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One of my regrets is I never did get to record Scrapper and Shirley playing together, and they played very, very well together - Art Rosenbaum talks about Scrapper Blackwell and Shirley Griffith, Big Road Blues radio show, January 2010

Author Topic: Charlie Patton lyrics  (Read 46924 times)

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Offline Bricktown Bob

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Re: Charley Patton: "Elder Greene" and "Goin' to Move To Alabama"
« Reply #60 on: October 06, 2007, 12:21:42 PM »
I'm goin' to show you Cormorant women how I feel.
Gonna get me a Hernando woman 'fore I leave.
Quote
4.1/2 'Cormorant' (i.e., Lake Cormorant) has a 't' at the end, ruling out 'common', and 'Hernando' has a reasonable 'ando'.   A main point is that the verse makes sense: these are places in Northern Mississippi about a dozen miles apart, Hernando's population being around 1200 (1950), with Lake Cormorant having little more than double figures (with a Post Office.).

According to Gayle Dean Wardlow ("Can't Tell My Future: The Mystery of Willie Brown"), the locals around Lake Cormorant pronounce it "Carmen."  And if you speak a non-rhotic variety of English, as Patton did, "Carmen" and "common" sound the same.

For what it's worth.

[Side note: Son House and Willie Brown hung out together at Lake Cormorant; Garfield Akers and Joe Callicott were from Hernando.  Wardlow's informant, Willie Moore, says that he and Willie Brown enlisted for World War I in Hernando.]

dingwall

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Re: Charley Patton: "Elder Greene" and "Goin' to Move To Alabama"
« Reply #61 on: October 07, 2007, 10:42:48 AM »
Bricktown Bob, great information.   I didn't know any of that.   Thanks.

Offline Papa John

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Mean Black Cat Blues
« Reply #62 on: October 28, 2007, 10:23:06 AM »
Hello,

I am preparing some songs for a halloween gig and would like to do Mean Black Cat Blues by Charley Patton.  Could I ask you assistance with the lyrics?  Below is what I've transcribed.  I'm at a loss for the last line of the first verse.  The last lines of the 2nd & 3rd verse are what I hear although neither makes much sense.  Your suggestions/corrections would be appreciated.

Mean Black Cat Blues
By Charley Patton

It?s the mean black cat, lordy, clawing at my door
It?s the mean black cat, lordy, clawing at my door
I?m going down to Louisana where I .. no more

It?s the mean black cat, lordy, all around my bed
It?s the mean black cat, lordy, all around my bed
I?m gonna get up in the morning till that black cat dead

He?s a mean black cat, lordy, lordy he?s wearing my clothes
He?s the mean black cat, lordy, I mean he?s wearing my clothes
If you want him on my levee let that black cat go

First time I met you I said you was a crook
First time I met you said you was a crook
You got a new way of loving well it ain?t in the book

Next time I met you, you know I made a hit
Next time I met you, you know I made a hit
But you got a new way of loving well it did not quit


Thanks
Papa John

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Mean Black Cat Blues
« Reply #63 on: October 28, 2007, 12:01:20 PM »
Welcome Papa John,

Here's my take. I'm not quite certain of a couple things like "you was a crook" and "made a hit". In the "want anymore of my lovin'" line in the 3rd verse, it's sort of "wan'y'mo' my lovin'" -- rushed with a couple swallowed syllables. Also, in the first verse, it sounds like he's saying "crawling" more than "clawing", though either would work.


It?s the mean black cat, lordy, clawing/crawling? on my door
It?s the mean black cat, lordy, clawing/crawling? on my door
I?m goin' down to Louisana where I won't hear it whine no more

It?s the mean black cat, lordy, all around my bed
It?s the mean black cat, lordy, all around my bed
I?m gonna get up some morning, kill that black cat dead

He?s a mean black cat, lordy, lord he?s wearin' my clothes
He?s the mean black cat, lordy, I mean he?s wearin' my clothes
If you want anymore o' my lovin', let that black cat go

First time I met you I said you was a crook
First time I met you said you was a crook
You got a new way of loving, swear it ain't in no book

Next time I met you, you know I made a hit
Next time I met you, you know I made a hit
But you got a new way of loving, swear it just won't quit

Offline doctorpep

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Charley Patton- Jim Lee, Pt. 2
« Reply #64 on: March 13, 2008, 02:40:50 PM »
I'm using the JSP box set to transcribe what I hear Patton singing. Try as I might, I can't figure out the first verse due to all the surface noise, but the rest of the lyrics are not so hard for me to hear. Perhaps I listen to too much Blues :D Please let me know what you think, everyone. It's interesting how this song, or at least the "red river" verse, is normally considered to be closely associated with Buddy Moss and Josh White, and not with the more "pure" Delta Blues. Perhaps the early Delta guys learned the "red river" verses from the Piedmont players.

First verse?

Which a-way, which a-way, do the red river run?
Which a-way do the red river run?

Which a-way, which a-way, do the red river run?
Which a-way do the red river run?

I was sittin'-in' down, playin' some coon can, I lose all my money but the one little lousy dime

Talking about my woman, could (couldn't?) hardly cool my head
Talking about my woman, could (couldn't?) hardly cool my head

The big Jim Lee, done shine your (her?) light on me and if I be lucky, Lord, I've been redeemed

I went way up the river, looked it up and down, and if I win your money, Lord, I'm water bound

If you didn't want me, don't dog me so, I can get me a woman before you leave my door

Which a-way, which a-way, do the red river run?
Which a-way, which a-way, do the red river run?

Some morning, some morning, Lord, it won't be long, you're gonna call for me, baby, and I'll be gone

Where were you, oh mama, when that big boat left the shed? I was way upstairs in my cold old iron bed

« Last Edit: March 13, 2008, 09:33:10 PM by doctorpep »
"There ain't no Heaven, ain't no burning Hell. Where I go when I die, can't nobody tell."

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dingwall

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Re: Charley Patton- Jim Lee, Pt. 2
« Reply #65 on: March 14, 2008, 11:56:35 AM »
Here are some suggestions, doctorpep.   Verse 1, very difficult, could be totally wrong, but maybe somebody could develop from that.   The Revenant album notes have 'I DONE HEARD MIGHTY RUMBLIN' (DEEP DOWN IN THE GROUND)', and ????? for line 2.   'MIGHTY RUMBLIN' sounds fine, but not the rest, but again, it could be a starting point for anyone having a go.   In verse 5, 'COON MY HAND' I took from Revenant, assuming it to be a coon can phrase in playing, but I don't really know if this is so.   

1.1 WELL, I LOVE A HIGH YELLOW WOMAN, SHE DON'T [SKIPS
1.2 GROOVES] SO I'M GONNA TRY THIS BROWNSKIN GAL FOR A WHILE
4.1 I was KITTYING, KNEELIN' down, playin' some coon can
5.1/2 STUDYIN' about my woman, COULDN'T hardly COON my HAND
6.1 The big Jim Lee, COME shine your ARC-LIGHT(??) on me
6.2 And THE SIDE WHEEL KNOCKIN', Lord, I've been redeemed
7.1 BIG JIM LEE up the river, BACKIN' up and down
7.2 And THE SIDE WHEEL KNOCKIN', Lord, I'm water bound
8.1 If you didn't want me, YOU OUGHTA BEEN TOLD me so
8.2 FOR I'LL get me a woman before you CAN leave my door
10.1 Some MORNIN', some MORNIN', LORDY, it won't be long
11.1 Where were you, oh mama, when that 'FRISCO left the shed?
11.2 I was LAYIN' upstairs in my cold old iron bed

Offline LeftyStrat

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Re: Charley Patton: "Elder Greene" and "Goin' to Move To Alabama"
« Reply #66 on: February 07, 2009, 12:42:04 AM »
Almost two years since this has been discussed. One of these days, I'll stop bumping these ancient threads  :)


To back up the possibility of the line in "Elder Green Blues" being (as I've actually come to hear it):

"I like to get sloppy drunk on a bottle and ball and walk the streets all night"

In B.B. King's tune "Lucille", when he is telling the story of how Lucille was named he says:

"....two guys started a ball, y'know? They was brawlin'...."

I've since taken that to be what Patton was saying (or trying to say) in the line in question. Basically that he likes to get drunk on whiskey and start a brawl.  Might explain how he got his throat slashed in '32, huh?

Whaddya think, fellow Patton enthusiasts?

Lefty :)
« Last Edit: February 07, 2009, 01:12:11 AM by LeftyStrat »
Stop by and give a listen! :)

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Offline CF

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Re: Charley Patton: "Elder Greene" and "Goin' to Move To Alabama"
« Reply #67 on: February 07, 2009, 06:27:46 AM »
I've always heard 'bottle & ball/bawl & walk the streets all night.' I've been there. So drunk you're yelling into the night, waking up the citizenry. Everytime I hear this line I smile.
Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Charley Patton: "Elder Greene" and "Goin' to Move To Alabama"
« Reply #68 on: February 07, 2009, 08:54:23 AM »
I wouldn't try to decipher this line just based on Patton's elocution.   :P
Just for reference. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bottled_in_bond

I went home the other night, I'd swore I wouldn't drink no more
Until saloons come back with bottled in bond as in the days of long ago
-Jim Jackson, Bootlegging Blues

Give me one more drink, drink of that bottle in bond
Give me one more drink, drink of that bottle in bond
And I will tell everything just as soon as I get back home
- Memphis Minnie, Drunken Barrelhouse Blues

I'm sure there's many more examples. And someone will correct me if I'm wrong but "bottled in bond" in blues lyrics like these would distinguish the hooch as a higher class than corn liquor/moonshine etc.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2009, 08:57:11 AM by uncle bud »

Offline Rivers

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Re: Charley Patton: "Elder Greene" and "Goin' to Move To Alabama"
« Reply #69 on: February 12, 2009, 07:29:56 PM »
Correct. See the Wardlow/Calt Patton bio for a detailed, and to me anyway, convincing discussion. I loaned mine to someone and it never came back, otherwise I'd scan and post the excerpt.

farka

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Prayer of Death I & II
« Reply #70 on: August 17, 2009, 06:42:27 PM »
Has anyone deciphered Patton's Prayer of Death? My copy is pretty static laden. I'd really appreciate it if anyone has them. I wouldn't turn my nose up at a tab either, for that matter, if someone wanted to post one. Thanks.

Offline Alexei McDonald

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Re: Prayer of Death I & II
« Reply #71 on: August 17, 2009, 11:37:05 PM »
Part 1:

The prayer of Death

Toll the bell

Call on them to toll the bell again

Tell them sing a little song like this :

Take a stand, take a stand, take a stand
If I never, never see you any more
Take a stand, take a stand, take a stand
I'll meet you on that other shore

I got his word, etc.

I'm satisfied, etc.

I have a right, etc.

I done left over here, etc
I'll meet you on that kingdom shore

I got his word, etc.

Now here my hand, etc.

Here where I hear old reverend (?) that stopped and went in prayer.   Now hear him calling the Lord : "Oh Lord, oh Lordy."

Part 2:

Oh, the prayer of death.
Oh Lord, oh, oh, oh, Lordy.
I know you been calling him.
Yes, the wages of sin are death,
The gift of God, eternal life.
Mmm, Lordy.   He said :
"You're a rock in a weary land,
a shelter in the time of storm"
Mmmm, okay, amen,
Then all of them (?) get to moaning :
"Lord have mercy"

Oh, won't you save me, Lord

Ever since my mother been dead (x3) (he sings this as "every")
Trouble been rolling all over my head

I've been 'buked and I've been scorned (x2)
I've been 'buked and I've been scorned, good Lord,
I've been talked about, sure as you born

I've been 'buked and I've been scorned (x3)
I've been talked about, sure as you born

Oh, hold to God's unchanging hand
Hold to God's unchanging hand
Build your hopes on things eternal
Hold to God's unchanging hand

Wont you hold to God's unchanging hand
Hold to God's unchanging hand
Build your hopes on things eternal
Hold to God's unchanging hand


The last word of a line is often not sung, but played with the slide instead.

Offline jugblowr

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Re: Prayer of Death I & II
« Reply #72 on: December 26, 2009, 05:15:37 PM »
If you're interested, New Roanoke Jug Band did a version of Prayer of Death I, as Jug Band Prayer of Death.  We coupled it with Rev. Clayborn's "This Time Another Year".

You can hear the track here : http://nrjb.bandcamp.com/

Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: Prayer of Death I & II
« Reply #73 on: December 27, 2009, 06:49:27 AM »
Nice track Scott.
"I ain't good looking, teeth don't shine like pearls,
So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
Barbecue Bob

Offline jugblowr

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Re: Prayer of Death I & II
« Reply #74 on: December 27, 2009, 02:50:48 PM »
Thanks.  It's not me singing, though I do sing it  now that NRJB is no longer performing.  I played slide on the track.

Tags: Charlie Patton