collapse

* Member Info

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

* Like Us on Facebook

Among God's creations two, the dog and the guitar, have taken all sizes and shapes in order not to be separated from man - Andres Segovia

Author Topic: SOTM August 2018 - The Dozens  (Read 752 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline DavidCrosbie

  • Member
  • Posts: 147
  • Howdy!
Re: SOTM August 2018 - The Dozens
« Reply #15 on: August 08, 2018, 05:35:45 AM »
I've read a bit more of Elijah Wald's book, and found another reference to The Ten. Again, it rhymes with ease ... in. Skip James told Steve Call about his time on the levee as a mule driver and pianist

Quote from: Skip James
The people were no good. ... You never hear anything worthwhile other than this old vulgar stuff, and it's from 'damn' to 'mother talk.' ... On those jobs, those guys'd sing all them nasty songs.

They might start
Quote from: Skip James
Your mama don't wear no draws
I seen her when she take 'em off
which is what Jelly Roll Morton mostly remembered of the Dozens.

Skip said he would respond
Quote from: Skip James
I don't play the dozen and neither the ten
I don't want nobody to ease me in
Quote from: Wald
Except, he explained,
Quote from: Skip James
i didn't say 'nobody' at that time; I say 'I don't want no ... "mollydodger"
[his biographer clarifies "mother f*cker"]
Quote from: Skip James
... to ease me in'. See, they'd start with that ... stuff in ten verses, and if you take that, then they'd ease you into the dozen,"

Skip's explanation of the ten may be right. But I suspect that he invented it to justify what was a widely-heard couplet. I further suspect that the ten was an invention created to make a rhyme with ease you/me in.


I've long wondered about ease me in, and Wald finally gives an explanation. In various accounts of the Dozens there's a strict rule about starting the contest. A boy/man can issue a challenge, but neither the challenger nor the challenged is allowed to start the actual game. Instead they would issue random insults until one of them was riled into answering with a retort that fitted into the regular pattern. This was known as easing someone into the Dozens. [/quote]

This makes sense of Robert Wilkins
Quote from: Old Jim Canan
When you don't play the dozens they will ease you in

and Big Bill's
Quote from: State Street Boys
Don't play the Dozen, Mama don't you ease me in

and what Little Hat Jones sang was really
Quote from: Kentucky Blues
Well, I don't play the dozen and neither the ten
'Cause you keep on talkin', I'll ease you in

Wald cites a Nigerian novelist describing a rule much like this for a contest game much like the Dozens. So the roots would seem to go way back before Africans in America.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2018, 10:46:45 AM by DavidCrosbie »

Offline waxwing

  • Member
  • Posts: 2517
    • Wax's YouTube Channel
Re: SOTM August 2018 - The Dozens
« Reply #16 on: August 08, 2018, 10:32:55 AM »
An example of trading insults in the Trinidadian Calypso style in a "Classic Pecong Duel" between The Mighty Sparrow and his rival The Lord Melody recorded in a tent in 1957.



We listened to this album, "The Calypso Kings and Pink Gin" repeatedly in the mid '70s. Think I still have a copy buried in a trunk, i imagine.

Lord Melody also seems to have a history of insulting himself for ugliness, as evidenced in the MC's intro to "Creature from the Black Lagoon"



Wax
« Last Edit: August 08, 2018, 10:34:28 AM 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

Offline DavidCrosbie

  • Member
  • Posts: 147
  • Howdy!
Re: SOTM August 2018 - The Dozens
« Reply #17 on: August 08, 2018, 11:35:22 AM »
Elijah Wald quotes Picong Duel and transcribes the start of it

Quote from: Picong Duel
SPARROW: Well, Melody, come close to me,
I will tell you quite candidly,
Don't stop in the back and smile,
Because you have a face like crocodile.

MELODY: Sparrow, you shouldn't tell me that at all,
I mind you when you was small,
Many of the nights I used to mash your head,
In crossing to go to your mother['s] ba-da-da, ba-da-da [a scat substitute for the rhyming "bed"].

He also quotes from Sparrow's Reply To Melody a verse that recalls parts of Sam Chatmon's God Don't Like Ugly

Quote from: Reply to Melody
You should really be in the circus,
You ugly hippopotamus.
Never yet in life have I seen
Such a hideous-looking human being.
Sometime your face is just like a gorilla,
Sometime again like an alligator.
If I should open a human zoo,
The first man I coming to hold is you.




Offline Rivers

  • Tech Support
  • Member
  • Posts: 6920
  • I like chicken pie
Re: SOTM August 2018 - The Dozens
« Reply #18 on: August 09, 2018, 04:42:07 PM »
As you would expect The Dozens has come up before over the years on the forum. I added The Dozens tag to this thread to tie them all together.

Offline Rivers

  • Tech Support
  • Member
  • Posts: 6920
  • I like chicken pie
Re: SOTM August 2018 - The Dozens
« Reply #19 on: August 09, 2018, 06:00:39 PM »
Lead Belly's Kansas City Papa from the LoC recordings has a couple of Dozens verses, see https://www.weeniecampbell.com/wiki/index.php?title=Kansas_City_Papa

Tags: SOTM The Dozens 
 


anything