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I thought that it was such a privilege for me to be doing those sides with Georgia, that I decided to do everything I could in one bar. Everything I could dream of, I wanted to be sure I got it all in. I was like a dive bomber coming in, playing everything but what she was singing, playing the fastest run I could that had nothing to do with expressing the blues. It was wrong! - The self deprecating Les Paul on his 1936 recording sessions backing Georgia White

Author Topic: The Boll Weevil  (Read 17287 times)

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Online Johnm

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Re: The Boll Weevil
« Reply #75 on: June 02, 2014, 06:28:10 PM »
"Ford machine"  in verse seven of Gid Tanner's version is spot on, Scott.  Thanks!  I've put it in there.
All best,
Johnm

Offline waxwing

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Re: The Boll Weevil
« Reply #76 on: June 02, 2014, 07:03:52 PM »
I googled "sea lark" and found it commonly used for various small shore birds, plovers, dunlin, sandpipers, etc. According to B&GR Williams was recorded in the VA state penn in Richmond, so a good chance he was a Virginia tidewater area player (like some other folks we know) and would have known these birds by this name.

Still think he meant to sing "If I could fly like a..."

Wax
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Re: The Boll Weevil
« Reply #77 on: June 04, 2014, 03:30:03 PM »
Hi all,
Here is a great version from "Baby Face" Leroy Foster featuring Little Walter and Muddy Waters.  I think I have most of the lyrics now, apart from portions of the spoken asides during the solo.



Mr. boll weevil, don't sing them blues no more
Mr. boll weevil, don't sing the blues no more
Because the boll weevil here, boll weevil every place I go

Ah, but you know, the next time I seen the boll weevil,
You know, he was a-sailin' through the air (Spoken: Uh-huh!)
The next time I saw the boll weevil, boy,
He had all of his family there

Mr. boll weevil, please don't sing the blues no more
Because the boll weevil here, boll weevil every place I go (Spoken: Lord have mercy!)

(Spoken, during solo: Well, all right, Little Walter, come in, Muddy Waters, let me talk to you, boy!
Oh, but look-a-here!  The boll weevil got so bad now! [                          ] I'm sorry, dear.)

Now, but you know, Muddy,
If anybody happen to aks you, boy,
Who, uh, made up this song (Spoken: Who did then?)
Just tell 'em Walter with a pair of duckins,
Me with a pair of little duckins on

Mister boll weevil, don't sing them blues no more
Because the boll weevil here, boll weevil every place I go

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: June 06, 2014, 09:40:53 PM by Johnm »

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: The Boll Weevil
« Reply #78 on: June 04, 2014, 04:57:21 PM »
Pink Anderson

« Last Edit: November 14, 2019, 08:44:32 AM by Johnm »
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
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Online Johnm

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Re: The Boll Weevil
« Reply #79 on: June 05, 2014, 09:41:33 AM »
Hi all,
Here is a version from Mississippian Sid Hemphill, recorded in 1941 or 1942.  Like Gid Tanner's version, it uses the same melody as was used for Charlie Poole's  "White House Blues" and Red Patterson's "Battleship of Maine".  It would be interesting to see how many different recorded songs used that melody.



All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: November 14, 2019, 08:43:27 AM by Johnm »

Online Johnm

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Re: The Boll Weevil
« Reply #80 on: June 05, 2014, 09:44:53 AM »
Hi all,
Here is a version of "Boll Weevil" recorded by Phineas Rockmore.  I know nothing about him except that he was a Texan and also was recorded doing a version of "Traveling Man".  He sounds to be backing himself with a flat-pick here out of C position in standard tuning, and appears to have been a seasoned performer, very poised with a droll delivery.  He has lots of verses not encountered in any of the previous versions, too.



Have you heard the latest?  Latest of our home
Boll weevil done eat all of my cotton, he done started on my corn
Says, "I got me a home, boll weevil's home."

Well, the farmer taken the boll weevil, buried him down in ice
Boll weevil says to the farmer, "I'm a-livin' me a happy life,
This is my home, boll weevil's home."

Then the farmer taken the boll weevil, buried him down in sand
Boll weevil says to the farmer, "I'm gonna stand it like a natch'l man,
This is my home, boll weevil's home."

Then the farmer taken the boll weevil, he stopped him up in a little flask
Boll weevil says to the farmer, "I'm found my home at last,
This is my home, boll weevil's home."

If you want to kill the boll weevil, farmer, let me tell you how
Just th'ow away your cotton sacks and burn up your plow
And you'll have a home, boll weevil's home

Well, the farmer says to the merchant, "What do you think of that?
I found the boll weevil settin' in my Stetson hat
Makin' that his home, boll weevil home."

Now the first time I seen the boll weevil, he was settin' on a square
And the next time I seen the rascal, he done moved his famiy there
Makin' that his home, boll weevil's home

Well, the farmer says to the wife, "I'm in a terrible distress.
Wintertime's done caught me here and I got one old coat and vest
And It's full of holes, it's full of holes."

Well the her says to the husband, "I'm in the same distress.
Boll weevil done eat all of the cotton, left me one old cotton dress
And it's full of holes, it's full of holes."

Now, I ain't gonna tell you no story, I ain't gonna tell you no lie
Farmer, you can't kill the boll weevil, ain't no need to try
He's got him a home, boll weevil's home

Farmer says to the merchant, "I didn't make but one bale.
And before I carry my last bale to town, I'm gwine-a fight you and go to jail,
And make that my home, only home."

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: November 14, 2019, 08:45:59 AM by Johnm »

Online Johnm

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Re: The Boll Weevil
« Reply #81 on: June 13, 2014, 09:39:41 PM »
Hi all,
Yet another version of "Boll Weevil" was recorded by Buster "Buzz" Ezell, recorded by Alan Lomax in Georgia between 1926 and 1943.  Because two other of Ezell's titles refer to Roosevelt and Hitler, it seems likely that he was recorded towards the tail end of that period.
Ezell accompanies himself here out of G position in standard tuning with a vigorous boom-chang style.  He sounds to have been a real showman, and listening to a number of versions of this song, one is impressed with the extent to which the song seemed to attract ebullient performers.  Both Buster Ezell and Phineas Rockmore sound like "personality plus" types who really knew how to put a song across.  Neither of the two performers sound particularly rural, for that matter--they sound pretty sophisticated.



Well, the first time I saw boll weevil, he was settin' on a cotton square
Next time I saw mister weevil, he had his whole family there
What you reckon he said?  'Bout to kill me dead!

He said to our doctor, "Might well as throw away your pills,
For when I get through with this country, the farmers can't pay their bills,
They won't have no homes, they won't have no homes."

Well, I'm goin' back to Texas, to where I was bred and born
Mama, I'm gwine to leave Georgia, but Georgia ain't none of my home
I'm on my way, I'm on my way

Boll weevil said to the farmer, "Farmer, I wish you well."
Farmer said to the weevil, "Yes, but I wish you's dead --,
Got to leave my home, on account of you."

Well, the weevil says to the farmer, "Why, I'm your bosom friend.
Every since I been in this country, cotton's brought you thirty-five cents,
You ought to praise my name, you ought to praise my name."

Boll weevil says to the farmer, "You might do just as you please.
But if you don't raise no cotton, I'll eat up all of your peas,
You'll have to sell your corn to pay your debts."

Weevil says to the farmer, "You might think I'm tellin' a tale.
But when you come to find out, you'll be arrested and put in jail,
You can't pay your fine, you can't pay your fine."

Boll weevil said to High Sheriff one day, a-riding in his automobile,
He said, "When I get through with these cotton fields, I'm gonna purchase every one of your wheels,
You'll have to ride on the rims, you'll have to ride on the --."

Well, the weevil said to the judge, "You can do just as you please.
But when I get through with this country, you'll be crawling on your knees,
You're going to be insane, you're going to be in--."

Well, the first time I saw the boll weevil, he was settin' on a cotton square,
Next time I saw mister weevil, he had his whole family there,
What you reckon he said?  'Bout to kill me dead!

Said to our doctor, "Might as well throw away your pills,
For when I get through with this country, the farmers can't pay their bills,
They won't have no homes, they won't have no homes."

All best,
Johnm

« Last Edit: November 14, 2019, 08:47:10 AM by Johnm »

Offline bnemerov

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Re: The Boll Weevil
« Reply #82 on: June 14, 2014, 04:54:52 AM »
Hi John,
Ezell was recorded at the Fort Valley Folk Festival in spring, 1941 by John Work.
There are photos of him in the college magazine. More at the LoC American Memory website: The Fort Valley collection.
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/ftvhtml/ftvhome.html
Really a wonderful use of our tax dollars.

And the Document CDs serve a purpose, but the sketchy notes and poor sound are really irritating. Listen to Ezell's Boll Weevil on the LoC site for a much better sound.
best,
bruce
« Last Edit: June 14, 2014, 04:57:49 AM by bnemerov »

Online Johnm

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Re: The Boll Weevil
« Reply #83 on: June 14, 2014, 06:04:17 AM »
Thanks very much for that information, Bruce.  I've just been finding these versions on YouTube and have been figuring out where the players were from by working through the Document catalog.  It's pretty inefficient, and you barely wind up with any information, so it is especially good to have a deeper context on where the music came from.  Thanks!
All best,
Johnm

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: The Boll Weevil
« Reply #84 on: June 15, 2014, 01:19:17 AM »
FWIW using the link below scroll down to the Flyright-Matchbox series (editor: John Cowley) and at item 250 (1974) one can read Tony Russell's liner notes to the original Fort Valley  LP compilation. http://www.wirz.de/music/flyrifrm.htm
« Last Edit: June 15, 2014, 01:21:56 AM by Bunker Hill »

Online Johnm

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Re: The Boll Weevil
« Reply #85 on: July 25, 2014, 07:45:55 PM »
Hi all,
Here is a version of "Boll Weevil" from Irvin "Gar Mouth" Lowry.



Mister farmer went to town, asked for meat and meal
The clerk said, "Go 'way, mister farmer, boll weevil's in your field

Mister farmer went back home, went walkin' 'cross his fields
Says, "A-look at a poor farmer, ever make a pint of meal."

Boll weevil's taken a circle, 'way around the moon
Says, "I be back to see you, mister farmer, the twenty-fifth of June.
The twenty-fifth of June
Says, "I'll be back to see you, mister farmer, on the twenty-fifth of June."

I was standin' on the corner, my baby come riding by
She were drinkin' bottle in bond, bottle in bond
The first thing that I knowed I was jailhouse bound
I was jailhouse bound
Lord, I was jailhouse bound and she wouldn't write to me

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: July 26, 2014, 08:06:08 PM by Johnm »

Offline banjochris

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Re: The Boll Weevil
« Reply #86 on: August 20, 2014, 11:58:12 PM »


[                                      ], for to cover the grass all up
Boll weevil said to the farmer, "I [                   ] right up,
I have a home, I have a home."


I believe Gid is singing here:

Gonna ease up to my parcel, gonna cover the grubs all up,
Boll weevil said to the farmer, "I'll doodle myself right up,
I have a home, I have a home."

I assume "doodle" in this instance would mean curl up like a doodle bug.

Chris

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Re: The Boll Weevil
« Reply #87 on: August 21, 2014, 09:21:54 AM »
Thanks so much for the help, Chris!  I particularly like Gid Tanner's version of the song, and despite listening to that verse many times, I was not at all close to getting it.  That is great hearing and figuring out the sense of the lyrics on your part.  "Doodle" as a verb--wow!  And the sense is right on the money, too.  Thanks!
All best,
Johnm

Offline dj

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Re: The Boll Weevil
« Reply #88 on: September 03, 2014, 03:40:29 AM »
I think the first line of Gid Tanner's verse 7 might be  "Boll weevil said to the farmer, "YOU'LL fly IN a Ford machine"".  Fly as in flee.

Online Johnm

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Re: The Boll Weevil
« Reply #89 on: September 03, 2014, 05:33:41 PM »
Thanks for the suggestion, dj.  I just listened to that passage about six times consecutively, and "You'll", as you have it sounds good.  I can't hear any trace of "in", though.  The meaning could be the same without the "in", so I'll put the "you'll" in there and let it go at that.  Thanks!
All best,
Johnm

 


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