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Author Topic: Andrew and Jim Baxter Lyrics  (Read 3943 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Andrew and Jim Baxter Lyrics
« on: August 20, 2013, 02:10:24 PM »
Hi all,
Andrew and Jim Baxter recorded "Done Wrong Blues" at a session in Atlanta on November 20, 1929.  The tune can be found on the Document CD, "Black Fiddlers", DOCD-5631.  For the tune, Jim Baxter, the singing and guitar-playing nephew of fiddler Andrew, is playing out of G position in standard tuning sounding at E, so he was tuned C#-F#-B-E-G#-C#.  Andrew sounds to be tuned correspondingly low on the fiddle. The song has an unusual 18-bar form, in its sung version (instrumentally, the form is different).  It opens with a 12-bar lyric break, rocking back and forth between E and G with D in the bass (relative to the pitch at which the guitar is tuned), before finally going to the IV chord in the thirteenth bar.  Jim Baxter, in addition to being a fine singer, must be one of the most interesting and musical practitioners of "boom-chang" back-up guitar.  The form for the first verse looks like so, and the slash chords show the chord above the slash and the bass note being hit below the slash.  The song, except where otherwise indicated is in cut time, 2/2.

   |  E  G/D  |  G  G/D  |  E  G/D  |  E  G/D  |

   |  E  G/D  |  G  G/D  |  E  G/D  |  G  G/D  |

   |  E  G/D  |  E  G/D  |  E  G/D  |3/2  D  G  G/D  |

   |  C          |  C          |3/2  G  G/D  G/B  |

   |  G  G/D  |3/2 G  E  E  |3/2  G  G  G/B  |

Jim maintains a pretty straight boom-chang movement in the bass behind the opening 12 bars, but once he goes to the IV chord in the 13th bar, he hits a lot of spiffy connecting bass runs which are well worth copying.
It seems possible that the song had Pop origins, because Jim sings essentially the same lyric pass three times.  It sure wears well, though.  The combination of his singing, his Uncle Andrew's fiddling, and his own interesting accompaniment choices make the performance really winning.  It's worth seeking out if you haven't heard it, as are all of the duo's recordings.



INTRO

Look here, mama, I've come to take you back
I don't want you to talk no-ways slack
I'm going to the gypsy if I have to walk across the world
When I come back, gonna have you bottled up in a jug
You'll find these keys hangin' by the kitchen door
Come on back, mama, I'll do wrong no more
Well I know I've done wrong, I won't do wrong no more
I've done wrong, I won't do wrong no more

INTERLUDE

Look-a here, mama, I've come to take you back
I don't want you to talk no-ways slack
I'm going to the gypsy if I have to walk across the world
When I come back, I'm gonna have you bottled up in a jug
You'll find these keys hangin' by the kitchen door
Come on back, mama, I'll do wrong no more
Well I know I've done wrong, I won't do wrong no more
(Last line instrumental)

INTERLUDE

Look-a here, mama, I've come to take you back
I don't want you to talk no-ways slack
I'm going to the gypsy if I have to walk across the world
When I come back, I'm gonna have you bottled up in a jug
You'll find these keys hangin' by the kitchen door
Come on back, mama, I'll do wrong no more
Well, I've done wrong, I won't do wrong no more
(Last line instrumental)

All best,
Johnm
     

     
« Last Edit: July 11, 2020, 06:45:42 AM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Andrew and Jim Baxter Lyrics
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2013, 09:50:43 AM »
Hi all,
Andrew and Jim Baxter recorded "Goodbye Blues" the day after they recorded "Done Wrong Blues".  "Goodbye Blues" was played out of C position on both guitar and violin, and sounded at B flat, so both instruments were tuned a whole step low rather than the step-and-a-half low that they were for "Done Wrong Blues".  For the instrumental sections of "Goodbye Blues", Andrew Baxter plays the melody of "Corinna, Corinna" on the fiddle and Jim harmonizes it very distinctively, as was his wont. 
The sung portions of "Goodbye Blues" have an altogether different melody and form than the instrumental solos.  It employs a 16-bar form utilizing only the I and V7 chords, like so:

   |   I   |   I   |   I   |   I   |

   |   I   |   I   |  V7  |  V7  |

   |  V7  |  V7  |  I   |   I   |

   |   I   |  V7  |   I   |   I   |

What shows as the third and fourth lines in the lyric transcription actually end up filling the third four-bar phrase.  Son House later used some of these lyrics for his song, "Was I Right Or Wrong?", recorded for the Library of Congress.  This song has an exceptionally pretty melody and Jim Baxter sang it beautifully.

 

INTRO SOLO

Goodbye, honey, goodbye
Goodbye, honey, goodbye
You needn't to think you's the only thing
My girl, she wears a diamond ring
Goodbye, honey, goodbye

SOLO

Goodbye, honey, goodbye
Goodbye, honey, goodbye
You needn't to think because I'm black
I'm gonna beg you to take me back
Goodbye, honey, goodbye

SOLO

Goodbye, yella woman, goodbye
Goodbye, yella woman, goodbye
You needn't think because you yella
I'm gonna give you my last old dollar
Goodbye, yella woman, goodbye

All best,
Johnm
 
« Last Edit: July 11, 2020, 06:46:40 AM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Andrew and Jim Baxter Lyrics
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2013, 02:49:26 PM »
Hi all,
Andrew and Jim Baxter recorded "Treat Your Friends Right" the same day they recorded "Done Wrong Blues", and they were still tuned a step-and-a-half low, so playing out of C position on both fiddle and guitar, they sounded in A.  The song is a 16-bar blues, and seems like a precursor to the kind of 16-bar blues that Blind Boy Fuller did so many of, but without the circle of fifths progression that Fuller used.  The Baxters harmonized the whole progression with just I, IV and V7 chords, and it ends up sounding really sweet.  "Treat Your Friends Right" works out like so:

   |   I   |   I   |  IV  V7 |   I   |

   |   I   |   I   |    IV     |   V7  |

   |   I   |  I7  |    IV    |   V7   |

   |   I   |   I   | IV  V7 |   I    |

Like the Fuller sort of raggy 16-bar  circle of fifths blues, the lyrics to "Treat Your Friends" really only change in the third 4-bar phrase when going from one pass through the form to the next.  It would be interesting to take some of those raggy 16-bar blues and give them the Baxters' chordal treatment.

I'm not sure I have the opening of the fourth line of the verse correct, so any correction/corroboration would be appreciated.



INTRO

If you've got a friend, you can treat him right
Be sure he's out on the street
You can carry him home, treat him nice
Who he will be glad to meet
He will look all around, begin to give signs
He says, "Look-a here, Miss, when are you coming to town?"
If you've got a friend, treat him right
Be sure he's out on the street

SOLO

If you've got a friend, you can treat him right
Be sure he's out on the street
You can carry him home, treat him nice
Who he will be glad to meet
When he gets something on you, you don't want nobody else to know
He will tell your wife at your own back door
But if you've got a friend, treat him right
Be sure he's out on the street

SOLO

If you've got a friend, you better treat him right
Be sure he's out on the street
You can carry him home, try to treat him nice
Who he will be glad to meet
He will look all around, begin to give signs
He say, "Look-a here, Miss, when you're comin' to town?"
If you've got a friend, you can treat him right
Be sure he's out on the street

Edited, 8/30,  to pick up corrections from uncle bud

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: July 11, 2020, 06:47:31 AM by Johnm »

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Andrew and Jim Baxter Lyrics
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2013, 06:49:34 PM »
Hi John - Wondering if that 4th line is "WHO he will be glad to meet". That what it sounds like to me but admittedly the quality makes it tough to nail down. The WHO referring to the woman he'll be glad to meet, in an awkwardly phrased way.

Thanks for the analysis, it's indeed a sweet tune, and that "simplified" approach really makes it. And as usual, the Baxters great musical sensibilities.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Andrew and Jim Baxter Lyrics
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2013, 08:28:16 AM »
Thanks very much for the help, Andrew.  I re-listened, and it is "Who he will be glad to meet", just as you suggested.  A bit awkward, as you noted, but it makes sense.  I will make the change.

I'm finding with these Baxter cuts that I can listen through the performance and focus on the whole thing, or just Andrew's fiddling and the way he made his notes, or just Jim's back-up guitar and his choices, or just Jim's singing, and be perfectly entertained.  It's such a treat when a small ensemble recordings in this style from that era rewards that kind of careful listening and scrutiny.

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: September 14, 2013, 06:20:34 AM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Andrew and Jim Baxter Lyrics
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2013, 09:10:23 AM »
Hi all,
Andrew and Jim Baxter recorded "Operator Blues" at the same session as they recorded "Done Wrong Blues" and "Treat Your Friends Right", so they are still tuned a step-and-a-half low for "Operator Blues", playing in C position and sounding in A.  Jim's guitar accompaniment on this one is really spectacular, even by his very elevated standards.  His sweet, plaintive singing style sure wears well.  Andrew is in a class with such great Old-Time fiddlers as Leonard Rutherford and John Summer in the subtlety of his note-making.
Unlike many of the Baxters' recorded performances, "Operator Blues" is a 12-bar blues, but the way Jim backed it up gave it a very distinctive color.  Here's how he backed the song:

   |   I   |  I  V7 |   I    |   I7  |

   |  IV  | IV  V7 |   I   |   I    |

   |  V7  |    V7   |   I   |   I    |

As seems most often to be the case, in the verse that mentions Noah's doves, "Noah" is pronounced "Norah".



INTRO SOLO

"Operator, operator, how long that train been gone?
Operator, operator, how long the train been gone?"
"It's been gone so long, can't hear the engine moan."

SOLO

Anybody here seed that brown of mine?
Anybody here seed that brown of mine?
She wears a long black coat, 'til it drags the ground

SOLO

If I had wings, like one of Norah's doves
If I had wings, like one of Norah's doves
I would fly away to the one I love

SOLO

Gonna lay my head, some cold railroad iron
Gonna lay my head down on some railroad iron
Gonna let some fast train satisfy my mind

All best,
Johnm

« Last Edit: July 11, 2020, 06:48:21 AM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Andrew and Jim Baxter Lyrics
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2013, 04:32:24 PM »
Hi all,
Andrew and Jim Baxter recorded "Bamalong Blues" playing in G position, very close to concert pitch--not tuned significantly low for once.  The title of the song has occasioned some discussion.  Some people think it is a garbling of "second Babylon", and a biblical reference.  It seems much more likely to me to refer to a division or regiment in the army, the 2nd Alabama.  I suppose at this stage there is no way of knowing for certain what the Baxters' understanding of the lyric was.



INTRO SOLO

Ain't gonna be in the 2nd 'Bama long
Ain't gonna be in the 2nd 'Bama long
Ain't gonna be in the 2nd 'Bama long

SOLO

Been to the Nation, and I just got back
Been to the Nation, and I just got back
Didn't get no money, but I brought the sack

SOLO

You didn't want me, don't you dog me 'round
You didn't want me, don't you dog me 'round
I didn't come here to be nobody's dog

SOLO

Just sure as the sun sets in the golden West
Just sure as the sun sets in the golden West
I've got the one that I love the best.

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: July 11, 2020, 06:49:03 AM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Andrew and Jim Baxter Lyrics
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2013, 08:13:59 PM »
Hi all,
Andrew and Jim Baxter recorded "K.C. Railroad Blues", a 16-bar blues played out of C position in standard tuning just about at concert pitch.  As has been noted in the "16-Bar Blues" thread, this one is related, melodically and lyrically, to "K.C. Moan".  A couple of interesting things about Jim Baxter's guitar back-up on this tune:
   * He never resolves from the IV chord back to I without passing through a V7 chord first; and
   * He never resolves from a I chord to a IV chord without passing through a I7 chord first.
I think the sense of the opening line of the last verse is, "Central has gave me that long distance phone."



INTRO SOLO

Thought I heard old K.C. when it blowed
Oh, I thought I heard old K.C. when it blowed
Oh, I thought I heard old K.C. when she blowed
Blowed like it never blowed before

SOLO

Oh, it's comin' a time that a woman won't need no man
Oh, it's comin' a time that a woman won't need no man
Oh, it's comin' a time that a woman won't need no man
Honey, I love y', God knows I do

SOLO

Central's give me that long distance phone
Oh, Central's give me that long distance phone
Oh, Central's give me that long distance phone
Just want to talk to that brown of mine

Edited 9/2 to pick up corrections from nobocaster

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: July 11, 2020, 06:49:48 AM by Johnm »

Offline nobocaster

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Re: Andrew and Jim Baxter Lyrics
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2013, 09:00:52 AM »
Hi John,

  Thanks for posting all these!  I'm gonna have to get that Document CD.  There's a couple you posted here I have yet to hear.

  In KC RR Blues, I always heard " CENTRAL, GIVE me that long distance phone."  Central being the operator. 


 

Offline Johnm

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Re: Andrew and Jim Baxter Lyrics
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2013, 09:26:01 AM »
Hi Devin,
I'm glad you're enjoying these.  Incidentally, if you want to play Andrew's part on some of these some time, I'll do my best to do Jim's. 
Re the lyrics on "K.C. Railroad Blues", I agree that such lines usually use "Central", like Jim Jackson's "Wild About My Lovin'", but in re-listening a couple of times, I'm continuing to hear "sister's".  Give it another listen and see what you think.
All best,
Johnm

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Andrew and Jim Baxter Lyrics
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2013, 09:36:49 AM »
I think this is one where a cleaner copy might help (so one is attached - the version from the String Bands CD on Document is pretty rough, but the version from the When the Sun Goes Down - Walk Right In compilation is quite a bit better). I agree with Devin - I'm hearing "Central, give me...". You can hear it well in the 2nd line on this cleaner version, IMO.

On a more general note: the Baxters were so great.  :P "Operator Blues" is a real beauty.

[attachment deleted by admin]

Offline Johnm

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Re: Andrew and Jim Baxter Lyrics
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2013, 09:47:54 AM »
Thanks for the cleaner version, uncle bud.  You and Devin are right, it is "Central", though sung as "Central's".  I will make the change.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: Andrew and Jim Baxter Lyrics
« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2013, 10:10:01 AM »
Hi all,
For their version of "Forty Drops", both Andrew and Jim are playing out of F position in standard tuning, very close to pitch.  "Forty Drops" is a lively fiddle tune, and Andrew spins a lot of variations.  Jim adopts the same fingering for B flat (or B flat6) that Papa Charlie Jackson used when playing in F or B flat:  X-1-3-3-3-3. 
Jim's vocal on this one is more of a spoken "commentary", much like William Moore's "Old Country Rock", or Blind Blake's "Seaboard Stomp", or "Southern Rag".  Here goes:



Now, this is the "Forty Drops".  Forty drops of what?  Forty drops of rye.  I tell you this rye is mighty fine, 'cause I'm crazy about Georgia corn!  Who's gonna carry me home when the dancing's over? . . . 'Cause I'm gettin' 'bout full of this rye.  Now, stop your yellin'.  It won't be long now.

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: July 11, 2020, 06:50:39 AM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Andrew and Jim Baxter Lyrics
« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2013, 12:46:20 PM »
Hi all,
Andrew and Jim Baxter's recording of "It Tickles Me" can be found on "String  Bands (1926-1929), Document DOCD-5167.  The duo recorded the song at a session in Atlanta on November 20 or 21, 1929.  They are playing out of C position for the song, sounding just a little sharp of Bb.  They divide the song evenly between sung verses and fiddle solos, and Andrew's fiddling on this song is especially pretty, even by his very high standards.  Just as great ballad singers often deliver their most ornate flourishes just as they're running out of breath, Andrew plays some amazing phrase endings as he's running out of bow.  His harmonizing to Jim's singing is hilariously pretty.  Jim's back-up is solid and inventive, too, as always.



SOLO

You better stop your girl from ticklin' me under my chin
You better stop your girl from ticklin' me under my chin
Says, if you don't stop her, I sure will lick her in

SOLO

You can always tell when your girl is treating you wrong
You can always tell when your girl is treating you wrong
She will stay in all day, stay 'way from you all night long

SOLO

You got your girl, you sure better keep her at home
You got your girl, you sure better keep her at home
'Cause a sealskin papa sure won't let her alone

SOLO

If anybody happen to ask you who composed this song
Anybody happen to ask you who composed this song
Tell 'em Sweet Papa Jim done been here and gone

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: July 11, 2020, 06:51:20 AM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Andrew and Jim Baxter Lyrics
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2013, 09:00:41 PM »
Hi all,
Andrew and Jim Baxter recorded "Dance the Georgia Poss" at the same session at which they recorded "It Tickles Me", and like that song, It was played in C position sounding a little sharp of Bb.  The song's lyrics take advantage of the fact that "do", "too" and "new" rhyme with each other.  How about that!  Don't bother googling the Georgia poss--everything you'll get on it points back to the Baxters.



There's a dance in Georgia 'round, it's the newest dance in town
Everybody's doin' it, you ought to do, do it like you do
Everybody's doin' it, too, it's a dance that is new
Get 'way back, hug your gal, get 'way back and poss

SOLO

Why don't you get back and poss?  Why don't you get back and poss?
It is new, easy to do, Why don't you learn it, too?
Why don't you get back and poss?  It's the latest dance around
You can grab her right, hug her tight, get 'way back and poss

SOLO

Why don't you get back and poss?  Why don't you get back and poss?
It is new, easy to do, you can learn it, too
Why don't you get back and poss?  Do it right around
You can grab your gal, turn her around, why don't you get back and poss?

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: July 11, 2020, 06:52:09 AM by Johnm »

 


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