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Hello heaven, daddy wants to use your telephone... So you can call good daddy anytime when he's gone - Papa Harvey Hull & Long Cleve Reed, France Blues

Author Topic: Robert Johnson lyrics  (Read 11202 times)

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Offline DrySouthern

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Robert Johnson lyrics
« on: September 04, 2010, 02:01:01 PM »
This may be old news, but I think the disputed fifth verse in Johnson's "Deal" is this:



The camp's A, B, and C
Camp A, B, and C
It's camp A, B, and C, Good Lord
On that Gulfport Island Road

It has been printed as, "Let's camp, baby, and sing," but in the second line he clearly says "C" (or "see"), with no "-ng" sound at all.


« Last Edit: July 14, 2020, 01:55:08 PM by Johnm »

Offline Blues Vintage

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Re: Robert Johnson - "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" Fifth verse
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2010, 12:05:29 AM »
from "robert Johnson the new transcriptions";

They count they pick and sing
count they pick and sing
let's count and pick and sing good lord
on that gulfport island road

Offline Alexei McDonald

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Re: Robert Johnson - "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" Fifth verse
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2010, 04:24:44 AM »
It sounds to me like he sings "It's camp A, B, and C" the first two lines and then "It's gal A, B and C" in the last.

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: Robert Johnson - "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" Fifth verse
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2010, 04:51:52 AM »
I've always thought this verse alludes to the previous verse in the song thus:

My captain's so mean on me
My captain's so mean on me
My captain's so mean on me, good lord
On this Gulfport Island Road

Captain, he can't see
Captain, he can't see
That captain, he can't see, good lord
On that Gulfport Island Road

Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: Robert Johnson - "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" Fifth verse
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2010, 10:00:04 AM »
I'm with Scratchy on this one.
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Offline bird to whistle

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Re: Robert Johnson - "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" Fifth verse
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2013, 07:20:29 PM »
I always thought these weren't words, just sounds or nonsense syllables. Everything that has every been suggested seemed to me like a real stretch.

Offline LeftyStrat

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Re: Robert Johnson - "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" Fifth verse
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2013, 12:04:55 PM »
I know the transcription I have from the Columbia box which I believe was released in '90 shows and explains that verse as nonsense syllables, but perhaps studies coming afterwards may've made sense out of them.

My interest is piqued...   Any more ideas?
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Offline uncle bud

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Re: Robert Johnson - "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" Fifth verse
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2013, 07:36:38 AM »
I don't know what the line is in the 5th verse, but seems to me that in the third repeat of the line, Johnson pretty clearly sings "and sing" to me.

Offline dj

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Re: Robert Johnson - "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" Fifth verse
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2013, 08:12:53 AM »
Quote
...the Columbia box ... shows and explains that verse as nonsense syllables...

I find it hard to believe that a musician as meticulous and well-prepared as Johnson seems to have been would have garbled a line three times in a row.  And it doesn't sound like scat singing to me.  Having said that, I have absolutely no idea what the line really is.  The closest approximation I can get is "That gal can play and sing".

Offline RB

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Re: Robert Johnson - "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" Fifth verse
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2013, 04:49:51 PM »
I haven't listened to this song for many years but I believe the railroad referred to in the song is 'The Gulf and Ship Island Railroad,' and I think Johnson sang as 'the Gulf, Ship Island road,' (or 'Gulf Ship Island line') I can't quite recall, so not 'Gulfport Island Road'.'

Now I've just listened to this and it sure sounds like he called that railroad the 'Gulfport Island road' as earlier transcribed by many, I guess.

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« Last Edit: September 02, 2013, 05:06:25 PM by RB »

Offline Bill Roggensack

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Robert Johnson - "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" Fifth verse
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2013, 11:32:49 PM »
The Gulf and Ship Island Railway ran from Gulfport MS to Jackson MS, and became part of the Illinois Central system in 1925. It is possible that "Gulfport Island Road" was a colloquial contraction, since Gulfport was the southern terminus. Most of the freight hauled was lumber.


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Offline banjochris

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Re: Robert Johnson - "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" Fifth verse
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2013, 11:01:33 AM »
The Gulf and Ship Island Railway ran from Gulfport MS to Jackson MS, and became part of the Illinois Central system in 1925. It is possible that "Gulfport Island Road" was a colloquial contraction, since Gulfport was the southern terminus. Most of the freight hauled was lumber.

I believe you're right about the colloquialism. In one of the verses, I think the last, Johnson signs "Gulf and Port Island Road," which sounds like a slip for the real name.

Offline dj

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Re: Robert Johnson - "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" Fifth verse
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2013, 11:05:25 AM »
I've come around to the view that the lines in question in verse five are "That gal, baby, can sing".

Offline LeftyStrat

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Re: Robert Johnson - "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" Fifth verse
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2013, 03:30:29 PM »
Listened to this today and still could make no sense of it. Not sure you could necessarily call it scat singing though, I'm just not putting it together as intelligible lyrics (yet).   Maybe the transcription I mentioned before is so embedded in my brain that I can't hear anything else.

Either that, or it'll be like some of the other tunes I've listened to for years and only recently have I been able to decipher what was actually being said. A couple of  Barbecue Bob and Charlie Patton tunes come to mind as examples.
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Offline WayneS

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A verse of Robert Johnson's
« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2013, 04:38:51 PM »
In "Stones in my Passway," Johnson sings:



I got three legs to truck on, boys, please don't block my road
I got three legs to truck on, boys, please don't block my road
I've been feelin' deceived by my rider, babe, I'm booked and I got to go

What does "three legs to truck on" refer to?  Only thing I could come up with is that maybe he is riding a lame mule or horse.

Got any ideas?

Wayne
« Last Edit: July 14, 2020, 01:55:55 PM by Johnm »

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