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You can jive me, baby, but I don't believe a thing you say. You just a confidencin' woman and wants to have your way. - Clifford Gibson, "Jive Me Blues"

Author Topic: Barbecue Bob Lyrics  (Read 16319 times)

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Offline Stuart

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Re: Barbecue Bob Lyrics
« Reply #45 on: January 07, 2013, 12:30:33 PM »
Thanks, Andrew! Good work running down and uncovering the details behind the line, whether it be Bessie's or Barbeque Bob's. It certainly becomes clear once we know the specific context.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2013, 05:53:08 PM by Stuart »

Online Johnm

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Re: Barbecue Bob Lyrics
« Reply #46 on: January 07, 2013, 12:33:17 PM »
Thanks for tracking down all that background information, guys!  So the line makes sense as sung, though "headlining" may be a coinage of Barbecue Bob's, since Bessie Smith did not sing it that way, and he probably got the idea of the verse from her.
All best,
Johnm

Offline dj

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Re: Barbecue Bob Lyrics
« Reply #47 on: January 07, 2013, 05:02:01 PM »
I've said it before, I'll say it again:  you ought to get college credit for following this forum.  Thanks uncle bud and Stewart.

Online Johnm

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Re: Barbecue Bob Lyrics
« Reply #48 on: January 08, 2013, 03:57:11 PM »
Hi all,
Barbecue Bob accompanied himself out of Spanish tuning with a slide for "Twistin' Your Stuff", which like "She Shook Her Gin" was not released by the original recording company.  This is an amazing performance.  I listened to it several times before I realized that Barbecue Bob was shadowing his vocal melody with the slide as he sang the verses, counter-punching and providing rhythmic accents in his bass.  The song is a one-chorder, so you certainly couldn't characterize it as harmonically complex, but the integration of the voice with the guitar and the way Barbecue Bob played time combine for what is probably an inimitable performance.  Bob's tearing tempo allowed him to fit in nine voluble verses and four solos--whew!  This is one for the ages, and words to live by, by the way.

You all heard the song of "Tight Like That"
She's got this and she's got that
This little song is a little bit rough
The name of it is "Twistin' Your Stuff"
REFRAIN: Ah, twist your stuff, ah, twist your stuff
No matter how you do it, keep on twistin' your stuff

You get in a jam, don't know what to do
Some way and some how you'll soon pull through
REFRAIN: If you twist your stuff, ah, twist your stuff
May take a little time but keep on twistin' your stuff

A little he-hog and a little bitty sow
Wants to root around but they didn't know how
REFRAIN: They're twistin' their stuff, ah, twist your stuff
Now matter how you do it, just keep on twistin' your stuff

SOLO

My gal passed me the other night
The way she was walkin', it was just too tight
REFRAIN: She was twistin' that stuff, ah, twist your stuff
Don't care how you do it, but it's best you twist that stuff

If your gal don't like you and she want another pal
If you can't get a date with none of your gals
REFRAIN: Start twistin' your stuff, ah, twist your stuff
May take a little time, but keep on twistin' your stuff

SOLO

Little bottle of corn, little bottle of gin
Put you in the place that you would like to get in
REFRAIN: If you twist your stuff, ah, twist your stuff
May take a little time, but keep on twistin' your stuff

SOLO

You got the world in a jug, stopper in your hand
Go easy, boy, because a lot of good men
REFRAIN: If you twist your stuff, just twist your stuff
May take a little time, keep on twistin' your stuff

Old Aunt Jane, she's a good old soul
She was always hot, didn't never run cold
REFRAIN: She'd twist her stuff, ah, twist her stuff
Can't see how she done it, but she kept twistin' her stuff
 
SOLO

I twisted last night and the night before
Next time I twist, I'm gonna twist it on the floor
REFRAIN: I'll twist my stuff, ah, twist my stuff
Can't see how you do it, but keep on twistin' your stuff

All best,
Johnm
 

 

Online Johnm

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Re: Barbecue Bob Lyrics
« Reply #49 on: January 09, 2013, 05:03:36 PM »
Hi all,
Barbecue Bob accompanied himself out of Spanish tuning with a slide for "It's Just Too Bad".  He gives a lot of space in his rendition to his soloing, with solos following every verse except the last two.  He adopts a very unusual rhythmic motif for his solos, hitting very forcefully down-stroked triplets on the first two beats of each of the first two measures in his phrases, with quarter note strums following on beats three and four of those same measures.  Because of the way they are down-stroked, the triplets have a very jagged sound that is almost martial-sounding.  In his fourth solo, Barbecue Bob even goes to some tremolo for a moment.

This song has exceptionally strong and tough lyrics.  The final verse, and in particular its tagline, is my current favorite blues verse.

I've a story to tell you, honey, and it just too bad
I've a story to tell you, honey, and it just too bad
Get a little closer, tell you 'bout a dream I've had

SOLO

Saw a big-time rounder, hangin' 'round my high brown's bed
I saw a big-time rounder, hangin' 'round my high brown's bed
If I shoots that rounder, honey, it will be too bad

SOLO

"Tell me, pretty mama, why you fool around with him?
Won't you tell me pretty mama, why you fool around with him?"
"I can't tell you, papa. It will be too bad Jim."

SOLO

I'm goin' to take my razor, cut you from ear to ear
I'm going to take my razor, cut you from ear to ear
When that rounder call you, honey, then you can't hear

SOLO

I'm goin' down to the river, jump over so brave and bold
I'm going down to the river, jump over so brave and bold
I don't mind the drownin', honey, but the water's so cold

But ain't no use to worry, honey, 'bout the time you've had
But it ain't no use to worry, honey, 'bout the time you've had
If you had a lot of trouble, honey, it is just too bad

Edited 1/10 to pick up corrections from uncle bud

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: January 10, 2013, 05:07:48 PM by Johnm »

Offline dj

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Re: Barbecue Bob Lyrics
« Reply #50 on: January 10, 2013, 05:05:17 AM »
Hi, John,

I hear the second half of the first two lines of the penultimate verse of It's Just Too Bad as "jump off the BRAVIN' BOARD".  Hearing this, I assume a "braving board" is a colloquialism for diving board, though a search doesn't turn up any instances of this usage.

Online Johnm

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Re: Barbecue Bob Lyrics
« Reply #51 on: January 10, 2013, 08:24:59 AM »
Thanks for the suggestion, dj.  I had "bravin' board" originally, but then thought I heard "bold" at the end of those lines and liked it rhyming with "cold" in the tagline.  Re-listening, I think you're right, it is "bravin' board".  I'm also going to change "them drowning" in the tagline to "the drowning"--I think Barbecue Bob just closed his mouth emphatically at the end of the word, making the "m" sound.  Booker White did that quite a lot, too.  I will make the changes.
All best,
Johnm

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Barbecue Bob Lyrics
« Reply #52 on: January 10, 2013, 12:10:28 PM »
Always big-time rounders hangin' 'round my high brown's bed
There's so many big-time rounders hangin' 'round my high brown's bed
If I shoot that rounder, honey, it will be too bad

A couple things in the above verse:

2.1 SAW A big-time ROUNDER hangin' 'round my high brown's bed
2.2 I SAW A big-time ROUNDER hangin' 'round my high brown's bed
2.3 If I SHOOTS that rounder, honey, it will be too bad

I am hearing something different in verse 5:

5.1 I'm GOIN' DOWN to the river, jump OVER SO BRAVE AND BOLD (Bob sings DOWN as 'OWN, coming off the N in GOIN')
5.2 I'm going down to the river, jump OVER SO BRAVE AND BOLD
5.3 I don't mind the drownin', honey, but the water's so cold

Offline dj

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Re: Barbecue Bob Lyrics
« Reply #53 on: January 10, 2013, 01:08:54 PM »
Quote
I'm GOIN' DOWN to the river, jump OVER SO BRAVE AND BOLD

I think that's it.  It's amazing how the sounds fall into place once you get it right. 

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Re: Barbecue Bob Lyrics
« Reply #54 on: January 10, 2013, 01:46:27 PM »
Yup, I agree, sound and meaning in one neat package.  The fixes to the second verse are right on as well.  Thanks, uncle bud!
All best,
Johnm

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Re: Barbecue Bob Lyrics
« Reply #55 on: January 10, 2013, 02:34:20 PM »
Hi all,
Barbecue Bob worked out of Spanish tuning with a slide, as was most often the case, for "Chocolate To The Bone".  The song employs variable vocal phrasing; verses one, three, six and seven employ a stammering archetype, like "Bullfrog Blues" or Teddy Darby's "Built Right On The Ground", and the other verses are short in the first phrase.  Blues dealing with this subject matter become increasingly rare the farther you get from the 1920s.  Peg Leg Howell used the term "baby ways" in at least one of his songs.  I had never noticed or heard properly and understood the use of "'have" as a shortened version of "behave" until banjochris pointed it out in one of his song transcriptions.  It actually turns up a fair amount in these songs.

So glad I'm brownskin, so glad I'm brownskin, chocolate to the bone
So glad I'm brownskin, chocolate to the bone
And I've got what it takes to make a monkey man leave his home

Black man is evil, yellow's so low-down
Black man is evil, yellow man's so low-down
I walk into these houses just to see these black men frown

I'm just like Miss Lillian, like Miss Lillian, I mean Miss Glinn, you see
I'm just like Miss Lillian, I mean Miss Glinn, you see
She said, "A brownskin man is just all right with me."

So glad I'm brownskin, chocolate to the bone
So glad I'm brownskin, chocolate to the bone
I've got what it takes to make a monkey man leave his home

Yellow man won't quit, black man just won't 'have
Yellow man won't quit and a black man just won't 'have
But a pigmeat mama crazy about brownskin baby ways

I got a yellow mama, got a yellow mama, she always got a pleasant smile
I got a yellow mama, always got a pleasant smile
But that brownskin gal with those coal black dreamy eyes

So glad I'm brownskin, so glad I'm brownskin, I'm chocolate to the bone
So glad I'm brownskin, chocolate to the bone
And I've got what it takes to make a monkey man leave his home

SOLO
Mmmmmmmm, Lawd, Lawd, Lawd, Lawd
And I've got what it takes to make a monkey man leave his home

Edited 1/11 to pick up correction from dj

All best,
Johnm   
« Last Edit: January 11, 2013, 06:30:12 AM by Johnm »

Offline dj

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Re: Barbecue Bob Lyrics
« Reply #56 on: January 11, 2013, 03:42:15 AM »
Hi, John.

I think the "Miss Lillian" in Chocolate To The Bone is the Texas blues singer Lillian Glinn, who recorded for Columbia from 1927 - 1929.  The song reference would be to Glinn's Brown Skin Blues, where the line "A brownskin man is just all right with me" appears.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2013, 05:01:15 AM by dj »

Online Johnm

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Re: Barbecue Bob Lyrics
« Reply #57 on: January 11, 2013, 06:28:54 AM »
Thanks for that, dj.  I'll fix the spelling.
All best,
Johnm

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Re: Barbecue Bob Lyrics
« Reply #58 on: January 12, 2013, 12:56:58 PM »
Hi all,
Barbecue Bob accompanied himself out of A position in standard tuning for his recording of "Ease It To Me Blues".  Based only on this performance and his recording of "California Blues", Barbecue Bob did some of his most exciting playing in A position, a position altogether avoided by his brother, Charley Lincoln, and Willie Baker, another Atlanta 12-string player, on their recordings.  On "Ease It To Me Blues" and "California Blues", Barbecue Bob illustrates beautifully how exciting it can be when a musician operates on the verge of losing control; not that he does lose it, but in a musical sense, he's consistently taking his turns on two wheels.  Perhaps one of the appealing aspects of operating near the edge of control is that it shows a trust in providence, rather than relying 100% on practice, in determining how a performance will turn out.  It also allows for the possibility of some new idea occurring in the moment.  In any event, Barbecue Bob's wild-ass playing on this tune and several others is tremendously exciting.
If this song's title was expressed as Bob sings it in verses four and six, it would be one of the longest blues titles ever.  Looking at these lyrics, I'm struck, not for the first time, what a weird word "penitentiary" is for a prison.  The notion that it is a place where the inmates are penitent and rue their actions casts a pious glow on the purpose of such places that seems to miss the point--prison, jail, stir, the calaboose, the Big House all seem more appropriate.  I'd very much appreciate help with the end of the tagline to the second verse, since I'm really striking out in terms of matching up sound and sense there.

Some people long to have plenty money, some want their wine and song
Some long to have a-plenty money, some want their wine and song
All I crave is my sweet mama that I dreams about all night long

Once I had a dear sweet mama, I didn't treat her right
Once I had a sweet mama, I didn't treat her right
She did left this town with a teasin' brown, and her name was Mandy White

So I'm a-leavin' town today
I'm a-leavin' town today
When I find that gal, this what I'm going to say

I got those "slip it to me, ease it to me, mama, don't hold it back"
Lord, I got those "slip it to me, ease it to me, mama, don't hold it back
Let me have, have your lovin' blues"

SOLO

You can have my money, all I want is these back
You can have my money, all I want is these back
I ain't got no time to lose, I got to hurry on back

Now I got those "slip it to me, ease it to me, please don't hold it back"
I got those "slip it to me, ease it to me, mama, don't hold it back
Just let me have, have your lovin' blues"

When I find that aggravatin' papa that tried to two-time me
When I find that aggravatin' papa that tried to two-time me
I know I serve a great long sentence in the penitentiary

I'm gonna buy me a gun, airplane and a submarine
I'm gonna buy me a gun, airplane and a submarine
Gonna kill everybody ever treated me mean

Edited 1/12 to pick up correction from Rivers

All best,
Johnm

 
« Last Edit: January 12, 2013, 07:10:45 PM by Johnm »

Offline Rivers

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Re: Barbecue Bob Lyrics
« Reply #59 on: January 12, 2013, 04:11:32 PM »
Tagline to verse two could be:

She did left this town with a teasin' brown, and her name was Mandy White

I think we puzzled over this one before, a long time ago.