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Here she comes! The Black Diamond Express to Hell with Sin the Engineer holding the throttle wide open; Pleasure is the headlight, and the devil is the conductor. You can feel the roaring of the express and the moanin' of the drunkards, liars, gamblers and other folk who have got aboard. They are hell-bound and they don't want to go. The train makes eleven stops but nobody can get off - Vocalion advertisement for Rev. A.W. Nix's 1927 recording Black Diamond Express to Hell

Author Topic: "Dad" Nelson Lyrics  (Read 543 times)

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Offline Johnm

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"Dad" Nelson Lyrics
« on: July 31, 2015, 04:15:19 PM »
Hi all,
"Dad" Nelson accompanied himself out of E position in standard tuning for his oddly titled "Michigan Shoe Blues", using the same melody as he used for his "Cotton Field Blues", and once again utilized his kazoo to great advantage, giving it more or less equal space to his sung verses.  "Michigan Shoe Blues" is a bit more up-tempo than "Cotton Field Blues".  He really was a fine guitar player, with beautiful tone on his 12-string guitar and nice touches in his bass runs.  Here is the song:



Trains in Michigan is always on time
Trains in Michigan is always on time
That's the reason Michigan waters drinks like cherry wine

KAZOO SOLO

Says, I walked up on Hastings, turned all around and 'round
Walked up on Hastings, turned all around and 'round
High-brown mama said, "Baby, don't look so low-down."

KAZOO SOLO

She said, "When you go in Black Bottom, be sure and to put your money in your shoes.
When you go in Black Bottom, put your money in your shoes.
If you don't, Black Bottom women take it away from you."

KAZOO SOLO

All best,
Johnm




Offline Johnm

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Re: "Dad" Nelson Lyrics
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2015, 04:32:27 PM »
Hi all,
"Dad" Nelson accompanied himself out of G position in standard tuning for his rendition of "Traveling Daddy", and once again exhibits a nifty set of moves, and features his kazoo playing prominently.  He had a really nice voice and a relaxed singing style that wears really well.  He was such a good guitar player; it would have been nice to hear him feature the guitar in a solo.  Here is his performance of the song:



Says, I got a mighty good feeling, something on my mind
Mighty good feeling, something on my mind
Wondering and thinking 'bout the girl I left behind

KAZOO SOLO

Says, I had the blues last night, blues in the day
I had the blues at night, blues in the day
I think the sunshine will drive my blues away

KAZOO SOLO

Says, I'm goin' away, I just don't know when
Says, I'm goin' away, baby, I just don't know when
Says, I don't mind traveling, want to go where I've never been

KAZOO SOLO X 2

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: May 28, 2018, 06:47:09 AM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: "Dad" Nelson Lyrics
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2015, 05:41:44 PM »
Hi all,
For "Cleveland Stomp", Dad Nelson accompanied himself out of C position in standard tuning, playing one of the liveliest and cleanest rags ever on a 12-string guitar.  He really outdoes himself on the kazoo on this one for zippiness and accurate pitch, but for those of you who find the kazoo charmless, however well played, the melody would translate equally well to mandolin or fiddle.  I love this tune!  Here it is:



KAZOO SOLO

Hello Central, give me ninety-nine, I got a letter that my baby was dyin',
May be my last chance, I don't know
Hello Central, give me ninety-nine, I got a letter that my baby was dyin',
May be my last chance, I don't know

KAZOO SOLO X 2

Just right 'round the corner, quick as you can, bring me a taxi, want it to take me in
My last chance, I don't know
Right 'round the corner, just as quick as you can, bring me a taxi, want it to take me in
Might be my last chance, I don't know

KAZOO SOLO X 2

All best,
Johnm



« Last Edit: May 28, 2018, 06:48:29 AM by Johnm »

Offline jpeters609

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Re: "Dad" Nelson Lyrics
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2015, 06:13:41 PM »
Nelson seems to have liked making geographically titled recordings! In the case of "Michigan Shoe Blues," at least, it would seem he had some real familiarity with the area: "Black Bottom" was the traditionally black part of Detroit, and Hastings St. was that district's main thoroughfare.
Jeff

Offline Johnm

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Re: "Dad" Nelson Lyrics
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2015, 10:42:43 PM »
Thanks for that additional information, Jeff.  Perhaps you'll know the location of Scoville Avenue, which appears in the title of the next song.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: "Dad" Nelson Lyrics
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2015, 10:53:31 PM »
Hi all,
Dad Nelson was in E position in standard tuning again for "Scoville Ave. Blues", using his favorite melody and accompaniment in that key.  Here is his performance:



Says, I been to South Carolina and West Virginia, too
Been to South Carolina and West Virginia, too
Ain't found no woman, do like my baby do

Scoville Avenue women, some of 'em very neat
Scoville Avenue women, some is very neat
But I don't see none that's got my baby beat

KAZOO SOLO

Say, they're standin' on the corner, standin' all down the line
Say, they're standin' on the corner, standin' all down the line
Some ask for a nickel, and some askin' for a dime

KAZOO SOLO

Says, don't come 'fore noon, baby, don't come cryin'
Says, don't come 'fore noon, baby, don't come cryin'
I would give you something, but, baby, you ain't none of mine

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: May 28, 2018, 06:49:22 AM by Johnm »

Offline jpeters609

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Re: "Dad" Nelson Lyrics
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2015, 05:03:31 AM »
Well, Scovill Avenue (no "e") is a main thoroughfare in Central, the predominantly immigrant and African American neighborhood in east Cleveland, Ohio. This would also seem to tie into Nelson's "Cleveland Stomp," which mentions the oft-seen line: "Hello, Central, give me ninety-nine." (Interestingly, "Cleveland Stomp" has no other lyric tying it to the city of Cleveland, so perhaps this is in fact where the "Hello Central" lyric -- as later heard in Lightnin' Hopkins, etc. -- originally came from: the city of Cleveland, as sung about by "Dad" Nelson in "Cleveland Stomp" and "Scoville Ave. Blues.")
« Last Edit: August 01, 2015, 05:17:13 AM by jpeters609 »
Jeff

Offline banjochris

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Re: "Dad" Nelson Lyrics
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2015, 03:46:59 PM »
I think Central just refers to the central switchboard office before dial phones, not to a particular town.

Offline jpeters609

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Re: "Dad" Nelson Lyrics
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2015, 04:04:58 PM »
I always thought the same thing, regarding telephone operators. But it was interesting to see the line in a song called "Cleveland Stomp," knowing that Cleveland's black district was called Central, and knowing that the same singer also had a song about that district's prominent thoroughfare. Interesting is all. I guess I never looked into whether a main telephone switchboard was called the "central" switchboard, but I can see how one might make that assumption.
Jeff

Offline Stuart

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Re: "Dad" Nelson Lyrics
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2015, 11:33:18 PM »
I agree re: "Central" referring to the central switchboard office from which long distance calls were routed. There are other usages in song lyrics.

In Seattle, the "CD"--Central District--is also a predominantly African American and immigrant neighborhood.

Offline banjochris

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Re: "Dad" Nelson Lyrics
« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2015, 09:02:23 AM »
Same with South Central here in LA, in this case named for Central Avenue.

Offline Johnm

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Re: "Dad" Nelson Lyrics
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2015, 05:33:50 PM »
Hi all,
"Dad" Nelson accompanied himself out of E position in standard tuning for "Coon Can Blues".  He varies the form he plays quite a lot over the course of the rendition, and his voice sounds heavier, with a more covered tone than on his other songs.  The song is also notable for its not having any kazoo on it.  Here is his performance:



Ramblin' and gamblin', Lord, that's what I crave
Ramblin' and gamblin', Lord, that's what I crave
If I don't quit, they carry me to my grave

SOLO

My baby give me some money just to play coon can
My baby give me some money just to play coon can
I didn't win no money, but I sure, Lord, played my hand

SOLO

I'm gonna tell my Mama, when I go back home
I'm gonna tell my Mama, when I go back home
Say, "They win all my money, won't leave my girl alone."

I was standing at the station when the train passed on the fly
Standing at the station when the train passed on the fly
Brakeman said, "Hobo, good-bye."

Lord, left here all alone
Lord, Lord, Lord, Lord, left here all alone
Had to take a hollow log, and make it my home

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: May 28, 2018, 06:50:40 AM by Johnm »

 


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