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Author Topic: Ben Curry/Bogus Ben Covington Lyrics  (Read 2023 times)

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Offline samjessin

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Ben Curry/Bogus Ben Covington Lyrics
« on: June 19, 2008, 08:08:32 AM »
I heard the voice of a porkchop - blind bogus ben covington's version

I have no use for chicken
since way down yonder last spring
Chicken tried to peck me
so i stepped on his wing
Woah, chicken caused me to go to jail
I don't let no chicken do that
I would have stole every hen he had
but I found out they was fat

I was wakling down the street today
Just as hungry as I could be
I walked right into a swell cafe
This is what they said to me
Hey won't you have some chicken
Oh no I'll have some beef
Every time a man refuse chicken today
He has to pay for all he eats

I heard the voice of a porkchop say
come on to me and rest.
You talk about liver, stew and beef
wbut I know whats the best
Well porkchop (beats that?) ham and eggs
Turkey stuffed and dressed
I heard the voice of a pork chop say
come on to me and rest

Well I walked and I walked and I walked and I walked
and I stopped for to rest my feet
I sat down under a big oak tree
and I soon was fast asleep
I dreamed I was sitting in a swell cafe just as hungry as a bear
My stomach sent a telegraph to my throat
saying there's a wreck on the road somewhere

I heard the voice of a porkchop say
come on to me and rest.
You talk about liver, stew and beef
wbut I know whats the best
Well porkchop (beats that?) ham and eggs
Turkey stuffed and dressed
I heard the voice of a pork chop say
come on to me and rest


Makes me wonder where those first two verses went on all the other versions!!!

Offline dj

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Re: Ben Curry/Bogus Ben Covington Lyrics
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2008, 08:41:40 AM »
Sam,

The line you have as "Come on to me and rest" is "Come unto me and rest".  It's a biblical reference.

Offline samjessin

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Re: Ben Curry/Bogus Ben Covington Lyrics
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2008, 09:14:10 AM »
That's what I meant!  my written english ain't too good.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Ben Curry/Bogus Ben Covington Lyrics
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2008, 10:47:55 AM »
Rather then post line-by-line changes, I thought I'd just post the whole version I'd transcribed awhile ago (no offense Sam! I just have several differences).

I Heard the Voice of a Pork Chop ? Bogus Ben Covington

I had no use for chicken since way back yonder last spring
For a chicken tried to peck me, 'cause I stepped on his wing
Oh, chicken caused me to go to jail, I don't let no chicken do that
I would have stole every hen she had but I found out they was fat

I was walking down the street today just as hungry as I could be
And I walked right in a swell caf?, this is what they said to me
"Hey, won't you have some chicken?" "Oh no, I'll have some beef."
Every time a man refuse chicken, yeah, he have to pay before he eats

I heard the voice of a pork chop say, "Come unto me and rest"
You talk about liver, stewin' beans but I know what's the best
That's pork chop, veal chops, ham and eggs, turkey stuffed and dressed
I heard the voice of a pork chop say, "Come unto me and rest"

Well I walked and I walked and I walked and I walked and I stopped to rest my feet
I sat down beside of a great big tree then I soon was fast asleep
I dreamed I was sittin' in a swell caf? just as hungry as a bear
My stomach sent a telegram to my throat, there's a wreck on the road somewhere

I heard the voice of a pork chop say, "Come unto me and rest"
You talk about liver, stewin' beans but I know what's the best
That's pork chop, veal chop, ham and eggs, turkey stuffed and dressed
Heard the voice of a pork chop say, "Come unto me and rest"


So here's a few questions I have about the interpretation of this song. As Sam notes, those first two verses don't appear in Jim Jackson's version, and they are notable IMO opinion for a couple reasons. One, the first verse includes the stereotype of the (black) chicken thief, though turns it on its head: this guy doesn't actually like chickens. (So if you played this song, would you leave this verse in? Would you play this song?) In verse 2, he plays against type again when he turns down chicken in the caf? and orders beef instead (and would have to pay in advance for such highfalutin tastes). There's a bit of social subversiveness to all of this -- keeping in mind as well that "Jesus" becomes a "pork chop" in the chorus -- that I don't recall seeing many examples of in the era. The rest of the lyrics just deal with hunger - I seem to remember Paul Oliver talking about the song as a little bit of social commentary on hunger, in fact. But combining that with the first two verses, Covington/Curry seems like he's doing a kind of anti-minstrel song to me. Or am I reading it wrong?

Another question: anyone know who composed this song originally? It seems like it might have its roots in the "coon song" era and been composed as a reaction to songs like "All Birds Look Like Chicken to Me", but I can't find it.

Here's the original (I believe) hymn composed by Horatius Bonar, circa 1846, that's being parodied here:

I heard the voice of Jesus say, "Come unto Me and rest;
Lay down, thou weary one, lay down Thy head upon My breast."
I came to Jesus as I was, weary and worn and sad;
I found in Him a resting place, and He has made me glad.

I heard the voice of Jesus say, "Behold, I freely give
The living water; thirsty one, stoop down, and drink, and live."
I came to Jesus, and I drank of that life giving stream;
My thirst was quenched, my soul revived, and now I live in Him.

I heard the voice of Jesus say, "I am this dark world?s Light;
Look unto Me, thy morn shall rise, and all thy day be bright."
I looked to Jesus, and I found in Him my Star, my Sun;
And in that light of life I'll walk, till traveling days are done.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2008, 10:54:51 AM by andrew »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Ben Curry/Bogus Ben Covington Lyrics
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2008, 11:11:23 AM »
Hi Andrew,
What a great post!  I think the issue gets even more twisted around, for a couple of reasons:
   * He doesn't dislike chicken based on its merits as a possible meal, but bears a personal grudge because one pecked him, so he is taking revenge by forgoing the eating of chicken.  That is some convoluted reasoning there;
   * Said pecking incident occurred during an attempted chicken theft, another stereotype.

I think the whole song is subversive, along the lines of, "Oh, so you think you know who I am and how I think--are you sure about that?"  It's a very funny song in any event and a great performance by Bogus Ben Covington.  Orville and Grant and I do this song (Orville sings it), and I have to say, I've never agonized about participating.  Any song that has the line,"My stomach sent a telegram to my throat:  "THERE'S A WRECK ON THE ROAD SOMEWHERE"." is pretty great in my book.
All best,
Johnm 

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Ben Curry/Bogus Ben Covington Lyrics
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2008, 12:03:43 PM »
Here's the original (I believe) hymn composed by Horatius Bonar, circa 1846, that's being parodied here:

I heard the voice of Jesus say, "Come unto Me and rest;
Lay down, thou weary one, lay down Thy head upon My breast."
I came to Jesus as I was, weary and worn and sad;
I found in Him a resting place, and He has made me glad.

I heard the voice of Jesus say, "Behold, I freely give
The living water; thirsty one, stoop down, and drink, and live."
I came to Jesus, and I drank of that life giving stream;
My thirst was quenched, my soul revived, and now I live in Him.

I heard the voice of Jesus say, "I am this dark world?s Light;
Look unto Me, thy morn shall rise, and all thy day be bright."
I looked to Jesus, and I found in Him my Star, my Sun;
And in that light of life I'll walk, till traveling days are done.

Yep, you are correct. This was the subject of discussion on the PWBG in 2004 and Alan Young said:

For what it's worth, it's discussed in my book "Woke Me Up This Morning" with a couple of other parody examples. I believe the hymn in question is "I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say",which is in the repertoire of the Baptists and the Church of God in Christ. Only the first couple of lines are directly parodied in Jim Jackson's song - "I heard the voice of Jesus say/Come unto me and rest".
The song is credited to Horatius Bonar in the COGIC and Baptist hymnals, and the tune is described as "Old English Air" (Baptists) or "Old English Aire" (COGICs).
« Last Edit: June 19, 2008, 12:06:52 PM by Bunker Hill »

Offline dj

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Re: Ben Curry/Bogus Ben Covington Lyrics
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2008, 04:05:18 AM »
The part of the song that I just can't figure out is the last line of the first verse:

"I would have stole every hen she had but I found out they was fat"

There are two questions here.  Who is "she"?  I realize she is the owner of the hens the singer is trying to steal, but it's an odd usage to introduce an unknown "she" at that point.  Is this an indication of a missing verse, or an indication that the song was once a stage piece and preceded by a skit or another song that set up this one?

And what's wrong with a "fat" hen?  Isn't what you're usually looking for a "nice fat hen"?  Or is the singer saying that he could only carry off some of the hens because if he'd tried to take them all they wouldn't have fit in his sack or, if they did, he wouldn't have been able to lift it?

It's an interesting song, a fun song, I'd certainly sing it.  And I'd love to know more about its origins.
   

Offline Doug

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Re: Ben Curry/Bogus Ben Covington Lyrics
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2008, 06:19:36 PM »
Here's the original (I believe) hymn composed by Horatius Bonar, circa 1846, that's being parodied here:

{lyrics deleted}


The song is credited to Horatius Bonar in the COGIC and Baptist hymnals, and the tune is described as "Old English Air" (Baptists) or "Old English Aire" (COGICs).

I'm not sure if it's the same tune, I know the hymn to a tune by John Dykes which involves a really neat key change.  The song starts in G minor for the first two lines of the verse, and it has a really somber feel to it.  The key changes to G major for the second two lines of each verse, and has a brighter, happier feel.

It's quite striking the first time you hear (or play) it, and the movement in the music quite effectively lines up with the movement of the lyrics...
« Last Edit: June 20, 2008, 06:22:30 PM by Doug »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Ben Curry/Bogus Ben Covington Lyrics
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2021, 10:02:56 AM »
Hi all,
This discussion of Bogus Ben Covington's lyrics for "I Heard The Voice of a Porkchop" was stuck in a thread that began as a discussion of what instrument, apart from harmonica, he was using to accompany himself. I figured he rated his own lyrics thread, so here it is, and here is his performance of the song:



All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: Ben Curry/Bogus Ben Covington Lyrics
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2021, 12:20:17 PM »
Hi all,
Ben Covington recorded "It's A Fight Like That" in Chicago on October 9, 1929, accompanying himself on banjo-mandolin and harmonica on a rack. The record was released as being by Blind Ben Covington. The song is an exceptionally clever cover of "Tight Like That", certainly more clever than the original in the way that the refrain changes with almost every verse to accommodate a different rhyme. Here is "It's a Fight Like That":



INTRO SOLO

Now right is right, wrong is wrong, it ain't no harm to sing a little song
REFRAIN: It's a fight like that, beedle-um-bum, a-lum a fight like that, skeedle-um-bum
Can't you hear me talkin' to you? It was a fight like that

Uncle Bud went home just like they said, struck a match, caught a man in his bed
REFRAIN: With a light like that, skeedle-um-bum, it was a fight like that, skeedle-um-bum
Can't you hear me talkin' to you? Nothin' but a fight like that

If I go home 'bout half past ten, put the key in the hole and can't get in
REFRAIN: It's a fight like that, beedle-um-bum, a-lum a fight like that, skeedle-um-bum
Can't you hear me talkin' to you? It's gonna be a fight like that

SOLO

Now Lucy come home with a big excuse, she left there tight, but she come back loose
REFRAIN: It was a fight like that, beedle-um-bum, it was a fight like that, skeedle-um-bum
Can't you hear me talkin' to you? Nothin' but a fight like that

I had a little kitty I called her mine, 'way in the night I could hear her cryin'
REFRAIN: And it wasn't no rat, beedle-um-bum, a-lum fightin' my cat, skeedle-um-bum
Can't you hear me talkin' to you? Nothin' but a fight like that

We were shootin' a little dice tryin' to have a little fun, the law walked up and away we run
REFRAIN: He was white like that, beedle-um-bum, a-lum white like that, skeedle-um-bum
Can't you hear me talkin' to you? He was white like that

I asked a lady for a drink, this is what she said, "I don't have the white, but I have the red."
REFRAIN: And how you like that? beedle-um-bum, a-lum, How you like that? skeedle-um-bum
Can't you hear me talkin' to you? Tel me how you like that

SOLO

Some folks hates it, and call it a sin, to see women give money to men
REFRAIN: But it's right like that, beedle-um-bum, a-lum right like that, skeedle-um-bum
Can't you hear me talkin' to you? Nothin' but right like that

SOLO

Edited 1/7 to pick up correction from dj

All best,
Johnm

 
« Last Edit: January 07, 2021, 05:18:41 PM by Johnm »

Offline dj

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Re: Ben Curry/Bogus Ben Covington Lyrics
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2021, 02:19:24 PM »
One minor suggestion.  The refrain of verse four starts "It was a fight like that".

Offline Johnm

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Re: Ben Curry/Bogus Ben Covington Lyrics
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2021, 03:51:55 PM »
Thanks for the catch, dj. I have made the change.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Ben Curry/Bogus Ben Covington Lyrics
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2021, 09:04:34 AM »
Hi all,
Ben Covington recorded "Boodle-De Bum Blues" at a session in Chicago on October 9, 1929 for Brunswick, who released the record as being performed by Blind Ben Covington. As per usual, he accompanied himself on banjo-mandolin and harmonica on a rack, and he really had a pretty tone on the harmonica. Vocally, he sounds like he may have been an older man when he was recorded, with a vocal tone akin to that of Frank Stokes, Uncle Bud Walker, Eli Framer or Marshall Owens. I would loved to see Covington perform, because he really sounds engaging. I find myself wondering if there are any other instances of the word "viaduct" appearing in a blues lyric. I'm also thankful for such a clean copy of the recording to work from. Here is "Boodle-De-Bum Blues":



INTRO

I went down in the alley, trying to sell my coal today
I went down in the alley, trying to sell my coal today
And a woman run out and hollerin', and scared my mule away

REFRAIN: She wanted to boodle-de-bum-bum, she hollered "Boodle-de-bum-bum"
Aw, boodle-de-bum, boodle-de-bum, boodle-de-bum-bum

INTERLUDE

I went with Iceman Jackson, he sold his ice and coal
I went with Iceman Jackson, he sold his ice and coal
But he blowed in all his money, buying sweet jellyroll

REFRAIN: He wanted to boodle-de-bum-bum, oh, boodle-de-bum-bum
Just had to boodle-de-bum, boodle-de-bum, boodle-de-bum-bum

INTERLUDE

We stopped on 18th and Federal, just two blocks west of State
Stopped on 18th and Federal, just two blocks west of State
And when he got up under that viaduct, well, he would not wait

REFRAIN: He had to boodle-de-bum-bum, oh, boodle-de-bum-bum
Aw, boo, boo, boodle-de-bum-bum

INTERLUDE

She said, "Money don't excite me, and that we all know well."
She said, "Money don't excite me, and that we all know well."
But Jackson showed her fifty dollars, and she almost fell

REFRAIN: She wanted to boodle-de-bum-bum, just had to boodle-de-bum-bum
Oh, boodle-de-bum, boodle-de-bum, boodle-de-bum-bum

She had went like a greyhound, and she sure could run
She had went like a greyhound, and she sure could run
And Jackson got down like a reindeer, and he runned her some

REFRAIN: Aw, boodle-de-bum-bum, oh, boodle-de-bum-bum
It was a boodle-de-bum, boodle-de-bum, boodle-de-bum-bum

CODA

All best,
Johnm





 

 
« Last Edit: January 27, 2021, 09:12:23 AM by Johnm »

Offline dj

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Re: Ben Curry/Bogus Ben Covington Lyrics
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2021, 01:42:04 PM »
Quote
Vocally, he sounds like he may have been an older man when he was recorded...

According to Alex van der Tuuk (The New Paramount Book of Blues, pp. 77-79), Curry was born in April 1892, making him 37 when he recorded Boodle-De Bum Blues.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Ben Curry/Bogus Ben Covington Lyrics
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2021, 03:44:04 PM »
Thanks for that information, dj--that is certainly not "older", at least judging by my current standards!

 


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