From the recording Origins
Shortnin’ Bread was a song that originated in the 1800s. It was a plantation song about slaves. The original lyrics were blatantly racist, and they were recorded by John Avery Lomax. Since then the lyrics have been changed, but it’s important to know the history especially since this song today is portrayed as a happy dance tune. If you are curious, you can find the original lyrics on this website: http://www.traditionalmusic.co.uk/folk-song-lyrics/Shortenin_Bread.htm. I was sad to see that the history of the song isn’t well known or easy to access. I was also surprised that the lyrics were changed to cover up racism, and no one acknowledges the original lyrics, so very few people know the true history of the song; the only know it as a square dance tune or a children’s song.