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I think I saw some old man and he was real good on the guitar, on the chords, and he didn't sing that good, just play something like that, and I copied some of that and put the words to it. And Blind Blake used to have something kinda in that style. He would play in that style and I thought he was a real good guitar player. Nice chords. Played finger style. - Jesse Babyface Thomas explains how he wrote Blue Goose Blues, interview in Shreveport, La., ca. 1989

Author Topic: Son House Lyrics  (Read 8985 times)

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Offline uncle bud

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Son House Lyrics
« Reply #15 on: October 05, 2006, 02:57:30 PM »
Dry Spell is a tricky one. A few posssibilities below.


DRY SPELL BLUES P.1 ** Son House, 1930

The dry spell blues are *callin', drive me?? from door to door (2)
the dry spell blues has put everybody on the killin' floor . . .

Now the people down south soon won't have no home (2)
Cause this dry spell have parched all the cotton & corn . . .

Hard luck's on everybody, and ?? ?? ?? ?? too (2)
?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ain't got a ?? ?? ??

Done got foldin' my arms & I walked away
Oh I fold my arms and I walked away
Just like god tell you, somebody got to pay

Pork chops 45 cents a pound, cotton is only 10 (2)
I can't keep no women, no, no, not where I been?? . . . .

Go dry ol' boll weavil, turn up its toes and die (2) ??
Now ain't nothin to do, [but] bootleg moonshine & rye . . .

DRY SPELL BLUES P. 2 ** Son House

Lord it have been so dry, you could make a powder house 'out that world?? (2)
But all them money men like a rattlesnake in his coil?? . . .

I done throwed up my hands Lord & solemnly swore (2)
It ain't no need of me changing towns, it's a drought everywhere I go . . .

It's a dry old spell everywhere I been . . .(2)
I believe to my soul this old world is 'bout to end . . .

Well I stood in my backyard, I wrung my hands & pray (2)
& I couldn't see nothin', couldn't see nothin' green? . . .

Oh Lord, have mercy if you please (2)
Make your rain come down & give our poor hearts ease

These blues, these blues *worthwhile to be heard*?
Oh these blues *worthwhile to be heard*?
??  ??  ??  ?? ??


Some people suggest "wrung my hands and scream". Not sure.

Offline banjochris

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Son House Lyrics
« Reply #16 on: October 05, 2006, 09:23:05 PM »
Here's my take on some of the missing lines from Preachin' the Blues:

Said I'm goan' *fold my arms*, goan' kneel down in prayer (2)
When I get up I'm goan' leave my Preachin' blues laying there
fold my arms is right


Now there ain't nothin' now baby, Lord that's goan worry my mind (2) 
*I'm satisfied I got the longest run* . . .
Last line is "I'm satisfied, I got the longest line" -- I assume this means either the longest line of people in his church (line to be baptized) or the longest line of BS.

Oh I'm goan preach these blues & go to my seat & sit down (2)
When the spirit comes I want you to jump straight up & down! . . .
this is "choose my seat and sit down" (I think he says this in his '60s recordings too), and
When the spirit comes, sister, I want you to jump straight up and down.

For Dry Spell, I'll put all the words as I hear them (with some cutting and pasting from Uncle Bud)

The dry spell blues have caused me to drift from door to door (2)
the dry spell blues has put everybody on the killin' floor . . .

Now the people down south soon won't have no home (2)
Cause this dry spell have parched all the cotton & corn . . .

[I got this next verse from the big Revenant Patton box set, and I agree with their transcription]
Hard luck's on everybody, ain't missin' but a few
Now besides a shower, ain't got a heavy dew.

Done got foldin' my arms & I walked away
Oh I fold my arms and I walked away
Just like god tell you, somebody got to pay

Pork chops 45 cents a pound, cotton is only 10 (2)
[If] I can't keep no women, lord lord lord what then?

So dry ol' boll weavil, turn up his toes and die (2)
Now ain't nothin to do, [but] bootleg moonshine & rye . . .

DRY SPELL BLUES P. 2 ** Son House

Lord it have been so dry, you could make a powder house out [of] the world (2)
And all them money men like a rattlesnake in his coil
[According to Calt and Wardlow's Patton biography, "rattlesnake in his coil" meant a cheapskate, and the phrase is in the first line of Patton's "Rattlesnake Blues"]

I done throwed up my hands Lord & solemnly swore (2)
It ain't no need of me changing towns, it's a drought everywhere I go . . .

It's a dry old spell everywhere I been . . .(2)
I believe to my soul this old world is 'bout to end . . .

Well I stood in my backyard, I wrung my hands & scream (2)
& I couldn't see nothin', couldn't see nothin' green

Oh Lord, have mercy if you please (2)
Make your rain come down & give our poor hearts ease

These blues, these blues is worthwhile to be heard
Oh these blues worthwhile to be heard
???
[The Patton box set has "God sent Elijah, but there ain't no word" -- I hear it more as "God spared Elijah, but there ain't no more or no mud. I don't think any of them make a great deal of sense, though.]
Chris



LoneWolf

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Son House - Clarksdale Moan
« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2007, 01:37:56 PM »
If think that the discovery of this recording last year is one of the greatest thing ever happened, absolutley a miracle.

I'm curious, did people know about this recording and looked for it, or did someone just find it by accident? And who found it, and where? What's the story of this discovery?

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Son House - Clarksdale Moan
« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2007, 03:43:08 PM »
The story of how this record came to light is related in a brief essay by John Tefteller in the Blues Images 2007 calendar (available through WeenieCampbell by following the links further down on the left-hand menu, under User Menu - and always recommended!).

Paramount had assigned a release number to the record but since it had never been found, some thought it had been recorded but never released. Tefteller writes that in October 2005, "Chicago record collector Mark Blaesing revealed to Richard Nevins of Shanachie/Yazoo Records that he had the long-lost Son House record. This surprise announcement came during a discussion with Nevins about the wild and wooly aftermath of an eBay auction of a similarly scarce country record. Country music collectors were abuzz over the reappearance of a long-lost record by the Georgia Pot Lickers and out of that came the news that 'Clarksdale Moan' had been unearthed. Blaesing, a very nice low key guy, would not reveal where or how he obtained the record except to say that he did indeed get it from someone who wished to remain anonymous. He also hinted that the record was found 'in the South'. Nevins was blown away by the news and immediately made arrangements with Blaesing to have the record remastered at his studios in New Jersey."

There you go. Amazing that it would resurface after 75 years.

The Blues Images calendar includes both sides of this rarest of 78s with the 16-track CD that accompanies the calendar. Recommended to all Weenies!
« Last Edit: January 10, 2007, 03:44:45 PM by uncle bud »

Offline Coyote Slim

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Re: Mississippi County Farm Blues and Clarksdale Moan
« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2007, 12:53:02 PM »
Very interesting...when I first heard "Clarksdale" I thought it was in standard tuning.  But since I was sick and sleep-deprived, I didn't trust my own judgment. 
Puttin' on my Carrhartts, I gotta work out in the field.

Coyote Slim's Youtube Channel

Offline Coyote Slim

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Son House Lyrics
« Reply #20 on: February 11, 2007, 12:59:59 PM »
I always heard the last line in the "porkchop" verse in "Dryspell" as:

"I can't keep no women, no, no, never did!"
Puttin' on my Carrhartts, I gotta work out in the field.

Coyote Slim's Youtube Channel

bighollowtwang

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Re: Mississippi County Farm Blues and Clarksdale Moan
« Reply #21 on: February 20, 2007, 12:34:56 PM »
I am pretty certain there are two guitars on this track.
House in vestapol and Brown in standard. The ending slide lick points to vestapol as you can hear Son sound the III-V-I on the three high strings.

If you listen VERY carefully to the "moaning verse" - where it comes out of the IV chord and Son concludes his vocalized phrase - at 1:30 into the song, the two guitars are momentarily out of sync with one another.

« Last Edit: February 20, 2007, 12:40:45 PM by bighollowtwang »

Offline Gumbo

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Re: Son House Lyrics
« Reply #22 on: March 10, 2012, 09:10:01 AM »
Am I Right or Wrong 1942
the progression is Eb Ab Db F#
apparently based on There are Others Who Don't Think That Way by Shepard Edmonds which i haven't heard

'm i right or wrong
you need not think because you're black
i'm gonna beg you to take me back
now babe, was that right or wrong

I'm going in the spring
i got messed from shakin' that thing
now babe, was i right or wrong

yeah up the hickory down the pine
I bust my britches right behind
now babe, was i right or wrong

you need not think because you're brown
i'm gonna let you dog me round
now honey, was that right or wrong

don't you think that because you're yella
i'm gonna give you my last four dollars
now babe, was i right or wrong

look a here honey what you want me to do
done all i could to get along with you
now honey, was that right along

you need not think because you're black
ahm gonna beg you to take me back
now honey, was that right or wrong

N' I'm going in the spring
but i got messed from shakin that thing
now honey, was i right or wrong

Offline Michael Cardenas

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Re: Son House Lyrics
« Reply #23 on: March 10, 2012, 08:57:26 PM »
RE: Dry Spell Blues (Part 1)

I've always had difficulty with this first verse, but I like Uncle Bud's take on the "door to door". In the past I thought maybe "dusk to dawn". A lead-in lyric of "touching/touch me" might make sense phonetically as "touch me from door to door". I say this because I hear his tongue hitting the roof with the T. Wait it gets better!!! Then I read what banjochris was thinking... I like this idea banjochris, on the second line of the first verse, I don't hear the caused as much as I hear an L as in the more evident "calling". Cause makes sense too as in "causin", the L and Z have a close sound if you think of the pronunciation kaw zed, but i swear I hear the L stronger in the second line. Regardless, I think you got it, fantastic ear man [men].

Dry spell blues have causin' [callin'] me to drift from door to door

I also agree with the Revenant transcription. My only curiosity with the pork chops verse is if he ends with a did or didn't since he's sustaining the NNNN. As for the final verse, sometimes I hear him singing Po', but I can't decide if I'm hearing the softer "so". Po' would make sense lyrically as an adjective, but "so" is also a typical way of concluding a tune i.e., So the moral of the story is... Using the adverb so could also be seen as a means to amplify how dry it was.


Dry Spell Blues (Part 1)

Them dry spell blues have callin' me, to drift from door to door
Dry spell blues have callin' me, to drift from door to door
They dry spell blues has put everybody on the killing floor

Now the people down south, soon won't have no home
Oh the people down south, soon won't have no home
Cuz this dry spell has parched all this cotton and corn

Hard luck's on everybody ain't missin' but a few
Hard luck's on everybody ain't missin' but a few

Now besides a shower ain't got a heavy dew

Done got foldin' my arms and I walked away
Oh I fold my arms lord I walked away
Just like I tell you somebody's got to pay

Pork chops 45 cents a pound, cotton is only 10
Pork chops 45 cents a pound, cotton is only 10
I can't keep no women lord and I never did

Po' dry old boll weevil turn up his toes and die
Po' dry old boll weevil turn up his toes and die

Now I nothin' to do, bootleg moonshine and rye
« Last Edit: March 12, 2012, 03:25:26 AM by Michael Cardenas »
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Offline jostber

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Re: Son House - Clarksdale Moan
« Reply #24 on: March 12, 2012, 04:39:41 AM »
The story of how this record came to light is related in a brief essay by John Tefteller in the Blues Images 2007 calendar (available through WeenieCampbell by following the links further down on the left-hand menu, under User Menu - and always recommended!).

Paramount had assigned a release number to the record but since it had never been found, some thought it had been recorded but never released. Tefteller writes that in October 2005, "Chicago record collector Mark Blaesing revealed to Richard Nevins of Shanachie/Yazoo Records that he had the long-lost Son House record. This surprise announcement came during a discussion with Nevins about the wild and wooly aftermath of an eBay auction of a similarly scarce country record. Country music collectors were abuzz over the reappearance of a long-lost record by the Georgia Pot Lickers and out of that came the news that 'Clarksdale Moan' had been unearthed. Blaesing, a very nice low key guy, would not reveal where or how he obtained the record except to say that he did indeed get it from someone who wished to remain anonymous. He also hinted that the record was found 'in the South'. Nevins was blown away by the news and immediately made arrangements with Blaesing to have the record remastered at his studios in New Jersey."

There you go. Amazing that it would resurface after 75 years.

The Blues Images calendar includes both sides of this rarest of 78s with the 16-track CD that accompanies the calendar. Recommended to all Weenies!

Do you have the direct link to the Tefteller article? And was the record ever released when it was recorded?

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Son House Lyrics
« Reply #25 on: March 12, 2012, 07:55:58 AM »
Hi jostber - As far as I know, the text only appeared in the 2007 Blues Images calendar. Unless it's somewhere on the Blues Images website.

Paramount did assign a release number and the record appeared on a release sheet according to the Tefteller text. But no advertising has ever been found, and until this copy of the record showed up, some thought the record had never in fact been released. But it must have been, since we now have a recording, label scan and all. Just a rarity. Lucky for us it was found (I think it's one of House's coolest songs).

« Last Edit: March 12, 2012, 07:57:54 AM by uncle bud »

Offline jostber

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Re: Son House Lyrics
« Reply #26 on: March 12, 2012, 08:04:07 AM »
That's great, thanks for the information. :) Seems like there is a story on this in Living Blues Magazine #183 as well:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clarksdale_Moan

Which song is the ninth one mentioned in the Wikipedia article?



Offline Gumbo

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Re: Son House Lyrics
« Reply #27 on: March 12, 2012, 08:36:13 AM »
that must be the unissued test pressing of Walkin Blues issued on Document 532
see Stephan Wirz' Son House Discography - entry 36

EDIT it's also included on the JSP Patton box set
« Last Edit: March 12, 2012, 08:38:03 AM by Gumbo »

 


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