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Can't you imagine how I feel now, I done told my real milk cow bye-bye - Freddie Spruell, Milk Cow Blues

Author Topic: SOTM December 2018 Hey Lordy Mama / Meet Me In The Bottom  (Read 1769 times)

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Offline Rivers

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SOTM December 2018 Hey Lordy Mama / Meet Me In The Bottom
« on: December 01, 2018, 04:59:33 AM »
Hey Lordy Mama / Meet Me In The Bottom

Attempting to answer the questions "who recorded it first and who covered it? I kept track of the early recordings I could find from the Thirties and kept going into the Forties.

Here?s the current list in chronological order. It shows the song?s early popularity and who were the first to record it. We can add more titles as they come up.

Recordings 1933 - 1949

Session Date
Y-M-D
ArtistTitleAccompanistsCommentB&GR page#
1933-09-18Curly WeaverOh Lordy MamaARC unissued999
1934-08-08Buddy MossOh Lordy Mama668
1935-04-23Curly WeaverOh Lawdy MamaBlind Willie Mctell g.1000
1935-07-08Bumble Bee SlimHey Lawdy MamaDorothy Rice p.; Scrapper Blackwell g.Decca 7126235
1935-08-21Buddy MossOh Lordy Mama No. 2Josh White g.669
1936-10-21Bill GaitherTee-Ninecy Mama (Little Sweet Mama)283
1936-11-04Bumble Bee SlimMeet Me At The Landingprob. Broonzy g.; Black Bob p.238
1937-02-08Bind Boy FullerBoots And ShoesFloyd Dipper Boy Council g.278
1939-07-21Sonny Boy WilliamsonTell Me BabyWalter Davis, p.; Broonzy, eg.1045
1940-10-08Oscar Buddy WoodsLook Here Baby, One Thing I Got To SayLC1061
1941Louis ArmstrongHey Lawdy MamaHot 7Blues Foxtrot baby
1941-03-27Joe WilliamsMeet Me Around The CornerWilliam Mitchell, imb.1039
1941-05-16Josh WhiteShe's A Married Womancl., sb., d., bass vocalCO unissued1023
1943June RichmondHey Lawdy MamaAndy Kirk & His 12 Clouds Of Joy#4 Billboard charts
1944June RichmondHey Lawdy MamaRoy Milton and his Band
1949Joe WilliamsShe's A Married Woman

Musical format: The layout is usually a more or less modified 12 bar blues with some swing. It lends itself to both a monotonic bass treatment and also a spacious, jazzy feel.

The famous ?Hey lawdy mama, great God almighty? refrain contributes to its catchiness. A common characteristic is the bugle call intro lick, first heard in Curley Weaver and Buddy Moss?s versions.

There are a couple of Frankenstinian rearrangements out there. The most famous is the Howlin? Wolf one. Willie Dixon grafts chunks of the lyrics onto the tune, beat and licks of Rolling And Tumbling, and Wolf plays it for laughs. Another genetic mutation is the Oscar Buddy Woods song for the LoC


Early days: Pink Anderson mentioned he had first heard it ?just after the first World War? according to Samuel B. Charter?s notes for Carolina Bluesman, Vol.1 (1961), Prestige/Bluesville. If anyone knows more let us know, perhaps Pink elaborated further and it didn?t hit the notes.

Curley Weaver?s unissued ARC recording in 1933 is the earliest session documented in B&GR that I could find. To date no masters or pressed examples have come to light. Curley recorded it again in 1935 and we do have that one.

His pal Buddy Moss got the first record out though.


The first three surviving recordings

Buddy Moss - Oh Lordy Mama (1934): This is the earliest version with an extant recording, at least that I can find. It set the scene and a high bar for most of the songs that followed.

The intro lick reminds me of a bugle call, perhaps the Reveille. Having woken us up Moss plays expertly and sparingly, walking selected strings to land on partial chords voiced for the melody. His time is solid while leaving ample space in the music.



See this post for the lyrics, and also for a link to a discussion of the song?s vocal phrasing.

Curley Weaver - Oh Lawdy Mama (1935): While we don't have his first recording from 1933 we do have Curley's second one for ARC. Blind Willie McTell accompanies him on a guitar, not sure how many strings on it. It's nice, but their mutual Atlanta friend Buddy Moss's recording the previous year is a hard act to follow.



We might wonder what Weaver thought about Moss getting his record released first, despite the older man recording it the year before. We know Moss was playing with Weaver regularly that year. If it was an older song, from ?just after the first World War?, no big deal, both were cribbing.

Bumble Bee Slim - Hey Lawdy Mama (1935): Dorothy Rice and Scrapper Blackwell split the backup out into piano and guitar parts, Amos sings. It?s interesting to compare with the Buddy Moss version and has grown on me.



For more background on Decca 7126, and a less whupped sound file of the 78, see this page on the Old Time Blues website. Dot Rice was a name unfamiliar to me so I did some further digging and found more sessions with Scrapper. She was a very talented player, we should have heard more from her.


Resources: Here are some more links.

wikipedia Hey Lawdy Mama song page
Stefan's Buddy Moss discography
Stefan's Curley Weaver discography
wikipedia Buddy Moss biography
wikipedia Curley Weaver biography


Next up: There are many more versions out there from the early days and the revival. I look forward to seeing what comes up and will duck back in and post some more as we go.

Cordialmente,

Rivers

Offline Johnm

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Re: SOTM December 2018 Hey Lordy Mama / Meet Me In The Bottom
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2018, 05:58:00 AM »
Thanks for your Song of the Month choice and the research that went into your initial post, Rivers.  Here's a version of the song I've always loved.  It's fun to play, too.



All best,
Johnm

Offline Rivers

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Re: SOTM December 2018 Hey Lordy Mama / Meet Me In The Bottom
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2018, 06:56:47 AM »
Beautiful. That ending is especially perfect. I'm struck by his independence in the thumb picking, like in Moss's version.

Offline Lastfirstface

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Re: SOTM December 2018 Hey Lordy Mama / Meet Me In The Bottom
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2018, 09:02:56 AM »
The later George Mitchell recording of Buddy Moss playing it is great in its own right. He was still in fine form in both playing and singing.


Offline Rivers

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Re: SOTM December 2018 Hey Lordy Mama / Meet Me In The Bottom
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2018, 09:21:53 AM »
Absolutely. Johnm put it well in his work on the George Mitchell Collection "Buddy Moss sounds absolutely magisterial here, singing and playing with utter authority"

Offline Lignite

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Re: SOTM December 2018 Hey Lordy Mama / Meet Me In The Bottom
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2018, 10:28:12 AM »
Here's a little more modern version by little known bluesman George Herbert Moore of Burgaw, N.C. recorded live in 1998. I love how he consistently slides to the IV chord earlier than most of the other versions.  https://soundcloud.com/mlightninw/oh-lordy-mama/s-kk4gD

Offline DavidCrosbie

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Re: SOTM December 2018 Hey Lordy Mama / Meet Me In The Bottom
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2018, 10:58:36 PM »
Hey Lordy Mama / Meet Me In The Bottom
 We can add more titles as they come up.
Here's some extra data up to 1952


Session
Date
Y-M-D
ArtistTitleAccompanistsCommentB&GR
page#
1936-07-08Bumble Bee SlimMeet Me At The Bottom   
(Hey Lawdy Mama)
Peetie Wheatstraw
Unknown pno
De 717023
1938-09-11    Count BasieHey Lawdy Mama?Walter Page
?Freddy Green
De 2722
Fancourt & McGrath
page #
1944-07-06Miss RhapsodyHey Lawdy MamaJune Cole's Orchestra     Sav 5511397
1937-06-21Gene PhilipsHey Lawdy MamaHis Rhythm AcesMod 20-572       
Mod 20-527
440
1951-Ralph WillisTell Me Pretty BabyBrownie McGheeSignal 1006594
1952-03-03Brownie McGhee   Bottom Blues  Sonny TerrySav 844370


I've got some reissue details if you'd like them.   

From the 1960s there's another Big Joe recording and great versions by Mance Lipscomb and Pink Anderson.
I have a version by Freddy King and I know of one by Junior Wells.

POSTSCRIPT
Edited for incorrect title for Ralph Willis record.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2018, 05:50:44 AM by DavidCrosbie »

Offline Rivers

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Re: SOTM December 2018 Hey Lordy Mama / Meet Me In The Bottom
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2018, 05:47:12 AM »
Yep that's all good David, thanks.

I only published the entries I found up to 1949 in my initial post since I was keen to show the sheer number of releases after Moss's. I did keep records of everything I came across up to the early Sixties, intending to publish them later, along with anything I'd missed from the early canon. By the end of this the table will be much longer.

Also, I was aware I'd probably missed a few from the early catalog, so good spotting there. Since we've started on it there's no reason we can't make this definitive.

I don't think reissue details are required in the SOTM context. We're primarily interested in hearing the original published (or rediscovered unissued master) takes. The recording date, or year anyway, gives it some historical context. If you don't know the date it doesn't matter, I can run that down.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2018, 06:06:55 AM by Rivers »

Offline DavidCrosbie

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Re: SOTM December 2018 Hey Lordy Mama / Meet Me In The Bottom
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2018, 05:57:08 AM »
From 1960, Mance Lipscombe's Foggy Bottom Blues.



And from 1961, Pink Anderson's Meet Me In The Bottom


Offline Johnm

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Re: SOTM December 2018 Hey Lordy Mama / Meet Me In The Bottom
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2018, 08:47:59 AM »
Hi all,
We just had a discussion with the moderators and have concluded that in the future it would be best not to post lists from reference books of versions of the Song of the Month.  Part of the fun of the threads is people searching out, discovering and posting different versions of the song.  If all or even most of the versions of the song are listed on the thread, that aspect of the threads is effectively squelched.  So . . . no quoting from DG&R or other blues reference books in the Song of the Month threads in the future, please.  And after the initial post in a Song of the Month thread, if you've posted two versions of the song, please don't post any more until someone else has posted at least one.  Let's create space for more people to participate in the Song of the Month threads.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Rivers

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Re: SOTM December 2018 Hey Lordy Mama / Meet Me In The Bottom
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2018, 05:34:28 AM »
Here's Buddy Moss's 2nd crack at it in 1935, Oh Lordy Mama No. 2, with Josh White on 2nd guitar.


Offline Lignite

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Re: SOTM December 2018 Hey Lordy Mama / Meet Me In The Bottom
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2018, 08:09:13 AM »
Boots And Shoes is Blind Boy Fuller's adaptation without the Hey Lordy Mama! refrain. Anybody know who's playing the second guitar on this one?


Offline Lignite

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Re: SOTM December 2018 Hey Lordy Mama / Meet Me In The Bottom
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2018, 08:29:21 AM »
Found it! Second guitar in Boots and Shoes was Floyd "Dipper Boy" Council. Recorded in 1937.

Offline DavidCrosbie

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Re: SOTM December 2018 Hey Lordy Mama / Meet Me In The Bottom
« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2018, 06:29:06 AM »
Many of the later recordings use verses found in the five 1953-36 recordings by Buddy Moss (2) Curly Weaver, and Bumble Bee Slim (2). Even Louis Armstrong sings two of Curly Weaver's verses ? including the one with his woman in Cincinnati. And Pink Anderson sings a verse found elsewhere only in Bumble Bee Slim's Hey Lawdy Mama ? the one with his woman's shoe and waist sizes.

Four of the five have been posted. Here's the fifth: Bumble Bee's second version Meet Me In The Bottom (Hey Lawny Mama).



I'm still working on the lyrics. Meanwhile here's an important omission: Big Joe Williams. He recorded it in 196i as Meet Me In The Bottom, having precviously recorded it 1949 as She's A Married's Woman and here in 1941 as Meet Me Around The Corner. Mostly he sang verses that fitted into others of his songs, but he must have been listening to other people ? at one point he borrows Bill Gaither's refrain Tee-ninecy Mama. (I had to look this up in Steve Calt's Barrelhouse Words; it means 'tiny'.)

« Last Edit: December 08, 2018, 06:32:48 AM by DavidCrosbie »

Offline DavidCrosbie

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Re: SOTM December 2018 Hey Lordy Mama / Meet Me In The Bottom
« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2018, 06:11:41 AM »
Musicians learned it as a great tune with a great refrain. They could have put any old words to it, or invented new ones ? which many did.

But there's a body of verses that turn up again and again. Taken as a whole they're incoherent, even contradictory, often in the same recording. There's a lot of leaving, possibly by rail, but is the singer leaving his woman or is she leaving him? In some records they both leave. There's sometimes parental advice, and often a celebration of the singer's woman.

It's tempting to think that later singers took ideas from Bumble Bee Slim, and that he had taken ideas from Buddy Moss and Curley Weaver. But that's probably much too simple. My guess is that the song was hugely popular in 1936 with musicians all listening to each other and some of them listening to those three singers on record or in person.

Here are the lyrics of Buddy Moss's  first recording as transcribed by Johnm

Quote from: Buddy Moss Hey Lawdy Mama
  Meet me down at the river, you can bring me my shoes and clothes, oh Lordy mama, great God almighty
   Said, meet me down at the river, bring me my shoes and clothes
   Says, I ain't got so many but I got so far to go

   Woman I love, she done caught that Southern train, oh Lordy mama, great God almighty
   Said, the woman I love, she caught that Southern train
   Now, she left me here, heart just an aching pain
 
   Goin' away to leave you 'cause you' cryin' ain't gonna make me stay, oh Lordy mama, great God almighty
   Said, I'm goin' and leave you 'cause your cryin' won't make me stay
   I may be back in June, may be the first of May

   Woman I love, says, she right down on the ground, oh Lordy mama, great God almighty
   Said now, the woman I love, right down on the ground
   Now, she's a tailor-made woman, ain't no hand-me-down

   Tell me what time do that train leave your town, oh Lordy mama, great God almighty
   Said now, tell me what time do that train leave your town
   Said now, "One leave at 8:00, one leave at quarter past 9:00."

   Seaboard goes south at 8:00, babe, Southern goes north at 9:00, oh Lordy mama, great God almighty
   Said now, Seaboard goes south at 8:00, babe, Southern goes north at 9:00
   Says, I just got one hour, talk with that gal of mine

Curley Weaver's surviving recording has the same opening verse and his third verse is the same as  Moss's fourth. In between he sings

Quote from: Curley WeaverHey Lawdy Mama
Woman I love, woman I crave to see, Lordy mama, great God almighty
She's in Cincinnati, won't write to me

Woman I love got a mouth chock full of good gold, Lordy mama, great God almighty
Every time she hug and kiss me, make my boogyin' blood rune cold

Weaver then sings Moss's two final where the singer and his woman are travelling in different directions, meeting for just an hour. This rather contradicts verses in which the singer is leaving, his woman is leaving, his woman lives in Cincinnati and won't even write.  None of the versions I've heard copy this pair of verses, which sit slightly more easily at the start of Blind Lemon's Black Horse Blues.

Weaver then sings Moss's fourth verse and a variant of his third. He's now leaving the woman who left him back in his verse 3.

Quote from: Curley Weaver Hey Lawdy Mama
Woman I love, she's right down on the ground, oh Lordy mama, great God almighty
Now, she's a tailor-made woman, not no hand-me-down

Goin' away to leave you, cryin' won't make me stay, oh Lordy mama, great God almighty
I may be back in June, may be back in the first of May

Buddy Moss's Hey Lawdy Mama No 2 is largely composed of Woman I love  verses ? one of them corresponding to Curley Weaver's  woman I crave to see verse, except that she lives Atlanta, and another half-echoing the mouth full of gold verse. There's also a 'parents advice' verse, which turns up in later versions.

Quote from: Buddy Moss Hey Lawdy Mama No 2
Woman I love, dead and I her grave, oh Lordy mama, great God almighty
And the woman I hate, Isee her every day

If I would have listened, what my mama said, oh Lordy mama, great God almighty
I would have been at home, sleepin' in my mama's bed

Woman I love she got a mole just below her nose, oh Lordy mama, great God almighty
Every time she hug and kiss me, make my love run cold

Woman I love, woman I crave to see, oh Lordy mama, great God almighty
Now she lives in Atlanta, and she won't write to me

Woman I love, mouth chock full of gold, oh Lordy mama, great God almighty
Now she got something to satisfy my soul

She twists and turns, she rolls all over the bed, oh Lordy mama, great God almighty
She got something make me talk out of my head

Bumble Bee Slim's Hey Lawdy Mama has only the singer leaving, thrown out by his woman, and he changes the details of the opening Meet me verse. He extends the parental advice with a verse copied in later recordings ? let your women come here to you. Like the other two singers, he has a right down on the ground verse. He also has a woman I crave to see verse, although his woman lives in California ? but hasn't she just thrown him out? And as I posted before he lists his woman's shoe and waist sizes.

Quote from: Bumble Bee Slim Hey Lawdy Mama
Meet me round the corner, bring my shoes and clothes, oh Lordy mama, great God almighty
Well the woman I love done put me out of doors

I've got to go now, can't come back no more oh Lordy mama, great God almighty
Well I don't mind leavin', but I got so far to go

If I would have listened, what my mama said, oh Lordy mama, great God almighty
I would have been at home sleepin' in my mama's bed

Mama told me, Papa told me too, oh Lordy mama, great God almighty
Son you stay at home, let your women come here to you

Woman I love, right down on the ground, oh Lordy mama, great God almighty
Every time she kiss me, makes my love come down

Woman I love woman I crave to see, oh Lordy mama, great God almighty
Well she livin in California, but she won't write to me

She wears a number four shoe, she's twenty-five in the waist, oh Lordy mama, great God almighty
I can't find nobody to take that woman's place

Slim's next version Meet Me In The Bottom (Hey Lawdy Mama) starts with a different opening line, which became favourite in later recordings:

Meet me in the bottom, bring my boots and shoes

Other verses don't seem to have been shared or copied, although he seems to have used half-lines from other singers to make new verses. His woman has left, not for the first time, which allows the line Every time she leaves me, makes my blood run warm ?unlike Curley Weaver's woman with the mouth full of gold who makes my blood run cold. Another part-share with other versions is the half-line right down on the ground. He also sings what became Big Joe Williams's favourite verse ? not to give his wife a job.

Quote from: Bumble Bee Slim Meet Me In The Bottom (Hey Lawny Mama)
Meet me in the bottom, bring my boots and shoes, oh Lordy mama, great God almighty
I've got to leave this town I ain't got no time to lose

Woman I love she done gone back home, oh Lordy mama, great God almighty
Every time she leaves me, she makes my blood run warm

She caught that seven-o-eleven, I stood looking down, oh Lordy mama, great God almighty
I couldn't stand to see my woman leave this town

She got coal black eyes, long black curly hair, oh Lordy mama, great God almighty
Well she got something feed me anywhere

White folks please don't give that girl no job, oh Lordy mama, great God almighty
She's a married woman, I don't wan her to work too hard

She got dimples in her jaw, right down on the ground, oh Lordy mama, great God almighty
She got a way of loving make a rabbit hug a hound
« Last Edit: December 09, 2018, 06:13:11 AM by DavidCrosbie »