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I am an urban person, although I'm a very confused urban person. I was reared in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., but I was reared listening to all this weird, old stuff - Mike Seeger, notes to True Vine

Author Topic: Booker White Lyrics  (Read 17988 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #45 on: January 08, 2011, 05:09:42 PM »
Hi Chris,
Thanks for the catches on "Aberdeen Mississippi Blues".  I'll just print the lines where you differed with me with anything I hear different from you capitalized.  I'll also mention differences where I think you're right on.

Tagline to verse one:  "them Aberdeen women told me they would buy my gasoline."  Good hearing!  Booker's vowel sound on "buy" threw me right off.  I wonder if Booker considered how uncomplimentary to himself this line was--basically the women are willing to pitch in to get him out of town.

Verse two--You're right, "LITTLE women" in both lines.  I'm reasonably certain that in the second line he starts the line "THEY HAS two little women . . . ".  The "they" being referenced would be the operators of a house he frequents, I think.

Verse four--The only differences I hear are:  Aberdeen IS in the first line, and "AROUND" rather than "'round" in both lines.

Last verse--Only difference I hear is "they been had THE poor BOY all hobbled down.

Thanks very much for your help and your close listening, as always.  I will make the changes.
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: January 08, 2011, 05:14:52 PM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #46 on: January 08, 2011, 05:48:08 PM »
Hi Chris,
"Special Stream Line" looks really good, and I have only a couple of very minor suggestions for choices/changes.

In the second spoken passage, I do think it is "thoughted there".

In the fourth spoken passage, I hear:  "thirty-six MILE from Memphis, Tennessee. Make it lonesome, now, 'cause I'm A hobo myself sometime."

In the fifth spoken passage, I believe it is "What hour the train"

In the the sixth spoken passage, I think he says "that ten-mile TRUNDLE".  I think his usage here is synonymous with "trestle".  He later talks about getting across the ten-mile trundle and nobody talks about getting across a tunnel.

In the seventh spoken passage, I hear "got TO that ten-mile TRUNDLE"

Those are the only differences I could hear, like I said, not much.  The spoken cuts are fun to transcribe, aren't they, like those William Moore ones.

All best,
Johnm



« Last Edit: January 08, 2011, 05:49:55 PM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #47 on: January 09, 2011, 04:44:43 PM »
Hi all,
Booker White recorded "Good Gin Blues" with Washboard Sam on March 7, 1940.  Booker accompanied himself with a slide in Spanish tuning.  In some ways, instrumentally the song feels almost like a sketch for "Fixin' To Die Blues", which the duo was to record the next day.  Once again, he employs a lot of interior rhymes in his lyrics, and his way of opening each verse by talking to a "friend" gives the whole song a much looser, more improvisatory feel.  Booker pronounced "it", "hit", as banjochris noted in the discussion of "High Fever Blues"  The song opens with a washboard flourish.  Here is "Good Gin Blues":



   Washboard flourish

   SPOKEN:  Here come old Todd Walker, full o' his good gin!

   Good morning, friend, I wants me a drink of gin
   Good morning, friend, I wants me a drink of gin
   'Cause they told me this mornin', revenue men would be back again

   Oh, listen you men, don't you let 'em in
   Listen you men, don't you let 'em in
   Well, they might catch me, uh, with a pint of gin

   SOLO

   Oh, come in friend, and have a drink again
   Come in friend, and have a drink again
   I know it is a sin, but I love my good ol' gin

   Oh, come back, friend, when I need my gin
   Come back friend, when I need my gin
   'Cause I don't care nothin' about, uh, them old revenue men

   SOLO

Edited 1/11 to pick up corrections from banjochris

All best,
Johnm

   
« Last Edit: June 17, 2020, 08:27:14 AM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #48 on: January 10, 2011, 11:09:59 AM »
Hi all,
Booker White and Washboard Sam recorded "Strange Place Blues" on March 7, 1940, with Booker backing himself out of G position in standard tuning.  The performance has tremendous heavy time, and Booker's vocal is impassioned.  He does his own version of Peetie Wheatstraw's signature "ooo well, well" vocal lick, and it seems that many or most of the blues singers working in that period came up with their own ways of doing that lick.  In Booker's outro, he walks a melodic line up the first string, first taking the bass along for the ride on the sixth string, and then the fifth string.  I'd appreciate help with the bent bracketed sections, I'm not at all sure I have them right.
Here is "Strange Place Blues":



   I was a stranger at this place, and I'm lookin' for my mother's grave
   I'm a stranger at this place, and I'm lookin' for my mother's grave
   Well, it seems like to me, hoo-hoo, well, some almost throwed away

   I was at my mother's grave when they put my mother 'way
   I was at my mother's grave when they put my mother 'way
   And I can't find no one, hoo-hoo, well, to take her place

   I thought after my mother was put away, I thought my wife would take her place
   After my mother was put away, I thought my wife would take her place
   I's sure you'd give me any mother and wife, hoo-hoo, well, my wife done throwed me away

   I wished I could find someone to take my mother's place
   I wished I could find someone to take my mother's place
   If I can't find no one, hoo-hoo, well, you will find me at her grave

   I'm standing on my mother's grave, and I wished I coulda seen her face
   I'm standing on my mother's grave, and I wished I coulda seen her face
   I be glad when that day come, hoo-hoo, well, you women be through drive me away

Edited 1/11 to pick up corrections from banjochris, Johnm
Edited 1/13 to pick up correction from uncle bud and banjochris

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: June 17, 2020, 08:28:15 AM by Johnm »

Offline banjochris

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #49 on: January 10, 2011, 10:20:13 PM »
Hi Chris,
"Special Stream Line" looks really good, and I have only a couple of very minor suggestions for choices/changes.

In the second spoken passage, I do think it is "thoughted there".

In the fourth spoken passage, I hear:  "thirty-six MILE from Memphis, Tennessee. Make it lonesome, now, 'cause I'm A hobo myself sometime."

In the fifth spoken passage, I believe it is "What hour the train"

In the the sixth spoken passage, I think he says "that ten-mile TRUNDLE".  I think his usage here is synonymous with "trestle".  He later talks about getting across the ten-mile trundle and nobody talks about getting across a tunnel.

In the seventh spoken passage, I hear "got TO that ten-mile TRUNDLE"

Those are the only differences I could hear, like I said, not much.  The spoken cuts are fun to transcribe, aren't they, like those William Moore ones.

All best,
Johnm


Thanks, John, I believe I agree with all of these -- I also realized he says "LITTLE 'fore" before the first mention of trundle. I was listening to my old raggedy-ass CD of these tracks on Travelin' Man from about 1991 -- I hadn't realized how much better the sound was on the Document version and I actually downloaded that CD from iTunes tonight. Big difference, and much easier to hear!
Chris

Offline banjochris

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #50 on: January 10, 2011, 10:31:01 PM »
John -- pretty sure that last line of "Strange Place" is right on, and the last line of that third verse is a toughie. I think if you take out the "whereas" that the last part is right, but I'm not sure about the first half. The sound you've transcribed fits, but I don't know if he misspoke or what, there seems to be something missing there.

Also, in "Good Gin," I think the line "Oh, come in friend, and have a drink of gin" might end with AGAIN rather than "of gin," reversing the rhyme scheme of verse one. Take a listen again and see what you think. I'm really enjoying listening to these tunes again, and carefully too, I sort of forgot how great they were.
Chris

Offline banjochris

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #51 on: January 10, 2011, 10:38:34 PM »
John, I've been going back through some of these now that I have the better sound, I and I think these verses from "When Can I Change My Clothes":

   So many days, when the day would be cold
   They would carry me out into rain and cold
   REFRAIN: I wonder how long before I can change my clothes
   I wonder how long b'fore I can change my clothes

   So many days, when the day would be cold
   You could stand and look at me, convict told,
   REFRAIN: "I wonder how long before I can change my clothes.
   I wonder how long b'fore I can change my clothes."


should be for the first one:
They would carry me out IN THE rain and cold

and for the second one:
You could stand and look at THE CONVICT TOES

Chris

Offline Johnm

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #52 on: January 11, 2011, 10:56:33 AM »
Thanks for all those fixes, Chris.  Sometimes Booker's vowel sounds really throw me, as in
"out in the rain and snow".  "The" has the consonant sound of "the" and the vowel sound of "to".  You're right, though, it is "out in the rain and snow", which also makes more sense.  "Convict toes" is a great fix and an unforgettable coinage and image.  That's one I don't think I'll ever forget.  I think I've got an ending to the tagline of verse three in "Strange Place Blues" that makes more sense.  "Again" at the end of the first two lines of that verse in "Good Gin Blues" is especially clear in his repetition of the line.
I really appreciate the help fine-tuning these transcriptions.  The songs and Booker's performances of them definitely merit this kind of close attention.  I listened to the Document CD quite a lot when I first bought it a couple of years ago and reviewed it for the Weenie site, http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?amp;Itemid=60&topic=970.0, but hadn't listened to it for a couple of years.  It is really such strong stuff.
All best,
Johnm

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #53 on: January 11, 2011, 11:19:16 AM »
I's sure you'd give me any mother and wife, hoo-hoo, well, where's my wife? Done throwed me away

John, not a lot to add: I've listened to this line from Strange Place Blues many times now and damned if I can tell what he's singing. What you've got to start the line is what I am currently hearing. To end the line, I think you're adding an extra syllable. After the "hoo-hoo, well" he sings "my wife done throwed me away" right away. I don't hear the "where" or "whereas".


Offline Johnm

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #54 on: January 11, 2011, 11:31:17 AM »
Thanks for checking that uncle bud.  At this point, I'm just hearing an "s" sound at the end of "hoo-hoo, well", like "hoo-hoo, wells, my wife done throwed me away", or possibly "as my wife done throwed me away" .  Do any of you all hear that "s" sound?
All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #55 on: January 11, 2011, 06:13:16 PM »
Hi all,
Booker White recorded "Shake 'Em On Down" with an unknown second guitarist at a session in Chicago on September 2, 1937, a short time before he was sent to Parchman Penitentiary.  Both guitarists are working out of E position in standard tuning by the sound of it and working in a pretty strictly defined accompaniment capacity with no instrumental fireworks. 
Vocally, Booker is really channeling Johnny Temple here, both with regard to the melody he sings and the vocal mannerisms he employs in the course of the rendition.  It's an interesting reminder that even artists we think of as being utterly original and distinctly themselves most often start out imitating their models as closely as they can.  It takes a while for a musician to find his or her own style.  Who knows--this may be the kind of performance that Lester Melrose passed on in 1940, resulting in Booker's great 12 song 2-day session that year.  Here is "Shake 'Em On Down":



   Get your nightcap, mama, and your gown
   Just before day we gonna shake 'em on down
   REFRAIN: It's, must stop hollerin', or must I shake 'em on down
   I done stop hollerin', mama, must I shake 'em on down

   To much of jelly to be throwed away
   Save this jelly 'til some old rainy day
   REFRAIN: Must stop hollerin', or must I shake 'em on down
   I done stop hollerin', mama, must I shake 'em on down

   Fix my supper let me go to bed
   This white lightnin' done gone to my head
   REFRAIN: Must I holler, or must I shake 'em on down
   I done stop hollerin', mama, must I shake 'em on down

   I ain't been to Georgia but I been tole
   Georgia women got the best jellyroll
   REFRAIN: It's, must stop hollerin', or must I shake 'em on down
   I done stop hollerin', mama, must I shake 'em on down

   See, see, mama, what you done done
   Made me love you now your man done come
   REFRAIN: It's, must stop holler' or must I shake 'em on down
   I done stop hollerin', mama, must I shake 'em on down

   Baby got somethin', don't know what it is
   Make me drunker than a whiskey still
   REFRAIN: It's, must stop hollerin', or must I shake 'em on down
   I done stop holl'in', must I shake 'em on down

Edited 1/12 to pick up corrections from banjochris

All best,
Johnm

   
« Last Edit: June 17, 2020, 08:29:29 AM by Johnm »

Offline banjochris

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #56 on: January 12, 2011, 09:03:58 PM »
Thanks for checking that uncle bud.  At this point, I'm just hearing an "s" sound at the end of "hoo-hoo, well", like "hoo-hoo, wells, my wife done throwed me away", or possibly "as my wife done throwed me away" .  Do any of you all hear that "s" sound?

I can't, but haven't listened through headphones. By the way, here are two little fixes I think for "Shake 'Em On Down":

2.2 Save THIS jelly

5.1 SEE SEE mama

Chris

Offline Johnm

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #57 on: January 12, 2011, 09:18:50 PM »
Thanks for the help, Chris.  I've made the changes.
All best,
Johnm

Offline banjochris

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #58 on: January 12, 2011, 09:19:40 PM »
Here's "Shake 'Em On Down's" session-mate, "Pinebluff Arkansas." Booker's playing in Spanish, somewhat similar to the later "Fixin' to Die." The second guitar sounds like it's in standard tuning to me. The lyrics for this one seem to me to be closer in style to his later more improvisational material rather than the carefully distilled lyrics of the 1940 session. Couple parts in brackets that could use some help.  Here is "Pinebluff Arkansas":




Whoo, well I got a little woman in Pinebluff, Arkansas,
She one o' the sweetest little woman that your men most ever saw.

Gonna get up in the mornin', baby with the risin' sun,
Whoo, well, in the mornin', baby with the risin' sun,
If the train don't run, gonna be some walkin' done.

My baby she called me, she called me up on the phone,
Whoo, well, she called me, she called me up on the phone,
She said daddy daddy, now don't start come go hurry home.

My baby says I'm tired, going to bed and moan
Whoo, well she said, tired of goin' to bed and moan,
She say I ain't had no lovin' daddy, daddy since that you been gone.

Oh, she says I'm tired, daddy singin' these lonesome song,
Whoo, well she said, I'm tired of singin' these lonesome song,
She say I ain't even heard daddy, I ain't even heard his horn.

My baby said I'm tired, daddy hearin' my bed springs groan,
Whoo, well she said, I'm tired of hearin' my bed springs groan,
She said I declare if you want me daddy, you better hurry home.

Chris


Edited with corrections from JohnM
« Last Edit: June 17, 2020, 08:30:43 AM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #59 on: January 12, 2011, 10:46:50 PM »
Hi Chris,
I have a couple of potential fixes on "Pinebluff Arkansas". 

  In 1.2 I hear, She ONE O' the sweetest little woman that your men most ever saw

   In 3.3 I hear, She said, "Daddy, daddy, NOW don't START, come go hurry home

   In 5.3 I hear, She say, "I AIN'T even heard, daddy, I ain't even heard YOUR HORN

I'm most sure of the 1.2 fix.  I think "now don't start" is right, but am unsure about the end of that line--it almost sounds like "control hurry home".  The first "ain't" in 5.3 is swallowed, but I'm pretty sure it's there and it makes for a parallel construction with the tail end of that line.  These things are really hard to hear.
All best,
Johnm

 


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