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Some of these northern people is dumber than I'll ever be. - Lonnie Johnson, "Southland is Alright With Me"

Author Topic: Bad hair day  (Read 12170 times)

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Offline Rivers

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Bad hair day
« on: October 30, 2006, 05:09:31 PM »
This is a thread about references to bad hair and reposession of wigs and other fashion items. Please feel free to post them as you come across them. Particularly interesting would be any explanations of how this got elevated to high comedy back in the day.

Since the Luke Jordan Church bell Blues verse inspired this, here it is:

Hand me back that hat I bought you
That coat and waist
That shawl I bought you mama
Gotta bring shoes and all
If you don't like your daddy
You got no right to (?can or stall?)
Hand me back that wig I bought you mama
Let you doggoned head go bald

Offline waxwing

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Re: Bad hair day
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2006, 07:08:27 PM »
Wow, I really am tired. I posted this on the Church Bells thread without noticing the obviously titled thread you had started, Riv.. Heh, heh, heh.


Well, I think Lightnin's line about wakin' up in the morning and finding a "rat" where her head used to be (is that Short Haired Woman Blues?) is pretty self explanitory.-G-  But didn't he have several such references?

I think Gus Cannon (and I think he sings it) has a line like, "Give back that wig I bought you!" but I can't remember which song.

I'm sure John M has transcribed a Sleepy John song with a wig line in it, no?

I'm a big help, too tired to remember anything.-G-

All for now.
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Offline Rivers

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Re: Bad hair day
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2006, 07:27:22 PM »
No hurry Wax, as they say in my favorite brit political rag Private Eye, "this one will run and run".

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Bad hair day
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2006, 07:36:22 PM »
Charley Jordan, Keep It Clean:

Your sister was a teddy, your daddy was a bear
Put the muzzle on your mama 'cause she had bad hair, now

Papa Charlie Jackson, Shave 'Em Dry:

Now if it wasn't for the powder, store-bought hair
State Street women couldn't go nowhere
Mama let me holler, Daddy wants to shave 'em dry






Offline uncle bud

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Re: Bad hair day
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2006, 07:54:55 PM »
I was just going to add to my post that the Charley Jordan lyric at the very least seems to suggest a relation to the Dozens and thought I'd poke my head into Blues Fell This Morning first, where it turns out Paul Oliver transcribes the following Speckled Red lyric from The Dirty Dozen:

Now, now boys say you ain't actin' fair
You know about that you got real bad hair
Your face is all hid now your back's all bare
If you ain't doin'' the bobo, what's your head doin' down there?
Now you're a dirty mistreater, etc....

Offline Slack

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Re: Bad hair day
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2006, 08:25:14 PM »
Ain't doin' the bobo?  What's a bobo?

Hopkins "Short Haried Woman" line is:

I just don't want, want no woman, Boy, if her hair it ain't no longer 'an mine.

...which is a lot funnier when he sings it.

Offline GhostRider

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Re: Bad hair day
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2006, 10:32:07 PM »
Hey Rivers:

Here's my post in the "Little Hat Jones Lyrics" thread from March 3, 2004.


I was just scanning some Lonnie Johnson lyrics and I came across these verses from "Go Back to Your No Good Man". The first and third of these verses are essentially the same sentiment as the 4th verse of CBB. And the last line about giving back the wig and letting your head go bald is very close to the last line of verse 4.


Give me them clothes I bought you, take my diamonds off your hand
Give me them clothes I bought you, take my diamonds off your hand
Now, you just like I found you, go back to your handy man

Now, I put shoes on your feet when your bare feet was pattin' the ground
Now, I put shoes on your feet when your bare feet was pattin' the ground
While I was out slaving for you, you was chasin' every rat in town

Now, woman I stuck with you when you didn't have a friend at all
Now, woman I stuck with you when you didn't have a friend at all
So give them shoes I bought you, and that wig, and let your head go bald.


Johnson recorded GBTYNGM about 5 years after CBB was recorded. Any other references to reposessed wigs and bald heads?

Alex
« Last Edit: October 30, 2006, 10:33:35 PM by GhostRider »

Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: Bad hair day
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2006, 01:20:18 AM »
Check out the Juke for the Kennet Sheiks' version of Washboard Sam's "I'm gonna keep my hair parted".

We are arguably entering different territory here...
"I ain't good looking, teeth don't shine like pearls,
So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
Barbecue Bob

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Bad hair day
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2006, 06:44:42 AM »
Ain't doin' the bobo?  What's a bobo?

I'm assuming a dance. Cursory googling turns up a recording called "Louisiana Bo-Bo" by Lew Weimer's Black & Gold Aces (1928). Whether that would have anything to do with it is for more persistent research...

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Bad hair day
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2006, 06:46:30 AM »
a cross between a sociology lecturer and a stoned teenager

Aren't those pretty much the same thing?  :P

(Apologies to any stoned teenagers in the room...)

Offline Richard

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Re: Bad hair day
« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2006, 07:15:06 AM »
And Rivers reads Private Eye, well that's 2 of us... I sent a copy to Slack once, not sure if the British thing translates though!
(That's enough of that. Ed)

Offline Dr. G

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Re: Bad hair day
« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2006, 07:15:41 AM »
Great -- and long-overdue -- thread here!

I suspect that we have to distinguish between "bad hair" [still a very pejorative chracterization in many parts of the world, including the Caribbean] -- and all of the misogynist, racist references to "nappy-headed" women and the like -- and no hair at all [cf. the quintessential "jug band" anthem "Bald-Headed Lena (Has Anybody Seen Her?]"]

My own theory (now that I think of it) is that the family of "kinky", "nappy" and "bad" hair references (including Cryin' Sam Collins' inverse lament in "Hesitation Blues": "I ain't so good lookin'...got no CURLY hair....") are self-deprecating (if sung about the oneself) or racist (if sung about somebody else) remarks analagous to references to skin color (from "high yellow" to "brown" to "jet black").

It also occurs to me that "baldness" (probably implying shaved, as opposed to the type imparted by aging) may well signify the humiliation of having been lice, or "crabs"-infested -- owing to humble living conditions and "suspect" behavior, and the then-standard medical treatment: shaving of the infested body part(s). This is of course the origin of the "military" haircut: to prevent lice infestation in the trenches of the Argonne in WWI.

I of course totally concur with SarahJane's perspective(s) -- which would be applicable in either case.

Dr. G

Offline Richard

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Re: Bad hair day
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2006, 07:18:07 AM »
Dr G "crabs" over here has a different meanng  :-X
(That's enough of that. Ed)

Offline dj

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Re: Bad hair day
« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2006, 07:20:48 AM »
Dr G mentioned Bald-Headed Lena while I was composing this post.  But since he didn't quote any lyrics, I'll go ahead and post this...

Speaking of Speckled Red, his brother Piano Red (William Perryman) recorded Bald-Headed Lena in the 1950s (as Dr. Feelgood), but the song sounds like it's been around much longer.

Bald-headed Lena, has anybody seen her
Cute as she could be
She's got a cue ball head that's hard as lead
But she's alright with me

It was covered rather successfully in the 60s by the Lovin' Spoonful, whose version included a gargled water solo.


Offline Stuart

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Re: Bad hair day
« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2006, 07:43:08 AM »
Don't leave out "Barber Bill"

 


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