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The way that gal kill up men, the graveyard ain't got much more room - Lonnie Johnson, Low Down St. Louis Blues

Author Topic: Teddy Darby's Lyrics  (Read 24979 times)

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Online Johnm

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Re: Teddy Darby's Lyrics
« Reply #30 on: January 18, 2006, 11:19:52 AM »
Thanks for the help with the lyrics, John D. and dj.  I particularly like the way you are getting out some sense out of the sounds, dj.  "Sand", particularly in the context you cite, makes more sense than does "cent", that's for sure.  I am going to have to listen some more, and see if I get a flash of light.
I do not have "Don't Like The Way You Do" on the Darby CD I have, and would be very interested to hear it, particularly if it shows yet another guitar style for him.  The only songs left on the CD I have that I have not yet posted lyrics for are "Spike Driver" and "I'm Gonna Wreck Your V-8", neither of which I would consider among Teddy Darby's top material.
All best,
Johnm

Online Johnm

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Re: Teddy Darby's Lyrics
« Reply #31 on: January 26, 2006, 10:41:40 PM »
Hi all,
Teddy Darby recorded "Spike Driver" in 1937, in the same session that yielded "Bootleggin' Ain't Good No More", "Heart Troubles Blues", and "The Girl I Left Behind".  The information I have credits Roosevelt Sykes with the piano accompaniment.  If it was Sykes, he was in a pretty subdued mood.  I can hear a bass player on my recording who is uncredited.  Perhaps more complete information is available elsewhere.  There is no guitar on this cut.  Darby's vocal is very strong, as you would expect. 
As for the lyrics, I don't believe Darby left anything unsaid on this particular topic.  It is perhaps an indication of how far below the radar of those who were in power at the time the blues were operating, that a lyric this raunchy could come from a period in which Hollywood movies would not show a man and wife sharing a bed.  Weird!  Here is "Spike Driver":



   I'm a real good spike driver, mama, let me drive a spike for you (2)
   For everybody that knows me knows that spike drivin' is all that I do

   Now, when I'm drivin' spikes, it sure gets good to me
   When I'm drivin' my spike, babe, it sure gets good to me
   For I'm a real good spike driver and I got a written guarantee

   Now, the other day I drove spikes for the little girl that lives next door
   Now, the other day I drove my spikes for the little girl that lives next door
   And she told her old spike driver, "I can't use you any more."

   Now, when I drive my spike in your fat pine, and your resin begin to run
   When I drive my spike in your fat pine, and your resin begin to run
   And then I know by that my spike drivin' is well done

   I'm a real good spike driver, my spike, it never bends
   I'm a real good spike driver and my spike, it never bends
   For I know how to hold my hammer and I drives the spike right in

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: June 09, 2020, 10:55:43 AM by Johnm »

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Teddy Darby's Lyrics
« Reply #32 on: January 27, 2006, 12:10:32 PM »
The information I have credits Roosevelt Sykes with the piano accompaniment.  If it was Sykes, he was in a pretty subdued mood.  I can hear a bass player on my recording who is uncredited.  Perhaps more complete information is available elsewhere. 
FWIW the second edition of B&GR (1969) listed Sykes as pianist, in the third (1982) it became "prob Sykes" and for the fourth (1997) "unknown p". The presence of an unknown string bassist has been noted thoughout.

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Teddy Darby's Lyrics
« Reply #33 on: January 27, 2006, 12:29:49 PM »
As for the lyrics, I don't believe Darby left anything unsaid on this particular topic.  It is perhaps an indication of how far below the radar of those who were in power at the time the blues were operating, that a lyric this raunchy could come from a period in which Hollywood movies would not show a man and wife sharing a bed.  Weird!
Quite so.

As you know Paul Oliver devoted an 100 page chapter to an examination of this topic in Screening The Blues (1968) entitled, naturally enough, The Blue Blues. The Darby song is discussed in passing on pages 212-3. What has always amazed me about this chapter is that it contains a full transcription of the Lucille Bogan Shave 'Em Dry party disc as well as it being on the accompanying CBS LP. Not so much a murmur was heard from either publisher or record company and this was at a time when the British establishment were up in arms over the emerging 'underground press' use of four-letter words and "other obscenities". Ho hum...

Offline dj

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Re: Teddy Darby's Lyrics
« Reply #34 on: January 27, 2006, 01:45:12 PM »
Quote
FWIW the second edition of B&GR (1969) listed Sykes as pianist, in the third (1982) it became "prob Sykes" and for the fourth (1997) "unknown p". The presence of an unknown string bassist has been noted thoughout.

The Document CD of Darby's complete pre-war recordings has the piano credit as "prob. Tom Webb".  The string bass is listed as "unknown".  Mike Rowe's notes say "Sykes did not accompany him here either - Darby thought it was either Webb or, interestingly, Jimmy Gordon.  The latter seems quite possible but there are similarities with Springback James too."

One thing I find mildly interesting is how often the Document personnel lists disagree with those of Blues & Gospel Records.  Were the differences all due to Johnny Parth, or were others, perhaps the note writers, involved as well?

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Re: Teddy Darby's Lyrics
« Reply #35 on: February 21, 2006, 03:30:50 PM »
Hi all,
Teddy Darby recorded "Pokino Blues" at a session in Chicago in March of 1935, joined by Peetie Wheatstraw on piano and a slide guitarist, identified as Casey Bill Weldon on the Document CD.  Whoever is doing the slide is playing in Vastapol, and is a bit under-recorded.  Because of the thick chordal textures, it does sound like it could be played in the lap style.  Darby's own guitar-playing was so varied that I would not rule out the possibility that he was playing it himself.
In any event, this is a tremendously strong track.  Peetie Wheatstraw's piano playing, though not in the league of Roosevelt Sykes or Wesley Wallace technically, is nonetheless sensational, with terrific heavy time and a very driving beat.  Moreover, he plays a little signature lick that sounds so great it is driving me nuts.  It is a commonplace Blues lick to run up in the scale over the I chord, I-II-flatIII-majorIII.  Well, Wheatstraw utilizes the last three, chromatic notes of that run, but he harmonizes it with a chromatic line a parallel fifth above it, VI-flatVII-majorVII, so that he constantly concludes his line with a major seven note on top, held over the I chord.  This flies in the face of conventional Blues harmony, which suggests that flat VII notes are always used over the I, IV and V chords in the Blues.  Most often, if you do walk-ups in Blues from root, third and fifth of the I chord to the next higher chord tone (third, fifth and flat seventh, respectively), you end up with the following walk-ups:
   * I-II-flatIII-majorIII
   * MajorIII-IV-flatV-V
   * V-flatVI-majorVI-flatVII
Utilizing this walk-up scheme, you start and end each walk-up with a note of the I dominant  seventh chord, the cornerstone of Blues harmony.  Evidently no one ever told Peetie Wheatstraw this essential bit of musical information, for he plays his "illegal" run that concludes on the major seven note over and over again, and every time he does, it sounds that much better.  Two factors especially contribute to its distinctive sound:  1) The parallel fifths it employs have been taboo in Western music since the pre-Baroque era.  We have heard it so little of them in the music that we grow up with that they sound jarring.  2) The run is bi-tonal and suggests two different keys simultaneously.  The lower portion of the run, II-flatIII-majorIII suggests the key of I, and the upper portion of the run, VI-flatVII-majorVII, suggest the key of V.  All of that having been said, the theory is after the fact--the sound itself is striking, original, and completely distinctive.  Hats off to Peetie Wheatstraw for this lick, I wish I had thought of it!  It really raises the hair on the back of your neck. 
Teddy Darby sings this to the same melody he used for "Low Mellow", but "Pokino Blues" is much more forcefully sung; he is just busting his guts, and it sounds sensational.  The lyrics appear to focus on a gambling craze.  Is anyone aware of any other blues with references to pokino?  For those of you who have not heard the song, pokino is pronounced po as in poke, key as in car keys, no as in no, with emphasis on the second syllable.  I think it's an obscure game even when compared to Pitty Pat and Georgia Skin.  Any help with the bracketed portion at the end of the first two lines of the second verse would be appreciated.  Part of the problem is that I don't think Teddy Darby says the same thing twice.  If you haven't heard this performance, seek it out, because it is a killer!  Here is "Poking Blues":



   Now pokino, pokino have broke up a many good gambling game
   Now, pokino, it have broke up a many good gambling game
   Like pinochle, skin, craps, and poker, now the hustlers don't even call their name

   Now you can play pokino, when you sleep your card
   You can play pokino, when you, uh, sleep your card
   And I can't come up to see you and your good man have got me barred

   My babe played pokino and she never poked all night long (2)
   And she came in this morning and all my money was gone

   So you know, pokino, it has broke up a many happy home (2)
   But, you know a man don't want his woman to stay out all night long

   Now my babe played pokino one night, now, I wanta know what this was all about
   Now my babe played pokino one night, and I want to know what this is all about
   She had the shades down, the doors locked, and she had all the lights turned out

Edited 2/22 to flesh out and correct the explanation of Peetie Wheatstraw's run.
Edited 3/2 to pick up lyric correction from dj

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: June 09, 2020, 02:28:19 PM by Johnm »

Online Johnm

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Re: Teddy Darby's Lyrics
« Reply #36 on: February 23, 2006, 06:26:25 PM »
Hi all,
Teddy Darby recorded "She Thinks She's Slick" as Blind Squire Turner on December 9, 1933, joined by Tom Webb on piano.  Darby sounds to be playing flat-picked boom-chang accompaniment out of G position in standard tuning.  Once again, he is playing in a way that he doesn't utilize on any of his other sides.  He really was a hard guitarist to peg. 
"She Thinks She's Slick" is a chorus blues, in which Darby alters the first line of the chorus as he goes along to accommodate the situations he's set up in the different verses.  His "rhyme avoidance" in this tune is pretty entertaining.  He opens the song with a four-bar boogie solo, entering vocally on the chorus.  Help with bent bracketed words is appreciated, as usual.  Here is "She Thinks She's Slick":



   CHORUS:  And I know my babe, she don't mean me no good
   Goin' to pack my suitcase, leave the neighborhood

   Now, as I tried to gamble and the dice wouldn't pass, here I am with a raggedy cap
   CHORUS:

   Now, the girl of mine, thinks she's slick, I know she's been getting some outside talk
   CHORUS:  And I know that gal, whe don't mean me no good
   I'm goin' to pack my suitcase, leave the neighborhood

   Now I was workin' at the card shop, sweatin' and [shuckin'], she had a man home in my bed just sweatin' and sleepin'
   CHORUS:  And I know that gal, didn't mean me no good
   I'm goin' to pack my suitcase leave the neighborhood

   Now I was standin' at the corner, 22nd and Gas, Sergeant Middlebrook kicked me in my black arms
   CHORUS:  And I knowed by that, he didn't mean me no good
   I'm goin' to pack my suitcase, leave the neighborhood

   Guitar solo
   CHORUS:  Know my babe, she don't mean me no good
   I'm goin' to pack my suitcase, leave the neighborhood

   Now, as I met a lady she was walkin' fast, I couldn't look at her head, but [wanted] to twist her arms
   CHORUS:  And I knowed by that she didn't mean me no good
   I'm goin' to pack my suitcase, leave the neighborhood

   Now, the hen was in the henhouse, she was just cluckin', mad 'cause the rooster had another hen dancin'
   CHORUS:  And I knowed by that, she didn't mean him no good
   I'm goin' to pack my suitcase leave the neighborhood

   Now, when I was a boy, I cried to suck, now I am a man I have to pay to dance
   CHORUS:  And I know by that, she don't mean me no good
   I'm goin' to pack my suitcase, leave the neighborhood

   My gal's give me a watch, she give me a ring, next thing she gave me was a trip to Hot Spring
   CHORUS:  And I know that gal, she didn't mean me no good
   I'm goin' to pack my suitcase leave the neighborhood

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: June 09, 2020, 10:58:17 AM by Johnm »

Online Johnm

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Re: Teddy Darby's Lyrics
« Reply #37 on: February 27, 2006, 05:08:11 PM »
Hi all,
Teddy Darby recorded "Don't Like The Way You Do" with Tom Webb on piano, at the same session as "She Thinks She's Slick", "Low Mellow", "She Ain't No Girl Of Mine", "Bought A Bottle Of Gin" and "Pitty-Pat Blues".  That's what I call a pretty productive day in the studio.
Teddy's guitar part here is played in E position, standard tuning, and is quite active, working the same side of the street as a lot of Charley Jordan songs. 
The song is a chorus blues, and finds Teddy in a truculent mood.  The verse portion of each stanza, in the first four bars, is so chock full of words that he has to spit them out about as fast as he can say them.  There is a lot of humor in his lyrics, though it is not of a light-hearted variety--it's tough.  He opens his vocal with a truncated version of the chorus.  Here is "Don't Like The Way You Do":



   Don't like the way you do
   First thing you know, I'm gonna make away with you

   Now I seen you last night when you got in that Cadillac 8, you know you was doin' somethin' wouldn't percolate, now
   CHORUS:  Listen here, baby, don't like the way you do
   And the first you know, gonna make away with you

   Now, you was out all night just throwin' your mess, come back and told me you's gettin' your hair waved and dressed, now
   CHORUS:

   Now, listen here, babe, what I got to tell, I know what you been doin' by the way you smell, now
   CHORUS: 

   Now, you brought me some shoes, you brought me some socks, next thing you brought me was a dose of medicine, now
   CHORUS:

   Now, you and I got to fightin' and I made a pass, and you took a brick and knocked me on my arms, and
   CHORUS: 

   Now, you out all night, babe, drinkin' booze, told me you was out tryin' to wait for your shoes, now
   CHORUS:

   Now you goin' to get something that you don't expect, won't be no money, neither no daggone check, 'cause
   CHORUS:

   Now, it's gonna be something they're gonna put you in, a wooden kimono, satin-lined and dressed in tin, 'cause
   CHORUS:

   Now, you will swallow some land about 6 by 2, you gonna git it good, babe, 'cause it's comin' to you, and
   CHORUS:

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: June 09, 2020, 10:59:22 AM by Johnm »

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Teddy Darby's Lyrics
« Reply #38 on: February 28, 2006, 01:49:30 PM »
the first two lines of the second verse would be appreciated.  Part of the problem is that I don't think Teddy Darby says the same thing twice.  If you haven't heard this performance, seek it out, because it is a killer!

Went and listened to Pokino Blues, as I couldn't place the song in my head. You're right, John, the performance is great. Super piano, and Teddy Darby is simply belting it out. It does sound a lot like Casey Bill to me on the lap guitar. Sorry, can't help much on the lyrics.

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Re: Teddy Darby's Lyrics
« Reply #39 on: February 28, 2006, 02:58:31 PM »
I'm glad to hear you checked that one out, Andrew.  It's a beauty and that signature lick of Peetie Wheatstraw's is dangerously infectious.
All best,
Johnm

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Teddy Darby's Lyrics
« Reply #40 on: February 28, 2006, 03:47:46 PM »
Also went back and listened to Don't Like the Way You Do. What a great tune, and very funny lyrics.

"Now, you brought me some shoes, you brought me some socks, next thing you brought me was a dose of medicine..."

That's just great.  :P

Offline dj

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Re: Teddy Darby's Lyrics
« Reply #41 on: February 28, 2006, 04:27:41 PM »
Teddy Darby was quite the orientalist, what with the verse about Chinese food in "She Ain't No Girl Of Mine" and the mention of a kimono in "Don't Like The Way You Do".

John, I think the second verse of "Pokino Blues" might be

Now you can play pokino, when you sleep your card
You can play pokino, when you, ah, sleep your card
And I can't come up to see you...

I think I hear a bit of a "sl" sound in both the first and second lines.  It might be more obvious if I knew the rules of pokino.  :)

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Re: Teddy Darby's Lyrics
« Reply #42 on: March 02, 2006, 09:47:12 AM »
Hi David,
For some reason your post didn't show up on my unread messages list, so I'm just catching up now.  I agree, it does sound like Teddy Darby is saying, "when you sleep your card".  Like you  I'm handicapped by a complete ignorance of the rules of Pokino.  As I read your message, though, I thought maybe he's saying, "when you slip" your card.  In the context of an unknown game it is a tough call, though slipping a card sounds more plausible than sleeping a card.  If it's game-specific jargon, though, it could be almost anything, and it sounds more like "sleep", so I will make the change you suggested.  Thanks!
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: March 04, 2006, 03:03:23 PM by Johnm »

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Teddy Darby's Lyrics
« Reply #43 on: March 02, 2006, 11:35:56 AM »
From memory the term Pokino also crops up in Little Buddy Doyle's Three-Six-Nine Blues whcih I think is something along the lines of:

"Out messing all my money on pokino, loaded down with beer, whiskey and wine".

Somewhere in the past Pokino was the subject of a correspondence in a magazine. One of the respondents suggested that Pokino might be a corruption of Pokerino which I think was said to be a low stake version of Poker.

This sounds to me to be a suitable subject for the admirable Words, Words, Words page in Blues & Rhythm.  ;D

Offline Stuart

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Re: Teddy Darby's Lyrics
« Reply #44 on: March 02, 2006, 12:02:03 PM »
FWIW:

I know that there's a game called "Keno" and one called "Pokeno" (Poker Keno). I don't know whether this has anything to do with the game mentioned in the lyrics, but it might be a lead.

 


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