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I'm not jealous but I'm superstitious, but most working men's that way - Willie 61 Blackwell - Four O'Clock Blues

Author Topic: Ishmon Bracey's Lyrics  (Read 21211 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Re: Ishmon Bracey's Lyrics
« Reply #30 on: September 06, 2005, 11:28:38 AM »
Hi dj,
Thanks for the input.  After re-listening many times, the line in question sounds like "patches, hose and shoes", which I am pretty dubious about in terms of making sense.  What I suspect is that the first part of that line we're having a hard time hearing may be making a reference to some other fashion craze of the time, like a "yo-yo dress".  I'm going to keep trying.  I'll post if I have any blinding flashes of light.  I love these songs, but boy, are they whupped.
All best,
Johnm

Offline dj

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Re: Ishmon Bracey's Lyrics
« Reply #31 on: September 06, 2005, 01:51:25 PM »
John M.,

It's funny how suggestable one's ears are.  After you suggested "patches, hose, and shoes"  I listened again and now I hear what could be "pantses, hose, and shoes", which actually makes some kind of sense.  There's a syllable before "patches/pantses" which I heard as "put" when I thought it preceded "patches on your shoes", but which now I can't quite make sense of.  "Good", maybe, as in "good pantses, hose, and shoes".  But that's just a guess based on the vowel sound.

"Whupped" is exactly the right word for those Paramount records.  Poorly recorded, poorly pressed, and poorly preserved.  Still, you've got to give Paramount credit, they got the music right!

Offline waxwing

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Re: Ishmon Bracey's Lyrics
« Reply #32 on: September 06, 2005, 02:42:28 PM »
I'm not listening to the recording, just trying to make sense of what you guys are hearing. Could the word dj is hearing as "put" be a quick"bought". Then what dj hears as possibly "pantses" could be "pantsies" (for "panties"). This would make the line:

"Bought you a yoyo dress, bought pantsies, hose and shoes"

I'll try to listen to it later.

Man, you're killin' me cranking out all these lyrics, John M, it's really great. I imagine you scheduling one song a day as a sort of aural/mental excersize. Not a bad idea.

All for now.
John C.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2005, 03:46:16 PM by waxwing »
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

“Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22

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Offline Johnm

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Re: Ishmon Bracey's Lyrics
« Reply #33 on: September 06, 2005, 03:45:26 PM »
Hi all,
Well, dj and John C, I just listened to it again, and I think it is

   "Bought you a yo-yo dress, brought pantses, hose and shoes"

In other words, she was pretty fully equipped.  I'm going to make the change.  I think "pantses" is brilliant, got us over the hump.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: Ishmon Bracey's Lyrics
« Reply #34 on: November 15, 2005, 12:13:54 PM »
Hi all,
Ishmon Bracey recorded the inexplicably-titled "Family Stirving" in 1929, with backing from Kid Ernest Michall on clarinet and Charley Taylor on piano. What was the title meant to be--"Family Starving", "Family Striving", what? In any event, the song, like all of those featuring Kid Ernest and Charley, features their instrumental work much more prominently than Bracey's. To Ishmon's credit, he is playing in B flat in standard tuning without a capo, in a style somewhat like that employed by Walter Vinson on many of the Mississippi Sheiks tunes that were played in flat keys. Ishmon sounds pretty adroit here, with lots of nifty connecting bass runs, and makes you feel that his claims that Louis Armstrong wanted him to play in his band might not simply be wishful remembrance.
The condition of the recording is brutally bad, so bad that I cannot get the "A" line in the first verse, which in a song that only has three verses is a pretty serious shortcoming. At different times, the opening line has sounded to me like
The longer I live
The girl I love
Livin' on the levee
It does sound like the last word in the line is "moan" or morn", both of which could work okay with the end of the tag line. I'll post the rest of what I have of the lyrics in the hope that some other Ishmon Bracey fan out there with fresher ears than I have will be able to decipher that verse line. That would be great!



The room I live in has 'sturbance every morn (2)
See, some low-down man has stole my gal and gone

Talkin' 'bout mercy, he don't know what mercy means (2)
He know anything about mercy, baby, he'd have mercy on me

I've got a long tall mama, little old mama, too (2)
I ain't gonna tell my long tall mama what my little old mama do

Edited, 11/15, to pick up line from dj

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: July 08, 2020, 09:57:02 AM by Johnm »

Offline dj

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Re: Ishmon Bracey's Lyrics
« Reply #35 on: November 15, 2005, 05:24:49 PM »
Hi, John.  After listening to the first two lines a couple of dozen times, I think the title of this song was supposed to be "Family 'Sturbance", with 'sturbance being a colloquial pronunciation of "disturbance".  As close as I can get to the first two lines is:

   The [  ] I live in has 'sturbance every morn

The word in brackets is really a mystery to me.  Sometimes I think it starts with an L, and other times I think it could be "room".

Offline Johnm

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Re: Ishmon Bracey's Lyrics
« Reply #36 on: November 15, 2005, 05:44:52 PM »
Well, good on you, David!  I had heard the two syllable sound in the second half that sounded a little like "stirving", but it really does sound like "sturbance", which also makes sense in the context, as you say.  In the repetition of the line, he does sound like he's saying "room", though in the first half it does sound like a word beginning with an L.  What you've come up with is so much better both in terms of sense and matching the sound than anything I had in the same spot.  Way to hear and interpret, thanks!  I will make the change.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Slack

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Re: Ishmon Bracey's Lyrics
« Reply #37 on: November 15, 2005, 09:05:37 PM »
Excellent detective work David!

Offline Johnm

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Re: Ishmon Bracey's Lyrics
« Reply #38 on: November 16, 2005, 11:20:05 PM »
Hi all,
Like "Family Stirving", "Pay Me No Mind" was recorded in 1929 by Ishmon Bracey with the backing of Kid Ernest Michall on clarinet and Charley Taylor on piano. "Pay Me No Mind" is pitched in A flat, and Ishmon is playing in G position, standard tuning, so he was either tuned a half-step high or capoed at the first fret (or the speed of the recording was compromised). The more I hear of Ishmon's early playing in G, standard tuning, the more I feel like he provided the model for Tommy McClennan's playing in the same position. The song is a 12-bar blues with lyrics in the common AAB format. When Charley Taylor switches to the IV chord in the fifth bar, Ishmon stays at home with the I chord. The effect is not jarring, and kind of makes you wonder, as do several Sleepy John Estes tunes where the ensemble is not playing chord changes together, just how important the harmonic component of country blues is.
As with "Family Stirving", I am stuck on the first line of the first verse, and would appreciate help with it. I like the third verse, and have not heard another like it.



Have you woke up in the morning, full of worry an' moans?
   Have you woke up in the morning, deep in worry 'n' moans?
Your best girl quit you, left you alone

Got a brownskin woman, just about as I need (2)
Now, the reason I say it, Lord, she's just sweet to me

When she stroke my face, she make my fever rise
When she rub my head, she make my fever rise
When she stroke my stomach,she soothe my appetite

Now, I had me a woman, didn't mean me no good
I once had me a woman, didn't mean me no good
Now I got me another woman, best in the neighborhood

Edited 11/17, to pick up line from dj

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: July 08, 2020, 09:59:02 AM by Johnm »

Offline MTJ3

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Re: Ishmon Bracey's Lyrics
« Reply #39 on: November 17, 2005, 08:44:10 AM »
I agree 100% with your observation about the affinity between Bracey's and McClennan's playing.  It seems too strong to be mere coincidence, but I don't know that anyone has ever connected the two directly or indirectly. 

The first verse is confounding.  The problem for me is that I hear an "s" in the first line not in the second line and a "b" second line not in the first, and I can't connect the dots. The missing words in the first line sound to me like "always in," and those of the second line like "be weary and."   I guess the first line could be "all weary," but then how to explain the "s"?  If "weary" were the word, "moan" would have to be elided "moaning." "Weeping and moaning" would be logical and fit neatly into the standard stock phrase, but I just don't hear "weep." 

How the title fits the song is another good question.

Great work.  Good luck.

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Ishmon Bracey's Lyrics
« Reply #40 on: November 17, 2005, 11:20:42 AM »
The first verse is confounding.? The problem for me is that I hear an "s" in the first line not in the second line and a "b" second line not in the first, and I can't connect the dots. The missing words in the first line sound to me like "always in," and those of the second line like "be weary and."? ?I guess the first line could be "all weary," but then how to explain the "s"?? If "weary" were the word, "moan" would have to be elided "moaning." "Weeping and moaning" would be logical and fit neatly into the standard stock phrase, but I just don't hear "weep."?
When Family Stirving appeared on a 1983 Wolf LP somebody reviewing it made the suggestion that the first line (and its repeat) was something along the lines of being worried so long, singing a worried moan and the third about having stole his girl and gone. Trouble is this is from memory and I can't for the life of me recall exactly what the transcription was or where it was proposed. It may yet come to mind but not earth shatteringly important if it fails to.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Ishmon Bracey's Lyrics
« Reply #41 on: November 17, 2005, 12:00:26 PM »
Thanks for your observations on the "A" line of the first verse of "Pay Me No Mind", MTJ3.  I agree, it is really tough to hear.  Part of the problem I think, is that in the repetition of the line, Bracey does a kind of combined glottal stop and strangled yodel that makes the line sound great, but ends up making it almost a total dead loss in terms of intelligibility.  I think the way to go is probably just to work off of the first singing of the line.  It's not at all unlikely that Ishmon sang the repetition of the line with slightly different lyrics, too.  Like Sleepy John, he often changed his lines slightly in the course of repeating them; in this song he does that in the third and fourth verses, so your thoughts about an "s" sound in the first line and a "b" sound in the second may be right on the money.
All best,
Johnm

Offline dj

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Re: Ishmon Bracey's Lyrics
« Reply #42 on: November 17, 2005, 02:30:25 PM »
For the first two lines of "Pay Me No Mind", I'd vote for "full of weary moans" in the first line and "Deep in weary moans" in the second.  There's a bit of an extra sound in the second syllable of the word I hear as "weary" in the first line - it may be that Bracey was actually singing "wearyin'".  In fact, on further review, I guess I'd go with "full of wearyin' moans" in the first line.  I agree that there's a bit of an "s" sound on the f in "full", but I think it's just Mr. Bracey blowing a little air on the start of the word.

Offline dj

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Re: Ishmon Bracey's Lyrics
« Reply #43 on: November 17, 2005, 03:33:05 PM »
Hi, John.  Thanks for revisiting this thread.  You've got a knack for picking out old blues players thst have been unjustly ignored by history.  I sure wish Ismon Bracey had recorded some more in the late 1930s.  It would be interesting to see where he went with his music.  He certainly had a talenmt for putting together interesting, coherent, and surprisingly original lyrics.

Looking back through this thread, I see you never finished the last verse of "Suitcase Full Of Blues".  May I suggest that that the last 2 lines are:

   Hard it's hard, babe, say it's hard it's hard
   There's another woman, another man's got your [yard?, job? ?]

Not sure about that last word, maybe someone can make better sense of it.  I think the penultimate line is correct.  For the last line I'm not absolutely certain about "There's", but I think it fits the sound better than the "Got" that you currently have there.  Though "Got" makes more sense!  I feel really confident in "another man's got your" (with Bracey taking a breath or otherwise pausing between "a" and "nother"), but I just can't hear (or imagine) what that other man's got.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Ishmon Bracey's Lyrics
« Reply #44 on: November 17, 2005, 04:04:40 PM »
Hi David,
Great work again!  I think, after your post and re-listening several times, that what Bracey is saying in that first line of Pay Me No Mind" is "full of worry an' moans", both because the vowel sound is more like "worry" than "weary", but also because I think the sense of it is less strained.  I am good for "deep in worry an' moans" for the repetition of the line, too.  Amazing!
Your solution for the end of "Suitcase Full of Blues" is dead on the money, I would say.  It's so easy to hear once someone points it out for you.  I do think the last word in the line is "job".  It makes sense. 
I really like getting these transcriptions cleared up.  There was a great Soul hit in the '70s by Betty Wright called "The Clean-Up Woman" (one of the best rhythm guitar parts ever).  If you keep figuring out the fugitive lines in these lyrics, we're going to have to start calling you the "Clean-Up Man"!
All best,
Johnm

 


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