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He took away the harmonica and the mike, made mincemeat out of me, then handed back and said, 'You can't play shit' - Gary Primich, on meeting his idol Big Walter Horton

Author Topic: Martha Copeland Lyrics  (Read 769 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Martha Copeland Lyrics
« on: May 03, 2018, 04:03:34 PM »
Hi all,
I found this performance of "Hobo Bill" by Martha Copeland, a musician unfamiliar to me, on the JSP set "I've Got The Blues, But I'm Too Damn Mean To Cry--Protest In Early Blues & Gospel".  The song is sort of an uptown version of "Railroad Bill", and I am crazy about it.  She's backed by an unknown (to me) pianist and tenor banjo player, and if I may say so, this would be a great song for Suzy Thompson to sing--I can just hear her doing it!  Here it is, with apologies if non-U.S. weenies can not watch the video:



INTRO

Hobo Bill, standing at the tank
Waiting on the train that they call Nancy Hanks
REFRAIN: Ride on, ride on, Hobo Bill

Hobo Bill, he got so bad
He took everything that the fireman had
REFRAIN: Ride on, ride on, Hobo Bill

Old Sawyer and Sam, bad men, too
Wasn't nothing to them when Bill got through
REFRAIN: Ride on, ride on, Hobo Bill

Hobo Bill, always on a hop
Hungry and dirty, and raggedy as a mop
REFRAIN: Ride on, ride on, Hobo Bill

Hobo Bill, nothing on his mind
He's at home when he's riding on the blinds
REFRAIN: Ride on, ride on, Hobo Bill

Hobo Bill, never takes a bluff
He rode every freight from Chicago to the Gulf
REFRAIN: Ride on, ride on, Hobo Bill

Hobo Bill, he's never got a dime
He never goes to work 'cause he's never got the time
REFRAIN: Ride on, ride on, Hobo Bill

Hobo Bill said before he died
There was two more ways that he wanted to ride
REFRAIN: Ride on, ride on, Hobo Bill

His buddy asked him, what two did he mean
He said, "An airplane and a submarine."
REFRAIN: Ride on, ride on, Hobo Bill

All best,
Johnm


« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 03:23:58 PM by Johnm »

Offline Lastfirstface

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Re: "Hobo Bill"--Martha Copeland
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2018, 05:40:31 PM »
Man, that's a good one. According to the DAHR site, its Porter Grainger on keys and Buddy Christian on banjo.

Offline Johnm

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Re: "Hobo Bill"--Martha Copeland
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2018, 06:15:36 PM »
Thanks very much for coming up with the accompanying personnel, Pete.  I especially want to give all the musicians involved credit.  I love Porter Grainger's time.
All best,
Johnm

Offline TenBrook

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Re: "Hobo Bill"--Martha Copeland
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2018, 07:06:43 AM »
Thanks for sharing John. I was just digging deep into versions of 'Railroad Bill' last night so waking up to find this post was great.

"...the train that they call Nancy Hanks" immediately grabbed my interest and voila, the internet immediately provides satisfaction:
"The Nancy Hanks was a popular Central of Georgia Railway passenger train in Georgia running between Atlanta and Savannah. It was named after a race horse that was named for Abraham Lincoln's mother. The name is even older than the mid-20th century train derived from that of a short-lived but famous steam special, the Nancy Hanks. The earlier Nancy operated in 1892 and 1893."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nancy_Hanks_(train)

Offline Johnm

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Re: "Hobo Bill"--Martha Copeland
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2018, 07:59:26 AM »
Thanks for that additional information on the "Nancy Hanks", Lew.  I've heard about it for decades in songs of both the Old-Time (Charlie Poole's "If I Lose") and Blues traditions.  If you're interested in "Railroad Bill", you may want to check out the Song Families category in Weeniepedia, which cites and has lyric transcriptions for many versions of "Railroad Bill".

I went to Wikipedia to try and find something about Martha Copeland and found that she was promoted with the performance monicker, "Everybody's Mammy".  I imagine she took that with a major grain of salt--different times.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: Martha Copeland Lyrics
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2018, 03:48:36 PM »
Hi all,
Another cut featuring Martha Copeland on the JSP set, "I've Got The Blues, But I'm Too Damn Mean To Cry" is "Dyin' Crapshooter's Blues", which certainly served as the model for Willie McTell's much later recording of the number.  Martha Copeland's version dates from a session in New York on May 5, 1927, and in addition to featuring Porter Grainger on piano and Buddy Christian on banjo, both of whom played on "Hobo Bill", she is also accompanied by Ernest Elliott and Bob Fuller on clarinets.  The song very much has the feel of something crafted by a professional songwriter.  Here is the track:



INTRO

Jim Johnson gambled night and day with crooked cards and dice
A sinful man without a soul, his heart was cold as ice
He said, "I feel so doggone blue, I want to die today.
The devil told me what to do, but I ain't had my say."

"I want you all to know, the way I want to go."

"I want eight crapshooters for my pall bearers, and let 'em all be dressed in black.
Nine men going to the graveyard, and only eight men coming back.
I want a jazz band on my coffin, chorus girl on my hearse.
And don't say one good word about me, 'cause my life's been a doggone curse."

"Ten poker players to the graveyard, to dig my grave with the ace of spades
Have police in my funeral march, while the warden leads the parade
Want the judge who jailed me fourteen times, to put a pair of dice in my shoes
Then let a deck of cards be my tombstone, I've got the dyin' crapshooter's blues."

SPOKEN:  "Folks, I ain't never, been on the level.  Now I'm dyin', and going to the devil."
SUNG:  "My head's achin', my heart's thumpin', I'm goin' down below, bouncin' and a-jumpin'."
SPOKEN: "Don't be standin', 'round me cryin'. Come on, everybody, talk, while I'm dyin'."
SUNG: "One foot up and a toenail draggin', roll me in that hoodoo wagon.
So Mister Devil, stand aside, I've got the dyin' crapshooter's blues."

All best,
Johnm

 
« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 04:14:42 PM by Johnm »

 


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