WeenieCampbell.com

Country Blues => Country Blues Lyrics => Topic started by: LoneWolf on November 02, 2007, 07:32:42 AM

Title: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: LoneWolf on November 02, 2007, 07:32:42 AM
Can anybody please help me with this? This song is pretty repeatitive but there is one line that I can't figure out.

https://youtu.be/EZJqmoElERE




Didn't ol' John cross the water, on his knees? x2
????? ????? ????? ????, face the risin' sun
Didn't ol' John cross the water, water on his knees?
Title: Re: Didn't Ol' John Cross the Water (Leadbelly)
Post by: banjochris on November 02, 2007, 01:56:17 PM
I haven't listened to this in awhile, but just from memory, I think it's something like:
"And we'll all rise together..."
Title: Re: Didn't Ol' John Cross the Water (Leadbelly)
Post by: LoneWolf on November 03, 2007, 01:58:34 AM
No Chris, you're confusing it with a Delta Big Four song...

In his final session he sang it without a choir, so it'll be easier to fugure it out from that version. I can't though.
Title: Re: Didn't Ol' John Cross the Water (Leadbelly)
Post by: frankie on November 03, 2007, 07:20:23 AM
On "Last Sessions" this is what Lead Belly sang:

Didn't old John cross the water, on his knees? x2
Let us all bow down and face the rising sun
Didn't old John cross the water, water on his knees?

Didn't old John swim the water, on his knees? x2
Let us all bow down, good Lord, and face the rising sun
Didn't old John swim the water, water on his knees?

Didn't old John walk the water, on his knees? x2
Let us all bow down, good Lord, and face the rising sun
Didn't old John walk the water, water on his knees?

Title: Re: Didn't Ol' John Cross the Water (Leadbelly)
Post by: LoneWolf on November 03, 2007, 08:22:55 AM
T-H-A-N-K-Y-O-U
Title: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on January 22, 2009, 08:16:58 PM
No Lead in weeniepedia yet, hint hint. Maybe focusing on the first recordings would be a good place to start.
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on January 24, 2009, 09:31:57 PM
[edit: now added to weeniepedia (http://www.weeniecampbell.com/wiki/index.php?title=Shorty_George_(Leadbelly_version))]

Here's Shorty George. This is a great tune for Lead's signature runs on the I, IV and V in C position. The melody is really strong and the ending is a hoot. If you tend to keep your 12 tuned down to C in standard you'll be perfectly in tune with the recording. I got this from Leadbelly King of the 12-String Guitar, Columbia Blues N' Roots, please feel free to correct or comment.

https://youtu.be/31BZfon_nrQ

Shorty George - Leadbelly
5 February 1935 New York City
ARC 16814-1 unissued

C position standard, 12 string is tuned down two whole steps to C so actual pitch is A flat

[Intro 9 bars]

Well Shorty George, he's no friend of mine <ref>Lornell and Wolfe in the Leadbelly bio report Shorty George "is about a short train that ran out of the farm from Houston. On Sundays it brought wives, families, and lovers to the men at Sugerland"</ref>
Yes a' Shorty George, he's no friend of mine
He keeps a takin' all the women, leavin' the men behind

I went to the depot, looked up on the sign
Yes I went to the depot, looked up on the sign
Oh the train she ride, still marked up on time

When I asked the captain, "captain have you don't care?"
When I asked the captain, "captain have you don't care?"
I would take my baby, and bring her right back here

I'm the poor old boy, long way from home
He's a poor old boy, long way from home
Lord I want you captain, to go on my bond ???

Aw Shorty George, travelin' through the land
Yes a' Shorty George, travelin' through the land
Don't take all the women, takes young women's man ???

[Instrumental verse]

Some has got six months, some's got two and three years
Yes a' some has got six months, some's got two and three years
But there's so many good men, got a lifetime here

Well a Shorty George, done been here and gone
Yes a Shorty George, done been here and gone
There's so many good men, a long ways from home

[Outro, end suddenly on the V]

[edited to add in-line note on the origins of the name per UB]
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on January 25, 2009, 01:06:13 PM
[edit: now added to weeniepedia (http://www.weeniecampbell.com/wiki/index.php?title=Kansas_City_Papa)]

Kansas City Papa is a variation on the old Jim Jackson tune. This version is from the Root 'N' Blues release Leadbelly King of the 12-String Guitar. It's simple and effective and a lot of fun to play.

Leadbelly plays a greasy riff down through the D7 E7 with descending single bar versions of it whining away in 3 different octaves, easiest to hear in the breaks. There's a great little boogie on the IV and the V is often subtle, implied by playing through the change with a lick rather than a full chord. The lyric morphs into The Dozens, the insult game, and other folklore images.

Somebody please listen and tell me what he sings in the last line of each verse. My theory is total gibberish. I've translated as close as I can get to it. It sounds like it might be a mangled 'Believe I'm 'bout blow my line', and 'blow my line' is also clear in verse 2 line 1. But on the tag lines he sings 'low my line'.  ??? And what does 'blow my line' mean anyway, or is that a dumb question?

https://youtu.be/ldv9_7qyNEQ

Kansas City Papa - Leadbelly
24 January 1935 NYC
ARC 16697-2 unissued

E position standard, 12 string is tuned down three whole steps to A flat so actual pitch is B flat

[Intro, two instrumental lines]
...Kansas City, ain't it a pity
Kansas City, b'lieve 'm 'bout to low' my line <ref>Clearly he says "low" which we believe is a contraction of "lower" and a fishing reference, he's casting his line out for the Kansas City women</ref>

When I get to Kansas City I'm gonna blow my line <ref>At variance with the tag lines, he clearly says "blow my line". Cab Calloway reports "line" means money in the Hepster's Dictionary</ref>
I get to Kansas City I'll be hard to find
In Kansas City, ain't it a pity
Kansas City, believe 'm bout to low' my line

[spoken] Two women was jivin' with one another one day

"You keep on talkin' til you make me think
Your daddy was a bulldog and your mammy was a man"
In Kansas City, wadn't it a pity
Kansas City, b'lieve 'm 'bout to low' my line

"You keep on talkin' til you make me mad
I tell you 'bout the puppies that your sister had"
In Kansas City, wadn't that a pity
Kansas City, b'lieve 'm 'bout to low' my line

[Instrumental verse]

Women in Tennessee Lord, doin' the Turkey Trot
The women in Louisiana doing the Eagle Rock
In Kansas City, wadn't it a pity
Kansas City, b'lieve 'm bout to low' my line

The funniest thing that I ever seen
A tom cat stitchin' on a sewin' machine
In Kansas City, wadn't it a pity
Kansas City, b'lieve 'm bout to low' my line

The funniest thing that I ever did see
S'a polecat climbin' up a 'simmon tree
In Kansas City, wadn't it a pity
Kansas City, b'lieve 'm 'bout to low' my line

[Instrumental verse]

[Instrumental verse outro]

[edited to reflect Chris & Cheapfeet's suggestions re. "low'" as a contraction for "lower", kept the "blow" in verse 2. Both are in there, my guess is he might be playing around with words and meanings. I've used in-line <ref> and </ref> tags since it saves editing in weeniepedia, that's the syntax for triggering those cool little notes at the bottom.]

[edited to correct played out of E not D and tuned-down another whole step]
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on January 25, 2009, 03:10:48 PM
Cab Calloway's Hepster's Dictionary to the rescue: LINE (n.): Cost, price, money. Ex., "What is the line on this drape" (How much does this suit cost)? "Have you got the line in the mouse" (do you have the cash in your pocket)? Also, in replying, all figures are doubled. Ex., "This drape is line forty" (this suit costs twenty dollars).

Now it makes sense.
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: banjochris on January 25, 2009, 03:47:07 PM
Rivers -- another possibility -- It sounds to me like he's saying "Believe I'm got to low my line" -- low as in "lower," and that it's a fishing reference, and he's casting his line out for the Kansas City women.
Chris
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: CF on January 25, 2009, 04:21:51 PM
Quote
Rivers -- another possibility -- It sounds to me like he's saying "Believe I'm got to low my line" -- low as in "lower," and that it's a fishing reference, and he's casting his line out for the Kansas City women.
Chris

For what it's worth, this is how I always heard it as well.
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on January 25, 2009, 04:24:57 PM
Good thinking Chris. Hmm... I'll have to weigh that one, he's definitely singing 'low' in the taglines and 'blow' in that one verse line.

Re. Shorty George, if you ever wondered, like me, about who that might have been, check out this bio on a pioneer of the Lindy Hop: http://www.savoystyle.com/shorty_george.html ...is he the Shorty George in the song?
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on January 25, 2009, 05:45:24 PM
I believe Shorty George was a train that brought visitors to and from the prison - in this case, women visitors, leaving the men prisoners behind.
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on January 25, 2009, 05:48:03 PM
Checked the Leadbelly book and you are correct sir. Now I'm wondering if they named the train after the Lindy Hopper... not likely since Huddie was in Sugarland from 1920. But the dancer was too early to have copped the name from the song since it wasn't released til 1935. Most mysterious.
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on January 28, 2009, 05:44:50 PM
[edit: now added to weeniepedia (http://www.weeniecampbell.com/wiki/index.php?title=T.B._Woman_Blues)]

This is another from producer Larry Cohn's excellent comp Columbia Roots 'N' Blues "Leadbelly King of the 12 String Guitar"

The opening line is one of the great ones in blues and its tag line is even better. The word "Deadville" never made it into common use, or did it? Sackheim has "Denver" but I believe I'm correct. As usual it was educational listening to the lyrics closely for the first time. For example I hadn't realized T.B. can attack the feet, and thought of Lemon obviously though I'm not aware of any evidence he had it.

Leadbelly pulls all the strings on this one. The heroine puts her high heels on her TB-ravaged feet, staggers round to her mothers house, collapses, says a couple of departing words and kicks the bucket. Gives new meaning to the phrase "my feet are killing me".

I'm pretty sure of most of it but doubts are marked ??? and any help or comments with any of it much appreciated.

https://youtu.be/Vwgqh3OX4nM

T.B. Woman Blues - Leadbelly
25 March 1935 NYC
ARC 17180-1 unissued

A position standard, 12 string tuned down 3 half steps so actual pitch F#

It's too late, too late, too late, too late, too late
It's too late, too late, too late, too late, too late
I'm on my way to Deadville and mama must I hesitate

[holler]She was runnin' with 25 or 30 men. And one man in the bus, she liked bestest of them all.
He was a sweetback man. And the mens was comin' around, they asks her what she want.
She didn't want nothin' from them then.
But when her sweetback man come around to ask her for one dime, you didn't see her no more.
Her mama walked up and said "Darlin' don't you worry".
She looked at her mama and here' what she said:[/holler]

T.B.'s alright to have if your friends'd treat you so low down
T.B.'s alright to have, friends'd treat you so low down
Don't you ask 'em for no favors, they even stop a-comin' around

[holler]Mama said "Daughter don't you worry", she looked at her mama, here' what she said:[/holler]

Mmmmmm... the T.B.'s killin' me
Mmmmmm... the T.B.'s killin' me
I'm a-like a prisoner, I'm always a-workin' this [chain] ???

[holler]Her mama walked up to her daughter and said "Don't you worry".
She began to think about it but she was on her feet.
Wearin' her high-heel slippers and her drop-stitch hose
She walked around to her mama, here' what she said:[/holler]

And it's on my feet, couldn' even but walk down the street
Where the men a-lookin' at me, from my head to my feet
But it's late now, that T.B.s killin' me
I want my body buried, in the deep blue sea

[holler]These are the last few words she said.
Her mama walked up, looked down in her daughter's face, and here' what her daughter said:[/holler]

Mmmmmmmmmm
MmmmmmmmmmmmmMmmm
I've got a-too-bercolosis, consumption is killin' me

[Outro]

[edited to pick up Chris's corrections]
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: banjochris on January 28, 2009, 11:34:41 PM
I think it's Deadville, too. A succinct way of putting it. Here are some missing bits and I hear the first spoken part differently.
Chris



First spoken part:

She was runnin' WITH 25 or 30 MEN. ... He was a SWEETBACK man. And the MENS WAS COMIN' AROUND, they asked her what she want. She didn't want nothing from THEM THEN. But when HER SWEETBACK man come around to ask HER for one dime, you didn't see her no more. ... "DARLING don't you worry."

1st question mark:
Don't you ask 'em for no favors, they even stop a-comin' around.

2nd question mark:
I think "chain" is right

3rd question mark:
drop-stitch hose

next verse is A-LOOKIN' not a-looked

next holler is last FEW words she said
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on January 29, 2009, 04:05:15 PM
Thanks Chris! I heard 'sweetback' the first time then my brain cut in... I hadn't realized it was slang for, according to various google hits, 'a bad ass', 'a good lover', etc

Good going on 'drop stitch hose', I'd never have got that. Agree with all other points, will amend.
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on January 29, 2009, 08:43:59 PM
Quote
I think it's Deadville, too. A succinct way of putting it.

Denver, jeesh. Did he think he was going skiing?
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on February 04, 2009, 08:19:13 PM
[edit: now added to weeniepedia (http://www.weeniecampbell.com/wiki/index.php?title=Fort_Worth_And_Dallas_Blues)]

[edit: extensively edited, see notes at bottom]

Fort Worth & Dallas Blues, also from Larry Cohn's comp Leadbelly King of the 12-String Guitar. I've basically decided to focus on this album, with the numbers in standard tuning (though tuned down for the 12) first.

This one gets up a head of steam and drives like a _________. It's played out of a G chord and uses a lot of licks you already know it's great for migrating your classic G blues licks to 12 string. Comments welcome.

Leadbelly adds to the G licks with a nifty signature short bass run down to the V and a fairly quirky boogie break on the bass strings that's tailor made for 12 string guitar. Dig the tips of the hat to his pal Lemon throughout. Huge fun.

I've posted it mostly ready marked-up for weeniepedia to save rework later.

Please somebody lend an ear and tell me what the phrases marked ??? might be, or any other corrections most welcome.

https://youtu.be/aLGtcdsiG-Q

'''Fort Worth & Dallas Blues - Leadbelly'''
24 January 1935 NYC
ARC 16697-2 unissued
Transcribed from Leadbelly King of the 12-String Guitar, Columbia Roots 'N' Blues 467893
G position standard, 12 string is tuned down 5 semitones so pitch is D

''[Intro 4 bars]''

I'd the the Fort Worth Blues, and Dallas heart disease
Got the the Fort Worth Blues, the Dallas heart disease
Can't keep my woman from all 'time worryin' me

Come here pretty mama, tell me where you goin'
Look a-here pretty mama, tell me where you goin'
If you can't tell me, it sure gonna be your ruin

I taken you woman, to-ho be my friend
Yes I've taken you woman, honey to be my frien'
Just look what hole, yes you've got me in

MmmmMmmmMmmm, MmmMmm, MmmMmm, Mmmm
Mmmmmmmmmmmm, MmmMmm, MmmMmm, Mmmm
MmmmMmmmHmmm, MmmMmm, Hmmmmm, Hmmm

''[Instrumental verse]''

Fort Worth Blues, 'n the Dallas heart disease
Got the the Fort Worth Blues, the Dallas heart disease
And the blues, oh God, it keeps on worryin' me

Good morning blues, blues how do you do?
And good morning blues, blues how do you do?
"I'm doin' fairly well, baby how'ra you?<ref>sic: how are you?</ref>"

You want me baby to be like Jesse James
''[End suddenly on the I7 where you expect the change to  the IV]''

==Notes==
<references/>

[edit: corrections from UB (lyrics, spelling!) and Chris (chord position, degree of tuned-downness) included. I messed up big-time with the first iteration. Rather than striking-through the errors etc., which looks messy, I've just corrected it in place. All other comments I made are still valid]
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on February 04, 2009, 09:11:57 PM
I'd the the Fort Worth Blues, and [jelly's hard to gee] ???
Got the the Fort Worth Blues, and [jelly's hard to gee] ???
Can't keep my woman from all 'time worryin' me

1.1 GOT the Fort Worth blues and the DALLAS HEART DISEASE
1.2 Got the the Fort Worth blues and the the DALLAS HEART DISEASE

Quote
Come here pretty mama, tell me where you goin'
Look a-here pretty mama, tell me where you goin'
If you can't tell me, it sure gonna be your wrong

2.3 If you can't tell me, it sure gonna be your RUIN

Quote
I' taken you woman, to-oo be my freind
Yes I've taken you woman, only to be my frein'
Just look what hole, yes you've got me in

3.1 I (no apostrophe) taken you woman to-HO be my FRIEND (just some minor points)
3.2 Yes I've taken you woman, HONEY, to be my FRIEND

Quote
MmmmMmmmMmmm, MmmMmm, MmmMmm, Mmmm
Mmmmmmmmmmmm, MmmMmm, MmmMmm, Mmmm
MmmmMmmmHmmm, MmmMmm, Hmmmmm, Hmmm

''[Instrumental verse]''

Fort Worth Blues, and [jelly's hard to gee] ???
Got the the Fort Worth Blues, and [jelly's hard to gee] ???
And the blues, oh God, it keeps on worryin' me

5.1 Fort Worth blues and THE DALLAS HEART DISEASE
5.2 Got the Fort Worth blues and THE DALLAS HEART DISEASE

Quote
Good morning blues, blues how do you do?
And good morning blues, blues how do you do?
"I'm doin' fairly well, baby how' ra' you?"

6.3 I'd transcribe "ra'" as "are"

Great freakin' tune.
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on February 04, 2009, 09:23:22 PM
Awesome work! thanks, will correct. Love the service around here.  8)

Last verse, I hear him pronounce it "baby how'ra' you?" though. Idiomatic pronounciation. Do I want to transcribe the actual sound or the meaning? I know, I'll add a note.
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on February 04, 2009, 09:43:58 PM
Yes, I agree about the pronunciation, but would personally still transcribe it as "are". No biggie, just going from previous discussions about trying to limit some of these unnecessarily complicated transcriptions based on sound. "That" rather than "dat" etc...
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on February 04, 2009, 09:56:13 PM
Good point. When I sing it I'm going to sing "how'ra" though cause it's cool, more fun, and generally less "white bread", so to speak. Agree we don't want to get into 'dis' and 'dat', I just think that particular contraction is a really cool usage and would be a nice tip of the hat to Huddie. See the added 'sic note'. Thanks for the corrections, great work.
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on February 04, 2009, 10:17:40 PM
Yes, well I wouldn't have expected David Niven or anything.  :P

Someone needs to organize a 12-string workshop!
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on February 04, 2009, 10:27:31 PM
Be careful what you wish for... great idea actually.

All four Lead tunes in this thread are now in weeniepedia, thanks v.much for all the help guys, I think we nailed them: http://www.weeniecampbell.com/wiki/index.php?title=Category:Leadbelly_Lyrics

Much more to come.
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: notasja on February 05, 2009, 02:57:55 PM
I am looking for the lyrics to a Leadbelly song that is either known as "Tell Me Which Way The Red River Run" or "Red River Blues". This is different from his song "Red River".

Some of the lyrics are:

"Some people say it runs from sun to sun". 

"The Red River, it is so deep and wide, well I can't get a letter from the other side"

Can anyone help me, please?

https://youtu.be/jJyktoBjhsY
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: banjochris on February 05, 2009, 03:59:49 PM
Fort Worth & Dallas Blues, also from Larry Cohn's comp Leadbelly King of the 12-String Guitar. I've basically decided to focus on this album, with the numbers in standard tuning (though tuned down for the 12) first.

This one gets up a head of steam and drives like a _________. Since I believe it's played out of an E chord and uses a lot of licks you already know it's great for migrating your classic E blues licks to 12 string. Having said that you can also play it out of an F chord, though not as easily, which would put him tuned down to C. Comments welcome.

Leadbelly adds to the E licks with a nifty signature short bass run down to the V and a fairly quirky boogie break on the bass strings that's tailor made for 12 string guitar. Dig the tips of the hat to his pal Lemon throughout.

I'm pretty sure this number's played out of G position. In the boogie break he plays an A7 chord before going to the D, and he does a double-hammer-on lick leading up to both chords on the fifth and fourth strings.
Chris
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on February 05, 2009, 04:52:04 PM
Interesting, I will check it out. That would require tuning down another full tone, total 5 frets.

Dang, you're right.  :o The I chord lick and IV chord sound better out of G too. Plus I stupidly had the 12 tuned to C# thinking it was in C which compunded the error. Will amend, thank you for the correction Chris, I need to be less quick to make assumptions, and also double check whether I'm tuned down to C or C# as well. True pitch is D BTW
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: banjochris on February 05, 2009, 11:16:24 PM
Rivers -- the low tuning on a lot of the 12-string pieces still throws me off a lot of the time. I don't have a 12 anymore, but when I did that was one of the 3 or 4 Leadbelly ones I learned. One of these days I'll get one again, but I sold my Dell'Arte (hated the neck; they made it too shallow) and bought a National.
Chris
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on February 15, 2009, 10:39:34 AM
[edit: now added to weeniepedia (http://www.weeniecampbell.com/wiki/index.php?title=Becky_Deem%2C_She_Was_A_Gamblin%27_Girl)]

Here's a tough lyric, mystery phrase is marked, ideas and corrections welcome. [edit: mystery solved, lyric corrected]

I also swear he sings "Dean" not "Deem" but have left it per the ARC title.

I'm really not certain where he's tuned or what chord position he'd playing out of. My best guess is dropped D, guitar tuned down to C so true pitch B flat. There's a classic low drop D bass lick at the end of several verses, is what makes me think so. Having said that I'm having trouble getting the guitar to sound like Huddie, who keeps up an industrial-strength vamp throughout. I'll probably end up picking it my way.

Being an 8 bar blues with a very similar tune to Furry Lewis's Dry Land Blues it also sounds good out of an E position with the first I and V7 played around the E and B7 triads at the fourth fret, but that's just by the by, unless it is actually in E, but I doubt that. He throws in a nice passing V Augmented (sharp 5) chord in the last V to pick out the melody.

https://youtu.be/nH-TZEbItIo

'''Becky Deem, She Was a Gamblin' Girl'''
23 January 1935 NYC
ARC 6-04-55
Transcribed from Leadbelly King of the 12-String Guitar, Columbia Roots 'N' Blues 467893

''[Instrumental verse]''

Becky Deem<ref>Sounds more like "Dean" each time</ref>, she was a gamblin' gal
Win all her money, and she win it fair

Becky Deem, she was a gamblin' gal
She win all her money, and she win it fair

Becky Deem, had her games on the ground
She win all the money the skinner<ref>Could be a "mule skinner" (driver), see singletree ref below</ref> laid down

Becky Deem, had her games on the ground
She win all the money the skinner laid down

''[Instrumental verse]''

She started to hit one, with a singletree<ref>a wooden bar swung at the center from a hitch on a plow, wagon, etc. and hooked at either end to the traces of a horse's harness</ref>
Mighta heared the rascal hollerin' "Don't you murder me"

She started to hit one, with a singletree
You mighta heared the rascal hollerin' "Don't you murder me"

''[Instrumental verse x 2]''

Walked all the way from East St Louis
She didn't have but the one thin dime

She walked all the way from East St Louis
And she didn't have but the one thin dime

Never spent it for whiskey, and honey neither for wine
Yes I spent it all on the sake of the man of mine

She never spent it for whiskey, and honey neither for wine
I spent it all on the sake o' the man o' mine

''[Instrumental verse out]''

==Notes==
<references/>
[http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?amp;Itemid=128&topic=4318.msg43259#msg43259 Go to original forum post]
[[Category:Lyrics]][[category:Leadbelly Lyrics]]


[Edited to pick up corrections and suggestions from UB and also mark up for the wiki]
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on February 15, 2009, 11:33:54 AM
Here's a tough lyric, mystery phrase is marked, ideas and corrections welcome.

I also swear he sings "Dean" not "Deem" but have left it per the ARC title.

I'm really not certain where he's tuned or what chord position he'd playing out of. My best guess is dropped D, guitar tuned down to C so true pitch B flat. There's a classic low drop D bass lick at the end of several verses, is what makes me think so. Having said that I'm having trouble getting the guitar to sound like Huddie, who keeps up an industrial-strength vamp throughout. I'll probably end up picking it my way.

Being an 8 bar blues with a very similar tune to Furry Lewis's Dry Land Blues it also sounds good out of an E position with the first I and V7 played around the E and B7 triads at the fourth fret, but that's just by the by, unless it is actually in E, but I doubt that. He throws in a nice passing V Augmented (sharp 5) chord in the last V to pick out the melody.

Actually, this really sounds to me like classic Lead Belly out of the E position. The lick at the end of the form, which I think is the one you're calling a dropped-D lick, is in dozens of his songs played using E position.

I agree, sure sounds like he sings Becky Dean. Perhaps a note?

Quote
Becky Deem, She Was a Gamblin' Girl
23 January 1935 NYC
ARC 6-04-55
Transcribed from Leadbelly King of the 12-String Guitar, Columbia Roots 'N' Blues 467893

[Instrumental verse]

Becky Deem, she was a gamblin' gal
Win all her money, and she win it fair

Becky Deem, she was a gamblin' gal
She win her money, and she win it fair

2.2 She win ALL HER money and she win it fair (Lead sings it more like "oller" or "olla")

Quote
Becky Deem, had her games on the ground
She win all the money the skinner lay down

3.2 She win all the money the skinner LAID down

Quote
Becky Deem, had her games on the ground
She win all the money the skinner lay down

4.2 She win all the money the skinner LAID down

Quote
[Instrumental verse]

She start to hit once, would a sank a fee[???]
By the end o' that they hollerin' "Don't you murder me"

5.1 She STARTED to hit ONE WITH A SINGLETREE
5.2 MIGHTA HEARED THE RASCAL hollerin' "Don't you murder me" (Lead sings MIGHTA more as MIGHTEE, but that just looks weird in transcription)

Quote
She start to hit once, would a sank a fee[???]
By the end o' that they hollerin' "Don't you murder me"

Slight difference with the added YOU in the 2nd line:

6.1 She STARTED to hit ONE WITH A SINGLETREE
6.2 YOU MIGHTA HEARED THE RASCAL hollerin' "Don't you murder me"

Quote
[Instrumental verse x 2]

Walked all the way from East St Louis
She didn't have but the one thin dime

She walked all the way from East St Louis
And she didn't have but the one thin dime

Never spent it for whiskey, and honey neither for wine
Yes I spent it all on the sake of the man of mine

She never spent it for whiskey, and honey neither for wine
I spent it all on the sake o' the man o' mine

[Instrumental verse outro]

Agree, though I'd add a comma after "honey".

Becky seems like a tough lady!
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on February 15, 2009, 12:00:24 PM
Ah, thank you, 'singletree', so it is. That's my new word for today, here's a definition:

Quote
a wooden bar swung at the center from a hitch on a plow, wagon, etc. and hooked at either end to the traces of a horse's harness

So she's laying into him/them/it with one.

Agree with most of it, "skinner laid down", I hear "lay-down" second time run together, but it's very close and I wouldn't argue your hearing. He's past tense challenged in the rest of the song so it's consistent use of present where past tense should go. win, s/be won, etc

I really have a hard time picking keys and tunings with the 12 so I'm totally sure it could be out of E, in fact it's easier for me to play like that so that would be just fine! That would have him tuned down another full step to B flat, right? (he asked nervously)

I'll see if anyone else wants to weigh in before making corrections.
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on February 15, 2009, 12:14:40 PM
Yes, usually it's the man hitting the woman with the singletree and she hollers "please don't murder me", c.f. Memphis Jug Band and others. Becky turns the tables on that formula here.
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on February 15, 2009, 02:45:55 PM
I really have a hard time picking keys and tunings with the 12 so I'm totally sure it could be out of E, in fact it's easier for me to play like that so that would be just fine! That would have him tuned down another full step to B flat, right? (he asked nervously)

Easier is always better and frequently correct as well.  :P I haven't tested the pitch. I pay more attention to hearing the positions than tuning to a given pitch (though am usually tuned somewhere in the vicinity of Bb or C). With Lead Belly, once you've worked on a couple of his E position tunes, it's pretty easy picking new ones out of a lineup, regardless of pitch, I find.
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on February 15, 2009, 03:33:21 PM
Speaking of which I realized, after reading an old thread that turned up in the '12 string guitar' tag, Kansas City Papa is also played out of E position, not D as I had it. Once again I erred, and for the same reason. Subconsciously I can never quite believe those guys were tuned down so low and still get good tone, but I'm getting the hang of it. It also sounds and plays much better out of an E position.
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: dj on February 15, 2009, 05:04:10 PM
Quote
She win all the money the skinner<ref>Could be a "mule skinner" (driver), see singletree ref below</ref> laid down

Alternatively, could a skinner be someone running a georgia skin game?
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on February 15, 2009, 05:07:30 PM
Hmmm... what does anyone else think? We could note both possibilities.

edit: Yes, I like it, see http://www.wordwizard.com/phpbb3/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=20709
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on February 16, 2009, 06:33:21 AM
No instance of "skinner" in the Taft concordance. One could scan Georgia skin/skin game songs for occurrences. I do like dj's theory.
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Bunker Hill on February 16, 2009, 09:29:46 AM
Anybody trying to learn the lyric from the booklet The Leadbelly Legend (Folkways 1959) will find that it has been "edited with new additional material by John A. Lomax and Alan Lomax" and will end up singing as below, the use of vernacular is just of its time I guess. Oh, the title is Becky Dean, with an N.

Becky Dean, she was a gamblin' gal;    
She winned de money an' she winned it fair.    
Becky Dean, she was a gamblin' gal;    
She winned de money, an' she winned it fair.

Becky Dean, she had her games on the groun',
She winned all the money the skinners laid down.
Becky Dean, she had her games on the groun',
She winned all the money the skinners laid down.

She started to hit one wid a singletree,
Might 'a' heared de rascal holl'in',
"Honey, doncha murder me."
She started to hit one wid a singletree,
Might 'a' heared de rascal holl'in',
"Honey, doncha murder me."

Becky Dean walked all de way f'om Eas' St. Louis,    
When she didn' have but de one thin dime;    
Didn' spen' it for whisky, honey, an' neither for wine,    
She spent it all on "de sake of de man of mine."

This is the las' word that Becky Dean said,
"I love my baby when he's dead."
This is the las' word that Becky Dean said,
"I love my baby when he's dead."
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on February 16, 2009, 03:53:49 PM
Re. Deem versus Dean, there's an entry in B&GR for an LoC session in February 1935, Wilton Conn., with an entry that looks like this, note the "sic":

129-B-2  Becky Dean [sic]     LC: Elektra EKL301/2, Doc DLP604 (LPs); Rounder 1045 (CD) (http://rounder.com/index.php?id=album.php&catalog_id=5646)

I don't have a copy. No other entries for Becky in the titles index. No hits on 'Becky Dean' on the Document site.
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on February 18, 2009, 06:39:08 PM
[edit: added to weeniepedia (http://www.weeniecampbell.com/wiki/index.php?title=Honey%2C_I%27m_All_Out_And_Down)]

You catch things that just shoot by normally when transcribing lyrics. Check out the verse about carving his initials on a mule's behind which I'd never heard before. [edit: listening later the same line turns up in Ox Drivin' Blues, which is gonna be a real challenge to transcribe, I'll do it next]

In the same verse he talks about "skinnin' for Johnny Rye", another Leadbelly reference to 'skinning', this time it's definitely a mule, and probably nails how the term 'mule skinner' arose, it's to do with flaying the poor beast with a whip ('...with my line') to keep it moving. I didn't know that.

The 'dago / jew' verse I've heard before somewhere but I can't remember which song.

This is in the true key of A flat. Further than that I'm not prepared to venture at this point.  :P  Ideas on tuning, position and lyric corrections are welcome.

https://youtu.be/cqlRQkSUSHk

Honey, I'm All Out And Down - Leadbelly
23 January 1935 NYC
ARC 16688-2
Transcribed from Leadbelly King of the 12-String Guitar, Columbia Roots 'N' Blues 467893

Honeeey! I'm all out and down
Honeeey . . .
I'm broke baby, and I ain't got a dime
Every good man gets in hard luck some time
Don't it baby
Don't it baby
Don't it baby
Don't it baby

[holler]This man is a long ways from home
And he got a brown skin woman
And he know pay day is comin' pretty soon
And his woman is shoutin' 'cause it's morn' of pay day
And the old mule is hungry, and the sun is goin' down
The man he wish't that pay day would move off a little further
So he wouldn't have to pay the woman nothin'[/holler]

I'm going to tell my woman like the Dago told the Jew
You don't want me, uh honey I don't want you
Tell me baby
Tell me baby

Honeeey! What more you want me to do?
Honeeey . . .
Ah the women in the levee, shoutin' 'cause it's morn' pay day
The men on the levee, hollerin' "Don't you move your knee"
Tell me baby
Tell me baby
Tell me baby
Tell me baby

Oh the women on the levee honey, holl'in' "Woh hah gee!"
The men on the levee, holl'in' "Don't you murder me"
Please baby
Please baby
Please baby
Please baby

Honeeey, I'm a long ways from home
Honeeey . . .
I'm down in the bottom, skinnin' for Johnny Rye
Puttin' my initials, honey on a mule's behind
With my line babe
With my line babe
With my line babe
With my line babe

[holler]I swear to God!
I know that man wished that woman wouldn't come home when pay day come
He looked around and 'gan to cry the last time:[/holler]

Honeeey, I'm a long way from you
Honeeey . . .
Yes a brown skin woman make a preacher lay his Bible down
A jet black woman make a jackrabbit hug a hound
Won't it baby?

[ends abruptly on last bar of vocal]
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: banjochris on February 18, 2009, 10:55:40 PM
The dago/Jew line pops up with Chinaman/Jew in Barbecue Bob's "Barbecue Blues" and William Harris' "Bullfrog Blues" (amongst others, I'm sure, because I think I've heard the dago one too.)

Oh, and "Honey, I'm All Out and Down" is in D position.
Chris
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: dj on February 19, 2009, 04:05:20 AM
Blind Percy (Blind Joe Taggart) sings the Dago/Jew verse in "Fourteenth Street Blues".

Smoky Harrison sings the Chinamam/Jew version in "Iggly Oggly Blues"
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on February 19, 2009, 07:30:21 PM
Thanks folks. Though I've not contributed to any (correct) tuning/position stuff here's a summary so far for when we get around to doing a 'Lead Belly guitar keys and positions' thread on the tips board. Many thanks to Chris and Andrew for figuring out tuning and position, I feel humbled by my inability to figure them out myself. I do a kickass version of Kansas City Papa though!

From Columbia Legacy "King of.."
Title  1st pos. chord, or open tuning name    Semitones down from E    Pitch 
Shorty George
C
4
Ab
Kansas City Papa
E
6
Bb
T.B. Woman Blues
A
3
F#
Fort Worth & Dallas Blues
G
5
D
Becky Deem, She Was a Gamblin' Girl
E
6
Bb
Honey, I'm All Out And Down
D
6
Ab

I need to check these, T.B. Woman looks like it might be tuned down further (C pos, down 6), looking at the emerging pattern. Maybe not though.
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Johnm on February 19, 2009, 11:29:40 PM
Hi all,
My favorite version of the Dago/Jew verse is Arthur Weston's, from his "Tell You Baby":
   I'm gonna tell you, baby, like the Dago told the Jew
   You can't be my woman, Lord, and someone else's too
Huh?
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on February 20, 2009, 03:25:01 PM
Now I'm wondering how it originated. Here's a groovy way to search Google books I found, when a standard Google internet search just retrieves a lot of noise:

http://books.google.com/books?ei=GjqfSZLHF4fgyQWEw4SaDQ&ct=result&q=%22like+the+dago+told+the+jew%22&btnG=Search+Books
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on February 20, 2009, 06:02:57 PM
[edit: This is now in weeniepedia (http://www.weeniecampbell.com/wiki/index.php?title=Ox_Drivin%27_Blues)]

The phrase 'gee by the lamb', is that a cuss defused by an oblique reference to Christ do you think, or have I misheard 'lamb'? Perhaps it evolved from the vernacular, from 'gee-by-Christ' to 'gee-by-The-Lamb' is not too big of a stretch. I'm not convinced though.

I transcribed it blind first then did a lot of searching to see what others had come up with. There are a lot of dubious transcripts out there. Nobody else has "who made it black bad", you'd have to be a weenie and know some Lemon to hear that. I think it's right but as always I'm open to all corrections & comments.

The "Lord Donald" thing is vaguely Fairport Convention-ish and as such is likely totally wrong, much as I'm an FC fan til my dyin' day, and Huddie was into at least one of those olde english folk tunes, see Gallis Pole, so why not Mattie Groves? By the way I've always wondered how he first came to hear the folk tune on which he based Gallis Pole, does anyone know for sure or have a theory?

Also as usual in my latter days, I'm making no stabs at tuning/position, Chris and Andrew are way better at that then me.

BTW this is the other song on that 1935 collection that has Huddie "skinnin' for Johnny Rye, puttin' his initials on a mule's behind", the other song is "Honey, I'm All Out And Down".

https://youtu.be/B4GGoolrCpk

Ox Drivin' Blues - Leadbelly
24 January 1935 NYC
ARC 16694-1 unissued
Transcribed from Leadbelly King of the 12-String Guitar, Columbia Roots 'N' Blues 467893
12 string in standard down 6 semitones to B and played in A(7) position, actual pitch is E flat

Whoa! back buck, and gee! by The Lamb!
Who made the back band? Cunningham
Whoa! back buck, and gee! by The Lamb
Who made the back band? Oh God damn
Whoa buck, and gee, by the lamb
Who made the back band? Oh God damn

[holler]This man he was drivin' twenty yoke of oxen
He was a long ways from home
And he looked down the road, looked like he could see his wife
And he 'gin to holler at the old oxen
"Kyyah! Whoa yeah buck, back up!"[/holler]

Whoa buck, and gee, by The Lamb
Who made the back band? Whoa, God damn

Eighteen, nineteen, twenty years ago
I'd take Shirl' to the party-oh
I'd take Shirl' to the party-oh
All dressed up in her calico
Whoa buck, and gee, by The Lamb
Who made the back band? Whoa, God damn

Me and my baby come a-walkin' down the road
Wind from her feet knockin' "Sugar In The Gourd"
Sugar in the gourd and the gourd on the ground
Want to get a sugar gotta roll the gourd around
Whoa buck, and gee, by The Lamb
Who made the back band? Whoa, God damn

[holler]"Kyyah! Whoa yeah, back up, whoa buck!"[/holler]

Whoa buck, and gee, by The Lamb
Who made the back band? Whoa, God damn

Whoah b(l)ack buck, and gee, by The Lamb
Who made the back band? Whoa, God damn
When I was skinnin' for Johnny Rye
Puttin' my initials on a mule's behind
Whoa buck, and gee, by The Lamb
Who made the back band? Whoa! God damn
[holler]"Kyyah! Whoa yeah, back up, whoa buck!"[/holler]
Whoa Buck, and gee, by The Lamb
Who made the back band? Whoa, God damn

Eighteen, nineteen, twenty years ago
Shirl' knocked down old Cotton Eyed Joe
Cotton Eyed Joe and-a Cotton Eyed Joe
Wouldn't let him dance for to sell his soul
Whoa buck, and gee, by The Lamb
Who made the back band? Whoa, God damn

==Notes==
<references/>

<ref>Whoa, back buck: Later song titles have 'back', he sometimes sings 'black' here</ref>
<ref>Gee: Animal team driver command to turn right. "Haw" is the command to turn left, "Whoa" to stop</ref>
<ref>"Gee! by The Lamb!", reference to Christ, defused exclamation venting frustration at getting the team to turn</ref>
<ref>back band: A strap going through the harness saddle to join the belly band either side. Takes the weight of the shafts or pole. In cart harness it is replaced by a chain running in a groove in the harness saddle, hooked to the shafts either side.</ref>
<ref>black bad: Alternative theory is "black bad", as in "too black bad". It actually sounds most like a hybrid, "black band"</ref>
<ref>Had fun feedin' on the sugar in the gourd: Could also be "Went for fishin' out the sugar in the gourd"
<ref>Sugar in the gourd: Various theories exist. Reference to coitus is the more likely, "gourd" as female reproductive apparatus, "sugar" as male, or semen</ref>

[edit: picked up corrections, added notes at bottom for inclusion in-line in weeniepedia]
[edit: picked up correction from cheapfeet]
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: waxwing on February 20, 2009, 11:39:16 PM
Gee is the command, used by muleskinners and other teamsters, for the animal, mule, ox, whatever, to turn right. Haw is the command to turn left. Whoa (note spelling) is the command to stop.

So "gee by the lamb" would be "turn right by the lamb" whatever that might mean.

All for now.
John C.
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: banjochris on February 21, 2009, 12:04:13 AM
I'm not sure about the "black bad," but it's possible. Most of the "Oh"s, I think should be "whoa". Also, the last verse is

Eighteen, nineteen, twenty years ago
Sure knocked down old Cotton Eyed Joe
Cotton Eyed Joe and-a Cotton Eyed Joe
Wouldn't let him dance for to sell his soul.

(The "and-a" in the third line gets one of those intrusive r's we noted in another thread, and the last line I'm pretty sure he's misspeaking -- he usually sings "save his soul" and it sounds like he stumbles a bit here.)

Also, I believe the song's in A position, but he always plays an A7 instead of A major, plus regular D and E shapes.
Chris
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on February 21, 2009, 10:24:55 AM
I agree with Chris, most if not all of the occurrences of oh or woh, should be whoa. Lead Belly recorded this song quite a few times, more often under the name Whoa Back Buck.

I'm pretty sure it's not black bad in "Who made it black bad? Oh God damn". That said, damned if I know what he's singing. It sounds phonetically like back ban/back bend. Not clear to me. This is an old work song, so I'm not sure what I'd think of as more "hipster" phrases like "too black bad" would be likely to appear.

Also I don't think he's singing Cheryl. It sounds more like a rough pronunciation of Sally, "I take Sally to the party-oh", with Sally sung as Sall' and perhaps Salluh. In other versions, he also does a "you take Sally and I'll take Sue" type verse. Not that that confirms anything but...

Re. "sell his soul" in the last verse Chris transcribes. In a version Lead Belly does with the Golden Gate Quartet, he sings a verse that goes

I taken my gal to a party-oh
All dressed up in her calico
Taken my gal to the party-oh
I wouldn't let her dance for to sell her soul

He actually hesitates more on the "sell" in that, singing it as s-s-ell...


I've attached a better quality version of the song in case it helps anyone get the "back ban"/"black bad" etc line.


[attachment deleted by admin]
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: dj on February 21, 2009, 10:54:43 AM
For the "black bad/back ban" lines, I think I hear pretty clearly "Who made the BLACK VAN...".  If my ears are correct, I'd assume the black van would be a paddy wagon/prison transport, or just possibly a hearse.

Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: banjochris on February 21, 2009, 11:05:40 AM
After a little Googling, I think I have it. It's "Who made the back band" -- from Wikipedia on horse harnesses: Back band. A strap going through the harness saddle to join the belly band either side. Takes the weight of the shafts or pole. In cart harness it is replaced by a chain running in a groove in the harness saddle, hooked to the shafts either side.

And this little bid from An Encyclopaedia of Agriculture, 1825, talking about yoking oxen and horses:  Hence the necessity of not suspending the plough chains from the back of the animal by means of the back band, as is sometimes done, but of allowing them to hang freely so as to form a straight line from the collar blades through the muzzle of the plough to the point of resistance.
Chris
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on February 21, 2009, 06:18:24 PM
Thanks folks, very educational as always. I had left my 'phones at work when I transcribed it. I've now retrieved them.

I'll give it some more listens and report back. So Lead is bewailing the 'back band' build quality, as in "Who made this POS?".

If it was an item that broke regularly and was generally the bane of an ox driver's life that would fit. I like 'back band' because of the perfect fit to context but would like to look at the "Who made the...?" more closely, just my gut feeling, something else could be in there.

I mean, it would be the first time in any country blues song, that I can think of, where a consumer was dissing a product, with a rhetorical question to boot. Doesn't mean it's not right though.

More context affirmation, he is talking about putting the team into reverse which would put pressure on the back band, with ensuing chaos if it broke, can you imagine...

Wax's Gee / Haw animal driver turn signals were new to me, thanks for that. So what the heck is "gee, by the lamb"? My gut feeling, there's more to it.

[edit: disregard the next bit, I just reread Chris's post] And is that really "Lord Donald" in there, transported from ye olde medieval Englande? Surely not, but that's what it sounds like!
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on February 21, 2009, 06:42:13 PM
Re. Lord Donald, see Chris' post of that verse. I think he's right. Although I wonder if instead of "Sure knocked down old Cotton-Eyed Joe" it's "Sall' knocked down", with Sall' pronounced more as Shall'.

In a version from the live concerts in Austin and New York on Document, Lead Belly does a spoken intro where he explains the oxen get stuck in a ditch full of water or something. Perhaps they have back band trouble. :P
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on February 21, 2009, 06:52:15 PM
Yep, got it, see my edit re the spurious "Lord Donald".

One thing is clear, driving an ox team was a ***** of a job.
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: banjochris on February 22, 2009, 01:06:09 AM
Wax's Gee / Haw animal driver turn signals were new to me, thanks for that. So what the heck is "gee, by the lamb"? My gut feeling, there's more to it.

I think you were absolutely right about it being a reference to Christ, and in the song is basically just a euphemism for saying:
Whoa, buck and gee, by God.
Chris
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on February 22, 2009, 06:24:53 AM
Cool, thanks for bringing it back 360. I'm glad you believe that "Gee, by The Lamb!" is correct. He's struggling to turn the team and venting his frustration. Will give it initial capitals and an exclamation mark to make it clear after I've run through it again this morning under the cans. Personally I think we've achieved the best-ever translation of this song, that I can find anyway.

I would like to add all the other versions I have of it over time, many of them have some pretty classic folk/blues verse variations.
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on February 22, 2009, 07:27:28 AM
Updated. After relistening, the cotton-eyed Joe verse I swapped-in "Shirl' knocked down..." in place of "Sure knocked down...", I believe Shirl' is the gal being mentioned in the calico verse, and it sounds more correct to me and punchier.

Finally, had a loss of confidence in this verse, meaning there's one key phrase we haven't got. I had "Black buck" for the ??? below, it's not right:

Ain't my baby come a-walkin' down the road?
??? feedin' on the sugar in the gourd

Also, "Ain't" is indistinct and sounds almost like it could be "Me and..."

Carried forward the updated summary, with placeholders for all the songs sequenced per the running order:
From Columbia Legacy "King of.."
Title  1st pos. chord or
open tuning name
 
  Semitones
down from E
 
  Pitch 
Packin' Trunk
Spanish, Ab
n/a
Ab
Becky Deem, She Was a Gamblin' Girl
E
6
Bb
Honey, I'm All Out And Down
D
6
Ab
Four Day Worry Blues
D
6
Ab
Roberta Part I
F
6
B
Roberta Part II
F
6
B
Death Letter Blues Part I
A
Death Letter Blues Part II
A
Kansas City Papa
E
6
Bb
Fort Worth & Dallas Blues
G
5
D
You Don't Know My Mind
G
Ox Drivin' Blues
A(7)
6
Eb
Daddy I'm Coming Back To You
C
Shorty George
C
4
Ab
Yellow Jacket
A
T.B. Woman Blues
A
3
F#
Pig Meat Papa
F
My Baby Quit Me
A

I've done a draft of Roberta Part I and will post later, after any final comments on Ox Drivin' have come in.
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: banjochris on February 22, 2009, 12:53:09 PM
Rivers, after listening to this and another couple recordings of this song, I think the sugar in the gourd verse is:

Me and my baby come a-walkin' down the road?
Went for fishin' out the sugar in the gourd
Sugar in the gourd and the gourd on the ground
Want to get the sugar gotta roll the gourd around

Also:
Packin' Trunk: sounds like Spanish on a 6-string to me
Four Day Worry: D
Roberta: F
Death Letter: A
You Don't Know My Mind: G
Daddy I'm Coming Back to You: C (Is this the earliest recording of a black artist covering Jimmie Rodgers? and did we list this in the waltz thread?)
Yellow Jacket: A
T.B. Woman: A is right
(and you left off the last two [I can see why, they're listed over on the right under his picture])
Pig Meat Papa: F (and the recording sounds like it's unnaturally slow to me)
My Baby Quit Me: A

Chris


Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on February 22, 2009, 01:10:00 PM
I just listened again and heard "Me and my baby come a-walkin' down the road / Had fun feedin' on the sugar in the gourd". I can't hear a 'shh' sound as in fishin', I can put a note?

Thanks for other positions. Yes I think we got 'Daddy...' in the waltz thread.

Yes I missed two, thanks, will add them.
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: banjochris on February 22, 2009, 01:17:31 PM
Rivers -- yeah, go ahead and put a note -- the "fishin" is clearer (to me at least) in another recording I have of this song, where he sings the rest of the verse pretty much identically to this one. He sings it so quickly in this one it does sound like "feedin" -- and "feedin' on" would also make sense. When I come back later today I'll post that other version.
Chris
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on February 22, 2009, 01:31:36 PM
[edit, rivers: added to weeniepedia (http://www.weeniecampbell.com/wiki/index.php?title=Packin%27_Trunk)]

I agree re. Packin' Trunk, and I'd say like some (all?) of his other 6-string slide tunes in Spanish it is played lap style. I didn't check the pitch but recall from checking at another time that some of these Spanish tuning songs were pitched at Ab.

Here's the lyrics, which I had transcribed some time ago for myself.

https://youtu.be/3SjimBinE0Q

Packin' Trunk - Leadbelly
Spanish tuning

(This song was made about a man and a woman. This man wanna marry the woman, she didn't want him. But she married him anyhow for the money that he had. And she thought she got every dollar he had, but she was mistaken. But she got him pretty well bent, he's sittin' with his head hung down. She walked by and she says, "Daddy, what's the matter with you?" He looked at her and here's what he said to her.)

I'm sittin' down here wonderin' would a matchbox hold my clothes
I'm sittin' down here wonderin' would a matchbox hold my clothes
I'm sittin' down here wonderin' would a matchbox hold my clothes

(She asks him, says, "Papa, says, what the matter with you?")

I don't wanna be bothered with no suitcase on my road
I don't wanna be bothered with no suitcase on my road
I don't wanna be bothered with no suitcase on my road

(He said, "I'm goin' to see my friend and see what he was doin' when his wife packin' up her trunk.")

Ah, what would you do when your baby packin' up her trunk
What would you do when your baby packin' up her trunk
Now what would you do when your baby packin' up her trunk

(He looked at him and here's what he told him)

"Get you a half a gallon o' whiskey and get on you a big drunk
Get you a half a gallon o' whiskey and get on you a big drunk
Get you a half a gallon o' whiskey and get on you a big drunk"

(She said, "Daughters, go play the piano please for me a little piece." Little girls jumped down and commenced to PLAY/PLAYIN' the piano.)

edited as per Rivers corrections
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Pan on February 22, 2009, 01:59:57 PM
Daddy I'm Coming Back to You: C (Is this the earliest recording of a black artist covering Jimmie Rodgers? and did we list this in the waltz thread?)

Er... it IS in the waltz thread, but listed as "Daddy and Home". Is this uncorrect?

http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?amp;Itemid=128&topic=3475.0

BTW I decided to rearrange the listings on the waltz thread in alphabetical order, so it would be a little more readable. I went by song titles, since some of the songs are performed by several artists.

Pan
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on February 22, 2009, 02:18:55 PM
Quote
I didn't check the pitch but recall from checking at another time that some of these Spanish tuning songs were pitched at Ab.

Ab it is. Agree it's lap style.

Quote
I'm sittin' down here wonderin' would a matchbox hold my clothes
I'm sittin' here down wonderin' would a matchbox hold my clothes
I'm sittin' here down wonderin' would a matchbox hold my clothes

You have "...down here..." reversed in both the second and third line, they are identical to the first.

Quote
(She said, "Daughters, go play the piano please for me a little piece." Little girls jumped down and commenced to play the piano.)

...playin the piano
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: banjochris on February 22, 2009, 05:04:34 PM
Er... it IS in the waltz thread, but listed as "Daddy and Home". Is this uncorrect?

Looking back, that was my mistake in the waltz thread -- I couldn't remember Leadbelly's title for it. Leadbelly (or someone at ARC) calls it "Daddy I'm Coming Back to You," but it's a direct cover of Jimmie Rodgers' "Daddy and Home." "Daddy and Home" is, incidentally, one of the three songs you can see Jimmie Rodgers perform in the short film of him.
Chris
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on February 22, 2009, 05:26:06 PM
[edit: added to weeniepedia (http://www.weeniecampbell.com/wiki/index.php?title=Roberta_(Leadbelly))]
I've been noticing every song transcribed to date is very close to concert pitch, though tuned down dramatically of course. While other solo string players, and ensembles without a fixed pitch intrument in the lineup, are often tuned varying degrees sharp or flat, Huddie is usually right on or close to concert.

Here's the first part of a tale of unrequited love, or sexual harassment depending on your point of view. Could be first, perhaps only, stalker song in country blues. Thanks Chris for the playing position tip-off, makes perfect sense:

https://youtu.be/sOuPn4lFLp4

Roberta Part I - Leadbelly
23 January 1935 NYC
ARC 16683-1 unissued
Transcribed from Leadbelly King of the 12-String Guitar, Columbia Roots 'N' Blues 467893
12 string in standard down 6 semitones to B flat and played in F position, actual pitch is B

[Intro verse]

Oh Roberta! Honey where you been so long?
Oh Roberta! Honey where you been so long?
Yes I been across ??? the country
With my long clothes on

[holler]He went down to see Roberta
And Roberta was runnin' on a freight passenger trains
And she got tired of seein' him at the station
And she went to runnin' on the steamboat
He went down on the banks of the river
When he got on the banks of the river
He looked way up the river for Roberta[/holler]

Oh Roberta! Sit down on my knee
Oh Roberta! Sit down on my knee
Got a lot to tell you
That's been worryin' me

Way up the river, far as I can see
Way up the river, far as I can see
Lord I thought I spied my
Old time used-to-be

[holler]He thought he spied Roberta
Wasn't nothin' but a cypress tree[/holler]

Lord I thought I spied my
Old time used-to-be
Yes I thought I spied my
Old time used-to-be
And it was not nothin'
Honey but a cypress tree

[holler]When he was down on the river
Sittin' down on the banks of the river [fluffs a word here]]
Roberta come along[/holler]

Hon' I'm down on the river
Sittin' down on the ground
Way down on the river
Sittin' down on the ground
Gonna stay right here Lord
Until Roberta come down

Oh Roberta! Tell me where you been so long
Oh Roberta! Tell me where you been so long
'Cross the country
With my long clothes on

[outro, 3 bars end on I7]
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on February 22, 2009, 06:19:39 PM
[edit: added to weeniepedia (http://www.weeniecampbell.com/wiki/index.php?title=Roberta_(Leadbelly))]

Part II, wherein the hero calls the cops who give Roberta a lecture.

https://youtu.be/K4uAaejJD5A

Roberta Part II - Leadbelly
23 January 1935 NYC
ARC 16684-1 unissued
Transcribed from Leadbelly King of the 12-String Guitar, Columbia Roots 'N' Blues 467893
12 string in standard down 6 semitones to B flat and played in F position, actual pitch is B

[Intro verse]

[holler]This man he was runnin' after Roberta
And Roberta was runnin' on a passenger train
And every station she would pass
This rascal'd be sittin' right down there lookin' for her
She got tired of lookin' at the rascal
She goes and run on the steamboat
And when the steamboat was passin' along
He's sitting down on the ground
And so when the steamboat'd get to the landin'
The rascal would be right there lookin' in Roberta's face
So when Roberta come off the steamboat
He looked up and he walked up and he talked to her[/holler]

Oh Roberta! What in the world you mean?
Tell me Roberta! What in the world you mmmm?
Honey, way you treat me, sure I ever seen

[holler]He looked at Roberta and he talked to her
Roberta wouldn't pay him no attention
He tore up to the police station
And he told the chief police
When he got there here what he said to the chief police[/holler]

Lord I'm goin' to the station
Go tell the chief police
Yes I'm goin' to the station
Go tell the chief police
Roberta done quit me
I can't see no peace

[holler]The police asked him "How in the world you gonna know Roberta from any other brown skin?
'Cause all of 'em is brown skin now
The black women is brown skin
They got so much high brown powder you can't tell a black woman from a brown skin"
He looked at the police and here what he said[/holler]

She's a brown skin woman! Got black wavy hair
She's a brown skin woman! Got black wavy hair
And I can describe her
A-prob'ly most anywhere

[holler]The police man goes on down to the landing with him
And walked up and talked to Roberta.
Here' what the police told her[/holler]

Tell me Roberta! What's the matter with you?
Tell me Roberta! What's the matter with you?
This man ain't got nobody
To take his troubles to

[4 bar outro end on the I7]
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: CF on February 23, 2009, 05:56:18 AM
I have a photocopy of a transcription of 'Whoa Back, Buck' from, I'm thinking, a Lomax American folk song book. 'Buck' is song 282 & has this verse

'Me an' my gal come walkin' down the road
Wind from her feet knockin' Sugar In The Gourd
Sugar in the gourd & the gourd on the ground,
Want to get the sugar gotta roll the gourd around.'

The reference here seems to be to a folk melody.
Also, could it be 'Whoa back buck & GET by the lamb' ?
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on February 23, 2009, 08:03:25 AM
Quote
I didn't check the pitch but recall from checking at another time that some of these Spanish tuning songs were pitched at Ab.

Ab it is. Agree it's lap style.

Quote
I'm sittin' down here wonderin' would a matchbox hold my clothes
I'm sittin' here down wonderin' would a matchbox hold my clothes
I'm sittin' here down wonderin' would a matchbox hold my clothes

You have "...down here..." reversed in both the second and third line, they are identical to the first.

Oops.

Quote
(She said, "Daughters, go play the piano please for me a little piece." Little girls jumped down and commenced to play the piano.)

Quote
...playin the piano

Yeah, not sure. I had that at first, then after repeated listenings went with just "play".
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on February 23, 2009, 04:02:52 PM
Quote
'Me an' my gal come walkin' down the road
Wind from her feet knockin' Sugar In The Gourd

..which just goes to show you get much better transcriptions on weeniecampbell!
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on February 27, 2009, 03:32:51 PM
[edit: updated courtesy of Chris and added to weeniepedia (http://www.weeniecampbell.com/wiki/index.php?title=Four_Day_Worry_Blues)]

I hate it when I can't understand a chunk of the very first verse. This one though I believe Huddie forgot the words and sang a gibberish line, probably the correct line was what followed, lengthening the eventual verse. I do it all the time!

The verse/bar structure changes through the song, probably should be mentioned in that existing topic elsewhere on the forum. And the point of view shifts from female to male, that's another running topic we haven't revived for a while I believe.

All help and assistance gratefully received.

https://youtu.be/0qQI_YCzUYg

Four Day Worry Blues - Leadbelly
23 January 1935
ARC 16689-2
Transcribed from Leadbelly King of the 12-String Guitar, Columbia Roots 'N' Blues 467893
12 string in standard down 6 semitones to B flat and played in D position, actual pitch is A flat

Naaaa . . . hey, hey hey
Naaaa . . . Daddy you on my mind
I ain't got but little business<ref></ref>, Daddy when I am cryin'
Yes I would not been here had it not been for you
Said I would not been here had it not been for you
Treat me low down and dirty, Daddy that's the way you do

Oooooooooh pretty papa . . . Woh!
OooOooooh pretty papa . . . Oh!
Yes I ain't gonna be your low down dog no more
Been your dog, every since I entered your door

[spoken] That was a song, Ena was in the kitchen
She was cookin' my breakfast and I'd been out all night long
And I was so ashamed of myself to hear her standin' in there cryin'
And when she<ref></ref> began to cry I'd get up and go and pat her on the shoulder
And here're the words she said: [/spoken]

"Now I'm goin' away to wear you off my mind
I've got the blues Lord, I just can't keep from cryin'
I've got another pretty papa to ease me and to keep me from cryin'"

[spoken] I couldn't stand to hear that, say that word 'bout you had another pretty papa
I had to get up and go in the kitchen and see what is the matter with her.
She commenced to cryin' again: [/spoken]

"NoooOooOoow . . . Daddy what a low down feelin'
NoooOooOoow . . . Daddy what a low down feelin'"
Been my daily occupation, takin' the monkey mens' women

[Instrumental 8 bars out]

==Notes==
<references/>
<ref>'business' is best guess</ref>
<ref>He mispronounces 'she' as 're'</ref>

Carried forward the updated summary, all from Columbia Legacy "King of.."
Title  1st pos. chord or
open tuning name
 
  Semitones
down from E
 
  Pitch 
Packin' Trunk
Spanish, Ab
n/a
Ab
Becky Deem, She Was a Gamblin' Girl
E
6
Bb
Honey, I'm All Out And Down
D
6
Ab
Four Day Worry Blues
D
6
Ab
Roberta Part I
F
6
B
Roberta Part II
F
6
B
Death Letter Blues Part I
A
6
Eb
Death Letter Blues Part II
A
6
Eb
Kansas City Papa
E
6
Bb
Fort Worth & Dallas Blues
G
5
D
You Don't Know My Mind
G
5
D
Ox Drivin' Blues
A(7)
6
Eb
Daddy I'm Coming Back To You
C
5
G
Shorty George
C
4
Ab
Yellow Jacket
A
4
F
T.B. Woman Blues
A
3
Gb
Pig Meat Papa
F
4
Db
My Baby Quit Me
A
4
F

* = to do
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: banjochris on February 27, 2009, 09:28:56 PM
That first verse is weird, but I think I've got most of it, at least phonetically. The word I have as [business] sounds like it starts with more of an M sound than a B. Then some other suggestions:

1.3 I ain't got but little [business], Daddy when I am cryin'

2.1 BEEN not bin, no IT after had
2.2 NOT not not've
2.3 Daddy THATS the way you do

3.4 Been your dog, every since I entered your door

spoken:
And I was so ashamed of myself TO HEAR HER STANDIN' IN THERE cryin'
No SHE in next line

4.1 to WEAR you off my mind
4.3 to ease me and TO keep me from cryin'

spoken:
word 'BOUT you had another pretty papa

5.3 Been my daily occupation, takin' the monkey mens' women.

Chris
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on February 28, 2009, 07:13:25 AM
Very impressive indeed, I held out little hope we'd get so close. Last line is great, reminds me of Minglewood Blues, "My former occupation was stealin' women from their men".

Agree with all major points, minor quibble and some notes:

Quote
1.3 I ain't got but little [business]...
-- That's about as close as I think we'll get and could well be correct, he's fluffing all around the actual phrase.

Quote
...Daddy when I am cryin'
-- Brilliant.

Quote
2.1 BEEN not bin
--OK--,
Quote
no IT after had
-- I definitely hear HAD IT in both lines, run together slightly.

Quote
And I was so ashamed of myself TO HEAR HER STANDIN' IN THERE cryin'
-- agree.
Quote
...No SHE in next line


-- He fluffs a word, sings "And when RE began to cry..." I believe he means 'she', since it's got to be a personal pronoun at that point. I'll make a note.

Excellent work as always Chis, thank you for your bending your ears in that direction.
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on February 28, 2009, 09:33:36 AM
It occurred to me going through these songs they are generally around a single big theme or idea. This one's about loss and appreciating what you have. Lead plays a humongous discordant passage of chords in the intro, loud and intentional. I like to think he's saying "if you can listen past this part of the song you deserve to hear the rest of it". Or maybe it's tolling bells. I'm finding the biggest challenge learning to play this is keeping the triplet strums going interleaved with the bass line.

There are six more songs from that album to go. Each one I do I get a new appreciation of the song and for Huddie himself.

Mystery phrases marked ???

https://youtu.be/K5zDwnRifdI

Death Letter Blues Part I - Leadbelly
24 January 1935
ARC 16695-2 unissued
Transcribed from Leadbelly King of the 12-String Guitar, Columbia Roots 'N' Blues 467893
12 string in standard down 6 semitones to B flat and played in A position, actual pitch is E flat

[Intro verse]

So many [horse and buggies ???] was standin' around
So many [horse and buggies ???] was a-standin' around
When they take my baby, to the buryin' ground

[spoken] ??? when they take his baby to the buryin' ground
He went to the preacher and put his hand on the preacher's shoulder
When they went to let her down here' what he told the preacher: [/spoken]

"You done taken my baby to the buryin' ground
You done taken my baby to the buryin' ground
You done break my heart Lord, when you let her down"

[spoken] He goes to the head board as her body was goin' home
And fell down on his knees
And here' what he said to his baby: [/spoken]

Yes he went to the head board, fell down on his knees
Ah, he went to the head board, fell down on his knees
If you would speak one word babe, give my heart some ease

[spoken] He goes back home to get him a bucket of water
And he goes to the well [/spoken]

You don't miss your water, 'til your well goes dry
Ah, miss your water, 'til your well goes dry
You don't miss pretty mama, shake your hand goodbye

[spoken] He goes back home, wanders 'round in the yard [/spoken]

Don't your house look lonesome when your woman done gone
Don't your house look lonesome when your woman done gone
I a-feel mistreated, but I won't let on

[Instrumental verse out]
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on February 28, 2009, 10:32:09 AM
Part II has the discordant breaks in one of the verses in the outro. In the verse occurrence it's between two references to crying, so maybe he's making the guitar cry and sob. I really like the intro, he alternates the two common A7 chord shapes and joins them together with the bass line to make a very cool riff. Nifty lyric, assuming it's correct, is this gem: My Mama said "Howdy!" Papa said "Goodbye!"

It's hard to figure out just what is going on in the narrative, it seems to have little relationship to part I other than the obvious death thing. It's hard to know when he says "Mama" and "Papa" if he means his mother/father or partner/himself.

And what's with firstly going to the graveyard, then catching a train, to get home to see his gal laid low? Bizarre. I think he lost the plot, no pun intended, mentioning the graveyard early on, otherwise it could be a song about zombies.

https://youtu.be/f4w-KNdtPGU

Death Letter Blues Part II - Leadbelly
24 January 1935
ARC 16696-2 unissued
Transcribed from Leadbelly King of the 12-String Guitar, Columbia Roots 'N' Blues 467893
12 string in standard down 6 semitones to B flat and played in A position, actual pitch is E flat

[Intro verse]

Yes they wrote me a letter, what do you reckon it read?
Yes they wrote me a letter, what do you reckon it read?
Come home big papa, your lovin' baby's dead

[spoken] Sure enough he goes to the graveyard
He goes back home. He goes to his friend.
When he got that letter, he goes to the depot
And he catch the longest train he seen
And he didn't stop at no short stop
He read somethin', got it in the heart
And when he got home here with his, told his mama [/spoken]

Yes I went to the depot, [cause the train to fly ??? ]
I went to the depot, caught the train [up long ???]
When he walks in Lord, she was low lay down

[spoken] His Mama met him at the door step.
Papa run to the bed side, told his daughter and daughter-in-law goodbye [/spoken]

My Mama said "Howdy!" Papa said "Goodbye!"
My Mama said "Howdy!" Papa said "Goodbye!"
Poor boy couldn't do nothing but, hang his head and cry

[3 instrumental lines]
Poor boy couldn't do nothing but, hang his head and cry

[spoken] He went to the bedside and looked down in the baby's face
She didn't know him from nobody else 'cause it's too late
When he looked down in her face, here' what he said to his Mama: [/spoken]

Yes he went to the bed Lord, looked down in her face
Yes he went to the bed Lord, looked down in her face
"Lord I love you pretty mama, just can't take your place"

[Instrumental verse out, end on first bar of the V]
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Bunker Hill on February 28, 2009, 10:33:47 AM
So many [high ???] was standin' around
So many [high ???] was a-standin' around
When they take my baby, to the buryin' ground
What I can hear in my head is "hacks" which I've always taken to mean carriages which brought folk to the funeral. But I'll have to give it a spin.
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Bunker Hill on February 28, 2009, 10:37:48 AM
Yes I went to the depot, [cause the train to fly ??? ]
I went to the depot, caught the train [up long ???]
When he walks in Lord, she was low lay down
Again in my head I can hear for the first line "caught the train a-flyin'" but as this is a common blues expression I'd better listen to the disc!
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: frankie on February 28, 2009, 10:45:33 AM
So many [high ???] was standin' around
So many [high ???] was a-standin' around
When they take my baby, to the buryin' ground
What I can hear in my head is "hacks" which I've always taken to mean carriages which brought folk to the funeral. But I'll have to give it a spin.

I'm not sure I have the same version of the song, but it sounds like a garbled "So many hackney horses was a-standin' around."

Other suggestions:

Quote
If you would speak one word babe, give my heart to me

If you would speak one word babe, give my heart SOME EASE

Quote
You don't miss pretty mama, 'til you're [hang Huh] goodbye

You don't miss pretty mama, 'til you SHAKE YOUR HANDS goodbye




Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on February 28, 2009, 11:10:43 AM
Thanks guys.

Quote
I'm not sure I have the same version of the song, but it sounds like a garbled "So many hackney horses was a-standin' around."

It fits, but phonetically it sounds like: So many high ten bogies / buggies(?) was a-standin' around. I think you are right, it's about carriages sho nuff. Second time it could almost be, with a little allowance for pronunciation, "So many horse and buggies, was a-standing around"

Quote
If you would speak one word babe, give my heart SOME EASE

Correct.

Quote
You don't miss pretty mama, 'til you SHAKE YOUR HANDS goodbye

That's it. No '"'til you", it's:  You don't miss pretty mama, 'til you SHAKE YOUR HANDS goodbye
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Johnm on February 28, 2009, 03:23:27 PM
Hi all,
I remembered this morning that I had transcribed Leadbelly's version of "John Henry" from his Last Sessions over in the thread devoted to different versions of "John Henry", here:
http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?amp;Itemid=60&topic=4256.msg30402#msg30402
This was before there was a Leadbelly Lyrics thread.  I'll post his version of "John Henry" in Weeniepedia, Mark.
All best,
Johnm 
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on February 28, 2009, 04:41:32 PM
Thanks John. That disc is on my shopping list after hearing Alvin mention it favorably on the recent youtubes interview posting.
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on March 01, 2009, 06:31:52 AM
[edit: Corrected, annotated and added to weeniepedia (http://www.weeniecampbell.com/wiki/index.php?title=You_Don%27t_Know_My_Mind--Leadbelly)]

Transcribing this next one prompted me to start researching its origins. I've always thought You Don't Know My Mind is a very beautiful tune. Earliest version I can find in B&GR, well the same title anyway, is Viola McCoy, 1924. Anyone know if it's the same song?

The other version I have of this (LoC) make it clear Huddie had many, many stock verses for this song. In this take you can spot Barbecue Bob's Mississippi Heavy Water Blues from 1927 and two of the other verses seem awful familiar, can anyone name an earlier tune with the same verse? For example who did "...I could stand to see you die"? "Worked all summer, follow the fall" reminds me of Luke Jordan's Church Bell Blues, though it ends differently.

Joe Callicott's version is the exact same tune, I'm wondering from where Joe got it. Likewise Herman Johnson's version.

This is a pretty easy tune to play in G position, what gives Lead's version major appeal I think is the delayed bass run down to the V, starting one bar later than when you think he's going to do it, followed by a shuffle on the IV, it really is a killer syncopated lick. Once again a nice mix of a picked bass line interspersed with a strummed riff gets him the texture.

Help much appreciated for the ???'s. What on earth is she gettin' him in the kitchen? I searched on "getting / giving toe" and got a lot of foot fetish sites  :P

https://youtu.be/OAe52ztOH-A

You Don't Know My Mind - Leadbelly
24 January 1935
ARC 16706-2 unissued
Transcribed from Leadbelly King of the 12-String Guitar, Columbia Roots 'N' Blues 467893
12 string in standard down 5 semitones to B and played in G position, actual pitch is D

[Intro, 5 bars on the I]

My breakfast's on the table and my coffee<ref></ref> gettin' cold
My mama's in the kitchen gettin' a-sweet papa told
Baby you don't know, don't know my mind
When you see me laughin', laughin' just to keep from cryin'

Ask my baby could she stand to see me cry
She said "Sweet papa I could stand to see you die"
Baby you don't know, don't know my mind
When you see me laughin', laughin' just to keep from cryin'

Walkin' down the levee with my head hangin' low
Lookin' for my sweet mama and she ain't here no more
Baby you don't know, don't know my mind
When you see me laughin', laughin' just to keep from cryin'

Baby you don't know, you don't know, you don't know my mind, doggone it mama
You don't know, don't know my mind
When you see me laughin', laughin' just to keep from cryin'

I can't fork no wheeler, can't shake no flour<ref></ref>
But I can do anything if you show me how
Baby you don't know, don't know my mind
When you see me laughin', laughin' just to keep from cryin'

First I met you, Lord, made out of stone, Lord I...
I took you in you didn't have no home
Baby you don't know, don't know my mind
When you see me laughin', laughin' just to keep from cryin'

I worked all the summer, follow the fall
Come home and took my Christmas in my overalls<ref></ref>
Baby you don't know, don't know my mind
When you see me laughin', laughin' just to keep from cryin'

You don't know, you don't know, you don't know my mind, doggone it baby
You don't know, Lord, know my mind
When you see me laughin', laughin' just to keep from cryin'

[Instrumental verse out]
==Notes==
<references/>

coffee: alternative hearing is "collards"
can't shake no ''flour'': alternative hearing is "plow"
''took my Christmas in my overalls'': alternative hearing: ''tucked my pistols in my overalls''
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: CF on March 01, 2009, 08:29:50 AM
Couple suggestions Rivers:

'Breakfast on the table, my COFFEE's getting cold
Mama's in the kitchen getting her sweet papa TOLD'?

' . . . Come home & tucked my pistols in my overalls'
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: CF on March 01, 2009, 08:41:01 AM
Quote
I have a photocopy of a transcription of 'Whoa Back, Buck' from, I'm thinking, a Lomax American folk song book. 'Buck' is song 282 & has this verse

'Me an' my gal come walkin' down the road
Wind from her feet knockin' Sugar In The Gourd
Sugar in the gourd & the gourd on the ground,
Want to get the sugar gotta roll the gourd around.'


..
Quote
which just goes to show you get much better transcriptions on weeniecampbell!


Having just listened to this I would say that this is possibly what Huddie is saying. Give it a listen.
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on March 02, 2009, 03:35:46 PM
Re. Ox Driver, I gave it a listen and now feel very foolish about my previous flip reply. That is what he's saying, gosh darn it. Apologies for not getting right onto it. Lesson learned, I thought we'd explored all the possible hearings.
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on March 02, 2009, 04:27:06 PM
'Breakfast on the table, my COFFEE's getting cold

I toyed with that one for a while. In the LoC recording it's about the same clarity. It sounds like 'collar' in the ARC, and you can hear an '...s' on the LoC. I think 'coffee' is very possible though, and will put a note, but personally I hear an 'L', as in 'collards'.

Quote
Mama's in the kitchen getting her sweet papa TOLD'?

Likewise, I thought at the time 'told' was possible, and it sounds very similar comparing the ARC and LoC recordings. So the question would be, does it make sense? It does if it was a vernacular expression around at the time. The meaning is clear, we just don't use that phrase any more. The clincher would be to find another instance of it in country blues. It makes more sense than 'toe' so I'll make it the primary and put 'toe' in a note.

Quote
' . . . Come home & tucked my pistols in my overalls'

I'm gonna have to disagree on that one, after thrashing it under the cans for a while, I'm 99.9% sure it's:
"Come home and took my Christmas in my overalls". I'll put another note though.

How about that other mystery line:

I can't [fork no wheeler ???], can't shake no flour
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: banjochris on March 02, 2009, 09:31:33 PM
I'm pretty sure it is "coffee's getting cold"; the next line is "sweet papa told" -- it makes sense, she's in the kitchen telling him off.

The "fork no wheeler" line -- "fork no wheeler" is right, but the end is "shake no plow," not flour. Charlie Patton sings a verse about a wheeler and plow in "Jim Lee - Part I." I assume by "fork no wheeler" he means replacing a fork on some kind of farm equipment -- does someone know better? is it a steamboat reference?

(also in the 4th verse second line there's a missing "my.")
Chris
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Johnm on March 03, 2009, 10:57:41 AM
Hi all,
It occurred to me that "Sugar in the Gourd" should be in quotes in the verse of "Ox-Driver's Song" that has been discussed, since it is the name of a fiddle tune.  For those interested in hearing it, there's a nice recording of it by Ernest Stoneman with Kahle Brewer playing the fiddle.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on March 03, 2009, 03:30:20 PM
OK I'm outnumbered on the coffee / collard thing, I'll make coffee primary and add a note. I still believe I hear collards. As an aside, in the LoC take recorded a few months later in Connecticut he doesn't sing "breakfast" so far as I can tell, not sure what he does sing however.

Re Sugar In The Gourd, I wasn't sure originally that he was singing about the fiddle tune due to us not having the lead-in phrase right. Cheap's correction makes it most likely they're dancing to that tune, as you point out, so point taken there on it should be in quotes.

Re. 'Plow' versus 'flour' in You Don't Know My Mind - I definitely hear flour, on headphones, with a lot of passes and volume. Will add a note re alternative hearings.

Re. "Fork no wheeler" - good enough for me... As you say, it would be great to know what it means. Jim Lee was a paddle steamer, right? With what they referred to as the "wheel" at the back. Sounds very possible.

I had one flash "wheeler" could have been a pronunciation of "willow", and he could have been talking about making something, perhaps a catapult, "fork..."? I've gone off that idea though.

Thanks very much for the input y'all, will correct them and move on.
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on March 03, 2009, 04:06:26 PM
[edit: updated courtesy Cheapfeet and added to weeniepedia (http://www.weeniecampbell.com/wiki/index.php?title=Daddy_I%27m_Coming_Back_To_You--Leadbelly)]

Huddie does Jimmie Rodgers in waltz time. This song grows on you the more you listen to it, perhaps due to the heartfelt sincerity he conveys and, as always, beautiful singing and guitar.

https://youtu.be/BCwA5g1WFXQ

Daddy I'm Coming Back To You - Leadbelly
5 February 1935 NYC
ARC 16806-1 unissued
Transcribed from Leadbelly King of the 12-String Guitar, Columbia Roots 'N' Blues 467893
12 string in standard down 5 semitones to B and played in C position, actual pitch is G

[Intro, 4 bars on the I]

Your hair has turned to silver
I know you're fadin' too
Daddy, dear old Daddy
I'm comin' back to you
Made my boyhood happy
Still I longed to roam
I've a-had my way, but now I'll stay
I long for you and for home

Daddy, you shared my sorrows and joys
You tried to bring me up right
But still I remember you's a-one of the boys
Now I'm starting back home tonight
Your hair has turned to silver
I know you's fadin' too
Daddy, dear old Daddy
I'm comin' back to you
Made my boyhood happy
Still I longed to roam
I've a-had my way, but now I'll stay
I long for you and for home

[spoken] This here's the last verse. His Papa's hair had turned to silver.
And when he got back home: [/spoken]

I'm dreaming tonight of an old Southern town
The best friend I ever had
Been wonderin' and worryin' and rovin' 'round
Now I'm goin' back home to my Dad
Your hair has turned to silver
I know you're fading too
Daddy, dear old Daddy
I'm comin' back to you
Made my boyhood happy
Still I longed to roam
I've a-had my way, but now I'll stay
I long for you and for home

[Instrumental 4 bars out]
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Johnm on March 03, 2009, 05:01:29 PM
Hi all,
Leadbelly played "Sweet Mary", a raggy 8-bar tune from his "Last Sessions" out of F position in standard tuning, sounding just a little high of C.  The recorded performance is unusual in that it both fades in at the front end and out at the back end.  The song employs the following progression:

    |    D7    |    D7    |    G    |    G    |

    |    C7    |    C7    |    F     |    F     |

Leadbelly does all his singing over the D7 and G chords, except for pick-ups into the next verse, which fall on the tail end of the F at the end of the form.  He works the verses in pairs.  He fingers both the D7 and C7 out of the C shape, and both the G and the F out of the F shape.  He really makes the most of the way that bass runs lay out beautifully in the F position.  As is most often the case with his playing, he accelerates greatly, but at a consistent rate, over the course of the rendition 
I'm not at all sure I have the bent bracketed phrase right, so I'd appreciate any help.

https://youtu.be/xerTe5WvtdA

   Mary, sweet Mary

   Oh Mary, sweet Mary

   Oh Mary, sweet Mary

   Oh Mary, sweet Mary

   Nineteen hundred and twenty-three, when the judge took my liberty away from me

   In nineteen hundred and twenty-three, when the judge took my liberty away from me

   I left my wife wringin' her hands and cryin', sayin', "Lord have mercy on that man of mine."

   I left my wife wringin' her hands and cryin', sayin', "Lord have mercy on that man of mine."

   Told my wife before I left the land, if I never no more see her do the best she can

   I told my wife before I left the land, if I never no more see her do the best she can

   Goodbye, Mary, ooo ooo ooo

   Oh Mary, ooo ooo ooo

   Had the Governor Neff like you got me, I'd a-wake up in the mornin', I'd set you free

   If I had the Governor Neff like you got me, I'd a-wake up in the mornin', I would set you free

   Goin' back to Mary, sweet Mary

   Oh Mary, ooo ooo

Edited 3/3 to pick up correction from Uncle Bud

All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on March 03, 2009, 05:14:30 PM
Hi John - that last verse is

Had you Governor Neff like you got me...

It's a reference to Texas Governor Pat Neff, whom Lead Belly petitioned for a pardon. There are some other recordings of the song under the title "Governor Pat Neff". What a great guitar part.
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Johnm on March 03, 2009, 05:36:39 PM
Thanks, Andrew, that's great!  I should read that Leadbelly biography and get caught up more on the particulars of his life.  You're right about the guitar part--it's sensational, and Leadbelly had such heavy time.  I will make the change.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: CF on March 03, 2009, 05:43:46 PM
Hey Rivers, in that spoken part in 'Daddy I'm Comin' Back To You', I don't have the recording handy at the moment but I think he's saying

' . . . His papa's hair had turned to silver
When he got back home.'

This is a really great song & I think I prefer Leadbelly's version to Jimmie Rodgers'. This & 'You Don't Know My Mind' & 'Roberta' all from these 1935 sessions have been in my repertoire for years. 
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on March 03, 2009, 05:46:58 PM
Damn, I gots to get that Last Sessions CD... Here's another verse, should you need it, from Smithsonian Folkways, Lead Belly Legacy vol. 3, Shout On:

I know my wife will jump and shout, when the train rolls up, I come a-steppin' out (x2)
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on March 03, 2009, 05:48:02 PM
Hey Rivers, in that spoken part in 'Daddy I'm Comin' Back To You', I don't have the recording handy at the moment but I think he's saying

' . . . His papa's hair had turned to silver
When he got back home.'

Excellent!  :) That was the only question I had in that one. I'll copy it across to the bit bucket and post another one, 3 to go and the Columbia ARC is done and dusted.
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on March 03, 2009, 06:09:21 PM
[edit: added to weeniepedia (http://www.weeniecampbell.com/wiki/index.php?title=Yellow_Jacket)]

Incredible piece, nuff said. Never really struck me as great until I really listened to it. Lead's fatalistic sense of humor shines throughout.

https://youtu.be/5nIYcsnyi7M

Yellow Jacket - Leadbelly
25 March 1935 NYC
ARC 17179-1 unissued
Transcribed from Leadbelly King of the 12-String Guitar, Columbia Roots 'N' Blues 467893
12 string in standard down 4 semitones to C and played in A position, actual pitch is F

[Intro, 4 bars on the I]

Yellow jacket, yellow jacket! Please sting me once more
Yellow jacket, yellow jacket! Please sting me once more
You can sting me once more
And then I've got to go

You stung me this mornin', stung me 'til I was sore
Ah you stung me this mornin', stung me 'til I was sore
You can sting me one more time
Please don't sting me no more

[Two instrumental lines]
You can sting me one more time
Please don't sting me no more

You can buzz yellow jacket, buzz all around my face
You can buzz yellow jacket, buzz all around my face
I don't want no other yellow jacket
To, God, take your place

You can go down town, kinfolks all around
You can go down town, kinfolks all around
But if I catch you stingin', baby I'll burn your nest on down

Ooooooh, I'll burn your nest on down
Ooooooh, I'll burn your nest on down
[spoken] Great God almighty yellow jacket, don't sting me no more[/spoken]
But if I catch you stingin', I'll burn your nest on down
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on March 03, 2009, 06:22:18 PM
[edit: added to weeniepedia (http://www.weeniecampbell.com/wiki/index.php?title=Pig_Meat_Papa--Leadbelly)]

I'll keep going and post the last two, transcribed them a few days back but have been pacing the postings so I can keep up with the corrections. There's a questionable line in this one, ideas most welcome.

https://youtu.be/A-_s6k7dMc4

Pig Meat Papa - Leadbelly
25 March 1935 NYC
ARC 17181-2 unissued
Transcribed from Leadbelly King of the 12-String Guitar, Columbia Roots 'N' Blues 467893
12 string in standard down 4 semitones to C and played in F position, actual pitch is D flat

[Instrumental verse intro]

Just look a-here mama, don't treat pig meat the way you do
Ooooh don't treat pig meat the way you do
If you don't believe it's pig meat, ask anybody in the neighborhood

If you don't believe it's pig meat, [come down here on the grass ???]
Ooooh [come down here on the grass ???]
I got somethin' about a pig meat, sweet mama I ain't told you yet

I was born and raised in the country, mama but I'm a stayin' in town
[spoken] In New York City is what I'm talkin' about [/spoken]
I was born and raised in the country, mama but I'm a stayin' in town
If you don't believe it's pig meat, mama put my head on down

[Instrumental verse]

[spoken] She looked at the man, and I looked at the woman
She knows this was Lead Belly, wasn't nothin' but pure pig meat
All over Shreveport Looziana, and all in Texarkana
And I was runnin' with a gal named Sylvana, she looked at me and here' what she said, the last words: [/spoken]

You can take me to the mournin', and there will be pig meat there
You can take me to the mournin' mama, will be pig meat there
You take the bull to China, down to church, just anywhere

Oooooh, a church, just anywhere
Wooooh, a church, just anywhere
Take the bull to China, down to church, just anywhere

[Four bars out]
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on March 03, 2009, 06:29:52 PM
[edit: added to weeniepedia (http://www.weeniecampbell.com/wiki/index.php?title=My_Baby_Quit_Me)]

Here's the last one from King Of The 12 String Guitar. Yee ha!

https://youtu.be/hdBYtM5x9Ck

My Baby Quit Me - Leadbelly
25 March 1935 NYC
ARC 17183-1 unissued
Transcribed from Leadbelly King of the 12-String Guitar, Columbia Roots 'N' Blues 467893
12 string in standard down 4 semitones to C and played in A position, actual pitch is F

[3 bar intro on the I]

My baby left me, well she wouldn't come back no more
My baby left me, well she wouldn't come home no more
When you left me baby, ah she drive me from my door

Look a-here people, I couldn't understand her myself
Look a-here people, I couldn't understand her myself
When my baby left me, I didn't want nobody else

[Instrumental verse]

Yeah people! Want you to all understand
Yeah people, want you to all understand
My baby done left me, and she got a brand new man

[Instrumental verse]

My baby drove me, lordy, from my door
My baby drove me, lordy, from my door
And she said "Sweet papa, I can't use you no more"

Carried forward the completed summary, Columbia Legacy "King of.."
Title  1st pos. chord or
open tuning name
 
  Semitones
down from E
 
  Pitch 
Packin' Trunk
Spanish, Ab
n/a
Ab
Becky Deem, She Was a Gamblin' Girl
E
6
Bb
Honey, I'm All Out And Down
D
6
Ab
Four Day Worry Blues
D
6
Ab
Roberta Part I
F
6
B
Roberta Part II
F
6
B
Death Letter Blues Part I
A
6
Eb
Death Letter Blues Part II
A
6
Eb
Kansas City Papa
E
6
Bb
Fort Worth & Dallas Blues
G
5
D
You Don't Know My Mind
G
5
D
Ox Drivin' Blues
A(7)
6
Eb
Daddy I'm Coming Back To You
C
5
G
Shorty George
C
4
Ab
Yellow Jacket
A
4
F
T.B. Woman Blues
A
3
Gb
Pig Meat Papa
F
4
Db
My Baby Quit Me
A
4
F
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Johnm on March 04, 2009, 05:26:56 PM
Hi all,
Leadbelly played "He Never Said a Mumbling Word" on his "Last Sessions" out of D position in standard tuning, sounding just a little sharp of A.  It is a powerfully spirited performance, with a vocal that is every bit as rhythmically infectious as the guitar accompaniment.  Leadbelly seemed to love the D position for playing up-tempo numbers with strong thumb-lead bass lines, like his versions of "John Henry" and "House of the Rising Sun".

https://youtu.be/ISZMSqSIXOg

   SPOKEN:  Want to see me get happy?  Now, just listen to this, just don't tell--this is a Spiritual, too, tell a story about Christ, which I guess is happy--you would not know it, but you don't know that old feelin' I gets from down South.  Think about my mother shoutin', uh.  Holy rollers is singin' this now--It's thei' rhythm, thei' swing, and the way they sing.

   On a-Easter Sunday he rose, on a-Easter Sunday he rose
   On a-Easter Sunday he rose for me
   One day when I was lost, they hung him on the cross
   On a-Easter Sunday he rose for me

   They whupped him up the hill, they whupped him up the hill
   They whupped him up the hill for me
   One day when I was lost, they hung him on the cross
   They whipped him up the hill for me

   They speared him in the side, they speared him in the side
   They speared him in the side for me
   One day when I was lost, they hung him on the cross
   They speared him in the side for me

   The blood come streamin' down, the blood come streamin' down
   The blood come streamin' down for me
   One day when I was lost, they hung him on the cross
   The blood came streamin' down for me

   He hung his head and died, he hung his head and died
   He hung his head and died for me
   One day when I was lost, they hung him on the cross
   He hung his head and died for me

   He never said a mumbling word, he never said a mumbling word
   He never said a mumbling word for me
   One day when I was lost, they hung him on the cross
   He never said a mumbling word for me

   SPOKEN, DURING SOLO:  No he didn't. . . yeah

   He's comin' back again, he's comin' back again
   He's comin' back again for me
   One day when I was lost, they hung him on the cross
   He's comin' back again for me

   SPOKEN:  Yes, he is, coming back for me.  Yeah, what you call a Spiritual--you get shoutin' you get happy.

Edited 3/5 to pick up corrections from Rivers

All best,
Johnm

   
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on March 04, 2009, 06:10:29 PM
Wow, heavy dues. I don't have that so can't assist, except for typo spotting; "sunday" lower case initial capital in verse 1, "mumblig" in verse 6, or maybe he does say it that way.

I'm going to pick another 'must-have' disc, probably the LoC / Elektra / Rounder Midnight Special CD and start on it after a short break. Richard Nevins or somebody really needs to work on those recordings, stunning as all get out but in dire need of remastering.
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: CF on March 05, 2009, 05:18:37 AM
I have a Columbia CD titled 'Leadbelly' (CK 30035) & seems to have been an LP originally. I've had the this for years along with Columbia's 'King Of The Twelve String Guitar' & doing some referencing in B&GR today I see that these two CDs contain most of Leadbelly's extant ARC recordings from 1935. 'Death Letter Blues Pt.1 & Pt.2' & 'Kansas City Papa' have two takes each & Columbia were smart enough to offer all takes on these companion CDs. They share 'Roberta Pt.1 & 2', & 'Packin' Trunk'. The rest of 'Leadbelly' contains
-C. C. Rider
-You Can't Lose Me, Charlie
-(New) Black Snake Moan
-Alberta
-Baby Don't You Love Me No More
-Death Letter Blues Pt.1 (take 1) ['KO12StringG' has take 2]
-Death Letter Blues Pt.2 (take 1) [""]
-Kansas City Papa (take 1) [""]
-Red River (Blues)
-(My Friend) Blind Lemon
-Mister Tom Hughes' Town
-Match Box Blues
-Bull Cow Blues

ARC recordings not present on these two CDs are 'Daddy I'm Coming Back To You' (16806-3), 'Shorty George' (16814-2) & 'Pig Meat Papa' (17181-1). '12 String' suggest that their 'Roberta Pt.1&2' are alternate takes but B&GR states that only one take each actually exist so this must be an error. 
'The Penguin Guide to Recorded Blues' says 'Leadbelly' (CK 30035) is still available & I recommend it although the sound on '12 String' is significantly better.
I'm pretty swamped but if I have the time I'll try transcribing some of these other ARC titles. What a series of sessions!
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on March 05, 2009, 04:01:21 PM
Thanks for the heads up on that other Columbia disc w/ARC recordings Cheapfeet. Must have it.
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Johnm on March 05, 2009, 08:44:38 PM
Hi all,
Leadbelly recorded "National Defense Blues" for his Last Sessions, playing out of C position in standard tuning at G.  The accompaniment employs a doubled-up boogie bass line, which from the sound of it, Leadbelly was playing, all downstrokes, with his thumb, something that would tire out most players pretty quickly.  The deep trucking rhythm he achieved was sensational, and the song voices out beautifully for his vocal range; it's right in his kitchen.  He does a downward swoop on the last note of each of the opening lines of his verses that is pretty spectacular.  Like most of the songs in the Last Sessions, this has a fairly lengthy spoken intro and outro which I've chosen not to include.  It takes too much time to transcribe all that talking.  I have never heard anyone but Leadbelly do this song, and it's a great one.

https://youtu.be/Q3-UAjb1ue0

   I had a little woman workin' on that National Defense
   I had a little woman workin' on that National Defense
   That woman got to the place, where act like she did not have no sense

   Just because she was workin', makin' so much dough
   Just because she was workin', makin' so much dough
   That woman got to the place, did not love me no more

   Every payday would come, her check was big as mine
   Every payday would come, her check was big as mine
   That woman thought that Defense was gonna last all the time

   That Defense is gone, just listen to my song
   That Defense, it is gone, just listen to my song
   Since that Defense been gone, that woman done lose her home

   SPOKEN, DURING SOLO:  Yes, she is . . yeah . . . well all right, then

   I will tell you the truth and it's got to be the fact
   I will tell you the truth and it's got to be a fact
   Since that Defense has gone, that woman losed her Cadillac

All best,
Johnm



   

   
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on March 06, 2009, 07:14:31 PM
I've started a Leadbelly Guitar keys and positions page (http://www.weeniecampbell.com/wiki/index.php?title=Leadbelly_Guitar_Keys_and_Positions) on weeniepedia, with links back to the individual lyric pages.
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Bricktown Bob on March 14, 2009, 06:06:42 AM
Yellow Jacket - Leadbelly
25 March 1935 NYC

Now this might be the nitpickiest of all nitpicks, but where I come from yellowjacket is pronounced and written as one word.  If Leadbelly pronounces it as two, then everything's just fine, though I can't imagine him doing that.  If he treats it as one word, I would suggest doing the same, at least in the lyrics.  The title is problematic.
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on March 14, 2009, 11:24:39 AM
Hey there Bob, welcome back, haven't heard from you for a while.

We tend to go with the session info. Though examples are legion of record companies getting it wrong, the title always stuck. ARC called it Yellow Jacket, according to the bible, Dixon, Godrich & Rye, Blues & Gospel Records, 4th ed., page 523.

I'll put a note on weeniepedia though, I thought about that exact same thing myself when I wrote it down. My first impulse was to type it as one word.
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on March 16, 2009, 02:13:11 PM
Nothing wrong with being nitpicky, Bob, but if I may be nitpicky myself, the two American and one Canadian dictionary I checked have "yellow jacket" as two words, as do citations from Random House, Merriam-Webster and the American Heritage Dictionary at dictionary.com. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/yellow%20jacket. So the two-word version is certainly common, perhaps even the accepted version, though I'm no bug expert.
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Bricktown Bob on March 20, 2009, 10:30:17 PM
Nothing wrong with being nitpicky, Bob, but if I may be nitpicky myself, the two American and one Canadian dictionary I checked have "yellow jacket" as two words, as do citations from Random House, Merriam-Webster and the American Heritage Dictionary at dictionary.com. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/yellow%20jacket. So the two-word version is certainly common, perhaps even the accepted version, though I'm no bug expert.

You are so right, Uncle Bud.  I hang my head in shame.  It does indeed appear to be usually spelled as two words, although it is a single lexical item, like the White House (as in the president's residence) as opposed to just any old house that's white.  I should know by now that I can never be so sure of something that I don't need to look it up.  But that's another lesson I will never ever learn, I fear.

So ... What's the story with Tom Bluecoat Nelson?
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on March 21, 2009, 09:27:39 PM
Quote
So ... What's the story with Tom Bluecoat Nelson?

I've always worried about that... I went to a Bluecoat school, Reading to be precise, see http://www.archivist.f2s.com/bsu/Blcoat.htm ... weird, eh? I seriously doubt there's a connection though!  :P
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Bricktown Bob on March 22, 2009, 07:27:20 AM
Quote
So ... What's the story with Tom Bluecoat Nelson?

I've always worried about that... I went to a Bluecoat school, Reading to be precise, see http://www.archivist.f2s.com/bsu/Blcoat.htm ... weird, eh? I seriously doubt there's a connection though!  :P

Tom Nelson was an Old Boy?  Pretty cool, that.

Quote
Years of managing the heavy skirted garment are said to develop a gait of measured dignity amongst the bluecoat boys.

Ah, so that would explain your gait of measured dignity, Rivers!
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on March 22, 2009, 07:37:07 AM
Fortunately I was a 'day boy' so didn't have to wear the tudor get up, that was for the boarders. My gait is unaffected!
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Bricktown Bob on March 22, 2009, 07:51:53 AM
Natural dignity -- the finest kind.
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on April 04, 2009, 05:56:05 AM
Continuing on with more Leadbelly, here's a piece from Rounder CD 1044 Midnight Special, LoC recordings disc 1. This is an inspiring program but often the surviving recording quality is poor so it will be a challenge to get some of the lyrics.

Take a Whiff On Me I have a soft spot for since it was one of the first folk blues I learned to play and sing on the guitar, Woody Guthrie's version. Great performance from Lead Belly, especially where he goes to the octave on a couple of choruses.

Huddie plays it with a square dance rhythm and feel. I believe he's flatpicking the 12, Louie Lasky style, though I guess he could be using the thumbick as a flatpick, that would take some skill. [edit: Still not sure about this]

I've taken a stab at the tuned-downness and position. I'm thinking I need to reconfigure my strings to have the double-high octave string on the 6th to get this sound, I'm in Willie McTell mode at present and it's not quite happening.

I welcome all comments and corrections.

https://youtu.be/2_km81Cq_bs

Take a Whiff On Me - Leadbelly
Feb 1 1935, Wilton Conn.
LC: Elektra EKL301/2, Doc DLP544, DLP601, Rounder CD 1044 Midnight Special, LoC recordings disc 1

12 string flatpicked(?) in standard down six four semitones to B flat C. Played in E D position so actual pitch is B flat

[Instrumental 10 bars]

Take a whiff on me, take a whiff on me
And everybody take a whiff on me
And a-oh, oh, baby take a whiff on me

When I marry gonna buy me a line
Got to whip my baby if she change her mind
And it's oh, oh, baby take a whiff on me

When I marry gonna buy me a rope
I'm gonna whip my baby 'til she Buzzard Lope
And it's oh, oh, baby take a whiff on me

Take a whiff on me, take a whiff on me
And everybody take a whiff on me
And a-oh, oh, baby take a whiff on me

Blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice
Take a brown skin woman for my particular use
I said oh, oh, baby take a whiff on me

Chew my tobacca, spit my juice
But I love my baby 'til it 'tain't no use
I said oh, oh, baby take a whiff on me

Take a whiff on me, take a whiff on me
And everybody take a whiff on me
It's a-oh, oh, baby take a whiff on me

[Instrumental verse 12 bars]

Walked up Ellum and I come down Main,
Tryin' to bum a nickle just to buy cocaine
It's a-oh, oh, baby take a whiff on me

Tell ya' son, gonna make it my tickle
That's two bars of coke, can't buy it by the nickel
And a-oh, oh, baby take a whiff on me

Take a whiff on me, take a whiff on me
And everybody take a whiff on me
It's a-oh, oh, baby take a whiff on me

You take Sally and I'll take Sue
It's a mighty little difference in between the two
It's a-oh, oh, baby take a whiff on me

You take Sally and I'll take Jane
They both good lookin' but they ain't the same
It's a-oh, oh, baby take a whiff on me

Whiff-a-ree and a whiff-a-rye
Gonna keep on whiffin' until I die
And a-oh, oh, baby take a whiff on me

Cocaine for horses and not for men
Doctor say it'll kill ya but he don't say when
It's a-oh, oh, baby take a whiff on me

Two barrels of pickled pork, two barrels of meal
And oh how glad your ladys is
And a-oh, oh, baby take a whiff on me

Take a whiff on me, take a whiff on me
And everybody take a whiff on me
It's a-oh, oh, baby take a whiff on me

[Instrumental, 12 bars + 1 and out]

[edit: Thanks to Chris for comments and corrections]
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: banjochris on April 04, 2009, 03:27:14 PM
Hey Rivers --
I don't think he's flatpicking, just using his usual thumb downstroke on this. It's played out of D position, by the way. One of the giveaways for this position with Leadbelly are the double hammer-on ascending runs on the fifth and fourth strings.

The missing words are
till she Buzzard Lope (Mance Lipscomb sings the same verse in Sugar Babe)
and
Chew my tobacco and I spit my juice.

I'm glad you posted this, it made me dig out my Elektra LPs and give 'em a listen.
Chris
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on April 04, 2009, 03:56:55 PM
All I can say is Aaaargh...  >:( thank you Chris. That Lead Belly is a sly one with the chord positions/tunings. How on earth do you figure it out?

So he's tuned down only 4 semitones. Much easier in D position. It was interesting trying to play it in E, learned some good licks, so it wasn't wasted. Lyric corrections are excellent, will correct.

I still think he's flatpicking at this stage but I clearly need to do some forensic relistening. Messing around with the song also got me going on Louie Lasky, sure is fun flatpicking the Fraulini.
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: slshbleed on July 04, 2009, 02:55:45 PM
[edit: now added to weeniepedia (http://www.weeniecampbell.com/wiki/index.php?title=Kansas_City_Papa)]



Somebody please listen and tell me what he sings in the last line of each verse. My theory is total gibberish. I've translated as close as I can get to it. It sounds like it might be a mangled 'Believe I'm 'bout blow my line', and 'blow my line' is also clear in verse 2 line 1. But on the tag lines he sings 'low my line'.  ??? And what does 'blow my line' mean anyway, or is that a dumb question?

...Kansas City, ain't it a pity
Kansas City, b'lieve 'm 'bout to low' my line <ref>Clearly he says "low" which we believe is a contraction of "lower" and a fishing reference, he's casting his line out for the Kansas City women</ref>

When I get to Kansas City I'm gonna blow my line <ref>At variance with the tag lines, he clearly says "blow my line". Cab Calloway reports "line" means money in the Hepster's Dictionary</ref>
I get to Kansas City I'll be hard to find
In Kansas City, ain't it a pity
Kansas City, believe 'm bout to low' my line

Some of this was covered. There are lots of Leadbelly songs about gambling. "To blow my line" means he is willing to blow his whole bankroll. The odds laid on a game are often called "the line"

[spoken] Two women was jivin' with one another one day

"You keep on talkin' til you make me think
Your daddy was a bulldog and your mammy was a man" I think this line should be mink rather than man. Mink and weasel are closely related and the terms are interchanged. The offspring of a bulldog and a weasel would make for a pretty truculent woman. Later in the song he also mentions a polecat. Some people call skunks polecats (polecats and skunks are related, but they are not the same animal. They all stink however). It is kind of hilarious to think about a smell skunk climbing a persimmon tree to get at the tasty fruit. Its possible that it could be minx as well. I like the idea of a mink better because it is more internally consistent. 
In Kansas City, wadn't it a pity
Kansas City, b'lieve 'm 'bout to low' my line

"You keep on talkin' til you make me mad
I tell you 'bout the puppies that your sister had" Another hilarious line! I though he said "trouble that your sister had". Now that I have gone back and listened to it, it really does sound like puppies!"
In Kansas City, wadn't that a pity
Kansas City, b'lieve 'm 'bout to low' my line


The funniest thing that I ever did see
S'a polecat climbin' up a 'simmon tree
In Kansas City, wadn't it a pity
Kansas City, b'lieve 'm 'bout to low' my line

Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: slshbleed on July 04, 2009, 03:50:14 PM
[edit: This is now in weeniepedia (http://www.weeniecampbell.com/wiki/index.php?title=Ox_Drivin%27_Blues)]

The phrase 'gee by the lamb', is that a cuss defused by an oblique reference to Christ do you think, or have I misheard 'lamb'? Perhaps it evolved from the vernacular, from 'gee-by-Christ' to 'gee-by-The-Lamb' is not too big of a stretch. I'm not convinced though.

I transcribed it blind first then did a lot of searching to see what others had come up with. There are a lot of dubious transcripts out there. Nobody else has "who made it black bad", you'd have to be a weenie and know some Lemon to hear that. I think it's right but as always I'm open to all corrections & comments.

I always thought it was "lam" as in "on the lam" or running from the law. Leadbelly of course had many prison songs/crime songs. I "heard it differently as well. There are other songs that refer to "jaybird". Jaybird pulling the turnin plough, sparrow pulling the harrow. Your gonna pull it today big boy, I'm gonna pull it tomorrow. Sometimes singers use and odd cadence to make the words fit the melody. Sometimes words are repeated etc. I always thought that it was about a prison break, and they were trying to get back home.

So........

Whoa back buck and jaybird on the lam
who mad it back, back.....Cunningham? ( Cunningham? Who is Cunningham? Is Jaybird Cunningham? Or is it a town? A jail, a sheriff or did it just rhyme?)
Whoa back buck and jaybird on the lam
Who made it back, back.....Oh God damn.

The contexts of the word "who" is interesting. Is it a question? Could it be read as "Buck and Jaybird, the ones that made it back" or the ones that successfully escaped prison.




Ox Drivin' Blues - Leadbelly
24 January 1935 NYC
ARC 16694-1 unissued
Transcribed from Leadbelly King of the 12-String Guitar, Columbia Roots 'N' Blues 467893
12 string in standard down 6 semitones to B and played in A(7) position, actual pitch is E flat

Whoa! back buck, and gee! by The Lamb!
Who made the back band? Cunningham
Whoa! back buck, and gee! by The Lamb
Who made the back band? Oh God damn
Whoa buck, and gee, by the lamb
Who made the back band? Oh God damn

[holler]This man he was drivin' twenty yoke of oxen
He was a long ways from home
And he looked down the road, looked like he could see his wife
And he 'gin to holler at the old oxen
"Kyyah! Whoa yeah buck, back up!"[/holler]

Whoa buck, and gee, by The Lamb
Who made the back band? Whoa, God damn

Eighteen, nineteen, twenty years ago
I'd take Shirl' to the party-oh
I'd take Shirl' to the party-oh
All dressed up in her calico
Whoa buck, and gee, by The Lamb
Who made the back band? Whoa, God damn

Me and my baby come a-walkin' down the road
Wind from her feet knockin' "Sugar In The Gourd"
Sugar in the gourd and the gourd on the ground
Want to get a sugar gotta roll the gourd around
Whoa buck, and gee, by The Lamb
Who made the back band? Whoa, God damn

[holler]"Kyyah! Whoa yeah, back up, whoa buck!"[/holler]

Whoa buck, and gee, by The Lamb
Who made the back band? Whoa, God damn

Whoah b(l)ack buck, and gee, by The Lamb
Who made the back band? Whoa, God damn
When I was skinnin' for Johnny Rye
Puttin' my initials on a mule's behind
Whoa buck, and gee, by The Lamb
Who made the back band? Whoa! God damn
[holler]"Kyyah! Whoa yeah, back up, whoa buck!"[/holler]
Whoa Buck, and gee, by The Lamb
Who made the back band? Whoa, God damn

Eighteen, nineteen, twenty years ago
Shirl' knocked down old Cotton Eyed Joe
Cotton Eyed Joe and-a Cotton Eyed Joe
Wouldn't let him dance for to sell his soul
Whoa buck, and gee, by The Lamb
Who made the back band? Whoa, God damn

==Notes==
<references/>

<ref>Whoa, back buck: Later song titles have 'back', he sometimes sings 'black' here</ref>
<ref>Gee: Animal team driver command to turn right. "Haw" is the command to turn left, "Whoa" to stop</ref>
<ref>"Gee! by The Lamb!", reference to Christ, defused exclamation venting frustration at getting the team to turn</ref>
<ref>back band: A strap going through the harness saddle to join the belly band either side. Takes the weight of the shafts or pole. In cart harness it is replaced by a chain running in a groove in the harness saddle, hooked to the shafts either side.</ref>
<ref>black bad: Alternative theory is "black bad", as in "too black bad". It actually sounds most like a hybrid, "black band"</ref>
<ref>Had fun feedin' on the sugar in the gourd: Could also be "Went for fishin' out the sugar in the gourd"
<ref>Sugar in the gourd: Various theories exist. Reference to coitus is the more likely, "gourd" as female reproductive apparatus, "sugar" as male, or semen</ref>

[edit: picked up corrections, added notes at bottom for inclusion in-line in weeniepedia]
[edit: picked up correction from cheapfeet]
Title: Lyrics for Leadbelly's You Don't Know My Mind, Dallas/Ft Worth Blues
Post by: millerspacecowboy on January 22, 2010, 11:03:28 AM
I'm brand new on this site, but does anybody have the correct lyrics for Huddie Ledbetter's "You Don't Know My Mind" and "Fort Worth and Dallas Blues" as done on the 1991 "King of the 12-String Guitar" cd?  I've got 90% for the first but "Ft Worth/Dallas Blues" is really hard to make out.  Thanks, millerspacecowboy, Mike
Title: Re: Lyrics for Ledbelly's You Don't Know My Mind, Dallas/Ft Worth Blues
Post by: uncle bud on January 22, 2010, 11:20:09 AM
Welcome to the site, Mike.

You'll find Fort Worth and Dallas here: http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?amp;Itemid=128&topic=4318.msg42921#msg42921

You Don't Know My Mind is here: http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?amp;Itemid=128&topic=4318.msg43690;topicseen#msg43690

These are also in Weeniepedia: http://weeniecampbell.com/wiki/index.php?title=Category:Leadbelly_Lyrics
Title: "How Long" - Leadbelly
Post by: pete12string on February 24, 2011, 07:15:31 PM
Howdy!

I've been trying to figure out the lyrics to Leadbelly's version of "How Long".  The version I'm listening to is from "LeadBelly-Absolutely The Best".  Here's what I've got.  In the 5th verse, I just can't figure out what the heck the words are.  Any comments, help, etc. are appreciated!

https://youtu.be/4-EcVeZLDRw

Baby, how long
Baby how long
Have that ev'nin train been gone
Baby, how long, how long, Yeah how long


Heard the whistle a blowin'
Can't see no train
Way down in my heart I had an achin' pain
Baby, how long, how long, Yeah how long


Down at the station
With my head hung down
Lookin' at my baby when she leave this town
Baby, how long, how long, Yeah how long
 

I'm feeling bad
I'm lookin' sad
Thinkin' bout them good times I once have had
Baby, how long, how long, Yeah how long


Been hollerin'
Like a moanin' Jack
I get a ??? deep down sick feelin? for my baby back
Baby, how long, how long, Yeah how long

(Harp solo)

How long
How long
Have that ev'nin train been gone
Baby, how long, how long, Yeah how long

Feelin' so disgusted
I feel so blue
Sometimes I wonder what in the world I'm gonna' do
Baby, how long, how long, Yeah how long



Thanks again,
Pete
Title: Re: "How Long" - Leadbelly
Post by: banjochris on February 24, 2011, 08:07:51 PM
I don't have this version, but the usual lyric is something like:

If I could holler like a mountain jack
I'd go on the mountain and holler my baby back

or some permutation of that.
Chris
Title: Re: "How Long" - Leadbelly
Post by: pete12string on February 25, 2011, 09:43:28 AM
Hey Chris.

Thanks for the tip.  With that info, this is what I think I now hear in this version for the 5th verse:

Been hollerin'
Like a mountain Jack
I get a moanin? deep down sick feelin? for my baby back
Baby, how long, how long, Yeah how long


Thanks again!
Pete
Title: Re: "How Long" - Leadbelly
Post by: uncle bud on February 25, 2011, 11:26:33 AM
I don't know which version is on Absolutely the Best, but the version I have where Leadbelly sings that verse has Sonny Terry playing harp and singing one verse (Leadbelly also recorded at least one version with both Sonny and Brownie taking verses). It's on Shout On - the Leadbelly Legacy Vol 3. Leadbelly kinda blows the first line but I'd say he sings

...could holler like a mountain jack
I'd get up on the tip-top of this [building] and call my baby back
Title: Re: "How Long" - Leadbelly
Post by: pete12string on February 26, 2011, 07:47:36 PM
It's a version with Sonny Terry (i think) playing harp.   ;D
Title: Leadbelly- If It Wasn't For Dicky
Post by: frailer24 on July 21, 2012, 05:00:31 PM
Hello, I've been trying unsucessfully, to figure out the words to Leadbelly's "If It Wasn't For Dicky" for a year now. I am still unable to get past the 1st line.

If it wasn't for Dicky, I will tell you right now, 'bout this old man he had but one cow.

That's all I can make out, and it messes me up.

Thanks,

https://youtu.be/XEhmXZ70YW0

Larry
Title: Re: Leadbelly- If It Wasn't For Dicky
Post by: Rivers on July 21, 2012, 05:23:26 PM
I think I must have a different version, the one I have is from The Essential Leadbelly on Classic Blues.  Beautiful song, very unusual.

The lines of dashes I haven't gotten yet. Wish I knew what the tagline, at the end of each verse, starting 'Oh, -----', was.


Oh, -------------

And that everyone but Dicky I would change you right now
But this old man he had but one cow
He would send her to the field to be fed
And the way they beat old Jemma dropped dead
Oh, -------------

When the old man heard that his cow she was dead
Over hedges and ditches and fields he had fled
Over hedges and ditches and fields that were ploughed
----- visit to the wife til they came to his cow
Oh, -----------------------

When he first saw Jemma she was in the green grass
No --------------------- Jemma so fast
She gave her milk freely without any bill
But the blood of her life spilled out of her pail
Oh, -----------------------

So now I sit down and eat my dry meal
But I have no butter to put in my tea
I have no milk to sup with my bread
--------------------------
Oh, ----------------------

If it wasn't for Dicky I would change you right now
But this old man he had but one cow
He would send her to the field to be fed
And the way they beat old Jemma dropped dead
Oh, ----------------------








Title: Re: Leadbelly- If It Wasn't For Dicky
Post by: frailer24 on July 21, 2012, 06:23:20 PM
The best approximation of the tagline I can come up with is. "Oh, oh Dicky, sweeter than thou."

Hope it helps.
Title: Re: Leadbelly- If It Wasn't For Dicky
Post by: frailer24 on July 21, 2012, 08:58:37 PM
If it helps, I have the LoC version.
Title: Re: Leadbelly- If It Wasn't For Dicky
Post by: Alexei McDonald on July 22, 2012, 02:51:32 AM
This is Leadbelly's version of an old Irish song known as Drimmin down, so the cow's name is meant to be Drimmer, not Gemma. As to the rest, I'm sure I've seen a transcription somewhere, maybe in the Leadbelly Songbook.

Here's a more Irish version of the song, for the curious :-

Drimindown / Drimmin Down ( Traditional Irish Ballad ) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dgrkr8yZOWc#noexternalembed-ws)
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: cru423 on March 21, 2013, 09:17:09 PM
The refrain goes like this: "Ooohhhh, oohhhh, switches beated him down".
It may make no sense for a cow to be beaten with its own tail, but this was a song that was originally something of an Irish blazon, meaning it was all a national metaphor. Leadbelly didn't like the Sam Kennedy version, it didn't have enough rhythm. The switches weren't beating hard enough, I guess.  :P

Second verse:
Had a visit to his wife til he came to his cow

Third verse:
The ol' carter-man passed that Jemma so fast
(meaning he passed right by her, didn't notice her)

4th verse:
But the way they beat ol' Jemma dropped dead
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: cru423 on March 21, 2013, 09:20:30 PM
Big Fat Woman (recorded for Moses Asch in 1944)

https://youtu.be/MBrLKax0SgI

Oh lord, big fat woman with the meat shakin' on the bone
She was born and raised in an old Kentucky home

I love my woman and I tell the world I do (x3)
Cause she does so good to me just like I do you

I woke up this morning and I found my baby gone (x3)
I was so mistreated but I wouldn't let on

(scat)
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: frailer24 on March 22, 2013, 02:31:50 PM
Thank you very kindly, cru! Been wonderin' 'bout that for years!
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics "How come you do me like you do?"
Post by: Willie Poor Boy on September 30, 2013, 06:54:58 AM
Below is a transcription of two tracks form the Last Session--the "Story of the 25 Cent Dude" which is his spoken introduction to "How Come You Do Me Like You Do?"

https://youtu.be/kxyb4IVnQrM


Story of the 25 Cent Dude:

. . . [always] had on the same suit.  So one day she gave him his hat, he was going home.  Father didn?t have but one son.  He got up and he walked to the door and, uh, she caught him by the coat.   She said, ?why don?t you get you another suit??

And so, he left, you know, told her good night and left.  And went home, he told his papa he wanted him another suit.  But his daddy give him some money to go out and buy his own clothes.  You know, and he went out and got him a suit, five dollars.  And he bought him a uh overcoat,  five dollars.  And he got him a hat, a dollar. Got him a pair of kid gloves,  .50 cents.  And he bought him a watch, .50 cents.  And he had a chain on it, give a dime for that.  And then he got him a ring for .25 cents?had a little set in it. 

So, when he come back, he had a pair of kid gloves, you- that cost .50 cents.  And he come back, oh he was in July and August too, you know, the hottest months of the year and he had on that overcoat.  When he walked to the door and knocked on the door she went  ?sh-whoooo!  Walk in!?

So he walked in she says ?rest you hat!?  He chunked his hat on the bed.  She says, ?get over there you 25 dollar beaver, you.?  They was wearing beaver hats in those times.

She goes, ?whooo!  Rest your coat!?  She snatched his coat off and chunked it on the bed.  And says "get over there you 95 dollar [ballahub ?] you."

She says, ?Whooo!!  Rest your gloves!?   She snatched his gloves off and chunks them on the bed.  "Get over there you 75 dollar kid, you." 

She said, ?Whooooo!  You sure got on a pretty watch and chain.?   She snatched the watch off, broke the chain but she gets it off just the same, chunks it on the bed.  ?Get over there you there you 200 dollar Elgins, you. 

She says, ?whoooooooo!  You got on a pretty ring.  She snatch his ring off, chunks it on the bed and says, ?get over there you 2000.00 dollar diamond, you.?

She got a chair and draw him up and she says ?now you sit down here you .05 cent dude, you.?

That made him so mad, he didn?t, he sit down there and he didn?t know what to do that made that boy so mad.  So  . . . . he didn?t [wrestle/rest them ?] he throwd them all on the bed. 

So when she said that made him so mad.  So she went and brought up a chair and she sit down, ?how you doing?  How you feel??

He wasn?t saying nothing. 

In them times they would sing and this is what he said:

https://youtu.be/3eA8ijypxys

[Lyrics to How Come You Do Me Like You Do?]

How come you do me like you do do do?
How come you do me like you do?
How come you do me like you do do do?
I ain?t done nothin? to you.
Treat me kind, let me be
I can beat you doin? what you?re tryin? to do to me.
How come you do me like you do do do?
How come you do me like you do?  I mean it.
How come you do me like you do?
[Break]
How come you do me like you do do do?
How come you do me like you do?
How come you do me like you do do do?
I ain?t done nothin? to you.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
Show me any woman that a man can trust.
How come you do me like you do do do?
Home come you do me like you do?  I mean it.
Home come you do me like you do?
[Break]
How come you do me like you do do do?
How come you do me like you do?
How come you do me like you do do do?
I ain?t done nothin? to you.
Once you was steady, once you was true
Papa?s sweet [?] and mama could depend on you.
How come you do me like you do do do?
Home come you do me like you do?  I mean it.
Home come you do me like you do?
[break}
How come you do me like you do do do?
How come you do me like you do?  I mean it--
How come you do me like you do and I seen it?
How come you do me like you do?
---------------------------------------

I don't recognize the type of coat or watch she mentions and the last full section he sings something like "papa's sweet and mama could depend on you" which is probably wrong.  Unless, instead of "sweet papa and mama could depend on you," he sang "papa sweet and mama could depend on you" with the post positive adjective.

My favorite part aside from the music is the conceit that "in them times they would sing, and this is what he said."  That always makes me laugh that after this humiliation he breaks into song to voice his strong objection.

Any any rate, any suggestions on the problem parts would be appreciated--thanks.

NB: watch corrected to Elgins per banjochris.
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: banjochris on September 30, 2013, 09:15:52 AM
For the watch it's Elgin -- Leadbelly says "Elgins."
Chris
Title: Lead Belly's Haul Away Joe
Post by: Willie Poor Boy on December 14, 2013, 10:53:48 AM
There are a couple sea chanties in Lead Belly's discography, this one and the a cappella Jolly O the Ransom in the Last Sessions (maybe others but that's what I've heard).

In the Life and Legacy of Lead Belly by Wolfe and Lornell there are a couple of biographical points that give some context his singing sea chanties at all.  The first takes place after Lead Belly's release from Angola when he had just hired on as John Lomax's driver.  After making sone field recordings in an Alabama prison they were returning to Texas along the Gulf of Mexico and Lomax noticed Lead Belly staring hard at the ocean.  He asked him what he thought and Lead Belly replied something to the effect that "that's the widest river I've ever seen--I can't see the other side."  He had never seen the ocean before (!).

On their next trip the two stopped in Philadelphia for Lead Belly's public debut at a Modern Language Association conference at Swathmore College.  Lomax gave a talk about his latest research and then Lead Belly played for the audience and passed his hat around.  The entire audience then had a sing along featuring Elizabethan songs and sea chanties.

The episode is presented in the book to emphasize the incongruity of Lead Belly singing a sea chanty but he must have picked a couple of songs that evening.  Even though he had only recently seen the ocean, sea chanties wouldn't have been so strange to him.  They are work songs first and foremost and he had been adding a cappella songs to his repertoire from his boyhood days at church.

Here is a YouTube link to his Haul Away Joe:

http://youtu.be/xWpVQmmzInY (http://youtu.be/xWpVQmmzInY)

Here are the lyrics ("Missirippi" is not a typo he apparently elided Mississippi and river into a brand new word):

Way, haul away, we'll haul away, Joe.
Way, haul away, we'll haul for better weather.
Way, haul away, we'll haul away, Joe.

I kissed a little girl and her lip began to quiver round.
She says: way, haul away, we'll haul away, Joe.

Way down the Missirippi when the boats was overflowin'.
The boy says: way, haul away, we'll haul away, Joe.

Way, haul away, we'll haul for better weather.
Way, haul away, we'll haul away, Joe.

[solo]

Down in New Orleans, there'd a big ship driving over to Mexico.
Boy says: way, haul away, we'll haul away, Joe.

Down in New Orleans up Canal Street.
There the boys crying: way, haul away, we'll haul away, Joe.

Way, haul away, we'll haul for better weather.
Way, haul away, we'll haul away, Joe.
[Spoken] Sea chanty, boys, is working.
Way, haul away, we'll haul away, Joe.

When the boys all get tight and some of them done give down . . .
[spoken] others resting.
Way, haul away, ha, haul away, Joe.

Way, haul away, we'll haul for better weather.
Way, haul away, we'll haul away, Joe.


Lastly, here is a first attempt at a transcription.  I can't make out if he is just strumming open strings or if there is a chord.  I think the intervals between the notes in this transcription are right but whether it is developed out of the A chord I couldn't say.  My guitar was tuned to b flat when I worked it out and the notes he is playing are probably a full step higher.  At any rate the song has such a stark sound and then that bizarre "weeeeeeaaaaaaathhhhhheeeeerrrrr" bit, it's almost like a mimesis for the ship rocking in rough seas.




[attachment deleted by admin]
Title: Re: Lead Belly's Haul Away Joe
Post by: Johnm on December 14, 2013, 11:50:05 AM
Good work, Brad!  Leadbelly is sure enough playing the song out of an A7 position, so your TAB is right in the right place.  I've never heard that before, I don't think, and that one section of the melody is so odd, especially as translated on the guitar.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Johnm on December 26, 2013, 08:27:22 AM
Hi all,
I merged Willie Poor Boy's recent thread on Leadbelly's "Haul Away Joe" with the Leadbelly Lyrics thread.
All best,
Johnm
Title: I'll Be Down at the Last Bread Wagon
Post by: Willie Poor Boy on January 01, 2014, 08:36:19 PM
Below are the spoken intro and lyrics to Lead Belly's I'll Be Down at the Last Bread Wagon and an attempt at a transcription of the main form that he plays.

The song is developed out of the popular Darktown Strutters' Ball that Rev Blind Gary Davis also covers although I believe only as an instrumental.  Davis' version is covered in the Guitar Workshop DVD's with Ernie Hawkins.  It is a much more challenging version played out of F.  Lead Belly, as seems to be his preference when working with a boggie woogie pattern, plays out of G.

The relation of the very entertaining story Lead Belly opens with and the actual lyrics is a little unclear to me.  The story would imply the scam took place on US soil since he is an eyewitness.  The lyrics however refer to WWI and camp hangers-on somewhere near the front lines.  Blind Lemon Jefferson in Dry Southern Blues preserves a line from a similarly themed WWI song:

Well, women on the border's drinkin' over the water trough.
I say, women on the border's drinkin' over the water trough.
I wished Uncle Sam would hurry up and pay these soldiers off.

Here is Lead Belly from the Last Sessions:

https://youtu.be/kEWSWA3W2sg

Now here's something they did in 1917.  Boys all got their bonus.  They got their bonus and the girls all knowd they was going to get that money and they sent them an invitation to come down.  One of the girls give a big party. 

Some of them had 700.00 one night and had next morning they didn't have a penny.  One if the boys told me, he says,  "listen Lead Belly I got paid off.  I got no money could you let me have a dollar?"

And he got a dollar from me, man.  He didn't gave a nickel the next day but he went to the party and he was, they was all drunk up and everything and the girls just, just smacked the money.  They just [skinned them?].  And this is want she said [music starts]--wrote them an invitation:

[spoken] Then they got the invitation

I'll be down at the last bread wagon.
I'll be there with the hat in my hand.
When the boys go to no man's land, I'll be there.  But I won't be fightin'.

I'll be there with the shot gun shells
I won't be fighting but I'll be running like hell.
When the boys go over the top [I'll]
Be in the kitchen doing the eagle rock.
I'm going to beat them to the dug out and dodge them dog gone shells.

[Spoken]:
They got the invitation:
I got sad news honey.
Boom boom boom.
I'm going take you to the dance at home.
Boom boom boom.
Everything is sad but it's fair
And all the soldiers will be there.

I'll be down at the last bread wagon.
I'll be there with the hat in my hand.
When the boys go to no man's land, I'll be there.  But I won't be fightin'.

I'll be there with the shot gun shells
But I won't be fighting I'll be running like hell.
When the boys go over the top [I'll]
Be in the kitchen doing the eagle rock.
I'm going to beat them to the dug out and dodge them dog gone shells.

[Spoken] Pick it up now.

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

The transcription is mainly the melody, I didn't capture any embellishments Lead Belly may have included with his index finger.  The bar markets are a guess for parts of the tune and the duration if some of the notes is probably wrong.

That said the part of the song that causes me the most doubt is the first measure on the fourth line.  I've played it along with Lead Belly and it just doesn't sound right but everything else I've tried sounds worse.

I guess partly the 12 guitar can trick the ear into hearing something at a higher pitch since what you first hear on the standard down stroke is the higher octave in the course; secondly, in my case, I have yet to string my guitar with a unison G course yet so runs that either move between the fourth and third courses or imply a contrast with a run in the third course end up sounding off kilter.

At any rate, suggestions are welcome.


http://youtu.be/KGUF7Wx-YIs (http://youtu.be/KGUF7Wx-YIs)


[attachment deleted by admin]
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Johnm on January 16, 2014, 11:49:00 AM
Hi all,
Leadbelly backed himself out of A7 position in standard tuning for this version of "Where Did You Sleep Last Night", which I believe he also called "Black Girl".  On a later recorded version he sang it as "my girl" rather than "black girl".  He does the song in waltz time and it has a similar feel to the Bill Monroe version, though with a spookier set of chord changes.

https://youtu.be/PsfcUZBMSSg

Black girl, black girl, don't you lie to me
Tell me where did you sleep last night

In the pines, in the pines, a-where the sun never shines
I was shivered the whole night through

Black girl, black girl, where will you go?
I'm goin' where the cold winds blow

In the pines, in the pines, where the sun never shines
I was shivered the whole night through

Black girl, black girl, don't you lie to me
Tell me where did you sleep last night

In the pines, in the pines, where the sun never shines
I was shivered the whole night through

My husband was a railroad man
Killed a mile-and-a-half from here

His head, it was found in a driver's wheel
And his body haven't never been found

SOLO

Black girl, black girl, where will you go?
I'm goin' where the cold winds blow

You caused me to weep and you caused me to moan
You caused me to leave my home

All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rivers on January 16, 2014, 06:17:08 PM
Quote
His head, it was found in a driver's wheel

Listening to it again that's definitely what he sings, thank you. I've been singing it wrong for years, drivin' wheel versus driver's wheel. It's one of my favorite Lead songs. Do locomotives really have a driver's wheel, being on a track and all? I personally doubt it, my grandfather drove steam trains and they just had a throttle and a brake in the cab, and a bunch of plumbing and gauges. They did have a driving wheel though, two actually on the same axle, the biggest wheels. Perhaps he misheard it from an older source. But that is indeed what he sings.
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: mutantmoose on February 13, 2014, 08:26:54 AM
There is a third version of "If it Wasn't For Dickie" on the Private Party Minneapolis cd, and it has a snippet of a spoken introduction where Leadbelly says "He blamed his son, his son named Dickie".

Suddenly the lyrics make a lot more sense now.
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Lyle Lofgren on February 14, 2014, 05:52:55 AM
Quote
His head, it was found in a driver's wheel

Listening to it again that's definitely what he sings, thank you. I've been singing it wrong for years, drivin' wheel versus driver's wheel. It's one of my favorite Lead songs. Do locomotives really have a driver's wheel, being on a track and all? I personally doubt it, my grandfather drove steam trains and they just had a throttle and a brake in the cab, and a bunch of plumbing and gauges. They did have a driving wheel though, two actually on the same axle, the biggest wheels. Perhaps he misheard it from an older source. But that is indeed what he sings.

A steam locomotive typically had three types of wheels (yes, they were connected by axles, but they weren't visible): lead wheels, drive wheels, and trailing wheels. The drive wheels were connected to the steam pistons. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whyte_notation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whyte_notation) for an idea of all the arrangements that were used).

Most of the steam locomotives I saw when I was young had 6 drive wheels. Since the song needs 2 syllables, it would be natural to sing "drivers" or "drivin'."

Lyle
Title: I Ain't Bothered a Bit
Post by: Willie Poor Boy on May 03, 2014, 03:21:06 AM
There is a very funny song of Lead Belly's preserved in the LOC recordings titled I Ain't Bothered a Bit.  It isn't the humor of Hokum where the real meaning is substituted for but rather just the opposite where the singer doesn't hold back a thing. 

Below is a YouTube link and a first attempt at what I can make out in the lyrics.  The track contains two versions or parts one and two if the same version:

http://youtu.be/ENxLFt0PLaI (http://youtu.be/ENxLFt0PLaI)


Here are the lyrics:

Part 1
Told the captain won't [paint his ?]
Didn't do nothing but nod his head
But I ain't bothered a bit
But I ain't bothered a bit

[?] on the dummy and and the dummy didn't run
Papa let me tell you what the dummy done
But I ain't bothered a bit
But I ain't bothered a bit

About half past four
had all around him just  a sittin at his door
But I ain't bothered a bit bit bit
But I ain't bothered a bit

people go to that coffee store
shit all over that [?] floor
But I ain't bothered a bit
But I ain't bothered a bit

Shit on the couch, shit in the jail
if I hadn't been watching he'd a shit on me
But I ain't bothered a bit
But I ain't bothered a bit

Shit in the chimney, shit in the jam
if that ain't shitting I will be damned
But I ain't bothered a bit
But I ain't bothered a bit

Son I ain't bothered a bit bit bit
But I ain't bothered a bit

[told ?] on the dummy didn't pay no fare
Police asked me what you doing on there
But I ain't bothered a bit
But I ain't bothered a bit

Caught me by the hand and led me to the door
hit me on the head with a 2x4
But I ain't bothered a bit
But I ain't bothered a bit

Hit me on the head with a 2x4
Don;t let me catch you on the dummy no more
But I ain't bothered a bit
But I ain't bothered a bit

Part 2
I'm so glad to tell a [?]
my and my Horra had a fallin out
But I ain't bothered a bit
But I ain't bothered a bit

Look a-hear girl [you need to fly]
Pretty good memory to lay down and die
But I ain't bothered a bit
But I ain't bothered a bit

Keep on talkin till you make me mad
tell me about the puppies you suster had
But I ain't bothered a bit
But I ain't bothered a bit

A woman tell the other than you ought to be shamed
[Scandalize] Scandalize my name
But I ain't bothered a bit
But I ain't bothered a bit

Look a-here gal don't give me no sass
Don't I know that's your natural ass?
But I ain't bothered a bit
But I ain't bothered a bit

Woman told the other you ought to be shamed
[you tore my pussy . . . ?]
But I ain't bothered a bit
But I ain't bothered a bit

Look a here gal you need to talk
I can tell you been doing by the way you walk
But I ain't bothered a bit
But I ain't bothered a bit

Woman told a man she had [no rent ?]
cause money was made to be spent
But I ain't bothered a bit
But I ain't bothered a bit

See that woman looking god and brown
Said you gonna plop your money down
But I ain't bothered a bit
But I ain't bothered a bit






Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Prof Scratchy on May 03, 2014, 07:58:51 AM
Hard to hear those missing lyrics, but maybe some of them are:


Part 1
Told the captain don't paint her red
Didn't do nothing but nod his head
But I ain't bothered a bit
But I ain't bothered a bit

Rode on the dummy and and the dummy didn't run
Papa let me tell you what the dummy done
But I ain't bothered a bit
But I ain't bothered a bit

About half past four
had all around him just  a sittin at his door
But I ain't bothered a bit bit bit
But I ain't bothered a bit

people go to that coffee store
shit all over that grocery's floor
But I ain't bothered a bit
But I ain't bothered a bit

Shit on the couch, shit in the jail
if I hadn't been watching he'd a shit on me
But I ain't bothered a bit
But I ain't bothered a bit

Shit in the chimney, shit in the jam
if that ain't shitting I will be damned
But I ain't bothered a bit
But I ain't bothered a bit

Son I ain't bothered a bit bit bit
But I ain't bothered a bit

Rode on the dummy didn't pay no fare
Police asked me what you doing on there
But I ain't bothered a bit
But I ain't bothered a bit

Caught me by the hand and led me to the door
hit me on the head with a 2x4
But I ain't bothered a bit
But I ain't bothered a bit

Hit me on the head with a 2x4
Don;t let me catch you on the dummy no more
But I ain't bothered a bit
But I ain't bothered a bit

Part 2
I'm so glad that everybody's [gone out?]
my and my Horra had a fallin out
But I ain't bothered a bit
But I ain't bothered a bit

Look a-hear girl you don't need to cry
Pretty good memory to lay down and die
But I ain't bothered a bit
But I ain't bothered a bit

Keep on talkin till you make me mad
tell me about the puppies you suster had
But I ain't bothered a bit
But I ain't bothered a bit

A woman tell the other than you ought to be shamed
[Scandalize] Scandalize my name
But I ain't bothered a bit
But I ain't bothered a bit

Look a-here gal don't give me no sass
Don't I know that's your natural ass?
But I ain't bothered a bit
But I ain't bothered a bit

Woman told the other you ought to be shamed
Stole my pussy, did you do it in Maine?]
But I ain't bothered a bit
But I ain't bothered a bit

Look a here gal you need to talk
I can tell you been doing by the way you walk
But I ain't bothered a bit
But I ain't bothered a bit

Woman told a man she had [no rent ?]
cause money was made to be spent
But I ain't bothered a bit
But I ain't bothered a bit

See that woman looking god and brown
Said you gonna plop your money down
But I ain't bothered a bit
But I ain't bothered a bit
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: frailer24 on May 03, 2014, 05:01:47 PM
Part 1, verse 5, I hear the opening lines as: "Shit in the coffee, shit in the tea".
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: uncle bud on May 03, 2014, 07:39:18 PM
Yup, that's what I hear there too.
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: cru423 on May 15, 2014, 04:32:44 PM
I think we?re losing some of the meaning in this song, because there are some off-rhymes going on more than usual in the eighth verse of the second part and it's just so uncensored (must have been a lomax recording):

1st verse: I?m so glad, tell everybody shout
2nd: Make up your bed to lay down and die
6th: Sold my pussy (to) such a dirty man
8th: Woman told the man he needn't 'nough rent
    Cause money wasn?t made to spend
9th: See that woman looking good in brown
     She said you want it all put a dollar down

"dollar down" meant prostitution (i.e. Barbecue Bob?s "Dollar Down Blues")
   
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Chicken Charlie on October 15, 2014, 07:12:09 PM
Chicken Charlie

On reference to "skinners" in "Becky Dean," I believe it's significant that the St. Louis area was the center of the fur trade, and later the end of the line for buffalo hides, which to me makes "buffalo skinners" the natural choice.  What doesn't fit with the Georgia skin game, IMO, is that the skinners in question are losing their money to Ms. Dean, not making it.
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Johnm on October 16, 2014, 12:27:31 PM
Hi Chicken Charlie,
Welcome to Weenie Campbell.  The "skinners" cited in the lyrics to "Becky Dean" being buffalo skinners is most unlikely, since buffalo skinners were pretty much creatures of the past long before Leadbelly reached adulthood.  The skinners were much more likely mule drivers/handlers, who continued to be identified that way well into the 1930s and beyond.  The East St. Louis location in the lyrics doesn't seem integral to Becky Dean's story, for the verse in which it appears is interpolated from the song "East St. Louis Blues", which was cited by Jaydee Short as the earliest blues song he heard performed.  It turns up in "Becky Dean", but doesn't really have anything to do with the rest of the lyrics.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Rrekydoc on November 21, 2014, 05:02:32 AM
So, I've been trying to figure out the lyrics and words to this specific recording of "The Gallows Pole", but there are certain parts I just cannot figure out. then I found this website and figured you people seemed more competent than me, so...

If you guys could better identify what I couldn't or come up with something different than me anywhere in the recording, I would truly appreciate it.


https://youtu.be/ye2N_2ce3QE

(Guthrie? Lomax?)
Huddie, sing us the hangman's pole, and tell us all about blowin' easy like you did last night. Explain all about the jail and everything...

(Spoken)
That hangman's pole, that's a hard place... Long years ago... They didn't have no jailhouses at that time...
Just put up some logs, put you in there, you couldn't get out no how... The first man got in jail was a colored
man... And them time, if a colored person could get up the money... Why, they wouldn't hang him if he was
gonna hang three or four days ahead of time... Why this man is in jail, well, I guess what they has done is try
to get some money and get some good jail, and they gotta. Can't get out now... _______ first come to the
jailhouse was his father... When his father walked up to the jailhouse, the boy was climbing all upside of
them logs... Talked to his father trying to get up twenty-five or thirty dollars... And here's what the man told
him when he walked up...

(Musical break)

(Spoken)
Go ahead and do it now, you just got to do it.

Father, did you bring me silver?! Father, did you bring me the gold?!
What did you bring me, dear father?! Keep me from the gallows pole, Lord!

What did you... Bring me? What did you...
What did you bring me, keep me from the gallows pole?

Son, I brought you some silver! Son, I brought you some gold!
Son, brought you a little of everything, keep you from the gallows pole, Lord!

I brought it. Yeah... I brought it.
He would bring me, keep me from the gallows pole!

(Spoken)
Here come his mother.

Mother, did you bring me the silver?! Mother, did you bring me the Gold?!
What did you bring me, dear mother?! Keep me from the gallows pole, Lord!

I brought it. Yeah... I brought it.
You would bring me, keep me from the gallows pole!

(Spoken)
You know how your mother and father thought to bring you everything!

Son, I brought you some silver! Son, I brought you a little gold!
Son, I brought you a little of everything! Keep you from the gallows pole, Lord!

I brought it. Yeah... I brought it.
You would bring me, keep me from the gallows pole!

(Spoken)
Go ahead and talk to me, now.

(Musical Break)

(Spoken)
Do it again.

(Musical Break)

(Spoken)
That's walkin'. That's talkin'.
That's walkin'. That's talkin'.

(Spoken)
Go ahead, I'm gonna go with it.

(Spoken)
___!I'll tell you about a ___!___ at your face and try to shake your hand, but he can't cut your throat!
But when a man got on the inside, all the time on the outside just hangin' around! Comin' around to see___!
But when he got on the inside, ___! Here ___ up to the jailhouse! He didn't think___!

Friends, did you bring me the silver! Friends, did you bring me the gold!
What did you bring me my dear friends?! Keep me from the gallows pole, Lord!

What did you... Bring me? What did you...
What did you bring me keep me from the gallows pole?!

I never brought no silver! I never brought no gold!
I just come up to see you, hangin' from the gallows pole, Lord!

I brought it. Yeah... I brought it.
Come and see me, hung up from the gallows pole!
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: cru423 on December 03, 2014, 10:14:35 PM
Spoken part near the end: "Now here come the last of the so-called friend. I'll tell you 'bout a so-called friend. He'll laugh and look in your face and try to shake your hand but he came to cut your throat. But when a man got on the inside all the time on the outside just hangin? around. Comin? round to see him. But when he got on the inside, that's just the place he want him. Now he come rockin? up to the jail house. He didn't think to brought him nothin' when he see his sorry face."

That's definitely Alan Lomax and not Woody at the beginning. In another Lomax recording of this tune Leadbelly also goes on a so-called friend rant: "Now here come a so-called friend. So-called friend..the best place he want to see you in...not out...when you out you shake a so-called friend's hand you can't tell what it's all about...but when you get in...that's the place a so-called friend want to see you in...and here's what you ask your so-called friend..."
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: StoogeKebab on December 04, 2014, 05:29:32 AM
I've been trying to work out the lyrics to one of the lesser known songs, 'Parting Song (When You Smile-o)' recorded in 1949 and, as far as I know, not before or after, nor can I find reference to it anywhere else as a traditional song. I have a partial transcription, but I made it after I lost a better one and reconstructed it at late, stressful panicky hours (one of my worst transcriptions, and not indicative of my usual accent and noise transcending transcription abilities) as I am preparing for a performance in a couple of days. Any help, even just so I can sing verses would be appreciated, if it's not 100% right, but still fits, I still appreciate as I figure it a good song to go with the tone of the event. Youtube link here

https://youtu.be/CVmCJcCRvhk
 
sorry if there's any grammar errors in my post as well, I don't know what time this will say for you all, but it's 1:24 AM for me!

Here's what I wrote so far:

I?ve come to say goodbye
Just one more parting [?]
Just one more last embrace

Although it grieves me so
Honey I?ve got to go
Come let me kiss your sweet face

Oh let me hear you say
That when I?m far away
You?ll think of me all the while

[Stop] all [your/the] foolish [tears]
[Hurry] up and dry your tears
Come let me see you smile

Because when you smile-o
This world will smile with you
But when you cry [though]
Then you cry alone

[Oh/So] don?t be grieving
Just because I?m leaving
Look [over/up] here honey
And let me see you smile

Oh let me hear you say
That when I?m far away
You?ll love of me all the while

Oh on the darkest day
One loving smile this way
[completely indecipherable]

Now [not to] [?] in pain
I?ll soon return again
Come let me see you smile

Because when you smile-o
This world will smile with you
But when you cry [though]
Then you cry alone

[Oh/So] don?t [be/feel] grieving
Just because I?m leaving
Look [over/up] here honey
And let me see you smile

Because when you smile-o
This world will smile with you
But when you cry [Though]
Then you cry alone

[Oh/So] don?t be grieving
Just because I?m leaving
Look [over/up] here honey
And let me see you smile

Any help is really appreciated  :)
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Johnm on December 04, 2014, 06:39:04 AM
Hi StoogeKebab,
I'll get as much as I can.  Here goes:
   1.2 Just one more parting SIGH

   4.1 Stop all YOUR foolish tears
   4.2 CHEER UP and dry your tears

   6.1 SO don't be grieving
   6.3 Look UP A-here, honey

   8.3 THAT LOVIN' HEART BEGUILE

   9.1 TRY NOT TO YEARN IN pain

   11.1 SO don't FEEL grievin'
   11.3 Look UP A-here, honey

I think the parenthetic "though" in several stanzas is correct. In the last line of his refrains, I think he sings, "Then you CRIES alone", though it might feel odd to sing it that way.  Leadbelly also inserts a lot of rhythmic "a"s throughout the course of the song, like "Look up a-here, honey".  I hope these suggestions help.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: StoogeKebab on December 05, 2014, 02:47:13 AM
Thank you so much Johnm, I really appreciate it, the rhythmic a's definitely threw me off a little.

Thanks again,

StoogeKebab
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Pothead on August 04, 2016, 02:45:55 PM
Hi Guys!

I'm looking for the Lyrics for the Scrambled Eggs Song (C'est Bon, les Oeufs), especially from "Live at the University of Texas" CD.
Well, he is talking most of the Time to the Audience but English is not my native Language so i don't understand that much!
Would really appreciate it
Thx

https://youtu.be/IbeqrPZJEtE

Greetings, Pothead
Title: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: stunasty 55 on August 04, 2016, 03:18:07 PM
This is basically it:

Good, scramble them up.
Good, scramble them up.
Good, good, good.

Bring them along, good, don't squash them,
Bring them along, good, don't squash them,
Bring them along, good, good

- According to Leadbelly's translation, that's what he is singing lol. Love it!

-Stu


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Pothead on August 05, 2016, 01:03:40 AM
Thanks

Any Chance to figure out what he is saying all the time before he starts singing?

Greetings, Pothead
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: afbach on July 27, 2017, 08:49:19 AM
Hope this is okay - Josh White's "T.B. Blues" from Josh White Sings the Blues vol 1 & 2 - I left in "Deadville" but it sure sounds like "Denver"

It's too late, too late, too late, too late, too late
It's too late, too late, too late, too late, too late
I'm on my way to Deadville and God knows I can't hesitate

And it's on my feet, couldn' even but walk down the street[2]
Where the men a-lookin' at me, from my head to my feet
But it's late now, that T.B.s killin' me
You know I'm like a prisoner, always workin' this chain

T.B.'s alright to have if your friends'd treat you so low down
T.B.'s alright to have, friends'd treat you so low down
Don't you ask 'em for no favors, they'll stop comin' around

Mmmmmm... the T.B.'s killin' me
Mmmmmm... the T.B.'s killin' me
I wish I was dead and buried in the deep blue sea.

T.B.'s alright to have if your friends'd treat you so low down
T.B.'s alright to have, friends'd treat you so low down
Don't you ask 'em for no favors, they'll stop comin' around

Mmmmmmmmmm, the T.B.s killin' me
Holler lord, T.B.s killing me
I've got a-too-bercolosis, consumption is killin' me
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Johnm on July 19, 2018, 11:34:38 AM
Hi all,
Leadbelly recorded "Old Riley" at his "Last Sessions", accompanying himself out of D position in standard tuning.  As he begins singing the song, he sounds uncharacteristically wan, but he was dying of ALS at the time.  He gains momentum as he gets into the song.  I love his performances of this kind of material.  Here is the performance:

https://youtu.be/fPeuEy2fZJ8

Old Riley walked the water (Spoken:  Riley was a man, Rattler was a dog.)
Old Riley, he walked the water
In them long hot summer days

Old Riley he's gone, gone
Old Riley, he's gone, gone, gone
Like a turkey through the corn (Spoken: He called Rattler.)

Here, Rattler, here, Rattler, here, Rattler, here
Here, Rattler, here, Rattler, here, Rattler, here

Old Riley's gone, like a turkey through the corn
Here, Rattler, here
Old Riley's gone, like a turkey through the corn
Here, Rattler, here

Old Rattler come when I blow my horn
Here, Rattler, here
Old Rattler come when I blow my horn
Here, Rattler, here (Spoken: Bring it home!)

Too-too-too
Here, Rattler, here
Too-too-too
Here, Rattler, here

Old Riley walked the water (Spoken:  July and August)
Old Riley, he walked the water
In them long hot summer days

Edited 7/19 to pick up correction from banjochris

All best,
Johnm



Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Johnm on July 19, 2018, 12:07:53 PM
Hi all,
Leadbelly did a beautiful version of "Easy Rider" on his "Last Sessions", accompanying himself out of E position in standard tuning, though pitched quite low.  Here is his performance:

https://youtu.be/Wfe4xyAwWm0

INTRO

Easy rider, see what you done done
Easy rider, see what you done done
You made me love you, now your man done come
And it's hey, hey, hey, hey

If you catch me stealin', please don't tell on me
If you catch me stealin', please don't tell on me
I'm stealin' back to my old-time used-to-be
And it's hey, hey, hey, hey

If I was a catfish, swimmin' in the deep blue sea
If I was a catfish, swimmin' in the deep blue sea
I would start all you women, divin' after me
And it's ooo, ooo-ooo-ooo (Spoken: Yeah!)

SOLO X 2 (Spoken: Yes!)

Easy rider, hear me callin' you
Ooo, hear me callin' you
Know you're three times seven, know just what you want to do
And it's ooo-ooo-ooo-ooo

All best,
Johnm







Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: banjochris on July 19, 2018, 01:36:31 PM
Old Riley walked the water (Spoken:  July is over (?))
Old Riley, he walked the water
In them long hot summer days

For what it's worth, I think he says "July and August" here, although I'm not sure it has anything to do with the song!
Chris
Title: Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Post by: Johnm on July 19, 2018, 01:59:56 PM
Thanks for the help, Chris.  I re-listened, and you are sure right.  I think maybe he was clarifying what "long hot summer days" he was singing about.  Thanks!
All best,
Johnm
SimplePortal 2.3.7 © 2008-2020, SimplePortal