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William Harris Lyrics

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Johnm:
Hi all,
William Harris recorded "Bull Frog Blues" on October 10, 1928 in Richmond, Indiana.  Harris is one of the early Mississippi-born musicians like Freddie Spruell, who doesn't seem to fit in with the other music that came out of Mississippi from that period, at least based on the recorded evidence.  He backed himself out of D position in standard tuning for "Bull Frog Blues", and with the exception of John Hurt's playing, that position was relatively under-utilized by Mississippi musicians.  Harris's accompaniment is terrifically rhythmic and driving, one of the most intense accompaniments ever played in that position, and in some ways, is a precursor of John Lee Hooker's most famous boogie riff (though Hooker played it with an under-lying triple feel and Harris's rhythmic feel utilized straight eighth notes rather than swung eighth notes).
Lyrically, "Bull Frog Blues" is extremely catchy, and employs a stammering archetype in its first four bars, much as did Teddy Darby's "Built Right On The Ground".  William Harris goes to a 16-bar form for his third verse, returning to the IV chord.  Other versions of William Harris's seventh verse can be found in Virgil Childers' "Dago Blues", and the St. Louis musician Arthur Weston's "Gonna Tell You", which includes the thoroughly confused verse:
   I'm gonna tell you, baby, like the Dago told the Jew (2)
   You can't be my woman, Lord, and someone else's too



Have you ever woke up with them bull frogs on your, bull frogs on your, I mean, mind?
Have you ever woke up, mama, bull frog on your mind?
Have you ever woke up with them bull frogs on your mind?

Said, it rainin' here, mama, sun shinin' in you, sun shinin' in your, I mean, door
It's gonna rain today, mama, sun shine in your door
Gonna rain today, the sun is shinin' your back door

I'm gon' tell you this time, mama, ain't gon' tell you no, ain't gon' tell you no, I mean, more
I'm gon' tell you this time, mama, ain't gon' tell you no more
I'm gon' tell you this time, mama, ain't gon' tell you no more
I'm gonna leave you here, partner, and I won't be back here no more

I left you standin' here, buddy, in your back door, in your back door, bull frog blues
I left you here standin', mama, your back door
I left you standin' here in your back door cryin'

I got the bull frog blues, mama, can't be satis-, can't be satis-, mamlish -fied
I got the bull frog blues and I can't be satisfied
Got the bull frog blues and I can't be satisfied

Have you ever dreamed lucky and woke up cold in, woke up cold in, I mean, hand?
Have you ever dreamed lucky and woke up cold in hand?
Have you ever dreamed lucky and woke up cold in hand?

I'm gonna tell you, buddy, what a Chinaman told a, a Chinaman told a, I mean, a Jew
I'm gonna tell you what a Chinaman told a Jew
"You don't like-ee me, well I, sure God, don't like you."

Now, looky here, partner, see what you done to, see what you done to, I mean, me
Looky here, partner, see what you done to me
Now, looky here, partner, see what you done to me

Hey, the sun gonna shine in my back door some, my back door some, I'll say, today
The sun gonna shine in my back door some day
Hey, the sun gonna shine in my back door some day

All best,
Johnm 

banjochris:

--- Quote from: Johnm on June 07, 2012, 04:45:11 PM ---I left you standin' here, buddy, in your back door, in your back door, bull frog blues
I left you here standin', mama, your back door
I left you standin' here in your back door cryin'

--- End quote ---

I love this verse for the first line; Harris sounds like he's enjoying himself so much he just has to say the title again!

Johnm:
I agree, Chris, he really sounds wound up, and I don't think it's until he gets to the third line of that verse that he finally gets to what he meant to say!  I'm also a big fan of satis-mamlish-fied.

jpeters609:

--- Quote from: Johnm on June 08, 2012, 08:46:47 AM ---I agree, Chris, he really sounds wound up, and I don't think it's until he gets to the third line of that verse that he finally gets to what he meant to say!  I'm also a big fan of satis-mamlish-fied.

--- End quote ---

The best use of "mamlish" in any blues lyric, in my opinion. And it somehow gets at what mamlish "means" better than any attempted definition I've yet to see.

Johnm:
Good point, Jeff.  William Harris put it across, didn't he?

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