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Country Blues => Country Blues Lyrics => Topic started by: frankie on December 05, 2003, 05:44:31 PM

Title: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: frankie on December 05, 2003, 05:44:31 PM
I think I have most of this, but would welcome dissenting opinions.  You can hear the tune at:

 http://www.donegone.net/sounds/black_gipsy_blues.mp3 (http://www.donegone.net/sounds/black_gipsy_blues.mp3)

--
Black Gypsy Blues - Furry Lewis

My woman must be a black gypsy
Knows every place I go
Woman must be a black gypsy
She knows every place I go
She met me this morning
With a brand new .44

When you used to be my gypsy
Done just so and so
When you used to be my gypsy
You done just so and so
Now I got another baby
Can't use you no more

Eagle Rock me mama,
Sally Long me too
Eagle Rock me mama,
Sally Long me too
Ain't nobody in town
Can Eagle Rock like you

My woman got a mouth
Like a lighthouse in the sea
Woman got a mouth
Like a lighthouse in the sea
Every time she smiles
She shine her light on me

Had the blues all of '28
Lord and again in '29
Had the blues all of '28
And start again in '29
They tell me New York Central
Is a nickel plated line

Lord, I asked for cabbage
She brought me turnip greens
Asked for cabbage
She brought me turnip greens
I asked her for water
And she brought me gasoline
--

In the second verse:  "Done just so and so" - Sounds pretty clearly like what he says, but...  huh?

In the fifth verse:  "They tell me New York Central / Is a nickel plated line".  Again, I'm pretty sure that's what he's saying but.....
Title: Re:Black Gypsy Blues - Furry Lewis
Post by: Johnm on December 09, 2003, 03:24:49 PM
Hi Frank,
The lyrics seem dead on to me.  Perhaps the implication with "done just so and so" is that a lackluster performance inspired a search for somebody else.  Now that someone else has been found, "just so and so" won't cut it anymore.  "Nickel-plated line" is clearly what Furry says--a reference to the imagined wealth of the North?  
I had never heard the term "Sally Long" used before.  Very interesting because Sam McGee had an instrumental on his first Folkways record called "Sally Long", which is the closest thing to John Hurt's solo on "Candyman" that I have heard.  Sam's tune was an instrumental.
"Black Gypsy" is a lot like Furry's "Rock Island Blues" which I transcribed for the instructional video.  I found it to be one of the most difficult tunes I did for the videos in terms of getting the flow and forward rhythmic motion sounding natural.  It's really challenging stuff for me to play.
All best,
John    
Title: Re:Black Gypsy Blues - Furry Lewis
Post by: frankie on December 10, 2003, 04:55:35 PM
Quote
Perhaps the implication with "done just so and so" is that a lackluster performance inspired a search for somebody else.  Now that someone else has been found, "just so and so" won't cut it anymore.

That sounds good - I'm thinking that the first two verses are about the first (gypsy) woman.  Then, the next two verses show Furry singing the praises of his newfound love - can't back this up, but I remember the Eagle Rock as the name of a dance and something tells me Sally Long is too - neither would it surprise me that both of these were euphemisms for sex.  Not only does Furry's new woman have a lovely smile (lighthouse on the sea), but she's a great lover (go Furry!).

By the last verse, the new woman is maybe even worse than the gypsy woman - the new one is out to kill him!

Quote
"Nickel-plated line" is clearly what Furry says--a reference to the imagined wealth of the North?  

A little digging turned up that "Nickel Plate" was a nickname for the New York, Chicago, and St. Louis railroad in about 1882.  The NY, C & L (The Nickel Plate) eventually seems to have become part of the the New York Central about 1902 or so.  In 1916, NY Central sold the Nickel Plate, so by 1928, the NY Central was no longer a nickel-plated line...  weird...

References can be found here:

http://www.vmt.org/Collections/nkp_number763.htm (http://www.vmt.org/Collections/nkp_number763.htm)
http://members.aol.com/ARHF/timeline.htm (http://members.aol.com/ARHF/timeline.htm)

Quote
I had never heard the term "Sally Long" used before.  Very interesting because Sam McGee had an instrumental on his first Folkways record called "Sally Long", which is the closest thing to John Hurt's solo on "Candyman" that I have heard.  Sam's tune was an instrumental.

Interesting - like I said before, my inner bluesman tells me that Sally Long was a dance, but I have nothing really to back it up.

Quote
"Black Gypsy" is a lot like Furry's "Rock Island Blues" which I transcribed for the instructional video.  I found it to be one of the most difficult tunes I did for the videos in terms of getting the flow and forward rhythmic motion sounding natural.  It's really challenging stuff for me to play.

It seems to me that the bass in Black Gypsy is a little more regular than Rock Island, where it seems to be in a more engaged dialogue with the treble.  It does have a very cool lick at the 12th fret that doesn't appear in Rock Island (or at least that I don't remember) that I like very much.  A lot of the licks are similar, though - it is challenging to play, especially to get the feel right.
Title: Furry Lewis--"Creeper's Blues"
Post by: Johnm on September 24, 2005, 04:36:38 PM
Hi all,
I posted about this song's accompaniment, in which Furry plays a slide fill in standard tuning, over on the Main Forum in the Slide Playing thread.  Perhaps even more remarkable than Furry's instrumental feat on this number are its lyrics, which are nutty even by Furry's exacting standards of nuttiness.
   
   I woke up this morning, I looked up against the wall (2)
   Roaches and the bedbugs playing a game of ball

   Score was twenty--nothing, the roaches was ahead (2)
   Roaches got to fightin' and kicked me out of bed

   Bedbugs so bad, pulled the pillow from under my head (2)
   They got a Winchester rifle and try to kill me dead

   When I woke up this morning, I looked down on the floor (2)
   Bedbug had been in my pocket and pulled out all my dough

   Mama, get your hatchet, kill the fly on your baby's head (2)
   Mama, get your hatchet and run here to my bed

   Please, bedbug, please, I done begged you twice (2)
   You done taken all my money now you want to take my life

Furry's accompaniment is extremely active behind his singing; in fact, what he is playing would be very sporting to play as an instrumental.  As an accompaniment for singing, it has seldom been equalled for complexity.  It is great to have such a high-concept accompaniment working in support of such a crazy lyric.  That's Furry, I guess.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Furry Lewis--"Creeper's Blues"
Post by: Bunker Hill on September 25, 2005, 02:16:06 AM
I love that song, so surreal. I've always thought it apt that its first outing on LP should have been on a compilation entitled Frank Stokes' Dream. Bizarre thought processes at work, especially the verse about the fly which doesn't really seem to fit the bedbug theme. Wonder if it was intended as a parody of the 1927 Lonnie Johnson song which Lewis himself recorded that year.
Title: lyrics for Dry Land Blues
Post by: cmr on October 20, 2005, 11:49:17 PM
Hi all,
Does anyone have the lyrics for Furry Lewis's "Dry Land Blues"? "  I've requested the song on the juke, but I have not be able to transcribe all the words.  Its a beautiful and subtle song.  Many thanks, Charlie R.
Title: Re: lyrics for Dry Land Blues
Post by: Yves on October 21, 2005, 01:38:25 AM
As far as I remember they are on the "country blues" oak publication by S. Grossman
Title: Re: lyrics for Dry Land Blues
Post by: MTJ3 on October 21, 2005, 09:22:48 AM
"Dry Land Blues"?
Furry Lewis (Memphis, TN, 28 August 1928)

I can look through muddy water, baby, and spy dry land.
If you don't want me, honey, let's take hand in hand.

I'm going so far, I can't hear your rooster crow.
I'm going so far, can't hear your rooster crow.?

This is my last time ever knocking at your door.
My last time ever knocking at your door.

[Instrumental break]

You won't cook me no dinner, baby, you won't iron me no clothes.
You won't do nothing but walk the Horn Lake Road.

Man, if you love your old woman better mess it in her cup.
So if she have not quit you, boy, won't leave you in tough luck.

[Instrumental break.]

Man, you can take my woman, but you ain't done nothing smart,
For I got more than one woman playing in my backyard.

Windstorm come and it blowed my house away.
I'm a good old boy, but I ain't got nowhere to stay.

And it's trouble here, and it's trouble everywhere.
So much trouble floating in the air.

[Instrumental break]

What you going to do when your trouble get like mine?
What you going to do your trouble get like mine?.

[Instrumental break]

Notes:

Verse 4. I have been unable to locate anything that sounds or looks like "Hornlick Road" on 1911 and 1920 maps of Memphis.? Bengt Olsson's transcription of the song in Memphis Blues does not resolve the meaning of this phrase, and he did field work there in 1969 and appears to have known Lewis.

Verse 5. Olsson transcribes "mess" as "measure." I am inclined to go along with that.
Title: Re: lyrics for Dry Land Blues
Post by: Bunker Hill on October 21, 2005, 10:00:42 AM
I'm gratified to see that two phrases which have baffled the hell out of me for 35+ years are still doing the same today - the name of the road and what sounds like "mess it in a cup" which I've seen transcribed as "message in a cup" but possibly "measure it (i.e love) in a cup" makes more meaningful sense.

I always expect to hear an end line to that final verse of:

Take a mouthful of sugar and drink a bottle of turpentine

 :)
Title: Re: lyrics for Dry Land Blues
Post by: MTJ3 on October 21, 2005, 12:05:20 PM
1.  I like "measure" better than "mess" because if you listen very carefully the final is, without going into the details, voiced as a "z" is rather than an "s," in which case something was more than likely elided from the end of the word, and "measure" makes some measure of (sorry) of sense for a couple of reasons.

2.  A cup is more than a spoonful.  Anyone interested can readily work out the rest of that metaphor themselves. 
Title: Re: lyrics for Dry Land Blues
Post by: Rivers on October 21, 2005, 12:43:05 PM
It's actually 98% probability "Horn Lake Road" which is apparently a major road in Memphis. We figured it out in a "Eureka" moment on the previous incarnation of the list. Further research showed it was reknowned for its, um, night life back in the day, hence she has to "walk the Horn Lake Road". Go here to see it:

http://www.google.com/maps?q=Horn+Lake+Rd,+Memphis,+TN+38109&spn=0.031123,0.101353&iwloc=A&hl=en

I'll see if I can find the original thread on the Yahoo list and post it here.
Title: Re: lyrics for Dry Land Blues
Post by: Slack on October 21, 2005, 01:16:22 PM
Rivers is too modest, _he_ figured  out Horn Lake Road.... by googling 'sound alike' words from New Zealand!  It was a high moment in weeniedom.  :P

I've seen Horn Lake Raod in Memphis -- it is a major road.
Title: Re: lyrics for Dry Land Blues
Post by: Rivers on October 21, 2005, 01:32:34 PM
Of course the obvious question to ask is "and what were you doing in that part of town?"

Can't find that thread on the yahoo group. Strange.
Title: Re: lyrics for Dry Land Blues
Post by: Slack on October 21, 2005, 02:49:51 PM
Quote
Of course the obvious question to ask is "and what were you doing in that part of town?"

It was my birthday.   >:D
Title: Re: lyrics for Dry Land Blues
Post by: MTJ3 on October 21, 2005, 04:27:48 PM
I think Rivers has nailed it.  Great ear, great work!  It would, therefore, be the road between Memphis and Horn Lake, MS, which in 1928 would likely have begun on the southern outskirts or at least in the southern suburbs.  See www.wdbj.net/shelby/goodspeed/history/history2.htm ("The Memphis & Horn Lake Road was chartered by W. L. Lundy, John Arnold, W. Mathews, H. D. Small and S. Bailey on January 28, 1854, with a capital stock of $50,000.")  I will emend the transcription according.
Title: Re: lyrics for Dry Land Blues
Post by: cmr on October 21, 2005, 09:28:37 PM
Thanks!  Its so nice to post a question on the weenie site.  I not only get the my question answered (e.g., lyrics for "Dry Land Blues"), but we all get amended lyrics. What's the deal, it not a hard song to play, but to get it as recorded by Furry Lewis has requires some subtle touches?  Again, thanks to everyone.  Charlie R.
Title: "Falling Down Blues"
Post by: Chezztone on January 15, 2006, 10:55:15 PM
Furry Lewis sings in the last verse of this lovely song:
   She caught the rumbling, Lord I caught the falling down
   She caught the rumbling, I caught the falling down
   I never see her, I never turn around
Any idea what that means?
Thanks! Chezz
Title: Re: "Falling Down Blues"
Post by: Johnm on January 17, 2006, 10:11:19 AM
Hi Chezz,
Might there have been an earthquake in or around Memphis shortly before this one was recorded?  I know there was a huge earthquake in Missouri in the early 19th century that reversed the flow of the Mississippi briefly.  If there was an earthquake near Memphis circa 1925--1928 I bet you could find out on the net.  Just a thought--I don't know what else it could be.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: "Falling Down Blues"
Post by: Chezztone on January 17, 2006, 10:52:53 PM
John -- Yes, the New Madrid fault, probably the worst fault in the U.S., went boom in 1812 and would have destroyed Memphis if it had been built up then; lots of people in the whole four-state region (SE Missouri, western Tenn., North Miss. and NE Ark.) fear a repeat of that. But nothing like that happened during Furry's life. He was historically minded, maybe he's repeating a phrase that was around since then? Still, must have had some other meaning related to love or relationship? Thanks, Chezz
Title: Re: "Falling Down Blues"
Post by: waxwing on January 18, 2006, 09:11:22 AM
Hey Chezz. Could it have to do with drinking bad liquor, i.e. canned heat or ginger jake? What is the rest of the song about? I don't have a copy. But a rumbling gut could be one symptom and falling down could be another, which they could have "caught" like a desease?

All for now.
John C.
Title: Re: "Falling Down Blues"
Post by: Chezztone on January 18, 2006, 01:26:18 PM
Wax -- Good thinking, thanks. It's a nonthematic blues, without connections among verses, so the others don't give a clue. But sure, this line could refer to an illness or heavy drinking. Either way, she got off better than I did, and then she took off, I guess that's the point of it. Let me mull it over awhile (I won't sing a line I don't understand)....
Title: Re: "Falling Down Blues"
Post by: uncle bud on January 18, 2006, 02:35:24 PM
(I won't sing a line I don't understand)....

I have no such qualms (see Back Porch), especially when it comes to Furry Lewis lyrics.  :P  But I had always vaguely interpreted this as some kind of cryptic "catching a train and ditching him" reference (c.f. lines like She caught the Katy and I caught the Sante Fe). He's playing on that obviously. What the "rumbling" and "falling down" are exactly, I don't know. Rumbling train, falling down in despair?

Hadn't thought of jake leg possibilities before.

Andrew
Title: Re: "Falling Down Blues"
Post by: uncle bud on February 13, 2006, 08:26:05 PM
A passage from Lost Delta Found, quoting a fifty-year-old woman (in 1941) re changes in the influence of the church:

"You kin ketch some doing more wrong than right, but that ain't supposed to be no really fall down of the church cause it suppose to put you out for dancing and cursing."  Don't know if this a common colloquial phrase or simply her way of saying decline, or fault, or something.
Title: Re: Furry Lewis--"Creeper's Blues"
Post by: frankie on February 14, 2006, 05:25:43 AM
Furry's exacting standards of nuttiness.

I'll say!
   
   Mama, get your hatchet, kill the fly on your baby's head (2)
   Mama, get your hatchet and run here to my bed

I've heard the verses about the bug ball game before, definitely in a tune by Reverend Gary Davis and probably others...    the verse about the fly takes the cake, though.

Edited to add - actually it turns out that I do have this on hand at the moment.  He sings this over an octave riff on the 6th and 4th strings.  It's amazing to think of him playing this tune while a bottleneck is perched on his little finger - amazing.
Title: Re: Furry Lewis--"Creeper's Blues"
Post by: banjochris on February 16, 2006, 04:08:39 PM
I seem to remember reading something years ago, and I don't remember where, it might have been liner notes to something, that Furry played these tunes with the pulloff (i.e. Mean Old Bedbug, Creeper's, Jellyroll etc.) in standard tuning with the D string tuned up to E. I remember trying this a few times, also years ago, and it working pretty well, especially with the "Big Road Blues" style walk up the bass strings.

Am I imagining reading this? Or does anyone else remember?
Chris
Title: Re: Furry Lewis--"Creeper's Blues"
Post by: frankie on February 16, 2006, 08:01:10 PM
I don't recall seeing anything about these particular tunes, but I was just talking about this tuning in an email earlier today, and about how nicely it works for the key of E (duh).  I dunno if Furry used it for the Mistreatin/Bedbug/Creeper family of songs, but it seems like it's in the realm of possibility.  It's not a whole lot more difficult to pull off in std tuning, though...  that's to say that the challenging aspects of the song don't have a whole lot to do with tuning, imo - just a fancy bit of playing no matter how you slice it.
Title: Re: Furry Lewis--"Creeper's Blues"
Post by: Johnm on February 16, 2006, 08:20:54 PM
Hi all,
Your suggestion is intriguing, Chris.  I had never heard of Furry using that tuning before (or anyone else) but there is nothing in the sound of the pieces in this particular Furry-archetype to make it sonicly implausible (hammers to the root note on the fourth string, sounding the flat VII note on the fourth string etc.).  I actually know "Mistreating Mama" the best of these tunes, and I know that on that one he does all of his alternating on the V chord hitting his upbeats on the third string, so that could be finessing the third of the V chord not being available at the first fret of the fourth string.  The same note would be hit for the upbeats of the IV chord on the fourth string whether in standard or this altered tuning you suggest, so there is no way of telling there.
Taking it all into consideration, I think I agree with Frank that the more difficult aspect of these songs lies in what the right hand is doing.  Once you have that handled, the relatively greater difficulty of handling the ascending octaves in standard tuning is more than made up for by the greater familiarity of the left hand positions in standard.  It seems though, that whether Furry played these songs in that tuning or not, it is certainly worth experimenting with them that way.  Thanks for providing some food for thought.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Furry Lewis--"Creeper's Blues"
Post by: frankie on February 22, 2006, 06:36:42 AM
I think I agree with Frank that the more difficult aspect of these songs lies in what the right hand is doing.

That's what I was trying to say (poorly) - thanks for coming out and actually saying it!
Title: Re: "Falling Down Blues"
Post by: Buzz on March 27, 2006, 11:38:33 AM
Yo, Chezz!

This is interesting.

I am intrigued that Furry would use an allusion to a onomatopoetic sound--"she caught a rumbling" meaning a deep, earth shaking feeling of the big engine coming through the depot,and follow that with an allusion to an emotion--"I caught the falling down" meaning I was so broken hearted, I felt weak in the knees, fell down, couldn't look back a her, was even more upset than having  my tears come down like showers of rain... :'(

This does require that we ascribe to dear old Furry the emotional side of the words, his really knowing the broken-heaarted feeling and being able to talk about it in real words in his daily usage, which I think he certainly did, but also some innate sense of the what sounds evoke in language, such as the rumble of railroad wheels on tracks. He certainly may not have known about "onomatopeia" as a literary concept, but I have no doubt he was aware  of the natural, even instinctive sounds of life around him: the sound of trains, howling dogs, roosters crowing, strings twanging, springs ringing and creaking, glasses tinkling.

Interesting....

All best,
Buzz  :-\
Title: Re: "Falling Down Blues"
Post by: Chun on April 05, 2006, 04:53:34 PM
Ive always sung..."She CAUSED the rumbling I caused the fallin' down." Makes more sense maybe if it's about a relationship gone astray.
??????????
Christian
Title: Re: "Falling Down Blues"
Post by: Chezztone on September 17, 2006, 10:23:59 PM
Well I didn't have to travel far to find the person who understands this line: Taizz has a great idea. It's about a thunderstorm. "She caught the rumbling (of thunder), I caught the falling down (of rain)." That sounds right. But still the scene a bit mysterious. The couple is parting at the beginning of a storm, and she gets out of there before it really starts coming down?

   She caught the rumbling, Lord I caught the falling down
   She caught the rumbling, I caught the falling down
   I never see her, I never turn around
Title: Re: "Falling Down Blues"
Post by: Johnm on September 29, 2006, 07:10:23 PM
Hi Chezz,
I think Taizz's read on this lyric is right on the money.  I take the conclusion of the verse to mean that Furry's gal split so hurriedly upon hearing the thunder that she was gone before he saw her take off.  Sounds like he missed the thunder and got drenched.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: "Falling Down Blues"
Post by: uncle bud on September 30, 2006, 09:23:49 AM
I agree, Chezz, hats of to Taizz. That certainly seems like a more than plausible reading of the lines.
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: Johnm on January 13, 2007, 03:50:51 PM
Hi all,
I was doing a little Site maintenance and thought to combine a number of separate threads focusing on Furry Lewis lyrics into one thread, so that there would be a single source for finding lyrics that have been transcribed or posting new ones.  The songs currently transcribed/discussed in the new thread are "Black Gypsy Blues", "Dry Land Blues", "Creeper Blues" and "Falling Down Blues".  I've left the titles to the individual posts with the title of the thread they were originally posted to, to create ease of following the discussions if they bounce around, though it's pretty clear anyway. 
All best,
Johnm 
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on January 13, 2007, 09:22:52 PM
Falling Down was never completely posted, so here's what I have:

Falling Down Blues - Furry Lewis
Vestapol tuning



I got the blues so bad, it hurts my feet to walk
Got the blues so bad, it hurts my feet to walk
I wouldn't hate it so bad but it hurt my tongue to talk

Mama I feel like jumping through the keyhole in your door
I feel like jumping through the keyhole in your door
I can jump so easy your man will never know

Some people said worried blues ain't tough
Some people said the worried blues ain't tough
But if they don't kill you, handle you mighty rough

Hitch up my buggy, please saddle up my black mare
Hitch up my buggy, saddle up my black mare
I'm going to find my woman on the road somewhere

She caught the rumbling, I caught the falling down
She caught the rumbling, I caught the falling down
If I never see her, I never turn around

She caught the rumbling, Lord I caught the falling down
She caught the rumbling, I caught the falling down
I never see her, I never turn around
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on January 14, 2007, 08:58:14 AM
Here's my take on Kassie Jones, Parts 1 and 2. There are a couple rough spots. Furry runs his words together fairly often, so it can be danged hard to get sometimes!


Kassie Jones Parts 1 and 2 ? Furry Lewis
In Spanish tuning



I woke up this mornin', four o'clock
Mister Casey told his fireman get his boiler hot
Put on your water, put on your coal
Put your head out the window, see my drivers roll
See my driver roll
Put your head out the window, see my driver roll

Lord, some people said Mister Casey couldn't run
Let me just tell you what Mister Casey done
He left Memphis, it was quarter to nine
Got in Newport News, it was dinnertime
It was dinnertime
Got in Newport News, it was dinnertime

I've sold my gin, I've sold it straight
Police run me to my woman's gate
She come to the door, she nod her head
She made me welcome to the foldin' bed
To the foldin' bed
Made me welcome to the foldin' bed

Lord, the people said to Casey, "You're runnin' over time"
"You'll havin? a collision with the one-o-nine"
Casey said, "This engine's mine
I'll run it in close just to make my time"
Said to all the passengers, "Better keep yourself hid
Natural' gon shake it like Chainey did
Like Chainey did
I?m natural' gon' shake it like Chainey did"

Mister Casey run his engine in [a miles of place]
Number four stabbed him in the face
The depot told Casey, "Well, you must leave town"
"Believe to my soul I'm Alabama bound"
"Alabama bound"

Instrumental break

"Believe to my soul I'm Alabama bound"

Missus Casey said she dreamt a dream
The night she bought her sewin' machine
The needle got broke, she could not sew
She loved Mister Casey, 'cause she told me so
Told me so
Loved Mister Casey, 'cause she told me so

There was a woman named Miss Alice Fry
Said, "I'm gonna ride with Mister Casey 'fore I die"
I ain't good looking but I takes my time
A rambling woman with a rambling mind
Got a rambling mind


Part 2

Casey looked at his water, water was low
Looked at his watch, his watch was slow

On the road again
Natural born eastman on the road again

Lord, there's people tell by the throttle moan
The man at the fire's Mister Casey Jones
Mister Casey Jones

Mister Casey said, before he died
One more road that he wants to ride
People tells Casey, "Which road is he?"
"The Southern Pacific and the Santa Fe
Santa Fe"

This mornin' I heard someone was dyin'
Missus Casey's children on the doorstep cryin'
?Mama, mama, I can't keep from cryin'
Papa got killed on the Southern line
On the Southern line
Papa got killed on the Southern line?

"Mama, mama, how can it be
Killed my father on the first degree"
"Children, children, won?t you hold your breath
Draw another pension from your father's death
From your father's death"

On the road again
I'm a natural born eastman on the road again

Tuesday mornin', it looked like rain
Around the curve came a passenger train
Under the boiler lay Mister Casey Jones
Good old engineer, but he's dead and gone
Dead and gone

On the road again
I'm a natural born eastman on the road again

I left Memphis to spread the news
Memphis women don't wear no shoes
Had it written in the back of my shirt
Natural born eastman don't have to work
Don't have to work
I'm a natural born eastman, don't have to work


edited as per banjochris's corrections
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on January 14, 2007, 09:12:00 AM
Here what I have for Everybody's Blues, Furry's first recorded tune.


Everybody's Blues ? Furry Lewis
in C



Hey baby, tell me what's the matter now
Hey baby, tell me what's the matter now
Lord you tryin' to quit me, baby and you don't know how

I ain't got no good girl, ain't got no lady friend
I ain't got no good girl and I ain't got no lady friend
I ain't go nobody to say, ?Furry, where you been??

If you don't want me, won't you tell me so
If you don't want me, baby, why don't you tell me so
Then you won't be bothered with me round your house no more

Hey-ey baby, you don't treat me right
Hey-ey baby, said you don't treat me right
Ah the way you treat me, take my appetite

I'd rather see my coffin come rollin' from my door
I'd rather see my coffin come rollin' from my door
Lord than to hear my good girl says ?I don't want you no more?

Oh baby, what you goin' do with me?
Ba-aby, what you goin' do with me?
Way you doin' me baby, I declare I sure can't be
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on January 14, 2007, 09:25:33 AM
Here's the flip side of Everybody's Blues -- Rock Island Blues.

Rock Island Blues ? Furry Lewis
In Spanish tuning


Got the Rock Island blues, waiting on the Rock Island train
Rock Island blues, waiting on the Rock Island train
Got a girl in Texas and I'm scared to call her name

Don't you wish your girl was long and tall like mine
Don't you wish your girl was long and tall like mine
Lord she ain't good looking, but I 'clare she takes her time

Bab-aaay, where you stay last night?
Baby, baby, where you stay last night?
Lord you didn't come home till the moon was shining bright

I'm gonna wash my face in the Gulf of Mexico
I'm gonna wash my face in the Gulf of Mexico
I'm gonna eat my breakfast a thousand miles below

Wonder will my suitcase hold my clothes?
Wonder will my suitcase hold my clothes?
I ain't got so many, but I got so far to go

I ain't got no woman, I ain't got no lady friend
I ain't got no woman, ain't got no lady friend
I ain't got nobody to say, Furry, where you been?
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: LoneWolf on January 14, 2007, 09:45:15 AM
In what year did Furry record "Falling Down Blues" and for which label? It's my favorite Furry Lewis song.
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on January 14, 2007, 09:46:03 AM
Here's "I Will Turn Your Money Green", take 1.


I Will Turn Your Money Green (take 1) ? Furry Lewis
In Spanish tuning

When I was in Missouri, would not let me be
When I was in Missouri, would not let me be
Wouldn?t rest content until I came to Tennessee

If you follow me babe, I?ll turn your money green
Follow me babe, I?ll turn your money green
I?ll show you more money, Rockefeller ever seen

If the river was whiskey, babe and I was a duck
River was whiskey, babe and I was a duck
I?d dive to the bottom and I never would come up

Woman I hate, I see her every day
Woman I hate, I see her every day
But the woman I love, she?s so far away

Talk about sweethearted, I declare I?m an honest man
Talk about sweethearted, I declare I?m an honest man
Give my woman money and broke her apron string

All she give me was trouble, trouble all the time
All she give me was trouble, trouble all the time
I been troubled so long, trouble don?t worry my mind

I been down so long, said it seem like up to me
I been down so long, seem like up to me
Woman I love, heart like a rock in the sea

I would holler murder but the fakin? town too small
I would holler murder but the fakin? town too small
Woman quit me, throwed my trunk outdoors
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on January 14, 2007, 09:47:28 AM
In what year did Furry record "Falling Down Blues" and for which label? It's my favorite Furry Lewis song.

1927, for Vocalion.
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on January 14, 2007, 10:06:06 AM
Here's "Furry's Blues", one of those dark humour pieces. How's about that second verse? Yikes...


Furry?s Blues ? Furry Lewis
in Spanish tuning


I believe I?ll buy me a graveyard of my own
Believe I?ll buy me a graveyard of my own
I?m gonna kill everybody that have done me wrong

If you wanna go to Nashville, mens, ain?t got no fare
Wanna go to Nashville, mens, ain?t got no fare
Cut your good girl?s throat and the judge will send you there

I?m gonna get my pistol, forty rounds of ball
Get my pistol, forty rounds of ball
I?m gonna shoot my woman just to see her fall

I?d rather hear the screws on my coffin sound
I?d rather hear the screws on my coffin sound
Then to hear my good girl says, ?I?m jumpin? down?

Get my pencil and paper, I?m gonna sit right down
Get my pencil and paper, I?m gonna sit right down
I?m gonna write me a letter back to Youngstown

This ain?t my home, I ain?t got no right to stay
This ain?t my home, I ain?t got no right to stay
This ain?t my home, must be my stoppin? place

When I left my home, you would not let me be
When I left my home, you would not let me be
Wouldn?t rest content until I come to Tennessee
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on January 14, 2007, 10:18:48 AM
Furry's version of Bessie Smith's "Mean Old Bedbug Blues". Humour of a different kind...

(Can you tell I like Furry yet?)


Mean Old Bedbug Blues ? Furry Lewis
In E position



Man, the bedbug sure is evil, he don't mean me no good
Man, the bedbug sure is evil, he sure don't mean me no good
He thinks I'm a woodpecker and he takes me for a chunk of wood

When I lay down at night, I wonder how can a poor man sleep
When I lay down at night, I wonder how can a poor man sleep
When one holdin? your hand while the other one eatin? your feet

Bedbug's big as a jackass, he will bite you and stand and grin
Bedbug's big as a jackass, will bite you and stand and grin
Drink up all the bedbug poison, come back and bite you again

Somethin' was moanin? in the corner, Lord, I tried so hard to see
Somethin' was moanin? in the corner, Lord, I tried so hard to see
It was a mother bedbug, Lord, prayin' for some more to eat

I have to sit up all night long, my feet can't touch the floor
I have to sit up all night long, my feet can't touch the floor
?Cause the mean old bedbug told me I can't live there no more

Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on January 14, 2007, 10:33:11 AM
Here's "Good Looking Girl Blues". Missing a line in the 2nd verse. Any help appreciated.

Good Looking Girl Blues ? Furry Lewis
in Spanish tuning


Don?t you wish your good girl was long and tall like mine?
Don?t you wish your good girl was long and tall like mine?
Lord, she ain?t good lookin? but I ?clare she takes her time

Said my good girl says she didn?t want me no more
Lord my good girl says she didn?t want me no more
But she?s on my daniel, Lord, everywhere I go

Lord the train I ride is sixteen coaches long
Train I ride is sixteen coaches long
And she don?t haul nothin? but chocolate to the bone

I?m worried now, I been worried all day long
I?m worried now, I been worried all day long
Babe, I?m gonna be worried until the day I?m gone

Lord, it?s some say yellow but gimme my black and brown
Lord, some say yellow but gimme my black and brown
When your high brown quit you, your black will run you down

I wanna see, wanna see the girl I?m so crazy ?bout
I wanna see, wanna see the girl I?m so crazy ?bout
I?ll be so glad, I sure can?t help but shout
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: Bunker Hill on January 14, 2007, 10:43:03 AM
Here's "I Will Turn Your Money Green".


I Will Turn Your Money Green ? Furry Lewis
In Spanish tuning

When I was in Missouri, would not let me be
When I was in Missouri, would not let me be
Wouldn?t rest content until I came to Tennessee

If you follow me babe, I?ll turn your money green
Follow me babe, I?ll turn your money green
I?ll show you more money, Rockefeller ever seen

If the river was whiskey, babe and I was a duck
River was whiskey, babe and I was a duck
I?d dive to the bottom and I never would come up

Woman I hate, I see her every day
Woman I hate, I see her every day
But the woman I love, she?s so far away

Talk about sweethearted, I declare I?m an honest man
Talk about sweethearted, I declare I?m an honest man
Give my woman money and broke her apron string

All she give me was trouble, trouble all the time
All she give me was trouble, trouble all the time
I been troubled so long, trouble don?t worry my mind

I been down so long, said it seem like up to me
I been down so long, seem like up to me
Woman I love hard like a rock in the sea

I would holler murder but the fakin? town too small
I would holler murder but the fakin? town too small
Woman quit me, throwed my trunk outdoors

Ah this would appear to be the alternative take which first appeared on the Yazoo Lewis compilation (L-1050) the released version as found on Frank Stokes' dream (L-1008) has a line like

"Give my woman so many dollars it broke her apron string"

and totally different final verse which, from memory, runs

What's the need of me hollerin', what's the need of my cryin', woman I love don't pay me no mind.

along with other minor lyric variations.

BH the pedant strikes again.
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: Johnm on January 14, 2007, 11:00:28 AM
Wow, Uncle Bud, that has to be some kind of record for most song lyrics posted in the shortest time!  Thanks so much.  God, that "Rock Island Blues" is terrific.  One cool thing about Furry is that he has lots of post-rediscovery lyrics, too.  Go ahead on!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: banjochris on January 14, 2007, 11:08:17 AM
Uncle Bud -- I have a couple suggestions on "Kassie Jones" and "Furry's Blues"

On "Kassie":
Lord, the people said to Casey, "You're runnin' over time"
"You'll havin? a collision with the one-o-nine"
Casey said, "This engine's mine
I'll run it in close just to make my time"
Said to all the passengers, "Better keep yourself hid
Natural' gon shake it like Chainey did"
Like Chainey did
I?m natural' gon' shake it like Chainey did
(Natural' short for naturally here)

Number Four stabbed him in the face
(stared makes more sense, but it really sounds like stabbed -- maybe it means the headlight stabbed him in the face)

Killed my father on the first degree

For "Furry's Blues":
If you want to go to Nashville, mens ain't got no fare
(They wouldn't send you to Memphis if you cut your woman's throat, 'cause the state pen's in Nashville)

On "Good Looking Girl" it sounds like he says "Daniel," which of course makes no sense. Maybe he means to say "dangle," as if she's following him around on a leash or something, despite what she says about not wanting him. I'm pretty sure I've heard him sing that verse on another, post-war recording and I'll try to find it, although I haven't had any luck yet.
Chris
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: Johnm on January 14, 2007, 11:21:43 AM
Hi banjochris and Uncle Bud,
I think in "Kassie Jones", Furry actually pronounces the word "collusion", though he is certainly talking about a collision, not plotting. 
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on January 14, 2007, 11:33:15 AM
Hi John - Yes, he pronounces it "collusion". For transcription purposes, I thought it might make more sense to actually have "collision" in there. An amusing Furryism.

Chris, thanks much for the corrections. Re. "stabbed him in the face". I'd always heard it as this but always thought it odd. I listened over and over and came up with "stared", a non-standard pronunciation of it, but will listen again.

Bunker, yes, I was working from the Yazoo Furry Lewis disc. I do have the other take and will get to it now that you've reminded me of the lyric differences!  :D

Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on January 27, 2007, 03:33:37 PM
Ah this would appear to be the alternative take which first appeared on the Yazoo Lewis compilation (L-1050) the released version as found on Frank Stokes' dream (L-1008) has a line like

"Give my woman so many dollars it broke her apron string"

and totally different final verse which, from memory, runs

What's the need of me hollerin', what's the need of my cryin', woman I love don't pay me no mind.

along with other minor lyric variations.

BH the pedant strikes again.

Here's the released version of I Will Turn Your Money Green:

I Will Turn Your Money Green ? Furry Lewis
In Spanish tuning


When I was in Missouri, would not let me be
I was in Missouri, would not let me be
Wouldn?t rest content until I came to Tennessee

If you follow me baby, I?ll turn your money green
Follow me babe, I?ll turn your money green
I?ll show you more money Rockefeller ever seen

If the river was whiskey, babe and I was a duck
River was whiskey, babe and I was a duck
I?d dive to the bottom Lord and I'd never come up

Woman I hate, I see her every day
Woman I hate, I see her every day
But the woman I love, she?s so far away

Talk about sweethearted, I declare I?m an honest man
Talk about sweethearted, I declare I?m an honest man
Give my woman money so many dollars broke her apron string

All she give me was trouble, I'm troubled all the time
All she give me was trouble, I'm troubled all the time
I been troubled so long, trouble don?t worry my mind

I been down so long, seem like up to me
I been down so long, seem like up to me
Woman I love, she done quit poor me

What's the need in me hollerin', what's the need in me cryin'
What's the need in me hollerin', what's the need in me cryin'
Woman I love, she don't pay me no mind

Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: Chezztone on January 30, 2007, 12:57:12 PM
Maybe the "from" is implied, or mouthed very softly, in the line from Furry's Blues: "If you want to go to Nashville (from) Memphis, ain't got no fare..." Remember that Furry lives in Memphis and is singing to a Memphis audience. Or maybe he is using "Memphis" to mean "people of Memphis": "If you want to go to Nashville, Memphis, ain't got no fare..."

Uncle Bud -- I have a couple suggestions on "Kassie Jones" and "Furry's Blues"

For "Furry's Blues":
If you want to go to Nashville, mens ain't got no fare
(They wouldn't send you to Memphis if you cut your woman's throat, 'cause the state pen's in Nashville)

Chris
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: banjochris on January 30, 2007, 06:37:36 PM
Chezztone --
I don't think there's a problem with the line as it stands -- it's a joke addressed to men in general, "mens" being like "womens" a common dialect plural. He's simply addressing men, saying that if they don't have the bus or train fare to get to Nashville, they should murder their woman, because they'll get a free trip to the Nashville pen courtesy of the state.
Chris
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: Rivers on January 30, 2007, 06:49:50 PM
Well now I've really got to listen to this one.
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: Chezztone on February 01, 2007, 12:54:57 AM
Right. Chris, it makes sense either way, the thing is, listen to it. I believe I hear "Memphis" in there.
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: Chezztone on April 05, 2007, 11:05:25 AM
"Daniel" it is!
In Furry's "Good Looking Girl Blues," second verse, he says:

Lord my good girl says she didn't want me no more
But she's on my daniel Lord everywhere I go


I have long wondered what he meant by that, and some have speculated on this list that the word was something other than "daniel."
But I was rereading Mezz Mezzrow's Really the Blues recently, and came across a passage about an excited dancer who fell on her daniel. Yep, spelled out, just like that.
Now, I don't know the origin of the expression -- why the proper name Daniel became a term for the human rear end -- but it is clear that it did, and that that's what Furry is saying in that song.
By the way, I highly recommend Mezzrow's book, in case you aren't familiar with it. Despite the title, it is really about the world of early jazz. Mezzrow was a white Jewish musician/pot dealer/protohipster. The book is written in the fabulous slang of that world. Cheers, SC
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: Bunker Hill on April 05, 2007, 11:15:52 AM
"Daniel" it is!
In Furry's "Good Looking Girl Blues," second verse, he says:

Lord my good girl says she didn't want me no more
But she's on my daniel Lord everywhere I go


I have long wondered what he meant by that, and some have speculated on this list that the word was something other than "daniel."
FWIW a similar question was posed by Claudio Caponi on Mary Katherine Aldin's prewar discussion group a couple of years back in relation to Dr Clayton's usage "I'm gonna wang your daniel". I haven't got time now to search the member's yahoo interface to find the topic thread and re-post here but I think Chris Smith or Paul Garon came up with some kind of plausible explanation. Any PWB members hereabouts up for the challenge of locating it?   ::)
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on April 05, 2007, 11:26:15 AM
Great find, Chezz. My guess (and it's just a guess) is this usage could be some sort of profane Biblical allusion. Any stories of Daniel feature an ass (the beast, not the butt)? All I know about is the usual Daniel in the lion's den story.

I meant to post awhile back that Furry clearly uses this phrase in a couple of his postwar recordings. I can't remember which ones now -- should have posted at the time! -- but I believe they were on the Shake 'Em On Down record. Will re-listen.
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on April 05, 2007, 11:31:59 AM
Did a quick search. The hypothesis on PWB was that usage might be based on rhyming slang:

Can ---> Dan ---> Daniel, or Fanny ---> Danny ---> Daniel.

I'm still interested in whether the biblical Daniel has any connection to donkeys.
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on May 23, 2007, 07:50:57 AM

I meant to post awhile back that Furry clearly uses this phrase in a couple of his postwar recordings. I can't remember which ones now -- should have posted at the time! -- but I believe they were on the Shake 'Em On Down record. Will re-listen.

Just following up. Furry uses the "Daniel" verse on several postwar recordings I think, but one for sure is on the Blue Horizon session, "Let's Shake Hand in Hand."
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on May 07, 2010, 02:56:09 PM
Here's "Good Looking Girl Blues". Missing a line in the 2nd verse. Any help appreciated.

Good Looking Girl Blues ? Furry Lewis
in Spanish tuning


Don?t you wish your good girl was long and tall like mine?
Don?t you wish your good girl was long and tall like mine?
Lord, she ain?t good lookin? but I ?clare she takes her time

Said my good girl says she didn?t want me no more
Lord my good girl says she didn?t want me no more
But she?s on my daniel, Lord, everywhere I go

Lord the train I ride is sixteen coaches long
Train I ride is sixteen coaches long
And she don?t want nothin? but chocolate to the bone

I?m worried now, I been worried all day long
I?m worried now, I been worried all day long
Babe, I?m gonna be worried until the day I?m gone

Lord, it?s some say yellow but gimme my black and brown
Lord, some say yellow but gimme my black and brown
When your high brown quit you, your black will run you down

I wanna see, wanna see the girl I?m so crazy ?bout
I wanna see, wanna see the girl I?m so crazy ?bout
I?ll be so glad, I sure can?t help but shout


Revisiting some Furry material and just making a minor correction.

3.1 Lord the train I ride is sixteen coaches long
3.2 Train I ride is sixteen coaches long
3.3 And she don?t HAUL nothin? but chocolate to the bone



Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on November 02, 2010, 11:15:31 AM
A little more fine-tuning of Furry lyrics. In Dry Land Blues, what we currently have as:

Man, if you love your old woman better measure it in her cup
So if she have not quit you, boy, won't leave you in tough luck

Should, to my ears, actually be:

MEN, if you love your woman better measure it in A cup  ["old" in "old woman" deleted - he sings yo-our]
So if she HAPPEN TO quit you, boy, won't leave you in tough luck. [with "happen to" sung as "happen 'a"]
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics - Mistreatin' Mamma
Post by: uncle bud on November 02, 2010, 11:48:44 AM
I notice we don't have "Mistreatin' Mamma" in this thread yet. One of Furry's best tunes, played beautifully out of E position (or perhaps the raised E tuning, EAEGBE, discussed earlier in the thread) but pitched around D. B&GR4 has the title as Mistreatin' Mamma, as does Yazoo's In His Prime. Document has it as Mistreatin' Mama. Anyone have a label scan (or 78 to check)?

Mistreatin' Mamma - Furry Lewis

Babe if your heart ain't iron, it must be marble stone
If your heart ain't iron, it must be marble stone
For you're a mistreatin' mama, baby as sure as you born

I can tell from a little just what a whole lot means
I can tell from a little just what a whole lot means
You treat me just like somebody you ain't never seen

I got a woman in Cuba-y, got a woman in Spain
Woman in Cuba-y, got a woman in Spain
I got a woman in Chicago and I'm scared to call her name

I got nineteen women and all I wants one more
I got nineteen women and all I wants one more
If the one more suit me I'm going to let the nineteen go

I could have religion, Lord, this very day
I could have religion, Lord, this very day
But the womens and whiskey, Lord, won't let me pray

I can sit right here, look on Jackson Avenue
I can sit right here and look on Jackson Avenue
I can see everything that my good woman do

Sometime I believe I will, sometime I believe I won't
Sometime I believe I will, sometime I believe I won't
Sometime I believe I do, sometime I believe I don't
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics - Big Chief Blues
Post by: uncle bud on November 02, 2010, 01:54:13 PM
Recorded October 9, 1927, Big Chief Blues was played out of Vestapol tuning. Postwar recordings of this song are rather different, played out of Spanish tuning.

Big Chief Blues - Furry Lewis

I'm goin' away baby, take me seven long months to ride
Goin' away baby, take me seven long months to ride
January, February, March, April, May, June, July

I was three years old when my poor mother died
I was three years old when my poor mother died
If you mistreat me, you mistreat a motherless child

I dreamt last night the whole round world was mine
I dreamt last night the whole round world was mine
Wasn't nothing at all but my good girl jumpin' down

She put carbolic in my coffee, turpentine in my tea
Carbolic in my coffee, turpentine in my tea
Strychnine in my biscuit, Lord but she didn't hurt me

Baby, when I marry, goin' to marry an Indian squaw
I mean when I marry, goin' to marry an Indian squaw
Big chiefs, Lord, be my daddy-in-law

I say when I marry, I?m gonna marry an Indian squaw
So the big chief can be my daddy-in-law
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics - Judge Harsh Blues
Post by: uncle bud on November 02, 2010, 02:14:47 PM
Furry recorded two takes of Judge Harsh Blues on August 28, 1928. He's playing out of Vestapol again. The last line of the song in both takes is a bit of a mystery to me. Don't know if I have it right.

Judge Harsh Blues (take 1) - Furry Lewis

"Good morning judge, what may be my fine?
Good morning judge, what may be my fine?"
"Fifty dollars, eleven twenty-nine"

They arrest me for murder, I ain't never harmed a man
'rest me for murder, I ain't harmed a man
Women hollerin' murder, Lord I ain't raised my hand

I ain't got nobody to get me out on bond
I ain't got nobody to get me out on bond
And I would not mind, but I ain't done nothing wrong

Please Judge Horace, make it light as you possibly can
Please Judge Horace, make it light as you possibly can
I ain't did no work, Judge, and I don't know when

My woman come a-runnin' with a hundred dollars in her hand
Woman come a-runnin' with a hundred dollars in her hand
Cryin', "Judge, Judge, please spare my man"

"One hundred dollars won't do, better run and get your three
One hundred dollars won't do, better run and get your three
I can keep your man from a penitentiary"

Baby 'cause I'm arrested, please don't grieve and moan
'cause I'm arrested, baby, don't grieve and moan
Penitentiary seems just like my home

People all talkin' 'bout what they will do
Judge, people all talkin' 'bout what they will do
If they had justice, they'd be in [the] penitentiary too


Judge Harsh Blues (take 2) - Furry Lewis


"Good morning judge, what may be my fine?"
"Good morning judge, what may be my fine?
"Fifty dollars, eleven twenty-nine"

They arrest me for murder, I ain't never harmed a man
'rest me for murder, Lord I ain't harmed a man
Women hollerin' murder, I ain't raised my hand

I ain't got nobody to get me out on bond
I ain't got nobody to get me out on bond
I would not mind, but I ain't done nothing wrong

Please Judge Horace, make it light as you possibly can
Please Judge Horace, make it light as you possibly can
I ain't did no work, Judge, and I don't know when

My woman come a-runnin' with a hundred dollars in her hand
Come a-runnin' mama with a hundred dollars in her hand
Cryin', "Judge, please spare my man"

"One hundred dollars won't do, better run and get your three
One hundred dollars won't do, better run and get your three
I can keep your man from a penitentiary"

Baby I'm arrested, please don't grieve and moan
'cause I'm arrested, baby, please don't grieve and moan
Penitentiary seems just like my home

People all hollerin' 'bout what in the world they will do
Judge, the people hollerin' 'bout what in the world they will do
Lord if the people had justice, they'd be in [the] penitentiary too
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: Johnm on November 02, 2010, 03:42:53 PM
Hi uncle bud,
Thanks for these lyric transcriptions.  If we apply the same standard of proof to Furry Lewis as I have been applying to Clifford Gibson, I have to admit that at this point I consider "Mistreatin' Mamma" to have been played in the EAEGBE tuning (though a full step low).  Obviously, it can be played out of E position in standard tuning, but it sits so much more easily and naturally in the EAEGBE tuning, and the various aural points that go towards Clifford Gibson having used EAEGBE for all of his E-sounding tunes apply equally to Furry's tunes like "Mistreatin' Mamma", "Mean Old Bedbug Blues", "Creeper's Blues" and one other I can't think of now (though not "Dryland Blues", which is definitely played out of E position in standard tuning a step low).  Live and learn (speaking of myself), one would hope.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on November 02, 2010, 07:02:15 PM
Hi John - Perhaps this should be discussed in another thread, but is there any spot other than the octave bass runs in Mistreatin' Mamma and Creeper's Blues where this tuning is likely to help? I've tried listening for that 4th string elsewhere and while it certainly sounds like it could be an open string in the main riff, that open string doesn't offer any real advantage there. The advantage is certainly present for the octave runs. I've tried those with a thumb wraparound on the sixth string (as opposed to index and ring finger) and it works fine but I tend to get a lot of string noise as I move up, which I don't get with the altered tuning.

The other tune you were thinking of is Jelly Roll, by the way. It uses the bit that appears in the solo of Mistreatin' Mamma as a verse accompaniment for a good part of the tune, but also has another riff that I don't think appears in the other songs from this family. In the 5th verse, Furry does a descending bass lick that's like a cousin to the octave bass lick in the other tunes - he goes from E on the 4th string to low E, D to low E, C# to low E, B to low, and repeats. The 4th string E could be heard as fretted since it does not ring like an open string, but Furry is damping throughout whole riff, so this wouldn't really prove much. It's a cool riff though, and he comes out of it with a slide on the sixth string into the IV chord, making for an ultra cool combination.

He repeats the same riff in the following verse (the Memphis, Tennessee verse below). There are one or two intonation quirks this time around, like he's playing the higher E bass on the 5th string rather than the fretted or open 4th string. Have a listen and see what you think. I don't know that it tells us anything but my brain has taken me as far as it will go this evening.

Here are the lyrics for Jell Roll, recorded April 20, 1927.

Jelly Roll - Furry Lewis

I went to the gypsy to get my fortune told
Went to the gypsy, baby, get my fortune told
Lord the gypsy told me, "Boy, you got a jellyroll"

Ain't nobody in town cook a jellyroll like mine
Nobody in town cook a jellyroll like mine
Nobody in town cook a jellyroll like mine

I was first on Main Street, Lord and I started down Beale
First on Main Street, Lord and I started down Beale
Looking for my girl, Lord that we all call Lucille

I know you don't want me, why don't you tell me so
Babe, I know you don't want me, why don't you tell me so
Then you won't be bothered with me 'round your house no more

Lord my good girl quit me, my kid done put me down
Lord my girl done quit me, my kid done put me down
I wouldn't hate it so bad but the talk's all over town

We got a new way of spellin' Memphis, Tennessee
We got a new way of spellin' Memphis, Tennessee
Double M, double E, Lord A, Y, Lord Z

Oh, my gal done quit me now
Yeah, Lord my gal done quit me now
I'm goin' to the river, gonna jump overboard and drown
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: banjochris on November 03, 2010, 08:53:48 PM
UB -- I think you do have the last lines of "Judge Harsh" right -- I think it makes sense if you take Furry's use of "justice" to mean "the judge's special brand of 'justice'".
Chris
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: Chezztone on November 29, 2010, 08:27:25 AM
I like the idea that it could be "Judge Horace" -- "Harsh" was probably just the record company's transliteration of Lewis' pronunciation of the judge's name. But I think "Judge Harris" might be even more likely.
Title: Furry Lewis Lyric
Post by: harriet on September 18, 2013, 03:05:41 PM
Hi,

This is what I got from the Good Morning Judge CD of Furry Lewis's Roll and Tumble. I think its accurate as per my earphones and ipod but the "you had no business treating me this a way" can also sound like "you hadna-been-a-treating me" in some players- like itunes, quicktime on a computer.
.............................................................

Furry Lewis
Good Morning Judge

ROLL AND TUMBLE
An I'm going to Brownsville, gonna take that right hand road
An I'm going to Brownsville, momma.........................
Lord I ain't gone stop walking till I get to my baby's door.

And that woman I loving she got great long curly hair
And that woman I loving got great long curly hair
But her mother and father don't allow Furry there

I'm going write me a letter I'm going to mail it in the air
I'm going write me.........................
Lord if a man stay here can stay most everywhere

And my first name Furry my second name ain't be told
Well my first name Furry my second name ain't never be told
I been waiting on you baby since you were 12 years old

Babe you had no business treating me this a way
Then you had no business treating me this a way
I'm going back to Georgia, going back there to stay
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: Johnm on September 18, 2013, 03:32:21 PM
Hi Harriet,
I was wondering what label that Furry Lewis album was on--I don't have that one.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: harriet on September 18, 2013, 04:33:03 PM
Hi John,

It's FatPossum label, George Mitchell recordings

http://www.fatpossum.com/products/good-morning-judge (http://www.fatpossum.com/products/good-morning-judge)

H
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: Johnm on September 18, 2013, 05:21:32 PM
Oops, turns out I do have that one.  I think you have it right, Harriet, although I think the second line in the last verse begins with "then" rather than "and".
All best,
John
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: harriet on September 18, 2013, 06:57:11 PM
Thanks - will change.
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: Johnm on November 08, 2013, 01:03:20 PM
Hi all,
Furry Lewis recorded "Billy Lyons and Stack O'Lee" on October 9, 1927, at a session in Chicago.  He backed himself out of C position in standard tuning for the song, which has some eccentric solos in which Furry seems to be channeling bygone marches.  In the next-to-last verse, I think the Judge speaks in the first line and the Sheriff responds in the second line.  There are a couple of places where I'm not at all sure I have the lyrics right, and I'd very much appreciate corroboration or correction of what I have currently.

I remember one September, on one Friday night
Stack O'Lee and Billy De Lyons had a great fight
Cryin', when you lose your money, learn to lose

Billy De Lyons shot six bits, Stack, he bet he passed
Stack O'Lee out with his .45, said, "You done shot your last."
When you lose your money, learn to lose

Lord, a woman come a-runnin', fell down on her knees
Cryin', "Oh, Mr. Stack O'Lee, don't shoot my brother, please!"
When you lose your money (guitar finishes line)

Now, you talkin' 'bout some gambler, oughta seen Richard Lee
Shot one thousand dollars and come out on a three
Cryin', when you lose your money, learn to lose

Lord the Judge told the Sheriff, We want 'im dead or alive."
"How in the world can we bring him, when he totes a .45?"
When you lose your money, learn to lose

Lord, a woman told the Judge, "My husband's named Jack, Sheriff."
Want to 'rest poor Stack O'Lee, better go somewheres else
When you lose your money, learn to lose

All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: banjochris on November 08, 2013, 02:05:01 PM
John, I think you have that line right, except it is possible it's Jack Shep or some last name like that, but Sheriff fits logically and with his pronunciation earlier.
Chris
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: Johnm on November 08, 2013, 07:52:05 PM
Thanks, Chris, I've always wondered about that.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: Johnm on January 13, 2014, 06:34:48 PM
Hi all,
Furry Lewis recorded "Frankie and Johnnie" for Prestige Bluesville in May of 1961, for the Sam Charters-produced album, "Done Changed My Mind".  Furry accompanied himself out of G position in standard tuning, but tuned quite low, sounding at D.  His version is unusual in that Frankie and Johnnie never have any kind of face-to-face confrontation in the course of the rendition.  Rather, Frankie is looking for Johnnie and the next thing you know, he's being discussed in the past tense.  Like many or most versions of the song, Furry's has a one-line refrain that gets altered slightly as the story unfolds.

Frankie and Johnnie was lovers, oh how they did love
Suppose they love each other, like the moon and stars above
"He's my man, but he done me wrong."

Frankie went to the bartender, asked for a glass of beer
Frankie told the bartender, "Ask me, my lovin' man been here?
He's my man, but he done me wrong."

"Don't tell me no story, don't tell me no lie.
Did my lovin' man stop here, did he keep on hikin' by?
That's my man, but he done me wrong."

"Listen here now, Frankie, hate to see you moan.
Why in the world don't you, Frankie, why don't you go back home?
I know that's your man, but he done you wrong."

I ain't gon' tell you no story, I ain't gon' tell you no lie.
Your lovin' man, he did not stop here, he musta kept on hikin' by.
He was your man, but he done you wrong."

"Bring 'long your rubber-tire buggy, bring 'long your rubber-tire hack.
Fourteen men went to the cemetery, but only thirteen mens come back.
They left my man, for he done me wrong.
They left my man, for he done me wrong."

All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: Johnm on March 23, 2014, 10:37:33 AM
Hi all,
Furry Lewis recorded "Jelly Roll" at his first recording session, and it was the earliest of his recorded renditions in which he used the EAEGBE tuning, pitched around Eb for the song.  His guitar part is spectacular, and sort of set forth his basic musical language in that tuning, which he was to use later for "Mean Old Bedbug Blues", "Mistreatin' Mama" and "Creeper's Blues" in his early recordings.  Furry takes no solos on "Jelly Roll", but his playing is so exciting and rhythmically active that you feel more than adequately entertained by his verse accompaniments and fills.

I went to the gypsy, to get my fortune told
Went to the gypsy, baby, get my fortune told
Lord, the gypsy's told me, "Boy, you got a jelly roll."

Ain't nobody in town cook a jelly roll like mine
Nobody in town cook a jelly roll like mine
Nobody in town cook a jelly roll like mine

I went first on Main Street, Lord, I started down Beale
First on Main Street, Lord, and I started down Beale
Lookin' for my girl, Lord, that we all call Lucille

I know you don't want me, why don't you tell me so?
Babe, I know you don't want me, why don't you tell me so?
Then you won't be bothered with me 'round your house no more

Lord, my good girl quit me, my kid done put me down
Lord, my girl done quit me, my kid done put me down
I wouldn't hate it so bad, but the talk's all over town

We've got a new way of spelling Memphis, Tennessee
We got a new way of spelling Memphis, Tennessee
Double m, double e, Lord, a, y, and a z

Lord, my gal done quit me now
Hey Lord, my gal done quit me now
I'm goin' to the river, I'm gonna jump overboard and drown

All best,
Johnm








Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: Johnm on April 22, 2014, 04:36:25 PM
Hi all,
Furry recorded "White Lightning" at one of the sessions that produced his two LPs on Prestige Bluesville, currently available as a combined CD called "Shake 'Em On Down".  He played the song out of EAEGBE tuning, pitched very low around C with his sixth string, so tuned to CFCEbGC, more or less.  He is wonderfully loose in both his singing and playing on the song and shows an enormous imagination in his accompaniment and solos.  Furry changes his phrasing model for his third and fifth verses, doing a sort of AB, A, B phrasing over the three lines of his phrasing.  If you're interested in the EAEGBE tuning, this performance is definitely worth seeking out.

Baby, fix my breakfast so I can go to bed
Baby, fix my breakfast so I can go to bed
I been drinkin' white lightnin', done gone to my head

Got the blues so bad, it hurt my feet to walk
Got the blues so bad, baby, it hurt my feet to walk
I wouldn't hate it so bad, but it hurt my tongue to talk

Train I ride, woman, sixteen coach long, don't haul nothin' but chocolate to the bone
And the train I ride, sixteen coaches long
But she don't haul nothin' but chocolate to the ---

Babe, I want you to love me, love me all the time
Want you to love me, baby, love me all the ---
I can't sleep for dreamin', baby, you stays all on my mind

Baby, if you want some lovin', come go home with me, be your babe, be your money tree
If you want some lovin', come go home with me
I will be your babe, be your money tree

Bye bye, baby, got no more to say
Bye bye, baby, got no more to say
You know, I hate the train, baby, that take me away from here

SOLO

All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: Johnm on April 24, 2014, 02:49:05 PM
Hi all,
Furry Lewis recorded "Cannon Ball Blues" on August 28, 1928 in Memphis, accompanying himself with a slide in Spanish tuning.  He re-used the melody and accompaniment he recorded that day in his post-rediscovery period, recording the song as "Perlee" on his Folkways album and as "Why Don't You Come Home?" on his Fat Possum CD.  The transition from his first verse to his second is tricky; it's as though the tagline of his first verse served as the opening line to his second verse, but it doesn't play out that way in terms of the accompaniment.  Furry has an interesting mannerism here of omitting the first word of his opening lines when he repeats them.  There are a couple of places I'm not at all sure I have right, enclosed in bent brackets, and I'd sure appreciate corroboration or correction of them.

Please take me, baby, try me one more time
Take me, baby, try me one more time
If I do to suit you, keep me a great long time

If I don't do to suit you, start me down the line
'f I don't do to suit you, start me down the line
(Guitar finishes verse)

I left my home, just to be with you
Left my home, just to be with you
You done got me here, now that's the way you do

They call me High Pockets, because I'm long and tall
Call me High Pockets, because I'm long and tall
Sell my barn yesterday, left on a Cannonball

I can't play no music and I sure can't sing no blues
Can't play no music and I sure can't sing no blues
Gimme shim' she wobble from my head down to my shoes

I went to the IC train, lay my head on the IC track
IC train, lay my head on the IC track
Seen the IC comin', Lord, and I snatched it back

I wished I'd-a died, Mama, when I were young
Wished I had-a died, Mama, when I were young
I would not have this low-down race to run

Edited 3/11/15 to pick up corrections from banjochris

All best,
Johnm




Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: Johnm on March 10, 2015, 02:54:02 PM
Hi all,
Furry Lewis recorded a terrific version of "Skinny Woman", accompanying himself in Spanish tuning without a slide, that appears on "Furry Lewis, Bukka White & Friends:  Party! At Home", Arcola Records, A CD 1001.  Furry is in wonderful form, and his playing and singing are so rich and animated.  I love the frankness of the first verse; to my taste, it beats the hell out of a lot of the childish double entendre stuff that was recorded, and Furry's tagline to the first verse reminds me of Henry Miller's writing.  It's great to hear the other persons at the party responding as Furry goes along.  Furry goes long on his next-to-last verse.  If you don't have this CD, I suggest you pick it up, because it is so entertaining and has great music.

I don't want, I don't want no skinny woman, I want a woman with plenty meat, Lord,
She can roll all night long, she don't have to stop to rest (Spoken, Booker White:  That's solid, there!)
If I ain't doin' no good, baby, Furry's doin' his actual best

I don't need, need no doc', all I need is Mary Tell
I don't need no doctor, just-a send me Mary Tell
That's the onliest woman can ever get old Furry well

Now, don't run, don't tell my brother, don't you tell my brother, Will
God, don't you all run and tell, don't tell my brother, Will
Well, the woman he's lovin', Lord knows, she's gon' get him killed

I'm going town in the mornin', I'm gon' tell that Chief Police
I'm goin' uptown, mornin', I'm 'on'tell that Chief Police
Well, my baby done quit me, and I sure can't see no peace

Boy, that M's, M's for Memphis, that is B for Birmingham
That's (guitar) there's a B for Birmingham
For my baby done quit me, and I just don't give a damn

Now, you take, take me back, baby, and you try me, just one more time
Said, take me back, babe, try me one more time (Spoken, Bob West:  We'll take you back, Furry.)
If I do, do to suit you, you can keep me a great long time
If I do to suit you, keep me a great long time
If I don't do to suit you, baby, you can (spoken) start me down the line

I worked for Mr. Charlie, boy, and I worked when he were poor
I worked for Mr. Charlie, Lord, Lord, he were poor
Now, Mr. Charlie don't 'low Furry, work at the camp any more

All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: banjochris on March 11, 2015, 02:28:02 PM
John, on "Cannon Ball," I think you have 4.3 right, although it might be "sold" rather than "sell" at least to my hearing. Maybe someone else will hear something different.

3.3 should be now instead of no, probably just a typo

5.3 is Gimme shimmy-she-wobble from my head down to my shoes, or possible Let me shimmy-she-wobble
He pronounces it more like shim'-she-wobble but I'm pretty sure on that one.
Chris
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: Johnm on March 11, 2015, 02:52:13 PM
Thanks very much for the help with "Cannon Ball Blues", Chris.  I have made the changes you suggest.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: Johnm on March 11, 2015, 03:39:02 PM
Hi all,
Furry recorded "Shake 'Em On Down" for Prestige Bluesville in April of 1961, accompanying himself out of the EAEGBE tuning at a little flat of C#.  His playing in that tuning was so rich and inventive, and as always, he had some terrific lyrics.  He must be one of the most under-rated musicians in the style. 

I went to the gypsy for to get my hambone done
The gypsy said, "Furry, 'clare, you sure need one."
REFRAIN: Now, must I holler, or must I shake 'em on down
Babe, I'm so tired of holl'in', Lord, I b'lieve I shake 'em on down

If I just could holler like the Bob Lee, Jr. blow
I call my babe off the killin' floor
REFRAIN: Cryin', must I holler, or must I shake 'em on down
Oh, so tire', darlin', oh, I b'lieve I shake 'em on down

I don't drink no whiskey, wine, neither gin
If you see me sober, make me drunk again
REFRAIN: Now, must I holler, baby, must I shake 'em on down
I'm gettin' so tire', darlin', and I b'lieve I'll shake 'em on down

I woke up this mornin', looked at the risin' sun
Train don't hurry gonna be some walkin' done
REFRAIN: Baby, must I holler, or must I shake 'em on down
Oh, so tire', darlin', babe, I b'lieve I'll shake 'em on down

Babe, I ain't good-lookin' and it ain't the clothes I wear
But good kind treatment takes me everywhere
REFRAIN: Baby, must I holler
Oh, so tired of holl'in', baby, and I b'lieve I shake 'em on down

Baby, you know you don't want me, you ought to let me know
Poor boy, you done driv' me away from my home
REFRAIN: I'm so tired of holl'in', and I b'lieve I'll shake 'em on down
Ohh, so tire', darlin', b'lieve I'll shake 'em on down

All best,
Johnm
 
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: Johnm on December 10, 2016, 09:24:53 AM
Hi all,
Furry Lewis's version of "Roberta", recorded on April 3rd or 4th, 1961 in Memphis, is one of the many tunes recorded over the years that used the melody of "Corinna, Corinna".  Furry does a  purposefully pretty rendition in Spanish with a slide, reminding what a nuanced slide player he could be.

SOLO

Tell me, Roberta, where you been so long?
Tell me, Roberta, where you been so long?
I ain't had no lovin' since you been gone

I see Roberta goin' 'cross the seas
I see Roberta going across the sea
She didn't write me no letter, she didn't care for me

Tell me, Roberta, what you gonna do?
(Guitar plays second line)
Just a little bit of lovin', let your heart be true

SOLO

Roberta, Roberta, you on my mind
I'll tell you, Roberta, you on my mind
If you cry about a nickel, you die about a dime

Roberta left yesterday, and I'm goin' today
Roberta left yesterday, and I'm goin' today
I'm getting tired of your low-down way

SOLO

All best,
Johnm


Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: Johnm on September 27, 2017, 11:05:26 AM
Hi all,
Furry Lewis recorded "Sweet Papa Moan" at his first session, in Chicago on April 20, 1927, and was joined on the session by Landers Waller on guitar (in C position, standard tuning) and Charles Johnson on mandolin.  It seems odd to have had Furry as a non-playing vocalist, but that is evidently what the session notes indicated.  The song is a cover of Lemon Jefferson's "Black Snake Moan", and features some chordal clashes between the mandolinist and guitarist, mostly due to the mandolinist playing double stops that are at odds with the underlying harmony.  The opening verse is particularly confused.

INTRO

Oh, wonder where my girl's tonight
Oh, wonder where my girl tonight
'Cause the girl I love, she don't treat me right

Baby, what you want me to do?
Baby, what you want your papa to do?
Beg, borrow and steal, bring it on home to you

Say, the sun gon' shine, my back door someday
Sun gon' shine my back door someday
'Cause the wind gon' blow, blow my blues away

Hey-ey, wonder where the IC train?
Oh-oh, wonder where the IC train?
B'lieve I'll go to my woman, you go to your man

Oh, rather be dead, layin' in my grave
Oh-oh, rather be dead, layin' in my grave
Than be here in the world, baby, bein' your slave

All best,
Johnm


 
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: Johnm on September 27, 2017, 01:19:50 PM
Hi all,
Furry played a lovely version of "East St. Louis Blues" on his Folkways album, recorded by Samuel Charters in Memphis on October 3, 1959.  As with most of his 8-bar blues, Furry chose to play the song out of E position in standard tuning rather than the EAEGBE tuning he favored for 12-bar blues.  It seems likely that Furry was a good bit more rusty than he was on his later recordings, but after a tentative intro in which he veers into C and G, he rights himself and is in good shape for the remainder of his rendition.  It's interesting that he clearly sings "toney", rather than the more common "doney";  Long Cleve Reed and Papa Harvey Hull similarly sing "toney" and "toneys" on their mis-titled song, "Two Little Tommies". 

INTRO

I walked all the way from East St. Louis town
I did not have but the one poor lousy dime

Lord, I spent every nickel on a particular friend of mine
I spent every nickel on a particular friend of mine

Now, if you ain't got a dollar, won't you give me a lousy dime?
So I can see that darling girl of mine

Lord, my first name's Furry, I ain't gon' tell you my second name
Way my woman treat me, low-down dirty shame

I'm going back to Gary, oh, I'm going back there to stay
Babe, you had no business treating me this-a-way

I know, I know, my woman, she gon' laugh and shout
When the train roll 'long and I come walking out

If you catch me stealing, I do not mean no harm
I'm just stealing, people, try to get along

My woman, she ain't nothin', baby, but skin and bones
I just give her my money, just to help her 'long

SOLO

I see your toney, and it made me think of mine
I started a conversation, baby, try to keep from crying

If you ever want to hear me, sing this worldly song
Ain't nothing but the devil, make a man do wrong

Fare thee well, fare thee well, fare thee well, old Memphis, Tennessee
I'm going back to my baby, she won't come back to me

Lord, this time, this, 'nother year, baby, where will I be?
This time another year, baby, wonder where will I be?

SOLO

All best,
Johnm





Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: Johnm on September 28, 2017, 09:42:17 AM
Hi all,
"Mr. Furry's Blues" was recorded at Furry's first session, and like "Everybody's Blues" and "Sweet Papa Moan" it featured him singing, accompanied by Landers Waller on guitar, playing in C position, standard tuning, and Charles Johnson on mandolin.  The piece is taken at a relaxed tempo.

INTRO

I wished I had my poor heart in my hand
I wished I had my poor heart in my hand
I show you women, how to treat a man

I'm goin', I'm goin', your cryin' won't make me stay
Oh, I'm goin', your cryin' won't make me stay
But the more you cry, further you drive me away

You know you didn't want me, you oughtn't've made no stall
You know you did not want me, you oughtn't've made no stall
There's plenty more women, prayin' for your downfall

If the river was whiskey, I'd stay drunk all the time
If the river was whiskey I would, stay drunk all the time
So a woman like you, could not worry my mind

Some of these mornings, baby, listen to what I say
Some of these mornings, baby, listen to what I say
I'm goin' away to leave, it will be too late to pray

All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: Johnm on September 28, 2017, 10:04:49 AM
Hi all,
Furry Lewis recorded "Why Don't You Come Home Blues" at a session in Chicago on October 9, 1927, accompanying himself with a slide in Spanish tuning.  In his post-rediscovery period, Furry more often called this song "Pearlee Blues".  Furry's call and response between his voice and that of the slide is remarkable on this track, and his coda with the slide is especially nuanced. 

INTRO

Pearlee, why don't you come home?
Pearlee, why don't you come home?
I ain't had no lovin', gal, since you've been gone

My Mama told me when I was a child
Mama told me when I was a child
"Good time now, trouble after awhile."

If I had listened to what my Mother said
I had a-listened, what my Mother said
I wouldn't been here, treated this-a-way

I'd rather see my coffin, rollin' from my door
D'rather see my coffin, rollin' from my door
Than to hear my good girl, says, "I don't want you no more."

I dreamt last night the world were cavin' in
Dreamt last night the world were cavin' in
Wasn't nothin' at all, my girl comin' home again

I feel like jumpin' from the treetop to the ground
Feel like jumpin' from the treetop to the ground
Girl I love, she sure done put me down

I wished I had've died, babe, when I were young
Wished I had've died, babe, when I were young
I would not have, this here race to run

All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: Johnm on September 28, 2017, 05:04:17 PM
Hi all,
Furry Lewis recorded two takes of "John Henry (The Steel Driving Man)"  in Memphis on September 22, 1929.  The two versions might more aptly be termed "John Henry-Part 1" and "John Henry-Part 2", since they are not really two takes of the same set of lyrics.  Furry accompanies himself masterfully with a slide in Vestapol.  This was a hugely influential version of the song for players of the song who came along in Furry's wake.  Furry, even when playing Standards, or songs that became Standards, always seemed to have lyrics distinctive to himself.  He sings this beautifully, too.

Take 1

INTRO

John Henry said to his captain,
"Lord, a man ain't nothin' but a man.
Before I'll be beaten by the steel-driving gang,
Lord, I'll die with this hammer in my hand, hand,
(Guitar answers)
Lord, I'll die with this hammer in my hand,
I will die with this hammer in my hand."

John Henry was a little boy
Sittin' at home on his mother's knee
Say, "That Big Bend Tunnel on that YMV,"
Cryin', "Mama, that will be the death of me, me.
(Guitar answers)
Lord, Mama, that will be the death of me, me."
(Guitar answers)

Lord, they taken poor John Henry
For the help, hew the mountain down
Lord, the mountain's so tall, John Henry's so small,
'Til he laid down his hammer, Lord, and cried, cried
(Guitar answers)
Lord, laid down his hammer and he cried, cried
(Guitar answers)

"Woman, where you get your little shoes,
And the dress you wear so fine?"
"Got my shoes from the railroad man,
And my dress from the man in the mine, mine,
(Guitar answers)
Got my dress from a man in the mine."
(Guitar answers)

John Henry had a little baby
Was just sitting on the palm of his hand
Cryin', "Baby, baby, take your Daddy's advice,
Don't you never be a steel-driving' man, man
(Guitar answers)
Lord, never be a steel-driving' man, man
(Guitar answers)

John Henry had some races
I was there when the race begin
John Henry would drive down eleven solid steel
While the steel driver was drivin' down ten, ten
(Guitar answers)

Edited 9/29 to pick up correction from banjochris

Take 2

INTRO

John Henry hammered in the mountain
'Til the head of his hammer caught on fire
Cryin', "Pick 'em up boys, and let 'em down again,
One cool drink of water 'fore I die, die
(Guitar answers)
One cool drink of water 'fore I die, die."
(Guitar answers)

John Henry had a little woman
And the dress she wore was blue
Drive down the railroad track, heard a voice 'hind her sayin',
"John Henry's sure been true to you, you
(Guitar answers)
Girl, John Henry's sure been true to you,
John Henry's sure been true to" (Guitar finishes line)

"Woman, take this ring I give you
And you put it on your right hand.
And when I'm dead and buried, poor gal,
You can give it to your other man.
(Guitar answers)
You can give it to your other man."
(Guitar answers)

John Henry asked the boss man for a job
Boss man say, "What in the world can you do?"
"I can set your track and I can line your jack,
I can pick and shovel, too, too
(Guitar answers X 2)

When the womens in the West heard of John Henry's death,
They couldn't sleep at home in thei' beds
Some was dressed in white, some dressed in red
Say, "I'm goin' where John Henry fell dead, dead
(Guitar answers)
Lord, I'm goin' where John Henry fell dead, dead."
(Guitar answers)

Lord, they buried poor John Henry
And they buried him in the pits of the sand
And the people, they gathered ten thousand miles around
Said, "There laid the head of that steel-driving gang."
(Guitar answers)

All best,
Johnm










Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: banjochris on September 29, 2017, 11:22:00 AM
Such a great version of this song, Furry really puts a lot of feeling into it. One suggestion on the lyrics, John:

3.2 For the help HEW the mountain down

Chris
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: Johnm on September 29, 2017, 11:39:55 AM
Hi Chris,
Thanks for the catch.  I was hearing an "s" at the end of the syllable in question, heard the "h" at the beginning, and thought "hews" would be a weird construction there, but re-listening, I think it's just some artifact of how "hew" transitions into "the" that was confusing me.  "Hew" certainly makes more sense, and I'm hearing the sound right, too, so I've made the change.  Thanks!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: banjochris on September 29, 2017, 11:46:43 AM
I heard that phantom "s," too, John, and agree it's just a weird transition. 
Chris
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: Johnm on October 09, 2017, 10:49:14 AM
Hi all,
Furry Lewis' Folkways album opens with "Longing Blues", played in Spanish tuning.  The song is very much, instrumentally, in the mode of "Rock Island Blues" or "Black Gypsy Blues" of his early recordings, though it differs from them in Furry's sparing use of a slide, which he eschewed on the earlier recordings.  Furry really just uses the slide in the response to to the repetition of his opening line in a couple of the verses.  Here is his performance of "Longing Blues":

https://youtu.be/Wq7czVDwpZM

INTRO SOLO

Babe, going away, baby, crying won't make me stay
Babe, goin' away, crying won't make me stay
If I had train fare, Lord, I wouldn't be here today

I woke up this morning and blues all 'round my bed
Woke up this morning, blues all 'round my bed
I looked under my pillow, blues all under my head

Boy, I'm sorry, sorry, sorry to my heart
Babe, I'm sorry, sorry to my heart
We've been together so long, now today we got to part

SOLO

Been together so long, now we've got to part

If you ever want to hear me blow my horn, come to my number when old Stella's gone
If you ever hear me, hear be blow my horn
Come to my number, oh when old Stella's gone

All best,
Johnm





Title: Re:Black Gypsy Blues - Furry Lewis
Post by: Parakeet Pete on November 05, 2017, 01:12:54 AM

I had never heard the term "Sally Long" used before.  Very interesting because Sam McGee had an instrumental on his first Folkways record called "Sally Long", which is the closest thing to John Hurt's solo on "Candyman" that I have heard.  Sam's tune was an instrumental.

Sally Long was a dancer (and film star) in the years prior to Furry recording this (28 August 1928 according to my Document Records issue) so it's highly possible that her name became used for a type of dance or, as has been suggested, a euphemism for something more, err, "personal".  >:D

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sally_Long (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sally_Long)
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: Parakeet Pete on November 05, 2017, 02:53:57 AM
Regarding "Kassie Jones - Part 2".

What is an "eastman"? I'm more familiar with the line in the Grateful Dead's "On The Road Again" (traditional) which sounds like "She's on the road again, sure as you're born, Natural born easy on the road again".

Sorry if this is a du-umb question. I'm a foreigner with cloth ears.
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: Johnm on November 05, 2017, 05:28:20 AM
Hi Pete,
"Eastman" was explained to me as a man who lives off of a woman's earnings.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: Parakeet Pete on November 05, 2017, 07:29:54 AM
Hi Pete,
"Eastman" was explained to me as a man who lives off of a woman's earnings.
All best,
Johnm

Thank-you for the enlightenment.
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: TenBrook on November 06, 2017, 09:05:40 AM
To expand on John's definition I found the below. I'm still looking for any period usage of the term outside of lyrics but haven't found that yet.

http://www.oxfordreference.com/oso/viewentry/10.1093$002facref$002f9780199829941.001.0001$002facref-9780199829941-e-15759;jsessionid=AB4CE3E9645605DA65AC29E51C0C4A1D (http://www.oxfordreference.com/oso/viewentry/10.1093$002facref$002f9780199829941.001.0001$002facref-9780199829941-e-15759;jsessionid=AB4CE3E9645605DA65AC29E51C0C4A1D)

There's also some more details on the use and meaning of the word here:
https://books.google.com/books?id=14XuqpJGkrwC&pg=PA103&lpg=PA103&dq=%22eastman%22+slang+definition&source=bl&ots=A7CFYLTLAg&sig=YOA7-Ssird_5ZpholMWLQZNOrQU&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj8yNbJt6rXAhWWw4MKHU2YCAw4ChDoAQgwMAI#v=onepage&q=%22eastman%22%20slang%20definition&f=false (https://books.google.com/books?id=14XuqpJGkrwC&pg=PA103&lpg=PA103&dq=%22eastman%22+slang+definition&source=bl&ots=A7CFYLTLAg&sig=YOA7-Ssird_5ZpholMWLQZNOrQU&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj8yNbJt6rXAhWWw4MKHU2YCAw4ChDoAQgwMAI#v=onepage&q=%22eastman%22%20slang%20definition&f=false)
Title: Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
Post by: Chezztone on November 09, 2017, 01:31:07 PM
There was an "Eastman gang" around the turn of the century. There were based in New York but became nationally notorious. When Furry Lewis (and the Memphis Jug Band) sing about being a "natural born Eastman" I think they mean a natural gangster, hustler.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastman_Gang (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastman_Gang)
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