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Author Topic: Wesley Wallace/Sylvester Palmer Lyrics  (Read 289 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Wesley Wallace/Sylvester Palmer Lyrics
« on: November 05, 2020, 06:19:21 AM »
Hi all,
The recording "Do It Sloppy", ostensibly performed by Wesley Wallace and Sylvester Palmer, has a spoken intro in which one person barely makes an attempt to sound like two people having a conversation. The conclusion it suggests is that Wesley Wallace and Sylvester Palmer were the same person. The piece was recorded for Columbia in Chicago on November 11, 1929 and released under Palmer's name. Wesley Wallace's one session under his own name was for Paramount in November of 1929, in Grafton. He may have felt it was pushing things a little bit to do sessions for two different labels in the same month, while using his own name for both sessions.  The song is a kind of nutty instrumental with spoken/sung narration. The playing and execution is fine, actually, as you would expect from a player like Wesley Wallace. The tune has a recurring false phrase ending in which it acts like it's going to a V chord, while it instead just stays on the I chord. It would be fun to hear someone recreate this tune--it just kind of goes its own way. Here is "Do It Sloppy":



SPOKEN: Oh, Sylvester. What? Come here and see what I want. Can you play that thing, "Do It Sloppy"? Yes. Well go on, kick that sloppy thing, then.

PIANO STARTS

SPOKEN:I want everybody to do this dance. Can't do it right, just do it sloppy. And if you do it sloppy, I'm gon' play it that-a way.

SUNG: Grab your gal, fall in line, shake your shimmy like I shake mine. All I want, just a one more drink, now, play that thing called "Doin' It Sloppy" now. I'm gon' sing this verse, and I ain't gon' sing no more. I'm gon' play this thing, called "Doin' It Sloppy" now.

SPOKEN: Boy, stop that sloppy thing! Why I'm 'on' have a sloppy fit and walk out of here sloppy. You don't have to have no sloppy fit and walk sloppy, I'm 'on' have me a sloppy fit on this piano. And I'm 'on' play it sloppy, too. That's what I call . . . "Doin' it Sloppy".

All best,
Johnm 
« Last Edit: November 05, 2020, 01:54:26 PM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Wesley Wallace/Sylvester Palmer Lyrics
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2020, 02:10:43 PM »
Hi all,
Sylvester Palmer/Wesley Wallace recorded "Broke Man Blues" the same day as he recorded "Do It Sloppy". It was to be his only day in the studio for Columbia. He played the song in F. Pianistically, he reminds a bit of Walter Davis here, in that he is essentially playing the song as a one-chord piece, something not all that common for a blues pianist. Walter Davis had quirkier rhythmic and harmonic senses, though, I reckon. The lyrics sound as though they may have been improvised, especially the last two verses. Here is "Broke Man Blues":



INTRO

I know just how, baby, Lord, a broke man feel
Lord, I know just how, baby, Lord, a broke man feel
Says, there's no one, baby, that will do him a real good deal

I've been broke all day, baby, did not have a lousy dime
I've been broke all day, baby, did not have a lousy dime
But I'll be all right, baby, I swear, some other time

Lord, I don't feel welcome, mama, in St. Louis any more
Lord, I don't feel welcome, mama, in St. Louis any more
'Cause I have no friends, baby, and no place to go

I'm gon' leave this town, baby, and I swear and I ain't comin' back no more
I've been treated so bad, I can't be happy no more

I've lost all my money, baby, and everything I had, too
I've lost all my money, baby, and everything I had, too
That's why you hear me crying, mama, these broke man blues

Mmmmmm, I ain't gonna sing it no more
Mmmmm, I ain't gonna sing it no more
'Cause I've been broke, baby, and I've got these broke man blues

All best,
Johnm

 

Offline Johnm

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Re: Wesley Wallace/Sylvester Palmer Lyrics
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2020, 06:03:22 AM »
Hi all,
"Lonesome Man Blues", played in Eb, is like "Broke Man Blues", a one-chorder for the most part, but Sylvester Palmer inserts little movements into the IV chord here and there. His very free vocal phrasing, in which he often pauses after a line to interject a piano phrase that is more than just a conventional fill, really works nicely. He plays some brief interludes that step outside the form in between verses, too. Here is "Lonesome Man Blues":



INTRO

I'm lonesome, baby, just as lonesome as I can be
I'm lonesome, baby, just as lonesome as I can be
Won't you please, baby, have mercy on poor me?

I'm worried, baby, stay heartbroken all the time
I'm worried, baby, stay heartbroken all the time
If I don't go crazy, swear I'm liable to lose my mind

If you ever been in trouble, baby, you know just how I feel
If you ever been in trouble, baby, you know just how I feel
Lord, I feel like ramblin', baby, and trying to go free

I believe to my soul, I'm mama's bad luck child
I believe to my soul, I'm mama's bad luck child
I have so much trouble, I swear I'm about to dry

I tried, I tried, baby, I tried to treat you right
I tried, I tried, baby, I tried to treat you right
Though it seems to me, baby, didn't mean me no good nohow

Early one mornin', baby, 'fore the rising sun was up
It was early one mornin', before the rising sun was up
I was trying to find my way, early, and fell out the door

All best,
Johnm

Offline dj

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Re: Wesley Wallace/Sylvester Palmer Lyrics
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2020, 06:12:49 AM »
About Wesley Wallace and Sylvester Palmer:

DGR lists Sylvester Palmer as accompanying himself on his 4 recorded tracks.  No mention of Wesley Wallace, except for a note at the bottom of Palmer's entry which reads "It has been plausibly suggested that Sylvester Palmer may in fact be a pseudonym for Wesley Wallace.

Wesley Wallace's only recorded appearances are from a recording session for Paramount in Grafton WI sometime in November of 1929 - the exact date is lost.  Wallace recorded under his own name and accompanied Robert Peeples and Bessie Mae Smith.

Sylvester Palmer's only recorded appearance was for a session held in Chicago for Columbia on November 15 1929.

Kevin Belford, in his book on pre-war St. Louis Blues, Devil At The Confluence, states that Henry Brown and Henry Townsend, when interviewed in the 1970s, could not recall Wesley Wallace.

Sylvester Palmer was remembered by Henry Townsend, Henry Brown, Stump Johnson, Edith Johnson, and Roosevelt Sykes.  A man named Sylvester Palmer, whose occupation was given as "musician", died in St. Louis in 1930.

Henry Townsend "repeatedly" denied that Sylvester Palmer and Wesley Wallace were the same person.  This is a little odd considering that Townsend also claimed to know nothing of Wallace.

Based on all of the above, my guess - and it's only a guess - is that Wesley Wallace was a pseudonym for Sylvester Palmer, and that Palmer recorded first for Columbia, and soon after for Paramount.  He may have had a contract with Columbia, so felt he had to record for Paramount under a pseudonym.  He never got a chance to record again due to his premature death the following year.  This is pure speculation, but it seems to best fit the few facts we know about Sylvester Palmer and Wesley Wallace.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Wesley Wallace/Sylvester Palmer Lyrics
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2020, 08:33:24 AM »
Hi all,
Thanks, dj, for that additional information on the identity of Sylvester Palmer. Sylvester Palmer recorded "Mean Blues", played in G, at the same session as his other three tracks. The piece has a very similar concur and feel to "Broke Man Blues" and "Lonesome Man Blues". Here is "Mean Blues":



INTRO

Lord, I feel so blue, that I can't be satisfied
Lord, I feel so blue, that I can't be satisfied
'Cause my baby's done quit me, when I feel like I've been crucified

Lord, I am so lonesome, babe, and I swear and I'll feel blue
I am so lonesome, babe, and I swear and I feel blue
I feel so blue, I don't know what to do

Sometimes I wonder, baby, how can a blue man sleep?
Sometimes I wonder, baby, how can a blue man sleep?
Because I feel so bad, 'til I can't do nothin' else but weep

Did you ever sit thinkin', with a thousand things on your mind?
Did you ever sit thinking, with a thousand things on your mind?
If you have, baby, you can not help from cryin'

I'm sorry, baby, but I swear I'm going away
I'm sorry, baby, but I swear I'm going away
I'm going, I'm going, babe, I'm going away to stay

All best,
Johnm

Offline Harry

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Re: Wesley Wallace/Sylvester Palmer Lyrics
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2020, 09:03:51 AM »

Wesley Wallace's only recorded appearances are from a recording session for Paramount in Grafton WI sometime in November of 1929 - the exact date is lost.  Wallace recorded under his own name and accompanied Robert Peeples and Bessie Mae Smith.



FWIW Wallace recorded in October with Bessie Smith according to the Wirz site.

https://www.wirz.de/music/wallacew.htm



Offline Johnm

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Re: Wesley Wallace/Sylvester Palmer Lyrics
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2020, 09:15:56 AM »
I should have said his only solo recording appearances.

Offline dj

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Re: Wesley Wallace/Sylvester Palmer Lyrics
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2020, 05:03:22 PM »
Quote
FWIW Wallace recorded in October with Bessie Smith according to the Wirz site.

I think that's a typo on Stefan's part.  Per DGR, the Bessie Mae Smith sides were recorded as part of the November Grafton sessions.  The St. Louis musicians went up to Wisconsin as a group and were all recorded at the same time.  The trip was apparently organized by Sam Wolff, owner of Wolff's Record Shop on Biddle Street in St. Louis.

Offline waxwing

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Re: Wesley Wallace/Sylvester Palmer Lyrics
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2020, 10:33:15 AM »
I think that's a typo on Stefan's part.  Per DGR, the Bessie Mae Smith sides were recorded as part of the November Grafton sessions.  The St. Louis musicians went up to Wisconsin as a group and were all recorded at the same time.  The trip was apparently organized by Sam Wolff, owner of Wolff's Record Shop on Biddle Street in St. Louis.

Per the entry for Wallace in the DGR Index to Accompanists, he also played piano behind 2 issued sides by Robert Peeples on that same Grafton trip.

I think with piano players it is a good idea to check this index for much of their work. Even with guitarists it can be surprising how many other players they backed. Blackwell and Blake, whose entries are next to each other, backed 10 and 11 artists, respectively.

Wax
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