collapse

* Member Info

 
 
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

* Like Us on Facebook

Asked the good lord to forgive me, how come my baby can't forgive me too? - Charley Jordan, Two Street Blues

Author Topic: The opening vocal phrase of "pony blues"  (Read 1965 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline chickenlegs

  • Member
  • Posts: 37
  • Howdy!
The opening vocal phrase of "pony blues"
« on: November 14, 2017, 08:43:13 AM »
Hey to all,
I've been listening to and attempting to play "pony blues" for a long time. And while the lyrics seem to be some of Patton's easiest to understand (other than the minutia), l have always struggled relating the first part of the opening repeated phrase to various transcriptions.
The two most common interpretations "hitch up my pony", and "baby, saddle my pony", I could never really hear. And they're not the right amount of syllables.
A few days ago while listening casually I heard what sounded like "need to shed my pony" (pronounced "nee-ta"). A wow! moment for me. When listening again a few times, I could clearly hear it (especially in the repeated phrase).
This seems to fit both aurally and contextually (I never got why he wanted to saddle both his pony and his black mare in the most often used transcription). If he is indeed saying "need to shed my pony", it's hard to know whether he meant? put his pony in the shed, or shed as in, get rid of it. The latter makes for an interesting interpretation of the third verse.

"Got a brand new Shetland, man already trained
Brand new Shetland, baby already trained
Just get in the saddle, tighten up on your reins"

Is he just bragging about his new pony, or is he trying to sell it?
I guess It's all open to interpretation. Just wanted put it out here and see what others think.

P.S. A quick search on weenie found no lyrics for this.


Offline banjochris

  • Member
  • Posts: 2004
Re: The opening vocal phrase of "pony blues"
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2017, 10:52:13 AM »
After listening to the last Yazoo re-mastering many times, I am 99% sure that Patton sings

It is catch my pony, saddle up my black mare

both times in the first stanza. Seems weird, but I think it's along the same line as something like "And it's T for Texas, T for Tennesee," or Sleepy John's "Now..." before many lines.
Chris

Offline chickenlegs

  • Member
  • Posts: 37
  • Howdy!
Re: The opening vocal phrase of "pony blues"
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2017, 11:00:40 AM »
After listening again repeatedly, I still couldn't hear "it is catch". The first two syllables could be "it is" (or almost anything else), but I just don't hear "catch" at all. For that word I hear a "sh"(?) followed by an "eh" sound followed by a "d" or possibly a "t" sound. It's hard to be sure. It could maybe be "it is get my pony" or "need to get my pony", but I'm 99% sure it's not "catch". So one of us is wrong by a long shot (and it very well could be me). But we can never know for sure.
Thanks for your input banjochris.

Offline TenBrook

  • Member
  • Posts: 223
    • darkhollar.tumblr.com
Re: The opening vocal phrase of "pony blues"
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2017, 11:28:03 AM »
chickenlegs,
After you first proposed "need to shed my pony" I started hearing that. Then, after Chris suggested it might be "it is catch my pony" I started hearing that as well. Now upon close listening I can hear "it is catch my pony" the first time he sings the phrase and "it is shed my pony" the second time he sings it. Perhaps my brain/ears are just trying to be conciliatory.

Lew

Offline Pan

  • Member
  • Posts: 1891
  • Howdy!
Re: The opening vocal phrase of "pony blues"
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2017, 12:08:52 PM »
How about "It is tend my pony"? :)

Cheers

Pan

Offline chickenlegs

  • Member
  • Posts: 37
  • Howdy!
Re: The opening vocal phrase of "pony blues"
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2017, 01:05:46 PM »
Hey TenBrook,
Yeah, the power of suggestion is a funny thing. I almost thought I heard "it is catch" after it was suggested. But when I listened again I couldn't hear it. I just don't hear a "ch" sound at the end.
That's why "need to shed" struck me so, because I wasn't trying to hear it, it just jumped out at me.

Offline chickenlegs

  • Member
  • Posts: 37
  • Howdy!
Re: The opening vocal phrase of "pony blues"
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2017, 01:14:11 PM »
How about "It is tend my pony"? :)

It could be that, or maybe "need to tend my pony". Either would fit. Thanks Pan

Offline Norfolk Slim

  • Member
  • Posts: 974
    • Moonshine - Available at Bandcamp now...
Re: The opening vocal phrase of "pony blues"
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2017, 03:02:25 PM »
In 1941 Son House sung "why don't you catch my pony" which may have an influence on how we hear it.

Following this thread, I can hear Patton singing "Catch" and "shed" depending on what I'm listening for.  Very hard to say which it is.

However, unless the US usage of "pony" is different from that in the UK, shed seems to make more sense, despite Son's use of "Catch".  A pony is a smaller lesser animal than a "black mare" as I understand it.  Is it possible that saddle my black mare is innuendo?

Charley is perhaps saying- "put my pony away, I need a proper horse for the travelling I'm going to do;( i.e. the black mare)"

'Catch my pony and saddle my black mare' makes less sense.  Unless the pony is a pack animal who will follow Charley and the Mare?

My ears say that  "Shed my Pony" is what Charley is singing- and its a bit of a revelation.  How is it so many people (me included) sing "Hitch up my pony"?  Before going back to listen after this thread, I'd have sworn that was the line, but it quite clearly is not- on any analysis.

I think I have expressed my bemusement at the Shetland pony verse previously.  Perhaps its a usage thing, but a Shetland Pony is about 3 feet tall and no good for travelling anywhere!


Offline banjochris

  • Member
  • Posts: 2004
Re: The opening vocal phrase of "pony blues"
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2017, 04:13:09 PM »
For what it's worth, I think "shed" is ridiculous.

He's catching the pony because he's going on a trip to find his rider. Saddling up the black mare for emphasis. Nothing stopping them being the same animal, he could be using "pony" figuratively. It's not a verse about tending a horse.

I hear catch both times, he's not really enunciating the "ch" at the end. The second pass is slightly obscured by surface noise. It might be something else possibly, but it ain't "shed."
Chris

Offline chickenlegs

  • Member
  • Posts: 37
  • Howdy!
Re: The opening vocal phrase of "pony blues"
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2017, 05:17:36 PM »
Yeah Norfolk, I used to sing "hitch up" also. And then tried "baby saddle" after I saw it somewhere. But I could never get the phrasing right on either.
In 1941 Son House sung "why don't you catch my pony" which may have an influence on how we hear it.
This makes good sense to me. I remember reading more than once where researchers were asking people who knew or had heard Patton, about his music. They responded (paraphrased), "yeah, he sang, hitch up my pony", or "he played, hitch up my buggy". It could've been passed around like that also, both then and now.
It seems nobody knew exactly what Charlie was singing and had their own take on it, or maybe he sang it differently each time he performed it.

Online Johnm

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 10488
    • johnmillerguitar.com
Re: The opening vocal phrase of "pony blues"
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2017, 05:38:38 PM »
Hi all,
I agree with Chris that "shed" would really be non-idiomatic, either for putting the pony in the shed or selling it.  It makes no sense in either usage based on how people talk and talked where Charlie was from.  I've never heard someone use the word shed in either of the proposed contexts.
All best,
Johnm

Offline chickenlegs

  • Member
  • Posts: 37
  • Howdy!
Re: The opening vocal phrase of "pony blues"
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2017, 05:58:46 PM »
"For what it's worth, I think "shed" is ridiculous."

And I think catch doesn't work very well.

"Nothing stopping them being the same animal, he could be using "pony" figuratively."

I think there's an obvious distinction, and there probably was then also.

"It might be something else possibly, but it ain't "shed.""

Are you more than 99% sure?

Offline chickenlegs

  • Member
  • Posts: 37
  • Howdy!
Re: The opening vocal phrase of "pony blues"
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2017, 06:22:21 PM »
I agree with Chris that "shed" would really be non-idiomatic, either for putting the pony in the shed or selling it.  It makes no sense in either usage based on how people talk and talked where Charlie was from.  I've never heard someone use the word shed in either of the proposed contexts.

I haven't heard it before either, but that's what it sounds like to me.
I don't really know how people spoke in that time and place. And while I agree the idiom is unique, I think Charlie was a pretty unique character.

Online Johnm

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 10488
    • johnmillerguitar.com
Re: The opening vocal phrase of "pony blues"
« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2017, 06:24:36 PM »
Hi all,
I'm pretty clearly hearing Charlie Patton sing,
   You just catch my pony, saddle up my black mare
in both of the first two lines of "Pony Blues".  The hard "c" sound in "catch" is quite clear, as is the rest of the word in the first iteration of the line.
All best,
Johnm

Offline waxwing

  • Member
  • Posts: 2517
    • Wax's YouTube Channel
Re: The opening vocal phrase of "pony blues"
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2017, 07:12:01 PM »
I listened to this a few times last night and I heard something. Didn't have time to post. Listened to it again now. The "ch" sound is at the beginning of the word, like "shed" but harder. I like "It is" a lot, because it is so bereft of meaning, but theres probably 20 things he could be saying that would sound like that.

I hear:     "It is chain my pony"

Wax

{Edit} "It is" could also be full of meaning, I am, after all, an existentialist. I like "Y' jes" too, Johnm, it has the little tongue stop and gives it more meaning.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2017, 07:23:32 PM by waxwing »
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

http://www.youtube.com/user/WaxwingJohn
https://www.facebook.com/WaxwingJohn

Willie Brown's Liquor at CD Baby

Tags: Charlie Patton  
 


anything