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Author Topic: Henry Thomas Lyrics  (Read 40364 times)

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Offline uncle bud

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Henry Thomas Lyrics
« on: April 04, 2005, 06:27:57 PM »
JohnM's Henry Thomas thread had me starting to figure out some Henry Thomas I've been meaning to get to for awhile. First up was Bob McKinney. Below are what I make of the lyrics. I'm wondering if the last two verses are actually " I'm looking for that bully laid me down" or "bullet laid me down". The obvious Bully of the Town structure makes me think the former, but I swear I hear bullet on occasion.



Bob McKinney - Henry Thomas

Went down Johnson Street, Bob McKinney come passin' by
Goin' on down that Johnson Street make trouble in their lives
Wasn't he bad, yes, wasn't he bad

Bobby said to Marg'et "come to me I said
If you don't come in a hurry, I'll put a thirty-eight through your head"
Wasn't he bad, yes, wasn't he bad

Bobby said to Ben Ferris "I'm bound to take your life
You caused trouble 'tween me and my wife"
Wasn't he bad, yes, wasn't he bad

Bobby said to the high sherriff, "Do you think I'm going to run?
If I had another load, me and you have some fun"
Wasn't he bad, yes, wasn't he bad

Oh my babe, take me back
How in the world, oh, take me back

One of these mornings won't be long
You goin' call me, I'll be gone

She turned around two or three times
Beg my babe take me back

Take me back, take me back
Beg my babe take me back

Oh make me a pallet on your floor
Hey make me one pallet on your floor
Oh make ... a pallet on your floor
Wont you make it so your man'll never know

Yeah, make it so your man never know
Hey, make it so your man never know
Ah make a pallet on your...
Wont you make it so your man never know

Yes I'm looking for that bully laid me down
Hey I'm looking for that bully laid me down
I'm looking for that bully and that bully can't be...
Yes I'm looking for that bully laid me down

Yeah I'm looking for that bully laid me down
Hey I'm looking for that bully laid me down
I'm looking for that bully, and... bully can't be found
Yes I'm looking for that bully laid me down

[attachment deleted by admin]
« Last Edit: July 15, 2020, 04:28:33 PM by Johnm »

Offline KC King

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Re: Bob McKinney - Henry Thomas
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2005, 07:53:08 PM »
You did a better job then I?ve been able to do. I don't think I can be very helpful - I've always heard them both too.
 I love the way he takes pieces of one song and uses them in others. I'm not just referring to the ubiquitous ?lay me out a pallet on your floor? words either - which as a traveling musician was probably as much a request to the audience as a part of the song. I really enjoy the way he uses that same couplet, lyrics and melody, in the middle part of ?Bob McKinney? as at the end of Bull Doze Blues.
 Have you deciphered ?Honey, won?t you allow me one more chance??
I?ve got bits and pieces of the first half, but there are some words I just can get.
Thanks for the post! Any words by Henery Thomas are always welcome to me!

KC
KC (Chris) King

Offline Slack

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Re: Bob McKinney - Henry Thomas
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2005, 08:53:12 PM »
Looks good to me UB.  I think it's Bully - bullet really does not work contextually.

Quote
Bobby said to Ben Fears??

I hear Ben Ferris. 

Great tune.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Bob McKinney - Henry Thomas
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2005, 09:19:58 AM »
Thanks. Ferris works for me. On reflection, I think the reason I'm hearing bullet (and KC is as well) is that Henry Thomas is actually saying the word "that" on occasion and clipping it: "bully that laid me down" becomes "bully't laid me down".

KC, I'm posting what I have for "Honey Won't You Allow..." in a separate thread. It's harder to decipher than this one!

Offline uncle bud

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Honey Won't You Allow Me One More Chance - Henry Thomas
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2005, 09:27:41 AM »
KC King was asking about this one in the Bob McKinney thread. It's another great Henry Thomas tune (some people may recall Bob Dylan doing a version of it early in his career). This one is trickier to decipher, with numerous wild guesses on my part, so any help much appreciated. These are some pretty great 'in the doghouse' lyrics notwithstanding the gaps and errors.



Honey Won't You Allow Me One More Chance - Henry Thomas

I went home last night, the moon was shinin' bright
Ragg'd?? and feelin' guilty 'bout my head??
Well I rapped on the door,? I heard my baby roar
"Honey I'm gone to bed"
"Get up and let me in ??? ??? ??? stand??? (a wonder that I still stand??)
You know you haven't treated me right
I paid all this rent, you haven't got a cent
You have to ?? you home tonight"

Honey allow me a-one more chance, I only will treat you right
Honey won't you allow me a-one more chance, I won't stay out all night
Honey won't you allow me a-one more chance, I'll take you to the ball in France
One kind of favor I'll ask of you, just allow me just a-one more chance

Well then this ??? ?? letted me in I set down beside of her bed
Says "honey dear, you have some beer?" she shook her head and said,
"Well wonder, wonder, you better not cut your finger? (figure?)
You know you haven't treated me right
I paid all this rent, you haven't got a cent
You have to ?? you home tonight"

Honey allow me a-one more chance, I only will treat you right
Honey won't you allow me a?one more chance, I won't stay out all night
Honey won't you allow me a?one more chance, I'll take you to the ball in France
Just one kind of favor I'll ask of you, just allow me just one more chance

Well, Honey allow me a?one more chance, I only will treat you right
Honey won't you allow me a-one more chance, I won't stay out all night
Honey won't you allow me a-one more chance, I'll take you to the ball in France
Just one kind of favor I'll ask of you, just allow me just one more chance

Yes, these blues, I don't know, keep on chasin' me
Don't let me fall I've got no one at all, I'm cryin' at your door
Well it tain't use you cryin' at all, I've got the chance that you ever had
I ain't gone once, I don't know, just allow just a-one more chance

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« Last Edit: July 15, 2020, 04:29:30 PM by Johnm »

ajd

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Re: Honey Won't You Allow Me One More Chance - Henry Thomas
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2005, 12:00:16 PM »
I figured I'd temporarily delurk to throw in some suggestions, it's not often you get to discuss henry thomas.
The "Ragg'd" line I always heard as "drunk and feeling dizzy 'bout my head". The "a wonder I still stand" line sounds right, I thought it was "a wonder I can stand", same thing. For the last line of the first two verses, I use "You have to find a new home tonight" - I'm pretty sure that's not right but it fits the song anyway. And the last line of the song I hear "one" instead of "once", no big difference.?
That's all I got though, the rest of the ??'s I'm just as clueless on, so I'm hoping you guys can crack this one. One of many great Henry Thomas tunes to play and sing (with the wrong lyrics).

Offline Slack

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Re: Honey Won't You Allow Me One More Chance - Henry Thomas
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2005, 12:53:47 PM »
Welcome ajd!

Offline banjochris

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Re: Honey Won't You Allow Me One More Chance - Henry Thomas
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2005, 05:47:54 PM »
I'll have to listen to this when I get home, but from memory, the last line -- You have to ?? you home tonight -- is "You have to hunt you a new home tonight"
Chris

Offline banjochris

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Re: Honey Won't You Allow Me One More Chance - Henry Thomas
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2005, 03:24:29 PM »
Here's my take on some of those lines -- I hereby nominate Henry Thomas for the Charlie Poole mumbling award. I honestly think he doesn't know the lyrics to the song and makes some of them up as he goes. I've tried several times to find this number or a related on in old sheet music on the web but have come up empty -- if anyone ever finds a lead on it post it please.

Anyway:
Ragg'd?? and feelin' guilty 'bout my head??
I hear:
Wrecked and feelin' dizzy 'bout my head (he could be saying drunk, but it sounds like "wrecked" to me)

"Get up and let me in ----- stand?
I hear (with some imagination):
Get up and let me in, I wasn't out till 10 -- or I wasn't after 10

You have to ?? you home tonight
You have to hunt you a new home tonight

Well then this  ?? letted me in I set down beside of her bed
Says "honey dear, you have some beer?" she shook her head and said,
"Well wonder, wonder, you better not cut your finger? (figure?)

First line -- no idea -- Third line:
Well it weren't no wonder, you been a-cuttin' a figure (i.e. he's been out gay cattin', as Papa Charlie would say)

Yes, these blues, I don't know, keep on chasin' me
Don't let me fall I've got no one at all, I'm cryin' at your door
Well it tain't use you cryin' at all, I've got the chance that you ever had
I ain't gone once, I don't know, just allow just a-one more chance

First line -- he says chancin', not chasin', whatever that's supposed to mean
Second line -- Don't let me fall, I've got no dough
Third -- Well it tain't no use you cryin', doll ...
Fourth -- I ain't got one, ...

This last verse is what leads me to think he's forgotten the words. At least he also didn't record "Monkey on a String."
Chris

Offline KC King

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Re: Honey Won't You Allow Me One More Chance - Henry Thomas
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2005, 08:22:35 PM »
So combining y'alls with what I got and trying again and again:

Honey Won't You Allow Me One More Chance - Henry Thomas

I went home last night, the moon was shinin' bright
Rakin? feelin? dizzy ?bout my head
Well, I rapped on the door; I heard my baby roar
?Honey, I?m going to bed?
?Get up and let me in; a wonder I still stand?
?You know you haven?t treated me right
I paid all this rent; you haven?t got a cent
You have to hunt you a new home tonight?

Honey allow me a one more chance
I ought?a well?ve treated you right
Honey won?t you allow me a one more chance
I won?t stay out all night
Honey won?t you allow me a one more chance
I?ll take you to the ball 'n France
A one kind favor I ask of you
Jus? allow me just a one more chance

Well then this 'bimbim'  let-a me in, I set down beside of her bed
Says "honey dear, do you have some beer?" she shook her head and said
?Well it weren't no wonder, you been a-cuttin' a figure
You know you haven't treated me right
I paid all this rent; you haven?t got a cent
You have to hunt you a new home tonight?

Honey allow me a one more chance
I ought?a well?ve treated you right
Honey won?t you allow me a one more chance
I won?t stay out all night
Honey won?t you allow me a one more chance
I?ll take you to the ball 'n France
just a one kind favor I ask of you
Jus? allow me a one more chance

Honey allow me a one more chance
I ought?a well?ve a treated you right
Honey won?t you allow me a one more chance
I won?t stay out all night
Honey won?t you allow me a one more chance
I?ll take you to the ball 'n France
just a one kind favor I ask of you
Jus? allow me just a one more chance

"Yes, these blues, I don't know, keep on chancin' me
Don't let me fall, I've got no dough, 'ver cryin' at your door"
"Well it tain't use you cryin' 'tall, I've got the chance that you ever had"
"I ain't gone one, I don't know, just allow me just a one more chance"


Thank Uncle Bud and everyone!
KC
« Last Edit: April 12, 2005, 06:49:53 AM by KC King »
KC (Chris) King

Emma Lee

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Re: Honey Won't You Allow Me One More Chance - Henry Thomas
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2005, 09:46:25 PM »
Wow! The collective ear of Weenie Campbell is an amazing thing!

KC and I think one of the reasons Henry Thomas is sooo undecipherable on this particular song is 'cause, portraying the hapless character in the song, he's doing a good job of pretending to be DRUNK.

Online Johnm

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Re: Honey Won't You Allow Me One More Chance - Henry Thomas
« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2005, 09:53:41 PM »
Hi,
Great work on these lyrics.  Does the second line of the first verse make any more sense as "reckon" rather than "wreckin'"?
All best,
Johnm

Emma Lee

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Re: Honey Won't You Allow Me One More Chance - Henry Thomas
« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2005, 10:17:29 PM »
Well hmm. KC and I were just talking about that very lyric.

Seemed like achin' at first, but I sort of hear rakin'...

I don't know if that was usage of raking was common, but raking can mean tilting or tipping (like a ship does, or, perhaps, a drunk guy's head feels like). A rake is also a dissolute, debauched man, but I was thinking more about the tilting meaning.

Also, what about that word that really sounds more like "benben" (or bembem) than baby? "Well then this benben let me in, I set down aside of her bed..." Hmm. I dunno.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Honey Won't You Allow Me One More Chance - Henry Thomas
« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2005, 12:32:24 PM »
Emma, I hear benben as well. Whatever that means!

Also, I'm thinking that in the chorus he's singing a very garbled "always," as in:

Honey allow me a one more chance
I always will treat you right

Chris, in Paul Oliver's section of the New Blackwell Guide to Recorded Blues, he notes that this song is a "coon song of 1897 written by the gifted, if perplexing black composer Irving Jones." I tried some searching online and came up with nothing on this song as a Jones composition. Perhaps some music library searches...

lebordo

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Re: Honey Won't You Allow Me One More Chance - Henry Thomas
« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2005, 09:53:07 PM »
Wreckin? feelin? dizzy ?bout my head

As in Uncle Bud's original post, I hear "Ragged" here instead of Wreckin' -- which to me makes perfect sense since "ragged" is exactly how I feel when I've had a bit much to drink.

I?ll take you to the ball and France

Nobody's questioned the meaning of this line, but I'm wondering if it might be

     I'll take you to the ball in France

Seems to make more sense, particularly if there was a local town called France.  Also, I know we're trying to rhyme with chance, but I really don't hear anything more than FRAN in any of the three occurrences of this line.

Also, I'm thinking that in the chorus he's singing a very garbled "always," as in:

Honey allow me a one more chance
I always will treat you right

I hear "I oughta well've" (where well've is pronounced "well uf").  Definitely one too many syllables for "I always will."   There would also be an extra syllable after treat, so treated fits better than treat.

Well then this baby let me in, I set down beside of her bed

I agree with comments this doesn't sound like baby -- I'm thinking "bim-bim" and thinking it might be a colloquial or slang expression for a "bimbo".

However there is a syllable after "let" and before "me" that hasn't been accounted for -- the best I can figure, it is either "let-a me in" or "letted me in".  Definitely one more syllable than "let me in".

Yes, these blues, I don't know, keep on chancin' be
......
I think it's- keep on chancing to be- in the fourth line from the end

I don't know about "keep on chancin' be" either,  but there are not enough syllables for "chancing to be" -- I'm wondering if it isn't

     Yes, these blues I don't know, keep on chancin' ME. 

Me seems to fit better than be.


Anyway, that's my take on a few areas of this song.  Otherwise, sounds pretty solid to me.

 


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