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In a typical program he would introduce 'an extinguished guest'... then play the blues of Bobby Rush or the gospel of the Mighty Sons of Glory, then rhapsodize about Dip's Drive-in Laundromat. Community news - for instance, who was about to be 'funeralized' - might follow - Early Wright, obituary to the DJ, WROX Clarksdale

Author Topic: Booker White Lyrics  (Read 17989 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #75 on: January 16, 2011, 12:25:09 AM »
Hi all,
This has gone farther faster than I would have thought possible.  Thanks for entering what you heard, Chris.  It makes more sense than having me edit my original pass, which was so much farther from a solution.  Way to listen!  I don't have any answers yet to the thorniest passages, those in the bent brackets, but I think I hear a couple of little things differently along the way that may be worth checking.  I'm going to review what I had originally, what uncle bud heard, and what you've posted most recently.

In 1.5, I hear "No temple, FOR GOD'S place HOLDS us all"

In 2.5, "Up AT that lovin' heavenly home beyond the sea"

In 2.10 "LORDY hear OF our plea, how long can it be?"

In 4.2 "Until IT'LL be, we reach that day"

In 5.4, "We'll meet OUR DELIVERERS on the strand"

In 6.2, "Until IT'LL be, we reach that day"

In 6.5, "Up AT that LOVIN' heavenly home beyond the sea"

6.10 "OH LORDY hear OF our plea, how long can it be?"

At this point, these are the only suggestions I'm feeling solid enough about to make.

All best,
Johnm

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #76 on: January 16, 2011, 07:59:21 AM »
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.

Yep, that's the version I've been listening to. Fat lot of good it did me!  :P I''ll be relistening but a lot of what you have in here makes sense. I'd still be curious to know whether this song has any specific precedents in hymns.

Offline banjochris

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #77 on: January 16, 2011, 11:28:16 AM »
Yep, that's the version I've been listening to. Fat lot of good it did me!  :P I''ll be relistening but a lot of what you have in here makes sense. I'd still be curious to know whether this song has any specific precedents in hymns.

It did plenty of good! That "tears fall from our eyes" bit I didn't have at all, amongst other places! I haven't found any hymns through Googling with either the phrase "promise true and grand" or a chorus with "How long will it be?" in it and I looked for quite a bit yesterday.

Offline banjochris

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #78 on: January 16, 2011, 11:30:51 AM »
John, I agree with most of the changes you suggested and made them. I part of the first verse still in brackets, though. I'm still not hearing "hear of our plea" -- I can see how you could hear it but I think it's just the way he pronounces "our" and they way it sounds after the r in "hear". I also left "Lord-a" in to make it clear that he's adding a syllable to make the line scan better rather than saying the expression "Lordy".

I think we're pretty close, though!
Chris
« Last Edit: January 16, 2011, 11:37:38 AM by banjochris »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #79 on: January 16, 2011, 11:41:37 AM »
I agree with Chris, uncle bud--you took it a lot farther than I had it in what I first posted, that's for sure.  I do think you guys are right about it being "Lord, hear our plea", as opposed to "Lord, hear of our plea".  I think Booker was doing his closing of his mouth on a held vowel sound, as he did on the word "I" in "Parchman Farm".  He ended up giving off some misleading consonant sounds when he did that.  It is pretty darn close at this point, and that's great.  Oh, and I forgot to mention earlier, I do think that for 1.4 "Where never a trouble we shall rue" is correct.
all best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: January 16, 2011, 01:00:50 PM by Johnm »

Offline Michael Cardenas

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #80 on: January 16, 2011, 04:38:40 PM »
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.

   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

I agree Sam absolutely kills it on the track. I have my doubts as to the few rendered lyrics I've encountered on the internet for this tune. The opening judge is logical, but if you compare his use of "just" in the rest of the song it just doesn't sound like he's using a G consonant in the opener, I'm hearing an ST. I don't mean to stir dissent because there has been some fine transliteration occuring already.

I also want to point out the goodbye wife pretext. Booker uses the "all" drawl in the last stanza of hear my lonesome song i.e., hear'll. All you have done gone isn't exactly logical and I understand it's been discussed, yet Oh you have done gone is lyrically logical since the preceding stanza starts with Oh you as well being his hook in the rest of the song. I think we are hearing the "all" in the oh's stanza because he's anticipating his hear all in the last line.

The work verses are a job well done. The comparison between this tune and Aberdeen I always thought was cool in that he inverts the gender motif between the songs. Booker White is truly one of the great poets in Blues music.

   Just give me life this morning, down on Parchman Farm
   Just give me life this morning, down on Parchman Farm
   I wouldn't have it so bad, but I lay off my wife and moan

   Oh you, good-bye wife, oh you have done gone
   Oh, good-bye wife, oh you have done gone
   but I hope someday you will hear (all) 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 wanna do good you better stay off ol' Parchman Farm

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

   I'm down on old Parchman Farm, I sure wanna 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
« Last Edit: January 18, 2011, 07:21:29 PM by Michael Cardenas »
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Offline Johnm

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #81 on: January 18, 2011, 02:56:45 PM »
Hello Michael Cardenas,
I've listened over and over again to "Aberdeen Mississippi Blues", with particular attention to the places where you differed with the posted transcription, and I have to say, I'm not hearing what you're hearing--quite the contrary.  In the first verse for instance, "judge" seems perfectly clearly enunciated and an altogether different word than the very clear "just" he uses in verse four.  In general, I'm leery of explanations of lyric transcriptions that rely heavily on assumptions that the creator of the song was moving around lyric motifs between verses, but where the assumptions are not supported by the sound of the words as they were sung, as in this case, such an explanation makes even less sense.  I didn't hear anything in the re-listening to "Aberdeen Mississippi Blues" that would justify changing the transcription that we already have posted.  This, of course, doesn't speak to how you hear the song yourself or may choose to sing it when performing it.  To my ears, though, your suggestions are not supported by the sound of what Booker sang.
All best,
Johnm
  
« Last Edit: January 18, 2011, 03:46:10 PM by Johnm »

Offline Michael Cardenas

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #82 on: January 18, 2011, 06:59:14 PM »
Its just an offering John, the important thing is we both care enough. So are you putting together a B. White songbook as result of this thread?
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Offline Johnm

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #83 on: January 18, 2011, 07:44:53 PM »
No, I don't think so, Michael.  I just like having the information there for its own sake.  Occasionally I need to transcribe lyrics for an instructional video I'm doing, but for the most part I don't think about the transcriptions serving any purpose other than being available for folks who are interested.  I really enjoy working on them and find I much prefer to be doing something all the time rather than sitting around.  The Weeniepedia Lyrics section is rapidly approaching 800 songs transcribed, too, which is quite an accomplishment for the folks who have been engaged in that here. 
All best,
Johnm

Offline banjochris

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #84 on: January 19, 2011, 07:17:13 PM »
"New Frisco Train" was the first song recorded at Booker White's first session, which he shared with guitarist/vocalist Napoleon Hairiston, in Memphis on May 26, 1930. Only four songs from a 14-song session were released, unfortunately. (I think it's very odd that Victor recorded this many numbers by unknown artists on a field trip -- 4 each was more often their quota, IIRC). Listening to "New Frisco," I think it's pretty clear from the timing and interaction of vocals, guitar and commentary that the track is sung and played solely by Hairiston (out of Vestapol pitched around Eb), with Booker offering plenty of flavor with his asides. There's a third voice present on the track as well, who adds the "Breeze along" comment.

The Frisco, by the way, ran through both Aberdeen, MS and nearby Columbus, which Booker sang a song about in the '60s, but went nowhere near Vicksburg. On this same day in the studio, Memphis Minnie cut her two sides with the Memphis Jug Band.

No surprise here that Booker's comments are the hardest part of the song to decipher -- three bits in brackets have got me stumped. I didn't put phonetic approximations in the first one because I think I'm wrong with all of what I came up with and didn't want to lead anyone astray as they were listening.
Chris

Here is "New Frisco Train":




"New Frisco Train" (all comments spoken unless otherwise noted)

N (sung)
Hey, the Frisco train, done stole my gal and gone

B
I told you he's gon' do that boy, ain't nothin' to these Mississippi guys

N (sung)
Hey, tell me woman, do you love your man?

B
No, they don't love your man, boy.

N (sung)
Hey, it's train time here, and I ain't got my free ride

B
Pull it, boy, pull it!

N (sung)
Hey, thought I heard, them lovin' whistle ring.

3rd voice
Breeze along, boy, breeze along, going to Vicksburg in the cool of the evenin'!

N
Hush, hush, I thought I heard 'em now.

B
That's them ringin' boy, good God almighty.
Oooh, listen at that bell, good God, makes me think about Itta Bena,
Get your shoes, boy, and let's go,
Uh, let's catch it in the bend, we can't catch it at the corner,
Goin' in Alabama, now, and I know it.

N (sung)
Whoa, leave here walkin', chances I may ride

B
I know I'm gon' ride, boy, I know if I can't catch it on the cross, I'm gon' catch it in the bend,
I'm goin' to Georgia, too, boy

N (sung)
Hey, I thought I heard that lovin' whistle blow

B
That was it blowin', boy


Edited 1/20 with corrections from JohnM, dj
« Last Edit: June 17, 2020, 08:35:22 AM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #85 on: January 19, 2011, 07:52:51 PM »
Hi Chris,
Good work!  Hairiston is difficult because he tends to close up and swallow everything.

I think Booker's first response is:

   I told you he's gon' do that boy, ain't NOTHIN' TO THESE MISSISSIPPI [gods, guys,gals?]

I'm pretty sure up to that last word in the line.

I think Booker's last comment is:

   THAT WAS IT BLOWIN', boy

with "it" pronounced "hit".

I do think Booker says "Ada Benn" in that one place.

Hairiston's first line sounds to me like,

   Hey, THE Frisco train, done stole my gal and gone

I hear this Hairiston line like so:

   Whoa, leave here walkin', chances I may ride

With "walkin'" given an extra little nudge at the end of his singing of it.

That's all I can offer to help with it, I think.  Thanks for doing this one.

All best,
Johnm


« Last Edit: January 20, 2011, 03:27:24 PM by Johnm »

Offline dj

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #86 on: January 20, 2011, 04:35:53 AM »
Hi, Chris.

I think the line by the third voice is "Breeze along, boy, breeze along.  Goin' to Vicksburg IN THE cool OF THE evenin'"

Offline Johnm

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #87 on: January 20, 2011, 06:53:47 PM »
Hi Chris,
One other thought--might Booker be saying

   makes me think about ITTA BENA

I have no idea if the Frisco Train passed through or near Itta Bena, or if Itta Bena had a notable church bell.  Given Booker's vowel sounds, it seems a possibility at least.
All best,
Johnm




Offline banjochris

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #88 on: January 20, 2011, 08:20:59 PM »
John, dj, I made the changes -- I think agree with all of these. I had heard the "ain't," "nothin'" and "Mississippi" but couldn't make any sense out of hit. I'm pretty sure it's "guys" at the end. I went with Itta Bena -- the Frisco didn't go through there, but Ralph Lembo, who arranged White and Hairiston's session, was from there, so it's a reasonable supposition that they could have been there recently.
Chris

Offline banjochris

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Re: Booker White Lyrics
« Reply #89 on: January 20, 2011, 09:05:05 PM »
Here's "Panama Limited," recorded at the first session along with "New Frisco Train" (tuned in Vestapol around Eb). IMHO not in the same class with either "Frisco" or the later "Special Streamline," which shares a lot of the same musical ideas and excitement over airbrakes. Some of the bits in brackets I'm assuming are names of trains that left out of Chicago (as did the Chief and the Panama Limited), but I couldn't find anything on Wikipedia that matched phonetically. Some other bits in brackets as well, and I also think it's possible the word "'twas" is "pulled" as in pulled out, but see what you think.  Here is "Panama Limited":
Chris



"The Panama Limited"

(Spoken)
It's this old soul, you know, time she left Chicago, you know, old soul taken down with the flu, you know. When she's taken down with the flu, you know, the [????] and the Chief come 'round that morning, they're going to put out, you know. When they got there the old soul was gettin' up, you know, singin' and cryin', you know.

(Sung)
I ain't got nobody take me to this train,
Mmmmm, mmmm, hmmm hmm mmm

(Spoken)
I know you ain't, old soul, I feel sorry for her. A'ter while, you know, she seen the [???????] gonna put out, she retched (reached) and got her two little grandchildren, you know, and she got up on the street, you know. The water begin to settle in old soul's eyes she commenced to cryin' and then singin', you know,

(Sung)
Fare you well if I don't see you no more,
Mmmmmm, lord, lord, lord, lord.

(Spoken)
Then old soul, you know, went on down to the Union Station, you know. She asked the depot man what time it 'twas. She heard 8:30 freight blowin' but she was gon' catch that fast Panama Limited, you know. She kinda blowed a little diff'ent, though.

After she heard this freight, you know, she asked the man again what time it 'twas. He told her go lay her head on the rail line and she hear that rail poppin', train time wasn't long. Old soul stooped down she heard the rail poppin', you know, and she got up singin', you know,

(Sung)
I'm a motherless child I'm a long way from my home,
Mmmmmm, mmmm hmmmm, hmmm, hmmm

(Spoken)
Don't moan it so loud, [Aunt Haggie]. So when old soul, you know, began to moan, you know, she heard this here train comin' in there holl'in, you know. After the holl'in, you know, she heard the bell blowin', after the bell blowin' she heard her when she cut down.

Airbrake!

[When her headed????] you know heard the train cut down, you know, the old soul got happy, y'know, she commenced to singin', y'know,

The train I ride, it don't burn no coal,
Mmmmmm, hmmm, hmmm, hmmm, hmmm,
Mmmmmm, mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm,
Hmmm hmmm, hmmm, hmmm, hmm,m hmmm.

 
« Last Edit: June 17, 2020, 08:36:51 AM by Johnm »

 


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