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You try to sing like Muddy Waters, and play like Lightnin' sounds. But since I blowed on my harp you're feelin' mean and confused. It's got you chained to your earphones - you're just a white boy lost in the blues - Brownie McGhee, White Boy Lost in the Blues by Michael Franks performed by Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee

Author Topic: David Miller Lyrics  (Read 488 times)

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Offline Johnm

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David Miller Lyrics
« on: May 10, 2021, 04:29:34 PM »
Hi all,
David Miller first recorded in 1924, and didn't return to the studio for over three years. His last session was in 1931, and over the course of his recording career he had records released as "David Miller", "Davie Miller", "The Blind Soldier" and "Davey Miller". His version of Stackerlee is posted elsewhere on this site. He recorded "Way Down In Jail On My Knees" at a session in New York City on January 23, 1931, the day before his final recording session. The song, which he chose to accompany in F position, standard tuning, is his version of "Going Down The Road Feeling Bad", or "Lonesome Road Blues", a 16-bar blues common to both the black and white traditions. I sure like his singing, and his accompaniment, while not being "hot" or "exciting", has a lot of really nice, subtle, musicianly places in it. It's nice to hear a guitar relegated to a pure accompaniment role nonetheless played so musically. Here is "Way Down In Jail On My Knees":



Goin' down the road a-feelin' ba-a-ad, I'm
Goin' down the road, feelin' bad, I'm
A-goin' down the road feelin' ba-a-ad, and I
Ain't a-gonna be treated this a-way

I'm goin' where the climate suits my clo-o-othes, I'm
Goin' to where the climate suits my clothes, I'm
A-goin' to where the climate suits my clo-o-othes, and I
Ain't a-gonna be treated this a-way

Away down in jail on my knee-ees,a-
Way down in jail on my knees, a-
Way down in jail on my knee-ee-ees, and I
Ain't a-gonna be treated this a-way

They feed me on cornbread and bea-ea-eans, they
Feed me on cornbread and beans, they
Feed me on cornbread and beans, and I
Ain't a-gonna be treated this a-way

I'm goin' to where the chilly winds don't blow-ow-ow
Goin' to where the chilly winds don't blow, I'm
A-goin' to where the chilly winds don't blow-ow-ow, 'cause I
Ain't a-gonna be treated this a-way

'Way down in jail on my knees
'Way down in jail on my knees, a-
Way down in jail on my knee-ee-ees, and I
Ain't a-gonna be treated this a-way

Ten dollar shoe fits my fee-eet
Ten dollar shoe fits my feet, a
Ten dollar shoe fits my fee-ee-eet, and I
Ain't a-gonna be treated this a-way

I'm a-gonna steal the jailor's key-ey-eys, I'm
A-gonna steal the jailor's keys, I'm
A-gonna steal the jailor's key-ey-eys, 'cause I
Ain't a-gonna be treated this a-way

Away down in jail on my knee-ee-ees, a-
Way down in jail on my knees, a-
Way down in jail on my knee-ee-ees, and I
Ain't a-gonna be treated this a-way

Edited 5/11 to pick up correction from dj

All best,
Johnm






 
« Last Edit: August 20, 2021, 07:30:44 PM by Johnm »

Offline dj

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Re: David Miller Lyrics
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2021, 05:47:58 AM »
Nice one, John.

You've got a typo on the second line of the third verse:  "mail" should be "jail".

Offline Johnm

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Re: David Miller Lyrics
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2021, 06:03:06 AM »
Thanks for the catch, dj. I have made the change.

Offline Johnm

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Re: David Miller Lyrics
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2021, 02:16:26 PM »
Hi all,
David Miller recorded "It's Hard Too Be Shut Up In Prison" at a session for Paramount in February of 1929, for which he was accompanied by John McGhee on harmonica and possibly guitar and Frank Welling on steel guitar, played lap style with a slide. I think it's likely that Miller played guitar on the track, too, but in any event the guitarist on the recording is playing in F position in standard tuning and utilizing a boom-chang-chang-chang or "one down and three up" back-up approach. For some reason, Paramount issued the recording as being by Owen Mills. This performance seems like it may very well have been the source of the "New Prisoner's Song" that Dock Boggs recorded on his first Folkways album after being rediscovered. I've always loved this melody. Here is "It's Hard To Be Shut Up In Prison":



INTRO

It's hard to be shut up in prison
Away from your own heart's delight
With the cold prison bars all around you
And a board for a pillow at night

REFRAIN: Lone and sad, sad and lone
Sitting in my cell all alone
Thinking of the days that's gone by me
When I know that I've done wrong

Seven long years I've been here
Seven long more I'm going to stay
For knocking down a man in the alley
And taking all his greenbacks away

REFRAIN: Lone and sad, sad and lone
Sitting in my cell all alone
Thinking of the days that's gone by me
When I know that I've done wrong

I've got a brother and a sister
Who dwells in a cottage by the sea
I've got a mother and a father
I wonder if they ever think of me

REFRAIN: Alone and sad, sad and lone
Sitting in my cell all alone
Thinking of the days that's gone by me
When I know that I've done wrong

If I had the wings of an eagle
From these prison walls I would fly
I would fly to the arms of my true love
And there, I'd be willing to die

Edited 7/18 to pick up correction from Harry.

All best,
Johnm


« Last Edit: July 18, 2021, 03:09:46 PM by Johnm »

Offline Blues Vintage

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Re: David Miller Lyrics
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2021, 02:33:26 PM »
Hi John,  a suggestion for the last verse,

If I had the wings of an angel eagle

Offline Johnm

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Re: David Miller Lyrics
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2021, 03:08:58 PM »
Thanks for the catch, Harry. Everybody I've ever heard sing that verse before sings "angel", and I just assumed it was that without listening carefully enough. I'll make the change.
All best,
Johnm

 


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