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You try to sing like Muddy Waters, and play like Lightnin' sounds. But since I blowed on my harp you're feelin' mean and confused. It's got you chained to your earphones - you're just a white boy lost in the blues - Brownie McGhee, White Boy Lost in the Blues by Michael Franks performed by Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee

Author Topic: Blind Willie Johnson Lyrics  (Read 25067 times)

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Offline Blind Rev. Grapefruit Peter

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Blind Willie Johnson Lyrics
« on: March 07, 2005, 11:35:21 PM »
Hi

I'm looking for the lyrics for Blind Willie Johnson and You're Gonna need Somebody on your bond. I haven't been able to convert it to mp3, since my converter says something abour a codecs? Anyway, it's a classic, which Donovan Leitch did a version of, with a completely changed lyrics. This version I have tried to copy is from "Complete Recordings" disc 1. I think I more or less have it alle but, there are some blanks in the first verse.

Thanks for any help
Peter

You gonna need somebody on your bond
You gonna need somebody on your bond
Cause it's way after midnight
When death comes creeping in the room
You'll gonna need somebody on your bond

I heard the voice of Jesus saying
-------------------
Down the way with--------
Answer for my prayers

You gonna need somebody on your bond
You gonna need somebody on your bond
Cause it's way after midnight
When death comes creeping in the room
You'll gonna need somebody on your bond

When I were a gambler
Nobody would go my bond
Fell on my knees and begin to pray
Cause Jesus will go your bond

You gonna need somebody on your bond
You gonna need somebody on your bond
Cause it's way after midnight
When death comes creeping in the room
You'll gonna need somebody on your bond

I came to Jesus
like I'm weary wounded and sad
Found in him a resting place
Now he's made me glad

Now I got somebody on your bond
Now I got somebody on your bond
Cause it's way after midnight
When death comes creeping in the room
Now I got somebody on your bond
« Last Edit: April 20, 2005, 02:43:55 PM by Johnm »

Offline uncle bud

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Re: You're gonna need somebody on your bond
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2005, 08:23:02 PM »
Hi Peter. Great tune.

The missing parts in verse 1 are real hard to hear. I'll have to listen more.

I hear "when death comes slipping in your room". Also possibly "way past midnight".

Also "When you was a gambler" and "Fell on your knees".

Offline Blind Rev. Grapefruit Peter

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Re: You're gonna need somebody on your bond
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2005, 10:37:08 PM »
Hi Uncle Bud

I tend to agree with you. You could be right. I remember listen to When you was a gambler, so I guessed I just switched you with I. Sometimes the grammar, even to a dane, is very weak. But the general idea is still there. 1 verse is a mystery.

I was a little suprised that so few of his lyrics were posted on the web. The most published version is with Donovan (which I incidently grew up with, not knowing what I heard).

As I realized was, that Donovan used a of of the old blues songs, and made them clean, giving them new lyrics and a touch of 1968 :-). When I grew into this blues thing, I was very suprised to see king Donovan hippie all over. The lord works mysterious way. It was also Donovan who introduced me to Keep on Truckin'

best
peter

lebordo

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Re: You're gonna need somebody on your bond
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2005, 01:22:34 PM »
Hi, Peter:

I had some time on my hands today, so I've spent a couple of hours analyzing this.? There are actually two versions of You're Gonna Need Somebody On Your Bond on the Columbia Legacy version of Complete Vol 2 - track one is Matrix 149594-1 recorded Dec 1929, while track 16 is Matrix 150316-2 recorded April 1930.? Track 1 has bottleneck accompaniment, while track 16 has standard accompaniment.? And the words on track 16 seem a little clearer to me.

Anyway, in my analysis, I slowed down relevant sections of both recordings, while retaining the same pitch.? In addition to the following lyrics, I will also attach the four sound clips from each version so you and others can hear the same files I listened to.? Note that if I have lyrics in parentheses, separated by a slash, the first word / phrase is what I "heard", the one after the slash is what I think it really is [for example, (I hear this / and think it's really this) ].

Matrix 149594-1, December 11, 1929

Well, you're gonna need somebody on your bond
You're gonna need somebody on your bond
Lord it's a way past midnight
When death comes slippin' in the room
You're gonna need, ah, somebody on your bond

I heard the voice of Jesus saying
God told me I'd rest
Found the way with one light out
Halo for my prayers

You're gonna need somebody on your bond
You're gonna need somebody on your bond
Lord it's a way past midnight
When death comes slippin' in the room
You're gonna need somebody on your bond

When you was a gambler
Nobody would go your bond
Fell on your knees and (begin/began) to pray
Cause Jesus should go your bond

You're gonna need somebody on your bond
You're gonna need somebody on your bond
Lord it's a way past midnight
When death comes slippin' in the room
You're gonna need somebody on your bond

I came (the day that Babal was / that day to Babylon)
Weary, wounded, sad
Found that Hell made a resting place
They have made me glad

If I've got somebody on my bond
Lord I've got somebody on my bond
Now it's a way past midnight
When death comes slippin' in the room
Now I've got somebody on my bond.

Matrix 150316-2, April 20 1930

Well, you're gonna need somebody on your bond
You're gonna need somebody on your bond
Now (there's a way and / dead away at) midnight
When death comes slippin' in the room
You're gonna need somebody on your bond

I heard the voice of Jesus saying
God told me (had/ I'd) rest
Found the way with one light (out/on)
Halo for my prayers

You're gonna need somebody on your bond
You're gonna need somebody on your bond
Now (there's a way and / dead away at) midnight
When death comes slippin' in the room
You're gonna need somebody on your bond

When you was a gambler
'Body would go your bond
Fell on your knees and began to pray
Cause Jesus should go your bond

You're gonna need somebody on your bond
You're gonna need somebody on your bond
Now (there's a way and / dead away at) midnight
When death comes slippin' in the room
You're gonna need somebody on your bond

I came the day that Babylon
Weary, wounded, sad
Found that Hell made a resting place
They have made me glad

Lord I've got somebody on my bond
Lord I've got somebody on my bond
Now (there's a way and / dead away at) midnight
When death comes slippin' in the room
Yes I've got somebody on my bond.

Hope this helps.

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[attachment deleted by admin]
« Last Edit: April 20, 2005, 02:46:36 PM by Johnm »

lebordo

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Re: You're gonna need somebody on your bond
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2005, 01:34:05 PM »
Hi, again.

Forgot to mention that Buffy Sainte-Marie also did a nice version of this song on her first album, Many A Mile.  Also a nice version of Bukka White's Fixin' To Die on the same album.

Anyway, I've got Buffy's songbook, which shows her translation of two sections as:

"Now dead away at midnight when the death come slippin' in the room" in the chorus, and
" 'Cause Jesus gonna go your bond" in the last line of the 3rd verse.  Buffy only sang 2 verses, and the first really isn't in Blind Willie's version, although it has some similarity to Blind Willie's third verse:

I Thought my friends were better than God,
Foolish Mary said.
Now I'm bound in Hell for a resting place.
They have made me bad.

Also, I noticed you said you couldn't create an mp3 file -- if you need one for some reason other than posting here, I can certainly e-mail you one.  Also, if you need an mp3 copy posted here, let me know and I'll be happy to do that, too.

Offline banjochris

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Re: You're gonna need somebody on your bond
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2005, 05:21:03 PM »
I'll have to listen to this when I get home to refresh my memory, but this verse:

I came the day that Babylon
Weary, wounded, sad
Found that Hell made a resting place
They have made me glad

is actually:

I came to Jesus as I was,
Weary, cold and sad
Found in Him a resting place
It have made me glad.

Chris

Offline Blind Rev. Grapefruit Peter

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Re: You're gonna need somebody on your bond
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2005, 03:17:44 AM »
Wow, thank you all.

Regarding the mp3 file. I have it as a wave file, and my converting program said there's an error. But I can still play it (and Ihave the record).

Thanks again
peter

lebordo

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Re: You're gonna need somebody on your bond
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2005, 02:48:35 PM »
I came to Jesus as I was,
Weary, cold and sad
Found in Him a resting place
It have made me glad.

Hi, Chris.? That's very similar to Peter's original interpretation of:

? ?I came to Jesus
? ?like I'm weary wounded and sad
? ?Found in him a resting place
? ?Now he's made me glad

particularly if you move "like I'm" from the start of the second line to the end of the first:

? ?I came to Jesus like I'm
? ?weary wounded and sad
? ?Found in him a resting place
? ?Now he's made me glad

So I suspect that you're both closer than I am on this verse.? Unfortunately, even trying to hear "Jesus ... I am", "cold and" and "in him", I just don't hear those words.? I still here "day" and "Babylon", "wounded" and "Hell".? That's why its great to have multiple sets of ears listening to these songs.

Of course, the problem is that everyone is making best guesses.? Blind Willie hasn't been around to confirm.

I remember hearing a story in the 60s about one of the re-discovered artists who shook his head and laughed softly at the consensus lyrics for one of his pre-war songs, then proceeded to correct about every other word.? Never knew if the story was true, and haven't remember the artist or song in question for years, but it makes me think every time I try to understand lyrics.

Just for fun, I searched the internet, and here is a totaly different interpretation of the same verse (found at http://www.guitarseminars.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/003483.html) -- it appears twice on that page -- once with this song alone, and once with a number of other Blind Willie lyrics:

? ?It came the day that sad was
? ?Wearied, wounded side,
? ?Bounds that held me left this place.
? ?They have made me glad.

Harry's Blues Lyrics has a number of Blind Willie songs, but not this one (http://blueslyrics.tripod.com/artistswithsongs/blind_willie_johnson_1.htm).
« Last Edit: April 20, 2005, 02:49:17 PM by Johnm »

Offline banjochris

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Re: You're gonna need somebody on your bond
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2005, 04:24:59 PM »
Having listened to this today -- here's the two verses that seem to be the most trouble, with words BWJ doesn't sing in parentheses:

I heard the voice of Jesus say
(Come) Unto me and rest
Found me weary, (I) want to lie down
Head upon my breast.

I came to Jesus as I was
Weary-boned and sad
Found in Him a resting place,
He have made me glad.

The first verse's first line is parodied in the Jim Jackson minstrel show song "I Heard the Voice of a Pork Chop" -- I heard the voice of a pork chop say, come unto me and rest. Johnson doesn't enunciate very well, but I'm pretty sure of these.
Chris

miamimarshall

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Blind Willie Johnson Lyrics
« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2006, 07:51:21 PM »
Can someone decipher all the words in BWJ's, "When the War was On"? Really.  My hearing has faded and I really like this song a lot.  It could/should be considered a root of Rock 'n Roll, IMHO.

aTdHvAaNnKcSe

/\/\arshall

Offline Johnm

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Re: Lyrics Wanted for Blind Willie Johnson song...
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2006, 09:21:04 PM »
Hi all,
I won't say that I have all the lyrics, but here goes.  I've been listening to Blind Willie a lot lately.  I really like the way he has Uncle Sam talking in these lyrics.  Follow the thread to see how the transcription of this version was put together

   CHORUS:  Willie:  Everybody, well.  Angeline:  when the war was on (3)
   Together:   Well, they register everybody when the war was on

   Well, in just about a few years, some months ago
   The 'nited States gov'ment voted for war
   Sam, he called the men from the East and the West
   "Get ready, boys, we got to do our best."

   CHORUS

   Well, umm, President Wilson, sitting on his throne
   Making laws for-a everyone
   Didn't call the black man, lay by the white
   GUITAR FINISHES VERSE

   CHORUS

   Price on the letter, begin to raise
   Gettin' no better, 'bout the same old thing
   8 cents on the dollar, ride the train
   Rates gettin' cheaper, take a ride again

   CHORUS

   Yes, you measure your boiler, measure your wheat
   Half a pound of sugar for a person a week
   Folks didn't like it, they blamed Uncle Sam
   "I've got to save the sugar for the boys in France."

   CHORUS

   Well, the boys whupped the Germans, home at last
   Would have brought the Kaiser but he run too fast
   Couldn't blame the Kaiser for a-leavin' the land
   Uncle Sam, he had the play to scare almost any man

   CHORUS

   Tax gettin' heavy, have to pay
   Hep {sic} the boys over across the sea
   Mud and water up to their knees
   Faced the Kaiser for-a you and me.

   CHORUS

Edited 9/5 to pick up correction from a2tom
Edited 9/6 to pick up corrections from a2tom and rpg51
Edited 9/7 to pick up corrections from banjo chris
Edited 9/7 to pick up corrections from Alexei McDonald and banjo chris

All best,
Johnm

   

     
« Last Edit: September 07, 2006, 02:54:44 PM by Johnm »

Offline a2tom

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Re: Lyrics Wanted for Blind Willie Johnson song...
« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2006, 05:58:50 PM »
Wow, great job John.  "they wonder why" doesn't seem right to me.  I hear "the white" at the end of the line (in contrast to "black man").  Can't quite get the whole phrase - "label the white?"  "labor the white?"  Those don't make sense but are phonetically closer to what I hear.

Minor point, but I'd wager its "the Kaiser but HE run too fast"  (surely you aren't suggesting our boys ran back home prematurely!).  Actually, later in that verse I am not sure "to pay" makes sense.  I'm hearing "Sam he had the play to scare almost any man".  (maybe not "play", but he had something scary... planes?)

tom

Offline Johnm

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Re: Lyrics Wanted for Blind Willie Johnson song...
« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2006, 10:40:39 PM »
Thanks so much for the help, Tom.  I agree that "they wonder why" is not right.  What I had written down after that, that makes no sense, but is very close to your phonetic suggestions for the line is "lay by the wine".  I also agree that it should be "he" rather than "they" who "run too fast".  I will make that change and keep trying to peck away at those couple of hard to hear places.
All best,
Johnm

rpg51

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Re: Lyrics Wanted for Blind Willie Johnson song...
« Reply #13 on: September 06, 2006, 05:14:45 AM »
I hear "Ain't gettin cheaper, take a ride again" in the third verse, maybe???

Great tune. 

Anyone have a tab?

Offline Doug

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Re: Lyrics Wanted for Blind Willie Johnson song...
« Reply #14 on: September 06, 2006, 07:56:38 AM »
Nice job guys!

It doesn't make much sense, but I hear "leave out the white" for the last part of the third line, second verse.  [I thought it might be "then he called the black man, leave out the white" (so preferential treatment for whites), but it does sound like "didn't call the black man" for the first part....]

For the tough line in the fifth verse, could it be something like "Sammy had to stay to scare almost any man" (so contrasting the Kaiser, who fled, to Uncle Sam who stayed)?

Also, is everybody quite sure about the last line in the chorus... "They register everybody when the war was on?"  I was thinking it might be "They ravished everybody..." (although it sounds like they sing ravished with a 'd' sound instead of a 'v' sound...)