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Well, he may be old, but he sure will make you whine. - Jimmy Lee Williams, What Makes Grandpa Love Grandma So

Author Topic: Furry Lewis Lyrics  (Read 25808 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
« Reply #75 on: November 08, 2013, 07:52:05 PM »
Thanks, Chris, I've always wondered about that.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
« Reply #76 on: January 13, 2014, 06:34:48 PM »
Hi all,
Furry Lewis recorded "Frankie and Johnnie" for Prestige Bluesville in May of 1961, for the Sam Charters-produced album, "Done Changed My Mind".  Furry accompanied himself out of G position in standard tuning, but tuned quite low, sounding at D.  His version is unusual in that Frankie and Johnnie never have any kind of face-to-face confrontation in the course of the rendition.  Rather, Frankie is looking for Johnnie and the next thing you know, he's being discussed in the past tense.  Like many or most versions of the song, Furry's has a one-line refrain that gets altered slightly as the story unfolds.

Frankie and Johnnie was lovers, oh how they did love
Suppose they love each other, like the moon and stars above
"He's my man, but he done me wrong."

Frankie went to the bartender, asked for a glass of beer
Frankie told the bartender, "Ask me, my lovin' man been here?
He's my man, but he done me wrong."

"Don't tell me no story, don't tell me no lie.
Did my lovin' man stop here, did he keep on hikin' by?
That's my man, but he done me wrong."

"Listen here now, Frankie, hate to see you moan.
Why in the world don't you, Frankie, why don't you go back home?
I know that's your man, but he done you wrong."

I ain't gon' tell you no story, I ain't gon' tell you no lie.
Your lovin' man, he did not stop here, he musta kept on hikin' by.
He was your man, but he done you wrong."

"Bring 'long your rubber-tire buggy, bring 'long your rubber-tire hack.
Fourteen men went to the cemetery, but only thirteen mens come back.
They left my man, for he done me wrong.
They left my man, for he done me wrong."

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: January 20, 2014, 01:53:29 PM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
« Reply #77 on: March 23, 2014, 10:37:33 AM »
Hi all,
Furry Lewis recorded "Jelly Roll" at his first recording session, and it was the earliest of his recorded renditions in which he used the EAEGBE tuning, pitched around Eb for the song.  His guitar part is spectacular, and sort of set forth his basic musical language in that tuning, which he was to use later for "Mean Old Bedbug Blues", "Mistreatin' Mama" and "Creeper's Blues" in his early recordings.  Furry takes no solos on "Jelly Roll", but his playing is so exciting and rhythmically active that you feel more than adequately entertained by his verse accompaniments and fills.

I went to the gypsy, to get my fortune told
Went to the gypsy, baby, get my fortune told
Lord, the gypsy's told me, "Boy, you got a jelly roll."

Ain't nobody in town cook a jelly roll like mine
Nobody in town cook a jelly roll like mine
Nobody in town cook a jelly roll like mine

I went first on Main Street, Lord, I started down Beale
First on Main Street, Lord, and I started down Beale
Lookin' 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've got a new way of spelling Memphis, Tennessee
We got a new way of spelling Memphis, Tennessee
Double m, double e, Lord, a, y, and a z

Lord, my gal done quit me now
Hey Lord, my gal done quit me now
I'm goin' to the river, I'm gonna jump overboard and drown

All best,
Johnm








« Last Edit: March 23, 2014, 12:16:37 PM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
« Reply #78 on: April 22, 2014, 04:36:25 PM »
Hi all,
Furry recorded "White Lightning" at one of the sessions that produced his two LPs on Prestige Bluesville, currently available as a combined CD called "Shake 'Em On Down".  He played the song out of EAEGBE tuning, pitched very low around C with his sixth string, so tuned to CFCEbGC, more or less.  He is wonderfully loose in both his singing and playing on the song and shows an enormous imagination in his accompaniment and solos.  Furry changes his phrasing model for his third and fifth verses, doing a sort of AB, A, B phrasing over the three lines of his phrasing.  If you're interested in the EAEGBE tuning, this performance is definitely worth seeking out.

Baby, fix my breakfast so I can go to bed
Baby, fix my breakfast so I can go to bed
I been drinkin' white lightnin', done gone to my head

Got the blues so bad, it hurt my feet to walk
Got the blues so bad, baby, it hurt my feet to walk
I wouldn't hate it so bad, but it hurt my tongue to talk

Train I ride, woman, sixteen coach long, don't haul nothin' but chocolate to the bone
And the train I ride, sixteen coaches long
But she don't haul nothin' but chocolate to the ---

Babe, I want you to love me, love me all the time
Want you to love me, baby, love me all the ---
I can't sleep for dreamin', baby, you stays all on my mind

Baby, if you want some lovin', come go home with me, be your babe, be your money tree
If you want some lovin', come go home with me
I will be your babe, be your money tree

Bye bye, baby, got no more to say
Bye bye, baby, got no more to say
You know, I hate the train, baby, that take me away from here

SOLO

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: April 23, 2014, 06:59:30 AM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
« Reply #79 on: April 24, 2014, 02:49:05 PM »
Hi all,
Furry Lewis recorded "Cannon Ball Blues" on August 28, 1928 in Memphis, accompanying himself with a slide in Spanish tuning.  He re-used the melody and accompaniment he recorded that day in his post-rediscovery period, recording the song as "Perlee" on his Folkways album and as "Why Don't You Come Home?" on his Fat Possum CD.  The transition from his first verse to his second is tricky; it's as though the tagline of his first verse served as the opening line to his second verse, but it doesn't play out that way in terms of the accompaniment.  Furry has an interesting mannerism here of omitting the first word of his opening lines when he repeats them.  There are a couple of places I'm not at all sure I have right, enclosed in bent brackets, and I'd sure appreciate corroboration or correction of them.

Please take me, baby, try me one more time
Take me, baby, try me one more time
If I do to suit you, keep me a great long time

If I don't do to suit you, start me down the line
'f I don't do to suit you, start me down the line
(Guitar finishes verse)

I left my home, just to be with you
Left my home, just to be with you
You done got me here, now that's the way you do

They call me High Pockets, because I'm long and tall
Call me High Pockets, because I'm long and tall
Sell my barn yesterday, left on a Cannonball

I can't play no music and I sure can't sing no blues
Can't play no music and I sure can't sing no blues
Gimme shim' she wobble from my head down to my shoes

I went to the IC train, lay my head on the IC track
IC train, lay my head on the IC track
Seen the IC comin', Lord, and I snatched it back

I wished I'd-a died, Mama, when I were young
Wished I had-a died, Mama, when I were young
I would not have this low-down race to run

Edited 3/11/15 to pick up corrections from banjochris

All best,
Johnm




« Last Edit: March 11, 2015, 02:51:21 PM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
« Reply #80 on: March 10, 2015, 02:54:02 PM »
Hi all,
Furry Lewis recorded a terrific version of "Skinny Woman", accompanying himself in Spanish tuning without a slide, that appears on "Furry Lewis, Bukka White & Friends:  Party! At Home", Arcola Records, A CD 1001.  Furry is in wonderful form, and his playing and singing are so rich and animated.  I love the frankness of the first verse; to my taste, it beats the hell out of a lot of the childish double entendre stuff that was recorded, and Furry's tagline to the first verse reminds me of Henry Miller's writing.  It's great to hear the other persons at the party responding as Furry goes along.  Furry goes long on his next-to-last verse.  If you don't have this CD, I suggest you pick it up, because it is so entertaining and has great music.

I don't want, I don't want no skinny woman, I want a woman with plenty meat, Lord,
She can roll all night long, she don't have to stop to rest (Spoken, Booker White:  That's solid, there!)
If I ain't doin' no good, baby, Furry's doin' his actual best

I don't need, need no doc', all I need is Mary Tell
I don't need no doctor, just-a send me Mary Tell
That's the onliest woman can ever get old Furry well

Now, don't run, don't tell my brother, don't you tell my brother, Will
God, don't you all run and tell, don't tell my brother, Will
Well, the woman he's lovin', Lord knows, she's gon' get him killed

I'm going town in the mornin', I'm gon' tell that Chief Police
I'm goin' uptown, mornin', I'm 'on'tell that Chief Police
Well, my baby done quit me, and I sure can't see no peace

Boy, that M's, M's for Memphis, that is B for Birmingham
That's (guitar) there's a B for Birmingham
For my baby done quit me, and I just don't give a damn

Now, you take, take me back, baby, and you try me, just one more time
Said, take me back, babe, try me one more time (Spoken, Bob West:  We'll take you back, Furry.)
If I do, do to suit you, you can keep me a great long time
If I do to suit you, keep me a great long time
If I don't do to suit you, baby, you can (spoken) start me down the line

I worked for Mr. Charlie, boy, and I worked when he were poor
I worked for Mr. Charlie, Lord, Lord, he were poor
Now, Mr. Charlie don't 'low Furry, work at the camp any more

All best,
Johnm

Offline banjochris

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Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
« Reply #81 on: March 11, 2015, 02:28:02 PM »
John, on "Cannon Ball," I think you have 4.3 right, although it might be "sold" rather than "sell" at least to my hearing. Maybe someone else will hear something different.

3.3 should be now instead of no, probably just a typo

5.3 is Gimme shimmy-she-wobble from my head down to my shoes, or possible Let me shimmy-she-wobble
He pronounces it more like shim'-she-wobble but I'm pretty sure on that one.
Chris

Offline Johnm

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Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
« Reply #82 on: March 11, 2015, 02:52:13 PM »
Thanks very much for the help with "Cannon Ball Blues", Chris.  I have made the changes you suggest.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
« Reply #83 on: March 11, 2015, 03:39:02 PM »
Hi all,
Furry recorded "Shake 'Em On Down" for Prestige Bluesville in April of 1961, accompanying himself out of the EAEGBE tuning at a little flat of C#.  His playing in that tuning was so rich and inventive, and as always, he had some terrific lyrics.  He must be one of the most under-rated musicians in the style. 

I went to the gypsy for to get my hambone done
The gypsy said, "Furry, 'clare, you sure need one."
REFRAIN: Now, must I holler, or must I shake 'em on down
Babe, I'm so tired of holl'in', Lord, I b'lieve I shake 'em on down

If I just could holler like the Bob Lee, Jr. blow
I call my babe off the killin' floor
REFRAIN: Cryin', must I holler, or must I shake 'em on down
Oh, so tire', darlin', oh, I b'lieve I shake 'em on down

I don't drink no whiskey, wine, neither gin
If you see me sober, make me drunk again
REFRAIN: Now, must I holler, baby, must I shake 'em on down
I'm gettin' so tire', darlin', and I b'lieve I'll shake 'em on down

I woke up this mornin', looked at the risin' sun
Train don't hurry gonna be some walkin' done
REFRAIN: Baby, must I holler, or must I shake 'em on down
Oh, so tire', darlin', babe, I b'lieve I'll shake 'em on down

Babe, I ain't good-lookin' and it ain't the clothes I wear
But good kind treatment takes me everywhere
REFRAIN: Baby, must I holler
Oh, so tired of holl'in', baby, and I b'lieve I shake 'em on down

Baby, you know you don't want me, you ought to let me know
Poor boy, you done driv' me away from my home
REFRAIN: I'm so tired of holl'in', and I b'lieve I'll shake 'em on down
Ohh, so tire', darlin', b'lieve I'll shake 'em on down

All best,
Johnm
 
« Last Edit: March 11, 2015, 08:57:53 PM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
« Reply #84 on: December 10, 2016, 09:24:53 AM »
Hi all,
Furry Lewis's version of "Roberta", recorded on April 3rd or 4th, 1961 in Memphis, is one of the many tunes recorded over the years that used the melody of "Corinna, Corinna".  Furry does a  purposefully pretty rendition in Spanish with a slide, reminding what a nuanced slide player he could be.

SOLO

Tell me, Roberta, where you been so long?
Tell me, Roberta, where you been so long?
I ain't had no lovin' since you been gone

I see Roberta goin' 'cross the seas
I see Roberta going across the sea
She didn't write me no letter, she didn't care for me

Tell me, Roberta, what you gonna do?
(Guitar plays second line)
Just a little bit of lovin', let your heart be true

SOLO

Roberta, Roberta, you on my mind
I'll tell you, Roberta, you on my mind
If you cry about a nickel, you die about a dime

Roberta left yesterday, and I'm goin' today
Roberta left yesterday, and I'm goin' today
I'm getting tired of your low-down way

SOLO

All best,
Johnm



Offline Johnm

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Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
« Reply #85 on: September 27, 2017, 11:05:26 AM »
Hi all,
Furry Lewis recorded "Sweet Papa Moan" at his first session, in Chicago on April 20, 1927, and was joined on the session by Landers Waller on guitar (in C position, standard tuning) and Charles Johnson on mandolin.  It seems odd to have had Furry as a non-playing vocalist, but that is evidently what the session notes indicated.  The song is a cover of Lemon Jefferson's "Black Snake Moan", and features some chordal clashes between the mandolinist and guitarist, mostly due to the mandolinist playing double stops that are at odds with the underlying harmony.  The opening verse is particularly confused.

INTRO

Oh, wonder where my girl's tonight
Oh, wonder where my girl tonight
'Cause the girl I love, she don't treat me right

Baby, what you want me to do?
Baby, what you want your papa to do?
Beg, borrow and steal, bring it on home to you

Say, the sun gon' shine, my back door someday
Sun gon' shine my back door someday
'Cause the wind gon' blow, blow my blues away

Hey-ey, wonder where the IC train?
Oh-oh, wonder where the IC train?
B'lieve I'll go to my woman, you go to your man

Oh, rather be dead, layin' in my grave
Oh-oh, rather be dead, layin' in my grave
Than be here in the world, baby, bein' your slave

All best,
Johnm


 

Offline Johnm

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Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
« Reply #86 on: September 27, 2017, 01:19:50 PM »
Hi all,
Furry played a lovely version of "East St. Louis Blues" on his Folkways album, recorded by Samuel Charters in Memphis on October 3, 1959.  As with most of his 8-bar blues, Furry chose to play the song out of E position in standard tuning rather than the EAEGBE tuning he favored for 12-bar blues.  It seems likely that Furry was a good bit more rusty than he was on his later recordings, but after a tentative intro in which he veers into C and G, he rights himself and is in good shape for the remainder of his rendition.  It's interesting that he clearly sings "toney", rather than the more common "doney";  Long Cleve Reed and Papa Harvey Hull similarly sing "toney" and "toneys" on their mis-titled song, "Two Little Tommies". 

INTRO

I walked all the way from East St. Louis town
I did not have but the one poor lousy dime

Lord, I spent every nickel on a particular friend of mine
I spent every nickel on a particular friend of mine

Now, if you ain't got a dollar, won't you give me a lousy dime?
So I can see that darling girl of mine

Lord, my first name's Furry, I ain't gon' tell you my second name
Way my woman treat me, low-down dirty shame

I'm going back to Gary, oh, I'm going back there to stay
Babe, you had no business treating me this-a-way

I know, I know, my woman, she gon' laugh and shout
When the train roll 'long and I come walking out

If you catch me stealing, I do not mean no harm
I'm just stealing, people, try to get along

My woman, she ain't nothin', baby, but skin and bones
I just give her my money, just to help her 'long

SOLO

I see your toney, and it made me think of mine
I started a conversation, baby, try to keep from crying

If you ever want to hear me, sing this worldly song
Ain't nothing but the devil, make a man do wrong

Fare thee well, fare thee well, fare thee well, old Memphis, Tennessee
I'm going back to my baby, she won't come back to me

Lord, this time, this, 'nother year, baby, where will I be?
This time another year, baby, wonder where will I be?

SOLO

All best,
Johnm





« Last Edit: September 27, 2017, 02:15:35 PM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
« Reply #87 on: September 28, 2017, 09:42:17 AM »
Hi all,
"Mr. Furry's Blues" was recorded at Furry's first session, and like "Everybody's Blues" and "Sweet Papa Moan" it featured him singing, accompanied by Landers Waller on guitar, playing in C position, standard tuning, and Charles Johnson on mandolin.  The piece is taken at a relaxed tempo.

INTRO

I wished I had my poor heart in my hand
I wished I had my poor heart in my hand
I show you women, how to treat a man

I'm goin', I'm goin', your cryin' won't make me stay
Oh, I'm goin', your cryin' won't make me stay
But the more you cry, further you drive me away

You know you didn't want me, you oughtn't've made no stall
You know you did not want me, you oughtn't've made no stall
There's plenty more women, prayin' for your downfall

If the river was whiskey, I'd stay drunk all the time
If the river was whiskey I would, stay drunk all the time
So a woman like you, could not worry my mind

Some of these mornings, baby, listen to what I say
Some of these mornings, baby, listen to what I say
I'm goin' away to leave, it will be too late to pray

All best,
Johnm

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Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
« Reply #88 on: September 28, 2017, 10:04:49 AM »
Hi all,
Furry Lewis recorded "Why Don't You Come Home Blues" at a session in Chicago on October 9, 1927, accompanying himself with a slide in Spanish tuning.  In his post-rediscovery period, Furry more often called this song "Pearlee Blues".  Furry's call and response between his voice and that of the slide is remarkable on this track, and his coda with the slide is especially nuanced. 

INTRO

Pearlee, why don't you come home?
Pearlee, why don't you come home?
I ain't had no lovin', gal, since you've been gone

My Mama told me when I was a child
Mama told me when I was a child
"Good time now, trouble after awhile."

If I had listened to what my Mother said
I had a-listened, what my Mother said
I wouldn't been here, treated this-a-way

I'd rather see my coffin, rollin' from my door
D'rather see my coffin, rollin' from my door
Than to hear my good girl, says, "I don't want you no more."

I dreamt last night the world were cavin' in
Dreamt last night the world were cavin' in
Wasn't nothin' at all, my girl comin' home again

I feel like jumpin' from the treetop to the ground
Feel like jumpin' from the treetop to the ground
Girl I love, she sure done put me down

I wished I had've died, babe, when I were young
Wished I had've died, babe, when I were young
I would not have, this here race to run

All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: Furry Lewis Lyrics
« Reply #89 on: September 28, 2017, 05:04:17 PM »
Hi all,
Furry Lewis recorded two takes of "John Henry (The Steel Driving Man)"  in Memphis on September 22, 1929.  The two versions might more aptly be termed "John Henry-Part 1" and "John Henry-Part 2", since they are not really two takes of the same set of lyrics.  Furry accompanies himself masterfully with a slide in Vestapol.  This was a hugely influential version of the song for players of the song who came along in Furry's wake.  Furry, even when playing Standards, or songs that became Standards, always seemed to have lyrics distinctive to himself.  He sings this beautifully, too.

Take 1

INTRO

John Henry said to his captain,
"Lord, a man ain't nothin' but a man.
Before I'll be beaten by the steel-driving gang,
Lord, I'll die with this hammer in my hand, hand,
(Guitar answers)
Lord, I'll die with this hammer in my hand,
I will die with this hammer in my hand."

John Henry was a little boy
Sittin' at home on his mother's knee
Say, "That Big Bend Tunnel on that YMV,"
Cryin', "Mama, that will be the death of me, me.
(Guitar answers)
Lord, Mama, that will be the death of me, me."
(Guitar answers)

Lord, they taken poor John Henry
For the help, hew the mountain down
Lord, the mountain's so tall, John Henry's so small,
'Til he laid down his hammer, Lord, and cried, cried
(Guitar answers)
Lord, laid down his hammer and he cried, cried
(Guitar answers)

"Woman, where you get your little shoes,
And the dress you wear so fine?"
"Got my shoes from the railroad man,
And my dress from the man in the mine, mine,
(Guitar answers)
Got my dress from a man in the mine."
(Guitar answers)

John Henry had a little baby
Was just sitting on the palm of his hand
Cryin', "Baby, baby, take your Daddy's advice,
Don't you never be a steel-driving' man, man
(Guitar answers)
Lord, never be a steel-driving' man, man
(Guitar answers)

John Henry had some races
I was there when the race begin
John Henry would drive down eleven solid steel
While the steel driver was drivin' down ten, ten
(Guitar answers)

Edited 9/29 to pick up correction from banjochris

Take 2

INTRO

John Henry hammered in the mountain
'Til the head of his hammer caught on fire
Cryin', "Pick 'em up boys, and let 'em down again,
One cool drink of water 'fore I die, die
(Guitar answers)
One cool drink of water 'fore I die, die."
(Guitar answers)

John Henry had a little woman
And the dress she wore was blue
Drive down the railroad track, heard a voice 'hind her sayin',
"John Henry's sure been true to you, you
(Guitar answers)
Girl, John Henry's sure been true to you,
John Henry's sure been true to" (Guitar finishes line)

"Woman, take this ring I give you
And you put it on your right hand.
And when I'm dead and buried, poor gal,
You can give it to your other man.
(Guitar answers)
You can give it to your other man."
(Guitar answers)

John Henry asked the boss man for a job
Boss man say, "What in the world can you do?"
"I can set your track and I can line your jack,
I can pick and shovel, too, too
(Guitar answers X 2)

When the womens in the West heard of John Henry's death,
They couldn't sleep at home in thei' beds
Some was dressed in white, some dressed in red
Say, "I'm goin' where John Henry fell dead, dead
(Guitar answers)
Lord, I'm goin' where John Henry fell dead, dead."
(Guitar answers)

Lord, they buried poor John Henry
And they buried him in the pits of the sand
And the people, they gathered ten thousand miles around
Said, "There laid the head of that steel-driving gang."
(Guitar answers)

All best,
Johnm










« Last Edit: September 29, 2017, 11:36:47 AM by Johnm »

 


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