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It's not what you play that's important. It's the notes you DON'T play - Miles Davis, Les Paul, Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe et al

Author Topic: Booker White Lyrics  (Read 18096 times)

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Offline DavidR

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #120 on: October 21, 2018, 09:34:33 AM »
My mode here tends more to transcribing the words that White is singing rather than trying to reflect his distinctive delivery of them.

Hi DavidR,
What do you mean by the statement quoted above?  How can a transcription reflect a singer's "distinctive delivery" of the words?
All best,
Johnm

Every transcriber has to decide: To what degree am I trying to denote the actual sounds that are coming out of the singer's mouth, as opposed to just writing down the words that he or she is singing? The most common example is when a singer drops the final -g of a word. Do you transcribe "knocking" or "knockin'"? With White's singing, this issue is particularly acute, as he often deviates far from the ordinary pronunciations of words.

Online Johnm

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #121 on: October 21, 2018, 09:56:49 AM »
Hi DavidR,
Speaking only for myself, I try to transcribe words as the singer pronounced them.  I think the challenge with Booker White is his vowel sounds, which are sometimes untranscribable for me.  In such an instance, I'll use the word that I believe he meant, with conventional spelling.  So I guess the approach doesn't end up being consistent.  I think I still prefer it to transcribing dictionary versions of the words, if the singer simply doesn't pronounce the words that way.  It just seems too stilted to have words not reflecting the sound that the singer made when singing them.  As I said, though, that's just my own preference.
All best,
Johnm

Offline DavidR

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #122 on: October 21, 2018, 10:19:11 AM »
Hi DavidR,
Speaking only for myself, I try to transcribe words as the singer pronounced them.  I think the challenge with Booker White is his vowel sounds, which are sometimes untranscribable for me.  In such an instance, I'll use the word that I believe he meant, with conventional spelling.  So I guess the approach doesn't end up being consistent.  I think I still prefer it to transcribing dictionary versions of the words, if the singer simply doesn't pronounce the words that way.  It just seems too stilted to have words not reflecting the sound that the singer made when singing them.  As I said, though, that's just my own preference.
All best,
Johnm

To me, the hardest thing in this White performance is at the beginnings of lines where I transcribe "Oh." There is at least one occasion where that definitely does seem to be the word he's singing, but in other places, who knows? The sounds serve the same purpose as "Oh" would, but they are, as you say, not transcribable. I recall back when the original Robert Johnson box came out in 1990, the lyric transcribers tried to do accurate phonetic transcriptions of all of Johnson's non-word vocalizations. I thought that the results were sort of ridiculous, but I don't blame them for the effort. I also recall the preface to Michael Taft's book of transcriptions, where he urges that lyric transcriptions should never be read independent of listening to the performances. This is why I prefer to write down the actual words without worrying about whether to include that -g or not. In my mind, the purpose of lyric transcriptions is to give you the actual words. To know what they sound like in performance, you listen to the songs.

Best,
DavidR

Online Johnm

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #123 on: June 17, 2020, 10:57:06 AM »
Hi all,
I was able to find and insert links to the original recorded versions of all of the lyrics posted here in finished versions that didn't already have videos in this thread.
All best,
John

 


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