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Author Topic: Sparks Brothers Lyrics  (Read 822 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Sparks Brothers Lyrics
« on: December 23, 2016, 08:54:36 AM »
Hi all,
The Sparks Brothers were a pair of blues musician twins from St. Louis, Aaron "Pinetop", who played piano and sang, and Milton, or Marion or Lindberg, who sang and sometimes played guitar.  According to contemporaries (mostly Henry Townsend), the brothers didn't get along all that well and didn't play music together all that often, as a result.  "Pinetop" died young, with his death attributed variously to being poisoned or exhaustion.  "Workhouse Blues" was a solo number for "Pinetop", and he did a nice job on it, handling the piano and the vocal with aplomb.  Here it is:



INTRO

I just got out of the workhouse, only been out one day
I just got out of the workhouse, only been out one day
I'm out in the street, broke and hungry, haven't got no place to stay

I went to my friend house, and asked him for a meal
I went to my friend house, and asked him for a meal
He said, "You just got of the workhouse, partner, I know how you feel."

I went on down the street, with a hundred things on my mind
I went on down the street, with a hundred things on my mind
I was looking for the woman that caused me to do my time

SOLO

When I found that woman, she had a hundred dollars in her hand
When I found that woman, she had a hundred dollars in her hand
And I asked her for ten dollars, she said I was no more her man

Now I'm on my way up to the big house, people, and I don't even care
On my way back to the big house, people, I don't even care
I might get lifetime, then again, I might get the 'lectric chair

All best,
Johnm

Offline eric

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Re: Sparks Brothers Lyrics
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2016, 09:59:39 AM »
Nicely done!
--
Eric

Offline Johnm

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Re: Sparks Brothers Lyrics
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2016, 05:49:52 PM »
Hi all,
For "Ina Blues" (pronounced "I-know" as sung), I believe the personnel would be listed as Pinetop Sparks on piano and vocal and Henry Townsend backing him on guitar, out of Spanish tuning.  If it is indeed Pinetop playing the piano here, he is channeling Walter Davis, not only with regard to harmonic choices, like playing a IV minor chord, but even to his pianistic touch and consistently ending his phrases short.  Henry Townsend's playing on these songs where he backs Pinetop is so spectacular--I can't imagine how it could be done any better.  I apologize if some Weenies are unable to view the video without doing a work-around.  I'm not happy with the bent bracketed word in the first line of the last verse and would appreciate help with that very much  Here is the performance:
Edited to add:  As per banjochris's clarification three posts down in the thread, the pianist on "Ina Blues" was, in fact, Walter Davis, and Milton Sparks, not Pinetop, did the singing.  Henry Townsend did play the guitar, as originally stated above.   



Ina, baby, you know you did me wrong
Ina, baby, you know you did me wrong
You look for me to give you two dollars, Ina, you've got your grinder wrong

I don't want your money, Ina, don't you know your love is good enough for me?
I don't want your money, baby, your love is good enough for me
Baby, if I have been a bad fellow, your grinding made me be

Ina, baby, you know you milked me like a cow (Spoken:  Yes, you did, you milked me like a cow)
Ina, you know you milked me like a cow
Now you tryin' to quit me, Ina, baby, and you don't know how

Ina, babe, won't you please come back to me?
Oh, Ina, babe, please come back to me
You know I love you, Ina, and I can not let you be

Ooooo, Ina, 'ss Ina's on my mind
Lord, don't you know, sweet Ina's on my mind
I've got to see that woman, if I've got to ride the Wabash blind

Edited 12/30 to pick up correction from lindy

All best,
Johnm


   
« Last Edit: December 30, 2016, 06:20:35 AM by Johnm »

Offline jpeters609

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Re: Sparks Brothers Lyrics
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2016, 07:00:58 AM »
What a great song. I haven't heard it before, and now I'm encouraged to listen to more of the Sparks Brothers recordings. As for the bracketed word in the last verse, what I hear (and this is probably not a satisfying answer) is Pinetop essentially slurring his way through a bit of a mistake. In every verse, the second line is a near repeat of the first, especially in terms of the essential words being used. In this last verse, the second line has Pinetop singing, "Sweet Ina's on my mind." I think he also meant to sing the same words in the first line, but his dragged out "Oooo, Ina" at the start of that line messed him up a bit, and he ended up sliding his "sweet Ina" into something sounding like "Sss-Ina."
Jeff

Offline Johnm

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Re: Sparks Brothers Lyrics
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2016, 09:24:29 AM »
Thanks very much for your suggestion, Jeff, and I think you're right on.  In re-listening, it's almost as though he was saying "Miss Ina's on my mind", but elided the "m" at the beginning of "miss".  I reckon Pinetop painted himself into a corner on the first line, in terms of not allowing himself enough musical space to say what he had intended to say.  Those guys really sounded great together, didn't they?  I will make the change.  Thanks!
All best,
Johnm

Offline banjochris

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Re: Sparks Brothers Lyrics
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2016, 03:38:35 PM »
According to B&GR, John, it's Milton singing on "Ina Blues" with Walter Davis and Henry Townsend. It would be amazing if someone could imitate Walter Davis that well!
Chris

Offline Johnm

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Re: Sparks Brothers Lyrics
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2016, 05:21:06 PM »
Thanks for the session information, Chris, and you're right, it would be completely uncharacteristic of a musician of that era to be such a complete android of another musician.  It's reassuring to find out that only Walter Davis sounded that much like Walter Davis and that Pinetop Sparks wasn't able to engage in musical impersonation to that extent.  I'll change the attribution.  Am I correct in thinking that Milton also sang "Erie Train Blues" with Walter Davis and Henry Townsend backing him?
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: December 29, 2016, 05:35:23 PM by Johnm »

Offline lindy

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Re: Sparks Brothers Lyrics
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2016, 05:59:29 PM »
I hear "If I've got to ride the Wabash blind" on that last line.

Lindy

Offline banjochris

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Re: Sparks Brothers Lyrics
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2016, 07:21:45 PM »
Am I correct in thinking that Milton also sang "Erie Train Blues" with Walter Davis and Henry Townsend backing him?

Yes, B&GR has that session on Sunday, 7/28/35:

Erie Train Blues
Ina Blues
Grinder Blues
I Wake Up in the Morning

with the personnel as Milton Sparks, vocal for all four; Henry Townsend, guitar for all four; Walter Davis, piano on the first two; Aaron Sparks, piano on the last two. Listening definitely bears that out. And during "Erie Train," Milton says "play 'em Mr. Walter Davis" during the solo.

Chris

P.S. I think Lindy's suggestion of "blind" is correct.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2016, 07:22:46 PM by banjochris »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Sparks Brothers Lyrics
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2016, 06:23:36 AM »
Thanks very much, lindy, for the lyrics catch.  I've re-listened and made the change.  Thanks also to banjochris for the session information and to Bunker Hill for supplying me with all of the session information on the Sparks Brothers, which will help me get the personnel on the different tracks right in the future, which is worth a great deal.  Thanks to you all--I really appreciate your help.
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: December 30, 2016, 06:52:44 AM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Sparks Brothers Lyrics
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2016, 02:27:24 PM »
Hi all,
"Tell Her About Me" was recorded on July 28, 1935 in Chicago, with Pinetop Sparks supplying the piano and vocal and Henry Townsend backing him on guitar out of E position in standard tuning (really!).  Pinetop shows a suave vocal sound on this one, much less rough and "country" than the singing of his brother, Milton (or Marion, or Lindburg, as he was variously known).  This song has a sort of Pop sound in the best and most appealing way, at least to me.  I heard it for the first time years ago on a St. Louis anthology on Don Kent's old Mamlish label.  Here is the duo's rendition:



INTRO

If you get to Chicago 'fore I do, won't you tell her 'bout me?
Everything that you know, everywhere that you go
You be in Chicago, baby, won't you tell her 'bout me?

If you see a woman, she want a good boyfriend, you tell her 'bout me?
Everything that you know, everywhere that you go
See a woman and she want a good boyfriend, won't you tell her 'bout me?

SOLO

Hear my train whistle blowin', I got to go, won't you tell her 'bout me?
Everything that you know, everywhere that you go
My train whistle's blowin', you can tell 'em 'bout me?

If you see my girlfriend before I do, won't you tell her 'bout me?
Everything that you know, everywhere that you go
See my girlfriend before I do, won't you tell her 'bout me?

SOLO

Here come a woman, down the street, won't you tell her 'bout me?
Everything that you know, everywhere that you go
That woman comes down the street, partner, won't you tell her 'bout me?

All best,
Johnm

« Last Edit: January 08, 2017, 10:21:47 PM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Sparks Brothers Lyrics
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2016, 03:07:36 PM »
Hi all,
"Erie Train Blues" has the same line-up as "Ina Blues", and was recorded the same day, July 28, 1935, with Milton Sparks on vocals, Walter Davis on piano, and Henry Townsend playing guitar out of Spanish tuning.  Henry Townsend's playing on this song is a revelation--so fresh, so many ideas, so expressive.  Walter Davis was in fine form, and Milton Sparks sings the song so lonesome.  Here is the trio's performance:



INTRO

Lord, I hate to hear that Erie Train whistle when it blows
Lord, I hate to hear that Erie Train whistle when it blows
It gives me a feelin' that I never had before

Oooo-oooo, that Erie's got my babe and gone
Oooo-oooo, that Erie's got my babe and gone
That's the reason why, people, you hear me sing this song

The Erie, I swear, is a mountain jack
That Erie, Lord, is a mountain jack
That train come and stole my baby, people, swear it won't bring her back

SOLO (Spoken:  Play'em, boy, play 'em.  Oh, play the blues now, for me.  I'm so darn worried about my woman.  Play 'em, Mr. Walter Davis.  Sure sounds like the blues, boy.  I've got the blues, too, about Jane.)

Oooo-oooo, Erie got my babe and gone
Mmm-mmm, Erie got my babe and gone
Then you know by that, people, I won't be here long

All best,
Johnm
 

Offline Johnm

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Re: Sparks Brothers Lyrics
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2017, 05:49:55 PM »
Hi all,
"Pinetop" Sparks, on piano and vocal, and Henry Townsend, playing in E position, standard tuning, paired up for "Every Day I Have The Blues", recorded on July 28, 1935.  The song is usually credited to Memphis Slim, but Pinetop and Henry Townsend's recording of it pre-dates Slim's earliest recording of the song by several years.  Here is their version:



INTRO

Every day, every day I have the blues
Every day, every day I have the blues
And it would give me, kind lover, if I had you to lose

Sometimes, sometimes I just don't know
Sometimes, sometimes I just don't know
My babe, she wants to quit me, but I love her more and more

She treat me mean, but I can't forget the good things she have done
She treat me mean, I can't forget the good things she once have done
Says, she were my companion, when I did not have penny one

SOLO

When I was sick, she came and sat down on my bed
When I was sick, she came and sat down on my bed
Says, she gave me my medicine, and she rub my achin' head

All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: Sparks Brothers Lyrics
« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2017, 10:56:58 AM »
Hi all,
Yet another song to have come from the July 28, 1935 Sparks Brothers session was "I Wake Up In The Morning", which featured Milton on vocals, Pinetop on piano, and Henry Townsend playing guitar in Spanish tuning.  Henry is in stellar form as he was on pretty much all of the tracks recorded that date, and Milton just sings his guts out.  I'd very much appreciate help with the bent bracketed word.  I sure love the blues that were coming out of St. Louis in this period.  Here is the song:



Lord, I woke up this mornin', this morning 'bout half past nine
I woke up this mornin', this mornin' 'bout half past nine
Don't you know I heard my baby when she told me, "Daddy, you got all night to take your time."

"Turn over, kind mama, baby, let your papa see.
Won't turn over, kind mama, and let your papa see.
You got somethin' under that night gown, kind mama, it keeps on worryin' me."

Lord, I woke up this mornin', 'bout half past ten, heard my baby say, "Papa, let's put the same play back in again."
I woke up this mornin', oooo, woke up 'bout half past ten
Don't you know I heard my baby when she told me, "Let me put the same play back in again."

Babe, don't you know, don't you know, don't you know, don't you know, don't you know?
Don't you know, don't you know, don't you know, don't you know, don't you know?
I've got to find one more time, kind mama, I don't care where you go

I got a little woman, she's just as sweet as sweet can be
Lord, I got a little woman, she's just as sweet as sweet can be
And every time I kiss that cool kind woman, grindin' gets all over me

Edited 1/6 to pick up correction from banjochris

All best,
Johnm




« Last Edit: January 06, 2017, 11:53:05 AM by Johnm »

Offline banjochris

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Re: Sparks Brothers Lyrics
« Reply #14 on: January 06, 2017, 11:09:05 AM »
John, try "And every time I kiss that cool kind woman, grindin' gets all over me."
Chris

 


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