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So many wagons have cut that good road down. And the girl I love mama don't want me 'round - Blind Lemon Jefferson, Chock House Blues

Author Topic: Charlie Patton lyrics  (Read 46942 times)

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Offline CF

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'34 Blues - Charlie Patton
« Reply #75 on: May 24, 2010, 09:36:03 AM »
I just got the Yazoo Charlie Patton 'Primeval Rags, Blues & Gospel Songs' & I'm hearing some stuff on it that I haven't heard before. I think.
Is there a need for a Patton lyric thread with there being a complete transcription of his lyrics with the Revenant set? Does anyone have the Revenant 'Screamin' & Hollerin' set & what is your opinion of their accuracy?

'34 Blues - Charlie Patton

I ain't gonna tell nobody, '34 have done for me
I ain't gonna tell nobody what '34 have done for me
Christmas rolled up?, I was broke as I could be

They run me from Will Dockery's, ?took me from Herman Jett's job? (x2)
(sp: 'Buddy what's the matter?')
I went & told/I wanna 'told Papa Charlie I don't want you hanging 'round on my job no more

Further down in (the) country, it('ll) almost make you cry (x2)
(sp: My God, chillen?)
Women & children flagging freight trains for rides

Herman got a little six Buick, big six Chevrolet car
Herman got a little six Buick, little six Chevrolet car
(sp: 'My God what sort of car?/of power?)
And it don?t do nothing but follow behind Harvey Parker?s plow

Ah it may bring sorrow Lord & it may bring tears (x2)
Oh Lord Oh Lord, 'happy to/let me see a brand new year


Any suggestions welcome.
The Herman Jett, Harvey Parker references I got from Elijah Wald here:

http://www.elijahwald.com/patton.html

I found about 8 websites with this transcription. Some stuff really wrong here. Willie Brown?

I ain't gonna tell nobody, '34 have done for me
I ain't gonna tell nobody what, '34 have done for me
Took my roller, I was broke as I could be

They run me from Will Dockery's, Willie Brown, I want your job
They run me from Will Dockery's, Willie Brown, I want your job
(spoken: Buddy, what's the matter?)
I went out and told papa Charley,
'I don't want you hangin' round on my job no more'

Fella, down in the country, it almost make you cry
Fella, down in the country, it almost make you cry
(spoken: My God, children!)
Women and children flaggin' freight trains for rides

Carmen got a little six Buick, big six Chevrolet car
Carmen got a little six Buick, little six Chevrolet car
(spoken: My God, what solid power!)
And it don't do nothin' but, follow behind Holloway's farmer's plow

And it may bring sorrow, Lord, it may bring tears
It may bring sorrow, Lord, and it may bring tears
Oh, Lord, oh, Lord, let me see your brand new year




Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

Online Johnm

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Re: '34 Blues - Charlie Patton
« Reply #76 on: May 24, 2010, 10:26:30 AM »
Hi Mike,
I think the lyric transcriptions in the Revenant set are very strong, but disagree in a couple of instances.  I think Patton's lyrics are hard enough to hear and open enough to interpretation that it is valuable for folks to keep taking a crack at transcribing them.  As with Lemon's lyrics, you never know when one of the long-standing "mystery lines" is going to be heard and understood clearly for the first time.
I can't remember all the lyrics to "'34 Blues", but I do remember my all-time favorite spoken aside, from the verse
   Herman's got a little six Buick and a Chevrolet car
   SPOKEN:  My God, what solid power!
I love the way Charley Patton delivers that line.
All best,
Johnm

Offline banjochris

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Re: '34 Blues - Charlie Patton
« Reply #77 on: May 24, 2010, 05:28:23 PM »
I remember that one line being transcribed in the Revenant as something like "They run me from Will Dockery's, drove me from Herman Jett's door", which seemed to make sense.
Chris

Offline slideaway

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Jim Lee Blues pt 1
« Reply #78 on: August 05, 2010, 06:57:00 AM »
Hi, great forum!

i have returned to an old chestnut, the lyrics of Jim Lee Blues pt 1, after leaving it alone for some time, anyway

here's what i got so far (not much turns up in google searches on this one, I had a learned afficianado help me on another forum some years ago, but we never had all the lyrics down pat)

the words in italics are the ones i am not sure about the most, any hints would be welcome :)


I went away up the river down 40 miles or more
I think I heard that big Jim Lee blow

She blowed so lowdown like she wasnt go blow no more
It blowed just like my baby gettin' on board

I'm a poor ol' boy
and a long way from home
and you callin' me to leave my plumb good house

my Mama is dead
and my father well could be
I ain't got nobody to feel and care for me

If you dont want me. just give me your hand
mmm i'll get a woman quick as you can a man

I gotta key on a wheeler
but i bowed down and ploughed
but a ploughin', good man, bring him down to he jump in mud

I lay my head in a fever womans arms
and she lay her nappy head in mine

when I got a'rested what you reckon was my fine?
Say they give all coons eleven twenty nine

say go on moon shine
dont pay me no mind
coz i did not let no coons in my

a let big Jim Lee keep a-backin up and down
she'd stand by strong man if ya water bound

TIA!

Offline waxwing

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Re: Jim Lee Blues pt 1
« Reply #79 on: August 05, 2010, 12:29:54 PM »
Been workin' on this myself lately. Cool the way he shifts between the two arrangements, with somewhat different chording. With help from Bob McLeod and Dick Spottswood. Bent brackets for questioned parts.

(Check end of topic for latest version)

Jim Lee Blues Part 1

I went away up the river down forty mile or mo?
I think I heard that big Jim Lee it blow

She blow so lonesome, like she wadn? gon blow no mo?
It blowed just like my baby gettin? on boa'

I?m a po? ol' boy an' a long way from home
And you callin? me to leave my plumb good [hear'(t or th)]

My momma is dead an' my father well to be
I ain?t got nobody to feel and care for me

If you don? want me just give me your han?
?N? I?ll get a woman quick?s you can a man (snork)

I got a [kid] on a wheeler, got a [bouncer] on the plow
Got a plumb good man bringin? down the Johnson bayou

I lay my head in a ?ceitful woman?s arm
And she lay her nappy head in mine

When I got ?rrested, what you reckon was my fine
They give all coons ?leven twenty nine

Big [boys] ?n? shines, don?t pay me no min'
?Cause I do not let no coons in mine

Well that big Jim Lee keeps a backin? up an' down
She?s sand bar struck, man is she water boun'

Wax

P.S. Welcome to Weenie Campbell.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2010, 02:12:47 AM by waxwing »
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

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Offline slideaway

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Re: Jim Lee Blues pt 1
« Reply #80 on: August 05, 2010, 06:04:55 PM »
Thanks for the welcome Wax!
 thats some great audio deciphering, and when i listen/compare your interpretation mostly makes sense too! i definitely agree on the heart or hearth in third stanza, that occurred to me also, but i went with house for some reason?... not being familiar with the localised vernacular of the era. let alone local American terminology/nicknames of CP's region (i'm Australian) i am probably finding it a lot tougher than you lol
It was Adrian Freed on IGS that helped me a few years back, i should add..

i took the phrase i gotta key on the wheeler to mean possibly, he had a room on the riverboat, living the high life, but went back to farming for some reason, dunno anyway, its great fun trying :)
cheers!
« Last Edit: August 05, 2010, 07:04:45 PM by slideaway »

Offline slideaway

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Re: Jim Lee Blues pt 1
« Reply #81 on: August 05, 2010, 07:59:00 PM »
i was thinking, just for the record, i know you guys know it, but i am pretty sure this thread will turn up high in google searches for this song, as it does for other similar weenie campbell threads, Adrian explained what 11 29 meant, it might help someone like me, and i quote..

    
'11 29 means a sentence of 1 year - 2 days. This means the convict would be spared of a state penetentionary and go to local county jail.'

Offline banjochris

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Re: Jim Lee Blues pt 1
« Reply #82 on: August 05, 2010, 08:10:04 PM »
Wax -- I hear a couple of things a little differently, see what you think:

1st verse:
I WAS way up the river SOME forty mile or mo'
I think I heard that big Jim Lee blow

3rd verse:
And you CAUSIN' me to leave my plumb good [hearth is possible, but I think he just says home again and drags it out]

6th and 9th verse:
I agree on these -- the beginning of verse 9 is a toughie

last verse:
She sandbar struck, man IF she water boun'

Chris

Offline waxwing

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Re: Jim Lee Blues pt 1
« Reply #83 on: August 06, 2010, 02:09:52 AM »
Slide - As I said, kudos to Bob McLeod (Document), who posted here as "dingwall" and Dick Spottswood (Revenant) for doing the heavy lifting. I think Bob had most of it. Too lazy to go check, but I think he had "Big boys 'n' shines" and "'ceitful woman's". Tho' I think both of them likely had inferior transfers. Again, Richard Nevins' remasterings (Yazoo) are revealing.

I don't think either of them had "bouncer". I think maybe he means something like he has a kid and a baby (bouncer) working for him, as in belonging to the woman sharecropper he is with at the time. Possibly I'm crazy, but I don't think it's "bowser" which at least one of them had. Could be something else entirely.

Yeah, I googled "eleven twenty nine" and found out it is still somewhat in use. I found several cases, all in the south east, in which this sentence was used in recent years. Mostly with drug convictions IIRC. But you are missing the point a bit. If the judge gave him a year and he went to the state pen then the county lost 11 months and 29 days of his labor, which, in many cases was the reason for his arrest. Yes, the convicts were grateful for being close to family, who might bring food, cigarettes, etc., but that had nothing to do with the judge's sentence.

Wax -- I hear a couple of things a little differently, see what you think:

1st verse:
I WAS way up the river SOME forty mile or mo'
I think I heard that big Jim Lee blow

Right, definitely both places. I was trying to make it "'bout forty mile or so." "Some" is right. But I think it is still "away".

Quote
3rd verse:
And you CAUSIN' me to leave my plumb good [hearth is possible, but I think he just says home again and drags it out]

Absolutely. Great ear. You could be right on the "home/hearth" thing, but I think I hear "har". Heck, I just like "hearth".

Quote
6th and 9th verse:
I agree on these -- the beginning of verse 9 is a toughie

last verse:
She sandbar struck, man IF she water boun'

Chris


I still hear a sibilance here, not a fricative. But it's tough. I listened at both 100% and 70% (as slow as I'll go) where I do hear the buzz of the "z" sound. Both speeds it sounds like "is" to me. The way it slides into "she". What do you think? I'll leave it for now.

So nobody blinked at "(snork)"? What a riot. The first time I heard it I took my headphones off to see if someone was standing behind me snuffling.

I'm gonna just restate what we have here. I like to see the history of these threads. I'll edit in a notice to check the bottom of the thread for the latest updates.

Jim Lee Blues Part 1

I was away up the river some forty mile or mo?
I think I heard that big Jim Lee it blow

She blow so lonesome, like she wadn? gon' blow no mo?
It blowed just like my baby gettin? on boa'

I?m a po? ol' boy an' a long way from home
And you causin? me to leave my plumb good [hear'(t or th)]or[ho'(me)]

My momma is dead an' my father well to be
I ain?t got nobody to feel and care for me

If you don? want me just give me your han?
?N? I?ll get a woman quick?s you can a man (snork)

I got a [kid] on a wheeler, got a [bouncer] on the plow
Got a plumb good man bringin? down the Johnson bayou

I lay my head in a ?ceitful woman?s arm
And she lay her nappy head in mine

When I got ?rrested, what you reckon was my fine
They give all coons ?leven twenty nine

Big [boys] ?n? shines, don?t pay me no min'
?Cause I do not let no coons in mine

Well that big Jim Lee keeps a backin? up an' down
She?s sand bar struck, man is she water boun'

Wax
« Last Edit: August 06, 2010, 02:16:51 AM by waxwing »
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

http://www.youtube.com/user/WaxwingJohn
https://www.facebook.com/WaxwingJohn

Willie Brown's Liquor at CD Baby

Offline slideaway

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Re: Jim Lee Blues pt 1
« Reply #84 on: August 06, 2010, 07:11:52 AM »
Slide - As I said, kudos to Bob McLeod (Document), who posted here as "dingwall" and Dick Spottswood (Revenant) for doing the heavy lifting. I think Bob had most of it. Too lazy to go check, but I think he had "Big boys 'n' shines" and "'ceitful woman's". Tho' I think both of them likely had inferior transfers. Again, Richard Nevins' remasterings (Yazoo) are revealing.

I knew i wasnt going to be the first person to wonder what the words were!, i loved that song well before i had a clue what he was saying lol, i was shocked when Adrian told me, he was using his original copy of a 78 to learn from, i think?, and i have used the andrew rose/pristine audio cd version from the start, slowdown software in small loops and all that.  and i also have the JSP 5 cd set, which i listened to JLB part 2, as well the lyrics  which are easier to figure i guess,  hoping to find clues to help with first version - and that fits in with 'Big [boys] ?n? shines, ' with the search light on the Jim Lee mentioned in that one..

with ' I got a [kid] on a wheeler, got a [bouncer] on the plow' ..two thoughts, adrian was the one who i got the word 'key' from originally,
and he was using the 78 recording, ..and with bouncer on the plow, there was the modern invention of/and wider spread use of the stump jump plough happening about that time? i know i'm shooting in the dark here lol, anyway thankyou for all the wonderful info so far, your version becomes more and more stronger plausible case, after reading the background especially!

if i ever did a version, and i hope to, i think will do an amalgamation of the 2 pts, leaving out the offensive lines, its such a great number, with bulletproof vocal lines, i have even been able to make up my own unrelated lines, and i still enjoy doing it..but still would like to know it 100% first
cheers again Wax, extremely helpful for me!
PS was the Jim Lee a pleasure boat or a smaller working riverboat?
« Last Edit: August 06, 2010, 07:14:23 AM by slideaway »

Offline banjochris

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Re: Jim Lee Blues pt 1
« Reply #85 on: August 06, 2010, 08:08:23 AM »
Pretty sure Jim Lee was a working riverboat, part of the same line that had the Bob Lee (mentioned by Patton in "Hammer/Hammock Blues") and the Stacker Lee. There are quite a few mentions in the Calt/Wardlow bio of Patton. I googled and found this: http://www.riverboatdaves.com/owners/l.html#LEELI

Wax-- I did chuckle at the "snork" -- I remember when I first heard this track having to go back and listen again to see if I'd heard what I thought I had heard! It's mentioned in the bio too (as is Patton's mini-snork at the beginning of "Spoonful").
Chris

Offline LeftyStrat

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Re: Jim Lee Blues pt 1
« Reply #86 on: August 06, 2010, 05:58:25 PM »
Interesting thread...I read it this morning before heading out to work and looking over it again now while listening again to the tune.

Having difficulty adjusting my brain to hear a few of the words tho.

I always heard:

I lay my head in a sweet l'il woman's arms...

and in a later verse:

They give a coon seven-twenty nine.

Minor differences, which probably make little to no sense. I'm not trying to argue the point. I trust that the assertions made here are correct.  Just wondering how I came up with it the way I did :)
Stop by and give a listen! :)

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Offline slideaway

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Re: Jim Lee Blues pt 1
« Reply #87 on: August 06, 2010, 06:13:15 PM »
Pretty sure Jim Lee was a working riverboat, part of the same line that had the Bob Lee (mentioned by Patton in "Hammer/Hammock Blues") and the Stacker Lee. There are quite a few mentions in the Calt/Wardlow bio of Patton. I googled and found this: http://www.riverboatdaves.com/owners/l.html#LEELI

Wax-- I did chuckle at the "snork" -- I remember when I first heard this track having to go back and listen again to see if I'd heard what I thought I had heard! It's mentioned in the bio too (as is Patton's mini-snork at the beginning of "Spoonful").
Chris

thankyou Chris, makes sense!.. just out of interest, i live in a part of the world were similar riverboats were once the lifeblood of country around same time, and the lazy river (murray river - south australia) was the main rural highway in early days, often see paddle steamer riverboats from era when i visit the river which is often,, and they were ALL working boats back then, but some did a mixture of work.. carried passengers an stuff  ..anyway i better shut up now

Wax i heard the noise too, i thought he was just phlemgy?

Offline banjochris

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Re: Jim Lee Blues pt 1
« Reply #88 on: August 06, 2010, 11:36:00 PM »
Here's my take on Part 2. Take the first verse with a bit of a grain of salt, although I'm pretty certain of "nine go by."

I heard mighty rumblin', deep down [in the ground?]
[You can hear the ? 569? go by]

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 sitting [ing] down, playin' some coon can*
I lose all my money but the one little lousy dime

Studyin' 'bout my woman, couldn't hardly coon my hand
Studyin' 'bout my woman, could hardly coon my hand

The big Jim Lee come and shine her light on me
And the sidewheel knockin', Lord I been redeemed

Big Jim Lee up the river, backing up and down
And the sidewheel knockin', Lord I'm water bound

If you didn't want me, you oughta been told me so
For I get me a woman, 'fore you leave my door

Which-a-way, which-a-way do the Red River run?
Which-a-way do the Red River run?

Some mornin', some mornin, Lord it won't be long,
You gon' call my name, baby and I'll be gone

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

*The transcription in the Screamin' and Hollerin' set, which I looked at after this, has this line as "I was kidding, kneeling down..." which I don't think is right. It sounds to me as if Patton just sings the line wrong, meaning to lengthen "sitting" to last for the full part of the phrase, screwing up and just adding another in' suffix to fill out the line. He remembers and holds "backing" out properly in the rest of the song.

Also might be of interest: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conquian

Offline slideaway

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Re: Jim Lee Blues pt 1
« Reply #89 on: August 07, 2010, 12:42:53 AM »
this thread just gets better!, thanks for pt ll and most illuminating explanations Chris

I have been back working on pt 1, and verse 6 - i cant make 'johnson bayou' work, even tho it fits so well geographically ect.

i have two ideas

'Got a plumb good man bring him down to his Johnson moor' ...as in moorings at johnson bayou?, but pronounced maa here by CP

but i like this better

'Got a plumb good man bring him down to his Junkin bar' ...as in maybe its decommissioned and sent for salvage, on some sandbar for convenience?
 i'll keep trying :)

Tags: Charlie Patton