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Author Topic: Bessie Tucker Lyrics  (Read 1778 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Bessie Tucker Lyrics
« on: May 05, 2018, 12:13:11 PM »
Hi all,
Another really interesting song from the JSP set, "I've Got The Blues, But I'm Too Damn Mean To Cry", is "Key To The Bushes", recorded by Bessie Tucker at a session in Dallas on October 17, 1929.  The session notes that accompany the CD set identify her accompanying musicians as K. D. Johnson on piano and Jesse Thomas on guitar, but I very strongly doubt that Jesse Thomas is the guitarist, whom I believe to be the Texas guitarist Carl Davis, based on the flat-picked accompaniment, sound, and note choices.  The song is almost a field holler, reminiscent of such Texas Alexander songs as "Levee Camp Moan" and "Work Ox Blues", and Bessie Tucker's time is very free, especially in the second verse.  Here is "Key To The Bushes":



PIANO INTRO

I've got the key to the bushes, and I'm rarin' to go
I've got the key to the bushes, and I'm rarin' to go
I ought to leave here runnin' but that's, most too slow

Captain, captain, ha-ha, what's ta [sic] matter with Sal?
Captain, captain, ha-ha, what's ta matter with Sal?
You have worked my partner, you have killed my pal

SOLO

Captain's got a big horse pistol, ah-ha, and he think he's bad
Captain's got a big horse pistol, ha-ha, and he think he's bad
I'm gonna take it this mornin', if he make me mad

All best,
Johnm





« Last Edit: May 12, 2018, 02:13:23 PM by Johnm »

Offline alyoung

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Re: "Key To the Bushes"--Bessie Tucker
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2018, 06:09:33 AM »
The session notes that accompany the CD set identify her accompanying musicians as K. D. Johnson on piano and Jesse Thomas on guitar, but I very strongly doubt that Jesse Thomas is the guitarist, whom I believe to be the Texas guitarist Carl Davis, based on the flat-picked accompaniment, sound, and note choices. 
The "bible" of prewar blues recording, Blues and Gospel Records 1890-1943 (BGR) (Dixon, Godrich, Rye) unequivocally gives Jesse Thomas as the guitarist, and it usually does not positively identify personnel without solid evidence. The track was made for Victor, and I believe that company's files were available to discographers. Thomas seems confirmed as the guitarist behind Tucker in a four-track session in Dallas on August 10, 1929 ? he also recorded four tracks under his own name immediately before her. But is he the guitarist on the October 17, 1929, session that produced Key to the Bushes? BGR says he is, and there are enough similarities in the styles for that to seem a reasonable possibility (as well, have a listen to Thomas?s Down In Texas). Against that, yes, a listen to Carl Davis backing Texas Alexander seven weeks later, on November 27, 1929, does rekindle the doubts. Am I offering an opinion? Hell, no ? I leave that sort of thing to Facebook and Twitter. 


Offline Johnm

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Re: "Key To the Bushes"--Bessie Tucker
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2018, 10:21:32 AM »
Hi all,
I am not speaking of Bessie Tucker's August 10, 1929 session and the songs recorded then, for which Jesse Thomas very well may have been the accompanist, but of "Key To The Bushes", and if "Blues and Gospel Records 1890--1943", the "bible", identifies Jesse Thomas as the accompanying guitarist on that cut, then to re-work Sister O. M. Terrell, "The bible's wrong, somebody's right".  Compare the guitar playing on "Key To The Bushes" with Carl Davis's accompaniment of Texas Alexander's "Broken Yo Yo" and "When You Get To Thinking", both recorded on November 27, 1929:





The two Texas Alexander cuts and "Key To The Bushes" share a set piece accompaniment played out of G position in standard tuning, the same right hand method, using a pick, the same signature licks, the identical nasal tone, picked close to the bridge, and the same turn-arounds.  All of Carl Davis' recorded accompaniments from this period utilize a pick.  None of Jesse Thomas's solo recordings from that era employ a pick--he was playing with his fingers then.  It is Carl Davis playing on "Key To The Bushes". 

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: May 14, 2020, 06:52:42 AM by Johnm »

Offline blueshome

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Re: "Key To the Bushes"--Bessie Tucker
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2018, 10:44:16 PM »
As an aside, Ethel McCoy was a Bessie Tucker clone.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Bessie Tucker Lyrics
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2018, 05:54:04 PM »
Hi all,
Another song by Bessie tucker included on the JSP set "I've Got The Blues, But I'm Too Damn Mean To Cry" is "Bessie's Moan", recorded at a session in Memphis on August 29, 1928.  She is backed by pianist K. D. Johnson, the sole accompanist this time.  Her singing really sounds Texas Alexander-influenced, and it also sounds like she had probably mostly sung with no accompaniment prior to her recordings.  Like Alexander, her timing creates some real challenges for whoever is backing her, to stay with her.  Here is the song:



INTRO

(Moaning)
(Humming)
'Cause the man I'm lovin' treats me so unkind

I woke up this mornin', feelin' mighty bad
Oh, feelin' mighty bad
I done lost my daddy, best man I ever had

It's your time now, be mine after a while
Oh, be mine after a while
You know that you hurt me, daddy, 'cause I seen you smile

My Mama's dead, Papa drove me 'way from home
Oh, Papa drove me 'way from home
My man don't want me, that's why I weep and moan

SOLO

If you don't want me, please don't dog me around
Oh, please don't dog me around
Just like you found me, you can put me down

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: June 02, 2018, 06:46:01 AM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Bessie Tucker Lyrics
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2018, 07:42:12 PM »
Hi all,
For "Penitentiary Blues", it sounds as though Bessie Tucker was once again accompanied by pianist K. D. Johnson.  Boy, I'm certainly finding her singing grows on me.  It is really rough and country, and in a way, it's amazing that it was considered to have potential for sales in what was essentially a variety of Pop music of its day.  Here is "Penitentiary Blues":



INTRO

Ha, ha-ha-ha, what's ta [sic] matter with my man today?
Ha, ha-ha-ha, what's ta matter with my man today?
I ask him if he love me, Lord, and he walked away

Penitentia', penritentia', ah-ha, it's gon' be my home
Penritentia', penritentia', ah-ha, it's gon' be my home
Because my man, he mistreated me, Lord, he have done me wrong

The man that I'm a-lovin', Lord, is gon' get me killed
The man that I'm a-lovin', Lord, is gon' get me killed
Because love is a proposition, it's got many a poor girls killed

I love you, Lennon, Lord, and you won't behave
I love you, Lennon, Lord, and you won't behave
You gonna keep on a-prowlin', you gon' wake up in your grave

All best,
Johnm




Offline Johnm

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Re: Bessie Tucker Lyrics
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2018, 04:57:37 PM »
Hi all,
Bessie Tucker's "Got Cut All To Pieces" was recorded at a session in Memphis on August 30, 1928, and she was once again backed by K. D. Johnson on piano.  She had a mannerism of inserting "ah-ha" in many of her lines as well as fugitive vowel sounds, like "ee-trouble".  It's interesting that she is so often victimized in her lyrics, because she certainly does not sound like a victim.  I'd appreciate help with the next-to-last word in the last verse.  Here is "Got Cut All To Pieces":



INTRO SOLO

I got cut all to pieces, ahhh-ha, about a man I love
I got cut all to pieces, ahhh-ha, about a man I love
I'm gonna get that-a woman, just as sure as the skies above

Now, when my man left me, I was half dead, lyin' in my door
When my man left me, I was half dead, lyin' in my door
I was sufferin' and a-groanin', "Oh daddy, please don't go."

I been in so much ee-trouble, ahhh-ha, for the last few days
I been in so much ee-trouble, ahhh-ha, for the last few days
And it seem like ee-trouble, it's gonna take me away

If I don't get drownded or washed away
If I don't get drownded or washed away
I'll meet you next summer on my Zion's way

All best,
Johnm

« Last Edit: June 06, 2018, 08:00:15 AM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Bessie Tucker Lyrics
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2018, 04:19:52 PM »
Hi all,
Bessie Tucker recorded "Fort Worth and Denver Blues" at the 1928 session in Memphis, similarly accompanied by K. D. Johnson on piano.  It may be the first song of hers in this thread to have a different melody.  Here is her performance of the song:



INTRO SOLO

Fort Worth and Denver, come through here twice today
Mmmmmm, come through here twice today
Fort Worth and Denver, took my good man away

Fort Worth and Denver, come back and get poor me
Mmmmmm, come back and get poor me
I want you to take me to my old-time used-to-be

I've got those Fort Worth and Denver blues, don't know which place to go
Mmmmmmmm, don't know which place to go
I hear that Fort Worth and Denver, hear call in my back door

Well, he caught the Katy, I caught the Santa Fe
Mmmmmmmm, I caught the Santa Fe
All you women can't say your, good man left town with me

OUTRO (Spoken:  Lord, these women so evil!)

All best,
Johnm 

Online Thomas8

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Re: Bessie Tucker Lyrics
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2018, 04:40:35 PM »
Always loved her recordings, Really eerie atmospheric sound to them. The same with Ida May Mack's
KD Johnson's piano style is the perfect accompaniment tool for her voice.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Bessie Tucker Lyrics
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2018, 06:01:03 PM »
I agree with you Thomas, and if you listen to Bessie's timing and phrase lengths it just increases your admiration for how well K. D. Johnson stayed with her.  She tended to phrase long, and he didn't anticipate the changes in the normal place as an unconscious accompanist would--he really listened, I would guess, watched, and paid attention.  The resulting renditions have great flow and naturalness which they certainly would not have had if he had rushed her natural sense of phrasing by hitting the chord changes ahead of her.  It's really very impressive musicianship of a subtle sort, working to make the singer look and sound good.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: Bessie Tucker Lyrics
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2018, 12:48:12 AM »
The recording quality of Fort Worth & Texas Blues is wonderful.


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Offline Johnm

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Re: Bessie Tucker Lyrics
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2018, 06:53:57 AM »
I know what you mean, Prof.  The session notes on one of the videos recorded in Memphis indicated that the session was recorded at the Memphis Municipal Auditorium, which may explain the nice acoustics on the recording.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: Bessie Tucker Lyrics
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2018, 10:01:33 AM »
Hi all,
For "Mean Old Master Blues", Bessie Tucker was accompanied by the same duo that accompanied her on "Key To The Bushes", K. D. Johnson on piano and Carl Davis playing guitar out of G position in standard tuning.  Bessie Tucker sings the melody that she used for most of her recordings.  Here is "Mean Old Master Blues":



PIANO INTRO

Now the boss man may come here, we better not run
Now the boss man may come here, we better not run
Old master got a pistol, may have a great big gun

I'd rather be cut all to pieces than to be blowed down
I'd rather be cut all to pieces than to be blowed down
Because I might get evil, I could leave this town

GUITAR SOLO

Master, master, ahhh-ha, please turn me a-loose
Master, master, ahhh-ha, please turn me a-loose
I ain't got no money, I got a good excuse

All best,
Johnm



Offline Johnm

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Re: Bessie Tucker Lyrics
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2018, 11:47:16 AM »
Hi all,
Bessie Tucker was once again accompanied by just K. D. Johnson on piano for "Fryin' Pan Skillet Blues".  She was working familiar melodic territory once again.  Here is the song:



PIANO INTRO (Spoken: Bring me some black-eyed peas!)

I done losed all of my money, ahhhh-ha, now losin' my mind
I done losed all of my money, ahhhh-ha, now losin' my mind
He's at home with his woman, but he's on my mind

If you and your woman, ahhhh-ha, you-all can't agree
If you and your woman, ahhhh-ha, you-all can't agree
Get your fryin' pan and skillet, come and be with me

PIANO SOLO

Ahhhhhhh-ha, oh Lord, my Lord
Ahhhhhhh-ha-ha, oh Lord, my Lord
Ahhhhhhh-ha, Lordy, Lordy, Lord

PIANO CODA

All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: Bessie Tucker Lyrics
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2018, 02:55:34 PM »
Hi all,
For "The Dummy", Bessie Tucker sounds as though she is being accompanied by K. D. Johnson again.  The "Dummy" of the title appears to have been a train.  I'll see if there was a line that was commonly called by that slang term.  The lyrics to the dummy follow a fairly unusual A-first half of A-second half of A archetype.  Here is "The Dummy":



PIANO INTRO

Well, I got on The Dummy, goin' to Alabam', lookin' for a man I love, named Sam
I got on The Dummy, mama's goin' to Alabam'
I's lookin' for a man, a man I love, named Sam

Now, when I got on The Dummy, didn't have no fare, the police asked me what I was doin' on there
I got on The Dummy, mama didn't have no fare
And the police asked me, asked what I was doin' on there

Well, he caught me by the hand, he led me to the door, he hit me 'cross the head with a two-by-four
Caught me by the hand, led me to the door
And he hit me 'cross the head, with a two-by-four

Well-a, in my yard, there's a duck and a hen, I ain't seen my daddy in God knows when
In my yard, there's a duck and a hen
I ain't seen my daddy, daddy in God knows when

Well, I ain't no pullet, I'm a real young hen, if you come by here once, you'll come back again
I ain't no pullet, boys, I'm a real young hen
If you come by once, you'll come back again

All best,
Johnm

 


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