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What you want with a rooster, he won't crow 'fore day? What you want with a man who won't do nothin' he say? - Charlie Patton, Banty Rooster Blues

Author Topic: Bertha Lee Lyrics  (Read 1064 times)

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bayrum78

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Bertha Lee Lyrics
« on: November 19, 2014, 05:34:19 PM »
Requesting assistance transcribing the lyrics  to Yellow Bee as sung by Bertha Lee and accompanied on guitar by Charlie Patton



Yellow Bee

Yellow bee yellow bee please come back to me
Yellow bee yellow bee please come back to me
He made the best old honey any yellow bee I ever seen

Well he buzzed me this morning been looking for him all day long
Well he buzzed me this morning been looking for him all day long
had me to the place once hate to see my yellow bee leave home

Well I can't stand here  worried, worried, worried
come here yellow bee ah you know your stuff
ah buzz me yellow bee 'til I gets enough

Yellow bee makes honey black bee make the comb
Yellow bee makes honey black bee make the comb
If you want to feel blue try to  build him a honey comb

Well I can't stand here  worried, worried, worried
come here yellow bee oh you know your stuff
ah buzz me Papa Charlie 'til I gets enough

aehhhhh stinger long as my right arm
ahhhhh stinger long as my right  arm
had me to the place once hate to see my yellow bee leave home
« Last Edit: July 06, 2020, 06:22:52 PM by Johnm »

Offline banjochris

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Re: Bertha Lee Lyrics
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2014, 10:40:36 AM »
1.1 and 1.2 please COME BACK TO ME

2.3 HAD ME TO THE PLACE ONCE

3.3 Ah, BUZZ me yellow bee

5.3 Ah, BUZZ me Papa Charlie

6.3 HAD ME TO THE PLACE ONCE

Chris

bayrum78

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Re: Bertha Lee Lyrics
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2014, 10:28:06 AM »
Thanks Chris! I updated the lyrics to reflect your suggested changes.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Bertha Lee Lyrics
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2020, 12:30:09 PM »
Hi all,
It seemed way overdue to try and get a transcription of Bertha Lee's "Mind Reader Blues", for which she was accompanied by Charlie Patton, working out of E position in standard tuning.  I'm not at all sure I have the tagline to the second verse right or the next-to-last verse and would very much appreciate correction/corroboration.  Here is "Mind Reader Blues":



INTRO

Baby, I can see just what's on your mind
Baby, I can see just what's on your mind
You got a long black woman with-a gold teeth in her face

I take a long look right smart down in your mind
I take a long look right smart down in your mind
And I will see, poor papa, know me up and down the line

Don't kid your mama, you ain't foolin' nobody but yourself
Aw, don't kid your mama, you ain't foolin' nobody but yourself
And what I see on your mind, you would not have no friends

I remember a day when I was livin' in Lula town
I remember a day when I was livin' in Lula town
My man did so many wrong things 'til I had to leave the town

I got the riverside, my man got the transfer boat
I got the riverside, my man got the transfer boat
And last time I seed him, he had a gal 'way out the road

Well, I'm worried now and I won't be worried long
Well, I'm worried now and I won't be worried long
Well, I'm worried now and I won't be worried long

OUTRO

Edited 7/8 to pick up corrections from banjochris

All best,
Johnm

« Last Edit: July 08, 2020, 01:34:08 PM by Johnm »

Offline harry

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Re: Bertha Lee Lyrics
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2020, 03:59:03 PM »

2.3  I don't see poor papa know me (number?) up and down the line

5.3  possibly gal instead of cow?

Offline banjochris

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Re: Bertha Lee Lyrics
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2020, 07:27:14 PM »
My suggestions:

2.1 and 2.2 right SMART down in your mind
2.3 And I'LL SEE POOR PAPA, know me up and down the line
(I think she might have meant to sing "coming up and down" but "know" is what came out, not enunciated too well)

5.3 I think might be: he HAD A GAL 'way out the road

Bertha has a similar vocal quality to Booker White that makes some of her vowel sounds difficult to decipher!

Chris

Offline Johnm

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Re: Bertha Lee Lyrics
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2020, 01:35:21 PM »
Thanks very much for the help, Harry and Chris.  Re-listening, all of your suggestions sounded right on, Chris, and I have made the changes.  Thanks!

Offline taft

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Re: Bertha Lee Lyrics
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2020, 04:16:54 AM »
I think 2:1-2 is SMACK DOWN rather than SMART DOWN. The idiom "smack down" means "exactly."

Offline Johnm

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Re: Bertha Lee Lyrics
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2020, 06:07:48 AM »
Hi taft,
Thanks for the suggestion.  I had "smack down" originally and am familiar with the idiom but was convinced otherwise.  I will re-listen.
All best,
Johnm

Offline banjochris

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Re: Bertha Lee Lyrics
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2020, 06:54:18 PM »
FYI "right smart" in the vernacular of that time and place had basically the same meaning – to a considerable degree or a lot.
Chris

Offline Lignite

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Re: Bertha Lee Lyrics
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2020, 06:14:32 AM »
Hell, I still hear "right smart" quite frequently around where I live. That phrase is still quite alive!

Offline Stuart

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Re: Bertha Lee Lyrics
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2020, 02:06:49 PM »
My mother, who was from NE PA, used "right" for emphasis all the time-- "right nice" (of someone), "right friendly," "right neighborly," etc. and I'd hear it used quite a bit when I lived in Vermont. I don't recall hearing it used much here in the Pacific NW though. Like Lightnin' says, there are probably areas where it's part of the common lexicon and other places where the frequency of use is relatively low.

Offline waxwing

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Re: Bertha Lee Lyrics
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2020, 08:51:19 PM »
I've heard lots of "right smart", like "he's right smart" or " that hat looks right smart", but I've never heard "smart down" or "right smart down". I haven't heard any "right smack" by itself, either, but I've heard a lot of "right smack dab in the middle..." and some times "right smack down on...". I'm not sure this means anything.

Listening to the way Bertha Lee pronounces other vowels, for instance, the word "mind" at the end of the same line, it sounds like she puts an"uh" before the sound of the vowel, like "mu-ind. and listening to the word in question it sounds like she starts with "smuh" followed by an "a" as in "cat", not an "a" as in "fall". The consonant sounds more like a swallowed "ck" than a "t" to me, giving "smuh-ack".

Wax
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Offline banjochris

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Re: Bertha Lee Lyrics
« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2020, 10:15:05 AM »
I'm hearing "smart" – I can hear the r and the t both, and it's definitely more the a of "smart" than, say, the a of "black," which she sings in the previous line.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Bertha Lee Lyrics
« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2020, 11:06:08 AM »
When Chris first suggested "smart" when I had "smack", I re-listened and heard "smart".  Re-listening again, I find that I still am hearing "smart".
All best,
Johnm

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