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Wen he gets (up) in de mornin' he feels bad, and wen (he) goes to bed at night he feels wusser. He tinks dat his body is made ob ice cream, all 'cept his heart, and dat - dat's a piece ob lead in de middle. All sorts ob sights are hubbering around, and red monkeys is buzzing about his ears... (D)em's what I calls de bloos - Sam Jonsing, in an 1839 New Orleans newspaper

Author Topic: Leroy Carr Lyrics  (Read 14928 times)

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Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Leroy Carr Lyrics
« Reply #15 on: May 30, 2007, 10:57:35 AM »
Unfortunately, I can't provide any biographical information on Carr, as I know absolutely nothing about him other than what's contained in Alan Balfour's short but excellent notes to the Document CDs.
If he has the time, and/or inclination, MTJ3 is *definitely* the person to provide the Carr biographcal data.

Offline dj

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Re: Leroy Carr Lyrics
« Reply #16 on: May 30, 2007, 11:14:37 AM »
Quote
I know that Johnny Parth was dismayed that the "complete works" failed to sell out of the initial pressing despite good press/reviews. But that was 15 years ago, did the Atkinson regime ever put them back into catalogue?

Volumes 1 through 4 just came back into print in April.  I bought mine as part of Document's ?5.99 "Reintroductory Special".  Should anyone be interested, the current list of reintroductions to the catalog is on sale through June 1st.
 

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Leroy Carr Lyrics
« Reply #17 on: May 30, 2007, 11:25:24 AM »
Volumes 1 through 4 just came back into print in April.  I bought mine as part of Document's ?5.99 "Reintroductory Special".  Should anyone be interested, the current list of reintroductions to the catalog is on sale through June 1st.
And there was I thinking you'd been one of the few who invested in them first time around and have only recently got around to listening to them! ;D

Offline Pan

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Re: Leroy Carr Lyrics
« Reply #18 on: May 30, 2007, 11:34:33 AM »
This thread reminded me that Bunker Hill kindly helped me with the lyrics of "Papa's on the House Top" a while ago:

http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?amp;Itemid=114&topic=2534.0

This song has 12-bar blues instrumental choruses with 8-bar sung choruses. For details check the link.

Cheers

Pan

dingwall

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Re: Leroy Carr Lyrics
« Reply #19 on: May 30, 2007, 01:36:44 PM »
A couple of suggestions re the lyrics.

1)'Don't Say Goodbye', verse 3, line 3
Can't bear to lose you, to hear you say goodbye.

2)'Goodbye Blues', verse 4, line 1
I've got those good and bye blues, those goodbye blues.

And to put the cat among the pigeons, how about the final line in 'The Dirty Dozen' verses?   The Leroy Carr version of this is the clearest I've heard among many.

And your mama doopidies all day long.

Just listen carefully to the last three words.   The usual  'And your mama dos the Lawdy Lawd', does occur elsewhere, but mostly in post-war records, where perhaps the singer was learning from doubtful transcriptions.   
 

Offline dj

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Re: Leroy Carr Lyrics
« Reply #20 on: May 30, 2007, 02:07:08 PM »
Good catches on the lyrics, dingwall.  I've made the changes.  Thanks.

Offline dj

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Re: Leroy Carr Lyrics
« Reply #21 on: May 30, 2007, 02:35:33 PM »
Leroy Carr and Scrapper Blackwell recorded "Carried Water For The Elephant" in Chicago on September 9, 1930.  The song is in Eb.  It's got a strong 2/4 feel (i.e two beats to a measure).  The verses are 8 measures long, with the harmony just hanging on the I chord except for the first beat of the last measure, where Carr and Blackwell move to the V chord.  The exception is the long third verse, where Carr/Blackwell lengthen the structure by adding extra lines over the I chord.  The instrumental verses are in a standard 12 bar blues format, but in 2/4 time.

The song features Carr's imitations of animal noises.  It's hard to imagine Carr singing this in a tavern in a tough part of Indianapolis, St. Louis, or Chicago, but maybe it went down well there as comic relief.  Or maybe Carr and Blackwell had a sideline doing children's parties.   :P

Note: At the end of the second line of the third verse, Carr pronounces "hollow" as "holla" to rhyme with "collar at the end of the previous line. 

Circus came to town, to the circus I went
Didn't have a ticket didn't have a cent
Circus man said "To see the show without a cent"
"You got to carry water for the elephant"

Instrumental verse

I carried water for the elephant
Back and forth to the well I went
Arms got sore and my back got bent
But I couldn't fill up the elephant

Instrumental verse

I says to the man with the standin' up collar
Bet four bits that elephant's a holla
He gave me a ticket, said "first You'll see"
"The animals in the menagerie"

First I saw the lion and the lion he roared "A-Rrrrrrr"
Saw the wild duck and the wild duck quacked "Quack, quack quack"
Saw the wild cat and the wild cat meowed "Meow-ow"
Saw the old crow and the old crow cawed "Caw caw caw"
Saw Mr. Possum sittin' on a limb, big black bear sittin next to him
Saw the old monkey like in a zoo, and the wild rooster says "Cock-a-doodle-doodle-doo"

Instrumental verse

Saw the hippopotamus splash in the water
Tryin' to flirt with the crocodiles daughter
saw the giraffe and the big kangaroo
Saw an owl holler "Hoo hoo hoo"

Saw the wild birds and the birds sang sweet "Tweet tweet tweet"
Saw the wild dogs and the wild dogs barked "Arf arf arf"
Saw the cuckoo and the cuckoo cooed "Cuckoo cuckoo"
Saw the hyena and the hyena laughed "Ha ha ha"

I went down to the circus tent
Sure was doggone glad I went
Saw the whole show and didn't cost a cent
'Cause I carried water for the elephant

Instrumental verse
           
« Last Edit: June 06, 2007, 02:37:40 PM by dj »

Offline MTJ3

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Re: Leroy Carr Lyrics
« Reply #22 on: May 30, 2007, 05:12:46 PM »
I think the fact that he was a pianist and that he was enormously popular (shudder) have contributed to his otherwise inexplicable lack of recognition from present-day Country Blues aficionados.

Sad but true, Johnm.  Someone made an ironic comment to the effect that Scrapper would have been more popular if he (1) had been from the country and (2) would have been murdered when he was younger.  Leroy was from the South and drank himself to death quite young--sheesh, what more can you ask for?  To your list of "undesirable qualities," I would add his relaxed delivery and eschewal of ululation.

Of course, the Document CDs are absolute "must haves" for a Carr enthusiastic (and, if you have to be a completist, the test pressings and "Too Late" CDs), but please don't overlook the relatively recent Sony re-release of Carr's work.  I was initially a bit put off by the lack of what I considered new information (historically and musicologically) in the liner notes and what I considered to be the Rice Krispies job of remastering ("snap, crackle and pop"--sorry) in what should be the era of pellucid clarity of reissues capped off by the likes of John R.T. Davies, but I'm quite happy about it now as one really can hear a lot--mostly instrumentally--that one can't hear on the other reissues.



« Last Edit: June 02, 2007, 08:26:42 AM by MTJ3 »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Leroy Carr Lyrics
« Reply #23 on: May 30, 2007, 11:33:29 PM »
Hi all,
Leroy Carr recorded "Longing For My Sugar" in 1934, backed by both Scrapper Blackwell and Josh White on guitars.  Either one of the guitarists would certainly have been enough; they are both playing good stuff, but appear unwilling to give an inch in terms of ceding any of their playing space to the other musician, taking turns, or any other compromise that might have resulted in a more coherent ensemble sound.
That having been said, this is an outstanding track, due mostly to Leroy's characteristic outstanding singing, fine playing, and the considerable beauties of the song itself.  I think this is one of the very prettiest blues melodies, really spectacular, and it makes some of the neatest uses of Jazzy chromaticism and an expanded chordal vocabulary of any Blues song of the era.  The progression is discussed in some detail in a post on page 2 of the "Rag Blues and Circle of Fifths" thread in the Main Forum.  It's interesting that as sophisticated as the progression is, the song, in terms of its phrasing, is a straight 12-bar blues with an AAB lyric structure (though Leroy makes the most of his ability to fit in seven words where other singers could only fit five words).  Seek this one out.  It really is sensational.

SPOKEN:  Lord, I'm so blue

   I'm longing for my sugar, and I don't want no one else (2)
   And I don't miss her so much until I'm all by myself

   Now, I knowed when I quit her I was doing wrong
   I knowed when I quit her I was doing wrong
   Now, I've got trouble on my mind, it's trying to get her back home

   I'm going to pay the boss and get my check card today (2)
   And give it to my sugar if she'll come back home to stay

   Fussing and fighting ain't no way to get along (2)
   It's done caused me a world of trouble and broke up my happy home

   I can't work in the daytime, I can't sleep a wink in the night (2)
   Thinking the woman that I love ain't been treated right

   SPOKEN:  I mean that

All best,
Johnm
   

 

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Leroy Carr Lyrics
« Reply #24 on: May 31, 2007, 11:36:06 AM »
There is surprisingly little known about Carr considering what a major and public figure he was.  I don't recall the specifics of Alan's notes, but Ted Watts and Duncan Schiedt did a lot of digging on Carr in Indianapolis and knocking on doors and such in the late 50s, the results of which can be found summarized in the liner notes, for which Schiedt is given credit, to the "old" Columbia release, and which, I think, have to be viewed as the cornerstone of our knowledge of Carr's life. 
Absolutely, a primary source. The writer of those booklets obviously plundered it for all it was worth!  :)

I'll gladly OCR scan the LP notes and post as a new topic elswhere if folk would like to read them (Aprrox 2500 words).

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Leroy Carr Lyrics
« Reply #25 on: May 31, 2007, 11:40:24 AM »
Yes please!

Offline Johnm

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Re: Leroy Carr Lyrics
« Reply #26 on: May 31, 2007, 11:29:03 PM »
Hi all,
Leroy Carr recorded "It's Too Short", like "Longing For My Sugar", with the backing of Scrapper Blackwell and Josh White on guitars.  The old Columbia re-issue, "Blues Before Sunrise" that has been referred to earlier in the thread lists W. R. Calaway and C. Williams as the composers of the song (and many others songs on the album). 
The song opens with an ominous sounding descending bass line on the piano, and on this tune, Scrapper and Josh work together beautifully, claiming different parts of the registers to concentrate in so that the sound remains open and spacious.  The concluding solo, which is accorded two whole times through the form, is very exciting playing from all concerned.  This really is a hell of a catchy number and would work great as a solo piano piece, solo guitar piece or guitar duet, in addition to the way it was recorded.

   Now I'm down and out, ain't got no friends around
   I'm down and out, ain't got no friends around
   I go from door to door, everybody turns me down

   Now, my woman treats me like I'm a motherless child
   Now, my woman treats me just like a motherless child
   She's always squabbling, don't give me no pleasant smile

   Now, here I am people, out in the ice and snow
   Now, here I am people, out in the ice and snow
   My clothes all in pawn, ain't got nowhere to go

   She says she liked my music, but my tune's too short
   She says she liked my music, but my tune's too short
   But if she gets a long-winded player, she's sure to get caught

   Now, babe, I can't help it if I can't play long
   Now, babe, I can't help it, if I can't play long
   I'm just a little skinny fellow, and ain't very strong

   SOLO:

   SPOKEN, DURING SOLO:  Play it, boy!  Play it on down.  Knock it on out, kid!  Oh, it's a mess!

   SPOKEN, AFTER MUSIC STOPS:  Babe, I can't help it 'cause my tune ain't long enough.  If it ain't long enough, let me play it again.

All best,
Johnm   

Offline dj

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Re: Leroy Carr Lyrics
« Reply #27 on: June 01, 2007, 11:44:01 AM »
Thanks for posting those transcriptions, John.

This might be a good place to mention that anyone who wants to contribute some of Carr's lyrics to this thread is more than welcome to do so.  Leroy Carr recorded somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 songs, so there's plenty of transcription work to go around!
 

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Leroy Carr Lyrics
« Reply #28 on: June 02, 2007, 12:12:25 AM »
The following song was on a mid 70s Yazoo LP and at the time my interest was sparked by what seemed rather an odd title so transcribe it and placed inside the record sleeve; there it has remained ever since. At the time I failed to discover a definite derivation of the title or the usage of "puppies" in the third verse. The liner notes only told readers that Blackwell was in "D", not much use to my young enquiring mind! ;D

I might google the word/phrase but that will have to wait.

Hold Them Puppies
(sung to the melody of Corrina, Corrina)

Nlghts so lonesome and the days so long,
Oh the nlghts is so lonesome and the days so long,
Ain't had no lovln' slnce you've been gone.

If you see my baby, tell her to hurry home,
If you see my baby, tell her to hurry home,
Aln't had no "hmmm", slnce she has been gone.

You put the pupples on me mama, you drove me crazy too.
You put the puppies on me mama, you drove me crazy too.
You done made me love you, what can I do?

Won't you tell my baby, to hurry back to me?
Won't you tell my baby, to hurry back to me?
She's got the best old "hmmn", I ever did see.

Won't you tell my baby, to hurry back to me?
Won't you tell my baby, to hurry back to me?
She's got the best old lovin' that I ever did see.

[SOLO]

You can pull your dress babe, up above your knee.
You can pull your dress babe, up above your knee.
You can strut your stuff babe, but don't mess with me.

You gonna leave me, you gonna leave me, you gonna
leave me blue.
You gonna leave me, you gonna leave me, you gonna
leave me blue.
I want some of your lovln', don't care what you do.

(There's also a hand written transcription of Memphis Town within the sleeve too, but that'll need close examination before posting here.)
« Last Edit: June 02, 2007, 12:13:28 AM by Bunker Hill »

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Leroy Carr Lyrics
« Reply #29 on: June 02, 2007, 04:03:13 AM »
Any offers of alternative transcription for what sounds like a lyric stumble in third verse?

MEMPHIS TOWN

Went to the station to get me a train.
Gonna climb aboard and ride again.
Just climb aboard and ride around.
I might get off at Memphis Town.

CHORUS:
Memphis Town, Memphis Town.
All trains goin' to Memphis Town.
Shovel in the coal, see the wheels go round.
Spoken aside: Lord
Lord, everybody's goin' down to Memphis Town.

I said conductor, where are the trains all gwine [sic]?
I want to go to see that girl of mine.
He answered me with a railroad frown.
All trains gwine [sic] to Memphis Town.

CHORUS

I said, what's doin' down old Memphis way?
There's trains all goin' there today.
The trainman said, there's a Jubilee.
And Memphis's Town is the only place for me.

CHORUS

I said to the station man, where's my train?
He said, I never knowed you owned a train.
I said, you better answer or I'll smack you down.
He said all trains goin' to Memphis Town.

CHORUS

Goodbye folks, I'm on my way.
See you all some other day.
Got my ticket, here's my train.
Goin' down to Memphis to see my girl again.

CHORUS

SOLO

Everybody's goin' d-o-w-n to Memphis Town.

[Edited to take into consideration DJ's emendations]
« Last Edit: June 02, 2007, 08:06:00 AM by Bunker Hill »

 


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