WeenieCampbell.com

Country Blues => Country Blues Lyrics => Topic started by: hylaphone on March 25, 2004, 06:32:47 AM

Title: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: hylaphone on March 25, 2004, 06:32:47 AM
hi friends,

can anyone help me with the little song at the end of "Atlanta Strut" i cant make sense of the words..

https://youtu.be/6dacP79IkOA

????
prettiest girl in atlanta come steppin up to my door
she hugged me and she kissed me, called me sugarlump
???? like a grapevine round the stump

thanks!
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: waxwing on March 25, 2004, 11:42:07 AM
Just from memory, I think the last line is:

Threw her arms around me like a grapevine 'round a stump.

Can't remember the first line.
All for now.
John C.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: frankie on March 25, 2004, 03:39:23 PM
I hear this:

Went up on the Kennesaw Mountain
Gave my horn a blow
Prettiest girl in Atlanta
Come steppin' up to my door
 
Hugged me and she kissed me
Called me sugar lump
Throwed them sweet arms around me
Like a grapevine 'round a stump

"Went up on the mountain/gave my horn a blow" appears frequently in the lyrics of blues and old-time songs.  I love the way BWM puts a little personal touch on the floating couplet.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Richard on March 26, 2004, 10:34:47 AM
I'd go with that, except I think he does it in one hit as one line -

"Throwed them sweet arms around me like a grapevine 'round a stump"
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: waxwing on April 23, 2004, 05:15:59 PM
I've been workin' this song up on my 12 lately. Thanks in part to Ernie Hawkins' great video, but there's still some good stuff to work out, especialy since Blind Willie recorded three different versions. Lyrics-wise, I'm gonna stick to the first version. The lyrics, and some great lyrics they are, are pretty clear in Willie's nasal Georgian accent except for one line that he sings really fast. Even slowed down I'm having trouble making sense of what I'm hearing. I even have Bob McLeod's take on it, but it doesn't make a lot of sense so I'm not gonna tell you what it is so it doesn't cloud your mind like it has mine. I'm talking about the fifth verse, not counting the "Lordy, Lordy" choruses, about 1:56 in.
First two lines are:

https://youtu.be/Ab54CTyrCj0

?Don't you hear me, baby, (knock, knock, knock) rappin on your door?
?Don't you hear your daddy, (knock, knock, knock) rappin on your door?

I give it up to the Weenie Campbell Group Consciousness.
All for now.
John C.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: waxwing on April 23, 2004, 05:18:21 PM
Woo Hoo! Only took me two tries to attach an mp3.
All for now.
John C.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Rivers on April 24, 2004, 01:28:21 PM
I hear 'Can I get out snake lemon and sassafras and just slide cross your floor'.

Snake lemon?  ???
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: frankie on April 24, 2004, 09:11:59 PM
I wish I could say I don't hear "snake lemon"...  what the...?  I don't hear sassafras - sounds to me more like "tap it flat".  I definitely hear "cross your floor" - not sure yet about what comes before.  I guess my verse looks like:

Can I get [out snake lemon] and tap it flat and [] [] 'cross your floor.

That line is identically undecipherable in two different takes!
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Slack on April 24, 2004, 10:26:52 PM
I slowed the line down to half speed, but same pitch (which I'll attach) and I get this:

Get out, get out snake levitt and tap it flat and tip light 'cross your floor.

"snake levitt" is obviously not right, does not make sense? - someone's name?, maybe Lyle's cousin? something to "tap flat", who knows, a toughie.? Give a listen at half speed - makes a difference, I think the rest makes sense - "tip light"=tip toe lightly.? Also try it with different mp3 players, it makes a difference too (I like Cool Edit).

cheers,
slack
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: waxwing on April 24, 2004, 10:55:57 PM
Right, you all see what I'm saying. And I had a brainstorm today, searched on the Document Site for Broke Down Engine and came up with two versions and an alternate take by our good friend Buddy Moss, as I had kinda figured. I checked McLeod and both the Moss versions have the identical verse (wouldn't you, with that knocking bit) transcribed almost identically. Unfortunately I dont have either of Buddy's versions. They appear on the first and second volumes from Document. If anyone else has one of these and could post it I would be grateful. So, McLeod has:

? Can I get down to snake level and tap it, plan to tip light across your floor

Slowed down 50% it sounds to me like:

? Can I ge'down snake (levit?) and tap it flat 'n' tip light 'cross your floor

That word sounds like a cross between limit and level, actually closer to limit, maybe, but it's really hard to make sense of it. I guess he's trying to say he could slide under the door like a snake? I really like your ending, Riv, "just slide cross your floor" but it really sounds like "tip light". I think his meaning is something like 'tip toe lightly 'cross your floor', maybe? I don't know. Any further ideas? This one could haunt me.
All for now.
John C.
[Edit] Hey Slack, didn't see your post. So we're pretty much in agreement altho' I do hear "Can I ge'down". I've been using Transcribe! which plays it right from the CD at whatever speed. Very good sound quality. Still no help, tho'. -J
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: frankie on April 25, 2004, 07:47:05 AM
I love the way he articulates the 'r' at the end of the word 'door', but not 'floor'!
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: waxwing on April 25, 2004, 08:53:44 AM
Yeah, I think there are other places he uses that hard 'R' sound but he's definitely not consistent.

So I was a little sleepy when I posted that Buddy Moss uses that verse in both his versions. Actually its only in both takes of Broke Down Engine No 2, which are both on Vol. 2 of his Document collection. Sure would like to hear if he says "level" more clearly.

All for now.
John C.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Rivers on April 26, 2004, 12:19:13 AM
>:D?OK sportsfans I'm gonna take a crazy stab here. I think he's talking about a hoodoo love potion. >:D

'Snake' - snake root. Hoodoo ingredient.

'Lemon' - oil and grated rind. Also a hoodoo ingredient.

'Sassafras' - I still think he's trying to say sassafras. I hear him stumble on the word, not surprising given the syllable count (17 in 4 bars) of the line. Sassafras is also, guess what, a herb used in hoodoo potions. Hey, 17 syllables, that's a haiku.

I dunno if this is a recipe for the famous 'snake oil' but the context is clear, my baby won't let me in, but: "if I take out snake, lemon and sassafras could I tip light across your floor?"

You can search cat yronwode's lucky mojo site for these three ingredients, www.luckymojo.com. Another tenuous but telling clue on cat's site, Johnny Shines sings 'I'm going surprise my baby, and I tipped up to her door' in Hoodoo Snake Doctor Blues, though the good doctor's snake in question is not vegetable or reptilian, if you get my drift.

Also, check out the last line of Broke Down engine:
"If you're a real hot mama, come take away daddy's weeping spell"

So I wonder "Spell as in magic?" I can't find a direct reference but it rings a very distant bell, as in casting a 'weeping spell' on someone. Maybe not though.

If you accept this theory it's a good bet McTell is making an old gag about the Hoodoo Doctors' power over other men's women. I suggest he's singing about (and for) a particular gal who's into magic, it sounds like a private joke between them. Maybe she's more impressed by magic than 12 string guitars. So what do we know about Willie's lady friends?? 8)
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Richard on April 26, 2004, 07:46:54 AM
Not that we are voodoo experts over here, but this makes sense to me.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Prof Scratchy on May 30, 2004, 12:00:30 PM
 >:D
For my very first posting on this wonderful forum....something that's going to no doubt crack you all right up!! What I've been hearing and singing for the past forty years has been: "Get out, get out, Blake, Lemon and tap it -flyin' two-ply cross your floor"!! In other words I thought it was an invocation of the spirits of McTell's recently deceased fellow blind musicians (in which case we're getting close to voodoo again....). I know - I must've been drinking too much snake oil and smoking too much sassafras......! Hey ho....back to the drawing board....
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Rivers on May 30, 2004, 12:05:12 PM
Wow!!
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Richard on May 30, 2004, 04:03:52 PM
Now Prof,

Quote
I must've been drinking too much snake oil and smoking too much sassafras......!

As a mere sassenach I welcome you to this amazing forum and can't help but wonder just where did get those treasured ingrediants up there in the highlands, would they be part of a haggis recipe?

Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Prof Scratchy on May 31, 2004, 10:41:59 AM
Dinnae be glaekit, man - a'body kens haggis is no a thing ye hae receipts fae - it's a thing ye shoot in season! And dinnae fergit that McTeel wiz a Scot whae played a braw bagpipe afore he took tae the deil's music...
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Richard on June 01, 2004, 09:11:35 AM
Aye, it's all MacBollocks...
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on April 22, 2005, 11:05:22 AM
Was playing the 12-string and started working on this one. It's a duet with Curly Weaver. Pretty straightforward guitar for McTell's part: I - I7 IV - I - V7 - I, with a quick tag/turnaround that's basically I7 - IV - I.? I haven't figured out Curly Weaver's accompaniment which would take longer. Some of the lyrics, including the chorus, are a mystery to me. File attached. All help appreciated.

If someone who's going to Port Townsend wants to learn the Weaver part and we can find a twelve-string to use, we can play a duet...

https://youtu.be/u6EGxJ_QtH0


?Warm It Up to Me - Blind Willie McTell

Take a little trip up on a mountain top
Show these southern womens how to eagle rock

chorus:
You got to warm it up to me
You got to warm it up to me
Papa running hot, mama got to get him cold

Tell you like the bana?? told the kin/kid?? upstairs
Get another man I got another gal

Now if you don't believe I can warm you right
Take me to your house and let me stay all night

When you see my mama standing in the door
Papa wound up saying mama won't go

Don't be no restin' and don't be no layin'
Don't let these women leave your heart in pain

Now look here boy don't get rough
These here women they really knows their stuff

I want you to strut in a Cadillac so/sew? on a Ford
You do a little strutting on the running board

Don't be no rat and don't be no fool
Don't let these here women break your rule

Now look here boy if you going to be my friend
Let's go drink moonshine again

Now take it easy late at night
Or these here womens ain't going to treat you right

[attachment deleted by admin]
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: frankie on April 22, 2005, 11:49:05 AM
I've been playing this around the house for the last couple of days and haven't sussed out Curley Weaver's part, either.

I always heard the last line of the chorus as:

Papa's running hot, Mama's got to get him cold

Never been able to make out the 2nd verse - seems like it almost might be a Biblical reference (there's nothing like blasphemy to liven up a song), but I can't quite make it out.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on April 22, 2005, 12:38:54 PM
Thanks Frank. I made the correction to the chorus. That second verse is mysterious.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: frankie on April 22, 2005, 05:33:04 PM
Don't be no rat and don't be no lane/lame
Don't let these women leave your heart in pain

I think I hear:

Don't be no [resting] and don't be no [laying]
Don't let these women leave your heart in pain

Sounds like he pronounces "resting" like "rastin'" and "laying" like "lain" - pretty strange usage in any case.

I want you to strut in a Cadillac so/sew? on a Ford
You do a little strutting on the running board

That's basically what I hear...  equally puzzled about sew/so.

One thing I dig about this song is the 'old-time-ness' of the duet.  There's no division of labor, really - it's not like one guy is backing while the other solos...  just two guys playing instruments with two different voices playing the same tune and creating a crazy-quilt of harmonies, dissonances and rhythm.

It done got good to me!

Incidentally, I think that what Weaver is playing is very similar in some respects to what McTell plays as accompaniment for 'Your Time To Worry', where he's playing in G.  It's much slower and has some really nice moments in it.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on April 22, 2005, 06:06:51 PM
I think I hear:

Don't be no [resting] and don't be no [laying]
Don't let these women leave your heart in pain

Sounds like he pronounces "resting" like "rastin'" and "laying" like "lain" - pretty strange usage in any case.

Yup, looks/sounds good to me.

Quote
I want you to strut in a Cadillac so/sew? on a Ford
You do a little strutting on the running board

That's basically what I hear...? equally puzzled about sew/so.

Listening to more McTell tonight, I noticed he sings the following verse in Mama Let Me Play with Yo' Yo Yo:

You might throw it in a Cadillac, throw it in a Ford
I throw the string out on the running board

But I don't hear a 'throw' in Warm It Up to Me. I really hear an 's'. Oh well.

Quote
One thing I dig about this song is the 'old-time-ness' of the duet.? There's no division of labor, really - it's not like one guy is backing while the other solos...? just two guys playing instruments with two different voices playing the same tune and creating a crazy-quilt of harmonies, dissonances and rhythm.

It done got good to me!

It's one of my favorite of their duets. 'It's a Good Little Thing' is another. Yo Yo as well.

Quote
Incidentally, I think that what Weaver is playing is very similar in some respects to what McTell plays as accompaniment for 'Your Time To Worry', where he's playing in G.? It's much slower and has some really nice moments in it.

Will check it out.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on April 23, 2005, 08:49:41 AM
Hey Frank, what are you doing for the bass in the intro where on the I (C) chord the melody goes up on the 1st string E, F, F#, G, E, C, specifically the F and F#? So far I'm playing an open G or an open D under those two notes, depending on how I feel or screw up...
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: frankie on April 23, 2005, 10:08:41 AM
I just let go of the C chord - as long as the run starts and ends on a C chord, doesn't seem to matter much what happens in between.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on April 23, 2005, 12:55:48 PM
Yeah, that's pretty much how I end up hitting the D or G strings, or both...
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: onewent on December 29, 2005, 06:06:20 PM
...I've been working on the guitar part the past few weeks and I'm ready to add the vocal, so I thought I'd post the lyrics here for others to use when the time comes, plus, I'd like ideas on the words in [  ? ] ...can't figure those out  ...  words in (  )  are spoke by BWM ... these are some great lyrics, especially verse two :o

https://youtu.be/xLXq6pJnr_c

Searching the Desert for the Blues
Blind Willie McTell

You may search the ocean, you might go across the deep blue sea
But mama you?ll never find another hot shot like me

I followed my baby, from the station to the train
And the blues came down like dark night showers of rain

I left her at the station ringin? her hands and cryin?
I told her she had a home just as long as I got mine

I?ve got two women and you can?t tell them apart
I got one in my bosom, the other one in my heart

The one in my bosom she?s in Tennessee
And the one in my heart don?t even give a darn for me

I used to say a married woman was the sweetest woman ever was born
But I changed that thing you better let married women alone

Take my advice let these married women be
?Cause their husband?ll grab you and beat you ragged as a cedar tree

When a woman say she love ya ?bout good as she do herself
I don?t pay her no attention, tell the same lie to somebody else

I really don?t believe no woman in the whole round world do right
Act like an angel in the daytime a [mis pa teach] at night

I?m goin? pretty mama, please don?t break this rule
That?s why I?m searchin? these deserts for the blues

I?m goin? pretty mama, searchin? these deserts now
That?s why I?m walkin? my baby home anyhow

Lord, oh Lord, Lordy Lordy  Lord
Oh Lordy Lord,    Lord Lord Lord

When a woman say she love you, ?bout as good as she do herself
I don?t pay her no attention tell that same lie to somebody else

(Now look here mama, I?m goin? to leave ya)
Lord Lord,  Lord Lord Lord?.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Bunker Hill on December 30, 2005, 12:54:42 AM
I really don?t believe no woman in the whole round world do right
Act like an angel in the daytime a [mis pa teach] at night
Sounds to me like

...an' mistreat poor teech at night

FWIW in the booklet to Atlanta Blues (JEMF 106, 1979) there's an interview conducted by David Evans with white Statesboro resident, Olliff Boyd, who described McTell tapping his way around the city with his stick and making a "...funny twitching sound with his mouth..." The informant imitated this for Evans by clicking his tongue against the roof of his mouth whist mouthing "tee-tee-tee".
Where does this get us? Nowhere really, but in the years since that booklet was published "teech' (or titch, or whatever is sung) has been assumed to be a nickname McTell might have acquired as a result of the affectation, known to Ruby Glaze and used during their banter. Here endeth the received speculation, anybody hear anything more plausible?
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: blueshome on December 30, 2005, 01:14:44 AM
FWIW I've always taken "mis p' teeche" , or what you will, as being a garbled "mistreat" - it makes sense.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: onewent on December 30, 2005, 06:56:28 AM
...both sound plausible to me...I'll go listen more closely ... seems BWM had a bunch of nicknames!
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: moedecker on January 04, 2006, 08:39:20 PM
Great words.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: si on January 11, 2006, 05:33:22 PM
I always thought it was "act like an angel in the daytime and mess by the ditch at night"
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: si on January 11, 2006, 05:54:09 PM
That is real interesting about Willie Mctell clicking his tongue.
Maybe he was using it as a second transmitter for echolocation (the first being cane-tapping)?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_echolocation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_echolocation)
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on June 08, 2006, 11:58:45 AM
I'm trying to figure out the lyrics for Blind Willie McTell's Razor Ball, the 1930 version, not the Atlantic sessions version, which is a different song. A lot of words in this one.

Here's what I've got so far and I'm not sure of so much more than what the question marks indicate, so feel free to offer corrections/suggestions for any part of it. I've included the song as an attachment, since it's one people may not have if they don't have the complete McTell.

https://youtu.be/hpQexly7dtE

Razor Ball - Blind Willie McTell

Spoken: All right boys, let?s talk about this razor ball

Down at the razor ball even at the razor hall
Sluefoot Mose and old cross-eyed Joe didn't go in at all
They hung around outside, this is what they spied ? what was it?
A big crap game in the hall, started in to fight
Joe got drunk, that wasn't all, went and turned out the lights
And then Mike took Charlie, shot his automatic twin
Charlie grabbed his gal, and he crawled?? cross ten
Police came and pull the hall?? down at the razor ball
I mean ball
Down around the razor ball

Doin the? shimmy she wobble and shakin? your?
Quit the shimmy she wobble and quit shakin? your hips
Down at the razor I mean ball
Down around the razor ball

Playin? baseball and football and don?t get enough
Playin? baseball and football, and struttin? his stuff
Down at the razor I mean ball
Down around the razor ball

Spoken:
Play it a little bit now
Put a little good stuff in it
How you put that in there
Go ahead, I'm gonna like a good drink of whiskey
Play that thing again

I heard another crap game was in the hall, started in to fight
Joe got drunk, that wasn't all, went in and turned out the lights
Mighty big chief shot his automatic twin
The high sheriff took the couple and double crossed him
Rest of ?em came and got the crowd from down at the razor ball
I mean
Down around the razor ball, shootin? craps
Down around the razor ball, playing cards
Down around the razor ball, they was gamblin?
Down around the razor ball, cuttin? on the corner
Down around the razor ball

Spoken:
Put a little good stuff there now
I know you like it like that, Two Bits
?Cause I?m crazy about it myself, hit it now
I know you crazy about it

Talkin? about the razor ball, I mean
Screamin? ?bout the razor ball

Now there?s another crap game was in the hall, started in to fight
Joe got drunk, that wasn't all, went and turned out the lights
Put the/your lights out Kelly/Callie ?cause fightin's my game
Put me head of the list and don?t forget to call my name
Police came and got the crowd
Down at the razor ball, drinkin? gin
Down around the razor ball, don?t mean football
But down around the razor hall, neither basketball
But down around the razor ball, neither golf ball
But down around the razor ball

Spoken: Spank it a little bit now

I mean that razor ball, where I found you
Down around the razor ball, where they made love
Down around the razor ball, where I left you
Play it now

edited to incorporate corrections from dj, banjochris, doug

[attachment deleted by admin]
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Bunker Hill on June 08, 2006, 12:25:23 PM
There's postwar blues recording (by who I can't at present recall) which uses the expression:

Big Chief shot Automatic Slim

Could this be what McTell sings? Just an idea....
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: dj on June 08, 2006, 02:14:29 PM
Quote
shot his automatic twin

I think this is correct.  The reference, I think, is to a twin-barrelled pistol.

Quote
Police came and pull the hall??

"Police came and pulled the hall"...  i.e. they arrested everyone.

Quote
Go ahead, it?s just?? like a good drink of whiskey

I hear "I'm gonna like it, it's just like a whiskey".

Quote
Put the lights out count?? ?cause the ? ? the game

Tough one!  "Put the lights out and counted 'cause he's ? the game" is as close as I can get.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: banjochris on June 08, 2006, 10:24:29 PM
I think that last garbled line might be something like:

(I'll) put your lights out Kelly (or Callie) 'cause fightin's my game
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Doug on June 09, 2006, 07:37:26 AM
I hear the last line similar to banjochris:

Put the lights out Kelly, cause fighting's the game...

I'm guessing they had some good brawls after the lights had been turned out, and the singer was ready to rumble...
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on June 09, 2006, 08:21:45 AM
Thanks fellars. Despite no experience with guns, I somehow thought the automatic twin referred to weaponry. :)

I'm not sure about the spoken line about a "good drink of whiskey". Still not hearing either my transcription or dj's suggestion.

In the "I'll) put your lights out Kelly (or Callie) 'cause fightin's my game" line, I'm not sure whether I hear "your" or "the" but do think I hear "my game" as Chris suggests. Thanks for getting this.

Any thoughts about the line "Charlie grabbed his gal, and he crawled?? cross ten" in the first verse? I thought it might be "double-crossed him" as in the later verse, but just don't hear that.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Doug on June 10, 2006, 07:38:09 AM
You picked a good one... some really tough lines to try to figure out....   8)

The "good drink of whiskey" is tough.  When I first listened to it, I thought he was saying something like the singer was going to get a good drink ("gonna want a good drink of whiskey"), so he wanted the instrumental to continue for a bit....  Now, I'm wondering if he's comparing the playing to the good drink ("play it/just like a good drink of whiskey").  Either way it's tough to make out.

What Charlie does after he grabs his gal is tough too...  It sounds like McTell fumbles the line...  I'm thinking it's a negative: "he couldn't cross/crawl/count ten"... imagining that Charlie gets shot (by the automatic twin), rushes to his gal, but is too weak to get very far.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on June 10, 2006, 09:24:05 AM
Hi Doug -

I lean towards McTell comparing the playing to a good drink of whiskey myself. Could be wrong.

Re. Charlie, "crawl" is definitely a possibility, the way you have characterized it. Maybe "crawled across Tim"? Another name as the last word - though it doesn't sound like "Tim".

Thanks! It's tricky as you say.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: banjochris on June 12, 2006, 09:58:59 PM
I've never heard it, but does Sara Martin's "Down at the Razor Ball" have any helpfully similar lyrics?
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Bunker Hill on June 12, 2006, 11:33:08 PM
I've never heard it, but does Sara Martin's "Down at the Razor Ball" have any helpfully similar lyrics?
Well done. I've been busting my brains attempting to remember who else I had performing that. It's on a 36 year old cassette recorded from a beat up 78 and is the very tune and lyric but with variations. Anybody have access to the Document set of CDs?
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on June 13, 2006, 06:38:31 AM
Dang, I was hoping that the Red Hot Jazz site might have it online at their Sara Martin (http://redhotjazz.com/martin.html) page. That song is not one of the pieces they feature in audio format though. But this is still great to know and I'll have to track the song down somehow. Thanks for the information!
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: frankie on June 13, 2006, 07:36:30 AM
It's on Vol. 3 - emusic's got it (http://www.emusic.com/album/10865/10865322.html).  I'll probably dl it tonight when I get a chance.  That and Sugar Blues.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Bunker Hill on June 13, 2006, 10:40:30 AM
One of my "technocrat" colleagues has done a super job of declicking, dehissing and generally cleaning up my cassette copy and converted it to an mp3. Only trouble is the size - 3.5meg - which I guess is far, far too large to download here.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: frankie on June 13, 2006, 06:25:47 PM
It seems clear to me that McTell's Razor Ball is a cover of of Sara Martin's.  I haven't had time to do a transcription, but here's the tune:

Sara Martin - Down At The Razor Ball (http://donegone.net/blog/wp-content/files/sara-martin-down-at-the-razor-ball.mp3)
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Bunker Hill on June 13, 2006, 11:55:21 PM
It seems clear to me that McTell's Razor Ball is a cover of of Sara Martin's. 
And I'm fairly sure that it probably pre-dates her - vaudeville perhaps?
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Doug on June 14, 2006, 07:51:55 AM
Thanks frankie....  interesting to hear a different take on it.  I'm not sure how much it'll help us with McTell's version though, since the parts uncle bud couldn't decipher seem to be places where he deviates from Sara's version.  But here are my notes on the disputed parts:

And then Mike took Charlie, shot his automatic twin
Charlie grabbed his gal, and he crawled?? cross ten

Sounds to me like Sara is singing something like:

Slim?? says to Charlie, shot automatic Slim,
Cause Charlie took his gal, and double crossed him

I'm not sure about the name at the first part of the line (Slim, Tim, Jim, Vin?), but I'm wondering if it's the same name we can't quite decipher at the end of the couplet when McTell sings it.  (The scenario here is different from what I assumed too...  I had though Charlie grabbed his own gal because he was shot; this version makes Charlie shot because he took someone else's gal).

Police came and pull the hall?? down at the razor ball

She definitely uses the phrase "pulled the hall" repeatedly throughout the song.

Put the/your lights out Kelly/Callie ?cause fightin's my game

Aw, Butcher-Knife-Sally said "fightings the game"...

(Which is nice to know, but it doesn't sound like what McTell's singing here...)

Incidentally, there's a bit of a "sound artifact" on McTell's version.  I would call it an echo, but it comes before the main part....  Between his spoken intro "Let's talk about this razor ball" and when he starts singing there's a faint foreshadowing of his first line.  I presume this is something from the deterioration of the master, right?
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: frankie on June 14, 2006, 08:23:42 AM
And I'm fairly sure that it probably pre-dates her - vaudeville perhaps?

Seems like it might be - a brief search of sheet music titles with 'razor' in the title brought up a few interesting hits:  "Never raise a razor 'less you want to raise a row", but nothing with a title even remotely like "Down At The Razor Ball."  (not that this would mean that the title doesn't come from the vaudeville stage, however)
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Bunker Hill on June 14, 2006, 10:57:15 AM
Police came and pull the hall?? down at the razor ball
She definitely uses the phrase "pulled the hall" repeatedly throughout the song.
This is a bit tenuous in this context but Eric Partridge in his Dictionary of the Underworld (RKP, 1949) cites:
"Pulled", of the police,  to raid" and quotes a couple of 1870 usages from New York, one of which is "they [police] pulled the place but it was promptly opened the next morning, business a usual".
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: waxwing on June 14, 2006, 01:16:45 PM
An expression used even today is that "They (police or, more often fire department) pulled the license on the club." I don't know whether licences to serve alcohol were a requirement (I imagine so), but this may have been the derivation of the expression, which, in the vernacular, could have evolved to mean arresting everyone..

Just a thought.

All for now.
John C.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on June 19, 2006, 08:17:09 AM
Thanks Frank and all. I've been pretty much offline for awhile, so haven't had a chance to get to this properly. It's great to hear Sara Martin's version. I'll need to listen more carefully on better speakers than my laptop provides but so far I hear her sing

Down at the Razor Ball given at the Razor Hall
Sluefoot Mose and Cross-Eyed Joe didn't go at all
But they hung around outside and this is what they spied
Crapshootin' Ann was in the hall and started into fight
Joe got drunk, and that ain't all, he went and turned out the lights
Winchester Charlie shot Automatic Slim
'Cause Charlie took his gal and doublecrossed him
The police came and pulled the hall down at the razor ball

I said now Crapshootin' Ann was in the hall and started into fight
Joe got drunk and that ain't all, he went and turned out the lights
Butcher Knife Sally (Sallie?) said "fightin's the game
Put me head of the list and don't forget to call my name"
The police came and pulled the hall down at the razor ball
I said now, down at that razor ball


It seems clear McTell simply screws up, or reinterprets ;), the lyrics in places. Then of course adds his own bits.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: LoneWolf on February 27, 2007, 02:00:23 PM
Does anybody have the lyrics to that song? It can be found on his session for Lomax.

https://youtu.be/p6AFu7NJsW0
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: natterjack on February 27, 2007, 02:43:21 PM
It has quite a long spoken/hummed intro first but the lyrics of the song are:

You just well to get ready, you got to die, you got die
You just well to get ready, you got to die
It may be tommorrow, you can't tell the minute or the hour
You just well to get ready, you got to die, you got die

Just well to live in union, you got to die, you got die
Just well to live in union
May be tommorrow, Lord, you can't tell the minute or the hour
You just well to get ready, you got to die, you got die

Just well to love your enemies, you got to die
You just well to love your enemies
May be tommorrow, you can't tell the minute or the hour
Get ready, you got to die, you got die

Spoken: Way back in them days you'd see mothers and fathers wanderin' around in the field singin'

I am climbing high mountains, tryin' to get home
I am climbing high mountains, tryin' to get home
I am climbing high mountains, lord, I'm climbing high mountains
I'm climbing high mountains, tryin' to get home

I am bearin' the names of many, tryin' to get home
I am bearin' the names of many, tryin' to get home, lordy lord
I am bearin' hard burdens, I am bearin' hard burdens
I am bearin' hard burdens, tryin to get home.


That's the basic words, a lot of the time he doesn't sing the last few words of the line (or sometimes the first few words of the line) but substitutes them for a slide guitar fill.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: LoneWolf on February 27, 2007, 02:53:32 PM
Thank you so much!

It was the "minute/hour" line that I couldn't figure out...

Beatiful song!
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Mr.OMuck on November 11, 2008, 06:53:28 AM
This is unquestionably the most mysterious and controversial lyric in the whole cannon. I've been perplexed for the entire thirty plus years I've been playing it. Here's today's interpretation:
"Can I get down snake lemon and tappin plantin' two ply on your floor"
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Mr.OMuck on November 11, 2008, 07:01:27 AM


From Merriam-Websters
Pronunciation:
\-ˈplī\
Function:
adjective
Date:
1839
1: consisting of two thicknesses
2 a: woven with two sets of warp thread and two of filling <a two?ply carpet> b: consisting of two strands <two?ply yarn>
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Mr.OMuck on November 11, 2008, 08:38:06 AM
Interesting bit of folklore. Relevant perhaps?
http://www.lemonquartz.com/folklore.php (http://www.lemonquartz.com/folklore.php)

What can lemon quartz do for me?

Do you have a problem controlling evil thoughts? This is not only thoughts about someone you dislike, this can be anything from self-limiting beliefs, thoughts that cause anxiety (always thinking about what may go wrong instead of what my go right), and any other bad thoughts.

Lemon quartz can protect you from these evil thoughts. If you feel depressed, maybe you should try to wear some lemon quartz, or keep it close by - in your pocket, desk drawer, or nightstand. You should consult a doctor to get a diagnosis and treatment plan for your condition.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Mr.OMuck on November 11, 2008, 08:49:38 AM
And from Sex-Lexis.com

 http://www.sex-lexis.com/Sex-Dictionary/tap-dance (http://www.sex-lexis.com/Sex-Dictionary/tap-dance)

tap-dance:
Of a male, to masturbate . See masturbation-male for synonyms.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: waxwing on November 12, 2008, 11:38:27 AM
I picked up this discussion in the thread I posted on the Back Porch, way back when (Broke Down Engine (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?amp;Itemid=128&topic=909.0)), in response to the Scottish perfesser:
Quote
Scratch, you might remember this thread from back when I started workin' on it where we discussed various "interpretations" of the line. I never followed up to post that I eventually got ahold of the Buddy Moss versions, in one of which he pretty clearly says, "can I get down, snake like, tap it flat, and tip light 'cross your floor" so that's how I've been singin' it.

I think McTell is possibly saying, or meaning to say, "snake level" instead of "snake like" but it does seem likely that Buddy would have learned the song directly from McTell, so I'm taking his rendering as pretty strong testimony.

But hey, great research on your alternate theory there Mr. O'M. You could probably get a grad school thesis outa that.-G- Might try lookin' for some other references to masturbation in pre war blues. Maybe Buddy was too proud (given oddenda's recent testimony) to admit to a little snake pullin' in song, so he rewrote the line? Yeah, that's the ticket. What Willie was tryin' to say was: "Guess I'll get down, snake pullin' til its flat, then drip mine on the floor."

 HEEEHAAAWWW! (pre-emptive)

Sorry, couldn't resist once the notion struck me. Seriously, you really think so? I assume you were joking in your usual pranksterish way. 'Boy who cried wolf' and all that.

To me he's talking about sneaking into her room, in one way or another. That's certainly how Buddy reads it.

All for now.
John C.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Mr.OMuck on November 12, 2008, 01:05:12 PM
I thought that the clues might be leading up to an act of seminal floor coating Mr. Waxwing, but rejected that as being unlikely not to mention disgusting. No, I was thinkin' more along the lines of him tempting her with the prospect of installing two ply carpet. Maybe. I mean the gift offering thing for sexual favors is all over the Blues so why not two ply carpet? But It somehow doesn't seem an entirely convincing interpretation either.
I'll have to ruminate on the Buddy Moss transcription, and also hear it for myself. Its not quite adding up for me yet.

I've wanted to have someone in Georgia go find and elderly African American fellow who may have been conversant in the local idioms of the period (or shortly there after) and have him listen to the line and try to decipher it. Any Georgians out there up for this slightly weird assignment?
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Mr.OMuck on November 12, 2008, 01:51:43 PM
OR.....
what if he's actually addressing this line to his competition, namely Blind Lemon Jefferson and in particular his Black Snake Moan? What are the release dates of the two songs? Could Broke Down Engine be a response?

"Can I get down snake lemon and tappin plantin' two ply on your floor"

Can I thwart Blind Lemon's black snake's progress across the floor which would be accomplished with a 'tappin'" cane by muffling the noise with two ply carpet?

Its out there I'll admit but things do have to make a certain kind of sense....maybe.


Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: waxwing on November 13, 2008, 01:49:23 AM
Here you go. Both takes of Buddy's Broke Down Engine No.2.

In the first take,  the "...tap it flat and tip light 'cross your floor" seems pretty clear to me. The first part of the line sounds something like "Can I get down 'n' snake like 'n'...

In the second take he seems much less clear, in spite of the fact that his vocal is better recorded here. It's possibly something like "Can I get down at snake level and tap it flit flat tip light 'cross your floor." Sounds like he's almost cracking as he over emphasizes the "tip" after correcting himself on the "tap it flit/flat".

Anyway, clearly open to interpretation, so make of it what you will, sir.

Personally, rather than saying something to our idea of his competition, Lemon and Blake, I think there may more likely be something going on between McTell and his real competition, the other Atlanta players, who were, of course, also his friends. If anything, I think they may be having a joke among themselves about stumbling over a somewhat poorly constructed line. "You're singin' what?" "Oh yeah, I'm gonna sing that!" Who knows? Maybe?

The line comes around 2:25 in both takes. In the recording of Broke Down Engine he sings the first four verses of McTell's first version.

All for now.
John C.

[attachment deleted by admin]
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: waxwing on November 13, 2008, 01:50:36 AM
And the second take.

All for now.
John C.

[attachment deleted by admin]
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Mr.OMuck on November 13, 2008, 04:47:52 AM
Thanks for those cuts Mr. Waxwing. Great on their own terms. The soup thickens! On first listening I'm fairly certain that I'm hearing more syllabic events in Moss's version of the line than in McTell's. Also it makes you realize once again what a brilliant singer McTell really was. Yeah it did occur to me that the line might be  deliberate semi gibberish of a sort, or even just unintentionally fluffed but plowed through so as not to ruin an otherwise great take.
I'll apply my arsenal of headphones to the deciphering task later today, and see what that yields.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Rivers on November 13, 2008, 06:24:12 PM
"An arsenal of headphones", always wondered what the collective noun for headphones was...

I'm gonna dive back into this one as well, it's a great mystery that needs solving.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Mal Reid on January 03, 2009, 05:51:29 AM
Hello,

Can anyone help me decipher the lyrics of Blind Willie McTells A to Z Blues? I think I've managed to work out most of it, but there are a few parts (shown underlined with question marks), where I have no idea what he's saying.

Thanks for any help.

https://youtu.be/wutPsl41saE


A to Z Blues.

Look-a here mama.
Can?t get along.
Honey I really tried to treat you right.
Now when I come in from work.
Give ya my check.
You wants to raise sand, fuss an fight.
Get a chance to stay out all night.
You left last night at eight.
Going to a show.
An? come smoothing in this morning at four.
You even had the nerve honey.
Bring another man.
Let him drive you up to my front door.
Say you?re through.
Ya got all my money too.
Come here woman let me tell ya what I?m gonna do to you.
I?m gonna cut your head four different ways.
That?s Long, short, deep and wide.
When I get (??? rhythm) of this rusty black handle razor
you?re gonna be booked out for an ambulance ride.
?cause I?m gonna cut A, B, C, D on top of your head
That?s gonna be treating you nice like mama you ain?t gonna be dead.
Cut E, F, G right across your face.
H, I, J, K that?s where runnin? bound to take place.
Cut L, M, N cross both your arms.
You?ll (Sell ??????? an? pedal/peddle) gal your whole life long.
Cut N, O, P, Q that?s gonna be trouble too.
?cause I?m gonna grab you mama and turn you every way but loose
Cut R, S, T to hear you cry
That?ll be the last time tears a run from over your eyes.
Cut U, V, W on the bottom of your feet.
That?ll be the last time you walk up an? down 25th street.
? marking cross your bosom with X, Y, Z.
When I get through with this alphabet
you?ll quit your messing with me.
Play that thing.
yeah, I?m gonna trim her down.
Trim her down to my size.
????? (check it an? see).
That?s the last of the A and Z.
????? (Tell her boy).
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Rivers on January 03, 2009, 07:25:35 AM
Hi Mal,

I have the version of McTell's slasher movie on Last Sessions. Slight differences throughout but this might give clues.

Quote
When I get (??? rhythm) of this rusty black handle razor

When I get this spreadin' rhythm with this rusty black handle razor

Quote
You?ll (Sell ??????? an? pedal/peddle) gal your whole life long.

No idea.

Quote
? marking cross your bosom with X, Y, Z.

Gonna mark you cross the bosom with X-Y-Z

Quote
????? (check it an? see).
Quote
????? (Tell her boy).

These two aren't on the Last Session take.

I can't imagine where you would perform this song...
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Bunker Hill on January 03, 2009, 08:46:19 AM
These two aren't on the Last Session take.

I can't imagine where you would perform this song...
Well originally it was performed on the vaudeville stage by artists like Butterbeans & Susie (refer their 1926 rendition).

I've yet to compare but I think what Mal has quoted is the 1949 Savoy rendition which was unreleased until it appeared on a 1960s compilation entitled "Livin' With The Blues". This is from the top of my head so may be way off base...

Hopefully somebody will get to this before my return.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on January 03, 2009, 08:47:58 AM
When I get (??? rhythm) of this rusty black handle razor

On the Regal/Savoy session version (available as Pig 'n' Whistle Red on Biograph), I hear:

When I get THROUGH spreadin' rhythm with this rusty black handle razor

Quote
You?ll (Sell ??????? an? pedal/peddle) gal your whole life long.

You'll settle for drinkin' pedal/peddle?? gal your whole life long

Quote
? marking cross your bosom with X, Y, Z.

Gonna mark you cross the bosom with X-Y-Z

Quote
????? (check it an? see).

That's what I hear.

Quote
????? (Tell her boy).

Tear it up, boys.

Quote
I can't imagine where you would perform this song...

Outside a theatre screening Sweeney Todd?

This song was done in 1924 by Butterbeans and Susie, as one of those squabblin' married couple songs, though the A to Z part is all sung by Butterbeans. In that context, it is perhaps less scary, since these were meant to be comic routines -- though it's still pretty scary!

edited to add: BTW, Mal, welcome to Weeniecampbell!
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: banjochris on January 04, 2009, 03:52:15 PM
The "check it and see" line is McTell's usual line to Curley Weaver -- "Kick it six."

Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Mal Reid on January 06, 2009, 03:05:54 PM
Thanks a lot everyone. You've been a lot of help.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Rivers on January 20, 2009, 04:55:26 PM
[1 year later...]

I'm back... I had an idea about the mystery line at 2:08 today listening on phones.

Phonetically, it seems to me, it goes:

Can I get out snake lemon and tap it flat and tip light across your flo'

But I believe if you run '...out snake' together you get 'arsenic', and the rest is correct.

So: Can I get arsenic, lemon and tap it flat, and tip light across your flo'?

[edit: Listened to the Buddy Moss takes and I still reckon 'arsenic'. In take 2 he sounds slightly drunk and fluffs it]

Makes perfect sense. Not. So what might be the deal with arsenic? Nothing solid on google as yet.

[edit 2: could this be a ref to skin lightning creams? I'm getting hits on google for arsenic used for this, though so far all earlier than 1920]
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Rivers on January 20, 2009, 05:22:54 PM
OK here's what I think. "Arsenic", cosmetic cream to lighten skin. "Lemon", oil for the hair. "Tap it flat", pat the hair down flat on the head. It does make sense, he's tongue-in-cheek talking about dressing up for his woman.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Mr.OMuck on January 20, 2009, 05:33:01 PM
I like it, I like it! True or not! It at least has a plausible narritive.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Rivers on January 20, 2009, 05:48:09 PM
Lemon is also a hair lightner. I reckon he's spoofing his buddies in the 20's who tried to lighten up, cf. Palmer's Skin Success, et al. Weird times, at least McTell saw the funny side. Brilliant.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Rivers on January 22, 2009, 08:15:27 PM
We have not a single BWM lyric in weeniepedia so here's a place to work them.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Johnm on January 22, 2009, 09:17:16 PM
Hi all,
I fished out all the McTell lyric threads and put them in here.  Some of the transcriptions are done or very close to being done.  If you can remember having transcribed some McTell songs in these threads, you might want to re-visit and see if you feel like the lyrics are in final form, and thus ready for the move to Weeniepedia.
All best,
John
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Mr.OMuck on January 22, 2009, 10:02:03 PM
Quote
So what might be the deal with arsenic?

According to my research, the following three highly toxic materials were common components of skin lightening creams all the way back to Roman times: Lead, Mercury, Arsenic!

Lead and mercury were recently found in cosmetics being manufactured TODAY!  WTF!? WTF are these people thinking!?

You're getting tap light ? Not Two Ply?
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Rivers on January 23, 2009, 04:05:00 PM
History of the FDA here: http://www.fda.gov/oc/history/historyoffda/default.htm
This book caused a stir in 1933: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/100,000,000_Guinea_Pigs

I'm getting 'tap it flat', as in the hair to the head (after applying lemon oil tonic), or maybe a hat.
Oh I see, no, the last bit I think is 'tip light', as in to go lightly, maybe a contraction of 'tiptoe'.
Or maybe 'trip light', as in 'tripping the light fantastic'. That fits actually, sets up a real comic scene and all makes sense.

The phrase was current in the Twenties:

"The phrase is used in the second line of a 1927 song by Billy Murray and Aileen Stanley - 'I'm Gonna Dance Wit da Guy Wot Brung Me' - a comical duet between two New York types using one slang phrase after another in a vaudeville-like routine. The manner in which the phrase is used, suggests that 'tripping the light fantasic' was a not unusual bit of Roaring 20's slang" - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trip_the_light_fantastic

So the current theory in play is this:
Can I get arsenic, lemon and tap it flat, and trip light' across your flo'?

Good call merging threads Johnm, thanks.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: onewent on January 23, 2009, 05:01:28 PM
..with the 'arsenic' interpretation evolving, this phrase is beginning to make some sense!  ..nice work!

I have some McTell lyrics that I was thinking of posting in the McTell wiki...shall I do that, or dump them here for 'dissection'?  ..I've listened fairly carefully w/ Transcribe and phones, so I feel about > 90% or so re accuracy..  Let me know, glad to add what I have..Tom
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Mr.OMuck on January 23, 2009, 05:13:26 PM
"Me and Mamie O'Rourke, we tripped the light fantastic on the sidewalks of New York"
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Rivers on January 23, 2009, 05:56:24 PM
..with the 'arsenic' interpretation evolving, this phrase is beginning to make some sense!  ..nice work!

I have some McTell lyrics that I was thinking of posting in the McTell wiki...shall I do that, or dump them here for 'dissection'?  ..I've listened fairly carefully w/ Transcribe and phones, so I feel about > 90% or so re accuracy..  Let me know, glad to add what I have..Tom

Tom, I'm sure all weenies would be honored if you'd post them here. They will be well looked after. In the spirit of all things wiki we've always stated we'd be delighted for any content to flow between wikipedia and weeniepedia.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: onewent on January 23, 2009, 06:48:36 PM
..ok, so I have these in a word doc so I'll just cut/paste here for others to dissect or comment

https://youtu.be/pymxXfwUPZ8

Scary Day Blues  -- Blind Willie McTell

I want to wait around here baby, until your fried pie?ll get done
I want to wait around here baby, until your fried pie?ll get done
Because I think I got a nickel, I wants to buy me one

I want to cut out find a woman, to do like my last rider done
I want to cut out find a woman, to do just like my last rider done
She kept it all for her daddy, she didn?t give nobody none

Then my baby got a bed, it shines like a morning star
My good mama got a bed, it shines like a morning star
And when I crawls in the middle, it rides me like a Cadillac car

My good gal got a mojo, she tryin? to keep it hid
My good woman got a mojo, she tryin? to keep it hid
But Georgia Bill got something, to find that mojo with

I said she got that mojo and she won?t let me see
I said she got that mojo and she won?t let me see
And every time I start to lovin?, she try to put them jinx on me

   ?Play it a little bit for me Mr. So n So for I know you like it?

Well she shake it like the Central, she wobble like the L&N
I say she shake it like the Central, she wobble like the L&N
Well she?s a hot shot mama, and I?m scared to tell her where I been

Then my baby got something, she won?t tell her daddy what it is
My good mama got something, she won?t tell her papa what it is
And when I crawls in my bed, I just can?t keep my black self still

Well I done got reckless and I broke my mama?s rule  Lord Lord
Well I done got reckless and I broke my baby?s rule 
I?m here wanderin? round in Georgia with these doggone scary day blues
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Rivers on January 23, 2009, 06:51:01 PM
Great choice, fits right in with Broke Down Engine. Thank the Lord it's Saturday tomorrow and I can spend some time playing guitar and listening. He changes 'snake' to 'self' in the penultimate verse for the recording, thinks I as I was listening to it today. 'Self censorship in the blues', a good topic.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: banjochris on January 23, 2009, 07:01:41 PM

I want to cut out find a woman, to do like my last rider done


Just from memory, this should be "I wonder could I find a woman..."
Chris
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: onewent on January 24, 2009, 10:54:50 AM
..good catch, Banjochris, I hear that, too .. just 'cut out' to find a woman always sounded cooler  than wondering  ;-)
tw
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Rivers on January 24, 2009, 06:46:59 PM
I think 'cut out' is correct,

I want to cut out, find a woman, to do like my last rider done
Wanna cut out find a woman, do just like my last rider done

Minor point, I hear 'rides' not ride:

And when I crawls in the middle, it rides me like a Cadillac car
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on January 25, 2009, 08:39:22 AM
I've been working on this one lately. Here's my mostly minor comments (except for "cut out" - ain't buyin' that):

..ok, so I have these in a word doc so I'll just cut/paste here for others to dissect or comment

Scary Day Blues  -- Blind Willie McTell

I want to wait around here baby, until your fried pie?ll get done
I want to wait around here baby, until your fried pie?ll get done
Because I think I got a nickel, I wants to buy me one

I want to cut out find a woman, to do like my last rider done
I want to cut out find a woman, to do just like my last rider done
She kept it all for her daddy, she didn?t give nobody none

2.1 I WONDER COULD I find a woman (no comma) to do like my last rider done
2.2 WONDER COULD I find a woman (no comma) to do just like my last rider done
She kept it all for her daddy, she didn?t give nobody none

McTell sings I WONDER COULD quite clearly, IMO. He wants a woman who won't fool around. (In 2.2 he flubs the line slightly, and seems to start singing something that sounds like it begins with R -- RIDER, perhaps -- before carrying on with WOMAN, but this isn't worth transcribing that way.)

Quote
Then my baby got a bed, it shines like a morning star
My good mama got a bed, it shines like a morning star
And when I crawls in the middle, it ride me like a Cadillac car

3.1 SAID my baby got a bed, it shines like a morning star
My good mama got a bed, it shines like a morning star
3.3 And when I crawls in the middle, it RIDES me like a Cadillac car

Quote
My good gal got a mojo, she tryin? to keep it hid
My good woman got a mojo, she tryin? to keep it hid
But Georgia Bill got something, to find that mojo with

I said she got that mojo and she won?t let me see
I said she got that mojo and she won?t let me see
And every time I start to lovin?, she try to put them jinx on me

   ?Play it a little bit for me Mr. So n So for I know you like it?

Well she shake it like the Central, she wobble like the L&N
I say she shake it like the Central, she wobble like the L&N
Well she?s a hot shot mama, and I?m scared to tell her where I been

6.1 Well she SHAKES it like the Central, she wobble like the L&N
I say she shake it like the Central, she wobble like the L&N
Well she?s a hot shot mama, and I?m scared to tell her where I been

Quote
Then my baby got something, she won?t tell her daddy what it is
My good mama got something, she won?t tell her papa what it is
And when I crawls in my bed, I just can?t keep my black self still

7.1 SAID my baby got something, she won?t tell her daddy what it is
My good mama got something, she won?t tell her papa what it is
And when I crawls in my bed, I just can?t keep my black self still

Quote
Well I done got reckless and I broke my mama?s rule  Lord Lord
Well I done got reckless and I broke my baby?s rule 
I?m here wanderin? round in Georgia with these doggone scary day blues

Well I done got reckless and I broke my mama?s rule  Lord Lord
Well I done got reckless and I broke my baby?s rule 
8.3 I?m here wanderin? round (no IN) Georgia with these doggone SCAREY day blues (to match the variant spelling in the song title?)

I don't think "can't keep my black self still" is self-censoring for black snake, BTW. I just think it's like saying "my own self", plus it scans better in the line.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Rivers on January 25, 2009, 09:36:38 AM
We'll never know, re. the snake.

Disagree re "I want to cut out..." versus "I wonder can I...?"

It's very close either way. "I want to cut out..." is more assertive and sure, fits the general tone of the song. Or in other words I don't imagine him wondering or questioning his abilities in that respect, way too wimpy and introspective for a 20's blues singer. I mean "I wonder can I..." is a little bit too 'Hamlet-esque' don't you think?  ;)

I found a Cab Calloway slang page (http://www.leepresson.com/slang/cslang.html) (excellent resource btw!) that has:
Cut out (v.) -- to leave, to depart. Ex., "It's time to cut out"; "I cut out from the joint in early bright."

We can always agree to differ and put a note to that effect in the 'pedia.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on January 25, 2009, 10:27:31 AM
History of the FDA here: http://www.fda.gov/oc/history/historyoffda/default.htm
This book caused a stir in 1933: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/100,000,000_Guinea_Pigs

I'm getting 'tap it flat', as in the hair to the head (after applying lemon oil tonic), or maybe a hat.
Oh I see, no, the last bit I think is 'tip light', as in to go lightly, maybe a contraction of 'tiptoe'.
Or maybe 'trip light', as in 'tripping the light fantastic'. That fits actually, sets up a real comic scene and all makes sense.

The phrase was current in the Twenties:

"The phrase is used in the second line of a 1927 song by Billy Murray and Aileen Stanley - 'I'm Gonna Dance Wit da Guy Wot Brung Me' - a comical duet between two New York types using one slang phrase after another in a vaudeville-like routine. The manner in which the phrase is used, suggests that 'tripping the light fantasic' was a not unusual bit of Roaring 20's slang" - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trip_the_light_fantastic

So the current theory in play is this:
Can I get arsenic, lemon and tap it flat, and trip light' across your flo'?

Going to disagree again ;) over two things.

First, the line is almost certainly "tip light 'cross your floor". Aside from it sounding like that, this is a standard blues image. Not quite "woke up this morning" but pretty common. A few examples that are worth looking at, since they predate McTell's line and use a similar formula:

Sam Collins - My Road Is Rough and Rocky:

"I got up in my stockings, tippin' 'cross the floor"

Blind Lemon Jefferson - Stocking Feet Blues:

"She got up this mornin' come a-tippin 'cross the floor, said mama, in her lovin' stockin' feet"

Hambone Willie Newbern - Way Down in Arkansas:

"I can hear the darky moanin' at the old barn door, can see the ladies tippin' 'cross the kitchen floor"

Peg Leg Howell - Rolling Mill Blues:


It was late last night when my honey come home
I heard a rapping on her door

She got up in her stocking feet
Went tipping across the floor

Papa Charlie Jackson - Coffee Pot Blues:


It was early one morning, just at the close of four
When Charlie Smith knocked on Evelyn's door

She jumped up, sweet babe, tipped on across the floor
Hollering, "Long tall daddy, don't you knock no more."


Wiley Barner - My Gal Treats Me Mean (But I Can't Leave Her Alone):


Treat my slippers with some hog-eye lard
Hear me tipping 'cross my good gal's yard
Hear me tipping 'cross my good gal's yard
You can't hear me tippin' 'cross my good gal's yard (hard to say whether it's CAN'T or CAN, since the T is not quite pronounced, but I hear it more as CAN'T)

It's interesting that most of the above singers are from an older generation who often have traditional verses or lines, use old songs and lyric formulas. The Newbern lyric especially to me suggests a pre-blues origin for the line that started it all, whatever that is and wherever it might be found. It would possibly be worth looking for the lyric, however, in either older folk texts, or black popular song from the end of the century or 1900s. Other than that, perhaps classic blues or vaudeville singers from the early 20s, of which I know not enough. The fact that the line occurs in the songs of singers from Mississippi, Texas, Arkansas or Tennessee, Georgia, New Orleans/Chicago and Alabama would seem to argue for either a pretty common folk origin or a line from a popular recording.

The lyric from Wiley Barner, an obscure Alabama singer who recorded two songs in 1927, is probably the most interesting lead, and points to another possible trail for a source lyric here http://books.google.ca/books?id=Q6jijQ4hMq8C&pg=PA191&lpg=PA191&dq=hogeye+lard&source=web&ots=8m6WRxwe2O&sig=lvxprfJcC7B31iRjESUv93V2iZU&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result

If you wanta go to heaven, tell you what you better do
Grease your feet with hog-eye lard
You can slip right over in the promised land
Going to heaven now, shall be free
Having a good time, you shall be free
When the good Lord sets you free.
 
This is from a fellow named J.D. Suggs, interviewed by folklore scholar Richard Dorson in 1956. Dorson describes the lyric as one of the "ubiquitous" parodies "revolving around the refrain, 'When the Good Lord Sets You Free'". Another example of this can be found in the preacher-mocking song by Frank Stokes, "You Shall", which uses the "good Lord set you free" refrain (but unfortunately gives us diddley-squat with regards to the line in Broke Down Engine). Anyway, I'll check Howard Odum and some other folklore texts I have to set if any further leads develop.

All this is not to say that McTell is singing something in the first half of the line that had been sung before. Just that looking back at earlier occurrences may offer a clue.  

Right now, I would say it's possible he is singing about treating his shoes, not his hair, with something, in order to "tip light 'cross the floor."

Which brings me to my second, shorter point. I don't think he sings the word "lemon". I hear an -it or -ent ending to the word.

One other thing about tippin'. It is mostly used in the above examples to indeed mean "tiptoe" as Rivers notes earlier. There are numerous other usages of the word though that seem to have a different meaning. This is in the whole "tippin' out" gang of songs: Simmie Dooley and Pink Anderson's "Gonna Tip Out Tonight", Beans Hambone "Tippin' Out" (a version of the same song), "Tippin' In Boogie" Booker White (a postwar recording, mislabeled Tip and Eight Boogie" but surely related?), Robert Pete Williams' "Tippin' In", not to mention other lyrical occurrences - Frankie Jaxon "I'm tippin' like a Maltese kitten..." in Boot It. I'm sure there's more. Anyway, I wonder if these usages of "tippin'" are related to tripping the light fantastic, since the meaning is certainly in the same ballpark.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on January 25, 2009, 10:32:11 AM
We'll never know, re. the snake.

Disagree re "I want to cut out..." versus "I wonder can I...?"

It's very close either way. "I want to cut out..." is more assertive and sure, fits the general tone of the song. Or in other words I don't imagine him wondering or questioning his abilities in that respect, way too wimpy and introspective for a 20's blues singer. I mean "I wonder can I..." is a little bit too 'Hamlet-esque' don't you think?  ;)

Nope. It's clear.  ;D Besides, he's not so assertive. He's scared, after all, of the jinx, of his hotshot mama, of breaking his mama's rule etc.

Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Rivers on January 25, 2009, 10:44:19 AM
More Tippin' for the collection,

Tippin' Tom, Sylvester Weaver, "My name's Tippin' Tom, turn your damper down. Got a good reputation known all over town" - there's a good one for the quote machine.

Just Tippin' In, Robert Pete Williams, "I'm tippin' in, I'm just tippin' in, yeah baby don't walk too hard"

None of the examples are followed by 'light', though Robert Pete comes close. Context being everything though, if you agree with the theory the first part is about extremes of dressing up for a gal, him ending up "tripping the light fantastic" across her floor does fit and is really very funny.

As to whether he actually sang trip or tip, maybe he misquoted the colloquial phrase, examples of that are legion, even though I can't think of any right at this red hot minute. Plus the whole line is designed to be a big tongue twister. Another good forum topic, tongue twisters in country blues.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Rivers on January 25, 2009, 10:45:27 AM
Well we must agree to disagree on that one I'm afraid. I clearly hear "cut out", it's clear. ish. ;)
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on January 25, 2009, 10:47:12 AM
More Tippin' for the collection,

Tippin' Tom, Sylvester Weaver, "My name's Tippin' Tom, turn your damper down. Got a good reputation known all over town" - there's a good one for the quote machine.

Just Tippin' In, Robert Pete Williams, "I'm tippin' in, I'm just tippin' in, yeah baby don't walk too hard"

None of the examples are followed by 'light', though Robert Pete comes close. Context being everything though, if you agree with the theory the first part is about extremes of dressing up for a gal, him ending up "tripping the light fantastic" across her floor does fit and is really very funny.

As to whether he actually sang trip or tip, maybe he misquoted the colloquial phrase, examples of that are legion, even though I can't think of any right at this red hot minute. Plus the whole line is designed to be a big tongue twister. Another good forum topic, tongue twisters in country blues.

Uh, strong disagreement here. See above examples. Perhaps they all screwed up the use of tippin'?
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Rivers on January 25, 2009, 10:52:45 AM
UB, I'm not saying they all screwed up the lyric, that's a false dichotomy. There is no argument here against that usage of 'tip'. Just that we've established the phrase "trip the light fantastic" was in play at the time, and what he said and what he meant can easily be two different things. How can you be certain that 'tip light' wasn't slang for "trip the light fantastic" at that time?

I believe I'm playing with the stronger hand here, context is everything...  :)

There are more 'tips' on Michael Taft's Blues Concordance Index site:

Sleepy John Estes, Special Agent Blues, "Now I could(n't) hear the special agent when he come tipping over the top (or 'soft')". See I'm helping your argument here, I'm not disputing that usage of 'tip'. That doesn't mean McTell's usage was not a variation on that. Could well be "Trip the light fantastic" evolved out of the idea of 'to tip light', even. Whatever, it's a bit of a mouthful to say the whole phrase, so shorten it up and what do you get?

I wish the lyrics were more accurate on Taft's site, it's a great resource otherwise.

Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: waxwing on January 25, 2009, 12:43:00 PM
So, CD release gig being over, I gave some listens to the phrase. I can't hear "arsenic". I hear a very strong OW sound after the "get" or "git" as he pronounces it. So I think it is either "git out" or "git down". Very hard to go one way or the other between "down" or "out", but clearly no AR sound.

Quote
Which brings me to my second, shorter point. I don't think he sings the word "lemon". I hear an -it or -ent ending to the word.

I agree with UB. and it occurs to me that maybe he's saying "snake liniment" but contracting a bit to "snake lin'ment" or maybe even reversing the n and m to "snake lim'nent". Googling I don't find any usages without the word "oil" in the middle, as "snake oil liniment", but again, could be a contraction to scan correctly or could have been local usage.

Actually the more I listen at 70% it sounds like "limit" which I think is what I said long ago in this thread (now that they are combined). Slowing to 50%, which I always think can me misleading, the M sound seems to have a fricative quality almost sounds like a V, and the T sound loses its plosive quality so it starts to sound like "snake livin'. Could be heading back toward "lemon" there or to "level" tho' I can't make any L sound at the end.

I assume we are all in agreement after that: "and tap it flat and tip light 'cross your floor"? To me, "tripping the light fantastic" means to dance lightly with a partner with whom one has a blissful emotional connection, whereas to "tip light cross your floor" means something closer to tip toe, making as little noise and with the least amount of intrusiveness possible.

Altho' I suppose "snake lin'ment" leaves open the door for some sort of far fetched cosmetic use, I just don't buy that he's talking about winning her back with a little hair cream. The mood of the rest of the song is just too abject, praying to God, relating to being used up and tossed aside like a rusted out steam engine, even the plaintive first line of this verse: "Don't you hear me baby, rappin' on your door" just doesn't exude the confidence that all it's gonna take is a little pomade. I think he is talking about groveling for her forgiveness.

I don't think we are ever going to figure out what that word after "snake" is. Possibly he mispronounced something. I think Buddy Moss sings some thing like "can I get down here snake legged and tap it flat..." in take 1 and in take 2 sounds kinda like "can I get down at (or maybe get on it) snake limit (or lemon, or lim'nent)" and then fluffs, as Riv said, sounding a little drunk. So really, no help there, except no AR sound for "arsenic" and that he does seem to clearly say the phrase "tap it flat", which I think must have some idiomatic meaning that we are not aware of and would be the best direction for deeper investigation (not speculation) if anyone has the time.

I sing it "Can I get down snake like and tap it flat and tip light 'cross your floor." I think that conveys a sense of crawling to her for forgiveness that audiences get, and it's only the rare blues nut who has already been puzzling the McTell version that ever asks me about it. But I often get questions, for instance, about the meaning of "mamlish".

All for now.
John C


Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: waxwing on January 25, 2009, 01:00:23 PM
I want to cut out find a woman, to do like my last rider done
I want to cut out find a woman, to do just like my last rider done
She kept it all for her daddy, she didn?t give nobody none

2.1 I WONDER COULD I find a woman (no comma) to do like my last rider done
2.2 WONDER COULD I find a woman (no comma) to do like my last rider done
She kept it all for her daddy, she didn?t give nobody none

Andrew, you seem to have left "just" out of the second line with out your usual indication: (no JUST). Don't have time to give this a listen for the "wonder could a"/"wanna cut out" issue.

All for now,
John C.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Rivers on January 25, 2009, 01:25:56 PM
Quote
So, CD release gig being over, I gave some listens to the phrase. I can't hear "arsenic". I hear a very strong OW sound after the "get" or "git" as he pronounces it. So I think it is either "git out" or "git down". Very hard to go one way or the other between "down" or "out", but clearly no AR sound.

I'm surprised you don't hear the AR- sound, but then again I hear no '-T' after lemon either!

I had another theory (groan). Tap it flat. I remember an old movie where they had these collapsible top hats that you could flatten when you took them off, they squished down into a flat shape so you didn't have to mess with the thing too much. Then when you wanted to put it on you smacked the brim against your other hand and it popped out. Could this be what he's talking about? http://www.millerhats.com/top_index/top.htm

Willie McTell as Fred Astaire, too much!

Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on January 25, 2009, 01:32:19 PM
UB, I'm not saying they all screwed up the lyric, that's a false dichotomy. There is no argument here against that usage of 'tip'. Just that we've established the phrase "trip the light fantastic" was in play at the time, and what he said and what he meant can easily be two different things. How can you be certain that 'tip light' wasn't slang for "trip the light fantastic" at that time?

I can't without researching it, but I can be pretty certain that "tip light" more likely refers to walking lightly or tiptoeing, and that McTell's lyric strongly resembles the other examples from the tradition in which that is the image being drawn. Setting aside auditory evidence, in which there is no R sound in 'tip', his lyric has the rapping/tapping on the door language, the "'cross your floor/yard" image, the suggestion of sneaking around in tippin', tippin' light, tippin' around in stocking feet, or greased shoes (!).

Quote
context is everything...  :)

Perhaps if we're analyzing personal lyric poetry -- though I really don't believe context is everything even then. I'd say the historical context of traditional verses and lyric formulas certainly carries a lot of weight when examining these lyrics. To look at the lyrics of what is at least in part a folk tradition without the context of that tradition and typical examples from it seems odd.

But even so, the context you're trying to place the lyric in with "trip the light fantastic" so far only ties it to a white New York vaudeville singer, if one accepts that "tip light" and "trip the light fantastic" mean the same thing.

Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on January 25, 2009, 01:35:17 PM
I want to cut out find a woman, to do like my last rider done
I want to cut out find a woman, to do just like my last rider done
She kept it all for her daddy, she didn?t give nobody none

2.1 I WONDER COULD I find a woman (no comma) to do like my last rider done
2.2 WONDER COULD I find a woman (no comma) to do like my last rider done
She kept it all for her daddy, she didn?t give nobody none

Andrew, you seem to have left "just" out of the second line with out your usual indication: (no JUST). Don't have time to give this a listen for the "wonder could a"/"wanna cut out" issue.

All for now,
John C.

Thanks Wax. The "just" is there in the 2nd line, I just mistyped. Good eye. Will edit earlier post.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Rivers on January 25, 2009, 01:37:42 PM
Sorry, I was editing when you posted. Did you see my 'collapsible top hat' theory? Kinda ties in. Also are you sure it was a 'white' vaudevillian? I can't find any info as yet.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on January 25, 2009, 01:41:04 PM
Tippin' Tom, Sylvester Weaver, "My name's Tippin' Tom, turn your damper down. Got a good reputation known all over town" - there's a good one for the quote machine.

Riv, am guessing you mean Curley Weaver here? I don't have Sylvester Weaver doing this, and those are the lyrics Curley sings.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Rivers on January 25, 2009, 01:46:59 PM
Yep, sorry 'bout that, reading too fast on Taft probably.

Re. context, Shelton Brooks wrote Darktown Strutters' Ball in 1917 and he was black. Then there's The Cotton Club, and Irving Berlin's original lyric to Puttin' On The Ritz. There was a lot of high steppin' going on in Harlem and, I daresay, in other cities. McTell mentions things 'high society' in at least one other lyric, Dyin' Crapshooter's Blues, re. the Hampton Hotel, and Little Jessie "...wants everybody to do the Charleston whilst he dyin'". So we're not talking about someone with his mind way out in the sticks here.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: waxwing on January 25, 2009, 02:25:16 PM
I've used a collapsible top hat and though you can snap it open with just a bit of pressure to the inside or a strong rap against your other hand, it takes a bit of force to collapse the spring and flatten the hat. Being blind I don't think you could make the case that he hadn't actually used one but had only seen them popped open and so assumed they popped closed, too. Nor do I think that such a misconception would give rise to a commonly used phrase with that meaning. I think the top hat thing is a dead end.

All for now.
John C.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Johnm on January 25, 2009, 02:38:42 PM
Hi all,
I have never heard the phrase "tippin'" used in a blues lyric as a synonym for dancing, let alone "tripping the light fantastic".  "Tippin' in" is used to indicate tiptoeing in, or more accurately, sneaking in.  "Tippin' out" as used in the Simmie Dooley/Pink Anderson song and others utilizing the phrase could be rendered as "steppin' out", or going out for a night on the town.  I don't believe "tippin'" and trippin'" share either a common derivation or a common meaning.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Rivers on January 25, 2009, 02:49:33 PM
John, "tripping" in this case means the same as "tipping", see this page, it's from Milton: http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-tri1.htm

Quote: We?ve lost the sense now, because to trip here doesn?t mean to catch one?s foot and stumble or fall, but rather to move lightly and nimbly, to dance. This was what the word meant when it appeared in the language in the fourteenth century.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Johnm on January 25, 2009, 03:00:04 PM
Hi Mark,
For Milton it may have meant that in the 14th century, but I don't see how that  pertains to the usage of 20th century African-Americans who had never read or heard of Milton.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Rivers on January 25, 2009, 03:06:08 PM
Came in through Vaudeville, it was a show, Irish American, NYC, and according to one source possibly or probably in common use during the Twenties. I posted this earlier but see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trip_the_light_fantastic click on the link, going direct doesn't seem to work.

Quote:
The phrase is used in the second line of a 1927 song by Billy Murray and Aileen Stanley - 'I'm Gonna Dance Wit da Guy Wot Brung Me' - a comical duet between two New York types using one slang phrase after another in a vaudeville-like routine. The manner in which the phrase is used, suggests that 'tripping the light fantasic' was a not unusual bit of Roaring 20's slang.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: onewent on January 25, 2009, 03:17:26 PM
Love that 'Tippin' Tom' lyric..if I hadn't been 'onewent' all these years... ::)

Re 'cut out' v. 'could I' .. after some listening at different speeds, to me, it's clear enough that I hear 'wonder could I ..' , although I like cut out better and will probably out of habit sing that phrase..

Quick review question:  how is a consensus reached on a disputed phrase/word?  ..and who make the change?

..good stuff, thanks..Tom
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Johnm on January 25, 2009, 03:24:43 PM
Hi all,
I'm still not clear on why the currency of the phrase "tripping the light fantastic" pertains when what Willie McTell and everyone else is saying is "tippin'".  The word and the meaning are different.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Rivers on January 25, 2009, 03:27:54 PM
Just a theory, it's the fact it's coupled with 'light'.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on January 25, 2009, 03:39:51 PM

Re. context, Shelton Brooks wrote Darktown Strutters' Ball in 1917 and he was black. Then there's The Cotton Club, and Irving Berlin's original lyric to Puttin' On The Ritz. There was a lot of high steppin' going on in Harlem and, I daresay, in other cities. McTell mentions things 'high society' in at least one other lyric, Dyin' Crapshooter's Blues, re. the Hampton Hotel, and Little Jessie "...wants everybody to do the Charleston whilst he dyin'". So we're not talking about someone with his mind way out in the sticks here.

Yes, the influence of the lyrics of black songwriters of the late 19th and early 20th century, and the black musical theatre of the 19th century is a subject begging to be examined further, IMO, as I think I've said here on Weenie before, or at least to Wax on the phone.  :P And not just black songwriters but the popular musical theatre, period. One can find a good amount of info on these composers and their material in Spreadin' Rhythm Around by Jasen and Jones, though they do not examine the influence of the popular and theatrical material on later blues material much unfortunately. Blues sources moving from the city to the country is one way of looking at it, and for some stuff, I think strong arguments could be made mining this area. But in this case, so far things point more to folk sources, IMO.

Billy Murray has come up on Weenie before, as a composer in the context of the Todalo discussions. But there at least there are examples of the word todalo appearing in both traditions. So far, there's no evidence "tripping the light fantastic" appears in the blues vernacular that I know of.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: blueshome on January 26, 2009, 07:51:38 AM
Another Tippin this time from the 40's

Erskine Hawkins And His Orchestra - Tippin' In / After Hours
Label:   RCA
Catalog#:   447-0169

In current "gangsta" usage "tippin" is cruising in your car to show off.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on January 26, 2009, 09:23:16 AM
Thought I'd give Razor Ball another round. There are still some spots that are not solid. I've appended Sara Martin's version, which predates McTell by 5 years.

Razor Ball - Blind Willie McTell
Recorded Atlanta, Ga., 17 April 1930
C position, 12-string pitched around A

(All right, boys, let's talk about this Razor Ball)

Down at the Razor Ball given at the Razor Hall
Sluefoot Mose and old Cross-Eyed Joe didn't go in at all
They hung around outside,
This is what they spied ? what was it?
A big crap game in the hall, started in to fight
Joe got drunk, that wasn't all, went and turned out the lights
And then Manchester Charlie shot his automatic twin
Charlie grabbed his gal, and he [crawled across ten??/crawled across the tin] *
Police came and pulled the hall, down at the Razor Ball
I mean ball
Down around the Razor Ball

Doin the... shimmy she wobble and shakin' your...
Quit the shimmy she wobble and quit shakin' your hips
Down at the Razor, I mean Ball
Down around the Razor Ball

Playin' baseball and football and don't get enough
Playin' baseball and football and struttin' his stuff
Down at the Razor, I mean Ball
Down around the Razor Ball

(Play it a little bit now. Put a little good stuff in it. How you put that in there.
[Well that works] like a good drink of whiskey - play that thing again)

I heard another crap game was in the hall, started in to fight
Joe got drunk, that wasn't all, went in and turned out the lights
Mighty big chief shot his automatic twin
The high sheriff took the [couple] and double-crossed ten (COUPLE actually sounds more like CROUPLE/CRUPPLE. Wild speculative question: is there ever someone who plays a croupier-like role in the game of craps? Is McTell possibly garbling CROUPIER, or is there another form of the word?)
Rest of 'em came and got the crowd from down at the razor Ball
I mean
Down around the Razor Ball, shootin' craps
Down around the Razor Ball, playing cards
Down around the Razor Ball, they was gamblin'
Down around the Razor Ball, cuttin' on the corner
Down around the Razor Ball

(Put a little good stuff there now. I know you like it like that, Two Bits, 'cause I?m crazy about it myself. Hit it now. I know you're crazy about it.)

Talkin' about the Razor Ball, I mean
Screamin' 'bout the Razor Ball

Now there?s another crap game was in the hall, started in to fight
Joe got drunk, that wasn't all, went and turned out the lights
"Put your lights out, Callie, 'cause fightin's the game
Put me head of the list and don't forget to call my name"
Police came and got the crowd
Down at the Razor Ball, drinkin' gin
Down around the Razor Ball, don?t mean football
But down around the Razor Hall, neither basketball
But down around the Razor Ball, neither golf ball
But down around the Razor Ball

(Spank it a little bit now)

I mean that Razor Ball, where I found you
Down around the Razor Ball, where they've/they's?? made love
Down around the Razor Ball, where I left you
Down around the Razor Ball
(Play it now)

*Paul Oliver has "And that mark-shootin' Charlie, shot his automatic twin/Charlie grabbed his gal and he croaked off ten". I don't think that's it. See "Looking for the Bully", Nobody Knows Where the Blues Comes From, p. 118. Other solutions welcome. I think it's likely a nickname, like the original "Winchester Charlie" from the Sara Martin version.)

Down at the Razor Ball ? Sara Martin
Recorded New York City c. 5 November 1925

Down at the Razor Ball given at the Razor Hall
Sluefoot Mose and Cross-Eyed Joe didn't go at all
But they hung around outside
Oh and this is what they spied
Crapshootin' Ann was in the hall and started in to fight
Joe got drunk, and that ain't all, he went and turned out the lights
Winchester Charlie shot Automatic Slim
'Cause Charlie took his gal and doublecrossed him
The police came and pulled the hall, down at the Razor Ball

I said now Crapshootin' Ann was in the hall and started in to fight
Joe got drunk and that ain't all, he went and turned out the lights
Butcher Knife Sally said "fightin's the game
Put me head of the list and don't forget to call my name"
The police came and pulled the hall, down at the Razor Ball
I said now, down at that Razor Ball

edited the McTell lyric to pick up suggestions from Rivers and Onewent
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Johnm on January 26, 2009, 02:52:08 PM
Hi all,
 Blind Willie McTell recorded "It's My Desire" for Regal in 1949 or 1950.  It's a gospel number, credited to him, and he delivers one of his most impassioned vocals on record on the alternate take I heard on the Back Porch Boys CD on Delmark.  The phrase "all on earth" in the final verse is sort of swallowed.

https://youtu.be/lWbu8KeS85M

   It's my desire to do some good deed every day
   My desire to help some, falter by the way
   It's my desire to bring back someone's gone astray
   It's my desire to be just like the Lord

   It's my desire to shelter someone from the cold
   My desire to bring back some wanderer to the fold
   It's my desire to do as I am told
   It's my desire to be just like the Lord

   It's my desire to teach some sinner how to pray
   My desire to help some traveller by the way
   It's my desire to lift up Jesus every day
   It's my desire to be just like the Lord

   It's my desire to see the Father and the Son
   My desire to see his face when all on earth is done
   It's my desire to hear him say, "My child, well done."
   It's my desire to be just like the Lord

All best,
Johnm
   
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: onewent on January 26, 2009, 04:33:24 PM
uncle bud, I gave Razor Ball a few listens w/ phones and slower, and here's my take fwiw:
First sung line:  given sounds w/ a long e sound, sounds like 'even' but given makes more sense
Line 7 Sounds like 'Mighty Chuck Charlie' to me, really hard to discern.  I also know 'chuck' is a derogatory term applied by black folk to white folk, but probably doesn't apply in the context of this song.
The high sheriff took the [couple] and double-crossed ten:  'couple' sounds pretty clear to me and so does 'crossed off ten' rather than double crossed ten
And in the last refrain (or whatever you call the repeated lines) the second one sounds clearly to be not just 'they made love' .. I hear an 's' in there between they and made, like 'where they's made love'

Cool song! .. simple guitar part, but, a few years ago, when I tried to sing along, I couldn't put the voice part and guitar part together..but this one's on my bucket list ! 

Johnm:  thanks for the heads up on 'It's My Desire'..I don't have it, so I'll hunt it down!  It must be a good one..
Tom
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Rivers on January 26, 2009, 05:46:06 PM
Could that be "Manchester Charlie", which is a town 80 miles S. of Atlanta? Mispronounced slightly, sounds like My-chester: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=manchester+georgia&sourceid=navclient-ff&rlz=1B3GGGL_enUS261US262&um=1&ie=UTF-8&split=0&gl=us&sa=X&oi=geocode_result&resnum=1&ct=image
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Rivers on January 26, 2009, 06:00:59 PM
Also, on first listen I thought I heard "crawled across the tin". Then I thought tin might be slang for money, which it is. So the image could be crawling across the money on the ground at a crap game, to get away from the bust. And no doubt grab a few spondoolicks on the way... see "I Got Mine" for the same scene.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on January 27, 2009, 07:14:25 AM
uncle bud, I gave Razor Ball a few listens w/ phones and slower, and here's my take fwiw:
First sung line:  given sounds w/ a long e sound, sounds like 'even' but given makes more sense

Yup, and I had it transcribed as "even" for awhile, but on closer listening I confirmed "given", the hard G, plus it's very clear in the Sara Martin version.

Quote
Line 7 Sounds like 'Mighty Chuck Charlie' to me, really hard to discern.  I also know 'chuck' is a derogatory term applied by black folk to white folk, but probably doesn't apply in the context of this song.

Yes, sounded a bit like that to me as well. However, Rivers' "Manchester Charlie" had me go back and slow things down and I'm definitely hearing "-chester" in there and agree with Riv that it is pronounced a bit more like "my-chester". This is as close as anyone's got before I think, so a nice breakthrough. "Manchester Charlie shot his automatic twin" also echoes the "Winchester Charlie shot Automatic Slim" from the Sara Martin version. Whether McTell deliberately rewrites the lyrics or screws them up, who knows. We don't even know for certain that he got it from Sara Martin I suppose. Will change lyric to Manchester Charlie. I need to ponder "crawled across the tin" some more. I don't exactly hear a "the" in there, but there's room for it.

Quote
The high sheriff took the [couple] and double-crossed ten:  'couple' sounds pretty clear to me and so does 'crossed off ten' rather than double crossed ten

I'm hearing the the extra syllable from double in "double-crossed ten", not to mention the D and BL. I am not sure of the meaning of this line, which would perhaps help.

Quote
And in the last refrain (or whatever you call the repeated lines) the second one sounds clearly to be not just 'they made love' .. I hear an 's' in there between they and made, like 'where they's made love'

Yes, it sounds like something in between those words. I'm not getting an 'S'. Perhaps THEY'VE?

Quote
Cool song! .. simple guitar part, but, a few years ago, when I tried to sing along, I couldn't put the voice part and guitar part together..but this one's on my bucket list ! 

Yes, lots of fun. I've started putting it together though need to work on my attitude.  :P

Thanks for the help, guys.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Rivers on January 27, 2009, 07:21:34 PM
Now you come to mention it, "automatic twin" is an amazing cartoonesque image, I pictured Daffy Duck with some serious hardware. Thanks for the background on that one.

Also, re. the Sara Martin version, turns out there is also a Winchester, GA, not too far from Manchester: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=winchester+georgia&sourceid=navclient-ff&rlz=1B3GGGL_enUS261US262&um=1&ie=UTF-8&split=0&gl=us&sa=X&oi=geocode_result&resnum=1&ct=title

I think we can assume McTell was really into getting just the right number of syllables into his lines, the "tip light" verse being the extreme example of him playing with the language in this way. Maybe there are others to be found.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on January 27, 2009, 09:04:23 PM
Sara Martin came out of Louisville, Kentucky. I'd imagine the original "Winchester Charlie" moniker referred to the weapon, not the Georgia town.

Paul Oliver discusses the emergence of various rough and tumble Ball songs in his essay "Lookin' for the Bully". Mamie Smith recorded "The Jazzbo Ball" in 1921, which features a character named Razor Jim. Razor Jim, and his rules and regulations for the ball, recurs in Edith Wilson/Johnny Dunn's "Rules and Regulations Signed Razor Jim" (1921 or '22):

Every Friday night Razor Jim give a ball
Before you dance in that hall
You have to read them
Rules and Regulations on the wall, that's all.

[snipped lyrics]
If you break these rules, Jim'll cut your hide
Don't none of you brothers get out on that limb
Rules and Regulations, signed Razor Jim

The songs have characters with names like Pistol Pete, Sluefoot Joe, etc. Oliver also transcribes "At The Bootlegger's Ball" by Eddie Hunter. Similar scenes of mayhem, nicknames again, Bob the Barber, Sneaky Steve, Slapstick Sam:

Every human there got either hit, cut or shot
Everybody enjoyed themselves quite a lot

!!

Re. syllables. Dunno that they have much to do with it. I think McTell just changes the lyrics, either by misunderstanding, a different source version of the song or, like James Joyce, to keep us puzzling over them for years...

Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Rivers on January 28, 2009, 03:58:29 PM
Thanks, I enjoyed that. The syllable comment was a disconnected observation. You'd have to admit he was on the complex side wrt syllables. Many of his songs are dense with them, the Big 80 verse in Statesboro Blues, Crapshooter, many more examples. I mean compared to most other lyricists in the genre he tends to pack them in.

I noticed the other day the syllable count in the 'tip light' line, 17, though it might turn out to be 16 or 18 etc when we finally nail it. That qualifies that single line as a complete zen koan.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Johnm on January 28, 2009, 05:08:45 PM
Hi all,
It's true that Willie McTell liked to pack the syllables in, and it's impressive that in so doing, he didn't allow his scansion to be thrown off, for the most part.  I checked a couple of lines from Louis "Jelly Belly" Hayes, and found ones of 23 and 29 (!) syllables, but in all fairness, Jelly Belly liked to go long in his phrasing, and if you're willing to do that ( or prefer it), you'll always be able to fit more words in.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: banjochris on January 28, 2009, 11:58:05 PM
To digress back to the "Broke Down Engine" mystery line -- I always thought McTell says "snake-lovin'." I think the "tap it flat" and "tip light 'cross your floor" are right. The last part, particularly, is enunciated quite clearly by McTell in the later version of "Broke Down Engine" on Vol. 2 of the JSP set -- he even says "across your floor."

I think the meaning of the line is: he gets on his belly like a snake -- "tap it flat" means like Yank Rachell's "Tappin' that Thing" (in this case completing coitus to both partners' satisfaction) -- and then sneaks out with no one the wiser.

I also think Buddy Moss is imitating the line phonetically without really knowing what McTell sang -- in take 2 of "Broke Down Engine No. 2" he loses it and just stutters for a bit.

To go back to "Razor Ball," I think that McTell sometimes would sing nonsense words if he didn't remember or learned the song imperfectly in the first place. For example, on the Last Session he does this in "Beedle Um Bum" and "That Will Never Happen No More." This isn't uncommon ("the pale and the leader" in "Wildwood Flower") -- Charlie Poole is another one who does this. This is just a long-winded way of saying that there might not be anything completely logical to decipher in some of these verses.
Chris
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Rivers on January 29, 2009, 04:25:45 PM
I'm sticking with 'arsenic'!  ;)
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Rivers on February 15, 2009, 02:32:40 PM
[edit: added to weenipedia (http://www.weeniecampbell.com/wiki/index.php?title=Dying_Crapshooter%27s_Blues)]

I started transcribing Dying Crapshooter, couldn't decide which version, so I did all three.
"Sweet Lorena" doesn't make an appearance in the first version, and there are other minor differences throughout.

Funny thing, he says "I guess I ought to know, how're I want(s) to go" in all three, which also reminded me of the recent discussion on Ft. Worth & Dallas Blues where Leadbelly also clearly says, "I'm doin' fairly well, baby how'ra you". Earth-shattering stuff, I know.  :P

https://youtu.be/bd6-DZn9JX4

Dying Crapshooter's Blues, Blind Willie McTell
5 November 1940, Atlanta, LoC session
Complete Library of Congress Recordings (1940) (Document BDCD-6001)
Legendary Library of Congress Session (Elektra 301)
Deep River of Song - Georgia (Rounder 11661-1828-2)
The Classic Years (JSP box set, JSP7711)

[Intro]

Little Jesse was a gambler, night and day
He used crooked cards and dice
He was a sinful boy, good hearted but had no soul
His heart was hard and cold like ice

Little Jesse was a wild, reckless gambler, won a gang of change
And many a-gambler's heart he left in pain
Little Jessie begin to lose his money but he was all alone
And his heart had even turned to stone

The police walked up and shot my friend Jesse down
Said "Boys I got to die today"
He had a gang of crapshooters and gamblers at his bedside
But here are the words he had to say

I guess I ought to know
How're I wants to go

(How you wanna go, Jesse?)

I wants eight crapshooters for my pallbearers
Let 'em all be dressed there in black
I want nine men going to the graveyard
But only eight mens comin' back

I wants a gang of gamblers gathered around my coffin side
With a crooked card printed on my hearse
Don't say the crapshooters'll never grieve over me
My life been a doggone curse

Send poker players to the graveyard
Dig my grave with the ace of spades
I want twelve polices in my funeral march
High sheriff playin' blackjack, lead the parade

I want the judge and solic'ter who jailed me 14 times
Put a pair of dice in my shoes
Let a deck of cards be my tombstone
I got the dyin' crapshooter's blues

I want sixteen real good crapshooters
Sixteen bootleggers to sing a song
Sixteen buck-riders gamblin'
With a couple tends bar while I'm rollin' along

He wanted 22 womens outta the Hampton Hotel
26 off-a South Bell
29 women outta North Atlanta
Know that little Jesse didn't pass out so swell

His head was achin', heart was thumpin'
Little Jesse went down bouncin' and jumpin'
Folks don't be standin' around ole Jesse cryin'
He wants everybody to do the Charleston whilst he dyin'

One foot up, a toenail dragging
Throw my buddy Jesse in the hoodoo wagon
Come here mama with that can of booze
He's got the dyin' crapshooter's, passin' out
Well the dyin' crapshooter's blues

====================================================================
Dying Crapshooter's Blues, Blind Willie McTell
1949, Atlanta
Atlanta Twelve String (Atlantic 82366-2)

https://youtu.be/k1DwpJkWliA

[Intro]

Little Jesse was a gambler, night and day
Well, he used crooked cards and dice
Sinful boy, good hearted but had no soul
Heart was hard and cold like ice

Little Jesse was a wild, reckless gambler, and won a gang of change
And many a-gambler's heart he led in pain
When he began to spend and lose his money he began to be blue and all alone
But boy his heart had even turned to stone

What broke Jesse's heart while he was blue and all alone
Sweet Lorena packed up and gone
Police walked up and shot my friend Jesse down
Boys I got to die today

He had a gang of crapshooters and gamblers at his bedside
Here are the words he had to say

I guess I ought to know
Exactly how're I want to go

(How you wanna go, Jesse?)

Eight crapshooters to be my pallbearers
Let 'em be veiled down in black
I want nine men going to the graveyard, buddy
And eight men comin' back

I wants a gang of gamblers gathered 'round my coffin-side
A crooked card printed on my hearse
Don't say the crapshooters'll never grieve over me
My life been a doggone curse

Send poker players to the graveyard
Dig my grave with the ace of spades
I want twelve polices in my funeral march
High sheriff playin' blackjack, lead the parade

I want the judge and solic'ter who jailed me 14 times
Put a pair of dice in my shoes (and what else?)
Let a deck of cards be my tombstone, buddy
I got the dyin' crapshooter's blues

Sixteen real good crapshooters
Sixteen bootleggers to sing a song
Sixteen racket men gamblin'
Couple tend bar while I'm rollin' along

He wanted 22 womens outta the Hampton Hotel
26 off-a South Bell
29 women outta North Atlanta
Know that Jesse didn't pass out so swell

Ah his head was achin', heart was thumpin'
Little Jesse went down bouncin' and jumpin'
Folks, don't be standin' around ole Jesse cryin'
He wants everybody to do the Charleston whilst he dyin'

One foot up and a toenail dragging
Throw my friend Jesse in the hoodoo wagon
Come here mama with that can of booze
The dyin' crapshooter's, blues I mean
The dyin' crapshooter's blues

====================================================================
The Dyin' Crapshooter's Blues, Blind Willie McTell
September 1956, Atlanta
Last Session (Prestige/Bluesville OBCCD-517-2 82366-2)

https://youtu.be/KrGfRMnkPAE

[Intro]

Little Jesse was a gambler, night and day
He used crooked cards and dice
Sinful guy, good hearted but had no soul
Heart was hard and cold like ice

Jesse was a wild reckless gambler, won a gang of change
Although many gambler's heart he led in pain
Began to spend and lose his money, began to be blue
Sad and all alone his heart had even turned to stone

What broke Jesse's heart while he was blue and all alone
Sweet Lorena packed up and gone
Police walked up and shot my friend Jesse down
Boys I got to die today

He had a gang of crapshooters and gamblers at his bedside
Here are the words he had to say

I guess I ought to know
Exactly how're I want to go

(How you wanna go, Jesse?)

Eight crapshooters to be my pallbearers
Let 'em be veiled down in black
I want nine men going to the graveyard, bubba
And eight men comin' back

I wants a gang of gamblers gathered 'round my coffin-side
Crooked card printed on my hearse
Don't say the crapshooters'll never grieve over me
My life been a doggone curse

Send poker players to the graveyard
Dig my grave with the ace of spades
I want twelve polices in my funeral march
High sheriff playin' blackjack, lead the parade

I want the judge and solic'ter who jailed me 14 times
Put a pair of dice in my shoes (then what?)
Let a deck of cards be my tombstone
I got the dyin' crapshooter's blues

Sixteen real good crapshooters
Sixteen bootleggers to sing a song
Sixteen racket men gamblin'
Couple tend bar while I'm rollin' along

He wanted 22 womens outta the Hampton Hotel
26 off-a South Bell
29 women outta North Atlanta
No, little Jesse didn't pass out so swell

His head was achin', heart was thumpin'
Little Jesse went to hell bouncin' and jumpin'
Folks, don't be standin' around ole Jesse cryin'
He wants everybody to do the Charleston whilst he dyin'

One foot up, a toenail dragging
Throw my buddy Jesse in the hoodoo wagon
Come here mama with that can of booze
The dyin' crapshooter's, leavin' the world
The dyin' crapshooter's, goin' down slow
With the dyin' crapshooter's blues
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Censio on February 19, 2009, 02:07:56 AM
Hello!!

does someone have the murderer's home blues lyrics?
And if someone know who was this Delia? All I found  in my town library is that Delia was a girl shot by a man called ?Coony/Kenny? one christmas eve because she refused to married him.
If you know this, mctell me it  ;D

https://youtu.be/pM7BR6X7K6o

thank you!!
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Bunker Hill on February 19, 2009, 02:40:57 AM
And if someone know who was this Delia? All I found  in my town library is that Delia was a girl shot by a man called ?Coony/Kenny? one christmas eve because she refused to married him.
If you know this, mctell me it  ;D
thank you!!
I thought this had been discussed here in the past. If all else fails there is a passable potted history of the Delia-Cooney tale in Michael Gray's McTell book.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Pan on February 19, 2009, 03:52:48 AM
And if someone know who was this Delia? All I found  in my town library is that Delia was a girl shot by a man called ?Coony/Kenny? one christmas eve because she refused to married him.
If you know this, mctell me it  ;D
thank you!!
I thought this had been discussed here in the past. If all else fails there is a passable potted history of the Delia-Cooney tale in Michael Gray's McTell book.

Sorry, can't help with the lyrics, but here's one thread discussing Delia: http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?amp;Itemid=128&topic=4397.0

You'll find others, if you use the search function.

Cheers

Pan
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Bunker Hill on February 19, 2009, 09:42:28 AM
And if someone know who was this Delia? All I found  in my town library is that Delia was a girl shot by a man called ?Coony/Kenny? one christmas eve because she refused to married him.
If you know this, mctell me it  ;D
thank you!!
I thought this had been discussed here in the past. If all else fails there is a passable potted history of the Delia-Cooney tale in Michael Gray's McTell book.
Sorry, can't help with the lyrics, but here's one thread discussing Delia: http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?amp;Itemid=128&topic=4397.0
Pan
Good Lord and I started the discussion too. The little grey cells ain't what they were and to prove it the above link shows me telling folk the it was Gray's Dylan book which contains the discussion, long before the McT was published. Duh, perhaps I should be put out to grass with the rest of the nags!
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Censio on February 19, 2009, 12:19:56 PM
Thank you very much!
That is really really really interesting.
For the murderer's home blues lyrics it's very difficult for me because I speack French that's why I need some help!

Thanks a lot!!!!!!!
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on February 19, 2009, 12:20:31 PM
My first question to people in general about the lyrics of Murderer's Home Blues would be does McTell sing "Murderer's Home" or "Murderous Home". C.f. below:

(https://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fecx.images-amazon.com%2Fimages%2FI%2F51pIpeyBykL._SL500_AA280_.jpg&hash=c8591ae015abc2946138d3f697d7e6002a2ca086)


Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Censio on February 19, 2009, 12:26:26 PM
mmmm intersting but if the track have been recorded as murderer's home blues it's surely what mctell sing but that could an illusion or something like that.
I don't realy understand the English by listening >:( >:( >:( >:( :-X
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on February 19, 2009, 01:26:04 PM
Hi Censio - there have been lots of blues songs mistitled by producers, field researchers and others. The fact that Lomax recorded McTell doing this song, and that there is a collection of Lomax material subtitled "Murderous Home" makes me wonder whether the song was incorrectly titled when recorded, since it's not exactly clear to me what McTell really sings. Either title could make sense. That's why I was throwing it out there for other people to comment. We can help transcribe the lyrics, but you'll have to be patient and wait until someone has time.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: banjochris on February 19, 2009, 02:11:44 PM
Different Lomax, though, UB. I think it's actually "Murderers' Home."

I did all I could baby, satisfy your mind,
Well I wake up every morning you got me moaning and crying.
Trying to send me to the chain gang, back to the murderers' home
I'd have been in a better shape mama, if I'd let that reckless woman alone.

Now I'm gonna have to give you my number, 4-11-44,
I'll be there forever, I ain't got no wheres else to go.
Cause I've got to go to the chain gang, back to the murderers' home
I'd have been in a better shape mama, if I'd let that reckless woman alone.

He was a mean old judge, wouldn't give me no fine,
Only thing going to relieve me is old Father Time,
I got to go to the chain gang, back to the murderers' home
I would have been in a better shape mama, if I'd have let that reckless woman alone.

When I was down in the alley mama drinking that old mean booze and gin,
Say you better do your running around cause you ain't never going to do it again
'Cause it leads me straight to the chain gang, down to the murderers' home,
I'd have been in a better shape mama, if I'd have let that reckless woman alone.

Goodbye everybody here comes the jailer with a key,
Farewell to freedom I don't want no one to pity me,
I'm going to the chain gang, down to the murderers' home,
I'd have been in a better shape mama, if I'd have let that reckless woman alone.

So now bye-bye all you womens this is the last I've got to say
Say I'm going on and make my time I'll be a free man some day,
But I ain't going back to the chain gang, back to the murderers' home,
I'd have been in a better shape baby, if I'd have let that reckless woman alone.

Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Censio on February 20, 2009, 03:47:45 AM
Thank you Banjochris for the lyrics. You really help me man you are a jedi master!

Uncle Bud in my opinion the question answer can surely be in a book written by lomax or an old magazine or newspaper but I don't really know all the context around John and Alan Lomax. Murderer and murderous are synonyms I think (I'm not sure)
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: onewent on March 05, 2009, 04:37:48 PM
Any help with a few word appreciated..one of the slide masterpieces, superior tone, both guitar and voice!  Tom

https://youtu.be/tNo-0_kmb2s

I Got To Cross The River Jordan ? Blind Willie McTell  - Atlanta Sessions 1949
I got to cross that ? I got..  ol Jordon    ..
Nobody here  .. can ?.  Lord I got ta .. River of Jordan
That Jordan river is cold and chilly
Lord I got .. I got to cross it ?.
Nobody .. can ?.  Lord I got ta  .. chilly Jordan ..
And I got I got to ??lie?? in some ..  Lord I got .. in the graveyard?.
Nobody .. can ?. Lord I gotta? .. in that cold place
Then I got to meet  my ?.  Lord I got to meet my savior ?.
Nobody .. can ?. So Lord I gotta .. my father?
Then I got to stand my ?. Lord I got ..  my trials ?.
Nobody .. can .... Lord I got ta .. in the judgement..
Yet I got to weep that?.  Lord I got? chilly Jordan ?.
Nobody .. can?.Lord I got to .. deep water?
Lord I got to walk that lonesome journey
Lord I got .. ??Jesus??  journey ..
Nobody .. can ?. Lord I got to .. oh Lordy ?.
So now I got to cross cross cross that ?.
Lord I got... Jordon  ?.  Nobody .. can ?.   Lord I got to .. chilly Jordan ?.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Johnm on March 05, 2009, 04:54:46 PM
Hi Tom,
I moved your post over here since there was already a McTell lyrics thread going.
all best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: onewent on March 05, 2009, 07:01:18 PM
Oh, yeah, the lyrics board would make sense  :o
..thanks John.., and feel free to delete my persistent repost back on the 'Licks and Lessons' board .. tw
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Gumbo on May 21, 2011, 03:29:01 PM
wrt Razor Ball I hear

Mighty Chest Charlie (is this the same person as Mighty Big Chief in the second verse?)

Whythathadahit like a good drink of whiskey ..

(i like the Croupier variant idea)

Put your lights out Callie, call fightin the game
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Gumbo on May 21, 2011, 03:36:34 PM
wrt Scarey Day Blues i hear "I wonder could I find .." the word "I" clinches it there - I can't hear the 't' in 'out'
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Gumbo on May 21, 2011, 04:03:16 PM
Let Me Play With Yo' Yo Yo
can anyone clarify the fifth verse?

https://youtu.be/ePod3C2aXQI

Mama let me play with yo' yo-yo
I will let you play with mine
Baby let me play with yo' yo-yo
I like to take my time
I got a brand new yo-yo, brand new string
that's the way to drive the women hearts in pain
Let me play with yo' yo-yo
I'm gonna let you play with mine, I say
I will let you play with mine

Mama let me play with yo' yo-yo
I'll let you play with mine
Baby let me play with your yo-yo string
cause i'm a man like to take my time
you might go east might go west
that's why the women won't let me rest
Let me play with yo' yo-yo
I will let you play with mine, I say
I'm gonna let you play with mine

play that thing for me, Weaver
play it like Miss Cora like it
she like it that way!
she like it so it's good!
do that thing to Miss Kate

Now, Mama let me play with yo' yo-yo
I'm gonna let you play with mine
that's why i'm crazy bout a real yo-yo
? like to take my time
I'm gonna take all my money, throw it up against the wall
I'll take what sticks and you can have what falls
Let me play with yo' yo-yo-yo
I will let you play with mine, I mean
I'm gonna let you play with mine

Baby let me play with yo' yo-yo
I'll let you play with mine
that's why i'm wild about a real good yo-yo
like to take my time
you might throw it in a cadillac, throw it in a Ford
i'll throw the string out on the running board
Let me play with yo' yo-yo
I will let you play with mine, I'm screamin
I'm gonna let you play with mine

Mama Let me play with yo' yo-yo
I'll let you play with mine
that's why i'm wild about a real yo-yo
said she like to take her time
here i stand , against the fence
A woman that mitted ?? ain't got no sense
Let me play with yo' yo-yo
I will let you play with mine, when you want it
I'm gonna let you play with mine


Now baby let me handle your yo-yo string
I'll let you play with mine
that's why I'm wild bout a real yo-yo
y'know i like to take my time
twitch it like a tadpole, snatch it like a frog
what every time i throw the string you got to holler gawd dog
Let me play with yo' yo-yo
I will let you play with mine, I say
I'm gonna let you play with mine
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Gumbo on May 21, 2011, 04:41:14 PM
God Don't Like It
does anyone hear the fourth verse differently?

https://youtu.be/eCF02_fkLvQ

Some say they done cut whiskey out but you can have a little wine
most everybody gets on a drunk by drinking this old moonshine

refrain:
now God don't like it and (I don't either)
now God don't like it and (I don't either)
now God don't like it and (I don't either)
it's scandalous and a shame

some of our members gets on a drunk just to speak their sober minds
and when they raise the Devil, Lord, they put all the blame on shine

refrain

some of our preachers just as bad as the members about this old moonshine
they're trying to make love with every woman they meet just a buyin' and drinkin' shine

refrain

then some of our children got naked and the mothers never go
but the father makes that money by the roll for the women know that shine is gold

refrain

they said this yellow corn makes the best kind of shine
they'd better turn a-that corn to bread and stop that making shine

refrain

I know you don't like this song just because i speak my mind
but i'll sing this song a-just as much as i please because i don't drink shine

refrain

edited for corrections suggested below
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Gumbo on May 22, 2011, 07:47:13 AM
Stomp Down Rider
verse five could use some fresh ears

https://youtu.be/YExPRCehQ9o

When I first met you Mama you was so nice and kind
you done got reckless and changed your mind
but you're the stomp down rider
Now you're the stomp down rider
you're the stomp down rider
but you're much too drunk for me

When i was down south baby i was with my broad
I'm here in Atlanta treated like your dog
Now you're the ...

Now if you don't want me baby don't you dog me around
Now honey chill i can leave your town
Now you're the ...

Now if you don't want me baby give me your right hand
I'll go back to my woman, you go back to your man
Now you're the ...

I even give you my money, baby, ??
I done everything that you require
But you're the ...

whip it a little bit boy

Even hold your head when you're feeling bad
I'll even sing and dance for you when you're sad
But you're the ...

You done come in this morning won't tell me where you been
you got straight lovin goin back again
But you're the ...


I'm walking round baby with my head hung low
look here mama i ain't gonna do right no more
But you're the ...


play it out


I want take me a trip up on the mountain top
come back and show you how to eagle rock
But you're the ...

I liked it cause it's good
play it like it cause it's the same thing

When I first met you Mama you was so nice and kind
you done got reckless and changed your mind
but you're the ...

stand by if you wanna hear it again
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: maddoggirl on May 22, 2011, 09:16:28 AM
Gumbo, for the fourth verse I think I might be hearing:

But the father makes that money by the roll for the women for to shine their soul.

I've also always heard 'stoned or drunk' rather than 'on a drunk'. Just an idea though.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Bunker Hill on May 22, 2011, 10:28:42 AM
But the father makes that money by the roll for the women for to shine their soul.
Bitter experience has taught me to steer clear of lyric debates but I'd venture this:

But the father makes that money by the roll for womens know shine is gold.

Now where's Chris when one needs him?  :)
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Gumbo on May 22, 2011, 11:45:29 AM
Good ears, you two! I hear 'roll' and 'women know that shine is gold' now. Thankee kindly. If there are no dissenters i will edit the text  ;D
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: banjochris on May 22, 2011, 07:06:35 PM
But the father makes that money by the roll for the women for to shine their soul.
Bitter experience has taught me to steer clear of lyric debates but I'd venture this:

But the father makes that money by the roll for womens know shine is gold.

Now where's Chris when one needs him?  :)

Very sleepy today! But I think that's right too!

PS I think 5th verse of "Stomp Down Rider" the missing bit is "I admire"
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Gumbo on May 23, 2011, 04:46:10 AM
thanks Chris
i keep thinking i hear an 'L' in admire which is throwing me
also in verse 3 does honey chill sound right? i guess it is like chil' but it sounds like chill to me

https://youtu.be/zBAL7io09-k

here is You Were Born to Die with some tricky bits!

Ah play that thing boy
I know you're blue

? me a black ?

Don't want no woman
that run around
stay out in the street
act like a fan foot clown

refrain:
You made me love you
and you made me cry
you should remember that you were born to die

some scream high yellah
some says black and brown
I got black woman
she's sweetest woman in town

refrain
play it now for me!
ah do it Auburn Avenue gals ?

Come home this morning
face full of frown
I know by that baby
you been running 'round

refrain

now look here woman
give me your right hand
I go to my woman
you go to your man

refrain

edited for suggestions below
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: maddoggirl on May 23, 2011, 07:47:59 AM
I'm pretty sure the second verse says

'Some scream high yeller
Some says black and brown'

Bit stumped by the first verse though...
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: dj on May 23, 2011, 08:54:33 AM
Don't want no woman that ride around
Stay out in the street acting like a SAND foot clown
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on May 23, 2011, 12:58:46 PM
Don't want no woman that ride around
Stay out in the street acting like a SAND foot clown


I'm pretty sure this is

Don't want no woman that RUN around
Stay out in the street ACT like a FAN-FOOT clown

The "fan-foot" referring to the typical duckfooted clown shoes on a clown, presumably, as opposed to a sand-foot woman.

McTell himself sings a similar verse in Your Time to Worry:

I don't want no woman go and run around
And drink her whisky and act like a fan-foot clown
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Gumbo on May 23, 2011, 01:29:32 PM
thanks guys and gals
it's pretty clearly fan foot in both versions of time to worry ( i love that slower one!)
well spotted uncle bud.
there's not much on google about either fan-foot or sand-foot clowns - this thread is in the top three for both!

I missed the call at the instrumental break which sounds like
"Ah do it Auburn Avenue gals"

Still can't figure that call at the beginning though.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: blueshome on June 15, 2011, 12:46:15 PM
Your Time to Worry. B.W.McTell & Curley Weaver 1933

https://youtu.be/IxNYhfQkWDQ

I don?t need nothing but my overalls, I done trimmed these women and they bound to fall
Your time to worry, my time to live alone, but your reckless disposition, Mama, drove your daddy way from home

I don?t want no woman, goin? to run around, and drink her whiskey, act like a fanfoot clown
Your time to worry, my time to live alone, your reckless disposition, baby, drove a good man away from home

I don?t want no woman with face like a natural man, when she come to your home there?ll be trouble in the land
But let it be her time to worry, my time to live alone, your reckless disposition drove your daddy way from home

Break

Now woman if I had your heart in my hand, I would teach you exactly how to treat a real good man
Because it?s your time to worry, my time to live alone, your reckless disposition drove a good man way from home

I tried to treat you good, tried to treat you right, but you stayed off me woman both day and night
Now it?s your time to worry, my time to live alone, your reckless disposition, honey, drove a good man way from home

Now it?s a mighty sad story, misunderstood, everybody in Atlanta, in my neighborhood
Say it?s your time to worry, my time to live alone, your reckless disposition drove a good man way from home
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: blueshome on June 15, 2011, 01:20:47 PM
While I'm at it.....

https://youtu.be/1-qDwRpVpFQ


Savannah Mama B.W.McTell 1933

Instr. verse

Mmmmm, Lawdy, lawdy, lawd
Mmmmm, Lawdy, lawdy, lawd
The woman I love treats me just like a dog

I love you baby but your ways I just can?t stand
I love you mama but your ways I just can?t stand
Say, you walked away and left me good girl, with another man

Goin back to Savannah mama, sign my initials down
Goin back to Savannah mama, sign my initials down
Atlanta mens all hate me mama, and the women don?t want me round

Goin back to Savannah baby, write my initials on the wall
Goin back to Savannah mama, write my initials on the wall
Cause you know Georgia women don?t mean me no good at all

Play that thing low and lonesome boy!
Instr. verse

Mmmmm, baby it?s hard, it?s hard, it?s hard
Aah, baby ain?t it hard, ain?t it hard, ain?t it hard
I?d like to love you baby but your good man?s got me barred
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Gumbo on July 03, 2011, 06:56:34 AM
I just followed a link posted by JohnLeePimp to a Bukka White recording where he mentions (at about 33s) sand feet women, and how they might cut his throat ...


just saying!
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on July 03, 2011, 07:14:34 AM
Yes, it's been in the weenie quote oracle for many years. Still fan-foot clown though.  :P
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Gumbo on July 03, 2011, 07:23:50 AM
yep i agree on the fan foot in McTell's lyrics

i just thought it was worth mentioning (and i've never seen it pop up in the Weenie quote server oracle thingy! Honest!)
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Maikel on February 23, 2012, 02:00:41 AM
Hello there,

I try to write down some lyrics of "Don't forget it". Does anyone of you get the lyrics.
As English is not my mother tongue I understand let's say 60 % of the song but even if i get "the big picture", it's quite difficult for me.

Blind Willie McTell Don't Forget It (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2NJA2qPnA4#)

Thanks! 8)
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Gumbo on February 23, 2012, 02:44:29 AM
I was going to nip off to work but then i listened and it's such a great song i had to listen again .... :D

Don't Forget It
recorded informally in 1956 in Ed Rhodes' music store. McTell's last session.

Yeah Hello Central give me 2-8-9
I wants to talk to that little angel of mine
Y'hello sugar bunch is this you?
called you to find out what you're  goin-a do
you left your daddy early in the fall
don't come back now don't you come back at all
I love you sugar I swear that's true
don't want your papa then the hell with you
don't forget it, don't forget it
please answer lil angel, tell me what you're goin-a do

I hate to tell it on the telephone
done got tired of lingerin' all alone
days are lonesome and the nights get long
ain't had no right lovin' since you been gone
don't forget it, don't forget it
please answer hot mama, tell me what you're going-a do

sweet and slow
shake me sugar mama til i don't wanna go
an' don't forget it, don't forget it
please answer hot mama, tell me what you're going-a do

play it

gotta put your arms around me like a circle round the sun
stop and think fast i want my lovin done
take time sugar and ease my misery
get right talk baby talk to me
don't forget it, don't forget it
please answer hot mama, tell me what you're going-a do

y'know this is about the last thing i've gotta say
hang up the receiver and be on your way
hurry home woman and love me with a thrill
if you don't some other woman will
don't forget it, don't forget it
please answer pretty mama, tell me what you're going-a do

EDITED to pick up corrections from frankie, below
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Maikel on February 23, 2012, 02:59:40 AM
Wow ! Such a quick response. Thanks a lot!!

And you 're right the song is amazing.  ;D
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: frankie on February 23, 2012, 05:49:35 AM
a couple of suggestions:

Yeah Hello sister give me 2-8-9

HELLO CENTRAL give me 2-8-9

Y'hello sugar but sug?that's you

HELLO sugar BUNCH, IS THIS you?

take time sugar needs? my misery

take time sugar AND EASE my misery
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: banjochris on February 23, 2012, 09:56:40 AM

Savannah Mama B.W.McTell 1933

Goin back to Savannah baby, write my initials on the wall
Goin back to Savannah mama, write my initials on the wall
Cause you know Georgia women don?t mean me no good at all


From a few months ago, but I saw this as I was reading today's new post. I'm pretty sure the last line is "'Cause THESE NORTH Georgia women don't mean me no good at all."
Chris
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Gumbo on February 23, 2012, 10:07:34 AM
... and such good suggestions they are too! Corrected. :)

a couple of suggestions:

Yeah Hello sister give me 2-8-9

HELLO CENTRAL give me 2-8-9

Y'hello sugar but sug?that's you

HELLO sugar BUNCH, IS THIS you?

take time sugar needs? my misery

take time sugar AND EASE my misery
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: pete12string on June 04, 2012, 12:18:56 PM
And the second take.

All for now.
John C.
Broke Down Engine No. 2 [Take 1] and [Take 2]:
Who are these two versions by?
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Gumbo on July 01, 2012, 03:12:32 PM
And the second take.

All for now.
John C.
Broke Down Engine No. 2 [Take 1] and [Take 2]:
Who are these two versions by?

They're by Buddy Moss, Pete
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Gumbo on July 12, 2012, 02:12:57 AM
Bell Street Blues
April 23rd 1935 with Curley Weaver

https://youtu.be/L2a50d6kgzk


I live down in Bell Street alley just as drunk as i can be
I live down in Bell Street alley just as drunk as i can be
seem like those Bell Street crow janes done got rough with me

I drink so much Bell Street whiskey they won't sell Mctell no more
I drink so much Bell Street whiskey they won't sell poor boy Mctell no more
I'm got the cans and glasses, boys, laying all around my door

This Bell Street whiskey make you sleep all in your clothes
This ol' Bell Street whiskey make you sleep all in your clothes
and when you wake up next morning feel like you done laid outdoors

you can get booze down on Bell Street for two bits and half a throw
you can get booze down on Bell Street two bits and half a throw
it'll make you say that your mother an father an the judge break out the jailhouse door

Ah, Play it now
Play it about that Bell Street whiskey
I know you wild about cause I done seen you down there
you won't stay out of Bell Street alley

walked in my room, the other night
man come in, he want to fight
took my gun, my right hand
hold me people I don't want to kill no man
when i said that he rapped me cross my head
the first shot I fired then the man fell dead
Bell Street whiskey drove me to the county jail
got me laying back here on my bunk
nobody in the world'll go my bail

EDITED to include corrections from dj
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: dj on July 12, 2012, 04:30:07 AM
1.3:  Seem like THEM BELL STREET crow janes HAS done got rough with me

2.3:  I'M got the cans and glasses, boys, laying all around my door 

3.1:  THIS bell street whiskey make you sleep all in your clothes
3.2:  THIS ol' bell street whiskey make you sleep all in your clothes

During solo:  (Spoken) AH, PLAY IT NOW
   PLAY IT ABOUT that Bell Street whiskey
   I know you wild about cause I done seen you DOWN there
   You won't stay out of Bell Street alley

Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Gumbo on July 12, 2012, 03:49:21 PM
good ears dj - thankee - I'm making the changes now
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: maddoggirl on August 16, 2012, 10:57:17 AM
The line "Make you say your mother and father..." etc. didn't sound right to me, but listening to the other version he recorded (Bell Street Lightning, more or less the same, but recorded 2 years previously) made me realise that McTell probably misspoke in this recording. The alternate version line is "It'll make you cuss out the judge in the courthouse." which reads a lot clearer.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: frailer24 on September 28, 2012, 04:01:19 AM
Could anyone be able to find the words for the "King Edward Blues"? Thanks a million.

https://youtu.be/A-XyOes7lv0
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Gumbo on September 28, 2012, 11:35:41 AM
Start us off there frailer! If you post what you have so far all sorts of helpful folks will down tools and add suggestions and informative discussion!
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Stuart on September 28, 2012, 03:13:44 PM
It's not in Michael Taft's concordance, but here's the link for those who may not be familiar with his site:

http://www.dylan61.se/taft.htm (http://www.dylan61.se/taft.htm)

Not 100% reliable, but useful none the less.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: frailer24 on September 28, 2012, 03:37:54 PM
Here's what I can remember so far:

Tell me honey, now tell me please,
Is my lover not hard to please?
I'm getting groggy in my knees,
Baby and it must be love.

Funny feelin' reaches up my spine,
My head like cherry wine,
Makes me think the world's all mine,
Baby and it must be love.

I hear church bells ringin',
I see pigeons clear,
I hear the birdies singin',
(?) there's no birdies there
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Gumbo on September 28, 2012, 04:02:46 PM
My apologies, frailer, I didn't realise you didn't have access to a recording. I don't have it either. Hearing the youtube of it I hear it's a version of Honey, It Must Be Love from Pig n Whistle Red CD, which is a nice surprise - great song!

here's the vid
'King Edward Blues' BLIND WILLIE McTELL (1940) Georgia Blues Guitar Legend (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7m5cmlTerd0#)
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: banjochris on September 28, 2012, 04:53:21 PM
It's the Library of Congress (and first) recording of the song, from 1940. Edward VIII abdicated in 1936.

King Edward Blues

McTell: I'm singin' a song that I made myself off the notable, honorable King Edward. "Baby It Must Be Love."

Lomax: Wait, wait a minute. This is Blind Willie ? McTell, playing at Atlanta, Georgia.

Tell me honey, now tell me please
Is my lover now hard to please
I'm gettin' groggy in my knees
Baby and it must be love.

A funny feelin' reaches up my spine,
To my head like cherry wine,
Make me think the world's all mine,
Baby and it must be love.

I hear the church bell ringin'
I see visions clear,
I hear the birdies singin',
I know darn well there's no birdies there.

I don't like your shirts and ties
They don't seem to harmonize
They don't match them big brown eyes,
Baby and it must be love.

Spoken: Beat it out.

Can be a rich man, a poor man, a beggar man, king
It'll make you give up everything,
Every time you feel that sting,
Honey it must be love.

Made a preacher lay his bible down,
Made a rabbit hug a hound,
Made King Edward give up his crown,
Baby and it must be love.

I hear the church bell ringin'
I see visions clear,
I hear the birdies singin',
Know darn well there's no birdies there.

I don't like your shirts and ties
They don't seem to harmonize
They don't match those big brown eyes,
Mama and it must be love.
Baby and it must be love.


Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: frailer24 on September 28, 2012, 09:27:10 PM
Thank you, Chris! And Gumbo, no apology needed.
Title: Lyrics to Blind Willie McTell's "Chainey"
Post by: pete12string on October 23, 2012, 02:07:52 PM
I tried to transcribe the lyrics to Blind Willie McTell's "Chainey".  Any help, comments, suggestions on what I've come up with is greatly appreciated!  I marked one spot (?) in particular that I had no idea what was being sung. 

Thanks in advance!  Pete

https://youtu.be/jmQ0V3fPiH4

Chainey, Chainey, she?s dead and gone
Left me here to carry this good time on
Lord, Lordy, Lordy, Lord
Nobody love me like-a Chainey do

Chainey, Chainey, she?s an angel above
Nobody love me like the girl I love
Oh, Lord, Lord, Lord, Lordy, Lord
Nobody love me like-a Chainey do

Chainey, Chainey, poor girl?s dead
I look on the pillow where she laid her head
Lord, Lord, Lord, Lordy, Lord
Nobody love me like-a Chainey do

Chainey, Chainey, she left me here 
Nothin? more that I?ll have to fear
But a Lord, Lord, Lord, Lordy, Lord
Nobody love me like Chainey do

Poor girl?s dead, ain?t it sad
She left me here now ain?t it bad
Good Lord, Lord, Lord, Lordy, Lord
Nobody love me like Chainey do

Chainey, Chainey, poor girl be gone
Left me here now to weep and moan
 Oh, Lord, Lordy, Lordy, Lord
Nobody love me like Chainey do

Chainey, Chainey, she?s gone down
Nobody here now to take me around
Oh, Lord, Lordy, Lordy, Lord
Nobody love me like-a Chainey do

I even loved her in the summer also in the fall
?Know? a  year she?s my all in all
Oh, Lord, Lordy, Lordy, Lord
Nobody love me like Chainey do

Chainey, Chainey, poor girl?s dead
Go look on the pillow where she laid her head
Oh, Lord, Lordy, Lordy, Lord
Nobody love me like Chainey do

She just left me this afternoon
Let?s go looking, poor girl?s room
Oh, Lord, Lordy, Lordy, Lord
Nobody love me like-a Chainey do

Lord, Lordy, Lord
Nobody love me like-a Chainey do
Title: Re: Lyrics to Blind Willie McTell's "Chainey"
Post by: onewent on October 24, 2012, 10:36:52 AM
I love this song, and love playing it.  I think your lyrics are mostly good..I hear:
v2 "..nobody like her like the girl I love
v3  .."go look on .."
v4 tough one  "..know" is basically what I hear and what seems to make sense
v10 "..let's go look in .."

I'm most unsure about v4 'know' .  I've slowed it down in Transcribe and it's still obscure. 
Hope this helps..Tom
Title: Re: Lyrics to Blind Willie McTell's "Chainey"
Post by: pete12string on October 24, 2012, 02:36:47 PM
Hey Tom,
Thanks for the help.  All of your suggestions sound correct after going back and listening yet again!  I've made those changes.  I still struggle with the line

?Know? a  year she?s my all in all

Anybody with any clue what Mr. McTell is singing here please chime in!

Pete
Title: Re: Lyrics to Blind Willie McTell's "Chainey"
Post by: Gumbo on October 24, 2012, 04:48:59 PM
 don't have this one but youtube does! Well most of it!
[

i'd say the line is "Nobody else, she's my all in all"
Title: Re: Lyrics to Blind Willie McTell's "Chainey"
Post by: Rivers on October 24, 2012, 04:50:51 PM
All I can contribute to the mystery line is an attempted phonetic translation of what I hear, with no attempt to make sense of it:

Knowin' here she's lon', a lon' lon' bar

or

Nobody here she's lon', a lon' lon' bar
Title: Re: Lyrics to Blind Willie McTell's "Chainey"
Post by: Johnm on October 24, 2012, 05:42:43 PM
Sounds like "Love her here, she's my all in all" to me.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Lyrics to Blind Willie McTell's "Chainey"
Post by: Rivers on October 24, 2012, 06:11:10 PM
I concur it might well be 'Love her here . . .'

Not sure about the end of the line, there's something after all-in-all. Maybe '. . . she's my all-in-all, long gone'.

Which makes sense. I think we're getting pretty close.
Title: Re: Lyrics to Blind Willie McTell's "Chainey"
Post by: uncle bud on October 24, 2012, 08:40:28 PM
The end of the line is just "oh lord", the beginning of the next line sung as a pick-up.
Title: Re: Lyrics to Blind Willie McTell's "Chainey"
Post by: onewent on October 25, 2012, 07:00:34 AM
"..nothin' more that I'll have to give"..
Title: Re: Lyrics to Blind Willie McTell's "Chainey"
Post by: banjochris on October 25, 2012, 09:00:10 AM
Thought I'd mention that the tagline in some verses is sung "Nobody rock me like old Chainey do" (and I think it's "like old" in the taglines, not like-a).
Chris
Title: Re: Lyrics to Blind Willie McTell's "Chainey"
Post by: onewent on October 25, 2012, 01:24:30 PM
Chris, agreed, I hear 'rock' three times..

So this song is unusual for BWM in that he's in open D, w/o slide.  Octave 2nd string?  Tom
Title: Re: Lyrics to Blind Willie McTell's "Chainey"
Post by: pete12string on October 25, 2012, 02:05:17 PM
Here's the new and improved version - Thanks to all the input. 
I still can't hear the line
?Know? a  year she?s my all in all
clearly.  After listening to it again and again (what seems like a thousand times!) my best guess is
Now all year she?s my all in all

I think I hear "rock" instead of "love" in v1 but it sounds like "love" in the rest of the verses.  onewent, what verses do you hear "rock"?  The only time I can clearly make out "old Chainey" is the last line.  I'm not so sure about the rest.  But hey - whatever - I think it is pretty close now.  If you think there are spots that are not correct, please let me know.  I'll keep listening - that's half the fun!  Thanks again!!!

Chainey, Chainey, she?s dead and gone
Left me here to carry this good time on
Lord, Lordy, Lordy, Lord
Nobody rock me like-a Chainey do

Chainey, Chainey, she?s an angel above
Nobody like her like the girl I love
Oh, Lord, Lord, Lord, Lordy, Lord
Nobody love me like-a Chainey do

Chainey, Chainey, poor girl?s dead
Go look on the pillow where she laid her head
Lord, Lord, Lord, Lordy, Lord
Nobody love me like-a Chainey do

Chainey, Chainey, she left me here 
Nothin? more that I?ll have to fear
But a Lord, Lord, Lord, Lordy, Lord
Nobody love me like Chainey do

Poor girl?s dead, ain?t it sad
She left me here now ain?t it bad
Good Lord, Lord, Lord, Lordy, Lord
Nobody love me like Chainey do

Chainey, Chainey, poor girl be gone
Left me here now to weep and moan
Oh, Lord, Lordy, Lordy, Lord
Nobody love me like Chainey do

Chainey, Chainey, she?s gone down
Nobody here now to take me around
Oh, Lord, Lordy, Lordy, Lord
Nobody love me like-a Chainey do

I even loved her in the summer also in the fall
Now all year she?s my all in all
Oh, Lord, Lordy, Lordy, Lord
Nobody love me like Chainey do

Chainey, Chainey, poor girl?s dead
Go look on the pillow where she laid her head
Oh, Lord, Lordy, Lordy, Lord
Nobody love me like Chainey do

She just left me this afternoon
Let?s go look in, poor girl?s room
Oh, Lord, Lordy, Lordy, Lord
Nobody love me like-a Chainey do

Lord, Lordy, Lord
Nobody love me like old Chainey do

Title: Re: Lyrics to Blind Willie McTell's "Chainey"
Post by: onewent on October 25, 2012, 02:41:26 PM
v1 'rock me' instead 'love'
v4 'give' instead of 'fear'
v8 'know all year she's my all and all' and 'nobody rock me..' in that verse
Title: Re: Lyrics to Blind Willie McTell's "Chainey"
Post by: Johnm on October 25, 2012, 03:57:10 PM
I think the second line in verse eight is:  "Love her all year, she's my all in all", with "all year" very quick and  slurred together.  I don't hear a "know" or "no" sound at the front end of the line at all.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Lyrics to Blind Willie McTell's "Chainey"
Post by: pete12string on October 25, 2012, 04:05:08 PM
Chris, agreed, I hear 'rock' three times..

So this song is unusual for BWM in that he's in open D, w/o slide.  Octave 2nd string?  Tom

Do you think this was played in Vestapol tuning?  I'm tuned down B to B standard tuning and play it basically out of the "D" chord position.  I'll have to play around with it in Vestapol...
Title: Re: Lyrics to Blind Willie McTell's "Chainey"
Post by: pete12string on October 25, 2012, 04:12:17 PM
I think the second line in verse eight is:  "Love her all year, she's my all in all", with "all year" very quick and  slurred together.  I don't hear a "know" or "no" sound at the front end of the line at all.
All best,
Johnm

John, I think you're right about the "all year" being very quick and slurred together.  "Love her all year" would make sense for that line, but I keep hearing the word "Know" or maybe "Now" - I suppose both "Love" and "Know/Now" having the O sound, might be making me think I hear "Know".  Probably the best thing for now is to give listening to it a break - I think I'll try using your suggestion, "Love her all year".  It makes more sense in the context.

Thanks!
Pete

 
Title: Re: Lyrics to Blind Willie McTell's "Chainey"
Post by: frankie on October 25, 2012, 04:13:33 PM
definitely in vestapol, tuned down to about A or lower. definitely an octave on the 2nd string. the whole LoC session has it.
Title: Re: Lyrics to Blind Willie McTell's "Chainey"
Post by: onewent on October 25, 2012, 04:17:31 PM
John, I agree w/ the 'love her all year' .. fits the summer fall context. ..Frankie, thanks, that's what I suspected..  Tom
Title: Re: Lyrics to Blind Willie McTell's "Chainey"
Post by: uncle bud on October 25, 2012, 06:23:23 PM
I think the second line in verse eight is:  "Love her all year, she's my all in all", with "all year" very quick and  slurred together.  I don't hear a "know" or "no" sound at the front end of the line at all.
All best,
Johnm

John, definitely what I am hearing now as well. And makes the most sense to boot.

Title: Re: Lyrics to Blind Willie McTell's "Chainey"
Post by: Rivers on October 25, 2012, 07:07:25 PM
But there's something after 'all in all' I reckon. 'Long gone' or 'done gone' are my guesses, without counting syllables, which I may do when I get through blocking the juke dedication spammer.
Title: Re: Lyrics to Blind Willie McTell's "Chainey"
Post by: Johnm on October 25, 2012, 07:32:03 PM
The end of the line is just "oh lord", the beginning of the next line sung as a pick-up.

The above is what follows the line, Mark.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Lyrics to Blind Willie McTell's "Chainey"
Post by: Rivers on October 25, 2012, 08:02:56 PM
Got it. I'll listen again.
Title: Re: Lyrics to Blind Willie McTell's "Chainey"
Post by: pete12string on October 26, 2012, 08:24:12 AM
definitely in vestapol, tuned down to about A or lower. definitely an octave on the 2nd string. the whole LoC session has it.


Frank,

What's the "LoC session"?  I'd be interested in checking it out!

Thanks,
Pete
Title: Re: Lyrics to Blind Willie McTell's "Chainey"
Post by: mr mando on October 26, 2012, 08:43:47 AM
What's the "LoC session"?

Library of Congress session = 1940 Lomax recordings, available e.g. in Document BDCD-6001
Title: Re: Lyrics to Blind Willie McTell's "Chainey"
Post by: pete12string on October 26, 2012, 10:46:32 AM
L(ibrary)o(f) C(ongress) Sessions - turns out that's the recording of "Chainey" that I have.  I guess that's Lomax at the beginning of the recording saying "Go ahead and play it". 

Also, I tried it out tuning down to A Vestapol - that's it!  It flows out so smoothly now.  Thanks for that tip!!!  Great stuff.   :)
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Johnm on November 08, 2012, 06:39:21 PM
Hi all,
I merged the thread on Willie McTell's "Chainey" into the existing Willie McTell Lyrics thread.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Laura on July 01, 2014, 12:17:33 PM
Talkin' To You Mama - Pig 'n Whistle Red

https://youtu.be/rqeAFnYVBkw

--------------------------------------------------------------
I wonder why the rooster, crows early in the morning 'fore day
Let the hustling man know that the working man is on his way

She'll get up in the morning, about an hour and a half 'fore day
Say she'll give you your breakfast, then rush you away

She'll say come in sweet papa, come o'er work-ox done gone
But I swear she can't tell when work-ox coming back home

That one thing about women,  I ain't never learned to understand
Cook corn bread for the husband, biscuit for the doggone man

I've got two women, swear ya can't tell 'em apart
I got one in my bosom, the other one in my heart

Oh now the one in my bosom, somewhere in Tennessee
But the one in my heart, don't give a darn for me

Now I got three women, that's a yella, brown and black
Take the governor of the U.S to judge the one I like

One of (them) Tennessee yella, one's an Alabama brown
One of 'em a Florida black, yeah, she'll turn ya damper down

Play it!

Well you can't watch your wife, watch your kid-gal, too
But you're watching that kid-gal, I'm telling what that wife might do

Now the rooster he's outdoors, just praying to the hen upstairs
You can (get) another man, but I'm a get me another girl

I want all you men, strictly understand
every front-door woman have a doggone back-door man

Play it!

I used to say a married woman, was the sweetest woman ever was born
Then would break your heart, the booger(?) got to go back home

Now love ain't nothing, single women loving married men
Well It'll do for a while, but It'll jam you at the end

I wanna tell you, hot mama, exactly who I am
When I walk out of my front door, hear my back door slam (Now play it)

Lord, Lord, Lord, Lord, Lord
--------------------------------------------------------
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: jtbrown on July 01, 2014, 02:19:24 PM
In the seventh verse, I think that's "Take the governor of the U.S. to judge the one I like"; also, I'm hearing the ninth verse as

Well you can't watch your wife, watch your kid-gal, too
While you're watching that kid-gal, no telling what that wife might do

Todd Brown
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Laura on July 02, 2014, 02:30:34 AM
Thanks for the help, Todd.  I've changed those parts.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: blueshome on October 12, 2014, 08:05:58 AM
Bell Street Lightnin - Willie McTell 1933

https://youtu.be/qL9kcrS3UnI

Gumbo put up the 1935 version "Bell St.Blues" a couple of years ago.
The song is clearly based on Sloppy Henry's "Canned Heat Blues" recorded in Atlanta in 1928. (Posted separately)

I lay down in Bell Street,  just as drunk as I can be
I'm down in Bell Street,  just as drunk as I can be
Seems like them Bell St. crow janes done got rough with me

She'lldrink so much Bell St. whiskey they won't sell her no more
I drink so much Bell St. whiskey they won't sell her no more
Got the cans and the labels lying all around her door

This Bell St. whiskey'll make you sleep all in your clothes
This Bell St. whiskey'll make you sleep all in your clothes
When you wake up next morning, feel like you have laid outdoors

You can get some booze down on Bell St. at two bits and a half a pint
You can get booze down on Bell St. at two bits and a half a pint
Say it'll make you [cuss the judge] out the jailhouse door

Walked in my room, the other night
Man come in, he want to fight
Took my gun, my right hand
Hold me people, I don't want to kill no man
We I said that, rapped me across my head
The first shot I fired and the man fell dead
I said canned heat whisky drove me to the county jail
Got me laid back here in my bunk and got nobody to go my bail
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Gumbo on December 07, 2014, 05:35:53 PM
 Wee Midnight Hours from the Pig n Whistle Red album featuring Curley Weaver on guitar and harmony vocal. Beautiful. EDIT: ACTually it's Weaver singing lead and McTell singing harmony.

https://youtu.be/QR_nyeub_LQ

It was in the wee wee midnight hours, long about the break of day, of day, of day
It was in the wee midnight hours, long about the break of day, of day, of day
Say it's when the blues creep down on you and carry your mind away, away, away

Have your mind been a-rambling back to the days of long ago, ago, ago
Have your mind been a-rambling back in the days of long ago, ago, ago
back to the one that you love but you don't see them anymore, no more, no more

Skee lee dee whoa whoa de whoa ho etc

Ah blues why do you worry, why do you stay with me so long, so long, so long
Oh blues why do you worry, why do you stay with me so long, so long, so long
you came to me yesterday and stay with me all night long, so long, so long

I went down to the graveyard fell down on my knees, my bended knees
I went down to the graveyard fell down on my knees, my knees, my knees
I asked the Good Lord above give me back my rider please, lord have mercy on me

thanks to  banjochris for picking out the difficult bit
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: ScottN on December 08, 2014, 09:01:03 AM
Hi Gumbo,

A great song. In 1.3 I hear SAID vs "safe.". I think your start on verse 3 is spot on, you should finish it out ;-)

Thanks,
           Scott
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Gumbo on December 08, 2014, 04:30:31 PM
Thanks, Scott. I noticed that you added this song to the harmonies thread when i searched for the lyric. It is indeed a great song.

1.3 I listened again (and again) i definitely hear an F sound in there rather than a D - how do you feel about ...

Say if when the blues scream ...

I did muse over getting the third verse verbatim so i could perform it live and one day some weenie would recognise the devotion involved! :)
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: banjochris on December 09, 2014, 10:37:09 AM
I hear 1.3 pretty clearly as

Say it's when the blues creep down on you...

Chris
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Gumbo on February 12, 2015, 02:58:17 PM
Oops! Thought I'd replied to this. Thanks Banjochris, that makes sense and sounds right.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Johnm on June 03, 2015, 05:37:49 PM
Hi all,
Blind Willie McTell accompanied himself out of C position for "Hillbilly Willie's Blues", a sort of re-written version of the Crawdad Song.  Uncle Dave Macon did a similar such song called "Governor Al Smith".

https://youtu.be/P1IjWtuZfYA

SOLO

Roosevelt is a mighty fine man, darling
Roosevelt is a mighty fine man, darling
Roosevelt is a mighty fine man, got to be the President of our land, darling

My baby got a diamond ring, darling
My baby got a diamond ring, darling
My baby got a diamond ring, poor me ain't got a doggone thing, darling

SOLO

My baby got a Cadillac 8, darling
My baby got a Cadillac 8, darling
My baby got a Cadillac 8, poor me ain't got nowhere to stay, darling

My baby got a house and a lot, darling
My baby got a house and lot, darling
My baby got a house and lot, poor me ain't got doodly-squat, darling

SOLO

Moonshine been here long enough, darling
Moonshine been here long enough, darling,
Moonshine been here long enough, let's get right and drink up this stuff, darling

Came all the way from Arkansas, darling
Came all the way from Arkansas, darling
Came all the way from Arkansas, just barefoot as a darn yard dog, darling

SOLO

Ten dollar bill and a bottle of beer, darling
Ten dollar bill and a bottle of beer, darling
Ten dollar bill and a bottle of beer, I wish, by gosh, my honey was here, darling

I got a gal in the white folks' yard, darling
I got a gal in the white folks' yard, darling
I got a gal in the white folks' yard, she don't drink liquor but she do play cards, darling

SOLO

Edited 6/3 to pick up correction from banjochris

All best,
Johnm

 
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: banjochris on June 03, 2015, 09:20:55 PM
John, one suggestion:
Came all the way from Arkansas, just barefoot as a darn yard dog, darling.

Chris
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Johnm on June 03, 2015, 09:59:44 PM
Thanks very much for the fix, Chris.  I wasn't at all happy with what I had there, and hoped someone would set me straight.  Thanks for doing that.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: banjochris on June 04, 2015, 09:59:25 AM
Willie sings "Arkansas" exactly the same way Paul McCartney sings "saw" in "Till There Was You"!  ;)
Chris
Title: Blind Willie McTell: Dyin' Gambler Lyrics
Post by: lareth on July 27, 2015, 04:38:22 AM
Hey, I've gotten everything except the last verse completely, but I would appreciate if someone could write down the entire song here!

Thanks guys!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8Ni_osTtls (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8Ni_osTtls)
Title: Re: Blind WIllie McTell: Dyin' Gambler Lyrics
Post by: Johnm on July 27, 2015, 06:07:01 AM
Hi lareth,
Standard procedure at Weenie Campbell for folks requesting assistance with lyrics is for them to enter what they already have, and then have other folks contribute their ideas.  It's an indication that the person requesting help has already made a good faith effort to get as far as they could with the lyrics, and is not just asking other people to do their work for them.  You understand. 
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Blind WIllie McTell: Dyin' Gambler Lyrics
Post by: lareth on August 05, 2015, 12:58:35 PM
Ah right, I apologize, here is where I am!




I'll tell you of a poor young man who gambling night and day

he fell sick down on his death bed he tried but he could not pray

His friends all left him one for one and he began to cry

boys oh boys dont leave me now I believe I'm going to die


Chorus


One man turned round and looked at him and says to him oh well

I believe myself youre going to die and if you do you're going to hell

His body began to grow so weak and his frame began to shake

he says to the man who ran the game now I see my mistake


I always thought I was a fool my conscious had me told

While I was trying to be someone the devil had won my soul


Chorus


Don't take my body to no church house and ... remains

Somebody will think that I am satan and hell I'll be in pain

----------------------

And gamblers if you do not change I'll meet you when you come to hell

Chorus
Title: Re: Blind WIllie McTell: Dyin' Gambler Lyrics
Post by: Lastfirstface on August 06, 2015, 07:58:43 AM
"Don't take my body to no church house and say nothing over my remains"

"My dice and cards will be burning my hand I can see they know it well"
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Johnm on August 15, 2015, 12:54:37 PM
Hi all,
I merged the recent thread on "Dyin' Gambler Blues" into the Willie McTell Lyrics thread.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Johnm on November 19, 2015, 10:34:23 AM
Hi all,
Blind Willie McTell played "Mama, 'Tain't Long Fo' Day" out of Spanish tuning with a slide, sounding in F#.  The song ends up having the same melody as "KC Moan", though the feel is altogether different, and it is a hauntingly beautiful performance, played with tremendous nuance.  Here it is:

https://youtu.be/KHwMdVSSEAE

Wake up, mama, don't you sleep so hard
Wake up, mama, don't you sleep so hard
For it's these old blues, walkin' all over your yard

I've got these blues, reason I'm not satisfied
I've got these blues, I'm not satisfied
That's the reason why I stole away and cried

Blues grabbed me at midnight and didn't turn me loose 'til day
Blues grabbed me at midnight, didn't turn me loose 'til day
I didn't have no mama to drive these blues away

The big star fallin', mama, it ain't long fo' day
The big star fallin', mama, 'tain't long fo' day
Maybe the sunshine'll drive these blues away

SOLO (Spoken: Oh, come here quick.  Come on, mama, you know I got you.)

Mmm-hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm
Mmm-mmm-mmm, hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm
Mmm-hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm

SOLO

All best,
Johnm

 
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: banjochris on November 19, 2015, 10:43:18 AM
Couple suggestions on "Mama," John.

2.1 I've got these blues, REASON I'm not satisfied
4.3 MAYBE THE SUNSHINE'LL drive these blues away

Such a beautiful song, as you say John. Worth also noting that it's one of the four songs (plus one alt. take) that McTell recorded on a six-string guitar.
Chris
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Johnm on November 19, 2015, 11:13:53 AM
Thanks for the catches, Chris.  I re-listened and they're all spot on--no surprise!  I will make the changes.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Johnm on November 19, 2015, 01:08:17 PM
Hi all,
I was surprised to find today that in a thread devoted to Blind Willie McTell's lyrics, with close to 34,000 hits, nobody has ever even attempted to transcribe his "Statesboro Blues".  He played it in dropped-D tuning, D position, and it was his first performance I ever heard, on the old Samuel Charters-curated "The Country Blues" album on RBF.  I'll never forgot the feeling when Willie McTell comes in singing--wow!  Here is his recording of the song:

https://youtu.be/9k7HnBUPKms

SOLO

Wake up, mama, turn your lamp down low
Wake up, mama, turn your lamp down low
Have you got the nerve to drive Papa McTell from your door?

My Mother died and left me reckless, my Daddy died and left me wild, wild, wild
Mother died and left me reckless, Daddy died and left me wild, wild, wild
Know I'm not good-lookin', but I'm some sweet woman's angel child

She's a mighty mean woman, do me this-a way
She's a mighty mean woman, do me this-a way
When I leave this time, pretty mam', I'm goin' away to stay

Once loved a woman better than anyone I'd ever seen
I once loved a woman, better than I'd ever seen
Treated me like I was a king and she was a doggone queen

Sister, tell your brother, brother, tell your auntie, now, auntie, tell your uncle
Uncle, tell my cousin, now, cousin, tell my friends
Goin' up the country, mama, don't you want to go?
May take me a fair brown, may take one or two more

Big 80 left Savanna, Lord, it did not stop, You oughta saw that colored fireman when he got the boiler hot
You can reach over in the corner, mama, and hand me my travelin' shoes
You know by that I've got them Statesboro Blues

Papa, sister got 'em, auntie got 'em, brother got 'em, friends got 'em, I got 'em
I woke up this mornin', we had them Statesboro Blues
I looked over in the corner, Grandma and Grandpa had 'em, too

OUTRO

Edited 11/19 to pick up correction from Harry

All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: harry on November 19, 2015, 01:14:40 PM
When I leave this town

When I leave this time
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Johnm on November 19, 2015, 01:16:39 PM
Thanks for the catch, Harry.  I've never heard that right.  I'll make the change.
All best,
Johnm
Title: River of Jordan - Mctell
Post by: harriet on February 28, 2017, 01:53:55 PM
Hi All - Here's both versions of Blind Willie Mctell's "River of Jordan" as accurately as I could transcribe them:

I Got To Cross That River Of Jordan
(1940)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpUTj55ovZ8

I got to cross... that?
Lord, I got to cross there for myself
There?s nobody here can cross that for me
Lord, I got to ... there for my...

And I got to meet my dear old my mother
I got to meet her for my...
There?s nobody here can meet her for me
Lord, I got to meet her for my...

I got to stand my?
I got to stand there for myself
There?s nobody here can stand there  for me
Lord I got to...here for myself

Jordan river is?
I got to cross there for my...
There?s nobody... can cross there for me
Lord, I got to ... there for my....

BREAK

I got to face my dear savior
I got to face Him for my...
There?s nobody here can face Him for me
Lord, I got to face Him ...

And I got to work soul salvation
Lord, I got to ...that for myself
There's nobody here can work that for me
Lord I got to work out for my....

BREAK

So I got to meet my loving father
I got to meet him for my...
There?s nobody here can meet him...
Lord I got to ... him for my....

BREAK
Ain't nobody here can...
Lord, I got to stand there for myself

So I got to lie in some lonesome graveyard
I got to lie there for my...
There?s nobody here can lie there for me
Lord, I got to lie there for my...
.................................................................................
.................................................................................
I Got To Cross That River Of Jordan
(1949)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4S16XoDYYg

In this version the guitar/vocal alternates for the complete verse. I used dots to indicate the guitar, but the guitar represents not only unsung words, sometimes it echoes the sung words and sometimes its a filler

I got to cross? that.?
I got... O Jordan?
Nobody here.. can...
Lord, I got...river of Jordan?
That  Jordan river is?cold and chilly
Lord I got...I got  to cross it?
Nobody... can...
Lord, I got to ... chilly Jordan?

And I got to love...and some?
Lord I got...in the graveyard?
Nobody ....can?
Lord I got...in the cold clay?

And I got to meet my ....
Lord I got to meet my savior?
Nobody... can...
Lord I got to ...my father?

And I got to stand my?
Lord I  got...my trial?
Nobody ...can?
Lord I got to ...in the judgement..

And I got to wade...that?
Lord I've got  ...chilly Jordan
Nobody...can...
Lord I got to....before?

I got to walk that lonesome journey,
Lord I got...to this journey?
Nobody...can...
Lord I got to...oh Lordy?

And I got to cross cross cross that?
Lord I got...Jordan?
No I ain't...can...
Lord I got...chilly Jordan?

..........................................................
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Johnm on April 04, 2017, 06:53:49 AM
Hi all,
I merged Harriet's recent thread on Willie McTell's "River of Jordan" lyrics into this thread.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Chezztone on November 09, 2017, 01:22:26 PM
OK, folks -- I don't see anyone else's take on the lyrics to this marvelous song on here. Here is mine. Questions:
-- Is it really McTell playing slide and Weaver backing him as the liner notes to Yazoo 1037 say? I'd think it's vice versa, especially since the non-slide guitar sounds like McTell's familiar 12-string.
-- Anyone heard "goo loo loo" in any other songs? Is it a dance? Love it but this is the only time I've heard it. It's in two verses here.
-- The final verse is the mysterious one, the one I'm not sure at all of my transcription of. Help/interpretation with that? Thanks! Ch.

https://youtu.be/vqRQFYW9qRo

It?s a Good Little Thing
Willie McTell

Looka here, mama, just a word or two
Could I get you to let?s goo loo loo?
Cause it?s a good little thing
And it?s a good little thing
And it?s a good little thing and it?s just right for me

Look here, mama, just don?t stop
I ain?t gonna be your other man?s stumblin? block

Wait just a minute let?s get this right
We gon? goo loo until broad daylight

Goin to Savannah, make some jack
Hold that cat till I get back

What is that mama you got in that sack?
It?s got hair on it and I believe it?s a cat

Well it looks pretty much like Santa Claus
Best little somethin I?ve ever saw

Look here mama, just like a law
She gets shook it?s like a shaggy dog.
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Johnm on November 09, 2017, 01:53:31 PM
Hi Chez,
I think the last verse is:
   Look here, mama, just like a log
   She gets to shook it like a shaggy dog

All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: snakehips on November 13, 2017, 02:48:05 PM
Hi there !

East St. Louis Blues

https://youtu.be/-S4gHtVTYMg

Don?t laugh, but I?ve always thought that in the 3rd verse, McTell sings :

She tried to, make me bleed,
By the ramblings of her tongue,
Where the sun don?t ever, ever shine !

Not convinced he was talking about THAT though !

Sorry, for lowering the tone !
Delete as appropriate !!
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Chezztone on December 01, 2017, 07:34:07 PM
Some corrections/comments on "Scarey Day Blues":
1.1. I wants to wait around here, baby, until your fried pieS get ON.
2.2. I wonder could I find a woman...
6.3. BUT she's a hotshot mama...
And yes, "my black self" = myself. No hidden meaning there. It and similar phrases are in other blues songs with same meaning.
Love this song! Thanks. Cheers, Chezz
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Johnm on September 03, 2018, 08:58:42 AM
Hi all,
For "Writing Paper Blues", Blind Willie McTell accompanied himself out of E position in standard tuning.  As he starts his intro, he sounds like he is channeling Sylvester Weaver instrumentally, and it really isn't until the end of the first verse, when he goes up the neck and plays an E chord out of the "long A" position that he sounds more like himself instrumentally.  Willie McTell accelerates markedly over the course of his rendition and routinely "goes long" in his instrumental responses to his vocal lines.  Here is the song:

https://youtu.be/y-vJg_AmK8E

INTRO

I wrote you a letter, mama, put it in your front yard
I wrote you a letter, put it in your front yard
I would love to come to see you, but your good man's got me barred

Ah, you wrote me a letter, to come back to Newport News
You wrote me a letter, mama, come back to Newport News
To leave the town and don't spread the news

I wrote you a letter, mama, sent you a telegram
I wrote you a letter, mama, and sent you a telegram
Not to meet me in Memphis, but meet me in Birmingham

Mmmmm, hear my weeps and moans
Mmmmm, hear my weeps and moans
Honey, hear my pleading, hear my grieve and groan

GUITAR INTERLUDE

I, I wanna get me one more drink of boo-ooze
If I could get me one more drink of boo-ooze
I guess it would ease these old writin' paper blues

I caught a freight train special and my mama caught a passenger behind
Caught a freight train special and my mama caught a passenger behind
"Lord, you can't quit me, papa, there's no need in tryin'."

All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Johnm on September 03, 2018, 09:42:00 AM
Hi all,
Willie McTell's "Drive Away Blues" starts out instrumentally as a cover of Lemon Jefferson's "Right of Way Blues", but soon ventures into territory that Lemon's song never visited.  I think this is one of the very greatest of Willie McTell's performances in E position standard tuning, really kind of epic in its scope.  The way he repeats the end of the first two lines of most verses has a wonderful ruminative quality.  Here is his performance of "Drive Away Blues":

https://youtu.be/fvWnn0ufX5A

INTRO

I believe that if I had my sweet woman's heart in my hand, in my hand
I believe that if I had my sweet woman's heart in my hand, in my hand
I believe I could teach her how to treat a real good man

I drink so much whiskey, mama, I can hardly talk, hardly talk, sweet mama, hardly talk
I drink so much whiskey, I can hardly talk, hardly talk
What it's done, addled on my brains, people, I can't hardly walk

How my poor heart weeped and worried, baby, when you drove me 'way, drove me 'way, sweet mama, you drove me 'way
How my poor heart weeped and worried, baby, when you drove me 'way,
You will cry for poor boy McTell, some old rainy day

GUITAR INTERLUDE

Goin' up on the Lookout Mountain, down to Niagna [sic] Falls, Niagna Falls, sweet mama, Niagna Falls
Goin' up on the Lookout Mountain and look down to Niagna Falls, Niagna Falls
Seem like to me I can hear my Atlanta mama call, I hear her call

Don't fret and worry and don't grieve after me, sweet mama, after me
Don't grieve and worry and don't fret after me, after me
Don't you scream and cry, 'cause I'm goin' back to Tennessee

INTERLUDE (Spoken: Ah boy, play the Drive Away Blues for me.  That's all I know)

Can't read and write, can't even spell my name, spell my name, I know, spell my name
Can't read and write, can't even spell my name
You've drove me away and you drove my heart insane (Spoken: But I won't be back no more, mama.)

Edited 9/5 to pick up correction from banjochris

All best,
Johnm

 
 


Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Johnm on September 03, 2018, 10:18:37 AM
Hi all,
For "Stomp Down Rider", Willie McTell was playing out of G position in standard tuning, and it is a ripping up-tempo number.  Here it is:

https://youtu.be/0eSueb9h3-E

INTRO SOLO

When I first met you, mama, you was so nice and kind, you done got reckless and changed your mind
REFRAIN: Now you's a stomp down rider, now you's a stomp down rider
You's a stomp down rider, but you're 'most too drunk for me

When I was down South, baby, I was with my broad, I'm here in Atlanta, treated like a dog
REFRAIN: Now you's a stomp down rider, now you's a stomp down rider
You's a stomp down rider, but you're 'most too drunk for me

Now if you don't want me, baby, don't you dog me around, my home ain't here and I can leave your town
REFRAIN: Now you's a stomp down rider, now you's a stomp down rider
You's a stomp down rider, but you're 'most too drunk for me

Now if you don't want me, baby, give me your right hand, I'll go back to my woman, you go back to your man
REFRAIN: Now you's a stomp down rider, now you a stomp down rider
You's a stomp down rider, but you're 'most too drunk for me

I even give you my money, baby, I admire, I done all for you that you require
REFRAIN: Now you's a stomp down rider, now you's a stomp down rider
You's a stomp down rider, but you're 'most too drunk for me (Spoken: Whip it a little bit, boy.)

SOLO

Even hold your head when you're feelin' bad, sing and dance for you when you're sad
REFRAIN: But you's a stomp down rider, but you's a stomp down rider
You's a stomp down rider, but you're 'most too drunk for me

You done come in this mornin', you won't tell me where you been, you got strange lovin', goin' back again
REFRAIN: But you's a stomp down rider, yes, you's a stomp down rider
You's a stomp down rider, but you're 'most too drunk for me

I was walkin' around, baby, with my head hung low, look here, mama, I ain't gon' do right no more
REFRAIN: But you's a stomp down rider, but you's a stomp down rider
You's a stomp down rider, but you're 'most too drunk for me (Spoken: Play it out.)

SOLO

I want take me a trip aboard these mountaintops, come back and show you how to Eagle Rock
REFRAIN: But you's a stomp down rider, but you's a stomp down rider
You's a stomp down rider, but you're 'most too drunk for me

INTERLUDE (Spoken: I like that 'cause it's good. Play it like it's 'cause the same thing.)

When I first met you, mama, you was so nice and kind, but you done got reckless and changed your mind
REFRAIN: But you's a stomp down rider, yes you's a stomp down rider
You's a stomp down rider, but you're 'most too drunk for me (Spoken: Stand by, gonna hear it again.)

All best,
Johnm

   
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: banjochris on September 05, 2018, 09:58:54 AM
One suggestion on "Drive Away," John --

The fourth verse I believe should be:

Goin' up on the Lookout Mountain and look down to Niagna Falls
etc.

It's easier to hear on the repeated line.

Chris
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Johnm on September 05, 2018, 10:16:31 AM
Thanks very much for the catch, Chris, you are certainly right.  I'm in a crazy lyric transcription jag for a couple of book projects I'm going to be doing, and I really appreciate the help.
All best,
John
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Johnm on January 22, 2019, 01:49:19 PM
Hi all,
"Don't Forget It" can be found on "Blind Willie McTell--Last Session", originally issued on Prestige Bluesville.  Willie McTell accompanied himself out of E position in standard tuning on the song, but sounding in the key of G#, so he was tuned a full minor 6th low--that is low!  I think he must have strung his guitar very heavily, because it is not bottoming out or buzzing in the course of his rendition, despite being tuned so low.  He begins the first verse with a very long lyric break, 15 bars, the last of which has six beats, before finally resolving to his IV chord for the chorus of the song.  The other verses follow a more conventional format.  Here is "Don't Forget It":

https://youtu.be/s2NJA2qPnA4

INTRO

"Hello Central, give me 289, I wants to talk to that little angel of mine."
"Hello, Sugar Bunch, is this you?  Called you to find out what you're gonna do.
You left your daddy early in the Fall. Don't come back now, don't you come back at all.
I love you, sugar, I swear that's true. Don't want your papa, then the hell with you,
REFRAIN: And don't forget it.  Don't forget it.
Please answer, little angel, tell me what you're going to do."

"I hate to tell it on the telephone, done got tired of lingerin' all alone.
Days are lonesome and the nights get long, ain't had my right lovin' since you been gone,
REFRAIN: Don't forget it.  Don't forget it.
Please answer, hot mama, tell me what you're going to do."

"Sweet and slow, shake me, sugar mama 'til I don't wanta go
REFRAIN: And don't forget it.  Don't forget it.
Please answer, hot mama, tell me what you're going to do."

SOLO (Spoken: Play it)

"You got to put your arms around me like a circle 'round the sun.  Stop and think fast--I want my lovin' done.
Take time, sugar, to ease my misery.  Get right, talk, baby talk to me,
REFRAIN: Don't forget it.  Don't forget it.
Please answer, hot mama, tell me what you're going to do."

You know, this is about the last thing I got to say, hang up the receiver and be on your way.
Hurry home, woman, and love me with a thrill.  If you don't, some other woman will.
REFRAIN: And don't forget it.  Don't forget it.
Please answer, pretty mama, tell me what you're gong to do."

All best,
Johnm






Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Johnm on January 23, 2019, 12:23:28 PM
Hi all,
Willie McTell played "Kill It Kid" on his last sessions out of G position in standard tuning, sounding at B, tuned around a minor 6th low, as he was for that entire session.  The song is a simple, VI7-II-V7-I progression, E7-A-D7-G, but Willie McTell's timing is anything but simple; it is quite asymmetrical, mostly because he is singing with spoken interjections, so that he gets this sort of "singer-and-peanut-gallery" effect rolled into one.  Here is McTell's "Last Session" version of "Kill It Kid":

https://youtu.be/VvoUBNXtZNI

SPOKEN:  "Kill It, Kid", that come from Miami.  I wrote that for a yankee, and we used to stay in New York.  We used to hang out there in the ser, servant quarters, you know?  And he come in there and he could drink more liquor than two men--and his son was the same way.  Say, what was his name?  Little man, his name was Josh Barbera (chuckle) his name was Josh Barbera.  He would come in there and all the rest of 'em would get to dancin', you know, and carryin' on fun, and he'd holler, "Kill it, kid!", and that's the way I started that song.  Well, I'll play it.

INTRO SOLO

Down in Miami on Second Avenue, men showin' boys and gals what they can do about
Kill it, kid.  Hot mama, let's kill it, kid

Down on the Avenue, Canfield Hall, you find Kelly is the King of the Ball, (Spoken: Take it easy)
You got to teach 'em how to kill it, kid

You know, Sister Kate took brother Moe, bounced him around across the floor, tryin' to
Kill it, kid.  Tryin' to teach him how to kill it, kid

Set down, gal, take a drink of this pint, Kelly be here directly, to kick the joint, he gonna
Kill it, kid.  Take the floor and kill it kid

Set down, gal, take a shot of this pint, Kelly be here directly, to kick the joint, he gonna
Kill it, kid.  Take the floor and kill it, kid

But you can kick it in the country, won't cost you a dime, you get in town, Buddy, it's a forty dollar fine
Kill it, kid.  Get out of town to kill it, kid

Papa got a Cadillac, Mama got a Buick, Sister got mad because she wouldn't do it
Kill it, kid.  Hot mama, kill it, kid

She was shakin' the Cadillac, rockin' the Ford, do the right jumpin' on the runnin' board (Spoken: Rock hard!)
Don't jump, kill it, kid

I realize you're a little old, eleven years, not too old, gal, to shift them gears (Spoken: And on a wheel)
Quit turnin' and kill it, kid

You know, I'm crazy 'bout your lovin', a fool about you a lot. Don't come crazy 'bout the wobble you got (Spoken: quit switchin'!)
Don't shimmy!  Kill it, kid

Take that trip on the mountaintop, show these Florida women how to Eagle Rock (Spoken: Spread your wings!)
Don't flock!  Kill it, kid

You got to dodge your Ma, dodge your Pa, go to Florida and dodge this Georgia law, then you can kill it, kid
Down there, you can kill it, kid

Sit in the corner, gal, make some toddy, 'Cause we gon' get high and drunk everybody (Spoken: Then we're gonna kill it, kid)
Get loaded, kill it, kid

You don't believe I'll swing you right, take me to your castle, let's sing all night, 'round the table
Getting' mellow, let's kill it, kid

SOLO (Spoken:  Play it!)

Now you're gonna twist it like a tadpole, wobble like a frog, every time I kick it you'll holler, "Got dog!"
Kill it, kid.  Hot mama, let's --

Edited 1/23 to pick up corrections from Dave Kaatz
Edited 3/10 to pick up corrections from banjochris

All best,
Johnm

 
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: David Kaatz on January 23, 2019, 03:40:13 PM
McTell recorded this a few times. I just listened to the version from Atlanta Twelve String and Last Session, the former closely tracks to the lyrics you posted.  No spoken intro though. A couple corrections, that I hear, based on both versions:

You know, I'm crazy 'bout your lovin', a fool about you a lotion't come your life, dog-gone crazy 'bout the wobble you got (Spoken: quit switchin'!)
Don't shimmy!  Kill it, kid

Take that triple and modern trip on the mountain top, show these Florida women how to Eagle Rock (Spoken: Spread your wings!)
Don't flock  fly!  Kill it, kid

I don't know about "fly", on one version it sounds like "fly", the other it sounds more like "flock". To me fly makes more sense.

Also, on YouTube there is a version posted with a picture of the Last Session album, but the version is from Atlanta Twelve String.  I found the entire Last Session album on YouTube and listened to it that way.
https://youtu.be/pvcl3_DHJI0?t=526
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Johnm on January 23, 2019, 03:56:29 PM
Thanks for the help, Dave.  I typed that in really fast when I had to go somewhere soon and I have a spellcheck on my computer that does some really odd things, like "lotion't".  I am hearing "flock" rather than "fly" on this version, and not hearing "doggone".  I made corrections with the rest off what you suggested.  I also edited in the version I transcribed, from McTell's "Last Session".  Thanks!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Johnm on February 24, 2019, 11:26:31 AM
Hi all,
Willie McTell recorded "Murderer's Home Blues" for the Library of Congress in 1940, I believe, accompanying himself out of D position in dropped-D tuning.  Incidentally, kudos to banjochris and Frank Basile for the Blind Willie McTell Keys and Positions in the Musicianship section of Weeniepedia.  It was really yeoman's work, great work, made all the trickier in as much as Willie McTell started playing with an octave B string in addition to his octave G string some time around 1940 or a bit earlier, making playing position identifications considerably more difficult than they would have been had he not employed that tuning scheme.  Here is "Murderer's Home Blues":

https://youtu.be/jPqi5y_EI00

INTRO

I did all I could, baby, satisfy your mind, when I wake up every mornin', you got me moanin' and cryin'
REFRAIN: Tryin' to send me to the chain gang, back to the murderer's home
I'd've been in a better shape, mama, if I let that reckless woman alone

Now I'll have to give you my number, 4-11-44, I'll be there forever, I ain't got nowheres else to go
REFRAIN: Well, I've got to go to the chain gang, back to the murderer's home
I'd've been in a better shape, mama, if I'd a-left that reckless woman alone

Even the mean old judge, wouldn't give me no fine, only thing gonna relieve me is old Father Time
REFRAIN: I got to go to the chain gang, back to the murderer's home
I would've been in a better shape, mama, if I'd a-left that reckless woman alone

When I was down in the alley, mama, drinkin' that old mean booze and gin, say, "You gotta do your runnin' around, I told you, ain't never gonna do it again."
REFRAIN: 'Cause it leads me straight to the chain gang, down to the murderer's home
I'd've been in a better shape, mama, if I'd a-let that reckless woman alone

Goodbye, everybody, here come the jailer with the key, fare thee well to freedom, I don't want no one to pity me
REFRAIN: I'm goin' to the chain gang, down to the murderer's home
I'd've been in a better shape, mama, if I'd've left that reckless woman alone

So now bye-bye, all you women, this is the last I got to say, says I'm goin' on and make my time, I'll be a free man someday
REFRAIN: But I ain't goin' back to the chain gang, back to the murderer's home
But I would've been in a better shape, baby, if I'd a-let that reckless woman alone

All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Johnm on February 25, 2019, 01:18:35 PM
Hi all,
Another really strong performance by Willie McTell from the Library of Congress sessions in 1940 is "Chainey", for which he accompanied himself out of Vestapol tuning.  The song has a unique 8-bar form with a refrain which he repeats in his intro solo.  Here is "Chainey":

https://youtu.be/kn_zhB5J7cQ

INTRO SOLO

Chainey, Chainey, she dead and gone, left me here to carry this good time on
Lawd, Lawdy, Lawdy, Lawd, nobody rock like Chainey do

Chainey, Chainey, she's angel above, nobody like her, like the girl I love, oh
Lawd, Lawd, Lawd, Lawdy, Lawd, nobody love me like Chainey do

Chainey, Chainey, the poor girl's dead, look over on the pillow where she laid her head
Lawd, Lawd, Lawd, Lawdy, Lawd, nobody love me like Chainey do

Chainey, Chainey, she left me here, nothing more that I'll have to fear, but it's
Lawd, Lawd, Lawd, Lawdy, Lawd, nobody love me like Chainey do

The poor girl's dead, ain't it sad?  She left me here, now, ain't it sad?  So
Lawd, Lawd, Lawd, Lawdy, Lawd, nobody loves me like Chainey do

Chainey, Chainey, the poor girl, she's gone, left me here, now, to weep and moan, oh
Lawd, Lawdy, Lawdy, Lawd, nobody love me like Chainey do

SOLO

Chainey, Chainey, she's gone down, nobody here now, to take me around, oh
Lawd, Lawdy, Lawdy, Lawd, nobody love me like Chainey do

SOLO

I even loved her in the Summer, also in the Fall, nobody else, she's my all-in-all, oh
Lawd, Lawdy, Lawdy, Lawd, nobody love me like Chainey do

Chainey, Chainey, the poor girl's dead, go look on the pillow where she laid her head, oh
Lawd, Lawdy, Lawdy Lawd, nobody love me like Chainey do

SOLO

She went and left me this afternoon, let's go look in the poor girl's room, oh
Lawd, Lawdy, Lawdy, Lawd, nobody love me like Chainey do

SOLO

Lawd, Lawdy, Lawd, nobody love me like ol' Chainey do

Edited 3/10 to pick up corrections from banjochris

All best,
Johnm

 



 
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: banjochris on March 08, 2019, 06:15:13 PM
John, a few suggestions on "Kill It Kid":

2.1 Kelly IS the king of the ball

In 4&5 I think it?s KELLY (as in verse 2), not Killer.

6.1 BUDDY, it?s a forty dollar fine

11.1 Take that TRIP OUT on the mountaintop

14.1 YOU DON?T BELIEVE I?LL swing you right

And a couple on "Chainey":

4.1 Chainey, Chainey, she left me here, NOTHING MORE THAT I?LL HAVE TO FEAR, but it's

8.2 is ROCK instead of love

last verse sounds like: like OL? Chainey do


Chris
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Johnm on March 10, 2019, 11:04:29 AM
Thanks very much for the catches, Chris, I have incorporated your suggestions and made the changes here and in Weeniepedia.  Thanks!
All best,
John
Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Johnm on December 17, 2019, 12:48:14 PM
Hi all,
Willie McTell, working out of C position in standard tuning as per banjochris's "Blind Willie McTell's Playing Positions/Tunings", backed by Curley Weaver playing in G, did "Lay some Flowers On My Grave".  I had forgotten that Josh White also recorded this number.  Here it is, a cover of "Careless Love":

https://youtu.be/fATTe77Dcbo

INTRO

You must lay some flowers on my grave
You must lay some flowers on my grave
My mother, father is gone, left me in this world alone
You must lay some flowers on my grave

My father was a road sport and a gambler, too
And he left me here, just singin' the blues
I hope my heart will change, I don't want to die the same
You must lay some flowers on my grave

Put a wreath of flowers at my right side
Then you know that McTell's satisfied
Put a bouquet in my breast, you know the poor boy's gone to rest
You must lay some flowers on my grave

Now when this old buildin' is falling down
Just lay me six feet in the cold, cold ground
Wrap me up in the solid clay, 'cause I come here to die one day
Hot mama, lay some flowers on my grave

Put a morning glory at my head and feet
Then you know that McTell's gone to sleep
On my headboard write my name, I left a many gal's heart in pain
Hot mama, lay some flowers on my grave

Now, have to snatch the pillow from under my head
Don't grieve and worry after the days I'm dead
When I bid you this last goodbye, don't none of you womens cry
You just lay some flowers on my grave

Now when, I'm gone to come no more
And the old pallbearers lay me low
When you hear that coffin sound, you know McTell is in the ground
Hot mama, lay some flowers on my grave

Now when the poor boy's dead and gone
I'm left in this old world all alone
When you hear the church bell tone, you know McTell's dead and gone
Hot mama, lay some flowers on my grave

Edited 1/9 to pick up corrections from catyron

All best,
Johnm

Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: catyron on January 09, 2020, 12:30:03 AM
Beautiful -- THANK YOU.

I hear two lines a bit different than you do:

On my headboard write my name, *I left a many gal's heart in pain*

And *the* old pallbearers lay me low

Title: Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
Post by: Johnm on January 09, 2020, 08:07:39 AM
Thanks very much for the catches, catyron.  I re-listened and you're right in both instances.  I will make the corrections.  Thanks!
All best,
Johnm
SimplePortal 2.3.7 © 2008-2020, SimplePortal