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When he performed his 61 Highway Blues for Lomax, the folklorist wrote a single word beside the entry in his field log: "Perfect." - The Southern Journey of Alan Lomax - Words, Photographs and Music, by Tom Piazza, LoC 2013

Author Topic: Charlie Patton lyrics  (Read 46892 times)

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Offline Chun

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Re: Charley Patton: "Elder Greene" and "Goin' to Move To Alabama"
« Reply #30 on: October 01, 2006, 09:45:31 AM »
Maybe he's leaving someone in Georgia to go to Alabama?
"Make Georgia be YOUR home"
That's what I would use.

Christian

Offline uncle bud

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Frankie and Albert
« Reply #31 on: January 11, 2007, 09:49:24 AM »
Hi all,

I was listening to Charley Patton's version of "Frankie and Albert" and ended up transcribing the lyrics. It seems Patton's take on this is not necessarily held in high regard, either as a Patton song or as a version of Frankie and Albert (or Johnny). I rather like it, and though the lyrics aren't exactly coherent, there's some entertaining verses in there IMO. The guitar part is done out of E position and while not super tricky has some nice I chord/E licks, and IV chord/A licks.

Here are the lyrics with some trouble spots. Any help filling them in much appreciated.

Frankie and Albert ? Charley Patton


Well Frankie went down to Albert?s house, ?how late Albert?s been here??
Oh Albert?s sittin? down in some cheap gal?s lap, buyin? some cheap gal beer
"Say, he was my man but he done me wrong"

Well Frankie, she called Albert, she called him some two or three times
Look down the road ?bout a [quarter block], you mighta seen little Albert flyin?
?Say, he was my man but he done me wrong?

Well Frankie she was good ol? gal and everybody knows
She would pay one half a hundred for the makin? of her man?s clothes
?Say, he was my man but he done me wrong?

Well Frankie went down to the courthouse to hear little Albert cry
Oh Albert was convicted, Frankie hung her head and cried
?Say, he was my man but he done me wrong?

?Say you remember all last Sunday, twenty-fifth day of May
You ?buked me and you cursed me, oh baby all that day
Say, he was my man but he done me wrong?

?Tell you, some folks give you a nickel, and it?s some gonna give you a dime
But I'm [goin' give you a smile instead] for I know you was a man of mine?
Kill her man, go kill her man

Well Frankie went to the cemetery, fell down on her knees
Oh Lord, will you forgive me and give my poor heart ease
Say, he was my man but you done me wrong?

Well, Frankie?s mother come runnin?, come a-whoopin?, screamin? and cryin?
?Oh Lord, oh Lord, my only son is dyin?
She kill her man, yes she kill her man?


edited to add corrections from banjochris and dj
« Last Edit: January 11, 2007, 11:10:04 AM by uncle bud »

Offline banjochris

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Re: Frankie and Albert
« Reply #32 on: January 11, 2007, 10:01:49 AM »
I can't make out that second bracketed part, either, but I think the first one is either "quarter block" or "quarter mile"
Chris

Offline dj

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Re: Frankie and Albert
« Reply #33 on: January 11, 2007, 11:01:54 AM »
Dick Spottswood and friends, in the lyric transcriptions for the Revenant box, have "quarter block" for the first bracketed section, and "I'm goin' give you a smile instead" for the second.
 

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Frankie and Albert
« Reply #34 on: January 11, 2007, 11:11:27 AM »
Thanks Chris and dj. I've changed the text accordingly. I am hearing "block" now, though am not sure about "instead".

Offline Johnm

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Re: Frankie and Albert
« Reply #35 on: January 11, 2007, 10:17:03 PM »
Hi all,
I agree with you, Uncle Bud, I very much like Patton's version of "Frankie and Albert".  I think my favorite thing about it is the way Patton times his playing under the refrain line "done me wrong", or "kill her man", and then immediately answers the line with the guitar, pushing the beat with his thumb.  It's such great timing, and a very unusual; I'm hard put to think of other places in the music with that particular emphasis.
Edited to add:  It just occurred to me that Patton has no spoken asides on this song.  Perhaps his sense of telling the story kept him from his normal hi-jinks. 
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: January 11, 2007, 10:21:32 PM by Johnm »

Offline banjochris

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Re: Frankie and Albert
« Reply #36 on: January 12, 2007, 12:46:05 AM »
Hey, Uncle Bud--
Listening again to the "smile" line, I think he might sing

?Tell you, some folks give you a nickel, and it?s some gonna give you a dime
But I'm goin' give you smilin', too, for I know you was a man of mine?

In other words, she gave him not just money but affection.
Chris

LoneWolf

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Re: Frankie and Albert
« Reply #37 on: January 14, 2007, 08:48:08 AM »
I invite you all to listen to my version of this song. You can find it here:

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=547497

It's somewhere in the middle of the list... the title is "Frankie and Albert".
I play lap-style slide in there. Please let me know what you think!

Offline LeftyStrat

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Re: Charley Patton: "Elder Greene" and "Goin' to Move To Alabama"
« Reply #38 on: February 14, 2007, 05:45:05 PM »
Hi,

As far as I know, and I *think* I saw this on a copy I had of the lyrics as listed on an old Yazoo LP, The chorus to "Gonna Move to Alabama" is...

Gonna Move to Alabama (X3)
make the graveyard to be your home.

I may give Charlie a listen tomorrow while I'm at work and I'll make sure to listen especially close to these two tunes and let you know what I come up with :)

Stop by and give a listen! :)

http://www.facebook.com/leftystratblues

Offline LeftyStrat

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Re: Joe Kirby Blues - Charley Patton
« Reply #39 on: February 14, 2007, 06:02:18 PM »
Here's my take on Joe Kirby.  I'm curious to know what those of you who may have better hearing that I do think. :)


Joe Kirby Blues

Said I believe I'm gonna leave here. Don't wanna be here no more (X2)
As for where I 'tend to go, mama, (I'll) tell ya when I know.

Some people say baby them Kirby blues ain't bad
Some people say now baby them Joe Kirby blues ain't bad
Well it must not a been them Joe Kirby blues I had

Just like a doggone rabbit, lordy, got no doggone den
I'm just like rabbit I ain't got no doggone den
I get in trouble lord every chance I get

I was standin' at the crossroads, kissin' my rider goodbye
I was standing at the crossroads, kissin' my rider goodbye
(The) train blowed for the crossroad, lord, she started to fly

Well I'm goin' where the Green River do sink down
I'm goin' where the Green River do run down
But the woman I love lordy, she live in Rossville town (not sure where I got Rossville, but that's what it sounds like to me LOL)

Hey well where was my baby, now tell me what's on your mind
Hey just tell me now mama lordy, tell me what's on your mind
Well you know you got a home baby long as I got mine


As has been said, Charlie's lack of diction makes it difficult, and some of the lyrics I hear may seem to have too many syllables, but given how he garbles speech at times, I wouldn't think them impossible.
Stop by and give a listen! :)

http://www.facebook.com/leftystratblues

Offline banjochris

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Re: Charley Patton: "Elder Greene" and "Goin' to Move To Alabama"
« Reply #40 on: February 14, 2007, 07:05:22 PM »
I still think it's "make Georgia be your home," and I think that, like "to the land of California, to my sweet home Chicago," it defies logical interpretation.
Chris

Offline dj

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Re: Charley Patton: "Elder Greene" and "Goin' to Move To Alabama"
« Reply #41 on: February 15, 2007, 03:49:38 AM »
Actually, "to the land of California, to my sweet home Chicago" makes some sense if you take "land of California" to mean something like "the land of milk and honey" or "the promised land".  That's not too far off if you think of California in the 1920s and 1930s.  California was the place where movies were made and where movie stars and radio stars lived, which gave it glamor.  But it was also a place where work was plentiful, where massive water projects were soaking up manual labor, where the advent of large-scale irrigation and refrigerated transport meant that agricultural laborers were needed, and where industry was growing and needed labor, in short, it was a place where decent paying work was plentiful.  I always think that the line in "Sweet Home Chicago" means that Chicago, with its industry and its (relatively) enlightened race relations, was to blacks from Mississippi the same kind of land of milk and honey that California was to the entire nation.
       

Offline banjochris

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Re: Charley Patton: "Elder Greene" and "Goin' to Move To Alabama"
« Reply #42 on: February 15, 2007, 10:51:01 AM »
DJ -- I've heard that explanation of "land of California" too, and although it makes sense to a certain extent, I still don't buy it. I guess I'd rather think RJ was confusing his geography innocently and accidentally rather than deliberately coming up with a metaphor that makes him sound like he's confusing his geography.  :D
Chris

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Charley Patton: "Elder Greene" and "Goin' to Move To Alabama"
« Reply #43 on: February 15, 2007, 11:12:56 AM »
FWIW I'll weigh in with this 30 year old info to make of what you will:

"[Robert Johnson] made a mystery of himself...because that's the way he was. In one of his songs, he sings, 'back to the land of California, to my sweet home Chicago.' Doesn't make sense...I found out he had a cousin living in California, near Port Chicago." Mack McCormick interview, Chicago Tribune 13th February 1978
« Last Edit: February 15, 2007, 11:14:13 AM by Bunker Hill »

LoneWolf

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Please lyrics for "Lord I'm Discouraged"...
« Reply #44 on: February 20, 2007, 12:24:04 PM »
By the greatest of all, Papa Charley... Thanks!

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