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Ain't it nice to be nice when you can be nice - Jim Jackson

Author Topic: Johnny Temple Lyrics  (Read 3334 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Johnny Temple Lyrics
« on: June 19, 2015, 08:45:16 AM »
Hi all,
Johnny Temple was a Mississippi musician who first recorded in the 1930s.  He doesn't attract a lot of attention nowadays, probably because most of his recordings featured small combos rather than solo guitar accompaniments, but he was a terrific singer, and was popular enough to have recorded a lot of titles in his day.  Several years ago I picked up a 2-CD set, "The Essential Johnny Temple" from Document, in a series that has since been discontinued.  There is a lot of really strong material and some surprises, e.g. Johnny Temple being one of the relatively few musicians to cover Skip James' songs, with "The Evil Devil Blues", an eccentric cover of "Devil Got My Woman" and "Cherry Ball"
"Good Suzie" is probably my favorite cut on the set, mostly because Johnny Temple sings it so wonderfully well.  I'm attaching an .mp3 of the song to this post because I very much doubt that the song is up on YouTube.  I originally thought Johnny Temple was singing "good-haired Suzie" in the first verse, but I think, after more listening that it is "good Aunt Suzie".  In this context, "aunt" would refer, not to a family member, but to any older woman.  I'd appreciate correction or corroboration of that from any of you who listen to the track. 
Johnny Temple had a way of going to a head tone and cracking his voice at the end of his phrases that really sends me.  I don't know if anyone else will have that response to it.  His accompanying small combo includes piano and clarinet, played really expertly.

Good Aunt Suzie, now, she got rusty knees, good Aunt Sally, she won't rob and steal, nnnnh
Good Aunt Suzie, uhhhh, she got rusty knees
Ahhhh, good Aunt Sally, she won't rob and steal

I don't likes no woman that's, mm, got rusty knees, she can't do nothin' but cook black-eyed peas, nnnh
Don't like no woman, ahhh, she got rusty knees
Ahhh, she can't do nothin' but cook those black-eyed peas

If you get a woman now she got, rusty knees, she bake her biscuits just as brown as she please, nnnh
You get a woman, ahh, she got rusty knees
Ahhh, she bakes her biscuit just as brown as she please

When she bake her biscuit now she, bakes them brown, suit most any man's appetite in town, nnnhh
She bakes her biscuit, nnnh, now she bakes them brown
Ahh, it suit most any man's appetite in town

Suzie cook me somethin' they call the Dudlow Joe, ev'y time I taste it, well, I want some more, nnnh
She cook me somethin', uhh, she calls the Dudlow Joe
Ev'y time I taste it, I swear and I want some more

All best,
Johnm



 

Offline Lignite

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Re: Johnny Temple Lyrics
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2015, 01:25:45 PM »
Wow, John that's a really good track. At first I thought the song must have really influenced Bukka White's version of Shake 'Em On Down but now realize that Shake 'Em On Down was recorded in 1937 and Good Suzie was recorded in 1939. Shake 'Em On Down was supposed to have been a sizable hit record so I guess Johnny got his melody for Good Suzie from Bukka in this case.

Offline Stuart

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Re: Johnny Temple Lyrics
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2015, 01:51:31 PM »
Here are several links:

http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=1094.msg8149#msg8149

http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=8123.msg65411#msg65411

http://www.wirz.de/music/templfrm.htm

Thanks for the mp3, John. Like Lightnin', the first thing that struck me was its strong resemblance to "Shake Em' On Down."

I can't really disagree with your transcription. I think "Aunt" is correct, but it's hardly clear.

Document used "Johnnie" for their "Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order" series (which appear to be available), but "Johnny" for their "The Essential" series. I picked up more than a few of Document's "Essential" series "Twofer's" when they were available, but unfortunately this one wasn't among them.

I used both spellings of his first name when doing a search to see what's out there.

Allmusic has sample of all the songs on "The Essential"

http://www.allmusic.com/album/the-essential-mw0000020689

http://www.allmusic.com/artist/johnnie-geechie-temple-mn0000239790/discography

And I think "Dudlow Joe" merits some discussion.

Thanks again, John

Offline dj

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Re: Johnny Temple Lyrics
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2015, 02:18:04 PM »
I thought Dudlow or Dudlow Joe was an old term for boogie woogie.

Does rusty knees have any significance other than as a silly phrase that will accept a lot of rhymes?

Gosh I love Johnny Temple's voice. 

Offline Stuart

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Re: Johnny Temple Lyrics
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2015, 04:38:18 PM »
I thought Dudlow or Dudlow Joe was an old term for boogie woogie.

From what I can gather from the ol' Interweb, it has its origins with a pianist named Joe Dudlow, who was one of the first to play in the style known as boogie woogie. I couldn't locate anything beyond that on the web. There is a 1929 song by Lee Green titled "Dud Low Joe."



Maybe Joe Dudlow's name and its variants just became a kind of generic term for boogie woogie, somewhat like "Xerox" is used interchangeably for "photocopy." 

Offline Johnm

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Re: Johnny Temple Lyrics
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2015, 07:31:09 PM »
Hi all,
I think it is much more likely that in this instance "Dudlow Joe" is related to a Sloppy Joe than anything having to do with piano playing.  He's talking about something he eats, not something he listens to.  Just a thought.
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: June 19, 2015, 07:39:05 PM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Johnny Temple Lyrics
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2015, 08:27:50 PM »
Hi all,
Johnny Temple recorded a terrific re-working of Little Brother Montgomery's "Vicksburg Blues", entitled "New Vicksburg Blues", backed by a pianist and a guitarist working out of C position in standard tuning (who may very well have been Bill Broonzy, flat-picking).  The re-issue I have does not include session information, so I can't say with certainty who his accompanists were.  In any event, he was in spectacular voice once again.  Johnny Temple was a practitioner of the "intervallic r" from time to time, so in his fourth verse it sounds as though he's singing, "I don't like this old place, baby, rand I never will.".  I'll attach an .mp3 of the track for folks who would like to hear the song.

I've got those Vicksburg Blues and I, sing 'em anywhere I go
I've got those Vicksburg Blues and I, sing 'em anywhere I go
And the reason I sing 'em, my baby don't want me no more

I've got those Vicksburg Blues and I, sing 'em anywhere I please
I've got those Vicksburg Blues and I, sing 'em anywhere I please
That's the onliest thing to give my poor heart ease

Cryin', mama, I ain't gon' be your low-down dog no more
Cryin', mama, I ain't gon' be your low-down dog no more
And I been your dog ever since I entered your door

I don't like this old place, baby, and I never will
I don't like this old place, baby, and I never will
I can sit right chere and see Vicksburg on the hill

Vicksburg on a high hill, Lou'siana just below
Vicksburg on a high hill, Lou'siana just below
If you take me back, baby, I won't be bad no more

All best,
Johnm

Offline Stuart

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Re: Johnny Temple Lyrics
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2015, 09:35:42 PM »
Hi all,
I think it is much more likely that in this instance "Dudlow Joe" is related to a Sloppy Joe than anything having to do with piano playing.  He's talking about something he eats, not something he listens to.  Just a thought.
All best,
Johnm

The usage in the last lines of "Good Suzie" definitely indicates that it was a kind of food and not a piano playing style in this context (unless there's a double or hidden meaning at work here that I'm too dense to figure out). However, I couldn't find anything about about it as a kind of  food on the web. It  might have been invented for the song--or perhaps it really was some kind of dish, but there just isn't information available about it via the web.

Offline dj

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Re: Johnny Temple Lyrics
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2015, 06:26:57 AM »
Quote
"New Vicksburg Blues", backed by a pianist and a guitarist working out of C position in standard tuning (who may very well have been Bill Broonzy, flat-picking).  The re-issue I have does not include session information, so I can't say with certainty who his accompanists were.

New Vicksburg Blues was recorded in Chicago on November 12 1936.  B&GR has Joshua Altheimer on piano and either Temple himself or Charile McCoy on guitar. 

Offline Johnm

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Re: Johnny Temple Lyrics
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2015, 08:47:42 AM »
Thank you for that session information, dj.  If the choices for guitar are Johnny Temple and Charlie McCoy, I think I'll go with Charlie McCoy, since we know from his mandolin playing that he was adept with a flatpick, and I think Johnny Temple's singing would have been much easier for him to do so effectively if he wasn't playing at the same time.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: Johnny Temple Lyrics
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2015, 05:29:31 PM »
Hi all,
On "Lead Pencil Blues", Johnny Temple recorded one of the earliest shuffles in blues, with what must have been a very modern sound at the time the song was recorded.  I believe Johnny played the shuffle walking bass part out of E position in standard tuning and Charlie McCoy provided fills out of G position in standard tuning.  The song has a lot of drive, and Johnny sure was a great singer.  Here is the song:



INTRO (Spoken: Lord have mercy.  I want to write a letter so bad I don't know what to do.)

I laid down last night, couldn't eat a bite, the woman I love, don't treat me right
REFRAIN: Lead in my pencil, babe, it's done gone bad
And it's the worst old feeling, baby, that I ever had

I woke up this morning, my baby says she mighty mad, 'cause the lead in my pencil, it's done gone bad
REFRAIN: Lead in my pencil, babe, it's done gone bad
And that's the worst old feeling that I ever had

My baby told me this mornin', she's feelin' mighty blue, lead in my pencil, just wouldn't do
And she said, "Been ready all night.  Lead in your pencil, daddy, just won't write."
REFRAIN: Lead in my pencil, babe, it just won't write
And that's the worst old feeling, baby, that I ever had

SOLO

Uh, my baby said she going to quit me, I tell you for this reason why, lead in my pencil, gone bye-bye
Laid down last night, couldn't help but cry, wanted to write so bad, I's about to die
REFRAIN: Lead in my pencil, babe, it's done gone bad
And it's the worst old feeling, baby, that I ever had

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: June 24, 2015, 06:35:13 PM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Johnny Temple Lyrics
« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2015, 09:23:10 AM »
Hi all,
Johnny Temple was backed once again by a pianist and a guitarist for his recording of "Louise Louise Blues", with the guitarist flat-picking out of G position in standard tuning.  The song would end up being a big hit, and over the years has been covered by a host of blues musicians, with probably the most singular cover having been done by Robert Pete Williams.  A certain trend is emerging in Johnny Temple's cuts--they almost never have instrumental solos in the middle of the renditions.  There's no way of knowing if this was Johnny's preference or a production decision.  Johnny Temple was in fine voice, as ever, for his recording, and his singing is almost certainly what made the song catch on to such an extent in the first place.  When he comes back in singing "Louise" after the lyric break at the front end of each verse after the first verse, it's really stellar singing, wow!  Here is his recording:



INTRO

Louise is the sweetest gal I know
Louise is the sweetest gal I know
She made walk from Chicago to the Gulf of Mexico

Now, look-a-here, Louise, what you tryin' to do?
You tryin' to give some man my lovin', and me too, now,
You know, Louise, baby, that will never do
Now, you know you can't love me and love some other man, too

Louise, I believe somebody, baby, is fishin' in my pond
They catchin' all my perches, grindin' up their bones
Louise, baby, whyn't you hurry home?
I ain't had no lovin', oh, since Louise been gone

Louise, you know you got ways like a rattlesnake in his coil
Ev'y time you go to lovin', I swear it's out of this world
Louise, baby, whyn't you hurry home?
I ain't had no lovin' since my Louise been gone

Now Louise, the big boat is up the river, on a bank of sand
If she don't strike deep water, I swear she'll never land
Louise is the sweetest gal I know
She made me walk from Chicago to the Gulf of Mexico

All best,
Johnm

Offline jpeters609

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Re: Johnny Temple Lyrics
« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2015, 10:56:41 AM »
John,
Your current "what is this musician doing?" puzzler, Andrew Dunham's "Hattie Mae," is also a rendition (albeit a very individualized one) of Johnny Temple's "Louise, Louise." I wonder if one led you to the other?
Jeff

Offline Johnm

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Re: Johnny Temple Lyrics
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2015, 11:10:22 AM »
Hi Jeff,
No, I don't think so.  In fact, I don't think it would have occurred to me that "Hattie Mae" is a cover of "Louise Louise Blues", apart from the name change.  That's pretty neat.  Andrew Dunham's sound is so strong and unusual it tends to sweep everything else out of my mind when I hear him.  I think once I started transcribing Johnny Temple lyrics I just figured you have to do "Louise Louise".
All best,
Johnm

Offline Lignite

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Re: Johnny Temple Lyrics
« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2015, 11:17:52 AM »
Here is a scan of the original release of Louise Louise released on Decca in 1936 on their race series. It was released as the B side of New Vicksburg Blues and Johnnie is credited with authorship. Between being a hit record and the many covers I hope he made some good royalty money on that one.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2015, 11:19:55 AM by Lignite »

 


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