If I could condense this song into one sentence it would be: “That was unexpected”. I had to definitely do some reasearch and listen to the song again with lyrics in order to try to get a good comprehension of the song. I could tell that that Lead Belly was trying to tell me about an event that happened in Alabama but on first listen I couldn’t really understand what it was due to the recording and how suddenly he picks up the tempo.
So from my research Lead Belly is actually singing about the incident involving the Scottsboro Boys who were nine black boys who in 1931 were all accused a raping a white woman on a train in Alabama and eight of the boys were sentenced to death. The trial was an example of a gross miscarriage of justice as there was strong evidence to suggest that the crime never happened and that the jury was all white.
In the song Lead Belly warns to other blacks from the north that they should never go to Alabama. The song surprised me after learning this context because before then I thought the song was actually kind of happy sounding, i could even imagine Lead Belly laughing and smiling while singing. However this song is actually quite morbid and I think Lead Belly did this on purpose. He made a catchy song with purpose of having many people like it but to warn other blacks that in the south they will face a much harsher persecution.
Overall I feel like I liked the song. I definitely found it interesting. However the tone was very unnerving.