Zora Neale Hurston Satisfied

Back in February, NPR‘s All Things Considered aired this story about the Works Progress Administration Federal Writers’ Project. Zora Neale Hurston was one of the featured participants. I enjoyed her Their Eyes Were Watching God, and I think I had read that she was a folklore collector in addition to being a writer. She sang a song lyrically very close to the “I’m Satisfied” recorded by favorite Mississippi John Hurt. This page has a collection of her recordings. The version she learned was “Halimuhfack” (mp3). According to this entry in the Library of Congress collection of her songs, the man talking was Herbert Halpert. His collecting efforts in Mississippi have come up here two times. Her “Tampa” (mp3) is the tune found in “Funky Butt,” “Buddy Bolden’s Blues” and “St. Louis Tickle.” At the end of the “Hallimuhfack” recording, Hurston talked about how she learned the songs. She did it the right way. She got in there and sang along until she got it herself.


Michael M. on April 12th 2009 in General, Music, Recorded

3 Responses to “Zora Neale Hurston Satisfied”

  1. Jim responded on 22 Apr 2009 at 8:37 am #

    Hey Michael,

    I always thought of Zora Neale Hurston as a folkorist/anthropologist first and writer second. She studied folklore and anthropology under the direction of Franz Boaz (Columbia University). I believe much of her writing is based upon or at least infuenced by her folkore fieldwork and collecting.

  2. Michael M. responded on 22 Apr 2009 at 4:52 pm #

    Hi, Jim. While looking up ZNH, I had read the name Franz Boas and gathered that he was a very important figure in anthropology. I believe you on the influence of folklore research on her writing.

  3. I-) responded on 02 Oct 2015 at 11:13 am #


    Zora Neale Hurston collected called “Halimuhfack”.

    you may leave-mmm, go to Halimuhfack
    But, mah slow drag will-ah bring you back
    Well-ah you may go,
    but this will bring you back. (b-a-a-ang)

    A-a-a-a-a-ah been in the country, mut I moved to town
    I’m a toe low shaker from mah head on down
    Well-ah you may go,
    but this will bring you back. (b-a-a-ang)

    Ah, some folks call me a toe low shaker
    It’s a doggone lie – I’m a back bone breaker
    Well-ah you may go,
    but this will bring you back. (b-a-a-ang)

    oh, you like my features, but you don’t like me
    don’cha like my features – don’cha you shake my tree
    ah Well-ah, you may go,
    but this a-will bring you back. (b-a-a-ang)

    a-hoo-doo, a-hoo-doo, a-hoo-doo wackin’
    my heels all poppin’, and my toenails crackin’
    Well-ah you may go,
    but this-ah will-ah bring you back. (b-a-a-ang)

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.