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It's a feelin' - a great feelin' a person has. When you get ahold of a guitar and get to singing blues, you ... forget about that terrible feelin', and you can suddenly revive and you can overcome - John Jackson

Author Topic: Furry Lewis Lyrics  (Read 25784 times)

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Offline uncle bud

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Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
« Reply #60 on: November 02, 2010, 11:15:31 AM »
A little more fine-tuning of Furry lyrics. In Dry Land Blues, what we currently have as:

Man, if you love your old woman better measure it in her cup
So if she have not quit you, boy, won't leave you in tough luck

Should, to my ears, actually be:

MEN, if you love your woman better measure it in A cup  ["old" in "old woman" deleted - he sings yo-our]
So if she HAPPEN TO quit you, boy, won't leave you in tough luck. [with "happen to" sung as "happen 'a"]
« Last Edit: November 02, 2010, 11:17:11 AM by uncle bud »

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics - Mistreatin' Mamma
« Reply #61 on: November 02, 2010, 11:48:44 AM »
I notice we don't have "Mistreatin' Mamma" in this thread yet. One of Furry's best tunes, played beautifully out of E position (or perhaps the raised E tuning, EAEGBE, discussed earlier in the thread) but pitched around D. B&GR4 has the title as Mistreatin' Mamma, as does Yazoo's In His Prime. Document has it as Mistreatin' Mama. Anyone have a label scan (or 78 to check)?

Mistreatin' Mamma - Furry Lewis

Babe if your heart ain't iron, it must be marble stone
If your heart ain't iron, it must be marble stone
For you're a mistreatin' mama, baby as sure as you born

I can tell from a little just what a whole lot means
I can tell from a little just what a whole lot means
You treat me just like somebody you ain't never seen

I got a woman in Cuba-y, got a woman in Spain
Woman in Cuba-y, got a woman in Spain
I got a woman in Chicago and I'm scared to call her name

I got nineteen women and all I wants one more
I got nineteen women and all I wants one more
If the one more suit me I'm going to let the nineteen go

I could have religion, Lord, this very day
I could have religion, Lord, this very day
But the womens and whiskey, Lord, won't let me pray

I can sit right here, look on Jackson Avenue
I can sit right here and look on Jackson Avenue
I can see everything that my good woman do

Sometime I believe I will, sometime I believe I won't
Sometime I believe I will, sometime I believe I won't
Sometime I believe I do, sometime I believe I don't
« Last Edit: November 02, 2010, 01:33:11 PM by uncle bud »

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics - Big Chief Blues
« Reply #62 on: November 02, 2010, 01:54:13 PM »
Recorded October 9, 1927, Big Chief Blues was played out of Vestapol tuning. Postwar recordings of this song are rather different, played out of Spanish tuning.

Big Chief Blues - Furry Lewis

I'm goin' away baby, take me seven long months to ride
Goin' away baby, take me seven long months to ride
January, February, March, April, May, June, July

I was three years old when my poor mother died
I was three years old when my poor mother died
If you mistreat me, you mistreat a motherless child

I dreamt last night the whole round world was mine
I dreamt last night the whole round world was mine
Wasn't nothing at all but my good girl jumpin' down

She put carbolic in my coffee, turpentine in my tea
Carbolic in my coffee, turpentine in my tea
Strychnine in my biscuit, Lord but she didn't hurt me

Baby, when I marry, goin' to marry an Indian squaw
I mean when I marry, goin' to marry an Indian squaw
Big chiefs, Lord, be my daddy-in-law

I say when I marry, I?m gonna marry an Indian squaw
So the big chief can be my daddy-in-law

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics - Judge Harsh Blues
« Reply #63 on: November 02, 2010, 02:14:47 PM »
Furry recorded two takes of Judge Harsh Blues on August 28, 1928. He's playing out of Vestapol again. The last line of the song in both takes is a bit of a mystery to me. Don't know if I have it right.

Judge Harsh Blues (take 1) - Furry Lewis

"Good morning judge, what may be my fine?
Good morning judge, what may be my fine?"
"Fifty dollars, eleven twenty-nine"

They arrest me for murder, I ain't never harmed a man
'rest me for murder, I ain't harmed a man
Women hollerin' murder, Lord I ain't raised my hand

I ain't got nobody to get me out on bond
I ain't got nobody to get me out on bond
And I would not mind, but I ain't done nothing wrong

Please Judge Horace, make it light as you possibly can
Please Judge Horace, make it light as you possibly can
I ain't did no work, Judge, and I don't know when

My woman come a-runnin' with a hundred dollars in her hand
Woman come a-runnin' with a hundred dollars in her hand
Cryin', "Judge, Judge, please spare my man"

"One hundred dollars won't do, better run and get your three
One hundred dollars won't do, better run and get your three
I can keep your man from a penitentiary"

Baby 'cause I'm arrested, please don't grieve and moan
'cause I'm arrested, baby, don't grieve and moan
Penitentiary seems just like my home

People all talkin' 'bout what they will do
Judge, people all talkin' 'bout what they will do
If they had justice, they'd be in [the] penitentiary too


Judge Harsh Blues (take 2) - Furry Lewis


"Good morning judge, what may be my fine?"
"Good morning judge, what may be my fine?
"Fifty dollars, eleven twenty-nine"

They arrest me for murder, I ain't never harmed a man
'rest me for murder, Lord I ain't harmed a man
Women hollerin' murder, I ain't raised my hand

I ain't got nobody to get me out on bond
I ain't got nobody to get me out on bond
I would not mind, but I ain't done nothing wrong

Please Judge Horace, make it light as you possibly can
Please Judge Horace, make it light as you possibly can
I ain't did no work, Judge, and I don't know when

My woman come a-runnin' with a hundred dollars in her hand
Come a-runnin' mama with a hundred dollars in her hand
Cryin', "Judge, please spare my man"

"One hundred dollars won't do, better run and get your three
One hundred dollars won't do, better run and get your three
I can keep your man from a penitentiary"

Baby I'm arrested, please don't grieve and moan
'cause I'm arrested, baby, please don't grieve and moan
Penitentiary seems just like my home

People all hollerin' 'bout what in the world they will do
Judge, the people hollerin' 'bout what in the world they will do
Lord if the people had justice, they'd be in [the] penitentiary too
« Last Edit: November 02, 2010, 02:17:29 PM by uncle bud »

Online Johnm

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Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
« Reply #64 on: November 02, 2010, 03:42:53 PM »
Hi uncle bud,
Thanks for these lyric transcriptions.  If we apply the same standard of proof to Furry Lewis as I have been applying to Clifford Gibson, I have to admit that at this point I consider "Mistreatin' Mamma" to have been played in the EAEGBE tuning (though a full step low).  Obviously, it can be played out of E position in standard tuning, but it sits so much more easily and naturally in the EAEGBE tuning, and the various aural points that go towards Clifford Gibson having used EAEGBE for all of his E-sounding tunes apply equally to Furry's tunes like "Mistreatin' Mamma", "Mean Old Bedbug Blues", "Creeper's Blues" and one other I can't think of now (though not "Dryland Blues", which is definitely played out of E position in standard tuning a step low).  Live and learn (speaking of myself), one would hope.
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: November 02, 2010, 03:46:27 PM by Johnm »

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
« Reply #65 on: November 02, 2010, 07:02:15 PM »
Hi John - Perhaps this should be discussed in another thread, but is there any spot other than the octave bass runs in Mistreatin' Mamma and Creeper's Blues where this tuning is likely to help? I've tried listening for that 4th string elsewhere and while it certainly sounds like it could be an open string in the main riff, that open string doesn't offer any real advantage there. The advantage is certainly present for the octave runs. I've tried those with a thumb wraparound on the sixth string (as opposed to index and ring finger) and it works fine but I tend to get a lot of string noise as I move up, which I don't get with the altered tuning.

The other tune you were thinking of is Jelly Roll, by the way. It uses the bit that appears in the solo of Mistreatin' Mamma as a verse accompaniment for a good part of the tune, but also has another riff that I don't think appears in the other songs from this family. In the 5th verse, Furry does a descending bass lick that's like a cousin to the octave bass lick in the other tunes - he goes from E on the 4th string to low E, D to low E, C# to low E, B to low, and repeats. The 4th string E could be heard as fretted since it does not ring like an open string, but Furry is damping throughout whole riff, so this wouldn't really prove much. It's a cool riff though, and he comes out of it with a slide on the sixth string into the IV chord, making for an ultra cool combination.

He repeats the same riff in the following verse (the Memphis, Tennessee verse below). There are one or two intonation quirks this time around, like he's playing the higher E bass on the 5th string rather than the fretted or open 4th string. Have a listen and see what you think. I don't know that it tells us anything but my brain has taken me as far as it will go this evening.

Here are the lyrics for Jell Roll, recorded April 20, 1927.

Jelly Roll - Furry Lewis

I went to the gypsy to get my fortune told
Went to the gypsy, baby, get my fortune told
Lord the gypsy told me, "Boy, you got a jellyroll"

Ain't nobody in town cook a jellyroll like mine
Nobody in town cook a jellyroll like mine
Nobody in town cook a jellyroll like mine

I was first on Main Street, Lord and I started down Beale
First on Main Street, Lord and I started down Beale
Looking for my girl, Lord that we all call Lucille

I know you don't want me, why don't you tell me so
Babe, I know you don't want me, why don't you tell me so
Then you won't be bothered with me 'round your house no more

Lord my good girl quit me, my kid done put me down
Lord my girl done quit me, my kid done put me down
I wouldn't hate it so bad but the talk's all over town

We got a new way of spellin' Memphis, Tennessee
We got a new way of spellin' Memphis, Tennessee
Double M, double E, Lord A, Y, Lord Z

Oh, my gal done quit me now
Yeah, Lord my gal done quit me now
I'm goin' to the river, gonna jump overboard and drown
« Last Edit: November 02, 2010, 08:12:03 PM by uncle bud »

Offline banjochris

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Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
« Reply #66 on: November 03, 2010, 08:53:48 PM »
UB -- I think you do have the last lines of "Judge Harsh" right -- I think it makes sense if you take Furry's use of "justice" to mean "the judge's special brand of 'justice'".
Chris

Offline Chezztone

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Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
« Reply #67 on: November 29, 2010, 08:27:25 AM »
I like the idea that it could be "Judge Horace" -- "Harsh" was probably just the record company's transliteration of Lewis' pronunciation of the judge's name. But I think "Judge Harris" might be even more likely.

Offline harriet

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Furry Lewis Lyric
« Reply #68 on: September 18, 2013, 03:05:41 PM »
Hi,

This is what I got from the Good Morning Judge CD of Furry Lewis's Roll and Tumble. I think its accurate as per my earphones and ipod but the "you had no business treating me this a way" can also sound like "you hadna-been-a-treating me" in some players- like itunes, quicktime on a computer.
.............................................................

Furry Lewis
Good Morning Judge

ROLL AND TUMBLE
An I'm going to Brownsville, gonna take that right hand road
An I'm going to Brownsville, momma.........................
Lord I ain't gone stop walking till I get to my baby's door.

And that woman I loving she got great long curly hair
And that woman I loving got great long curly hair
But her mother and father don't allow Furry there

I'm going write me a letter I'm going to mail it in the air
I'm going write me.........................
Lord if a man stay here can stay most everywhere

And my first name Furry my second name ain't be told
Well my first name Furry my second name ain't never be told
I been waiting on you baby since you were 12 years old

Babe you had no business treating me this a way
Then you had no business treating me this a way
I'm going back to Georgia, going back there to stay
« Last Edit: September 18, 2013, 06:58:11 PM by harriet »

Online Johnm

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Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
« Reply #69 on: September 18, 2013, 03:32:21 PM »
Hi Harriet,
I was wondering what label that Furry Lewis album was on--I don't have that one.
All best,
Johnm

Offline harriet

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Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
« Reply #70 on: September 18, 2013, 04:33:03 PM »
Hi John,

It's FatPossum label, George Mitchell recordings

http://www.fatpossum.com/products/good-morning-judge

H

Online Johnm

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Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
« Reply #71 on: September 18, 2013, 05:21:32 PM »
Oops, turns out I do have that one.  I think you have it right, Harriet, although I think the second line in the last verse begins with "then" rather than "and".
All best,
John

Offline harriet

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Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
« Reply #72 on: September 18, 2013, 06:57:11 PM »
Thanks - will change.

Online Johnm

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Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
« Reply #73 on: November 08, 2013, 01:03:20 PM »
Hi all,
Furry Lewis recorded "Billy Lyons and Stack O'Lee" on October 9, 1927, at a session in Chicago.  He backed himself out of C position in standard tuning for the song, which has some eccentric solos in which Furry seems to be channeling bygone marches.  In the next-to-last verse, I think the Judge speaks in the first line and the Sheriff responds in the second line.  There are a couple of places where I'm not at all sure I have the lyrics right, and I'd very much appreciate corroboration or correction of what I have currently.

I remember one September, on one Friday night
Stack O'Lee and Billy De Lyons had a great fight
Cryin', when you lose your money, learn to lose

Billy De Lyons shot six bits, Stack, he bet he passed
Stack O'Lee out with his .45, said, "You done shot your last."
When you lose your money, learn to lose

Lord, a woman come a-runnin', fell down on her knees
Cryin', "Oh, Mr. Stack O'Lee, don't shoot my brother, please!"
When you lose your money (guitar finishes line)

Now, you talkin' 'bout some gambler, oughta seen Richard Lee
Shot one thousand dollars and come out on a three
Cryin', when you lose your money, learn to lose

Lord the Judge told the Sheriff, We want 'im dead or alive."
"How in the world can we bring him, when he totes a .45?"
When you lose your money, learn to lose

Lord, a woman told the Judge, "My husband's named Jack, Sheriff."
Want to 'rest poor Stack O'Lee, better go somewheres else
When you lose your money, learn to lose

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: November 08, 2013, 08:22:59 PM by Johnm »

Offline banjochris

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Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
« Reply #74 on: November 08, 2013, 02:05:01 PM »
John, I think you have that line right, except it is possible it's Jack Shep or some last name like that, but Sheriff fits logically and with his pronunciation earlier.
Chris

 


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