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Blues will never die because it is a spirit - Guitar Gabriel

Author Topic: Teddy Darby's Lyrics  (Read 24635 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Teddy Darby's Lyrics
« on: February 20, 2005, 10:24:17 AM »
Hi all,
I was talking about "Lawdy Lawdy Worried Blues" over on the "Vocal Phrasing--the Long and the Short of it" thread and thought some of you might like the lyrics for it.  Here is "Lawdy Lawdy Worried Blues":


   
   What's on your worried mind?
   You keep your poor man worried and bothered all the time.
   REFRAIN:  Lawdy, Lawdy, Lawdy

   Lawd, Lawdy, Lawd, Lawd, Lawd, Lawd
   I'm a poor old boy been treated just like a dog
   REFRAIN

   Got a new way, baby, of spelling Memphis, Tennessee
   Double m, double e, double t, double xyz
   REFRAIN

   Baby, baby, what makes you mistreat me so?
   I've done all that a poor boy could do
   REFRAIN

   I helped you, baby, when your kinfolks turned you down
   Now you're loving someone else, babe, and you done left this town
   REFRAIN

   Looky-here, baby, what more you want me to do
   I've sacrificed my mother just to get along, 'long with you
   REFRAIN

   Ever lay down laughing and wake up hollering and crying?
   And you think about the woman you treated so nice and kind
   REFRAIN

   Take me back, baby, and try poor me one more time
   I'll bet you a hundred dollars I will change your mind
   REFRAIN

   When you've got money your friends will hear your plea
   When you ain't got no money, you'll have to come home to me
   REFRAIN

   Take my woman, I won't get mad with you
   'Cause she three times seven and she knows what she want to do
   REFRAIN
 
   Woke up this morning, I was half-most dead
   I was borne down with a low and ache-aching head
   REFRAIN

   Baby, baby, won't you forgive me please?
   You're the only woman to give my poor, poor heart ease

Edited 5/5 by Johnm to pick up correction
Edited 5/14 by John to make correction

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: June 09, 2020, 10:33:42 AM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Teddy Darby's Lyrics
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2005, 11:07:44 PM »
Hi all,
Here are lyrics from another great Teddy Darby tune, "Deceiving Blues".? I am not sure if it is on the Juke.  Here is "Deceiving Blues":



You deceived me, babe, done the things I did not want you to do (2)
Now I've lost confidence in you because you won't be true.

I regarded you like I were your baby child (2)
But when it comes to find out you was misusing me all the while.

But me and my baby gonna make everything all right (2)
And if we don't tomorrow, we will tomorrow night.

Seems to me, baby, me and pork chops do not agree (2)
I love you, baby, but I don't like the way that you are jivin' me.

I'll work up to you, or you'll slip down to me someday (2)
And you're going to be sorry that you done me this-a-way.

What is it about St. Louis musicians and lyrics? I generally feel like they are right at the top of the heap in that regard. Clifford Gibson, Henry Townsend, Teddy Darby and Walter Davis were all masters of Blues lyrics. Re the last verse of "Deceiving Blues", sometimes it is possible to know each other a little too well. Tough.

Edited to add:  Teddy Darby played this out of E, standard tuning, with a pretty lax approach to tuning his instrument.  The form is unusual; it is kind of like a 16-bar blues minus the first four bar phrase, because each of the first two 4-bar phrases begin on the IV chord, A7, as the second and third four bar phrases would in a 16-bar blues.  There are so many variants of the blues forms.
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: June 09, 2020, 10:36:14 AM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Teddy Darby's Lyrics
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2005, 11:26:12 AM »
Hi all,
Another wonderful Teddy Darby tune is "Built Right On The Ground", a song that is oddly titled with a phrase that occurs nowhere in the lyrics.  I recorded this years ago as "I Never Cried", and missed more than half the lyrics, for reasons I can't remember now.  Teddy Darby's version is in Spanish tuning, and employs a kind of brushing right hand motion along with occasional thumb lead that is probably closest to Marshall Owens' "Try Me One More Time" or Ishmon Bracey's "Suitcase Full Of Blues" in terms of right hand approach for tunes in Spanish that I have heard.  Despite sharing the same carefree attitude toward tuning that is found on "Deceiving Blues", this is really a beautiful song, and the accompaniment suits the vocal perfectly.  The lyric employs a "stammering" archetype that is discussed on the "Blues and Vocal Phrasing" thread.  Here is "Built Right On The Ground":



   I never cried 'til my babe got on the, on the train, and I
   Never cried 'til my babe got on the train
   And the tears run down, Great God, like drops of rain

   And it's let me tell you what the mean old train will, train will do, now
   Let me tell you what that mean old train will do
   It will take your woman and blow the smoke at you.

   Says, ah my baby don't treat me good no, good no more, and it's
   Ah my baby don't treat me good no more
   And I ain't got no babe, I ain't got nowhere to go

   Well the woman that I'm lovin', she don't pay me no, me no mind, and the
   Woman I'm lovin' don't pay me no mind
   And she keep me worried and bothered all the time

   I believe, I believe I will stop my barrelhouse, barrelhouse ways
   I believe, I believe I will stop my barrelhouse ways
   For I feel myself sinking every day

   (Instrumental opening line)
   And it's oh, my baby don't act right no more
   And I don't feel welcome, babe, nowhere I go

   If whiskey don't kill me, say I'm doomed to lose my, lose my mind,
   If whiskey don't kill me I'm doomed to lose my mind
   For I'm worried and I'm bothered and I'm drinking all the time

   Farewell, farewell, I bid this world good, world goodbye,
   Farewell, farewell, I bid this world goodbye
   Little babe done quit me and I've given up to die.

This tune can be found on the Juke.
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: June 09, 2020, 10:37:20 AM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Teddy Darby's Lyrics
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2005, 11:03:47 AM »
Hi all,
Another great number from Teddy Darby is "My Laona Blues", which like "Built Right On The Ground" has a title that is not referred to anywhere in the lyrics--odd.  The re-issue I have of the song says that the piano accompanist may be Roosevelt Sykes; if so he was in an unusually subdued mood.  The guitar and piano join in a really nice countermelody behind the first two vocal phrases.  Teddy Darby's accompaniment is in E, standard tuning, and could easily be Charley Jordan's, were it not for Teddy's less forceful right hand touch.  It serves as a reminder that it is next to impossible to trace clear lines of influence in the St.Louis guitarists of the period.  Their playing often had so much in common, and they were so close to being the same age that the question of who first played what is pretty unresolvable at this point.  Moreover, the first player to get a chance to record, may not have been the first to play a particular accompaniment.  Here is "My Laona Blues":



   (Instrumental opening line)
   You can mistreat me, baby, drive me from your door
   But the Good Book say you got to reap just what you sow.

   Mama told me, she hung her head and cried
   Uh my mother she told me, hung her head and cried
   Says, "Some woman's gonna be the death of my only child."

   Get a good woman, do pin her to your side
   If you get a good woman, do pin her to your side
   For these women don't know nothing but slide, oh slide, back-slide

   Get a good man, woman, treat him nice in every way
   If you get a good man, woman, treat him nice in every way
   For a wife to tell you a good man ain't found every day

   Men and women equally on the square
   (Instrumental)     equally on the square
   You can't find good men and women everywhere

   Treat me good, baby, I'll stop my barrelhouse ways
   If you treat me good, baby, I'll stop my barrelhouse ways
   If you don't treat me good I'll barrelhouse all my days

   Catch you a Market car, transfer to the Broadway line
   Catch you a Market car, transfer to the Broadway line
   Forty-two-hundred South, find your daddy peepin' through the blinds.
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: June 09, 2020, 10:38:18 AM by Johnm »

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Teddy Darby's Lyrics
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2005, 08:02:45 PM »
Thanks for posting all these Teddy Darby lyrics, John. I only have a couple tunes on compilations - Lawdy Lawdy and Built Right On the Ground (a favorite). Seeing these lyrics together makes me think I have to buy the Document disc. The two aforementioned tunes are certainly great songs and interestingly quirky as well.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Teddy Darby's Lyrics
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2005, 12:26:32 AM »
I think you would enjoy the CD, Andrew. Teddy Darby is really interesting. He didn't record all that many titles, 14 all told, but they were spread out over a 9-year period. He had the capacity to sound quite different depending on his accompaniment. Two constants in his songs are great singing and excellent lyrics. He is one of those musicians, like Peg Leg Howell and Ishmon Bracey, that I've been expecially getting into lately.
Edited to add:  Whoops, I erred on the number of tunes Teddy Darby recorded.  He had 20 titles.  The CD that I have, and thought was complete turned out not to be so, after comparing titles with the Document release.  I should add, too, that like Charley Jordan, only Teddy Darby's earliest numbers were accompanied by solo guitar.  Most of his songs have piano accompaniment as well.
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: June 09, 2020, 10:39:22 AM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Teddy Darby's Lyrics
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2005, 09:22:54 AM »
Hi all,
Another great Teddy Darby song that I have been enjoying is "Pitty Pat Blues". Like Skin Game, Pitty Pat is a gambling game that may now be the province of a few oldsters. Any information on how it is played would be appreciated. It is mentioned in the Walker Percy novel "The Last Gentleman".
Teddy Darby recorded this one as "Blind Squire Turner". Turner was apparently a non-musician friend of Darby's for whom Darby promoted this ruse to boost Turner's love life, according to Don Kent. That's what I call a friend! In any event, Teddy is playing out of E, standard tuning here and is accompanied by the pianist Tom Webb. Teddy's playing is really strong here and the heavy time that he and Tom generate is terrific. The vocal melody is the same as Walter Davis's great "Sloppy Drunk Again" (which was recorded a couple of years later), though it does not share Davis's "short" phrasing. Darby's vocal is magnificent--he is just singing his guts out.  Here is "Pitty Pat Blues":



Now listen here, won't shoot craps no more
Listen here, won't shoot craps no more
Every time I roll the dice--two, three, twelve, or four

I done got broke in the gambling game
I done got broke in the gambling game
And the girl I love, I'm 'fraid to call her name

I lost my money, my woman, my gun and my pocket knife
Lost my money and my woman, my gun and my pocket knife
And the man that won my woman wants to take my life

I lost my money on nine, five, ten and four
I lost my money on nine, five ten, and four
And from now on, I won't play the game no more

I lost my last dime, tryin' to play pitty pat
I lost my last dime, tryin' to play pitty pat
My one good ring, coat and Stetson hat

I had a devil of a time hearing the last line of the last verse. If this one is not on the Juke we have to get it on there soon. It's a killer!
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: June 09, 2020, 10:42:45 AM by Johnm »

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Teddy Darby's Lyrics
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2005, 05:54:24 PM »
Teddy Darby recorded this one as "Blind Squire Turner".? Turner was apparently a non-musician friend of Darby's for whom Darby promoted this ruse to boost Turner's love life, according to Don Kent.? That's what I call a friend!?

!!!

Now I really have to get this disc...   ;D

Offline Johnm

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Re: Teddy Darby's Lyrics
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2005, 10:18:27 AM »
Hi all,
A later Teddy Darby song (from 1937) that I really like is "The Girl I Left Behind".  On it, Teddy did not play at all, but was accompanied by piano (possibly Roosevelt Sykes) and an unnamed bass player.  The song falls into a sort of under-populated category:  narrative blues.  I can only think of a couple of Country Blues that fall into this category--Papa Charlie Jackson's "Self Experience" and Charley Patton's "Tom Rushen Blues" are the only ones I can think of right off the bat.  "The Girl I Left Behind" shares a lot of the feeling of the great Jimmy Van Heusen/Johnny Mercer standard, "I Thought About You", though the means of expression are altogether different.  Teddy Darby's singing on this is just tremendous.  It is not hard to see why he continued to be recorded in situations in which he was not accompanying himself.  The front end of the second verse makes more sense when you consider that Teddy Darby was blind.  Here is "The Girl I Left Behind":



   One Monday night, and I had just lay down
   One Monday night, I had just lay down
   I heard Roosevelt Sykes say, "Darby, you are Chicago bound."

   He put me in a V-8, and it was fairly flying (2)
   The boys had they minds on Chicago, I had my mind on the girl I left behind.

   When we hit Springfield, I did not have much to say (2)
   Well, the boys was thinkin' about Chicago, I was thinkin' about the other way

   (Spoken, to introduce piano solo) Play 'em out for me a long time, boy, I gotta go
   (during solo) Blues about my baby

   We hit Chicago just about half past nine
   We hit Chicago, just 'bout half past nine
   And I had the blues about that East St. Louis girl of mine

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: June 09, 2020, 10:44:54 AM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Teddy Darby's Lyrics
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2005, 10:56:05 PM »
Hi all,
Another Teddy Darby song that came from the same session as "The Girl I Left Behind" and that employed the same personnel (piano, perhaps Roosevelt Sykes and a bass player) was "Heart Trouble Blues".  It is another narrative blues, and like Sleepy John Estes's "Floating Bridge" describes a scary brush with mortality.  Teddy Darby's singing on this is so strong and the piano and bass lay down a deep, heavy rhythmic accompaniment for him.  Darby pronounces "rescue", "res-a-cue" in the first verse in order to get a smooth scansion.  Here is "Heart Trouble Blues":



   One Monday night, I took sick as I could be (2)
   And I sent for my friends to res-a-cue poor me

   When my friends came, I asked them "What should I do?"  (2)
   And they says, "Darby, we'll carry you to hospital # 2."

   As the Doctor, he asked me, what could my trouble be
   As the Doctor asked me what could my trouble be
   I say, "Doctor, Doctor, my poor heart's killin' me."

   Now they carried me upstairs, put me in a bed (2)
   They put icebags around my heart and all around my head

   But, now I'm so glad I'm back on foot again
   Now I'm so glad I'm back on foot again
   For when you are drowned that's when you find your friends

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: June 09, 2020, 10:45:57 AM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Teddy Darby's Lyrics
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2005, 12:37:16 PM »
Hi all,
"Bootleggin' Ain't No Good No More" was recorded at the same session that produced "Heart Trouble Blues" and "The Girl I Left Behind".  Roosevelt Sykes (if he is the pianist on the session) was in fine form, and uses some really beautiful Jazzy chord voicings, as well as setting down a great heavy pulse.  Indeed, Syke's chord voicings here would make a great study for guitarists interested in spicing up their harmonic vocabularies.  Teddy Darby  was in very strong voice here, too.  His voice had thickened considerably since the time when he recorded "Lawdy Lawdy Worried Blues", growing into a powerful horn of an instrument.
The lyrics are interesting.  Apparently one of the segments of American society that did not welcome an end to Prohibition was the criminal element that had been involved in the illegal sale of liquor during the Prohibition years.  There is probably an analogous opposition among drug dealers nowadays to the legalization of drugs, though not perhaps to decriminalization of simple possession.  Here is "Bootlegging' Ain't No Good No More":



   Bootleggin', bootleggin', bootleggin' ain't no good no more (2)
   Bootleg whiskey's 25 cents and you can get good whiskey for 24

   I'm a good bootlegger but I've done fell poor
   I'm a real good bootlegger, but I've done fell poor
   Since good whiskey been in, bootleggin' ain't no good no more

   Now, I been bootleggin', bootleggin' six years or more (2)
   But now I'm a real good bootlegger, a good bootlegger that's done fell poor

   SPOKEN:  Lord, I got to get me another racket when I do my time
   [Reaction to piano solo] What you say, what you say, what you say!

   I done lost my car and I ain't got a dime
   I've done lost my car and I ain't got a dime
   I'm just a good bootlegger that's got to go and do his time

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: June 09, 2020, 10:46:54 AM by Johnm »

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Teddy Darby's Lyrics
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2005, 12:05:50 PM »
One day the 16 tracks recorded in 1960 by Pete Welding and Big Joe Williams might surface. A goodly preportion were recreations of prewar recordings - but he did have a go at Stackolee and Trouble In Mind. :o

Offline Johnm

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Re: Teddy Darby's Lyrics
« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2005, 03:34:18 PM »
Hi all,
That is pretty tantalizing information, Bunker Hill.  I would sure be interested to know the basis upon which Pete Welding chose not to release his 1960s Teddy Darby recordings.  It's hard to believe it could have been because of disappointing guitar-playing, since he chose to release the George Mitchell recordings of Peg Leg Howell, who had not played in almost thirty years and was terribly rusty.  And even if Darby was not in prime playing shape, why not record him with a piano accompanist?  Perhaps his singing was not up to par at that point either.  In any case, if the music really was not up to snuff, I applaud Pete Welding's decision not to release it.  I don't think artists are done any favor when recordings of them that were made essentially long after they had quit playing music are released.  That having been said, it would be neat to know whether Teddy Darby's version of Stackerlee is an old one, like John Hurt's, Furry Lewis's, or Long Cleve Reed and Papa Harvey Hull's, or a cover of Lloyd Price's hit from the '50s.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: Teddy Darby's Lyrics
« Reply #13 on: November 29, 2005, 07:25:02 PM »
Hi all,
Teddy Darby recorded "Low Mellow" in a 1933 session in which he is backed by piano and guitar.  The release I have lacks session information, so I do not know who the pianist and guitarist are--I assume the guitar is not being played by Darby himself.  It is being flat-picked, by the sound of it, out of D position in standard tuning, and it is an exceptionally good sounding guitar, something like Josh White's.  Any information on Darby's accompanists would be appreciated.
It's really surprising how different Teddy Darby could sound on different records.  As long as he was involved in providing his own accompaniment, he tended to sound pretty darn country, but on numbers like this one, on which he is singing only, he sounds quite uptown.  Is anyone aware of an earlier recording of this song?  I'm curious, because if it is Darby's own composition, it was certainly covered by a lot of other blues musicians.  Sunnyland Slim sings a fine version of it on his recent release on Bob West's Arcola label.  Teddy Darby pronounces memories "mem-hories".  The ending of the "A" line in the last verse is kind of a shocker.  Here is "Low Mellow":



   My babe, Lumella, she's low mellow to the bone
   My babe, Lumella, she is mellow to the bone
   And she got something I can't let alone

   She's so good-looking, but she got such affectiona' ways
   SPOKEN:  Oooo, she's mellow, too!
   She's so good-looking, but she got such affectiona' ways
   You know, looks don't mean anything, kind treatment is what calm my days

   Every day, sweet mem-hories [sic] of you (2)
   When I think of the days we were together and the good things we used to do

   She's so mellow, I love to hear her when she talks
   SPOKEN:  Oh, babe, you know you're mellow!
   She's so mellow, I love to hear her when she talks
   And the reason I know she's low mellow, she thrills me when she walks

   I'm gon' sing this verse and then I will decline (2)
   For I'm goin' back to St. Louis, to that low mellow gal of mine

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: June 09, 2020, 10:48:06 AM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Teddy Darby's Lyrics
« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2005, 07:44:30 PM »
Hi all,
Teddy Darby recorded "She Ain't No Girl Of Mine" in 1933, and from the sound of it, was joined by the same pianist and guitarist who accompanied him on "Low Mellow".  In this instance, the guitarist is playing out of A position in standard tuning. 
Vocally, Darby sounds a bit more like the musician who recorded "Built Right On The Ground" on this one.  He has a mannerism of singing the last word of each line with a sort of downward groan that is really effective (especially since he didn't go on to use it on every song he recorded after this one).  He liked to insert spoken asides in between the first singing of his "A" lines and their repetition.  St. Louis musicians are known for their interesting lyrics, but even so, the fourth verse is kind of extreme.  Wow, where did that come from!  "Here is "She Ain't No Girl Of Mine":



   Now, the girl that I love, she ain't no girl of mine
   Now, the girl I love ain't no girl of mine
   She slips off from her husband to be with me sometimes

   When you got a good woman, you can get every no-good dame in town (2)
   But when your good woman quits you, the no-good dames can't be found

   I had a good woman, a no-good dame for my [head?]
   SPOKEN:  Play 'em, Mr. William, play 'em!
   I had a good woman, a no-good dame for my [head?]
   And I lost my good woman, seems just like my mother was dead

   Yella' girl bring my chop suey, brownskin girl bring my China tea
   SPOKEN:  And she's cool, man!
   Yella' girl bring my chop suey, brownskin girl bring my China tea
   And my black girl brings my fried rice, duck and noodles and my [   ?   ]

   Bye, bye, bye, bye, if you never see me no more
   Bye, bye, bye bye, you never see me no more
   They'll say when I left, I was bound for Mexico

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: June 09, 2020, 10:49:33 AM by Johnm »

 


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