collapse

* Member Info

 
 
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

* Like Us on Facebook

I don't show you my ticket, now you don't know where I'm gwine - Charlie Patton, Devil Sent The Rain

Author Topic: Coley Jones Lyrics  (Read 1489 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Johnm

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 12326
    • johnmillerguitar.com
Coley Jones Lyrics
« on: September 06, 2012, 10:43:23 AM »
Hi all,
Sometimes you find interesting things when you're looking for something else.  I was listening yesterday to the JSP "Texas Blues" set, focusing on Little Hat Jones, and happened to listen to Coley Jones, whose four solo cuts are on the same disc as Little Hat's.  Coley Jones' last cut, "Untitled", is a particular winner.  Jones accompanies himself out of C position in standard tuning, using a flatpick by the sound of it.  He uses the most common 16-bar raggy progression for the song, the title of which, I believe, is "The Elder, He's My Man". 

Coley Jones sounds like an experienced stage performer, operating in a style somewhat akin to that of Sloppy Henry.  He delivers the verses as recitations and saves his singing for the chorus.  His delivery is droll, droll, droll, and this one is worth seeking out, for both the very funny lyrics and especially, Coley Jones' way of putting them across.  Here is "The Elder, He's My Man":



Now my Pappy was a deacon, down in a little small church
'Way down South, where I was born
Sisters used to come for ten and twelve miles around, every night,
While that good meetin' was gwine on

One night Pa got in a big way of preachin'
And forgot and left the sermon out
There sit Sister Fullbosom over there in the amen corner, mad anyhow
She let all them secrets leak out

REFRAIN: She hollered, "Sisters and brothers, thoroughly understand,
The Elder, he's my man.
Now, I don't mind y'all gwine outside, talkin' to the Elder occasionally
But nix on standin' out there holdin' his hand.
I wash his heart, both day and night,
Catch you on with that Elder, you gon' have a mis'able fight, you hear me?
Sisters and brothers, won't you thoroughly understand
The Elder, he's my man."

Now, Pa had been preachin' down there in that hardshell church
Just about two years or more
Pa got up one night and told 'em to quit drinkin' gin
Sister Caroline got awfully sore

So the Parson said, "I don't mind y'all drinkin' a little gin every now and then
But somebody has been drinkin' too much, yes sir!"
Sister Caroline jumped up and said, "Look here, Parson, don't start arguin' 'bout that gin.
I'm gonna drink gin if it breaks up this whole damn church."

REFRAIN: She hollered, "Sisters and brothers, thoroughly understand,
The Elder, he's my man.
Now, I don't mind y'all gwine outside, talkin' to the Elder occasionally,
Goin' outside, talkin' to Elder, shake hands.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust,
The police don't get you, now the undertaker must, you hear me?
Sisters and brothers, won't you thoroughly understand,
That Elder, he's my man."

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: July 03, 2020, 12:08:47 PM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 12326
    • johnmillerguitar.com
Re: Coley Jones Lyrics
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2012, 11:02:22 AM »
Hi all,
Another strong Coley Jones number that can be found on the same set is "Army Mule in No Man's Land".  It was recorded in Dallas on December 3, 1927, just about exactly two years prior to "Untitled", with which it shares the same accompaniment and chord progression.  This song would qualify for Mr. O'Muck's "Anti-War Blues" thread, though it's considerably more subversive and subtle in its mode of expression than most songs in that category.  Coley Jones recites the whole piece.  It's worth mentioning, perhaps, to the extent that Coley Jones is known or remembered at all, it is for his performance of "Drunkard's Special", which was chosen by Harry Smith for his "Anthology of American Folk Music".  I would appreciate help with the bent bracketed passages.  Here is "Army Mule In No Man's Land":



Deacon Jones left his congregation about two years ago
Gwine to help his country fight
Said he didn't mind gwine out in No Man's Land
He knowed that Uncle Sam was right

They put him on that mule that pulled that cannon 'round
The Captain told him right there, where you must ride
He looked at the Captain, say, "That mule's all right in his place
But let me tell you what I've got on my mind."

REFRAIN: "When I get out in No Man's Land
They'll soon find out I ain't no fool.
I don't mind fightin' for my Uncle Sam
But not in partnership with nobody's mule.
Now, suppose that mule would balk on the firing line
That's where I would leave him about a thousand mile behind.
When I get out in No Man's Land
I can't be bothered with nobody's mule, not even my Pappy's."

Now I joined the Salvation Army, about seven years ago
Just to wear a uniform, so bright
All at once I was called upon to go and fight
Not thinkin' that everything would be right

Now, the Captain said the healthy men must go right straight to the front
Because they was gonna be just fine
There was me and that mule, when they came down, have a bad cold
Right there we got the first choice in the firing line

REFRAIN: When I got out in No Man's Land
They soon found out I wasn't no fool
I don't mind fightin' for my Uncle Sam most of the time,
Not in partnership with a mule
Now, suppose that Captain holler, "Boy, maul in her, tight!"
How in the world would that mule be able to help a man fight?
When I got out in No Man's Land
They soon found out I wasn't no fool, I hope you heared me

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: July 03, 2020, 12:09:42 PM by Johnm »

Offline Alexei McDonald

  • Member
  • Posts: 140
  • Howdy!
Re: Coley Jones Lyrics
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2012, 12:46:16 PM »
For the first set of parentheses, I hear something like:

"There was me and that mule, we didn't even down have a bad cold"

Which makes some kind of sense. For the second, I hear what you hear, but it doesn't make much sense.

I had a look at the original sheet music to see if that would help at all. It doesn't, but for interest's sake, you can see it here:

https://jscholarship.library.jhu.edu/handle/1774.2/29919


Offline Johnm

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 12326
    • johnmillerguitar.com
Re: Coley Jones Lyrics
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2012, 03:37:19 PM »
Thanks very much for the suggestion, Alexei.  I'll give it some more listening and see if I can come up with anything that makes more sense.  I think you may well have solved the first problem area.
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: September 07, 2012, 04:04:33 PM by Johnm »

Offline dj

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 2835
  • Howdy!
Re: Coley Jones Lyrics
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2012, 04:10:27 PM »
Coley Jones, with his laconic spoken/half sung lyrics in a humorous vein, is very reminiscent of the great black Vaudeville/Broadway performer Bert Williams, who flourished in the first quarter of the 20th century.  Does anyone know if there's an earlier archetype that both Jones and Williams may have been influenced by?

Offline nobocaster

  • Member
  • Posts: 137
  • Hot Dog!
Re: Coley Jones Lyrics
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2012, 10:22:23 PM »
I don't believe it's mentioned here..  Coley Jones is also known by his great recordings with The Dallas String Band!

Offline Johnm

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 12326
    • johnmillerguitar.com
Re: Coley Jones Lyrics
« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2012, 04:22:54 PM »
Hi all,
Coley Jones recorded "Traveling Man" in Dallas on December 4, 1927, accompanying himself out of C position in standard tuning.  Of the versions that were recorded of this song subsequent to his, the closest to his was probably that of Virgil Childers.  Coley Jones recited his verses and sang only on his refrains.  Here is "Traveling Man":



Tell you a story 'bout a traveling man, that 'as born down in Tennessee
He made his livin' by stealing chickens, stoled everything that he seed
Police got after that coon one day, and they tore out, right down the road
No matter how fast a freight train was gwine, that coon'd get righty on board

REFRAIN: He was a travelin' man, certainly was a travelin' man
Travelingest coon that ever was in the land
Traveled, known for miles around
He didn't give up, wouldn't give up 'til the police shot him down

That coon stole ten thousand dollars, it was in the broad open daytime
The folks said the man was desperate, for doing such a dirty crime
Police go on ahead and arrested, and it didn't have no fear
They tied the handcuffs around the darkie's arms and the coon began to disappear

REFRAIN:  He was a travelin' man, certainly was a travelin' man
Travelingest coon that ever was in the land
Traveled, he was known for miles around
He wouldn't give up, he never give up 'til the police shot him down

Sentenced this coon now to be hung, he knowed his time was near
Folks all ganged up for miles around, because they didn't have no fear
Tied the rope around this darkie's neck, everybody began to sigh
He crossed his legs, winked one eye, sailed up through them skies

REFRAIN:  He was a travelin' man, certainly was a travelin' man
Travelingest coon that ever was in the land
Traveled, he was known for miles around
He wouldn't give up, and he never give up 'til the police shot him down

Now they sent this coon to Liverpool, England, now to swim that ocean blue
He saw the iceberg ten thousand miles away, right overboard he flew
Now the people on the Titanic, they all said, "Well, that coon is a mighty big fool."
When the Titanic went down in the deep blue sea, he was shootin' dice out in Liverpool

REFRAIN:  He was a travelin' man, certainly was a travelin' man
Travelingest coon that ever was in the land
Traveled, he was known for miles around
He wouldn't give up, he never give up 'til the police shot him down

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: July 03, 2020, 12:10:34 PM by Johnm »

 


anything
SimplePortal 2.3.7 © 2008-2022, SimplePortal