay Me My Money Down"  on The Late Late Show, RTÉ One.

A work song, "Pay Me My Money Down" (Roud 21449) originated among the Negro stevedores working in the Georgia Sea Islands. It was collected by Lydia Parrish and published in her 1942 book, Slave Songs of the Georgia Sea Islands:

 

Pay me, Oh pay me,

Pay me my money down.

Pay me or go to jail,

Pay me my money down.

 

The melody is much older and used in other songs.

 

Also known as "Pay Me" or "Pay Me, You Owe Me", it was performed by The Weavers during their influential 1955 Carnegie Hall concerts. It was further popularized by The Kingston Trio on tour starting in 1957. Capitalizing on the Weavers' folk success with the song, Robert Nemiroff and Burt D'Lugoff appropriated the melody unchanged for their pop song Cindy, Oh Cindy, originally recorded in 1956 by Vince Martin and The Tarriers, and quickly covered by Eddie Fisher.

 

Dan Zanes performed a children's version done calypso-style on his popular 2002 album Night Time.

 

"Pay Me My Money Down" was the first single and video released from Bruce Springsteen's 2006 big band folk album, We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions. It was one of the most popular songs played on Springsteen's subsequent Seeger Sessions Band Tour, where it usually closed out the main set amidst much on-stage hijinks and repetitions. On June 23, 2006, near the end of the American leg of that tour, Springsteen performed the song on Late Night with Conan O'Brien with his E-Street Band, along with host Conan O'Brien, the show's band The Max Weinberg 7, and guests Thomas Haden Church and Jimmy Fallon. It was also the only Seeger song to date to return to regular play with the E-Street Band in the later stages of the 2013 Wrecking Ball Tour.

The Sessions Band was first formed in October 1997. That September, Springsteen had organized a fiesta-themed party at his Colts Neck, New Jersey farm and invited the New York-based band The Gotham Playboys to provide entertainment. The next month, Springsteen was invited to donate a recording to an upcoming tribute album to folk singer Pete Seeger. He re-contacted the Playboys and some additional musicians whom he knew through E Street Band violinist Soozie Tyrell, and recorded a number of songs on November 2, 1997. These included "We Shall Overcome", which was released on the 1998 tribute album, Where Have All The Flowers Gone: The Songs Of Pete Seeger.

 

The group was then disbanded for an extended period. In late 2004, while reviewing material for a possible follow-up to his Tracks box set, Springsteen stumbled upon these recordings and decided to release them as a stand-alone project. There was not enough material, however, so he reformed the band for what would become known as the Second Seeger Session on March 19, 2005. The third and, so far, final Seeger Session took place on January 21, 2006.

 

On April 25, 2006, the album was released as We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions (so titled as each of the album's thirteen songs had been previously recorded or performed by Pete Seeger). The subsequent Bruce Springsteen with The Seeger Sessions Band Tour took this musical approach even further, with a travelling group partly composed of musicians from the sessions. On October 3, 2006, the album was reissued as We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions - American Land Edition with five additional tracks. The album won the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album at the 49th Grammy Awards held in February 2007, and had sold 700,000 copies in the United States by January 2009;the RIAA certified it with gold record status.

The Sessions Band was first formed in October 1997. That September, Springsteen had organized a fiesta-themed party at his Colts Neck, New Jersey farm and invited the New York-based band The Gotham Playboys to provide entertainment. The next month, Springsteen was invited to donate a recording to an upcoming tribute album to folk singer Pete Seeger. He re-contacted the Playboys and some additional musicians whom he knew through E Street Band violinist Soozie Tyrell, and recorded a number of songs on November 2, 1997. These included "We Shall Overcome", which was released on the 1998 tribute album, Where Have All The Flowers Gone: The Songs Of Pete Seeger.

 

The group was then disbanded for an extended period. In late 2004, while reviewing material for a possible follow-up to his Tracks box set, Springsteen stumbled upon these recordings and decided to release them as a stand-alone project. There was not enough material, however, so he reformed the band for what would become known as the Second Seeger Session on March 19, 2005. The third and, so far, final Seeger Session took place on January 21, 2006.

 

On April 25, 2006, the album was released as We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions (so titled as each of the album's thirteen songs had been previously recorded or performed by Pete Seeger). The subsequent Bruce Springsteen with The Seeger Sessions Band Tour took this musical approach even further, with a travelling group partly composed of musicians from the sessions. On October 3, 2006, the album was reissued as We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions - American Land Edition with five additional tracks. The album won the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album at the 49th Grammy Awards held in February 2007, and had sold 700,000 copies in the United States by January 2009;the RIAA certified it with gold record status.

 

Members of the Sessions Band occasionally guested on Springsteen and the E Street Band's 2007–2008 Magic Tour. After E Street Band organist Danny Federici ceased touring with the band due to melanoma in November 2007, and his subsequent death in April 2008, Sessions Band member Charles Giordano joined the E Street Band for the remainder of the Magic Tour and has been with the band ever since.

 

On Springsteen's 2009 Working on a Dream Tour with the E Street Band, Giordano was joined in the touring band by Sessions Band members Cindy Mizelle and Curtis King, who sang backup vocals. Curt Ramm also toured with the E Street Band for much of the final leg of the tour, playing trumpet on select songs. On Springsteen's 2012 Wrecking Ball Tour, Giordano, Mizelle, and King were joined in full-time roles by Ramm on trumpet, Ed Manion on saxophone, and Clark Gayton on trombone. Other members of the band occasionally guested at shows on the Working on a Dream Tour. Sam Bardfeld along with a string section that he fronted, appeared at a few shows on Springsteen's The River Tour 2016. Springsteen has indicated he would like to do another project with the Sessions Band in the future.

 

On May 16, 2015, Springsteen reunited with a version of the Sessions Band for a four-song set at the Kristen Ann Carr Fund's "A Night To Remember" event in tribute to Thom Zimny at Tribeca Grill in New York City. The band, billed for the evening as the Tribeca Playboys, consisted of Charles Giordano on accordion, Jeremy Chatzky on upright bass, Larry Eagle on drums, Sam Bardfeld and Soozie Tyrell on fiddle, Losa Lowell on vocals and guitar, Ed Manion on saxophone, and Curt Ramm on trumpet; the group was also joined by guests Nils Lofgren on guitar, Curtis King on vocals, and restaurateur and venue host Drew Nieporent on washboard.

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