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Author Topic: Bishop Perry Tillis Lyrics  (Read 385 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Bishop Perry Tillis Lyrics
« on: November 28, 2018, 10:52:00 AM »
Hi all,
Someone posted a video of Bishop Perry Tillis on the site a while ago, and I have been intending to return to him and his music ever since then.  He was from Alabama and played everything that I have heard from him in Vestapol tuning with a slide.  His playing is exemplified by a searing tone on his electric guitar and incredible, heavy time.  He has one of the most powerful backbeats of any player I have heard.  Musically, "Too Close" reminds me of Peg Leg Howell's "Please, Ma'am", not so much in it's sound or feeling, but in the sense that it is a kind of musical run-on sentence, without any verses or recurring structure.  I've made no attempt to indicate the relative lengths of time allotted to the different lines, for the interplay between voice and guitar is so complex that it would be next to impossible to capture it without a complete transcription of both parts.  Here is Bishop Perry Tillis' "Too Close":



I'm too close to my journey's end
I'm too close to turn back into a world of sin
Whoa-oa-oa-oa-oa, I wouldn't take nothin' for my journey right now
I'm-a too close, I can almost reach my do' in, eh, I'm too close
I just want to see Saviour soon
You know that I'm . . . too close to Heaven
I can't turn 'round, oh Lord, I can't turn 'round
I'm-a too close, I can almost see God's face
I'm too close, I just tell the world that I love His grace
Whoa-oa-oa-oa-oa-oa, I just gotta make it, up in Heaven somehow
I'm-a too close, to only miss my goal
Eh, I'm too close, from savin' my soul
You know that I'm, too close to, Heaven, I can't turn 'round
Oh no, I can't turn 'round
I'm too close, I can see my old mother and friend
I'm too close, let me run on, 'til I make it in
I-I-I-I wouldn't take nothin', for my journey right now
I'm-a too close, look, my God, can grab God's hand
Ehhh, I'm too close, to miss my final chance to the Promised Land
You know that I'm, too close to Heaven, and I can't turn 'round
Oh Lord, I can't turn 'round

Edited 11/30 to pick up correction from Al Young

All best,
Johnm


 
« Last Edit: November 30, 2018, 05:38:59 AM by Johnm »

Offline harriet

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Re: Bishop Perry Tillis Lyrics
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2018, 07:40:54 PM »
Thanks - A real masterpiece. Had never heard him.

Offline Rivers

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Re: Bishop Perry Tillis Lyrics
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2018, 08:17:42 PM »
That's pretty awesome. I'm not sure either way on this line:

Quote
I can almost reach my doin'

I thought I heard "doom" the first time through, listened again and started doubting myself. So I don't really know. "Doom" fits with the narrative pass I guess.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Bishop Perry Tillis Lyrics
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2018, 10:05:54 PM »
I'm glad you enjoyed the cut, Harriet and Rivers.  On the lyric question, it's hard to imagine him celebrate reaching his doom, when he's grasping for salvation.  I thought "doin'", apart from the sound being right, might mean in this context "I can almost reach what I'm striving for."  The sound seemed more like "doin'" than "doom", but I'm not sure.  In any event, I love the track and I love Bishop Perry Tillis' music.
All best,
Johnm

Offline alyoung

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Re: Bishop Perry Tillis Lyrics
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2018, 02:03:59 AM »
Although it is credited "traditional" on the Perry Tillis CD issue, "Too Close to Heaven" was written by New York choir leader and soloist Alex Bradford. He didn't get it on to record first -- at least two, possibly three other gospel groups beat him to it and many many other soloists, choirs and quartets sang and recorded it later. But Bradford's recording, made for Specialty in June 1953, was the biggest hit, and I suspect it's the one Perry Tillis is remembering. In it, Bradford sings "I'm too close, almost reached my goal". I think this is the line Tillis has in mind, but he's misheard (or mis-remembered or rewritten) the original and instead sings "...almost reach my do' in" ["door in"]. Here's Alex Bradford's 1953 original: 
 
« Last Edit: November 30, 2018, 02:06:23 AM by alyoung »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Bishop Perry Tillis Lyrics
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2018, 05:37:40 AM »
Thanks very much for that information on "Too Close" and the version of the song by its composer, Al!  I will change the lyrics to reflect your interpretation.  Thank you for the help.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: Bishop Perry Tillis Lyrics
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2018, 08:55:45 AM »
Hi all,
Here is another Bishop Perry Tillis performance, "What Is This?".  Listening to him, I get such a strong feeling that he was doing what he was meant to be doing.  Here is "What Is This?":



INTRO

What is this, that makes me feel good right now?
What is this, that makes me want to run home, anyhow?
People, it must be the Holy Ghost that lets me know I been born again

Ooooh, what is this, Lord, that eases my worried mind?
What is this, that makes me laugh when I feel like cryin'?
People, whatever, it is, whoa, you know it won't let me hold my peace

What is this, that makes me feel good right now?
What is this, that makes me happy when I feel sad?
You know it must be the Holy Ghost that lets me know that I been born again

Oooooh, what is this, makes me feel like righ, right now?
What is this, makes me feel rich when I ain't got a dime?
Whatever it is, it won't let me hold my peace

People, what is this, make me feel like singin' sometime?
What is this, that can ease my worried mind?
Lord, it must be the Holy Ghost that lets me know I been born again

Oooooh, what is this, make me feel like shoutin' sometime?
What is this, make me feel rich when I ain't got a dime?
Whatever it is, whoa, you know it won't let me hold my peace

All best,
Johnm

Offline alyoung

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Re: Bishop Perry Tillis Lyrics
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2018, 11:44:26 PM »
What Is This is another song with an interesting history. It was written by Mississippi preacher and singer Rev Willie Morganfield, who recorded it for the Shreveport label Jewel on November 27, 1959. It was initially a big regional hit in the South; gradually it spread throughout the country and versions were recorded by many groups and soloists, including national stars Brother Joe May, the Pilgrim Travelers, Morgan Babb and Claude Jeter. Many of them rewrote the lyrics, and I don't think Perry Tillis is directly channeling the Willie Morganfield version. Rev Morganfield's surname will be familiar to blues fan -- yes, he was a cousin of Muddy Waters. I interviewed him in Clarksdale, Ms, some years ago for my first book, and he was quite prickly towards me until I convinced that it was him I wanted to talk about him and not his cousin.
He's one of a marvellous school of Southern open-throat singers -- other big names are Bro Joe May and Rev Cleophus Robinson -- and it doesn't matter what your religious beliefs are, he's great to listen to ... so have a listen....




Offline Johnm

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Re: Bishop Perry Tillis Lyrics
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2018, 01:40:23 PM »
Hi all,
Of course, Bishop Perry Tillis did not compose "Nobody's Fault But Mine", but here is how he did it:



REFRAIN: It ain't nobody's fault but mine
Nobody's fault but mine
If I die, and my soul get lost
Nobody's fault but mine

SOLO

Well, my mother taught me right from wrong
My mother taught me right from wrong
If I die, and my soul get lost
Nobody's fault but mine

REFRAIN: It ain't nobody's fault but mine
Nobody's fault but mine
If I die, and my soul get lost
Nobody's fault but mine

SOLO

Well, my mother taught me how to pray
My mother taught me how to pray
If I die, and my soul gets lost
My mother taught me how to pray

REFRAIN: It ain't nobody's fault but mine
Nobody's fault but mine
If I die, and my soul get lost
Nobody's fault but mine

SOLO

Well, I heard the preacher preach The Word
I heard the preacher preach The Word
If I die, and my soul get lost
Nobody's fault (guitar finishes line)

All best,
Johnm


Offline Johnm

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Re: Bishop Perry Tillis Lyrics
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2018, 03:26:28 PM »
Hi all,
Here is Bishop Perry Tillis doing "Look Out Liar".  He really was a remarkable player; his backbeat is so strong it's like getting smacked across the face!  You have to earn that kind of slowness.  Here is "Look Out Liar":



Oh, you see that old talker, walking down the streets
Lyin' on everybody to the people he meet
Look at that old liar, he looks kinda neat
Before you look him in the face, just look, you will see his teeth

REFRAIN: Walk on, walker, talk on, talker
I know you're gonna talk about me
Ooooh, and the more you talk, the more you walk
God's gonna take care of me

Oh, they'll get up in the morning, bright and early, too
They'll lie on me, they'll lie on you
They'l just lie, lie, lie until they don't know what to (guitar finishes line)

Look out, liar, you'd better get things straight
A liar's one person that God do hate
I've seen 'em come, I've seen 'em go
I've seen the hearse back up to the door

REFRAIN: Walk on, walker, and talk on, talker
I know you're gon' talk about me
Ooooh, the more you talk, more you walk
God's gonna take care of me

(Spoken: Listen to this, now!)

Oooh, they'll lie on Sister Suzie, they'll lie on Sister Jane
Before they get ready to go, they'll tell you, "Please don't call my name."
Look out, liar, you ought to be convinced
Liar's one person, nobody don't have no confidence

REFRAIN: Walk on, walker, talk on, talker
I know you're gon' talk about me
Ooooh, and the more you talk, the more you walk
God's gonna take care of me

(Spoken: Yes, yes)

All best,
Johnm


 



Offline Johnm

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Re: Bishop Perry Tillis Lyrics
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2018, 04:49:16 PM »
Hi all,
Bishop Perry Tillis' recording of "Kennedy Moan" takes its place alongside of Avery Brady's "Poor Kennedy" as a sort of tribute to President John F. Kennedy.  There were perhaps a surprising number of such songs that came from African-American blues and religious singers.  In the transcription, dashes indicate places where Bishop Perry Tillis used his guitar to finish vocal lines.  Here is "Kennedy Moan":



REFRAIN: Well, wan't it sad?  President Kennedy's gone.
Wasn't it sad?  Yeah, the man we trusted is done gone on, well

REFRAIN: Well,  wasn't it --?  President --, hoo
Wasn't it sad?  Lord, the man we trusted is done gone on

Well, in nineteen hundred and sixty-three, just as God would have it to be
The man went out in Dallas, Tex', he was shot by a sniper where he was most respected
The 12:30 bell began to tone, the whole wide world was left to moan

REFRAIN: Lordy, wasn't -- ?  President --, hoo,
Wasn't it sad?  Lord, the man we trusted is done gone on

Well, Great God a'mighty while he was 'live, wife was faithful, she stuck by his side
All indication show that he was dead, in her lap she held his head
The bloody stocking that she had to wear, she grieved so much she didn't know they were there

REFRAIN: Lordy, wasn't -- ?  President --, hoo,
Wasn't it sad?  Lord, the man we trusted is done gone on

REFRAIN: Well-a, wasn't -- ?  President --, hoo,
Wasn't it sad?  Lord, the man we trusted is done

Well, 'bout 12:30, gettin' out of bed, I heard the news that the man was dead
Sot in grief and began to moan, our best president is done gone on

REFRAIN: Lordy, wasn't -- ?  President --, hoo,
Wasn't it sad?  Lord, the man we trusted is done gone on

REFRAIN: Well-a, wasn't -- ?  President --, hoo,
Wasn't it sad?  Lord, the man we trusted is done gone --

All best,
Johnm