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Is it cool in here, or is it just me? - Big Dave MacLean, in concert with loud shirt and stylish contrasting multihued beret

Author Topic: Lee Green Lyrics  (Read 866 times)

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Online Johnm

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Lee Green Lyrics
« on: January 20, 2017, 11:51:09 AM »
Hi all,
Leothus "Lee" Green was a pianist, probably originally from Mississippi, who was living in St. Louis in the late '20s and early '30s when he recorded, and who was identified by Roosevelt Sykes as being a major influence on his piano playing.  Both pianists were featured on a Yazoo CD, "The Way I Feel--The Best of Roosevelt Sykes and Lee Green", now out of print, and one of the wonderful blues piano CDs curated by the late British collector Francis Wilford-Smith. 
Green was not a flashy pianist, but he had a wonderful touch, and lots of imagination, and was also a really fine singer, with a light tremolo when he sang.  His solo on "The Way I Feel" shows more harmonic imagination than a lot of more famous pianists, and he does some really ace things in the timing of his accompaniment to the last verse of the song.  For his recording of "The Way I Feel" he was joined by an unidentified guitarist playing out of C position in standard tuning, who was barely audible, but showed a Lonnie Johnson influence.  Here is the cut:



INTRO

Babe, you don't know the way I feel
Babe, you don't know the way I feel
You treat me just like, baby, my hear's made out of steel

My babe don't speak well of poor me no more
Lord, my baby don't speak well of poor me no more
I believe to my soul, she's got the man at the very next door

SOLO

I woke up this mornin', just as sick as I could be
I woke up this mornin', just as sick as I could be
Nothin' but the doggone blues, almost killin' poor me

Awww, baby, told my Mother and my dear Dad, too
Lord, I spoke hard words, baby, to my dear Mother and my Daddy, too
Which I wouldn't have not spoken them, Lord, if it had not been for you

Babe, since we have been apart, life don't seem the same
Lord, since we have been apart, life don't seem the same
Lord, it even though breaks my heart, hear some baby call my rider's name

All best,
Johnm

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Re: Lee Green Lyrics
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2017, 02:24:20 PM »
Hi all,
On "All My Money Gone", Lee Green is once again joined by an unknown, and almost inaudible guitarist, who sounds to be playing out of A position in standard tuning, or possibly Spanish tuning.  Lee Green once again provides a very dynamic accompaniment for his own singing. pretty much changing things up for the entire length of his rendition.  One can sympathize with the guitarist when Lee Green starts his solo, for Green's extreme and complex rhythmic intensity would blow any acoustic guitarist out of the water.  The guitarist sounds like he could have been Teddy Darby--the touch and tone are very similar to Teddy's on some of his early cuts like "My Laona" and "Deceiving Blues".  Green's solo is reminiscent of some of Skip James' wild early piano playing.  Here is "All My Money Gone":



INTRO

All my money gone, there ain't no more in sight
Says, all my money gone and there ain't no more in sight
People, you know I've got to do something, that you really know, that is not right

Peoples, you could not blame me, all I got's in pawn
People, you could not blame me, all I got's in pawn
A no-good woman have mistreated me, and taken all my money and gone

SOLO

This world is in a tangle, and everybody's singin' this song
This world is in a tangle, and everybody's singin' this song
I haven't got a friend in this world, and all my money gone

I believe, I believe, I am on my last go-round
I believe, I believe, I am on my last go-round
All my money gone, I feel myself sinkin' down

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: January 20, 2017, 02:26:02 PM by Johnm »

Online Johnm

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Re: Lee Green Lyrics
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2017, 08:39:32 PM »
Hi all,
Lee Green performed the dangerously catchy "Memphis Fives" as a solo number.  Blueshome recorded a nice version of this a couple of years ago.  The song has a tricky "crooked" form.  The first 8 bars are pretty much what you'd expect from a 12-bar blues, but here is how Lee Green phrased the refrain, "B'lieve to my soul, she's got those Memphis Fives, I mean those Memphis Fives", over the V7 chord, like so:

   |    V7 (6 beats)  |    I (turn-around)  |    I     V7    |

Here is Lee Green's performance of the song:



INTRO SOLO

Gwon take my baby to the doctor, soon
Gwonna take my baby to the doctor, soon
Gwonna take my baby to the doctor, soon
She fell down, done hurt her throne
REFRAIN: B'lieve to my soul, babe, you've got those Memphis Fives,
I mean, those Memphis Fives

You was in Memphis when I saw you last
You was in Memphis when I saw you last
You was in Memphis when I saw you last
Now you's in Vicksburg tryin' to show your yas-yas-yas
REFRAIN: B'lieve to my soul, babe, you've got those Memphis Fives,
Got those Memphis Fives

Just toot your whistle, mama, you can blow on your horn
Just toot your whistle, you can blow on your horn
Just toot your whistle you can blow on your horn
When you get musty, I got your water on
REFRAIN: B'lieve to my soul, you've got those Memphis Fives,
Got those Memphis Fives

"You don't stop, papa, I'm going to yell.
Don't stop that, papa, I am going to yell.
Don't stop that, papa, I'm going to yell"
"And if you yell, mama, I'm going to give you hell."
REFRAIN: B'lieve to my soul, babe, you've got those Memphis Fives,
Got those Memphis Fives

Up she slipped and down she fell
Up she slipped and down she fell
Up she slipped and down she fell
Well, her mouth flew open like a country well
REFRAIN: B'lieve to my soul, babe, you've got those Memphis Fives,
Got those Memphis Fives

That I.C. train makes a mile a minute
That I.C. train makes a mile a minute
That I.C. train makes a mile a minute
This time tomorrow, mama, I'll be sittin' right in it
REFRAIN: B'lieve to my soul, babe, you've got those Memphis Fives,
I mean those Memphis Fives

All best,
Johnm

 



 

Offline Rivers

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Re: Lee Green Lyrics
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2017, 01:19:24 PM »
That Memphis Fives is very nice, pretty much a 'feel' thing at the end of the verse. I had not heard it before. In case anyone else is wondering, the "I.C. train" is a reference to the Illinois Central RR

Online Johnm

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Re: Lee Green Lyrics
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2017, 03:51:09 PM »
Hi all,
Lee Green recorded "Maltese Cat" in 1930, performing it as a solo number.  Green's vocal tremolo is stronger than usual on this recording.  Here is his rendition of the song:



INTRO

I got a brownskin woman, she walks like a Maltese cat
I got a brownskin woman, walks like a Maltese cat
Well, she's a fine-lookin' mama, she ain't no alley rat

Lord, when my baby talks, her voice rings like a baby grand
When my baby talk, voice ring like a baby grand
She's a fine-lookin' mama, not to be played by no monkey man

Lord, I can not leave her alone
Baby, I can not leave you alone
I'll be lovin' you, sweet mama, after the days you dead and gone

SOLO

Lord, I feels like jumpin' from a treetop to the ground
I feel like jumpin' from a treetop to the ground
'Cause my babe done left me, alone in this fakin' town

CODA

All best,
Johnm

 

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Re: Lee Green Lyrics
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2017, 04:31:39 PM »
Hi all,
Lee Green recorded the mis-titled "Death Alley Blues" (he clearly sings "Death Valley" every time he comes to the title phrase) as a solo number.  As was usual for him, his accompaniment was quite varied.  Here is his performance:



INTRO

I'm going down in Death Valley, nothin' down there but clubs and bones
Goin' down in Death Valley, nothin' down there but clubs and bones
If you see my sweet baby, please tell her the way that I'm gone

With my sword in my hand, my gun loaded round and round
My sword in my hand, my gun loaded round and round
I'm gonna battle, I'm gonna battle, some bad fool, carry me down

Lord, I've got tired, everybody tryin' to dog me 'round
Lord, I've got tired, everybody tryin' to dog me 'round
Sooner be dead and sleepin', baby, in the ground

Now, dear old Mister Jailer, you can do anything you want with me
Dear old Mister Jailer, do anything you want with me
When I get through battlin', Mister Jailer, goin' back to my used-to-be

Lord, down in Death Valley, bloody skulls and bones
Down in Death Valley, bloody skulls and bones
My sweet woman be cryin', be cryin', she found out where that I'm gone

SOLO

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: January 23, 2017, 06:04:01 PM by Johnm »

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Re: Lee Green Lyrics
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2017, 06:45:23 AM »
You must be working from a different take, because none of the changes you suggested are on the recording I was working from, Harry.  I assume what you posted was in response to what I posted.

Offline Harry

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Re: Lee Green Lyrics
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2017, 11:04:20 AM »
I was working from a different take, John. I'm sorry. This european video block thing is really getting on my nerves.  Anyway thanks for introducing me to Lee Green. I was unfamiliar with his work. I'm a blues piano aficionado as you might know.   Harry

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Re: Lee Green Lyrics
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2017, 09:36:07 AM »
Hi all,
Lee Green recorded "Death Bell Blues" as a solo number.  A completely different song of the same title was recorded by singer/guitarist Tom Dickson.  Lee Green's piano playing is really beautiful on this piece, varied, imaginative, and with wonderful tonal colors, and tremendous relaxed time.  Here is Lee Green's version:



INTRO

I hate to hear that lonesome death bell tone
I hate to hear that lonesome death bell tone
But it reminds me of my dear Mother, I mean, that's dead and gone

I can't stay here, Lord, I can't stay nowhere
Lord, I can't stay here, babe, I can't stay nowhere
Lord, I been to the Nation, sweet mama, and I couldn't stay there

From East St. Louis to the river, the river to the deep blue sea
Got from East St. Louis to a river, from the river to the deep blue sea
If I don't get the woman that I'm lovin', I don't care what becomes of me

It's so cold in Chicago, the birds can't hardly sing
Lord, it's so cold in Chicago, the birds can't hardly sing
It's so cold in East St. Louis, 'til these women can't make a doggone thing

But my babe, she done quit me, and I don't even care
I mean, my babe done quit me, and I don't even care
I b'lieve that lonesome death bell, gon' take me 'way from here

All best,
Johnm

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Re: Lee Green Lyrics
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2017, 10:14:47 AM »
Hi all,
Lee Green's "Number 44 Blues" is a train blues, not a gun blues.  He plays it with variable phrase lengths, and he is most often short in the instrumental response to the first line of each verse.  Here is his performance of the song:



INTRO

Aw, left my baby cryin', "Aw, daddy, I heard the 44 when she blow."
Aw, my baby cryin' that, "I heard the 44 whistle when she blows.
And daddy, I feel mistreated, and your sweet mama bound to go."

Now baby, when you get loaded and think you want to go
That's, baby, when you get loaded, and think that you want to go
You know you ain't no better, mama, than the black woman I had before

Some of these mornin', mama, babe, and it won't be long
Oh, some of these morning, babe, it won't be long
You gonna look for your daddy, baby, and I'm going to be gone

It's blues, will last me nine months from today
Babe, I got blues, will last me nine months from today
I'm gon' get my sweet woman to drive my blues away

SOLO

Lordy, baby, when you get loaded and want to go
Lord, baby, baby, when you get loaded and want to go
You ain't no better, baby, than the black woman I had before

All best,
Johnm


 

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Re: Lee Green Lyrics
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2017, 10:56:28 AM »
Hi all,
For "Train Number 44", Lee Green was joined by Roosevelt Sykes, who operated in a spoken-only capacity.  Roosevelt Sykes comes across as quite the hipster and seems intent on making Lee Green feel as low as possible.  Musically, the piece is very close to "Number 44 Blues".  Here is the recorded performance:



INTRO

Spoken, Lee Green:  Why, hello there, Roosevelt
Spoken, Roosevelt Sykes:  Why, hello there, Lee Green, why, how you got 'em this morning?
Spoken, Lee Green:  Aw, pretty good, boy, I don't feel so good.
Spoken, Roosevelt Sykes:  Well, I know 'bout the reason you don't feel so good.  Because I seed your gal catch that Number 44 train this morning.  And I just about know 'bout how you feel it, you oughta feel just about well enough to pick me them Number 44 Blues down to a [gravy?]
Spoken, Lee Green:  Well, I'll pick 'em for you, boy, 'cause I've kind of got 'em myself.  Doggone it!

PIANO

I heard my babe left this morning on the train Number 44
Lord, my babe left this morning, on the train Number 44
Ah, she says, "I'm billed out, sweet papa, and your sweet mama bound to go."

SOLO  (Spoken during solo, Roosevelt Sykes:  Oh, I know about how your case is, you see.  A sort of a fine-lookin' gal like that a-walk out on you, 'cause, thing about it, she don't exactly know who you is!
Spoken, Lee Green:  Well, she been with me long enough to find out who I was.
Spoken, Roosevelt Sykes:  Yeah, but I 'bout know your case is very sad.
Spoken, Lee Green:  Well, I know one thing:  I ain't gon' let nothin' worry me like it has been.  Nice as I was to her.
Roosevelt Sykes:  Not much!
Spoken, Lee Green:  No?  Well, I'm gon' sing a verse.)

That is a mean old fireman, cruel old engineer
Was a mean old fireman, cruel old engineer
That doggone 44 train, that carried my baby 'way from here

SOLO  (Spoken during solo, Roosevelt Sykes:  Boy, and I mean she was a fine-lookin' kid, too, that's what's worryin' you.  If she had've been some little ol' tacky gal it wouldn't have worried you, but she's a fine-lookin' flower, sure as you a foot high.
Spoken, Lee Green:  Boy, you think I ain't a fine-lookin' guy!  Well, I never had a woman to walk out on me before.
Spoken, Roosevelt Sykes:  Well, I'm gonna pick you up, so so long!)

All best,
Johnm 

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Re: Lee Green Lyrics
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2017, 09:14:50 AM »
Hi all,
Lee Green's recording of "If I Get Drunk, Who's Gonna Carry Me Home?" is interesting for its simultaneous suavity and "country" qualities.  Its suavity lies mostly in Lee Green's elegant touch on the piano and his seemingly inexhaustible supply of ideas and accompaniment textures.  It's "country" quality lies in the way he varies the length of his instrumental responses, most often being "short" there, but occasionally going "long", too.  I love the tagline to the second verse--it has the ring of truth.  Here is his recording:



INTRO

If I get drunk, baby, who going to carry me home?
If I get drunk, baby, who gon' carry me home?
For it's a mark in my family, it must be carried on

Lord, I'm an innocent man, but the policeman took me down
I'm an innocent man, but the policeman carried me down
He says to his partner, "He's a smart guy, wants to clown."

Lord, babe, I'm in jail, haven't even done no crime
Lord, I'm in jail, baby, haven't even done no crime
Well, I'm fined fifty dollars, ain't got a lousy dime

"Baby, will you please, ma'am, pay my fine?
Baby, baby, please, ma'am, pay my fine."
"Don't you worry, sweet papa, I'll be there, 'head of time."

She went down to the judge with a hundred dollar bill in her hand
She went down to the judge with a hundred dollar bill in her hand
She say, "Your honor, Mister Judge, I come after my man."

All best,
Johnm

Offline eric

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Re: Lee Green Lyrics
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2017, 09:41:57 AM »
His singing reminds me a bit of Little Brother Montgomery, with the occasional vibrato.  There's so many of these great early piano players.  If I was a better player, I'd steal some of their stuff for guitar licks.
--
Eric

 


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