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Tampa Red Lyrics

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I was thinkin' about a tune to do for the "Weenies Sing the Blues" thread, and I came up with "Dead Cat on the Line" a duet with Tampa Red and Georgia Tom Dorsey. I think the song can be easily translated into an Alternating Bass tune in standard tuning, key of E, as all of Tampa's licks can be reached from first position chords in that key (he's in Vestapol at F).

A couple of the lyrics have me stumped. Hope someone can help.

Dead Cats on the Line
Tampa Red and Georgia Tom Dorsey

Guitar and piano
Vestapol at F

Instrumental introduction

1) You Chicago women, runnin' hand in hand
You run around with one another's man
There's a dead cat on the line, there's a dead cat on the line
I ain't lyin' your the cheatin' kind
There's a dead cat on the line

2) You come home at night, talkin' out 'ch'our head
You have to take a bath 'fore you go to bed

3) you and sister Smith are gettin' mighty {stoned?}
When you shake hands, you got to hold it so long

4) She was standin' in church, with her own man
I saw you when you tickled her in her hand

5) Instrumental verse

6) Your brown skin, {?your husband ain't there?}
Your children all yellin', got curley hair

7) Early this mornin', 'bout half past four
I seen Bill Johnson comin' out your door

8) There's one thing I can't understand
You broke up your home and quit your regular man


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Bunker Hill:
The basis of this song is a Baptist sermon, variants of which were recorded by Rev J M Gates or Rev F W McGhee. In 1996 Paul Oliver devoted an entire chapter to the subject in the book "Saints and Sinners; Religion, Blues and (D)evil in African-American Music and Literature". When I have time I'll see how it's transcribed in that but it's capital S in sister, for obvious reasons, and "your husband ain't fair" (as in skin/hair?).

For what it's worth

Verse 3 - I think it's "strong" not "stoned" and surely refers to two women holding each other  :o

Verse 4 - As BH says it's "fair"  as in "your husband ain't fair" refering to to his colouring.

uncle bud:
Good choice, Alex. It's sister song, You Can't Get That Stuff No More, is a great one as well. Can't remember which was recorded first.

Why not play it with the slide?  >:D  You'll love it.

yep, a great one.  You have someone to do the duet?  Love to hear that!

Regarding the lyrics, I hear "old man" not "own man".

Also, continuing above comments, its "your children all yellow and got curly hair".  Try and do that when you and your husband are dark-skinned...

That said, I can't say I totally get all the lyrics, but this was interesting...



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