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I mean, when you think about it, old blues men are always old, right? - Jerry Ricks

Author Topic: Booker White Lyrics  (Read 18000 times)

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Offline uncle bud

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #60 on: January 13, 2011, 09:01:42 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?

I can't, but haven't listened through headphones.
Chris

I can't really hear an 's' either. I listened through the phones to two versions I have, and there may be some kind of aspiration in there but I can't say it's an 's'.

Online Johnm

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #61 on: January 13, 2011, 09:15:58 AM »
Hi all,
Booker White recorded "Parchman Farm Blues" on March 7, 1940 with Washboard Sam, and it was the first recorded appearance of Booker's signature accompaniment in cross-note tuning, what seems his most characteristic sound.  It must be said that Washboard Sam's playing on this track is just masterful.  If you listen to how he syncs up with Booker and plays to the shifting accents in the repetition of the opening line of each verse, it's a treat, simultaneously unobtrusive and making everything more musical.

I found these lyrics to be kind of hard to hear.  In the third verse, I believe Booker refers to himself as "Son", because in the repetition of the same line, he replaces "Son" with "I". Likewise, in "Sic 'Em Dogs On" he is referred to as "Son", so I wonder if in his early years he went by that name on occasion.  I'd appreciate help with the bent bracketed passage.  The long passage at the tail end of verse four particularly has me stumped.  Here is Parchment Farm Blues":



   Judge give me life this morning, down on Parchman Farm
   Judge give me life this morning, down on Parchman Farm, I wouldn't hate it so bad, but I left my wife in mournin'

   Oh you, good-bye, wife, all you, have done gone
   Oh, good-bye, wife, all you, have done gone, but I hope someday you will hear my lonesome song

   SOLO

   Oh you, listen you men, I don't mean no harm
   Oh, listen, you men, I don't mean no harm, if you want to do good you better stay off ol' Parchman Farm

   We goes to work in the morning, just the dawn of day
   We go to work in the morning, just the dawn of day, just to the settin' of the sun, that's when the work is done

   Oh, I'm down on old Parchman Farm and I sure wanta go back home
   I'm down on old Parchman Farm but I sure want to go back home, but I hope someday, I will overcome 

   OUTRO

Edited 1/13 to pick up corrections from dj
Edited 1/13 to pick up corrections from banjochris

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: June 17, 2020, 08:32:11 AM by Johnm »

Online Johnm

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #62 on: January 13, 2011, 09:22:25 AM »
Thanks for re-checking that place in "Strange Place Blues", uncle bud.  If neither you nor banjochris can hear an "s" sound there, I expect it is because there is no "s" sound there.  I will make the change.
All best,
Johnm 

Offline dj

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #63 on: January 13, 2011, 10:16:04 AM »
What you have as

We go to work in the morning, just to dawn of day, [just to the sayin' of these songs] that when the work is done

should be

We go to work in the morning, just to dawn of day, just to THE SETTIN' OF THE SUN, THAT'S when the work is done

Offline dj

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #64 on: January 13, 2011, 10:21:32 AM »
John,

I think the line you have transcribed as "Oh you, good-bye, wife, call you, have done gone" and it's repetition in the next line is "Oh you, good-bye, wife, FO'/OH you have done gone".  I don't really hear an F on the start of the word in question, but it might be swallowed up in the ending of "wife". 

Online Johnm

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #65 on: January 13, 2011, 10:36:23 AM »
Thanks very much for the help, dj.  "To the settin' of the sun" is great, and I sure wasn't hearing it.  I think half the time I'm really stumped it is as much a failure of imagination as it is a failure of hearing.  In verse two, I think it is "all you, have done gone", with him saying good-bye to his wife and everybody else, and the "have done gone" referring to himself.
All best,
Johnm

Offline banjochris

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #66 on: January 13, 2011, 09:47:57 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 think you're right on these, John -- I suspect Booker misspoke in that last line of verse three. In 5.3 I hear "HIS horn," so I made that change as well.
Chris

Offline banjochris

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #67 on: January 13, 2011, 09:49:52 PM »
John, see what you think of these for "Parchman Farm." His way of dragging out his vowels creates some misleading artifacts sometimes, I think. FWIW, I agree with both the change dj suggested and the "all you have" you added.

1.2 but I LEFT MY WIFE IN MOURNIN'

3.1 Don't hear Son, just "I"

4.1 & 4.2 just THE dawn of day

Chris

Online Johnm

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #68 on: January 13, 2011, 10:24:33 PM »
Thanks again for the help, Chris.  "But I left my wife in mournin'" certainly sounds right, with "mournin'" trailing away.  Re "THE dawn of day", I got caught on Booker's vowel sound in the very same context in another one of these songs, missing the "th" at the front of the word and hearing "to" on the basis of the vowel sound.  The hardest one to give up on was "Son" for "I", but I do think it is "I" after all.  You are definitely right about the misleading artifacts.  I think the reason "I" could be taken for "Son" in this instance is that as soon as he made the "I" sound in that line, he lifted his tongue to the roof of his mouth and closed up so that he could get the buzzy head tone he was looking for.  In the repetition of the line, he sang "I" open-throated and it is a lot easier to identify it as such. 

Whew--I'm enjoying working on these songs, but they provide a seemingly endless variety of opportunities to screw things up.
All best,
Johnm     

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #69 on: January 14, 2011, 11:21:24 PM »
Hi all,
I wouldn't normally post a set of lyrics so far from being complete, but Booker White's song "The Promise True and Grand" is one of those religious songs with many, many words, and they are exceedingly hard to hear.  I'll just post what I have thus far, and all who wish to can have at it.

I have read of the promise true and grand
A wonderful place, this heavenly land, oh Lordy,
A place I'll dwell with Christ eternally.
And every trouble [raise the roof]
No trouble for God saves [brother's soul]
This promise was made for you and me, how long will it be?

How long [         ] oh, will it be,
Until it shall feel [three weeks] up there.
How long 'til I feel that final [preachings]
That shall behold with the [body's secret]
Oh, but that lovely heavenly home beyond the sea
How long must I toil, a heavy load
How long must try, [try with the fold]
How long 'til I view that Promised Land,
Thank God it's with the snow white angel's band
Lordy, hear of our plea
How long will it be?

Said, in that land that feels so light,
Oh Jesus, and never will be in night
The River of Life, it's cold and soft
Will flow so free.
And in the [     ] we are told
The streets are paved with the purest gold,
this promise is made for you and me,
How long will it be?

How long [        ]
Oh, will it be-uh
Until I feel that [    ] up there.
How long 'til I view that Promised Land, thank God
It's with a snow white angel band,
Oh, Lordy hear of our plea,
How long will it be?

Said, they tell from on high will call no more
and sufferig to be, [I'll be old]
we shall [rapture] we shall
Press a prison down on Calvary
We'll meet our deliverer on the stand
We can join him and clasp him by the hand
This promise is made for you and me
How long will it be

How long says the star,
It will-a be-uh
Until I feel that [   ] up there
How long 'til I view the Father's preaching
And shall behold with my deep secret
Oh, but that lovely heavenly home beyond the sea
I long for the toil, the heavy load
I long to serve, oh will it be
I long to view that Promised Land
Thank God it's with a snow white angel's band
Oh, Lordy, hear of our plea
How long will it be

All best,
Johnm
 



 

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #70 on: January 15, 2011, 10:20:59 AM »
Hi all,
I wouldn't normally post a set of lyrics so far from being complete, but Booker White's song "The Promise True and Grand" is one of those religious songs with many, many words, and they are exceedingly hard to hear.  I'll just post what I have thus far, and all who wish to can have at it.

Hi John - thanks for starting this one. I've gone through and made a bunch of suggestions. Some are wild guesses or just words I think I hear, without focussing on trying to shoehorn much sense into them right away. This is one of the great performances on record, in my opinion.

Quote
I have read of the promise true and grand
A wonderful place, this heavenly land, oh Lordy,
A place I'll dwell with Christ eternally.
And every trouble [raise the roof]
No trouble for God saves [brother's soul]
This promise was made for you and me, how long will it be?

1.3 WHERE ALL [REPENTANTS?] shall dwell with Christ eternally (no "oh Lordy" at the end of line 1.2)
1.4 Where never a trouble with the [rule?]
1.5 No trouble, THEY GOT PLACE FOR US ALL

Quote
How long [         ] oh, will it be,
Until it shall feel [three weeks] up there.

2.1 How long [SINCE THE ??] oh, will it be,  (wild guess: since the song? sun?)
2.2 Until WE shall BE-UH, BE WITH ?? up there

Quote
How long 'til I feel that final [preachings]
That shall behold with the [body's secret]
Oh, but that lovely heavenly home beyond the sea

2.4 How long 'til WE feel that final [BRIDGE?? ??]
2.5 AND shall behold with the [SMILING FACE-UH]  (these are pretty wild guesses as well, just sort of what I am hearing)
2.6 [OFFERED THAT LOVE-UH??], FILL THE home beyond the [SEA/SAND?] (While "beyond the sea" may be correct, I swear I hear the female singer - Minnie perhaps - singing SAND)

Quote
How long must I toil, a heavy load
How long must try, [try with the fold]
How long 'til I view that Promised Land,
Thank God it's with the snow white angel's band
Lordy, hear of our plea
How long will it be?

2.7 How long must I toil, HEAVENLY LORD
2.8 How long must I [STRIVE, STRIVE] with the fold?
2.9 How long 'til WE view that Promised Land,
2.10 AND God ALL with the snow white IN HIS BEARD
2.11 LORD, hear our plea  (no OF in `hear our plea")

Quote
Said, in that land that feels so light,
Oh Jesus, and never will be in night
The River of Life, it's cold and soft
Will flow so free.

3.1 Said, in that land THEY'LL feel so light
3.2 FOR Jesus'S LAMP will FILL THE NIGHT  (at first I thought this was JESUS THE LAMB but I think LAMP now)
3.3 THAT River of [LIGHT?] (FROM) HIS GOLDEN THRONE
3.4 Will flow so free

Quote
And in the [     ] we are told
The streets are paved with the purest gold,
this promise is made for you and me,
How long will it be?

3.5 And in the BLESS'D CITY we are told
3.6 THERE the streets are paved with the purest gold

Quote
How long [        ]
Oh, will it be-uh
Until I feel that [    ] up there.

4.1-3 See wild guesses in 2.1/2.2 above

Quote
How long 'til I view that Promised Land, thank God
It's with a snow white angel band,
Oh, Lordy hear of our plea,
How long will it be?

4.4 How long 'til WE view that Promised Land (no "thank God")
4.5 AND God ALL with THE SNOW WHITE IN HIS BEARD
4.6 LORD hear OUR plea (as earlier, he sings OUR as two syllables OW-WER)

I can't believe there's another verse.

Quote
Said, they tell from on high will call no more
and sufferig to be, [I'll be old]
we shall [rapture] we shall
Press a prison down on Calvary

5.1 Said the TEARS FROM OUR EYES WILL FALL no more
5.2 And SUFFERIN' TOO WILL ALL BE O'ER
5.3 We shall REST A-WITH the [??] BLESSED LAMB, O CALVARY

Quote
We'll meet our deliverer on the stand
We can join him and clasp him by the hand
This promise is made for you and me
How long will it be

5.4 We'll meet our DELIVERANCE on the SAND

Quote
How long says the star,
It will-a be-uh
Until I feel that [   ] up there

Still the problematic lines to start the chorus. I am sort of hearing "How long since the n- (a word beginning with 'n') here. Where I hear a word beginning with 's' in the other instances)

Quote
How long 'til I view the Father's preaching
And shall behold with my deep secret
Oh, but that lovely heavenly home beyond the sea
I long for the toil, the heavy load
I long to serve, oh will it be
I long to view that Promised Land
Thank God it's with a snow white angel's band
Oh, Lordy, hear of our plea
How long will it be

6.4 How long 'til WE feel that final [BRIDGE?? ??] (bridge? breeze?)
6.5 AND shall behold HIS SMILING FACE-UH
6.6 [OFFERED THAT LOVE-UH??], FILL THE home beyond the sea
6.7 HOW long MUST I toil, OH HEAVENLY LORD
6.8 HOW LONG [THIS TOIL?], oh will it be?
6.9 HOW LONG 'TIL WE view that Promised Land
6.10 AND God ALL with THE snow white IN HIS BEARD
6.11 LORD, hear OUR plea-AHH
6.12 How long will it be?

Holy cow.


Online Johnm

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #71 on: January 15, 2011, 11:23:10 AM »
Thanks for the help, uncle bud.  Holy cow is right--it's epic isn't it?  Some of the stuff I put was certainly nonsense, just phonetic approximations, but you've already made a big dent in it.  With a song this big it didn't make sense to try and get it too close before getting underway because I know I would require a huge amount of help to get it done in any event.  I'll do some more listening with your suggestions inserted and see what gives next.  Thanks!
All best,
Johnm

Offline banjochris

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #72 on: January 15, 2011, 06:50:30 PM »
Wow, you guys are right, not remotely an easy one. There's a better sounding copy of this tune on the Yazoo "Masters of the Delta Blues - Friends of Charlie Patton" CD, but it doesn't help much, except maybe with the first line of the chorus. I combined what I heard with what both of you had and just re-wrote the whole thing. Some of the changes I'm very sure of, some not so much, which I put in brackets. In the third verse Booker clearly gets tangled up and swaps "night" and "light" in two lines, very understandable, but if you swap them you get a common enough phrase in gospel music. Also, toward the end, although you can't hear the "r" very well, I'm convinced that I can hear it a bit and it should be "strand," not "stand," at least partially because there are a million gospel songs where people are met on the "heavenly strand." See what you think --  Here is "The Promise True And Grand":



I have read of the promise true and grand
A wonderful place, this heavenly land,
Where all the redeemed shall dwell with Christ eternally,
[Where never a trouble we shall rue,
No temple, for God's place holds us all,]
This promise was made for you and me, how long will it be?

How long blessed Lord, oh will it be?
Until it shall be we reach that day?
How long till I feel that fond embracing,
There shall behold with His smiling face-a
Up at that lovin' hea'enly home beyond the sea,
How long must I toil, here below,
How long must strive, strive with the fold,
How long till we view that promised land,
And join-a with the snow white angels' band
Lord-a hear our plea, how long will it be?

Said, in that land there is no light,
Where Jesus the Lamb will be the night,
The River of Life (from) his golden throne will flow so free,
And in the blessed city we are told,
There the streets are paved with the purest gold,
This promise is made for you and me, how long will it be?

How long blessed Lord, oh will it be
Until it'll be we reach that day?
How long till we view that promised land,
And join-a with the snow white angels' band
Lord-a hear our plea, how long will it be?

There the tears from our eyes will fall no more,
And sufferin' too will all be o'er,
We shall rapture we shall praise that blessed Lamb of Calvary,
We'll meet our deliverers on the strand,
We shall join them and clasp them by the hand,
This promise is made for you and me, how long will it be?

How long blessed Lord, oh will it be?
Until it'll be we reach that day?
How long till I feel that fond embracing,
And shall behold His smiling face-a
Up in that lovin' hea'enly home beyond the sea,
How long must I toil, oh here below,
How long blessed Lord, oh will it be?
How long till we view that promised land,
And join-a with the snow white angels' band
Lord-a hear our plea, how long will it be?

Chris

Edited with suggestions from JohnM
« Last Edit: June 17, 2020, 10:34:37 AM by Johnm »

Offline LeftyStrat

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #73 on: January 15, 2011, 09:06:51 PM »
Dare I ask those with far superior ears than mine after that masterful effort to enlighten me and anyone else curious on the lyrics to "I am in the Heavenly Way?"

I'd offer what I can make out, but i don't think it'd be enough to assist.
Stop by and give a listen! :)

http://www.facebook.com/leftystratblues

Offline banjochris

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #74 on: January 15, 2011, 11:11:19 PM »
I'm sure we'll get to it -- I actually started to do it earlier tonight then realized my ears needed a rest after "Promise." It'll be easier, though, since he recorded it in the '60s -- that version may furnish some clues in better sound.

 


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