There is Evil in Ye Children

A gem of the Jimmie Davis recording session of 1931 is “There Is Evil in Ye Children” — special because the song was composed by Snoozer Quinn. It’s a real Bible-thumper… the lyrics reveal the concern of a parson who wants to save young people from eternal damnation.

imagesThere is evil in ye children, gather round
Lord there’s evil in ye children, gather round
You go out and drink that gin, you’re so easy to give in,
Lord there’s evil in ye children, gather round

Lord there’s evil in ye children, gather round (gather round)
There is evil in ye children, gather round
I know all of your emotions you must quit those foolish notions
Lord there’s evil in ye children, gather round

Lord there’s evil in ye children, gather round
There is evil in ye children, gather round
You go out with good intentions, what you do won’t do to mention
Lord there’s evil in ye children, gather round

Lord there’s evil in ye children, gather round
There is evil in ye children, gather round
You go out ’bout half past nine, nothing good is on your mind
Lord there’s evil in ye children, gather round (gather round)

There is evil in ye children, gather round
There is evil in ye children, gather round
When you want your sins all drowned, come and see old Parson Brown
Lord there’s evil in ye children, gather round (old Parson)

There is evil in ye children, gather round
There is evil in ye children, gather round
When you feel love’s temptation come to me and get salvation
Lord there’s evil in ye children, gather round

The form and melody is based on the traditional folk tune “She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain,” which itself is derived from a Negro spiritual called “When the Chariot Comes.” This is a rare example on the Davis recordings where Quinn displays his unusual two-guitar sound. You can hear it in the breaks: Quinn pays a melodic lead enveloped by a driving rhythm part. The sound is comparable to Big Bill Broonzy’s. Quinn exhibits a great country blues sensibility – a relaxed sense of meter, improvisatory melodic style, and bluesy embellishments – as well as fine lyrical abilities and a sense of humor.

Eddie “Snoozer” Quinn was born on October 18, 1907

On this day, October 18, 1907, little Edward McIntosh Quinn was born in Pike County, near McComb, Mississippi. Born to Louis Benjamin Quin and Philonea (Fitzgerald) Quin (the spelling would change a few years later), Eddie was a middle child in a family with five boys. There was Richard “Dick” (born 1892), William “Willie” (1898), Robert “Hillary” (1901), Edward “Eddie” (1907), and Alton “Foots” (1913). In addition, a paternal niece named Fannie Quinn lived with the family for some time; she was Hillary’s age (1901).

Little Eddie was blessed with musical genius, and his talent would reveal itself as soon as he was old enough to toddle up to the family piano.

Worth mentioning about the baby is his slight birth defect, as it would affect him for the rest of his life: 

 “Snoozer was born—when he was born, they had to use forceps, and his head was lopsided like that from forceps; his head came almost to a point; he was a funny looking guy.” (Monk Hazel, New Orleans drummer.)

The Quinn family moved to Bogalusa, Louisiana around 1911, when Quinn was about three years old.   Bogalusa was a natural move – it was home of the Great Southern Lumber Company which in 1905 had established a train line called the New Orleans Great Northern Railroad to transport lumber products. And father Louis’ occupation, according to the 1910 federal census, was “car repairer” for the railroad house.

Interestingly, Philonea was one of four sisters, all of whom moved their families to Bogalusa around the same time, to settle within two blocks of one another. Clearly, Bogalusa was a viable destination for the region in the 1910s when America was transitioning from a rural farm economy to an industrial one.