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Cocaine, what is that? Some kind of bad habit? - Mance Lipscomb, intro to Cocaine Done Killed My Baby, Live At The Cabale

Author Topic: Blind Willie Johnson Lyrics  (Read 26248 times)

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Online Johnm

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Re: Blind Willie Johnson Lyrics
« Reply #90 on: August 04, 2019, 11:24:34 AM »
Thanks, Chris and Harriet, for the corroboration of what I heard in the lyric.  I think this could be an instance of Blind Willie Johnson mis-hearing a Bible tale of David that was recounted to him at some point, and preserving the mis-hearing in his lyric.  I can think of other instances of such lyrical anomalies.
All best,
Johnm

Offline catyron

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Re: Blind Willie Johnson Lyrics
« Reply #91 on: March 22, 2020, 02:53:33 PM »
I came here to find lyrics to "Jesus Is Coming Soon" (because of the current flu pandemic connection) but i read through the entire 7 pages and found nothing on that -- and the thread ended with the suggestion that Blind Willie Johnson didn't know that David hid in a cave and thought that Johnson had "misheard it" and sang "cage."

Frankly, the fact that someone HAD TO LOOK IT UP -- that David hid in a cave -- points to a fundamental weakness with blues and jazz and gospel lyrics transcription generally. Folks are not familiar with the Christian religion and figure that the SINGER was not. Lord have mercy. Even a Jew such as i knows that David hid in a cave and can hear, clear as a bell, that Blind Willie Johnson is singing "cave."

Ditto for farming and rural common terms. It is "measure your barley, measure your wheat." Not "boiler." I heard it as "barley" back in the 1960s and have never thought that anyone wouldn't know it. And why Barley? Because barley is one of the major grains listed in the Bible, and Willie Johnson, Blind or not, knew his Bible through and through.

Okay, off my soap box.

Here is my version of

"Jesus Is Coming Soon"

[Chorus]

(Well) we done told you how God done warned you,
Jesus coming soon.
We done told you how God done warned you,
Jesus coming soon.

In the year of 19 and 18,
God sent a mighty disease.
It killed many a-thousand,
On land and on the seas.

[Chorus]

Great disease was mighty
And the people were sick everywhere.
It was an epidemic,
It floated through the air.

[Chorus]

The doctors they got troubled
And they didn't know what to do.
They gathered themselves together,
They called it the Spanish Influ.(1) 

[Chorus]

Soldiers died on the battlefield,
Died in account of flu.
Well, the Captain says, "Lieutenant,
"I've-a don't know what to do."

[Chorus]

Well, our God is warning the nation,
He's a-warning them every way.
To turn away from evil
And seek the Lord and pray.

[Chorus]

Well, the nobles said to the people,
"You better close your public schools.
(Ah) To prevent this epidemic
You better close your churches too."
 
[Chorus]

Read the Book of Zachari' (2)
The Bible plainly say
There's a people, cities dyin'
On account of their wicked ways.


NOTES
(1) Influ is short for Influenza
(2) Book of Zechariah 14:12 and 14:15, as follows:

12 And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.
13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour.
14 And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance.
15 And so shall be the plague of the horse, of the mule, of the camel, and of the ass, and of all the beasts that shall be in these tents, as this plague.

[Thanks to banjochris for help.]
« Last Edit: March 29, 2020, 07:55:19 PM by catyron »

Offline banjochris

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Re: Blind Willie Johnson Lyrics
« Reply #92 on: March 23, 2020, 07:52:57 AM »
In that last verse, John, I hear

There's a people, cities dyin'

Chris

Offline David Kaatz

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Re: Blind Willie Johnson Lyrics
« Reply #93 on: March 23, 2020, 08:50:34 AM »
Sure sounds like "cage" to me, both times he sings it.

Offline Stuart

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Re: Blind Willie Johnson Lyrics
« Reply #94 on: March 23, 2020, 09:36:03 AM »
I heard and still hear "cage" as well.

Perhaps it's worth restating that we transcribe what we hear based on the recording. We do not "correct" what the singer sang, the corrections being based on other sources and/or what we think the singer should have sung. That can be discussed and noted separate from the text of the transcription.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2020, 11:08:24 AM by Stuart »

Offline catyron

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Re: Blind Willie Johnson Lyrics
« Reply #95 on: March 29, 2020, 07:49:12 PM »
Chris, thanks for the "people, cities dyin'" -- i played it and heard it clearly, as suggested. I have corrected the text i had posted.

As for "cave" versus "cage," i did not intend to offend anyone, but i have always heard it as "cave," although, of course, i expected to hear "cave," because i know the Bible stories pretty well.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2020, 07:52:11 PM by catyron »

Online Johnm

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Re: Blind Willie Johnson Lyrics
« Reply #96 on: March 29, 2020, 08:13:20 PM »
Hi catyron,
I also knew the Bible story had David hidden in a cave, which was why I was surprised when I heard Blind Willie Johnson very clearly sing "cage" in that verse both times he sang it in the course of his rendition.  My attitude on transcription is to put down accurately what was said or played, not what I think or assume was intended to be said or played, because if I start doing that it's not transcription, it's editing.  I was surprised enough at Blind Willie Johnson singing "cage" that I requested correction or corroboration, and got corroboration from two very close listeners.  After re-listening myself several times after your previous post I was further convinced that I had it right the first time, as was further supported by two other close listeners.  I never entertained the notion that David had been hidden in a cage in the Bible's recounting of the story.
All best,
Johnm

 


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