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Charlie had so many crazy pieces you couldn't count 'em - Charlie Patton, remembered by Son House

Author Topic: Leroy Carr Lyrics  (Read 14932 times)

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Offline dj

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Re: Leroy Carr Lyrics
« Reply #30 on: June 02, 2007, 06:37:18 AM »
Quote
And Memphis [is?] Town is the only place for me.
Quote

I hear this as "Memphis's Town" (i.e. the town of Memphis).  A subtle (and inaudible) difference, but I think it makes more sense.

And by the way, where you've transcribed Scrapper's spoken aside as "Yoh", I think it's "Lord" being pronounced "Lowd".


Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Leroy Carr Lyrics
« Reply #31 on: June 02, 2007, 08:09:14 AM »
I hear this as "Memphis's Town" (i.e. the town of Memphis).  A subtle (and inaudible) difference, but I think it makes more sense.

And by the way, where you've transcribed Scrapper's spoken aside as "Yoh", I think it's "Lord" being pronounced "Lowd".
Good 'uns DJ. I just thought the former was a verbal stumble and the latter a complete mishearing on my part. Transcription changed accordingly. Thanks

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Leroy Carr Lyrics
« Reply #32 on: June 02, 2007, 08:33:07 AM »
The following Carr number virtually became a theme song for Big Joe Turner. Turner's early recorded renditions are completely faithful to Carr's original lyrics with the exception of the last line where "the train" becomes "the Katy's".

LOW DOWN DOG BLUES

I ain't gonna be your lowdown dog no more.
Now I ain't gonna be your lowdown dog no more.
You don't want me baby, down the road I'll go.

Now I worked hard mama and I brought you home my pay.
Now I worked hard mama and I brought you home my pay.
You certainly are gonna miss me when I'm gone away.

Ooo, ooo, ooo, ooo, wee.
Ooo, ooo, ooo, ooo, wee.
It's a lowdown shame, the way you treat poor me.

My home ain't here, I ain't compelled to stay.
My home ain't here, I ain't compelled to stay.
It's your time now, but it'll be mine some sweet day.

And I ain't gonna be your lowdown dog no more.
And I ain't gonna be your lowdown dog no more.
The train is at the station, my mind's made up to go.

Turner's 1938 performance of the number at the Spirituals To Sing Concert has an extra verse at the end which is the first verse from Robert Johnson's "I Believe I'll Dust My Broom", the significance of which is obvious. However,  I'm wondering if it was off the cuff or perhaps previously suggested to him.

Offline MTJ3

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Re: Leroy Carr Lyrics
« Reply #33 on: June 02, 2007, 02:12:05 PM »
At the time I failed to discover a definite derivation of the title or the usage of "puppies" in the third verse.

Puppy=mud puppy=salamander, which, when dried and powdered, was used in conjuring, which "conjuration" was Leroy's explanation for being hooked on the girl and being "drove crazy."  Compare Lonnie Johnson's apologia in "I'm Nuts About That Gal."

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Leroy Carr Lyrics
« Reply #34 on: June 03, 2007, 02:30:56 AM »
At the time I failed to discover a definite derivation of the title or the usage of "puppies" in the third verse.
Puppy=mud puppy=salamander, which, when dried and powdered, was used in conjuring, which "conjuration" was Leroy's explanation for being hooked on the girl and being "drove crazy."  Compare Lonnie Johnson's apologia in "I'm Nuts About That Gal."
Well what do ya know? In my case obviously not much. Thanks, makes perfect sense.

Offline Rivers

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Re: Leroy Carr Lyrics
« Reply #35 on: June 03, 2007, 07:25:15 PM »
Re puppies, I just plain assumed it meant she sicced the bloodhounds on his trail i.e. told the law where he might be found. The powdered salamander spell is much more interesting and, well, you learn something new every day around here.

Offline MTJ3

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Re: Leroy Carr Lyrics
« Reply #36 on: June 04, 2007, 10:56:52 AM »
Re puppies, I just plain assumed it meant she sicced the bloodhounds on his trail i.e. told the law where he might be found. The powdered salamander spell is much more interesting and, well, you learn something new every day around here.
Well, that's my guess.  The other hoodoo reference in Carr's songs is in "Baby You Done Put That Thing On Me."

Offline dj

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Re: Leroy Carr Lyrics
« Reply #37 on: June 05, 2007, 03:32:29 PM »
Leroy Carr and Scrapper Blackwell recorded "Alabama Women Blues" in Chicago on September 9, 1930.  It's a slow blues in Ab, and Scrapper does some fantastic string vibrato at the end of the first verse. 

As he often did, Carr accents repeated lines differently in several places here.  He breaks the first two lines of the first verse in different places, which I've indicated by commas.  In the last verse, he stresses his words differently, which I've indicated with italics.

Did you ever go down on, the Mobile and K. C. Line?
Did you ever go down, on the Mobile and K. C. Line?
I just want to ask you, did you ever see that girl of mine?

I rode the Central, and I hustled the L and N
I rode the Central, and I've hustled the L and N
The Alabama women, they look like section men

Don't cry baby, your papa will be home someday
Don't cry baby, your papa will be home someday
I've been away baby, but I did not go to stay

Don't the clouds look lonesome cross the deep blue sea?
Don't the clouds look lonesome cross the deep blue sea?
Don't my gal look good when she's comin' after me?
   
« Last Edit: June 06, 2007, 02:36:13 PM by dj »

Offline dj

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Re: Leroy Carr Lyrics
« Reply #38 on: June 05, 2007, 03:54:46 PM »
Carr and Blackwell recorded "The Depression Blues" in New York City on March 16 1932.  The song is a bit prophetic, as it would be the last song Leroy Carr would record for almost two years, as the Depression severely curtailed recording activity.  One wonders if, during the session, Carr was informed that his recording contract was being terminated.  The song is in Db.  There's a spoken introduction in the form of a conversation between Carr and Blackwell before the song breaks into a standard blues.

I've indicated different syllabic stress in the second verse with italics.

Like Cole Porter, Leroy Carr was pretty fastidious about rhyme.  I love the way he rhymed his scat "ooh" with "do" in the third verse.

Any confirmation or correction of the word in brackets would be appreciated.

Sorry about the formatting!

Scrapper:
  Hello, Leroy
Leroy:
  Hello, Scrap
Scrapper: 
  Boy, what's the matter with your clothes?
  Why you look raggeder 'n a barrel of kraut
  You look like you might have a mind to run rabbits or somethin'
  Why I've never seen you look like you do
  Tell me this, just what is the matter with you?
Leroy:
  Boy, Depression's got me

The Depression's on, and it's really on bad
The Depression's on, and it's really on bad
Now Lord I can't have no good times I once have had

There have been times I have had plenty of dough
There have been times I have had plenty of dough
But the rent man done told me I couldn't stay here no more

Ooh ooh oo-ooh, oo-ooh ooh ooh
Ooh ooh oo-ooh, oo-ooh ooh ooh
The Depression's on me and I don't know what to do

So this is all I have to say, I'll be on my way
So this is all I have to say, I'll be on my way
But I hope this Depression will get over and things will come my way   
« Last Edit: June 06, 2007, 02:35:29 PM by dj »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Leroy Carr Lyrics
« Reply #39 on: June 05, 2007, 04:16:37 PM »
Boy, dj, you picked a beauty with "Alabama Women".  I think it is a take, melodically, and in terms of both Leroy's and Scrapper's performances, that is just magical.  It's the first performance I ever heard of their music, on the old Sam Charters "The Country Blues" re-issue on RBF.  It pulled me in back then, over 40 years ago and it still pulls me in.  Just beautiful!
All best,
Johnm

Offline dj

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Re: Leroy Carr Lyrics
« Reply #40 on: June 05, 2007, 04:59:09 PM »
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I think it is a take, melodically, and in terms of both Leroy's and Scrapper's performances, that is just magical.

Lyrically, too.  It's just four verses, but they hang together so well and contain some wonderful imagery.  There's the theme of the singer's extensive travels in the railroad references in the first two verses, but Carr then signals that he isn't interested in any of the women he meets, just the one he left at home, by singing that the women in Alabama are so unattractive to him that they look like a railroad section crew (and he does a nice job tying the image in with the railroad imagery).  Then there's a verse sung about his intentions to get home eventually, and finally, as Carr sits musing at the clouds over the Gulf of Mexico, he ends the song on a high note with his lover coming to find him.  Blues lyrics don't get any better than this. 

It's on the Juke, if anyone is interested in requesting it. 

Offline MTJ3

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Re: Leroy Carr Lyrics
« Reply #41 on: June 06, 2007, 08:10:52 AM »
  Why you look ragged 'n a barrel of [flour]

Raggedier than a barrel of kraut. 

Offline MTJ3

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Re: Leroy Carr Lyrics
« Reply #42 on: June 06, 2007, 08:34:25 AM »
dj, I have "Alabama Women" in Ab, "Carried Water" in Eb, and "Depression Blues" in Db.  As is well documented elsewhere, there are some mechanical issues that can change the keys on reissues.  For example, I have "Muddy Water" from the Document set in D, but I have "Muddy Water" from Columbia's "Whiskey Is My Habit" set in the much more likely piano key of Eb.  On the other hand, there is the possibility that your "device" may not be in synch, so you may want to check that.

Offline dj

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Re: Leroy Carr Lyrics
« Reply #43 on: June 06, 2007, 10:38:35 AM »
MTJ3,  "barrel of kraut" it is.  I'll make the change.

Thanks for the heads up on the keys.  Maybe it's time to get the piano tuned.    :o   

Offline dj

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Re: Leroy Carr Lyrics
« Reply #44 on: June 06, 2007, 02:44:01 PM »
MTJ3, I stopped on the way home and got a battery for the chromatic tuner and discovered that I've been living in a house full of instruments tuned to A 449!  Thanks for catching the discrepancies.  I've made the corrections.