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Author Topic: Etymology of the Country Blues Lexicon and Blues Terminology  (Read 15405 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Re: Etymology of the Country Blues Lexicon and Blues Terminology
« Reply #30 on: June 10, 2010, 05:24:04 PM »
Hi all,
All of the talk about the McGee Bros. here recently got me to thinking about an instrumental Sam played on the Folkways album, "The McGee Brothers & Arthur Smith", called "Sally Long".  I always figured it was named for a girlfriend, and then I heard the pianist Jim Clarke on his song "Fat Fanny Stomp" exhorting dancers to "sally long", which made me think it was a bygone dance step.  Does anyone know anything more about "sally long"?  I've googled and sort of struck out.
All best,
Johnm

Offline oddenda

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Re: Etymology of the Country Blues Lexicon and Blues Terminology
« Reply #31 on: June 10, 2010, 07:23:28 PM »
John -

          According to pianist Big Chief Ellis, it was a dance.

Peter B.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Etymology of the Country Blues Lexicon and Blues Terminology
« Reply #32 on: June 10, 2010, 09:14:12 PM »
Hi John - In Black Gypsy Blues, Furry Lewis sang:

Eagle Rock me, Baby, Sally Long me too
Eagle Rock me, Mama, Sally Long me too
Ain't nobody in town can Eagle Rock like you

Virginia Liston recorded a Sally Long Blues in 1923 or 24 (haven't heard it). According to Wikipedia, there was a Sally Long who was a dancer for the Ziegfeld Follies in the early '20s who became somewhat successful.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sally_Long :

"Florenz Ziegfeld insured Long for $100,000 against the possibility of her falling in love or marrying when she danced for his Ziegfeld Follies in the early 1920s. After performing with the Follies, Long appeared in the New York City comedy production of Scandals. Her rising popularity secured her a role in the cast of Kid Boots. Composer Milton Ager said Long was the inspiration for his song, I Wonder What's Become of Sally."

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Etymology of the Country Blues Lexicon and Blues Terminology
« Reply #33 on: June 11, 2010, 01:27:18 AM »
If only I could locate my copy of the late Marshall Stearns book 'Jazz Dance: The Story Of American Vernacular Dance' there's a section covering all such dance crazes, including the one under discussion. Stearns died in 1966 before completing the manuscript and his wife Jean, an authority on vernacular dance, was instrumental in helping him research the book and eventually completing it after his death. The book was published in 1968.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Etymology of the Country Blues Lexicon and Blues Terminology
« Reply #34 on: June 11, 2010, 02:13:11 PM »
Another one came up randomly in shuffle mode, which I should have remembered earlier since I'd been tinkering with the song myself recently. In "Got a Girl in Ferriday, One in Greenwood Town" Cat Iron sings:

I gonna tell you women just how to keep your man at home (2)
You got to Eagle Rock him [whilst he's Sally Long???]

I swear I hear him sing "whilst" but could be wrong.


Offline dj

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Re: Etymology of the Country Blues Lexicon and Blues Terminology
« Reply #35 on: June 11, 2010, 02:19:54 PM »
Quote
You got to Eagle Rock him [whilst he's Sally Long

You got to Eagle Rock him whilst HE Sally Long, perhaps?  i.e. you have to Eagle Rock him while he dances the Sally Long.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Etymology of the Country Blues Lexicon and Blues Terminology
« Reply #36 on: June 11, 2010, 02:27:39 PM »
Yes, you're likely right, dj. There's a bit of an extra long S sound in there but your way obviously makes more sense.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Etymology of the Country Blues Lexicon and Blues Terminology
« Reply #37 on: June 11, 2010, 06:56:07 PM »
Thanks for the different citations on "sally long", Peter B., uncle bud, Bunker Hill and dj.  I knew I had heard more references to it than I could remember, and I think the Furry use of it, in particular, had given me the idea that it had a sexual connotation in addition to its meaning as a dance. . .which may be the case in any event, come to think of it!
All best,
Johnm

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Etymology of the Country Blues Lexicon and Blues Terminology
« Reply #38 on: June 14, 2010, 08:43:24 AM »
Further to the sexual connotation, Stephen Calt's book Barrelhouse Words (which I don't have yet but there are excerpts on Google books) uses the Furry Lewis example for the entry on "Eagle Rock":

A passť dance or arm motion associated with the age of the Turkey Trot but described by the above performer as meaning (along with Sally Long) "just good f***ing."

Nothing like clarity.  :D

Offline Kokomo O

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Re: Etymology of the Country Blues Lexicon and Blues Terminology
« Reply #39 on: June 14, 2010, 11:35:37 AM »
While I love that definition of "eagle rock," and would like to be able to apply an equally salacious definition to "sally long," I think the words suggest a dance step or series of steps in which the dancer moves some distance more than a step or two, then perhaps stops and does something else, rather than being a dance, like, say, the Fox Trot or the Lindy Hop. Just an inference from the words themselves.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Etymology of the Country Blues Lexicon and Blues Terminology
« Reply #40 on: June 15, 2010, 07:27:57 AM »
Yes, however for Furry it had clearly evolved to mean more than a dance step.  :) Curiosity got the better of me and I went and listened to Virginia Liston's Sally Long Blues, as well as Sara Martin's Eagle Rock Me, Papa. To varying degrees, I'd say these two would agree with Furry.

Liston recorded Sally Long Blues twice, on September 21,1923, and November 15, 1923. You can hear the latter version at www.redhotjazz.com/virginialiston.html which is where I listened to it to grab these lyrics. In Liston's song, Sally Long is a person, in addition to an action (dance or otherwise).

Sally Long got the blues, it cannot be true
Sally Long got the blues, it cannot be true
Got drunk and told the judge just what she would do

Women don't like Sally, 'cause Sally speaks her mind
Women don't like Sally, 'cause Sally speaks her mind
She says "These men they like these winnin' ways of mine"

The eagle rocked in Sally's family [before??] she were born
The eagle rocked in Sally's family [before??] she were born
She said I'm goin' to Eagle Rock until I'm dead and gone

Eagle Rock me, papa, Sally Long me too
Eagle Rock me, daddy, Sally Long me too
Can't nobody Eagle Rock me like my daddy do


Both women were backed by Clarence Williams on these songs. The International Dictionary of Black Composers lists Sally Long as a Clarence Williams composition, though the notes to the Liston Document CD suggest that Liston was the lyricist for a number of her songs and tended to include traditional verses in the the lyrics. And she's listed as a co-composer on "Sally Long Blues" in the Dictionary along with husband Sam Gray.

Sara Martin recorded "Eagle Rock Me, Papa" Sept 29, 1924

Eagle Rock me, daddy, and Sally Long me too
Rock me, pretty papa, while I tell you what to do

etc. Most of the rest of the lyrics are suggestive. You can hear it at http://www.redhotjazz.com/martincwb5.html

I don't know the origin of the Eagle Rock, but it must date from at least 1913 or earlier, since it appears in the lyrics to Chris Smith's "Ballin' the Jack". So far I could not find a similar appearance in such lyrics for Sally Long and it may be for more diligent people than me.

In Songsters and Saints, Paul Oliver mentions another song to add the list, Fat Fanny Stomp, the only recording made by pianist Jim Clarke in 1929. Clarke shouts out dance commands that can be summed up as "shake your fat fanny". Perhaps the producers were prudish and and sent him packing.  ;) He shouts at one point:

When I say hold it this time I want everybody to Sally Long.
Hold it! Sally Long, Sally Long your fanny gal, Sally that thing, Sally it.
Shake your fat fanny. That's what I'm talkin' about.

Oliver has this to say:

Though the Sally Long seems to have enjoyed a brief vogue in the late 1920s and is mentioned in several recordings, its name may have derived from the 1830s when William Whitlock and TG Booth sang of Sally King and Lucy Long in a dance song which included the lines, "Take your time Miss Lucy Long, rock de cradle Lucy, take your time my dear."

I would just add that Liston and Martin clearly show the dance was around much earlier than the "late 1920s".
« Last Edit: June 15, 2010, 07:58:54 AM by uncle bud »

Offline dj

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Re: Etymology of the Country Blues Lexicon and Blues Terminology
« Reply #41 on: June 15, 2010, 07:56:18 AM »
Nice work, uncle bud!

Offline dj

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Re: Etymology of the Country Blues Lexicon and Blues Terminology
« Reply #42 on: June 17, 2010, 12:35:06 PM »
For what it's worth, I've just found another Sally Long reference.  This one seems to refer to the dancer, not the dance.  Feathers & Frogs, recording for Paramount in August of 1929, sang:

I knew a girl that her name was Sally Long
Every time she'd shimmy the old man started goin'
"How'd you get that way?  How'd you get that way?
She got Elgin movements, tell me how'd you get that way?"

   

Offline manuel

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Re: Etymology of the Country Blues Lexicon and Blues Terminology
« Reply #43 on: June 18, 2010, 08:36:59 AM »
 Regarding the possible etymology of 'long shoes'  I remember reading Iceberg Slim's "Pimp."  At one place in the book as an aspiring  pimp in the midwest he bought a pair of orange Florsheim shoes so long he was able to soak them in water and bend them up at a 90 degree angle.  High fashion for the sporting life at the time I guess.

 For the term 'Chivaree' I also know the term  as it was used at one time  in medieval times was  where a group of villagers usually young bachelors would  visit the house of a man or woman who violated village the man or woman would be dragged out of their house and  dunked, beaten, made to 'ride a rail',  paraded around on a donkey backwards and other humiliating acts.  A old form of enforcing social conformity.

Ashay

Offline Stumblin

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Vocabulary definition queries
« Reply #44 on: February 17, 2013, 08:08:12 AM »
Hi, sorry if this is either in the wrong place, or just plain stupid, but do we have a Weenie Blues Vocab resource?
If so, where is it?
Thanks.

 


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