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If the only tool you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail - Anon., A skilled Weenie, suffering through yet another 12 bar blues

Author Topic: Big Joe Williams Lyrics  (Read 14712 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Re: Big Joe Williams Lyrics
« Reply #60 on: August 17, 2013, 10:18:02 AM »
Hi all,
Big Joe recorded "Whistling Pines" at a session in Jackson, Mississippi on December 3, 1951.  He was joined on the session by bassist T.J. Green, who, for a change, is audible.  Joe plays electric guitar on the session, which yielded four titles, and sounds terrific, absolutely at the top of his game.  Listening to a lot of Joe's titles from his early years brings home the extent to which he developed his own vocabulary of licks in Spanish tuning, including a lot of great moves I've never heard anyone else duplicate.  Joe recorded this title several times following this version, with an especially strong version on the Delmark album on which he was joined on several tracks by his cousin, Jaydee Short.




Boys, if a woman tell you she love you, man, don't never pay that no mind
Yeah, if a woman says she love you, boys, don't never pay that no mind
You know, she don't do nothin' but every Saturday night she run around, 'way down by Whistlin' Pines

Every time I look at my baby's face, man, it make my love come down
(Guitar plays response line)
Lord, you know I think about my little woman, she's 'way down by Whistlin' Pines

I'm gonna sing these blues, and I believe I close 'em down
I'm gonna sing these blues, baby, and I believe I close 'em down
You know, I can't find my little woman, she done moved 'way down by Whistlin' Pines

SOLO (Spoken: Yeah!)

Every time I think about my baby, Lord, it make my love come down
Every time I think about that little woman, man, you know it make my love come down
Know, she live 'way up by Crawford, Mississippi, 'way down by Whistlin' Pines

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: July 15, 2020, 01:36:38 PM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Big Joe Williams Lyrics
« Reply #61 on: August 18, 2013, 10:16:39 AM »
Hi all,
Big Joe recorded "Delta Blues" playing solo at a session in Jackson, Mississippi on September 25, 1951--the same session that yielded "Mama Don't Allow Me".  Like "Mama Don't Allow Me", "Delta Blues" is a cover of a John Lee Hooker tune, "Hobo Blues" in this case.  "Delta Blues" does not imitate "Hobo Blues" very closely; the main area of similarity is in the first and last verses.  Joe plays electric guitar here again and sounds darn good on it.



When I first started travelin' travelin'-huh, I taken the delta, man, to be my home
When I first started to travelin', I taken the delta, man, to be my home
Well, you know, my little woman, she's gone and left me, all I can do, hang my head and moan

You know, I left my little woman this mornin', man, standin' in the doorway, cryin' (Spoken: Yeah, yes!)
You know, I left my baby, this mornin', boys, standin' in the doorway, cryin'
She say, "You know you got a home, poor Joe, just as long as I got mine."

Lord, I'm goin' down to Greenville, boys, I'm gon' peep up on that Greyhound board
Yes, I'm goin' out in Greenville, boys, I'm gon' peep up on that Greyhound board
Lord, you say, "Your woman done been here, man, but she gone on down the road."

When I first started to travelin', travelin', I went a long, long, long ways from home
When I first started to travelin', I went a long, long way from home
Well, you know, my baby, she have left me, all I can do, hang my head and moan

All best,
Johnm

« Last Edit: July 15, 2020, 01:24:10 PM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Big Joe Williams Lyrics
« Reply #62 on: August 19, 2013, 02:57:32 PM »
Hi all,
Big Joe recorded "Overhauling Blues" at the same 1951 session in Jackson at which he recorded "Whistling Pines", and as on "Whistling Pines", he was joined by T. J. Green on bass.  Joe plays a little bit of slide on this one, and it sounds great.  Joe has a minimal amount of lyrics here, singing essentially the same verse three times consecutively.  I don't know who was the first to employ the particular lyric metaphor found in this song.  Joe pronounced "hoist", "heist" as did most Country Blues singers.



Drop down, baby, let me overhaul your little machine
Drop down, baby, let me overhaul your little machine
Well, you know, you got a loose carburetor, you been burning bad gasoline

Well, I'm gonna raise your motor, baby, I'm gon' heist your hood
Your sparkplug gettin' old, your generator ain't puttin' out good,
REFRAIN: But oh yeah, let me overhaul your little machine
Well, you got a loose carburetor, y' been burnin' bad gasoline

SOLO (Spoken: Yeah, drive it!)

Well, I'm gonna raise your motor, baby, I'm gonna heist your hood
Your sparkplug gettin' old, now, and generator ain't puttin' out good
REFRAIN: But oh yeah, let me overhaul your little machine
You got a loose carburetor, been burnin' bad gasoline

SOLO

I'm gonna raise your motor, baby, gonna heist your hood
Your sparkplug gettin' old, now, and your car ain't runnin' good
REFRAIN: But oh yeah, I'm gon' overhaul your little machine
You got a loose carburetor, burnin' bad gasoline

All best,
Johnm

 
« Last Edit: July 15, 2020, 01:24:47 PM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Big Joe Williams Lyrics
« Reply #63 on: August 21, 2013, 01:02:56 PM »
Hi all,
Big Joe recorded "Bad Heart Blues" at the December 3, 1951 session in Jackson with T.J. Green on bass.  I feel like the song may be a cover, possibly of a Sonny Boy Williamson song, but I'm not strong enough on Sonny Boy's repertoire to know for sure.  Apologies to Big Joe if I'm not giving him credit for something that was his own.  I'm not at all certain of the bent bracketed words and would appreciate correction/corroboration of them.



You know, when my heart get to beat like a hammer, you know, my eyes stayed full of tears
You know, when my heart keep to beatin' like a hammer, baby, you know, my eyes stayed full of tears
Well, you know, my woman ain't gone but twenty-four hours, Lord, but it seemed like a thousand years

I ever mistreat my little woman, God knows, I didn't mean no harm
Lord, I ever mistreat my little woman, God knows, I didn't mean no harm
Boys, you know, I ain't nothin' but a country boy, 'way down here on [Miss Tabbin's] farm

Hello baby, sure remind me of Miss Stella Mae
Hello baby, sure remind me of Miss Stella Mae
Lord, I get settin' 'round thinkin' about the days, days me and my baby used to go out and play

SOLO (Spoken: Yeah man!  Looks bad to be thinkin' about that woman!)

Well, my heart keep to beatin' like a hammer, you know, my eyes stated full of tears
Lord, you know, my heart get to beatin' like a hammer, you know, my eyes stayed full of tears
Well, my baby's gone but twenty-four hours, seem like a thousand years

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: July 15, 2020, 01:25:29 PM by Johnm »

Offline dj

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Re: Big Joe Williams Lyrics
« Reply #64 on: August 21, 2013, 01:35:48 PM »
Quote
I feel like the song may be a cover, possibly of a Sonny Boy Williamson song

The melody and third verse are certainly reminiscent of (John Lee) Sonny Boy Williamson's Mattie Mae Blues, the first two lines of which are "Hello Stranger, you sure do remind me of Mattie Mae"

Offline banjochris

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Big Joe Williams Lyrics
« Reply #65 on: August 21, 2013, 01:55:55 PM »
I know that the first verse and the last one were sung by Blind Willie McTell -- Blues Around Midnight maybe from the Atlantic sessions? In which case that's a cover too.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Big Joe Williams Lyrics
« Reply #66 on: August 22, 2013, 03:20:43 PM »
Thanks for the source information, dj and Chris.  It brings up a question:  Is something a cover if everything in it has appeared somewhere else previously, but in a variety of different locations, or for something to be a cover must it copy one performance, more or less intact?
All best,
Johnm

Offline banjochris

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Re: Big Joe Williams Lyrics
« Reply #67 on: August 22, 2013, 04:07:40 PM »
I would say it has to be aiming to copy one performance. Otherwise it's just drawing from the blues tradition pool.

McTell's Blues Around Midnight was a cover also, is what I meant by the way. Isn't it Leroy Carr? I doubt Big Joe heard ever heard Willie do it.

And of course sometimes covers that go far afield can become their own thing entirely, like "Whoopee Blues" for instance.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Big Joe Williams Lyrics
« Reply #68 on: August 22, 2013, 07:57:57 PM »
What you say makes a lot of sense, Chris.  A tune can't exactly be construed a cover simply by being indebted to the language of the style in the broadest sense.  As per "Whoopee Blues", another cover that goes to a completely different place than its model is Robert Pete Williams's version of "Louise", almost to a "you can't get there from here" extent.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: Big Joe Williams Lyrics
« Reply #69 on: August 22, 2013, 09:46:33 PM »
Hi all,
Big Joe recorded "Crawlin' King Snake" at a session in Chicago on March 27, 1941, with William Mitchell supplying Imitation Bass, according to the discographical notes on the JSP set I've been working from.  Joe works in his version of Peetie Wheatstraw's "hoo-well, well" on this number.  There's a recurring phrase in the refrain that has me stumped, and I'd sure appreciate some help with it.  I'll enclose it in bent brackets where it occurs, and stick in a phonetic approximation of the sound in a couple of places.



Well, I'm a crawlin' king snake, woman, I'm gon' joint all 'round your door
Said, I'm a crawlin' king snake, baby, baby, I'm gon' joint all 'round your door
She had the nerve to tell me, hoo-well, well, she didn't want me no more

You couldn't see me baby, passin' by
I'm gon' be your crawlin' king snake, 'til the day I die
REFRAIN: I'm gon' be your crawlin' king snake, I'm gon' joint all 'round your door
You had the nerve to tell me, hoo-well, well, you didn't want poor Joe Williams no more

You couldn't see me, baby, not when I's walkin' by
Gon' be your crawlin' king snake, mama, if I have to die
REFRAIN: 'Cause I'm gonna be your crawlin' king snake, gon' joint all 'round your door
You had the nerve to tell me, hoo-well, well, that you didn't want me no more

I'm gwine back to Memphis, if I have to walk
I ain't got nobody in Chicago, talk that old baby talk
REFRAIN: I'm gon' be your crawlin' king snake, gon' joint all 'round your door
You had the nerve to tell me, hoo-well, well, you didn't want me no more

I'm gwine back to St. Louis, I'm gon' sit right down
I'm gonna throw my poison on every pretty woman in town
REFRAIN: 'Cause I'm a crawlin' king snake, gon' joint all 'round your door (Spoken: Play it for me a while, boy)
She had the nerve to tell me, hoo-blues, that woman didn't want me no more

SOLO (Spoken: Play 'til my baby comes.  Ease on out.)

Edited 8/27 to pick up correction from dj

All best,
Johnm 

 
« Last Edit: July 15, 2020, 01:26:43 PM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Big Joe Williams Lyrics
« Reply #70 on: August 26, 2013, 05:08:22 PM »
Hi all,
I'm going to try to upload an .mp3 of Big Joe's version of "Crawlin' King Snake" so that folks can give it a listen and possibly provide suggestions for the words in the refrain immediately preceding "all 'round your door".  I'm just stumped and would appreciate some help.
All best,
Johnm

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Offline Johnm

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Re: Big Joe Williams Lyrics
« Reply #71 on: August 26, 2013, 05:36:33 PM »
Hi all,
Big Joe recorded "She Left Me A Mule" with T.J. Green's backing on bass at a session in Jackson on December 3, 1951.  Mance Lipscomb used a very similar verse as the opening for his song, "If I Miss the Train", though it is the only verse the two songs have in common.  Big Joe accords just about as much space for guitar solos as singing in this performance, and it's a really strong dance number.



Well, my baby, she left me, she left me a mule to ride
Well, my baby, she left me, she left me a mule to ride
Well, the train left the station, mam', the mule laid down and died

SOLO 

If I can't come in, just let me set down in front of your door
If I can't come in, just let me set down in front of your door
I'll leave so early, 'til your good man won't never know

SOLO

Lake Michigan ain't no river, Chicago ain't no hilly town
Lake Michigan ain't no river, Chicago ain't no hilly town
If I don't feel no better in tomorrow, I'll be Melbury bound

SOLO

What make Grandpa Henry love Grandma Julie so?
What make Grandpa Henry love Grandma Julie so?
She cook the same jellyroll that she cooked forty years ago

SOLO (Spoken: Hey!  Hit it, boy!)

If I can't come in, set down in front of your door
If I can't come in, let me set down in front of your door
Leave so early in the mornin' your good man won't never know

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: July 15, 2020, 01:28:15 PM by Johnm »

Offline dj

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Re: Big Joe Williams Lyrics
« Reply #72 on: August 27, 2013, 05:47:24 AM »
John, I've listened to Crawlin' King Snake a lot, and I'm baffled by the word/phrase you have bracketed.  It sounds to me like Big Joe is singing "goin' joint" where you have "run joint". 

I wonder if Big Joe is referring to a Joint Snake, a "mythical creature of the Southern United States" that can break itself into pieces (or be cut into pieces) and reassemble itself:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joint_snake.  If this is the case, I guess Big Joe is saying his woman can try to leave him, but he'll always reassemble himself in front of her door. 

Offline Johnm

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Re: Big Joe Williams Lyrics
« Reply #73 on: August 27, 2013, 09:51:14 AM »
Thanks very much for your suggestion, dj.  The "joint snake" possibility was something that never would have occurred to me, but it makes sense, especially given the phonetics of what Big Joe was singing there.  I couldn't wrap my mind around how "joint" could be a verb, as it needed to be in that context.  That is some really good hearing and detective work on your part.  Thanks!  I will make the change.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Annette

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Re: Big Joe Williams Lyrics
« Reply #74 on: October 27, 2015, 11:23:58 AM »
Ive always understood Big Joe was singing "coonjine round your door" in Crawling Kingsnake...

coon?jine
\ˈk?nˌjīn\
verb
-ed/-ing/-s
:to walk, dance, or carry with a sidling waddling shuffle

Annette
Annette

 


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