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Country Blues => Country Blues Lyrics => Topic started by: doctorpep on May 10, 2008, 05:10:13 PM

Title: Roosevelt Sykes Lyrics
Post by: doctorpep on May 10, 2008, 05:10:13 PM
I'm just wondering what in the world Sykes is singing in what I believe is the second verse of this song. At first listen, it sounded like he was saying, excuse my language, "f-ing my woman's c*%$". I'm now convinced he must be singing "sucking my woman's tongue", but the noun at the end of the phrase doesn't quite sound like "tongue". The rest of the lyrics to the song are fairly easy to make out. On a related note, I wonder who played guitar on the song. At first, it sounded like Tampa Red to me, but ten seconds later, I realized I was totally unfamiliar with whoever the guitar player was. Any information on either one of these facets of "Jet Black Snake" would be much appreciated! Thank you!
Title: Re: Roosevelt Sykes- Jet Black Snake
Post by: CF on May 10, 2008, 08:00:41 PM
That's Kokomo Arnold on guitar . . . will have to find the song to help you with the lyric though . . .
Title: Re: Roosevelt Sykes- Jet Black Snake
Post by: banjochris on May 10, 2008, 11:23:59 PM
You're right about the "sucking my sweet woman's tongue." Bo Carter's "Blue Runner Blues" uses the same image. I seem to remember in the liner notes to the Yazoo "Banana in Your Fruit Basket" album something about a folk belief that snakes would suck on baby's tongues. Don't remember why. It's a weird image, and honestly as a double entendre it would make more sense the other way around, if you see what I mean.
Chris
Title: Re: Roosevelt Sykes- Jet Black Snake
Post by: doctorpep on May 11, 2008, 09:58:28 PM
Thanks! I can't believe I didn't recognize Kokomo Arnold! I understand what you mean about how it'd work better if it were the other way around, BanjoChris haha.
Title: Re: Blues Lyrics and Hoodoo
Post by: Johnm on February 04, 2009, 05:17:12 PM
Hi all,
Bunker Hill started this thread on an interesting topic some time ago, and it has been a while since any lyrics were posted here.  I transcribed the Roosevelt Sykes song, "Conjur Man Blues", from the very strong JSP set, "The Paramount Masters", a while ago, and it fits squarely in this topic.  It is a very eerie performance and set of lyrics. 

   It was late last night, just between nine and 10.
   It was late last night, just between nine and ten
   I was on my way home, I met a conjur man

   On his left hand, he had on a rubber glove
   On his left hand, he had on a rubber glove
   He says, "I want to tell you something about the one you love."

   He said, "She wears your name in the bottom of her left shoe."
   He said, "She wears your name in the bottom of her left shoe.
   And this Friday is right, he been filling another hoodoo

   SOLO

   He says, "I can tell you something, really need to be knowin'."
   He says, "I can tell you something, really, really need to be knowin'
   If you just only tell me, what year was you born?"

   He said, "Don't you get mad with her, don't care what she do.
   Don't you get mad with her, don't care what she do.
   "I'm gonna give you something, gonna be good enough to you."

All best,
Johnm

   
Title: "Drinkin' Woman Blues"--Roosevelt Sykes
Post by: Johnm on March 20, 2013, 09:07:19 AM
Hi all,
Yet another great performance on "Twenty First St. Stomp--The Piano Blues of St. Louis" is Roosevelt Sykes' rendition of "Drinkin' Woman Blues".  I guess it falls into the category of "sing, paint, write, whatever, about what you know".

When you got a woman friendly, and she don't understand
When you've got a woman friendly, and you see that she don't understand
She'll take two, three drinks of whiskey, and she will fall for any man

She will drink her whiskey, she will dance all night long, too
She will drink at her whiskey, she will dance all night long, too
She will take a car ride with your buddy just as quick as she would with you

SOLO

Lord, when he brings her back, partner, she will dance right on
Lord, when he brings her back, partner, she will dance right on
And the first man offer another drink of whiskey, that's the first man who can take her home

Oh, and a workin' man, workin' man don't need that kind of a gal
Oh, and a workin' man, a workin' man don't need that kind of a gal
She comes in all hours of night, smellin' just like a whiskey barrel

She needs a hustlin' man who ain't got nothin' to do
Oh, she needs a hustlin' man who ain't got nothin' to do
When she comes in drunk, partner, he will come in drunk, too

All best,
Johnm

Title: Re: Roosevelt Sykes Lyrics
Post by: Johnm on March 23, 2013, 04:30:46 PM
Hi all,
I merged a couple of earlier discussions of Roosevelt Sykes lyrics with the recent thread on "Drinkin' Woman Blues" to make a Roosevelt Sykes Lyrics thread.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Roosevelt Sykes Lyrics
Post by: cru423 on March 24, 2013, 04:35:34 PM
Speaking of "between 9 and 10" from "Conjur Man", it reminded me of a "half-past nine" of a similar song. "3-6-9" is slang for "B.S.".

Three Six and Nine

Well hello-a-there old girl, you sure look fine
All I hate you for that three six and nine

In the morn I look for you down about half past nine
And I want you to bring along that gal of mine

You know, down here where you get your steak, taters, and tea
If you act right you get your gravy free

(solo)

Well you is alright and good old kid
But you ain't the gal a man should be worried with

You fine kid you believe in your big time
But there ain't one thing about you, you fool with that 3-6 and 9

Now shake it, honey...

Hey who was that guy you had with you last night?
Fine old boy and he was tight

He was dressed fine
But I wonder was he a fool of that 3-6 and 9?

   
Title: Re: Roosevelt Sykes Lyrics
Post by: Johnm on July 23, 2015, 08:59:40 AM
Hi all,
Roosevelt Sykes did a spoken number with instrumental accompaniment, "You So Dumb", backing himself in F.  Sykes sounds quite the hipster here.  His piano playing is magnificently irregular in its phrasing, though perfectly clean, and would probably require an identical sense of phrasing/rhythm to reproduce.  I'd appreciate help with the bent bracketed portion of the lyrics.  Here is his recording of the song:

https://youtu.be/1rd7X5eHpWs

Ha, ha ha, awwww, sho!  You know one thing I hate:  I think we be all right but my boy friend's so dumb.  He can't catch a hen for nothin'.  Everything I got to just come out and tell 'im, or call 'im off to hisself.  Somebody can be talkin' about 'im but he won't, he can't catch it.  Not less'n they call his name.  One thing about it, I'm a sheik in this town.  I know how to make the girl chillens--all you got to do is fool 'em, tell 'em you gonna marry 'em.  They fall for that stuff, do it every time.  You don't b'lieve it, just try my prank.  Willie Kelly ain't never known to tell a lie.  Here's what the girls like.  It's got so around here I just can't be myself.  But I ain't rough, though.  All the old people don't like me so much, on account I be 'round their little girls, they call 'em right in, too.  You can tell when I'm around, they gonna call them little girls in.  Ah, push on it!  Let's have one more time.  She don't send her girls in on account of my boy friend, I thought they was gonna laugh at him, they can play with 'im all day long because they know he's dumb.  He just as soon as eat a gang of salt for sugar.  Uh, he don't seems to know no better!  Now let's mess around some.  Oh, my boy friend's so dumb!  Well, I'll tell you, take my egvice, and good-bye.

Edited 7/23 to pick up corrections from dj and Johnm
Edited 7/23 to pick up corrections from banjochris
All best,
Johnm   
Title: Re: Roosevelt Sykes Lyrics
Post by: dj on July 23, 2015, 09:18:48 AM
It sounds to me like the phrase in brackets is " I thought it will never end them puttin' him all day long", though I have to admit I have trouble making sense of that.  Is Sykes making a joke, saying the prostitutes never get sent into his room because they're always with his friend?  Or am I just totally mishearing the phrase?
Title: Re: Roosevelt Sykes Lyrics
Post by: Johnm on July 23, 2015, 04:10:08 PM
Thanks very much for the help, dj, you definitely put me back on the right track.  I think Sykes is saying, "they can play with 'im all day long because they know he's dumb.", which is to say, I guess, tease him, tell jokes at his expense, etc.  I remember Willie "61" Blackwell having a song where he talks about his "friend boy", though which of his songs it was is not coming right to mind.  I appreciate the help, especially because I think a lot of these talking songs are really interesting, and they tend to be neglected.  Thanks!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Roosevelt Sykes Lyrics
Post by: banjochris on July 23, 2015, 04:32:27 PM
The bit before "they can play with 'im all day long because they know he's dumb," which I think is right, John, sounds to me like it might be "I thought if they would laugh at him" or something like that. Just from Sykes' voice, I would guess that this recording has been slowed down quite a bit. This video sounds like it's closer to the right speed:

http://youtu.be/P05E3xKanRo (http://youtu.be/P05E3xKanRo)
Title: Re: Roosevelt Sykes Lyrics
Post by: Johnm on July 23, 2015, 04:45:07 PM
Thanks for the help, Chris.  I do believe the front end of that line is,
   I thought they was gonna laugh at him
I'll make the correction.  Thanks!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Roosevelt Sykes Lyrics
Post by: Johnm on May 16, 2018, 10:27:34 AM
Hi all,
Roosevelt Sykes can be found on the JSP set, "I've Got The Blues, But I'm Too Damn Mean To Cry", performing "Trouble And Whiskey" with the backing of Sid Catlett on drums.  Everything Roosevelt Sykes does in this performance is delivered with such authority!  Here is "Trouble And Whiskey":

https://youtu.be/2rAacc_qo-A

INTRO

If the blues was whiskey, and trouble was a bottle of gin
If the blues was whiskey, and trouble was a bottle of gin
I would buy me a .38 Special, and that's where trouble would begin

I'm going to stop work, baby, and ramble from town to town
I'm gonna stop work, kind mama, and ramble from town to town
Because workin' ain't nothin' but a habit, and I believe I'll lay it down

Did you ever sit and wonder, what step must you take?
Did you ever sit and wonder, what step must you take?
If you can't be with the one you love, you just as soon jump in the lake

Soon, soon, kind mama, soon I'm gonna get my break
Soon, soon, kind mama, very soon I'll get my break
Hey, I found out you don't mean me no good, you ain't nothin' but a fake

Don't get so good to me now, baby, because you have waited too late
Don't get so nice to me now, baby, because you have waited too late
All of your efforts, mama, is in vain, somebody else is ridin' your freight.

All best,
Johnm   
Title: Re: Roosevelt Sykes Lyrics
Post by: harry on April 26, 2019, 12:42:11 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGAYjTgFT00 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGAYjTgFT00)

February 20, 1936, New York City; Roosevelt Sykes, voc, p; Kokomo Arnold, g


Looka here pretty mama says I ain't got no home
Looka here pretty mama I really ain't got no home
Will you let me drip my honey baby in your honeycomb

So I'm your boss mama and you?s my Queen
Says I'm your boss and you know that you?s my Queen Bee
Don't you let nobody fool with your honeycomb but me

Do you realize you's a good girl to have around
Do you realize mama you's a good girl to have around
You knows exactly how to bring my honey down

So from now on baby I will never let you be
So from now on I will never let you be
'Cause I'll tell the world that you is alright with me

Looka here mama I'm going off but I ain't going far from home
Looka here pretty mama I'm going off but I ain't going far from home
I'm gonna hurry right back so I can drip some more honey in your honeycomb.

Edit -with help from John Miller and RichardW
Title: Re: Roosevelt Sykes Lyrics
Post by: Johnm on April 30, 2019, 12:00:11 PM
Hi Harry,
Thanks for posting this song.  Was it originally released as a Kokomo Arnold record with Roosevelt Sykes doing the vocal?  If so, that's pretty unusual.  I'm hearing a couple of things in the lyrics slightly differently:

2.1 So I'm your boss, mama, and YOU'S my queen
2.2 Says, I'm your boss, and you know that YOU'S my queen bee

3.1 Do you realize, YOU'S A good girl to have around?
3.2 Do you realize, mama, YOU'S a good girl to have around?
3.3 You KNOWS exactly how to bring my honey down

4.3 'Cause I'LL tell the world that you is alright with me

5.1 Look-a here, mama, I'm goin' OFF, but I ain't goin' far from home
5.2 Look-a here, pretty mama, I'm goin' OFF, but I ain't goin' far from home
5.3 I'm gonna hurry right back, SOME, AND drip some more honey in your honeycomb

All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Roosevelt Sykes Lyrics
Post by: harry on April 30, 2019, 05:20:56 PM
Thanks John. But I don't hear the "AND" in 5.3.

It's on Document Records, Komomo Arnold Vol. 2 and Roosevelt Sykes Vol. 4.  It was released on Decca as a Sykes record.

But I noticed that on the Sykes version (video below) it's in the key of F. But on the Arnold version it's slighty off pitch.
Sykes version runs 2.42. Arnold version runs 2.46. It's the same song I'm sure, no alternative takes so I guess something was either speed up or slowed down.
A lot of blues piano players, myself included, played songs in F so I guess the Sykes version is accurate. I'm not very familiar with Arnold's playing so I don't know if he played a lot of songs in F.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pYhp8PEWrk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pYhp8PEWrk)


Title: Re: Roosevelt Sykes Lyrics
Post by: Johnm on April 30, 2019, 05:56:34 PM
Hi Harry,
I re-listened to that 5.3 line, and it was not right what I had. I'm pretty sure now that he sang:

I'm gonna hurry right back, so I CAN CONSUME MORE honey in your honeycomb

Kokomo Arnold was playing Vestapol, so playing in F would not pose a problem.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Roosevelt Sykes Lyrics
Post by: harry on May 01, 2019, 08:16:25 AM
I think it's this John;

I'm gonna hurry right back so I CAN DRIP SOME MORE honey in your honeycomb.
Title: Re: Roosevelt Sykes Lyrics
Post by: Johnm on May 01, 2019, 09:27:48 AM
Yes, you've got it, Harry.  I re-listened, and the performance changed overnight (not!).  Sometimes I'm baffled by what I thought I heard when I re-listen later.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Roosevelt Sykes Lyrics
Post by: alyoung on May 02, 2019, 03:41:18 AM
Hi Harry,
Thanks for posting this song.  Was it originally released as a Kokomo Arnold record with Roosevelt Sykes doing the vocal?  If so, that's pretty unusual.
Johnm
Honey Dripper is on Document's Kokomo Arnold Vol 2 (DOCD-5038), but it's a Roosevelt Sykes issue (Decca 7164). It's Sykes first recording of a song that became his theme tune, and the artist credit on it is to The Honey Dripper (Roosevelt Sykes). Kokomo is simply the accompanist. BUT just to make life interesting, the Decca 7164 label says in the small print above the title: "Vocal Blues with/ Piano & Guitar/ Vocal Blues/ by Kokomo Arnold" Which is confusing, to say the least. But I suspect the second "Vocal Blues" isn't supposed to be there. The words are over four lines, and I think they were supposed to be three lines saying "Vocal Blues with/Piano & Guitar by Kokomo Arnold".
Title: Re: Roosevelt Sykes Lyrics
Post by: RichardW on May 04, 2019, 10:40:08 AM
On the Honey Dripper, the last line of the second verse is:

don't you let nobody fool with your honeycomb but me
Title: Re: Roosevelt Sykes Lyrics
Post by: harry on May 04, 2019, 03:04:38 PM
Thanks Richard. I think you finished the song now.
Title: Re: Roosevelt Sykes Lyrics
Post by: RichardW on May 05, 2019, 04:56:16 AM
Cheers Harry - just been learning the lyrics to sing with friends, and your efforts have been a good time saver - thanks! :-)
Title: Re: Roosevelt Sykes Lyrics
Post by: harry on May 25, 2019, 05:36:04 AM
Cheers Harry - just been learning the lyrics to sing with friends, and your efforts have been a good time saver - thanks! :-)

I saw it on Youtube, sounds good.