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Irene Scruggs Lyrics

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Hi all,
Irene "Chocolate Brown" Scruggs recorded "Itching Heel" at a session in Grafton, Wisconsin on May 26, 1930 for which she was accompanied by Blind Blake, working out of C position in standard tuning.  Blake's playing on the piece is staggering, and makes you realize the extent to which copying his pieces, transcribing them, playing them however you are able doesn't begin to get at what he was able to express in his own style in the moment.  Scruggs does a terrific job on the vocal, too, just as good as it possibly could be.  I'd very much appreciate help with the bent bracketed section in the third verse.  Here is "Itching Heel":


The white folks is done started talkin', you better start walkin', they're talkin' 'bout my no-good man
They say he is shiftless, they say he is worthless, I know he ain't the worst in the land
He don't do nothin' but play on his old guitar, while I'm bustin' suds out in the white folks' yard
Now you know that's hard, and I'm getting sick and tired, you know I ain't satisfied, bring me a job,
And then I'll be satisfied, I ain't jokin', mean I'll be satisfied

Now, when his heel is itchin', he want to start driftin', and go a long, long ways from home
Now, when I first met him, he gave me a gold watch and chain, he caught the train today and left me out in the rain
Now, you know that's mean, and it won't be long, before you come driftin' home, maybe in the morning,
He'll come driftin' home, oh baby, he'll come driftin' on home

Just as soon as that train rolls up in the yard, going to follow my man if I have to ride the rods
Was a mean old fireman, as mean as he could be, when I waved at my man, he blew his smoke back at me
Now, you know that's tough, and I don't want to get rough, he carried away my case of change, ain't it a shame?
You know I ain't satisfied, oh baby, you know I ain't satisfied

GUITAR SOLO (Spoken, Scruggs: Ah, play that thing, boy! Blake: I'm gon' try! Scruggs: You know I ain't jokin', you got to bring me a job!  Blake: Well, I ain't gon' bring no job, 'cause I ain't starving!)

You know I give you your three hot meals every day, while you sit at home and pass the time away
Every time your heel itches, you want to go on strange ground, but if you don't stop chasin' women, you'll break your good thing down
You had a job down on the levee makin' a dollar ten a day, you give the dollar to a high yella and throwed the dime away
Now, I'm gonna get you, I mean without a doubt, baby, and put your taillight out, I don't mean maybe,
I meant to put your taillight out, ooh baby, I mean to put your taillight out

Edited 3/20 to pick up correction from Stuart
Edited 3/21 to pick up correction from Johnm

All best,

That's a tough one, John. I definitely hear the long A to start the bracketed section and perhaps chain(s) instead of change, but other than that, I'm at a loss. I did hear "up" before "in" in the "...train rolls in the yard," line though. You might want to give it another listen.

I can't even think of anything that would sound similar and make sense for the section in question. But I do hear Blake playing the guitar, which is mystifying in its own right.

Thanks for the catch on "up" earlier in that same verse, Stuart.  I've made that change, and will keep listening to the other place.  Thanks!
All best,

"ace of change" sounds somewhat, but not quite, like a variation of Stavin' Chain, which would make sense in this context.  Not to state the obvious here, but Blake pretty much owns playing out of C position, if you ask me.

From the context she is definitely singing about her man being carried away by the train. But what are the words she's using? Stavin" Chain makes sense if it were a mispronunciation, but I don't think what she sings supports it. It doesn't sound even close. Could it have been a complete flub? Or perhaps some obscurity? 


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