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Author Topic: Info wanted: "You Mean Somebody But You Don't Mean Me"  (Read 858 times)

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Offline Uncle Hazbin

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Info wanted: "You Mean Somebody But You Don't Mean Me"
« on: October 23, 2014, 02:52:27 PM »
I'm researching this song for a book of ukulele arrangements of (mostly) jug band and hokum songs I'm doing.

 I've been singing this song since the 70's; I learned it off of a Jules Verne Allen recording from 1928-29.

Dandy song, starts out like this:

"Time will tell is a proverb, and its old and tried and true
But the only thing it ever said to me is I'm making a fool of you,
Here of late I've tried to brace up, and keep out of harm's way,
So when temptation smiles at me, I simply smile and say:

You mean somebody, but you don't mean me...(etc)"

Not at all typical of Allen's other recordings, which were predominantly traditional cowboy songs. I've always thought this might have been originally a pop song that was picked up by a string band or maybe even something from the jug band world; but in all these years I've never found any other recording of it.

I can find tons of references to the composer, one F. Collis Wildman. Wildman was a prolific and popular composer; he even sued the New York Times for copyright infringement.

He published the song in 1912; the closest I can get to seeing a printed copy is a reference to "Dinsdale's Popular Six Penny Edition" from around 1917 in Melbourne that's in the Australian National Library collection. It seems the song was quite a hit in Australia, New Zealand and even Scotland!

What I cannot find is an early recording or digital copy of this song; or any song composed by Wildman, for that matter. "Johnnie Woggle Bond Street Crawl" begs to be heard.

Nor can I find much in the way of biographical info on the composer.

I know this is way off topic for y'all, but any info would be most appreciated.

Many thanks.

Offline Uncle Hazbin

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Re: Info wanted: "You Mean Somebody But You Don't Mean Me"
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2014, 04:05:45 PM »
Here are the lyrics, at least the way I sing 'em. You can see why I'm curious about where this puppy comes from; it has an affinity to a whole raft of humorous songs from this era like "He's in the Jailhouse Now" and (another mystery) "Yuba Dam."

You Mean Somebody, But You Don't Mean Me

Time will tell, its a proverb, and its old and tried and true
But the only thing its ever said to me is ?I?m making a fool of you.?
Here of late I?ve tried to brace up, and keep out of harm?s way,
So when temptation calls on me, I simply smile and say,

?You mean somebody, but you don?t mean me.
I?ve been a fool just as long as I intend to be.
Now, what is to be will be, that?s fate,
But I?ve had enough hard luck here of late,
You mean somebody, but you don?t mean me.?

Now old Bill Jones joined the circus, and a clown he thought he?d be,
But they put old William to feed the elephants; it was the best job they had, you see.
Now there were grizzly bears in that show, and the boss said, ?Bill, you have to train
That largest grizzly bear to dollar skate.? and Bill says, ?You guess again!

?You mean somebody, but you don?t mean me.
You know, I don?t train nothin? in this menagerie.
I don?t mind feeding? a few bears, that?s true,
But if they have to learn to skate, Captain, that?s up to you,
You mean somebody, but you don?t mean me.?

Now Sam Jones, he joined the army, but he chose the losin? side,
For the enemy chased his gang nine miles till they found any place to hide.
The bullets think and fast were flying, so they hid behind a big rock wall,
Sam answered when his Colonel said, ?Just look over, Sam, you?re so tall.?

?You mean somebody, but you don?t mean me.
Gonna look over that wall to see what he can see.
I don?t mind war, or care or strife,
But if I look over that wall, Colonel, its goodbye life,
You mean somebody, but you don?t mean me.?

Once a man of invention said to me, ?Son, you ought to learn to fly.
I just build this brand new flying machine, and you can take it up first and try it.?
I investigated that cloud-carrier, but the thing didn?t have but one wing.
I started thinking about my home and my mama dear, and I said, as regards that thing,

?You mean somebody, but you don?t mean me.
You know a bird is the very last thing I ever want to be.
When my time comes, I?m bound to die,
But till that time comes I?ll let the angels use the sky,
You mean somebody, but you don?t mean me.?

Now Mr. Jones? wife was a talker, likewise a flirt was she.
She?d jaw all day, and all night too, and Jones had no remedy.
One night as Mrs. Jones was talking? in her sleep, as she?d done before,
Jones heard her softly call a name, and he began to roar,

?You mean somebody, darlin?, but you don?t mean me.
There is trouble brewing ?round my home, as I can plainly see.
Just now when everything was nice and still,
You said, ?Kiss me, Tommy dear,? when you know my name?s Bill!
You mean somebody, but you don?t mean me.?


Offline hms

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Re: Info wanted: "You Mean Somebody But You Don't Mean Me"
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2014, 03:59:19 AM »
Sorry, can't help with the research, but would be interested in the book when it is done.
h

Offline Uncle Hazbin

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Re: Info wanted: "You Mean Somebody But You Don't Mean Me"
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2014, 12:02:52 PM »
Quote
Sorry, can't help with the research, but would be interested in the book when it is done.
h

Thanks for writing, h.

It will be a while yet; I'm still working out exactly what form it will take and what songs to include. I'm hoping to offer something more than the usual cutsie-pie versions of jug band song that usually show up in uke collections.

Not sure if it is OK to post such shameless self promotion on this site, but if so, I'll let ya know when it is done.

Check out my website for my previous blues uke book, YouTube lessons, and all the usual trappings of low budget internet obscurity.  8)

www.mark-o.com

Cheers!

Offline hms

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Re: Info wanted: "You Mean Somebody But You Don't Mean Me"
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2014, 03:02:10 AM »
Mark,
had worked out it was you from your post.
I'm aware of your books.
The group I play with are currently on a jugband fix, and yesterday had Del Rey over to do a jug band workshop for us. There seems to be very few jug band for uke books, the only thing I am aware of is Aaron Keim's book.
I'll keep my eyes out for your book being published.
Regards
h

Offline Stuart

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Re: Info wanted: "You Mean Somebody But You Don't Mean Me"
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2014, 09:47:16 AM »
Hi Mark:

Welcome to Weenie Campbell. I can't help you with your question, but a librarian at a music library might be able to. Several years back, Elijah was looking for an early publication and I asked the librarian at the University of Washington Music Library about it. She said that the university libraries and  public libraries had a lot of materials that had been donated over the years, but the materials were years--or even decades--away from being processed and cataloged. So a reference or research librarian might know what's available behind the scenes (other than what comes up in the electronic catalogs, databases, Google searches, etc.), so it's worth a try. Same goes for sound recordings, so I guess there's hope. As for recordings, you might also check with the collectors. Perhaps they could provide a few leads. Give John Tefteller a shout, if you haven't already.

I'm familiar with your music. Since you like Hawaiian music, you might consider coming up for the Slack Key Festival in a couple of weeks:

http://www.seattleslackkeyfestival.com/

Stuart
« Last Edit: October 27, 2014, 03:57:36 PM by Stuart »

Offline Uncle Hazbin

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Re: Info wanted: "You Mean Somebody But You Don't Mean Me"
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2015, 11:58:38 AM »
Hey there

Sorry, haven't checked in lately. First off, thanks for the help & kind words. I decided not to run with that particular song in the book. Good though it is, the connection to Jug Band music is basically nonexistent.

The good news is that I'm 90% finished with the book & CD. In fact, I put up an IndieGogo age so folks can preorder it at a honking' discount.

Here's a link: http://igg.me/at/jug-band-uke/x/693181

Check it out & let me know what you think.

Mark

 


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