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Author Topic: SOTM 2017 June - Baby Please Don't Go  (Read 1552 times)

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Online Rivers

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SOTM 2017 June - Baby Please Don't Go
« on: June 01, 2017, 10:35:11 AM »
Baby Please Don't Go

We all know this one, it might be playing in your head right now just reading the title. To get analytical for a minute or two, and this part was much longer before I pruned it, I went looking for possible explanations for the staying-power of Baby Please Don't Go.

Lyrically it counts as a "story" song if you define a story as having a person, a place and a problem. Story songs tend to have longevity, but not always. Anyway, the story here is pretty scattered.

From a player's perspective the first part has a more or less "call and response" format. A short instrumental fill lick answers each of the two repeated vocal lines. This sets up the release, conjoined vocal phrases that descend through an octave in 4 bars to land back at the root note, often with scant chance for the singer to take a breath. Imagining a sanitized version with no monkey business, I count a total of 10 bars, or 12 for a longer turnaround vamp on the 1

A pickup phrase "Baby please don't…" propels you into the first beat of the first bar "…Go". That happens twice. Then it shifts gear for the longer, descending vocal passage. The first pickup might be reduced to "Baby…", so the accent falls on "…Please Don't Go", again on the first beat of the bar. This trick continues throughout what feels like a long swooping descent: "Down to New Orleans…", "You know I Love You So…" "Baby Please Don't Go". While all this is not exactly news, the song is a showcase for the old songwriting trick, and iI think t gets a lot of its punchiness from it. To me it sounds like a real conversation rather than just words set to music.

There are many versions and variants of the song. Many hang on the 1-chord, implying the changes by playing through them with melody notes. Many of the otherwise 1-chord versions play the breaks and / or intro as a strict 12-bar blues. Some versions change to the IV for bars 5 thru 8, most do not. Some play the V at the turnaround, most don't.

I'll skip over the song's Sixties R&B phase and concentrate on the older, acoustic stuff. You can find more on its recent history on wikipedia and at earlyblues.com. They suggest some ancestry for the song. I really don't know what to think so won't comment on where it may have been, if anywhere, before Joe Williams' ensemble recordings in 1935 and 1941 for Bluebird. To throw some further discussion into the origin debate, Joe himself, in another video on youtube, introduces it as "my theme song, one I wrote in 1921"

Joe Williams' Washboard Blues Singers (1935): Joe's first recording of Baby Please Don't Go gets line honors for the tune as a prison song. The accompanists are Dad Tracy on homemade 1-string violin and Chasey "Kokomo" Collins on washboard. The violin gives a string band feel, the washboard, um, sort of hints at jug band. Joe's guitar vamps have a modern blues triplet sound. It's easy to hear similarities to Robert Johnson's playing up the neck in A, but RJ did not start recording until a year later. Patton-style octave bass licks descending on the offbeat occur after the 2 minute mark. I think I notice similarities to Henry Townsend's sound; interestingly Joe and Henry had recorded together earlier that same year. Joe throws in tasteful, minimalist slide at points. The net result is a version rich in dueling sub-genres and interest, and it would never sound quite this way again:



Joe Williams (1941): Joe's second recording of the song drops the "Baby…" from the title. This time he's playing 9-string guitar alongside Sonny Boy Williamson on harp and Alfred Elkins on "cano bass".

In my opinion the recording captures the excitement of a great live trio. They sound fully engaged and nicely under-rehearsed; that drive and spontaneity draws you in. Transitioning into the two instrumental verses they change from the main 1-chord feel into a strict 12-bar format and that works well. It sounds to me like Sonny Boy is leading the others into those moves to 12 bars; the others almost missing them but recovering well. The recording quality is very good, Alfred Elkins' bass sounds amazing if you can plug-in to a system with some bass to it, it's a whole different experience, I used my satellite radio boombox's auxiliary input.



I need a cold ice cream after that one.

Between Joe Williams' first two Bluebird recordings in 1935 and 1941, here are the two cover versions that appeared on Decca. The first was Tampa Kid, usually identified as Charlie McCoy, followed by Leonard "Baby Doo" Caston's "I'm Gonna Walk Your Log".

Tampa Kid (Decca 1935): Blues & Gospel Records gives this version by Charlie McCoy short shrift, opining that "This singer gives a passable imitation of Tampa Red". They might want to revisit that in a new edition, should one ever appear. The vocal is good but not great, but more to the point it's hard to play a tricone like that, to say the least. The resemblance to Tampa Red's guitar playing and tone borders on uncanny. I like the relaxed pace of it:



Leonard "Baby Doo" Caston (Decca 1940): "I'm Gonna Walk Your Log" is a fairly tight and zippy arrangement with Baby Doo singing, Robert Lee McCoy on guitar and an unknown washboard player. If you're looking for it in Blues & Gospel Records look under "B", "Baby Doo" (page 30), not "C":



I'll finish up with some later versions of the song that I like in no particular order.

Big Bill Broonzy (1952, Vogue, France): Bill is playing out of E position, the "Hey Hey" licks give it away. Curiously though he's sounding at around F#. So he must be either capoed at 2, or tuned up a whole step. See the Broonzy guitar style thread for another example of that, "When Did You Leave Heaven", which is pitched at D but apparently played out of C position.

Unlike most versions of the song Big Bill chooses to play the IV chord throughout, subtly shaded, from bars 5 thru 8, and strict 12-bar form for the instrumental verse and also the intro. Broonzy gets creative with the lyrics, mentioning Parchman Farm, which doesn't, so far as I know, appear in any prior versions, though maybe it does. The vocal is fabulous, as you would expect:



Lightnin' Hopkins (various): In some recordings Lightnin' plays the verse through as a 1-chorder, implying the changes with melody notes, then lands on a big V chord in the turnaround. I used to think that was a bit brash but I've come to like it for its Lightnin'-ness. This version on youtube though is altogether different. Lightnin' plays it 1-chord style with 12-bar breaks. As he treads water waiting for the next vocal line or verse to come around he throws in a John Lee Hooker-esque boogie vamp on the bass. Fortunately for us all, we can watch him play it, even if his body language suggests he's just killing time waiting for a bus:



Mance Lipscomb: Here is a fine version from Mance, who also plays it "1-chord feel with 12-bar breaks" style. Mance's rock-solid performance needs no further commentary from me:



That's all for now, I hope you've enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed putting it together. There are, of course, many more great versions out there and I look forward to your comments, insights and examples.

Cordially Yours,

Rivers.

Offline Johnm

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Re: SOTM 2017 June - Baby Please Don't Go
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2017, 10:46:02 AM »
Many thanks for a strong Song of the Month selection and the research you did putting the first post together, Rivers!  I look forward to listening to the versions you've posted that I've not previously heard and maybe adding a couple I track down to the thread later on.  Whatever a Blues Classic may be, "Baby Please Don't Go" certainly qualifies as one.
All best,
Johnm 

Offline Stuart

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Re: SOTM 2017 June - Baby Please Don't Go
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2017, 01:11:04 PM »
Yes, thank you Rivers. It's a great choice for SOTM. I'll second everything John says about your choice and the work that went into it. It's definitely a quintessential song in the Blues canon.

Online Rivers

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Re: SOTM 2017 June - Baby Please Don't Go
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2017, 01:54:13 PM »
Thanks guys, it was a fascinating little project. At the outset I had little idea where it would lead. I started writing at the beginning of May and made several major revisions between yogurt batches.

Offline Old Man Ned

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Re: SOTM 2017 June - Baby Please Don't Go
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2017, 02:11:52 PM »
In the first verse of Joe Williams' Washboard Blues Singers version does Joe sing

Now baby please don't go
Now baby please don't go
Baby please don't go back to New Orleans
and get your cold ice cream


Online Rivers

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Re: SOTM 2017 June - Baby Please Don't Go
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2017, 02:55:18 PM »
I believe he does. Whether or not it's a double entendre or literal I do not know.

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Re: SOTM 2017 June - Baby Please Don't Go
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2017, 03:52:00 PM »
Hi all,
We recently transcribed all of the early recorded lyrics of John Lee at:  http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=11413.0 , with the exception of his version of "Baby, Please Don't Go".  Upon listening to it, I was really surprised to find a commercial recording from 1951 pairing guitar and quills.  It's a great sound, and the quills player is a real wheel hoss, playing two-note blows in a couple of places.  Here it is:



SOLOS

Baby, please don't go, baby, please don't go
Baby, please don't go, back to New Orleans and get your cold ice cream

SOLOS

Baby, please don't go, baby, please don't go
Baby, please don't go, 'cause I love you so, baby, please don't go

SOLOS

Well, I'm way down here, well, I'm way down here
Well, I'm way down here, mama, by myself, well, I'm way down here

SOLOS

Gonna walk the log, gonna walk the log
Gonna walk the log, by the river falls, I'm gonna walk the log

OUTRO



All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: June 01, 2017, 06:31:48 PM by Johnm »

Online Rivers

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Re: SOTM 2017 June - Baby Please Don't Go
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2017, 04:55:12 PM »
Just when you think you've heard everything along comes John Arthur Lee with amped guitar and a hot quills player. That one really pops.

Offline alyoung

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Re: SOTM 2017 June - Baby Please Don't Go
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2017, 03:28:01 AM »
My main man ... he claimed to have written the song.


Offline harriet

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Re: SOTM 2017 June - Baby Please Don't Go
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2017, 03:53:23 AM »
Great topic thanks so much Rivers! Love the Big Joe Williams - there's also an electrifying performance they recorded of him of the song on youtube



and I'll add Fred Mcdowell's version from the Gaslight 71 in New York - his last performance:

« Last Edit: June 02, 2017, 04:00:42 AM by harriet »

Online Rivers

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Re: SOTM 2017 June - Baby Please Don't Go
« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2017, 07:09:31 AM »
I was thinking. All these great versions we are posting are sort of reclaiming the song for the real country blues. It demonstrates how the overexposure of the Sixties and later R&B & rock versions have distorted the record. While some of them are pretty good it's great to be able to claw back some perspective.

No biggie, but I suggest we leave any Brit & US R&B stuff until the very end, for after we've fully explored their predecessors. Then it would be more chronological and closer to the truth. In other words keep practising positive discrimination in favor of the roots to set the record straight.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2017, 07:46:47 AM by Rivers »

Offline harry

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Re: SOTM 2017 June - Baby Please Don't Go
« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2017, 07:33:07 AM »
Thanks Rivers. I really dig Broonzy's version.

Online Rivers

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Re: SOTM 2017 June - Baby Please Don't Go
« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2017, 07:57:19 AM »
Me too. It's the version that inspired me to learn the song. That was in Düsseldorf, Germany in 1982, where I was teaching English and doing some busking and pub gigs at night. The F# pitch of the recording threw me badly off track, I learned to play it out of G position! Never could get those E licks straight, but it's unique to me I guess. I still like to play it that way.

Offline Lignite

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Re: SOTM 2017 June - Baby Please Don't Go
« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2017, 09:03:58 AM »
A more recent take on this blues classic by down-home bluesman George Herbert Moore of Burgaw, N.C. recorded live at The Bull Durham Blues Festival in Durham, N.C. in 1998 and featuring myself on harmonica accompaniment. http://picosong.com/7Prf

Offline Johnm

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Re: SOTM 2017 June - Baby Please Don't Go
« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2017, 03:21:54 PM »
Thanks for posting that version, Lightnin'.  Is George Herbert Moore still alive and playing?  I'd not heard or heard of him before.  That is some ripping harmonica playing you do on that version, by the way--I forget sometimes how well you play the harp, both on and off a rack!
All best,
Johnm

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: SOTM 2017 June - Baby Please Don't Go
« Reply #15 on: June 02, 2017, 03:27:42 PM »
Great topic and every version posted thus far is fantastic. Particularly enjoying George Herbert Moore, whom I haven't heard before. Anyone else hear a melodic similarity between Baby Please Don't Go and Another Man Done Gone?


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Offline Lignite

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Re: SOTM 2017 June - Baby Please Don't Go
« Reply #16 on: June 02, 2017, 03:44:50 PM »
Thank you John. Unfortunately George Herbert Moore passed away over 10 years ago. He actually was a discovery of your old bandmate Frank Greathouse while he was living in Wilmington who produced two CDs for him. Here is a really good short film about Herbert that will give you a little more flavor of the man. 

Online Rivers

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Re: SOTM 2017 June - Baby Please Don't Go
« Reply #17 on: June 02, 2017, 06:55:44 PM »
Anyone else hear a melodic similarity between Baby Please Don't Go and Another Man Done Gone?

Absolutely, and I did look at incorporating this but had too much material and was madly trying to shorten it up. I had concluded that not only the lyrics differentiate it. The main thing I noticed is the way the syllables fall during the descending end part. The accents is usually longer, "I been All Night Long Coming Home..." 2 beats, so it's less staccato and that gives it a kinder, gentler sound.

To generalize further, it tends to be spoken out of an urban setting rather than from the weird isolation of a prison, in most versions. But I think you're right, it's a very close relative, and we should track down some versions of Another Man Done Gone for comparison.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2017, 07:15:47 PM by Rivers »

Online Rivers

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Re: SOTM 2017 June - Baby Please Don't Go
« Reply #18 on: June 06, 2017, 07:23:24 PM »
Scratch,

Thinking about it, I realized later that I was thinking of "Don't You Leave Me Here" when I replied to your post, not, as you had suggested, "Another Man Done Gone". Both seem to be related to "Baby Please Don't Go".

As you say, "Another Man Done Gone" is close; it's prison song, with short, staccato syllables on the descent making it more punchy. I listened to both of them while researching the piece. It got pretty crazy trying to find any hard evidence of a connection beyond the basic delivery so I gave up on that and decided to focus on "Baby Please Don't Go"; I already had tons of material on that one song.

I hope people will feel free to explore the connections between the three songs, "Baby Please Don't Go", "Another Man Done Gone" and "Don't You Leave Me Here", musically and historically.

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: SOTM 2017 June - Baby Please Don't Go
« Reply #19 on: June 07, 2017, 12:05:46 AM »
That's right, Rivers. Not the same song, but a similar and striking tune!


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Offline blueshome

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Re: SOTM 2017 June - Baby Please Don't Go
« Reply #20 on: June 07, 2017, 03:55:32 AM »
And Pink Anderson

Offline blueshome

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Re: SOTM 2017 June - Baby Please Don't Go
« Reply #21 on: June 07, 2017, 04:18:50 AM »
Nice version a la Tampa by Sam Montgomery. Nice 2nd guitar by "unk".


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Re: SOTM 2017 June - Baby Please Don't Go
« Reply #22 on: June 07, 2017, 10:04:42 AM »
Hi all,
We've had many cases of videos being viewable in the U.S., but not elsewhere, and I think Phil's video of Sam Montgomery's version of "Baby, Please Don't Go" may be the first instance I can think of of a video viewable in Europe but not in the U. S.  Here is the same version in a video I think we can all watch.  And you're right, Phil, it is a beauty. 



All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: SOTM 2017 June - Baby Please Don't Go
« Reply #23 on: June 07, 2017, 07:20:17 PM »
Hi all,
Re Prof Scratchy's observation on the similarity of the melody of "Baby Please Don't Go" to that of "Another Man Done Gone", here is Vera Hall's version of the latter song.



The melodies sure are similar.  It seems like the primary difference, at least as Vera Hall performed "Another Man Done Gone", is that "Baby Please Don't Go"'s phrasing is short-short-long, and "Another Man Done Gone"'s phrasing is short l--o--n--g.

All best,
Johnm

Offline blueshome

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Re: SOTM 2017 June - Baby Please Don't Go
« Reply #24 on: June 08, 2017, 04:29:49 AM »
Same song, updated lyrics, but what a driving performance with Sonny Boy blowing the harp to pieces.


Online Rivers

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Re: SOTM 2017 June - Baby Please Don't Go
« Reply #25 on: June 08, 2017, 09:43:39 PM »
All these great versions that are showing up are blowing my mind, keep it up folks!

Offline TenBrook

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Re: SOTM 2017 June - Baby Please Don't Go
« Reply #26 on: June 09, 2017, 08:15:10 AM »
Thanks for putting this together Rivers. I'll admit I was able to cheat a bit by searching my google play files for versions. The one that stood out the most and that hasn't been shared yet is Butch Cage and Willie B. Thomas doing their version on 'Negro Country Jam Session' on Arhoolie.


Offline Johnm

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Re: SOTM 2017 June - Baby Please Don't Go
« Reply #27 on: June 13, 2017, 10:19:59 PM »
Hi all,
Here is a version by Leroy Dallas that we had a while back in the Miller's Breakdown thread that I had completely forgotten about.  It's pretty darn cool, too.



All best,
Johnm

Online Rivers

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Re: SOTM 2017 June - Baby Please Don't Go
« Reply #28 on: June 14, 2017, 07:58:12 PM »
Quote
I'll admit I was able to cheat a bit by searching my google play files for versions

Absolutely, I was able to cheat also, all my stuff is in iTunes (a mixed blessing). Plus web searches, how in the heck did we live before online searches? We can only hope the new idiot currently heading up the FCC doesn't get his way and destroyi internet neutrality. The Butch Cage and Willie B Thomas version is great.

Johnm, I really like that Leroy Dallas version. Broonzy's version also has that distinct but nicely handled change to IV for bars 5 thru 8. I will give this some serious listening and also check out your Breakdown post.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2017, 08:39:30 AM by Rivers »

Offline Lastfirstface

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Re: SOTM 2017 June - Baby Please Don't Go
« Reply #29 on: June 15, 2017, 06:58:50 AM »
One more Joe Williams version, this time with Williamson, Ransom Knowling and Judge Riley in 1945:


Online Rivers

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Re: SOTM 2017 June - Baby Please Don't Go
« Reply #30 on: June 15, 2017, 03:55:58 PM »
Quote
One more Joe Williams version, this time with Williamson, Ransom Knowling and Judge Riley in 1945

Interesting how Joe throws in the title verse of Another Man Done Gone at 1:40. So I'd assume verses from the two songs were probably interchangeable to him. Somebody could do a thesis on the roots and branches here.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2017, 03:58:35 PM by Rivers »

Offline Johnm

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Re: SOTM 2017 June - Baby Please Don't Go
« Reply #31 on: June 17, 2017, 06:22:15 AM »
Hi all,
Here's a version for John Lee Hooker in 1959 (there is also a 1949 version by him up on youtube).  He sounds to be playing a nylon-string guitar here.



All best,
Johnm

Offline DavidCrosbie

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Re: SOTM 2017 June - Baby Please Don't Go
« Reply #32 on: September 09, 2017, 03:59:46 PM »
The relationship between Baby Please Don't Go and Another Man Done Gone is explored in Chapter Six of

The Beautiful Music All Around Us
Field Recording and the Amercian Experience
by Stephen Wade

John and Ruby Lomax recorded Vera Hall in 1940, so it's significant that she sings I'm going to walk your log. Big Joe sang I make you walk the log in his 1941 recording and later — but not in 1935. So Vera can't have learnt the song directly or indirectly from Big Joe's original record.

Baby Doo Caston also recorded in 1940, and actually begins his version with Gonna walk your log. One theme he shares with Big Joe's 1935 text is
Quote
Down in New Orleans
Down in New Orleans:
Well the girl I love she take the cold ice cream,
She down in New Orleans

Vera Ward learned her song from a husband, who learned it on the Livingston Alabama County Farm. (An inference from John Lomax's notes). Ten years later, Harold Courlander recorded the song from a prisoner on the same farm named Willie Turner, who was actually known to Vera Hall. It was released on


You can hear the start of the recording  if you go to http://www.folkways.si.edu/negro-folk-music-of-alabama-vol-1-secular-music/african-american/album/smithsonian and click on the track title Now Your Man Done Gone Willie Rurner (misprint). His text shows close parallels with Big Joe's 1935 an 1941 records.
Quote
Now your man done gone (x3)
To the county farm
Now your man done gone

Baby please don't go (x3)
Back to Baltimore
Baby please don't go

Turn your lamp down low (3)
And baby please don't go
Baby please don't go

You know I love you so (3)
And baby please don't go
Baby please don't go

I beg you all night long (3)
And the night before
Baby please don't go

Now your man done gone (3)
From the county farm
Now your man done gone

Baby please don't go (x3)
Back to Baltimore
Baby please don't go

I'm goin' to walk your log (3)
And if you throw me off
I'm goin' to walk your log
In the same field trip Courlander recorded a woman identified only as Cora. Her version echoes Big Joe's geographical reference a long way from Livingston.
Quote
Got me way down here (3)
By the Rolling Fork
Treat me like a dog
Baby Please don't go

Courlander wrote about these two versions in

Negro Folk Music USA

He took them as examples of how a song could vary formally between singers in a narrow geographical area. Stephen Wade makes a more interesting comparison between What Vera Hall on the one hand and the blues singers and convicts on the other hand made of the same song. The convicts adopted it for its county jail theme — although the Livingston prisoners were never actually chained. Both blues singers and convicts made it a song of male desire, but for the convicts it was desire mixed with anxiety that the absent lover might not be true. Vera painted a picture which touched her.
Quote
While he (Willie Turner) sings a melody that closely resembles hers, and his lyrics follow the same general pattern, he expresses a different sentiment. If Vera's performance seems more reflective, Turner's sounds more declarative. His personalised approach suggest a greater blues influence, while hers, in its stillness and abstraction, inclines towards the spirituals. These styles correspond with the singers' respective performance environments. Turner sang this piece outside with an all-male road gang. Vera, meanwhile, has taken whatever she heard from her convict play on the guitar, and fitted it stylistically into her domestic and church house repertory. Turner makes a statement of masculine loss, while Vera conveys a message akin to a civil rights anthem.

I don't have the knowledge (and software?) to compress and post a sound file of Willie Turner. Similarly, I can't (now) share with you interesting recording
I've now attached a sound file of Willie Turner, and found this YouTube file of Baby Please Don't Go by
  • Rose Mitchell (1953) re-issued on The History of New Orleans Rhythm & Blues Volume 3 Ain't It A Shame 19953-1955. Rhythm & Blues Records
    notable for the Latin rhythm

PS Here it is on YouTube:

Also on YouTube, I found this by another woman with a big voice, Big Mama Thornton:
  • Richard Williams (1978) on Drop Down In Florida: Field Recordings of African American Traditional Music 1977-1980. Dust-to-Digital.
    like Big Joe's song with boogie addition from his personal repertoire
« Last Edit: September 22, 2017, 10:35:10 AM by DavidCrosbie »

Offline Johnm

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Re: SOTM 2017 June - Baby Please Don't Go
« Reply #33 on: September 11, 2017, 12:00:40 PM »
Hi DavidCrosbie,
Thanks for your interesting and well-researched first post at Weenie Campbell, and welcome to the site!
All best,
Johnm

Offline DavidCrosbie

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Re: SOTM 2017 June - Baby Please Don't Go
« Reply #34 on: September 11, 2017, 07:59:18 PM »
Stephen Wade, Paul Oliver and other writers point to the similarity between the Baby Please Don't Go/Another Man Done Gone family and the Alabama Bound/Don't You Leave Me Here/Elder Green family.

Papa Charlie Jackson fitted all three themes of the latter into his Alabama Bound


Quote
Stood on the corner, feet got soaking wet
I was hollering and crying to every brown, to hell I'm at

I'm Alabama bound, I'm Alabama bound
Then if you want me to love you babe, you got to leave this town


When the rooster crowed, the hen looked around
Said if you want me to love you babe, you got to run me down

Look here pretty mama, who can your regular be
Says the reason I'm blacking out stalling babe, you been so good to me

There's a preacher in the pulpit, Bible in his hand
And the sisters was back in the amen corner, hollering that's my man

Now the boat's up the river, can't be floated down
But she's way on south now darling babe, Alabama bound

Just like a beefsteak beefsteak, ain't got no bone
Then if a man like a good brownskin woman now babe, he ain't got no home

Elder Green's in town, and he's going around
And he's telling all the sisters and the brothers he meets, he's Alabama bound


Now don't you leave me here, don't you leave me here
Just before you and your partner get ready to go, leave a dime for beer

Jelly Roll Morton recalled singing Alabama Bound in 1904 and characteristically claimed to have composed it.


Quote
I’m Alabama bound,
Alabama bound,
If you like me, sweet baby,
You gotta leave this town.


When that rooster crowed,
When the hen ran around,
If you want my love, sweet babe,
You’ve got to run me down.

She said, “Don’t you leave me here,
Don’t leave me here,
But, sweet papa, if you just must go,
Leave a dime for beer.”

I said, “Sweet mama babe,
Sweet mama babe,
If you must stay,
I’ll be gone for days and days.”

Papa Harvey Hull and Long "Cleve" Reed (The Down Home Boys) sang a similar Don't You Leave Me Here



Quote
Spoken: All right, boy, let's go back home

Alabama bound
Alabama bound
If the boat don't sink and the stack don't drown
Alabama bound


Boats up the river, runnin' side by side
Well, you got my lovin', kind sweet babe, guess you're satisfied

Don't you leave me here
Don't you leave me here
Well, I don't mind you goin', sweet lovin' babe
Leave a dollar for beer


Spoken: Hey, hey! Let's go, boys

How long, how long, has this train been gone?
How long, how long, sweet lovin' babe, has this train been gone?

Kate Adams got ways, just like a man
Well, she steals a woman, sweet lovin' babe, everywhere she land

Alabama bound
Alabama bound
If the boat don't sink and the stack don't drown
Alabama bound


Can you tell me how long, Jackson to McComb?
Well, it's fifteen miles, sweet lovin' babe, maybe, to my home

Don't you leave me here
Don't you leave me here
Well, I don't mind you goin', sweet lovin', babe, leave a dime for beer

Alabama bound
Alabama bound
If the boat don't sink and the stack don't drown
Alabama bound


Spoken: Oh, do it, boys

Alabama bound
Baby, turned around
If the boat don't sink and the stack don't drown
Alabama bound
...

[See the Forum thread Composer/ publisher credits of the song: Don't You Leave Me Here]

Henry Thomas introduced one or both of the two theme as a chorus

Quote
Don't leave, don't you leave : Don't you leave me here
It's all night long, sweet mama : Don't leave me here


I was standing on the corner : a‑talking to my brown
I turned around sweet mama : I was workhouse bound

Don't leave, don't you leave : Don't you leave me here
It's all night long, sweet mama : Don't leave me here

I'm Alabama bound : I'm Alabama Bound
It's all night long, sweet mama: I'm Alabama bound


Says I've got a girl : and she working hard
She had a dress she wear loving babe : says it's pink and blue
She bring me coffee : and she bring me tea
She bring me everything : except the jailhouse key

Don't leave, don't you leave : Don't you leave me here
It's all night long, sweet mama : Don't leave me here


Yes I'm going away : and it won't be long
Just sure as the train leaves out of the yard : she's Alabama bound

Don't leave, don't you leave : Don't you leave me here
It's all night long, sweet mama : Don't leave me here


I'm going away : and it won't be long
Just ease your train loving' babe : I'm Alabama bound

Don't leave, don't you leave : Don't you leave me here
It's all night long, sweet mama : Don't leave me here


Says the boat's up the river : and she won't come down
I believe to my soul pretty mama : she's water bound
I look to the east : and I look to the west
If she heads to the South great God : she's Alabama bound

Don't leave, don't you leave : Don't you leave me here
It's all night long, sweet mama : Don't leave me here

Alabama bound : Alabama bound
It's all night long, sweet papa : Don't leave me here

YouTube doesn't have this, but I've now attached a sound file.

YouTube does have a later re-working Don't Ease Me In which is musically the same but without the Alabama Bound refrain.


Jelly Roll Morton also reworked Alabama Bound as recorded for the Library of Congress, and recorded this version as Don't You Leave Me Here — with a band, and as this beautiful solo:

Quote
Don't you leave me here
Don't you leave me here
If you just must go, sweet babe
Leave me a dime for beer


And the rooster crowed
The hen run around
She said if you want my fricassee
You gotta run me down

Never had
No one woman at a time
I always had
Six seven eight or nine

Don't you leave me here

Blind Lemon Jefferson recorded Elder Green's In Town, but it was never issued. But we do have Charley Patton's Elder Greene Blues — which doesn't actually include the other two themes.


Quote
Green is… Elder Green is gone
Gone way down the country with his long coat on
With his long coat on (2)
Gone way down the country with his long coat on


Elder Green told the Deacon, “Let’s go down in Prayer
There’s a big ‘sociation in New Orleans, come and let’s go there
Come and let’s go there (2)
There’s a big ‘sociation in New Orleans, come and let’s go there

I love to fuss and fight (2)
Lord and get sloppy drunk off a Bottle an’ Bond
And walk the streets all night
And walk the streets all night (2)
Lord and get sloppy drunk off a Bottle an’ Bond
And walk the streets all night”

Elder Green told the deacon, “Settle down in prayer
You can tak the thing I got
Almost anywhere, yeah most anywhere
You can take all summer and walk anywhere.”

Elder Green is gone. Elder Green is gone
Gone way down the country with his long coat on


If you’ve got a woman, or raise her to your hand
Keep away from my woman, Molly ‘ham is lonesome
Molly Cunningham
Molly Cunningham (2)
Keep away from my woman, Molly ‘ham is lonesome, Molly…

I love to fuss and fight (2)
Lord and get sloppy drunk off a Bottle an’ Bond
And walk the streets at night
[I'm very dubious about 'Molly Cunningham', but whatever he sings sound like what Henry Thomas sings on Don't Ease Me In — just possibly It's all night long Cunningham.]

Although some performances are more elaborate, they all seem to have at their base the same structure. In British English we call it a eight-bar blues — I believe Americans would say eight measures. This is split into four musical units, three of them split between vocal phrase and instrumental phrase. At its simplest:

Alabama bound : INSTRUMENT
Alabama bound : INSTRUMENT
If the boat don't sink and the tank don't drown
Alabama bound : INSTRUMENT

Slightly more complicated

Don't you leave me here : INSTRUMENT
Don't you leave me here : INSTRUMENT
But if you just must go, sweet babe
Leave a dollar for beer : INSTRUMENT

But this is also the structure of Baby Please Don't Go

Baby please don't go : INSTRUMENT
Baby please don't go : INSTRUMENT
Baby please don't go back to New Orleans
You know I love you so : INSTRUMENT
 
Another man done gone : INSTRUMENT
Another man done gone : INSTRUMENT
Another man done gone from the county farm
He had his shackles on : INSTRUMENT

A minor difference is that the opening lyric phrase is repeated as half of the third unit.

Vera Hall uses even more repetition. No instrument, of course, but effective pauses:

Another man done gone : PAUSE
Another man done gone : PAUSE
Another man done gone from the county farm
He had his shackles on : PAUSE

I'm gonna walk your log : PAUSE
I'm gonna walk your log : PAUSE
I'm gonna walk your log, I'm gonna walk your log
I'm gonna walk your log : PAUSE

Stephen Wade suggests another link between all these songs:
Quote
Longing for another place, desiring different circumstances, and wishing not to be left behind figures in many of these pieces.

Someone else who definitely saw a connection between two of these songs was Big Joe Williams. His version of Don't You Leave Me Here uses the tune and arrangement, and a reworking of some of the lyrics of his Baby Pease Don't Go.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2017, 11:14:07 AM by DavidCrosbie »

Offline Johnm

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Re: SOTM 2017 June - Baby Please Don't Go
« Reply #35 on: October 08, 2017, 02:46:41 PM »
Hi all,
While there may be phrasing similarities between "Baby, Please Don't Go" and "Alabama Bound"/"Don't You Leave Me Here", the melodic and harmonic dissimilarities outweigh any close connection, it would seem to me.  While "Baby, Please Don't Go" and "Another Man Done Gone" are either one-chord songs or pre-chordal, depending on how you look at it, all of the songs in the "Alabama Bound"/"Don't You Leave Me Here" group sound like they're derived from Popular music, and are strongly chordal, in the case of "Alabama Bound" operating with an 8-bar progression like so:
   |   I    |     I    |    IV    |    IV    |

   |   V   |    V     |     I    |     I      |

In the case of Henry Thomas' "Don't Ease Me In" and "Don't Leave Me Here", the harmonic content is simplified, just bouncing from I to V and back again:

   |   I    |    I    |    V    |    V    |

   |    V   |    V   |    I    |     I    |

For these reasons and for the lack of melodic similarity, with "Baby, Please Don't Go" and "Another Man Done Gone" working from a minor pentatonic scale, melodically, and "Alabama Bound" and "Don't You Leave  Me Here" both being squarely major, the connection between these two song families seems very tenuous to me.  I just don't hear it.
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: October 08, 2017, 02:53:58 PM by Johnm »

Offline DavidCrosbie

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Re: SOTM 2017 June - Baby Please Don't Go
« Reply #36 on: January 29, 2018, 06:12:55 PM »
Allen Lowe's 36-disc blockbuster Really the Blues? includes this version by Billy Wright under the title Turn Your Lamp Down Low:



His note is terse enough to quote in full
Quote
Gospel singer  does the blues, so what else is new? A lot, in 1951. Slow, slow version of Baby Please Don't Go,and you can feel the pain. Predicts the coming hysteria of Little Richard.

Online Rivers

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Re: SOTM 2017 June - Baby Please Don't Go
« Reply #37 on: February 27, 2018, 01:27:11 PM »
Here's a great version by Cat Iron, I'm Goin' To Walk Your Log. Don't know how we missed this one the first time around




Offline Johnm

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Re: SOTM 2017 June - Baby Please Don't Go
« Reply #38 on: April 27, 2018, 04:46:50 PM »
Hi all,
I found this version by Blind James Campbell and the Nashville Street Band that I don't believe has been posted here previously:



All best,
Johnm