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Muddy looked at me, winked and said 'Gotcha' - Bob Margolin, on Muddy's response after he explained who George Harrison was

Author Topic: Charley Lincoln Lyrics  (Read 7900 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Charley Lincoln Lyrics
« on: August 07, 2006, 07:01:01 PM »
Hi all,
Charley Lincoln recorded "If It Looks Like Jelly, Shakes Like Jelly, It Must Be Gelatine" at his second session, in Atlanta on April 11, 1928.  Charley, born Charley Hicks, was the older brother of Barbecue Bob, by about a year and a half.  Like Bob, Charley favored a twelve-string guitar and playing in Spanish tuning, with or without a slide.  Based solely on the recorded evidence, Bob sounds to have been the more versatile guitarist.  Both brothers were superb singers.  Charley had an amazingly infectious laugh with which he opened many of his records. 
"If It Looks Like Jelly . . . " is a chorus blues played in Spanish tuning, capoed up or tuned very high.  The song is essentially a one-chorder, though a V7 chord is hinted at at the end of some of the phrases.  Rather than adhering to a strict twelve-bar form, Charley mixes things up with verses of varied lengths.  He makes a convincing case for the quality of Maybelle Greene's gelatine, pronounced jell-a-teen, with the accent on the last syllable.  I take the last verse as being Miss Greene talking.  Any help with the bent bracketed portions of the lyrics would be appreciated, as always.  The line that concludes with a dash is ended by the guitar.  Here is "If It Looks Like Jelly, Shakes Like Jelly, It Must Be Gelatine":



   Have you met Miss Maybelle Greene who makes all kind of gelatine?
   'Course, she sells it very high, to get any better you need not try
   I've known her for a great long time, all kind of jelly is in her line
   REFRAIN:  If it look like jelly, shake like jelly, it must be gelatine

   If you chance to pass her way, you will hear her singing 'most every day
   REFRAIN

   You once try it, you gon' buy it, that's just what I mean
   Maybelle's jelly, h'it is good, you be satisfied to make your ------
   REFRAIN

   Maybelle's cookin' is a treat, her jellyroll can not be beat
   She always keep them fresh and clean, clean her jelly down in between
   REFRAIN

   Take it away, 'tain't no bluff, she sure knows how to strut her stuff
   Now, try her once and you will see, why she stayin' her cards tough
   REFRAIN

   Tellin' all you men, she will treat you nice
   To get her jelly gon' pay her price
   REFRAIN

   "There's no jelly in town, sweet like mine,
   All of you poor boys, you must fall in line
   Now, if you sold a little jelly to the man next door
   He keep layin' 'round here for more"
   REFRAIN

Edited 8/8 to pick up changes/corrections from dj
Edited 8/9 to pick up change from dj

All best,
Johnm

   
« Last Edit: April 16, 2020, 04:03:13 PM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Charley Lincoln Lyrics
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2006, 07:15:06 PM »
Hi all,
Charley Lincoln recorded "Doodle Hole Blues" at his last session, in Atlanta on April 18, 1930.  Like all but one of his recorded performances, it is played in Spanish tuning, capoed or tuned high.  The song is a freely phrased chorus blues, and Charley's accompaniment has a lot of variety, as well as a really snappy groove.  Boy, he sang great, too!  Here is "Doodle Hole Blues":



   I'm a little bit wobbly, gettin' kinda old
   Like to take my straw, go clear in the doodle hole, do the
   CHORUS:  Doodle doo doo, doin' the doodle doo doo
   I like to take my straw, go play in that doodle hole

   First time y'try to doodle, take my egvice {sic}
   Put a little spit on your straw you can doodle so nice, do the
   CHORUS

   I knowed a little girl who was very, very nice
   She got to doodle once and she wanted it twice, she's doin' the
   CHORUS

   Sometime a little doodle, pretty hard to get
   Keep on twistin', you will find it, just doin' the
   CHORUS

   All you girls get together with your straw in your hand
   Try to get the doodle, now, just see if you can, just doin' the
   CHORUS

   Keep twistin' and twistin', 'round the hole
   Everybody like to doodle, both young and old, let's doin' the
   CHORUS

   I knowed a man once, who got up on the doodle track
   He doodled so much he got a hump in his back, he's doin' the
   CHORUS

   It sound mighty funny, but it sure is nice
   To get this doodle, it's sure worth the price, just doin' the
   CHORUS

All best,
Johnm
     
« Last Edit: April 16, 2020, 04:04:31 PM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Charley Lincoln Lyrics
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2006, 10:53:32 AM »
Hi all,
Charley Lincoln recorded "My Wife Drove Me From My Door" at his first session.  Like most of his songs, it is capoed up a ways in Spanish tuning.  The song has an unusually sober mood for Charley and an exceptionally pretty melody.  The vocal and accompaniment are beautifully integrated--he matches the melody right under his singing and follows with a characteristic "stumbling" fill, concluding the form with a vamp that was a favorite of his.  It consists of three eighth notes, the first two struck on the open 3rd and 4th strings with the thumb and the third played with the slide at the 5th fret of the first string.  Like any three-note motif phrased in four, it keeps flipping over and over on itself relative to the pulse in a way that is really pleasing.  I know this cut is on the Juke if you care to hear it.  Here is "My Wife Drove Me From My Door":



   When I came home this morning, my wife, she met me at the door (2)
   "Go away, sweet daddy", says, "I can't use you no more".

   Huh-hey, hey, mama, baby, what's the matter now?
   Oh, hey, hey, mama, baby, what's the matter now?
   Say, you're tryin' to quit me, honey, and you don't know how

   SPOKEN:  Yes, I know you been actin' funny about a week or two.

   Where it tain't no love, sure ain't no gettin' along
   Where it tain't no love, mama, sure ain't no gettin' along
   Says, my brown treat me so mean that I don't know right from wrong

   Come back, baby, papa ain't mad at you
   Says, come back, baby, papa ain't mad at you
   Says, I do just like, mama babe, says, I used to do

   Take me back, baby, says, try me one more time
   Oh, take me back, baby, try me, says, a-one more time
   If I don't do to suit you, honey, I'll break my backbone tryin'

   Some don't like me because that I speaks my mind
   I know the mens don't like me because that I speaks my mind
   But the women crazy 'bout me, 'cause, says, I takes my time

All best,
Johnm
 
« Last Edit: April 16, 2020, 04:05:46 PM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Charley Lincoln Lyrics
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2006, 11:07:11 AM »
Hi all,
Charley Lincoln recorded "Mama Don't Rush Me" at his last session, along with "Doodle Hole Blues".  "Mama Don't Rush Me" is the only one of his recorded performances not played in Spanish.  He plays it, using a slide, in Vestapol, tuned/capoed quite high, sounding around G.  The song is, at least melodically and in terms of phrasing, a cover of Walter Vinson's "Sitting On Top Of The World".  Charley settles on a chorus by the end of the second verse and uses it from there to the end of the song.  It's a shame he did not get an opportunity to continue to record on into the '30s, because his music was continuing to evolve and change.  Who knows what we might have heard from him later on?  Here is "Mama Don't Rush Me":



   Mama, you gettin' like a farmer's mule
   Longer I know you, harder you to rule
   Now, don't rush me, you is got to, to come down

   Paid my rent in, half past ten
   When I got home you wouldn't let me in
   CHORUS:  Don't rush me, I been used to takin' my time

   SOLO:
   Ah, CHORUS

   We went for a ride and you got rough
   I've been used to struttin' my stuff
   CHORUS

   Mmmmmm  (hummed verse and chorus)

   I make from one to ten dollars a day
   I know that's enough, let you have your way
   CHORUS

   I buy you clothes, and I'm not rough
   I know doggone well when I get enough
   CHORUS

   SOLO:
   Ah, CHORUS

   Take me back, mama, try me one more time
   I gave my straight salary, and my whole black time
   CHORUS

   You quit me, mama, when I was in your town
   You told your friend you's glad I was down
   CHORUS

Edited 8/8 to pick up suggestion from dj
Edited 4/21/20 to pick up correction from banjochris

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: April 21, 2020, 11:32:29 AM by Johnm »

Offline dj

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Re: Charley Lincoln Lyrics
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2006, 02:30:22 PM »
Hi, John.  Nice topic - it's good to see Charley Lincoln get some attention, as he made some excellent music, even though he led a terribly unfortunate and depressing life.  I guess he got the nickname "Laughing Charley" for the same reason a fat man would get called "Slim" back in those days.

Here's what I hear in "If It Looks Like Jelly..."

Verse 3:
   Maybelle's Jelly h'it is good, you be satisfied to make your -----, where "h'it" is a colloquial pronunciation of "it".

Verse 5:
   Now try her once you will see, why she sell her [    ]  I think that's definitely "sell" instead of "said".  I want the words in brackets to be "hot stuff", but they sound more like "cot stuff". 

Verse 7:
   All you poor boys you must fall in line

The bracketed phrase in Mama Don't Rush Me sure sounds like "black time" to me.  Could be "black dime", I guess, though that makes even less sense.  Could he have garbled "last dime" there? 

Offline Johnm

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Re: Charley Lincoln Lyrics
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2006, 04:57:08 PM »
Hi dj,
Thanks very much for the help with the lyrics; it is quite good, as always.  I think "Maybelle's jelly, h'it is good" is dead on the money.  The verse five excerpt, I agree, does not sound like "said".  It sounds more like "sell", but after repeated listening, even more like "sayin'". Could the entire phrase be "why she sayin' her cod's tough", "tough" as in "good", as in "What is that smells like fish?"  Otherwise, the rhyme with the previous line would be stuff with stuff--nothing wrong with it but not exactly crafty.  "All of you poor boys, you must fall in line" sounds right on to me.  I think I will stick with "black time"; as you say, "whole black dime" makes no sense.  I will make the changes and thanks again.
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: August 08, 2006, 05:04:12 PM by Johnm »

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Re: Charley Lincoln Lyrics
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2006, 10:50:30 AM »
Hi all,
"Chain Gang Trouble" was the last song Charley Lincoln recorded at his first session, in Atlanta, on November 24, 1927.  Lyrically, the song appears to be in the same family as Peg Leg Howell's "Rolling Mill Blues", Leadbelly's "Black Girl" and Bill Monroe's "In The Pines".  The  verses are 8 bars long and Charley sometimes strings two of them together before pausing for an instrumental break/vamp.  The melody of this one is really pretty and I have never heard it used elsewhere.  Here is "Chain Gang Trouble":



   The train run off nine mile from town
   And killed little Lula dead
   Her head was found in the drivin' wheel
   Her body have never been seen

   I cried, I moaned, I cried, I moaned
   I asked, "How long, how long?"

   I asked my captain for the time of day
   Say, he throwed his watch away

   If I listened at my mother uh, and father, they,
   I never woulda been here today
   
   If I ever get back home, oh baby, to stay
   I never be treated this-a-way

   How long, how long, how long, how long
   How long 'fore I can go home?

   I arrived with the blues and I worked with the blues
   Nothin' I can get but bad news.

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: April 16, 2020, 04:08:22 PM by Johnm »

Offline dj

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Re: Charley Lincoln Lyrics
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2006, 02:18:09 PM »
Quote
Now, try her once and you will see, why she sayin' her cod's tough

I still don't think the last half of that line is correct.  After a lot of listening, I'm beginning to think the verse may be:

Take it away, 'tain't no bluff, she sure knows how to strut her stuff
Now, try her once and you will see, why she's stayin' her cards tough

With "Stayin' her cards" continuing the gambling analogy that "''taint no bluff" starts in the first line of the verse.  I don't really think  "tough" is correct, I get more of an "s" sound to start the word, though that may be a carryover from the s at the end of "cards".  That makes the sense of the last line "Try her once and you will see why she won't give it away".

Quote
I arrived with the blues and I worked with the blues / Nothin' I can get but bad news.

What a great verse!  Off the top of my head, I can't think of anyone else who used it.  But every time I think that about a country blues verse, I discover 10 other instances of it in other songs.  Does anyone know of any other appearances of this?

Offline Johnm

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Re: Charley Lincoln Lyrics
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2006, 03:53:09 PM »
Hi dj,
I do like "cards tough" better than "cod's tough".  I will make the change, thanks.  I agree that "I arrived with the blues and I worked with the blues" is pretty darn hard to beat.
All best,
Johnm

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Re: Charley Lincoln Lyrics
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2006, 12:12:26 AM »
Hi all,
Charley Lincoln recorded "Gamblin' Charley" at his next to last session, on October 30, 1928.  The song has an odd, bumpy sort of narrative flow, including several verses where the tagline is so thoroughly divorced from the set-up lines that it is difficult to discern any connection.  A lot of Lemon's early lyrics were like this.  Part of the confusion may arise from movement back and forth between different narrative voices.  I think verse four, for instance, is in Sally's voice. Listen to it and see what you think.  Once again, the accompaniment is in Spanish, capoed up.  Here is "Gamblin' Charley":



   Way down on the levee, down by Camp Number 9 (2)
   If you pass my house, you will hear me cryin'

   He shot a dollar and a nickel, he caught a point black nine (2)
   Says, "Sally was a good girl, she know to be a good man's friend"

   She taken money from her huzman {sic}, give it to her gamblin' man (2)
   Sayin', the train come skippin' and the fool come rollin' down

   "I am crazy 'bout my gamblin' and I don't want nobody else (2)
   And if he don't stop me, I'll be rowdy all my days."

   She done pawned all of her things, she done pawned my watch and chain (2)
   Says, by this time, we haven't got a doggone thing

   What can I do, baby, honey, to change your mind? (2)
   "Ain't so much to do, daddy, but be so nice and kind."

   Says, I'm leavin' town, cryin' won't make me stay (2)
   Well, the more you cry, further I'm goin' away.

All best,
Johnm


   
« Last Edit: April 16, 2020, 04:09:30 PM by Johnm »

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Re: Charley Lincoln Lyrics
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2006, 12:40:04 AM »
Hi all,
"Country Breakdown" was recorded at Charley Lincoln's first session.  Musically, it is just about identical to Barbecue Bob's "Motherless Child".  The phrasing is very free, with a marked pause in the middle of the first line of several of the verses.  Any correction/corroboration of the portions of the lyrics in bent brackets would be appreciated.  Here is "Country Breakdown":



   SPOKEN:  Lord, Lord, I'm gettin' drunk now, sure 'nough

   I'm leavin' here, mama, cryin' won't make me stay
   Lord, I'm leavin' here, mama, cryin' won't make me stay
   Oh, the more you cry, babe, further I'm goin' away

   Soon as I get sober, oh, make me drunk again (2)
   Said, I'm gonna leave the chickens, said I'm goin' back to the hen

   Did you ever wake up, 'twixt midnight and day?
   Did you ever wake up, mama, 'twixt midnight and day?
   Have your arm 'round your pillow where your good gal used to lay

   I believe to my soul my brown's got a stingoree
   Ohr, I believe to my soul, my brown's got a stingoree
   When I woke up this mornin', says, she was stingin' poor me

   Don't want no dollar, mama, sure can't use no half
   Don't want no dollar, mama, I sure can't use no half
   Say, I got a brown says, "I can't hear no laughs"

All best,
Johnm

   

« Last Edit: April 16, 2020, 04:10:28 PM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Charley Lincoln Lyrics
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2006, 03:22:12 PM »
Hi all,
"Jealous Hearted Blues" is the first song Charley Lincoln recorded; it is probably his best-known performance, and deservedly so.  He really hit the ground running with this rendition--there is nothing shy or tentative about it.  He sounds like a fully mature musician with his own voice and style.  This song was later recorded by the Carter Family, who recorded a surprising amount of blues material.  The fact that "Jealous Hearted Blues has a terrific melody and accompaniment doesn't hurt anything, and goes a long way towards explaining its not-very-surprising popularity.  Check it out on the Juke. 
I am not absolutely certain of the lyrics at the end of the chorus.  I had always thought them to be "jealous as I can be", but on some verses I hear an "s" sound at the front of that last word--"jealous as I can't sleep", or maybe "as I can't see", perhaps?  Any help is appreciated.  Here ism "Jealous Hearted Blues":



   SPOKEN:  Ha, ha,ha!  I hate to tell you, mama, but I'm sure here

   You can have my money, all I own, but, God, please leave my gal alone,
   Oh I'm jealous, jealous, jealous-hearted, see?
   So jealous, I'm jealous as I can't sleep

   I got a range in my kitchen, bakes nice and brown, all I need's someone to turn my damper down
   'Cause I'm jealous, jealous, jealous-hearted, see?
   So jealous, jealous as I can't sleep

   It take a rockin' chair to rock, a rubber ball to roll, takes the gal I love, satisfy my soul
   You know I'm jealous, jealous, jealous-hearted, see?
   So jealous, jealous as I can't sleep

   I know the mens don't like me 'cause I speaks my mind, all the women crazy 'bout me 'cause I takes my time
   Oh I'm jealous, jealous, jealous-hearted, see?
   So jealous, jealous as I can't sleep

   I left my wife and baby settin' on the doorstep cryin', I got a house full of chillun, there ain't nary one mine
   Oh, I'm jealous, jealous, jealous-hearted, see?
   So jealous, jealous as I can't sleep

   I says I got love like I have it in your home, I can keep it turned off or I can turn it on
   Oh I'm jealous, jealous, jealous-hearted, see?
   So jealous, jealous as I can't sleep

   Says, hello Central, give me two-three-nine, what takes to get at these hips of mine
   Oh I'm jealous, jealous, jealous-hearted, see?
   So jealous, jealous as I can't sleep

   Ah some folks say them blues ain't bad, that must not've been, said, them blues I had
   Oh I'm jealous, jealous, jealous-hearted, see?
   So jealous, jealous as I can't sleep

   I says, I can't help, mama, what you do, you can tell the world I got those jealous-hearted blues
   Oh I'm jealous, jealous, jealous-hearted, see?
   So jealous, jealous as I can't sleep

   I says, stop still, mama, let me give you my egvice {sic}, If I catch you with a man it's gonna be too tight
   Oh I'm jealous, jealous, jealous-hearted, see?
   So jealous, jealous as I can't sleep

Edited, 8/9 to pick up corroboration from dj

All best,
Johnm

   

   

   
« Last Edit: April 16, 2020, 04:11:31 PM by Johnm »

Offline dj

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Re: Charley Lincoln Lyrics
« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2006, 04:19:42 PM »
I've had Jealous Hearted Blues on all the various permutations of the "Georgia Blues" tapes and CDs that I've made and had in my car for the last 10 or 15 years, and I was certain that the last part of the chorus was "jealous as I can be".  But after listening to it closely a few times now, my vote goes to "jealous as I can't sleep".  There really seems to be an "s" in front of the last word.  And when I think about it a bit, I like "jealous as I can't sleep" better, as it seems so much more intense.

It does seem like the last line of Country Breakdown is "Say, I got a brown says, 'I can't hear no laughs'".



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Re: Charley Lincoln Lyrics
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2006, 06:19:16 PM »
Thanks, dj.  I agree, being so jealous you can't sleep is much more intense than the vague "jealous as I can be".  I'll make the change.  As per the last line in "Country Breakdown", it had to be tough for a guy renowned for his laughter to be hooked up with a gal who "can't hear no laughs".
All best,
Johnm

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Re: Charley Lincoln Lyrics
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2006, 12:29:23 AM »
Hi all,
"Hard Luck Blues" was the second song recorded at Charley Lincoln's first session.  The infectious cackle with which Charley opens the song is misleading, for it is unusually downcast in mood for a Georgia song.  It is very freely phrased with lots of rubato and melodic variations, really a beautiful performance.  Charley begins the song with an intro that he used for most of his songs:  he plays, out of time, the following notes--first string fifth fret, first string second fret, open first string, second string first fret and open second string.  This is done in Spanish tuning, remember, and he harmonizes the first fret of the second string with a D7 chord (relative to capo placement/tuning).  At the conclusion of the introductory melodic fragment, he launches into his groove-establishing vamp. 
Charley Lincoln had a mannerism, in his singing, of using the words "says" and "said" as phrasing adjusters, using them to keep himself squared away to his satisfaction relative to the pulse.  The third verse in "Hard Luck Blues" takes on an eerie cast when you find out that Charley Lincoln died of a cerebral hemmorage.  Here is "Hard Luck Blues":



   LAUGHED:  Heh, heh, heh

   Two kind of people in this world, mama babe, that I sure can't stand (2)
   That's a two-faceded woman, babe, and her monkey man

   As sure as the sparrow, mama babe, flyin' in the air
   Sure as the sparrow flys, he's in the air
   I got a lovin' sweet mama in this world somewhere

   Say the blues in my body, says, makin' towards my head
   Say the blues in my body, makin' towards my head
   I b'lieve to my soul, mama, them blues gonna kill me dead

   I ain't gonna grieve, mama, sure ain't gonna cry no more
   Says, I ain't gonna grieve, mama, says I sure ain't gon' cry no more
   Gon' take my best friend's gal, say, the one what lives next door

   She's a married woman, but she says she likes me
   She's a married woman, she says she likes me
   Hate to bite my friend, but it's somebody been bite me

   Says, I used to have money, but now I says I'm cold in hand
   Says, I used to have money but now I'm cold in hand
   Said, I used to have a good gal, but now she's got another man

   Well, my Hard Luck Blues, sure done fell on me
   Hard luck, baby, sure done fell on me
   Says my brother stole a ham, says, and the police, says, locked up me

All best,
Johnm

   
« Last Edit: April 16, 2020, 04:12:29 PM by Johnm »

 


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