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These things that have come down orally over the centuries had to be the cream of the crop, or they'd have died out a long time ago - Almeda Riddle, quoted in The Southern Journey of Alan Lomax - Words, Photographs and Music, by Tom Piazza, LoC 2013

Author Topic: Tommy Jarrell Lyrics  (Read 870 times)

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Offline drywud

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Tommy Jarrell Lyrics
« on: July 25, 2018, 08:26:19 AM »
Hello, I'm working on the translation of the subtitles of the movie "Sprout Wings & Fly" from English to french. I wanna translate the lyrics of the song as sung by Tommy Jarrell in the film.

The first song he sings on the fiddle goes like this :

♪ Corn whiskey and pretty women ♪ ♪ Le whisky de ma?s et les jolies femmes ♪
♪ They?ve been my downfall ♪♪ Ont caus? ma perte ♪
♪ Beat me and they bang me ♪ ♪ M?ont Battu, m?ont cogn? ♪
♪ But I love them for all ♪ ♪ Mais je les aime pour tout ?a ♪

I was wondering if the verb "bang" should be translated by cogn? (which means "hit") ot maybe by bais? (means "fuck")
Do you think the slang "bang" to mean "fuck" was contemporary of the writing of this song ? In this case, could the verb "bang" in this verse have a double meaning ?

In this case maybe I can find a french word that would have a "double entendre" too... Maybe niqu? even thought it seems more vulgar that the word "bang" in english
Thank you

Thanks to anybody who could answer me.

Offline banjochris

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Re: Tommy Jarrell Lyrics
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2018, 09:18:28 AM »
In this case, I would think not a double entendre, at least not intentionally. The context of "bang" here is definitely a negative one: beat and bang me, BUT I love them anyway.

I think the slang was probably around, but I doubt that was intended. If translating, even if you would like to have a double entendre, I would go with something that is plausibly not vulgar at all, just like the original.
Chris

Offline Stuart

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Re: Tommy Jarrell Lyrics
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2018, 10:16:46 AM »
I agree with Chris. Translate it as cogn?, which some translators give as "bang" in English. The etymology of the F word is interesting as it may have its origins in words that meant hit, strike or hammer. But I don't think that "bang" is used as a double entendre in this context.

A quick check of on-line resources gives 1937 as being the year in which the earliest attested usage of "bang" as a double entendre occured. 

Is the film going to have double subtitles, in this case a transcription of English and a French translation?

As an aside, when I used to work on translations of English into Chinese at TTV back in the late 70's and early 80's when I lived in Taiwan, we had a half hour disco series that was broadcast. Some of the song lyrics were over the line and we would try to fudge the translations and muddy the transcriptions in an attempt to get them by the censors at the GIO. If a song or dance routine was cut, then we'd have to figure out a way to fill the time which was another headache--just another brick on the load. We tried our damnedest to rework the transcription and translation of "In The Bush," but the censors would have none of it. Oh well--at least we tried.

Offline banjochris

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Re: Tommy Jarrell Lyrics
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2018, 12:08:44 PM »
A quick check of on-line resources gives 1937 as being the year in which the earliest attested usage of "bang" as a double entendre occured.

It has to be older than that -- the song "Bang Bang Lulu" is older than that (and was recorded in 1936 by Roy Acuff).

Love that "In the Bush" story!
Chris

Offline Stuart

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Re: Tommy Jarrell Lyrics
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2018, 12:53:36 PM »
That was just from a quick check, Chris. I didn't spend a lot of time on it. Here's the link:

https://www.etymonline.com/word/bang

"Attested" usually refers to something in print that can be reliably dated. I agree that the origins are earlier and spoken. Authors can invent new usages and words during the creative process that later find their way into the spoken vernacular, but that's the exception, not the rule.

Yeah, we certainly faced some challenges when trying to get the programs past the GIO. The dance routines were another matter entirely as there was no way get around the bump and grind. One of the older Chinese guys I worked with once said that the GIO censors were a bunch of overly conservative hypocrites. "There are so many Chinese in the world. Who are they kidding by saying that the Chinese audience shouldn't be exposed to anything about sex." Simply hilarious--and spot on.

Offline banjochris

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Re: Tommy Jarrell Lyrics
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2018, 02:16:38 PM »
One of these days I'm gonna shell out the money for a subscription to the OED -- I love etymology.

to really go off topic:
I don't know if you've ever read any of the Judge Dee novels by Robert Van Gulik but he taiks in the intros to those quite a bit about the Chinese attitude to sex/eroticism, one of many interesting things about those books. It's the same here I guess -- hardly anyone admits to watching porn but it's a multibillion-dollar industry!

Offline Stuart

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Re: Tommy Jarrell Lyrics
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2018, 03:00:55 PM »
To really go off topic, when I taught at Rutgers I had a student in my History of Chinese Civilization course who wanted to do some extra credit work to bump his grade up. His parents were Chinese and "would kill him if he didn't get an 'A.'" Well, I couldn't let that happen. So I lent him my copy of Robert Van Gulik's Sexual Life in Ancient China: A Preliminary Survey of Chinese Sex and Society from ca. 1500 B.C. Till 1644 A.D. and gave him a couple of weeks to put a lecture together for the class. He did an outstanding job and it was the best lecture of the entire semester. His fellow students loved it. He got his "A" and lived to tell the tale!

Robert Van Gulik was a great scholar who died much too young. If he had lived another 30 or 40 years I'm sure he would have continued to make significant contributions and be remembered as a giant in the field of Western Sinology.

I always enjoyed the Judge Dee mysteries and still have my Taiwan reprints stashed away somewhere.

(This off-topic thread drift should be split off into a Jam Session topic, so Slack, Rivers,  et al., do what you have to do.)

Offline banjochris

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Re: Tommy Jarrell Lyrics
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2018, 04:11:38 PM »
That's great -- and I don't meet too many people who know who he is. Definitely died much, much too young. And sorry admins for wandering so far from the thread topic!

Offline Lastfirstface

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Re: Tommy Jarrell Lyrics
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2018, 05:23:50 AM »
Still at it, drywud? Good on you. I remember you posting about this a few years back. The first posts of this thread could be merged with the older thread on the same subject here:

https://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10331.0

Offline drywud

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Re: Tommy Jarrell Lyrics
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2018, 03:58:09 AM »
Hey Thanks every body for the help, and interesting digression h?h?

> Is the film going to have double subtitles, in this case a transcription of English and a French translation?

There is already an English transcription available, i'm working from this material to make the french translation.

>I remember you posting about this a few years back. The first posts of this thread could be merged with the older thread on the same subject here:

https://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10331.0


Yeah, in the old post I was trying to make an english transcription, from the audio of the film, so it is somewhat different, it was some time ago... Now I found out an English transcription actually existed, but it doesn't matter because I think I learned quite a few interesting stuff by doing the transcription, I also had the chance to be helped by some american dude who i'm friend with in my city in France, and he could explain to me some interesting stuff...

Anyways now we got a deal with Harrold Blank, the son of Les, who manages the distribution of his films, he agreed that we show two movies of his father for free, at a film festival in Marseille, in exchange we are doing the french subtitles for the movies...So that's nice

I have a couple more questions for you guys  :D

Spiders would web in there,
den in there...
and them snake rattles
would keep ’em cut out.


At the very beginning, he talks about these little caterpillars, and he put one in his fiddle, i found it funny that he talks about them as "snake rattles", however i guess this subtlety has got to be lost in translation and i'm gonna just translate it by "chenille". On the internet you can find a caterpillar called "rattle snake caterpillar" that can look like a snake, but i think it's a different kind, not sure...


within the song "John Hardy, the verse :

But now he’s on
his hangin’ ground


Does it mean that is already hangin ? or maybe he is just walking toward his hanging ? how do you understand it ?

Translation of song lyrics is kind of difficult because meaning is often "open" or "vague" and litteral translation often makes it sound weird... But I also really like to try to make it sound nice in french.

Then there is this part :

He went in the house
and got a little soot out of the chimbley...

put on it and stopped the blood
and bound it up.


It's about a guy who has a corn on his toe, so he cuts it off with a wood chisel, I'm really thinking that there is a mistake in the english transcription here... For "soot" in the dictionnary i find "suie" which is the black powder that is in a chimney, but couldn't it mean "braise" like the orange hot stuff that's left after a fire ? and "chembley" is some bell stuff ? it doesn't relate to the story, the way i understand it the guy takes a soot out of the chimney and burns the tip of his foot where the toe was to close the wound, am i right ?

Thanks every one for the help !!

PS : I made a translation in french of the song "Little Sadie" as sung by "Clarence Tom Ashley", you can listen to it here https://soundcloud.com/user-100976705-951766155/a2-petite-sadie (The Beat is inspired by DJ Zirk and the flow is inspired by Tinimaine, they are both from Memphis, Tennessee)
« Last Edit: August 04, 2018, 03:59:54 AM by drywud »


Offline Rivers

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Re: Tommy Jarrell Lyrics
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2018, 12:03:11 PM »
"hangin' ground" is the immediate area around the place of execution. He's been taken there from jail and is still standing, but his doom is imminent.

"chimbley" is a dialect pronunciation of "chimney", often spoken that way for comedic effect. So "soot" is in context here.

Apparently soot was believed to be an effective treatment for stopping bleeding in Kentucky. See https://chestofbooks.com/fairy-tale/Kentucky-Superstitions/Cures-And-Preventive-Superstitions.html --- it's number 1072 down the page. Don't do it!

(Scratchy posted as I was typing)

Offline Rivers

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Re: Tommy Jarrell Lyrics
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2018, 12:08:33 PM »
Re putting rattlesnake rattles inside a fiddle, see http://www.appalachianhistory.net/2013/06/final-note-placement-of-rattlesnake-rattles-inside-instruments.html

Fascinating stuff, I had no idea.

Offline drywud

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Re: Tommy Jarrell Lyrics
« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2018, 02:59:36 PM »
Wow ! Genius ! I was convinced it was a caterpillar when it was just what he said it was "a snake rattle"...

by the way you can check the movie we're talking about here

« Last Edit: August 06, 2018, 03:13:04 PM by drywud »

Offline drywud

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Re: Tommy Jarrell Lyrics
« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2018, 07:04:52 AM »
Thank you every body for helping me, i finished translating the subtitles it was very interesting, now i'm just struggling with subtitles format issues but it is gonna go well in the end i think.

thanks i'm really glad to have found this community of music lovers

 


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