Becky Deem, She Was A Gamblin' Girl

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Becky Deem, She Was a Gamblin' Girl - Leadbelly
23 January 1935 NYC
ARC 6-04-55
Transcribed from Leadbelly King of the 12-String Guitar, Columbia Roots 'N' Blues 467893

[Instrumental verse]

Becky Deem[1], she was a gamblin' gal
Win all her money, and she win it fair

Becky Deem, she was a gamblin' gal
She win all her money, and she win it fair

Becky Deem, had her games on the ground
She win all the money the skinner[2][3] laid down

Becky Deem, had her games on the ground
She win all the money the skinner laid down

[Instrumental verse]

She started to hit one, with a singletree[4]
Mighta heared the rascal hollerin' "Don't you murder me"

She started to hit one, with a singletree
You mighta heared the rascal hollerin' "Don't you murder me"

[Instrumental verse x 2]

Walked all the way from East St Louis
She didn't have but the one thin dime

She walked all the way from East St Louis
And she didn't have but the one thin dime

Never spent it for whiskey, and honey, neither for wine
Yes I spent it all on the sake of the man of mine

She never spent it for whiskey, and honey, neither for wine
I spent it all on the sake o' the man o' mine

[Instrumental verse out]

Notes

  1. The ARC song title is "Becky Deem..." but it sounds more like "Dean" in every verse
  2. "Skinner" could be a person running a Georgia Skin Game. Definition for "skin game": NOUN: Slang 1. A fraudulent gambling game. 2. A swindle.
  3. "Skinner" could also be a "mule skinner" (driver), which would fit with the "singletree" ref below
  4. singletree: a wooden bar swung at the center from a hitch on a plow, wagon, etc. and hooked at either end to the traces of a horse's harness

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