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I'm happier than a hand in a barrel of tits! - Sam Mitchell, expressing his feelings about the PTCBW experience

Author Topic: Barefoot Bill Lyrics  (Read 26244 times)

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Offline frankie

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Barefoot Bill Lyrics
« on: February 07, 2004, 08:15:01 AM »
I love the last verse, but parts of the first are a mystery to me...? any takers?? Hear the tune at:



http://www.donegone.net/sounds/snigglin_blues.mp3

The guitar part is interesting to me, if almost entirely non-linear.? My wife described it as African-sounding, which I thought was a pretty perceptive observation.

Snigglin' Blues
Barefoot Bill

I done everything a [poor good] man could do
I done everything a [poor good] man could do
Well, mama can see ain't no [] on you

You may play mama, honey you can dance
I say you can play mama, honey you can dance
Well, papa done caught you, you have had your last chance

You gonna miss me, baby when I'm gone
I say you gwine miss me, baby when I'm gone
Won't be no need to sing this lonesome song

I give you all my money, I was coat in hand
I give you all my money, I was coat in hand
And you spent all my money on your other man

When you're in my presence, mama you sniggle(s) and laugh
I said mmmm, in my presence, mama you sniggled and laugh(ed)
And tell me "So many suckers that a cow don't need no calf"

Offline Slack

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Barefoot Bill Lyrics
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2004, 09:02:23 AM »
Cool tune, I've never heard of Barefoot Bill - what CD is this on?

Quote
Well, mama can see ain't no [] on you

Wow, this is a tough one to hear!? But I hear something close to:
Well, Mama a good thing ain't gon' pass on you

gon' being a clipped "gonna"

Quote
I give you all my money, I was coat in hand
?
I think this might be "caught" instead of coat.

On a related topic:
For folks who want to post a tune for listening, but don't have personal web space to link to like Frank, you can upload an MP3 to the forum as long as it is smaller than 800K.? (I'll try to come up with some guidelines and post a sticky to this section).

cheers,
slack
« Last Edit: August 24, 2023, 10:06:40 AM by Johnm »

Offline frankie

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Re: Barefoot Bill Lyrics
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2004, 09:45:41 AM »
Quote
Cool tune, I've never heard of Barefoot Bill - what CD is this on?

It's off of Alabama Blues on Yazoo - I think it's OOP, but a fun CD.? Barefoot Bill is Ed Bell.? Incognito, of course.? Top secret.

Quote
Well, Mama a good thing ain't gon' pass on you

I thinking about this - it's just tough to hear.? Any thoughts on the first line?

Quote
I think this might be "caught" instead of coat.
?
I dunno - doesn't this line often get garbled and appear in other tunes as "cold in hand"?? Can't think of any distinct examples off the top of my head at the moment, but something is making me think of guys from around Jackson, MS.

I hear "coat in hand" as kind of an image of a guy who's not welcome in his own home, so she takes his money, gives him the cold shoulder (turns him out) and spends his money on another guy.

Typical blues relationship...

Offline Johnm

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Re: Barefoot Bill Lyrics
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2004, 09:51:50 AM »
Hi all,
This is sure a great song.  First verse sounds to me like
  I done everything, poor sweet man could do
  I done everything, a poor sweet man could do
  Well, mama, don't seem, take no pass on you
Fourth verse sounds to me like
  I give you all my money, I went cold in hand
  I give you all my money, I went cold in hand
  And you spent all my money on your other man

I am pretty sure about first two lines of the first verse, less sure of the last line.  Fourth verse, I don't know.
I remember you posting a while ago about being interested in non-Delta Spanish songs, Frank.  You certainly have a winner here. 
All best,
John
« Last Edit: August 24, 2023, 10:07:23 AM by Johnm »

Offline frankie

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Re: Barefoot Bill Lyrics
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2004, 10:12:10 AM »
Quote
? I done everything, poor sweet man could do
? I done everything, a poor sweet man could do
? Well, mama, don't seem, take no pass on you

I am pretty sure about first two lines of the first verse, less sure of the last line.

I agree - at least you & Slack seem to agree on "pass"!

Quote
Fourth verse sounds to me like
? I give you all my money, I went cold in hand
? I give you all my money, I went cold in hand
? And you spent all my money on your other man

I think you're right about "cold in hand" - I had it backwards.? The term "cold in hand" seems to mean "having no money"...? I guess that should come as no surprise!

Offline Johnm

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Re: Barefoot Bill Lyrics
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2004, 11:15:02 AM »
Hi Frank,
I just thought of another use of "cold in hand", from Tommy Johnson's "Lonesome Home"--
  Did you ever dream lucky, wake up cold in hand?
All best,
John
« Last Edit: August 24, 2023, 10:08:08 AM by Johnm »

Offline frankie

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Re: Barefoot Bill Lyrics
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2004, 11:25:08 AM »
Quote
I just thought of another use of "cold in hand", from Tommy Johnson's "Lonesome Home"--
? Did you ever dream lucky, wake up cold in hand?

Aha!? So Jackson, MS it is...? here's another:? Kid Bailey's "Rowdy Blues":

Did you ever dream lucky, woke up cold in hand?
I would call that man nothing but a monkey man

Offline Slack

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Re: Barefoot Bill Lyrics
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2004, 08:40:33 PM »
Haha! ...love it.  Reminds me of a joke, which is better told in person... if I can remember next time I see you.

cheers,
slack
« Last Edit: August 24, 2023, 10:08:43 AM by Johnm »

Offline frankie

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Re: Barefoot Bill Lyrics
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2004, 07:45:25 PM »
The revised lyrics:

Snigglin' Blues - Barefoot Bill

I done everything, poor sweet man could do
I done everything a poor sweet man could do
Well, none o' them seem to take no effect on you

You may play, mama, honey you can dance
I said, you can play, mama, honey you can dance
Well, papa done caught you, you have had your last chance

You gonna miss me, baby when I'm gone
I said, you gwine miss me, baby when I'm gone
Won't be no need to sing this lonesome song

I give you all my money, I went cold in hand
I give you all my money, I went cold in hand
And you spent all my money on your other man

When you're in my presence, mama you sniggles and laughs
I said, when you're in my presence, mama you sniggled and laugh(ed)
And tell me, it's so many suckers, that a cow don't need no calf
--

The last part of the first verse is still kind of mysterious to me.

Incidentally, I find this a very challenging song to sing.  The guitar line itself is strange enough, but coupled with the timing of the vocal, it makes me feel like I'm hallucinating when I try and put it together.  If I can get it, it'll be a miracle!

NOTE:  Edited 11/20 to pick up corrections from dingwall

Offline Johnm

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Re: Barefoot Bill Lyrics
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2004, 07:54:22 PM »
Hi Frank,
I thought we were opting for "cold in hand" over "coat in hand" in verse 4.  I can definitely believe it is hard to sing and play at the same time--just playing would be tough enough with that weird semi-bend at the second fret of the first string.  It's awful taut there, hard to do much with it!
All best,
John
« Last Edit: August 24, 2023, 10:09:22 AM by Johnm »

Offline frankie

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Re: Barefoot Bill Lyrics
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2004, 08:18:50 PM »
Doh - that's right!  Must have a word with my proofreader...

I think I have a hook into the guitar line - maybe I'll post a clip of that just to show where I'm at with it...  the second fret bend on the first string is hard to get to sound just right.  Having it capoed high helps to some degree, especially if the capo is tight.  It seems to feel best under my fingers when the capo is inadvisedly tight (meaning that most people with any real sense would tell you that the capo is waaaay too tight).

Offline Johnm

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Re: Barefoot Bill Lyrics
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2007, 04:43:44 PM »
Hi all,
Ed Bell played "From Now On" out of E position in standard tuning, his favorite position to work out of, along with Spanish tuning.  The song essentially shares the same accompaniment as Bell's "Mamlish Blues".  In both Bell's guitar playing and singing, he brings to mind a quote from Ornette Coleman, who speaks of realizing that it was possible to play "sharp in tune and flat in tune".  In Bell's case, it is "sharp in tune", for he centers his pitch perfectly consistently a hair sharp; the sound is obviously intentional and does not have the laxity of, say, J. T. Smith's occasional drastic out-of-tune guitar-playing.  Bell's singing, along with that of Robert Pete Williams, is some of the most African-sounding I have heard in the Country Blues.  His light buzzy head tone has none of the deep pushed sound from the diaphragm you most often hear in African American musicians who have grown up singing in church.   
Lyrically, the song bears a thematic resemblance to Sam Collins's eerie "It Won't Be Long".  Both songs have the singer delivering a list of ultimatums/threats to an unmanageable lover.  For me, at least, in both instances, the threats sound pretty empty.  You get the feeling the singer definitely does not have the upper hand in the relationship.



   Faro, you used to dog me, used to drive me like a cow
   Now, you used to dog me, used to drive me like a cow
   But now, you can't drive me, 'cause you don't know how

   From now on, mama, I tell you just like that
   From now on, mama, I tell you just like that
   If you hit my dog, sure gwine to kick your cat

   From now on, mama, I ain't gwine to have no rule
   From now on, mama, I ain't gwine to have no rule
   I'm gonna get hard-headed and act just like a doggone mule

   From now on, mama, you gonna do what I say
   From now on, mama, you must do what I say
   You must understand, you can't have your way

   From now on, mama, this way you got a-doin'
   From now on, mama, this way you got a-doin'
   Sugar, you better stop it, Lord, it's sure gonna be your ruin

   From now on, mama, starting from this very day
   From now on, mama, starting from this very day
   I'm gonna get someone who can drive my blues away

   I want her to drive them off so they won't come back no more
   Want her to drive them off so they won't come back no more
   From now on, mama, I said, "I'm gonna let you go."

Edited 10/31 to pick up corrections from dingwall

All best,
Johnm
   

   
« Last Edit: August 24, 2023, 10:10:00 AM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Barefoot Bill Lyrics
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2007, 04:58:18 PM »
Hi all,
Ed Bell accompanied himself out of Spanish tuning on "Big Rock Jail", which he recorded using the pseudonym "Barefoot Bill".  He plays the song pretty much as a one-chorder, and accompanies himself beautifully.  His use of the thumb in his right hand is exceptionally subtle.  Nobody plays this stuff, and it's a great sound.  What it would take to make the vocal work for a present-day player may be scaring people off, and I suppose that's not always a bad thing.



   Say, high sheriff been here, got my girl and gone
   Say, high sheriff been here, got my girl and gone
   I said, left me lonely, yes, I'm all alone

   Oooooh, listen, mister, what have my baby done?
   Oooooh, listen, mister, what have my baby done?
   I just want to know, has she done anybody wrong

   You took her on down to that Big Rock Jail
   You took her on down to that Big Rock Jail
   And her crime was so evil, nobody would go her bail

   Now, tell me, who took your gun and made her raise her hand
   You took your gun, made her raise her hand
   And you were wrong, 'cause she ain't never harmed a man

   My babe in jail and I can't get no news
   I said, my babe in jail, and I can't get no news
   I don't get nothin' but these mean old high sheriff blues

Edited 12/31 to pick up corrections from dingwall

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: August 24, 2023, 10:10:20 AM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Barefoot Bill Lyrics
« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2007, 06:31:36 PM »
Hi all,
Ed Bell recorded "One More Time" as Barefoot Bill, accompanying himself in Spanish tuning.  This piece has more of an overt Clifford Gibson influence than any of Bell's other pieces in Spanish I have listened to so far, mostly by virtue of Bell's use of brush stroke triplets, a favorite right hand ploy of Gibson's.  It still sounds a lot more like Ed Bell than Clifford Gibson, which is all to the good; Bell made the sound his own. 
I sure like Ed Bell's lyrics.  The tag lines on the last two verses are outstanding.  I'm not sure I have the bent bracketed portion of the tag line to the second verse right, so any help and a fresh set of ears would be appreciated.



   I can't sleep no more, can't get her off my mind
   I can't sleep no more, I can't get her off my mind
   No, I wants to see my baby, man, only one more time

   I treat her wrong, 'fore she left my home
   I treat her wrong, 'fore she left my home
   I just ought not to done it, and she would not've been gone

   SPOKEN:  Ah, play that thing, boy.  Play 'em a long time.

   I didn't know I loved my baby 'til she packed her trunk to leave
   I didn't know I loved my baby 'til she packed her trunk to leave
   I telephoned the undertaker, "Just come and bury me, please."

   Gonna get a black cat bone, gonna bring my baby back home
   I'll get a black cat bone, bring my gal back home
   Lord, and if that don't do it, gonna be one more rounder gone

Edited 12/31 to pick up corrections from dingwall
Edited 4/5/12 to pick up correction from uncle bud

All best,
Johnm 
« Last Edit: August 24, 2023, 10:10:37 AM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Barefoot Bill Lyrics
« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2007, 06:41:59 PM »
Hi all,
Yet another song in Spanish tuning that Ed Bell recorded as Barefoot Bill is "Bad Boy", a prison blues.  There appears to have been more variety in Bell's accompaniments in Spanish tuning than those in E in standard tuning, which with the exception of "Hambone Blues" and "Frisco Whistle" hew pretty closely to the "Mamlish Blues" model.  "Bad Boy" features more strong and original lyrics by Ed Bell.



   I been a bad, bad boy, didn't treat nobody right
   I been a bad, bad boy, didn't treat nobody right
   They want to give me 35 years, some want to turn out my light

   Judge, please don't kill me, I won't be bad no more
   Judge, please don't kill me, I won't be bad no more
   And I will listen to anybody, somethin' I ain't never done before

   I'm sittin' here in prison, with my black cap on
   Lord, sittin' here in prison, with my black cap on
   I want to speak to all you bad fellas, that you are in the wrong

   Well, I'm so sorry, it's the day that I were born
   Well, I'm so sorry, it's the day that I were born
   But God remember, then, even when I'm gone

   When they get you in jail with your back turned to the wall
   When they get you in jail, your back turned to the wall
   I ain't gonna sing no more, baby, that is all

All best,
Johnm
       
« Last Edit: August 24, 2023, 10:11:10 AM by Johnm »

 


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