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Author Topic: Tommy McClennan Lyrics  (Read 6784 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Tommy McClennan Lyrics
« on: February 03, 2007, 12:01:56 AM »
Hi all,
Tommy McClennan recorded "It's Hard To Be Lonesome" with an unknown bass player, in Chicago on May 10, 1940.  Tommy was backing himself out of G position in standard tuning, using an accompaniment outline he employed for many of his songs.  The performance has all of the excitement characteristic of Tommy's recordings; he certainly could never be accused of mailing a performance in!  There are plenty of spoken asides.  During his guitar solo, Tommy alternates between playing a line on his guitar and registering his approval, "Yeah!".  I really like his lyrics to this one, and the last two verses in particular.  Not knowing "gee" from "haw" amounts to not knowing right from left--they are commands given to a mule indicating the direction the person working the mule wants it to go.  It sounds like Tommy wants to call the shots.  Tommy pronounces the word "touch" in verse 1 "tetch".  His "whoo" in the final verse is a falsetto leap like those employed by Robert Johnson.

   Ain't it hard to be lonesome, when you're sleepin' all by yourself?
   Ain't it hard to be lonesome, when you're sleepin' all by yourself?
   Lord, and the woman that you're lovin' has got in touch with somebody else

   Now, I love my baby and I tell the world I do
   Lord, I love my baby and I tell the world I do
   Now, mama, some o' these days I hope she come to love me too

   SPOKEN, DURING GUITAR SOLO:  Play the box now.  Yeah.  Yeah.  Yeah!

   I don't want none of these funny women if they don't know how to rob and steal
   I don't want none of these funny women if they don't know how to rob and steal
   SPOKEN:  What they gon' do?
   They work theirself to death in some poor farmer's field

   What you want with a woman, Lord, now, if she don't know "yes" from "no"?
   SPOKEN:  Yeah!
   What you want with a woman, whooo, she don't know "yes" from "no"?
   And what you want with one of them good-lookin' women if she don't know "gee" from "haw"?

   SPOKEN:  Yeah!

All best,
Johnm
  
« Last Edit: October 24, 2011, 06:09:17 AM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Tommy McClennan Lyrics
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2011, 04:30:48 PM »
Hi all,
Tommy McClennan recorded "I'm A Guitar King" at a session in Chicago on September 15, 1941, backing himself out of D position in standard tuning.  This track appeared on one of the very first LP re-issues of Country Blues, the Samuel Charters-compiled "The Country Blues", on the RBF label.  
Tommy's performance is so strong as his performances generally were.  He was an incredibly exciting singer and a very strong, rough player.  He seems to have been a player whose peers spoke slightingly of his musical abilities.  By all accounts, he was a very heavy drinker, and it is possible this rendition was affected by that.  He returns to the IV7 chord for the taglines of the fourth and fifth verses, and in the second line of the last verse, he goes to a flatVII chord, C, instead of the IV7 chord and briefly stops playing altogether.  He kind of mangles some words, too.  In the tagline of verse two he combines "but don't" into "bon't", and in verse four he turns "last night" into "nast night".  And you know what?  It makes absolutely no difference at all in the quality of the performance, which is stellar.  I miss the era when a strong but flawed performance would be released on the basis of its feel and expressiveness.  The present-day era's emphasis on flawless performances in the studio can often result in the death of spontaneity and chance-taking.  That was something that never happened to Tommy McClennan.

   I'm a guitar king, sing the blues everywhere I go (Spoken: Lord have mercy now)
   I'm a guitar king, sing the blues everywhere I go
   I'm gon' sing these blues 'til I get back in territor'

   Now, my Mama told me, "Son, you're 'most too old."
   Now, my Mama told me, "Son, you're 'most too old.
   Ah, don't forget, you've got a soul."

   But that ain't none o' your business, keep it to yourself
   That ain't none o' your business, keep it to yourself
   Don't you tell your kidman, please don't tell nobody else

   Now, I went to my baby's house nast night, knocked up on her door
   Went to my baby's house, knocked up on her door (Spoken: What did she say?)
   She had the nerve to tell me that she didn't want me no more

   I said, "That's all right, babe, any way you do.
   That's all right, 'most any old way you do.
   If you mistreat poor Tommy, I swear it's comin' back home to you."

   It's a cryin' pity, low-down dirty shame
   It's a cryin' pity, cryin' low-down dirty shame
   Crazy about a married woman, 'fraid to call her name

All best,
Johnm
    

  
  
 
« Last Edit: October 21, 2011, 09:38:01 PM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Tommy McClennan Lyrics
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2011, 06:33:41 AM »
Hi all,
Tommy McClennan recorded "Deep Blue Sea Blues" the same day he recorded "I'm A Guitar King". "Deep Blue Sea Blues" is his version of "Catfish Blues", despite there never being a mention of a catfish in the lyrics.  McClennan backed himself out of E position in standard tuning for the song, and it is a terrifically strong rendition.  Based on the the sound of the later recordings, "Deep Blue Sea Blues" would appear to have been the source of the recordings by Baby Tate and Pink Anderson of the same song in the '60s. Tommy McClennan's spoken intro is telling, and oddly enough, this was one of only two songs he ever recorded for which he accompanied himself out of E in standard tuning. When he gets into the repetitions of the final lines of his verses, he often lets the guitar finish the phrase, and that is indicated with a dash where it happened.

   SPOKEN: I wants to make this right now.  It's the best one I got.

   I'm gwine, babe, I'm gwine, and your cryin' won't make me stay
   'Cause the more you cry, now now, babe,
   Further you drive me away
   Further you drive me away
   I mean, drive me away
   Further you drive me away

   Now I wished I was a bullfrog swimmin' in the deep blue sea
   Lord, I would have all these good-lookin' women, now now now
   Fishin after me
   Fishin' after --
   I mean, after --
   Sho' 'nough, after me

   Now I went to my baby's house, and I sot down on her steps
   She said, "Walk on in, now now, Tommy,
   My husband just now left
   My husband just now ----
   I mean, just now ----
   Sho' 'nough, just now left
   Oh Lord, just now left
   Lord, just now left

   Now, ain't none of, none of my business, babe, but you know I know it ain't right
   Stay with your kidman all day long and
   Play sick on your husband at night
   On your husband at night
   I mean, your husband at night
   Sho' 'nough, your husband at night
   Oh Lord, your husband -- -----
   Oh Lord, your husband at -----
   Oh Lord, your husband at night

   SOLO (Spoken during solo: Long time, man!)

   Now Lord, whoa, Lord, hear me blow the blues
   Now I ain't got no bottom, now now now
   In my last pair of shoes
   In my last pair of sh'
   In my last pair -- -----

All best,
Johnm
 
« Last Edit: May 08, 2012, 10:21:07 PM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Tommy McClennan Lyrics
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2011, 05:25:49 PM »
Hi all,
Tommy McClennan recorded "You Can Mistreat Me Here" at his first session, in Chicago on November 22, 1939.  He accompanied himself out of C position in standard tuning, a position not utilized very much by players from the Mississippi delta up to that point.  The piece has a tiny tinge of Lemon Jefferson influence that can be in heard in the intro, and perhaps a bit more of a Sleepy John Estes influence, mostly by virtue of being a hard-driving, non-raggy blues in C, an area in which Sleepy John was a trail-blazer.  
Tommy McClennan was able to do a really stylish job playing on the tune by adopting an interesting strategy:  he never played the bottom of his F chord, and so had more freedom in the treble there, and also thumped on his open low E string under his C chord while free-handing runs in the treble.  His signature lick for the tune employs a triplet run on the first string that he snaps off impressively.
Tommy McClennan's vocal on the tune is spectacular, as per usual, and one has to remind oneself that this was his first recording session, for he is amazingly unself-conscious, and sounds like a studio veteran.  And while he may not have utilized different voices in the course of his spoken asides as did Charlie Patton, he is every bit in Patton's class for the spontaneity, humor and animal high spirits his spoken asides expressed.  The little scat sung afterward can be taken as indication of how loose Tommy McClennan was at his first session.

   INTRO

   Now you can mistreat me here, but you can't when I go home
   You can mistreat me here, but you can't when I go home
   'Cause I got someone there will really make you leave me alone

   Now I give you all my money, baby, what more can a poor man do?
   Give you all my money, baby, hoo-hoo, what more can a poor man do?
   You's a sweet little girl, baby, but you won't be true

   Now I done told you once, now baby, and I don't want to have to tell you no more
   (Spoken: Take your time, play it right before you go to Chicago.)
   I done told you once, whoo, I don't want to tell you no more (Spoken: Tell me what?)
   You can get all of my lovin' if you let that black man go

   SOLO (Spoken during solo: Play the box, man!  Yes!  Yes!  Yeah!  Yeah!)
   Mmmmmmmmm  mmmmmmmm mmmmmm

   Now my Mama told me and my Papa sot and cried
   My Mama told me and my Papa, he sot and cried (Spoken: What he say?)
   Says, "Son, you're too young a man to have that many women your side."

   I looked at my Mama and Papa, now now, and I never cracked a smile
   (Spoken: Yes, yes, yes, yes)
   Looked at my Mama and Papa and I never cracked a smile (Spoken: What about it?)
   I said, "The little woman I got kill me, Mama, Lord, I don't mind dyin'
   Dee-dah, bee-bah, bah-bah-bah

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: October 24, 2011, 06:01:18 PM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Tommy McClennan Lyrics
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2011, 02:46:02 PM »
Hi all,
"New Highway 51", recorded in Chicago on May 10, 1940, was one of the earliest of Tommy McClennan's cuts to be re-issued, on the "Rural Blues" 2-LP set that Samuel Charters compiled for the RBF label.  It is a tremendously exciting cut, and I remember feeling it was one of the high points of the set when I first heard it.  Tommy McClennan accompanied himself out of G position in standard tuning for the song, and he generally "went long" in the first four bars, worrying a bend on his first string behind his singing until he was satisfied he'd done it long enough.  Tommy's and Robert Petway's predilection for G position in standard tuning is somewhat mysterious--Charlie Patton, an enormously influential delta blues player of the generation prior to Tommy's, never recorded a single title on which he backed himself out of G position in standard tuning, and I can't think of any cuts Tommy Johnson recorded out of that position, either.  I think the primary influence for Tommy and Robert Petway for playing out of G position was probably Ishmon Bracey, who had several very strong cuts that he played out of G position, backed by Charlie McCoy on the mandolin.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Tommy McClennan's vocal on "New Highway 51" is superlative.  Tommy shared a gift that Lightnin' Hopkins had as well:  to sing pre-existing blues lyrics so convincingly that you feel in listening to the rendition that he just made up the verses in that instant, and is singing them to you, in particular.  How such an energetic, brazen sort of delivery could at the same time communicate a kind of confidential quality is something that will probably remain a mystery.  Perhaps the spoken asides had something to do with it.

   SOLO

   Highway 51 run right by my baby's door
   Highway 51 run right by my baby's door
   If I don't get the girl I'm lovin', ain't goin' down Higway 51 no more

   Now if I should die before my time should come
   I say, if I should die just before my time should come
   I want you to please bury my body out on Highway 51

   Now yond' come that Greyhound, with his tongue stickin' out on the side
   (Spoken: Yes, yes, yes)
   Yond' come that Greyhound, with his tongue stickin' out on the side
   If you buy your ticket, swear 'fore God, that man'll let you ride

   My baby didn't have one five dollars, now now, she spent it all on that V-8 Ford
   (Spoken: Yes, yes)
   My baby didn't have one five dollars, spent it all on me a V-8 Ford
   So I could meet that Greyhound bus on that Highway 51 road

   Now anytime you get lonesome and you wants to have some fun
   (Spoken: Yes, yes, man)
   Anytime you get lonesome and you wants to have some fun
   (Spoken: What I'm gonna go?)
   Come out to little Tommy's cabin, he lives on Highway 51

All best,
Johnm
   

Offline banjochris

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Re: Tommy McClennan Lyrics
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2011, 05:12:02 PM »
This isn't intended as a slight of McClennan's talent at all, but I don't think it hurts that for the most part his songs are passed down to us with amazing sound quality; not just a lack of surface noise but a real aural "depth" to the performances.

By the way, John, and I've mentioned this before, I love it when you start transcribing lyrics of someone I haven't listened to in a long time and I get to go back and hear them afresh. Thanks again!
Chris

Offline Johnm

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Re: Tommy McClennan Lyrics
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2011, 06:44:43 AM »
Thanks, Chris.  A lot of times when I start transcribing I realize just how much I've been relying on phonetic approximations of the words in my listening over the years.  It's good to finally feel like you know what they are at last.  It makes a huge difference to feel so back-stopped, too--I know I'll be helped if I get stuck or get something wrong.
I think you're right that the extent to which we're really able to hear Tommy McClennan's singing and playing in his recordings makes the connection to his music very immediate.  In many other instances, the deficiencies of the sound reproduction have the effect of distancing you from both the music and the sense of the music being made.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: Tommy McClennan Lyrics
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2011, 11:14:14 AM »
Hi all,
Tommy McClennan recorded "Whiskey Head Woman" at his first session, in Chicago on November 22, 1939.  He backed himself out of G position in standard tuning on the song.  The song is somewhat unusual, but not unique, in adopting a censorious attitude toward the woman's drinking and seeing it as excessive.  Two other songs reflecting the same attitude are Herman E. Johnson's "She Had Been Drinking", at http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?amp;Itemid=60&topic=2365.msg18125#msg18125, and Memphis Willie B.'s "Wine Drinking Woman", located at http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?amp;Itemid=60&topic=6130.msg49190#msg49190.
Lyrically, Tommy McClennan book-ends the interior verses of the song, which are all phrased as chorus blues, with the first and last verses, which have conventional AAB phrasing.  His spoken aside after the first line of the last verse, while he is bending a note and "going long", may be taken as his justification for "playing it a long time" or thriving on a riff.  I believe this number may have been one of his bigger sellers.

   SOLO

   She's a whiskey-headed woman and she stays drunk all the time (Spoken: Yeah)
   She's a whiskey-headed woman and she stays drunk all the time (Spoken: Yeah)
   Baby, if you don't stop drinkin', I believe you gonna lose your mind (Spoken: Yeah)

   Now every time I see you, babe, you're at some whiskey joint
   Standin' 'round 'midst the crowd a-beggin' for one more half a pint
   'Cause you's a whiskey-headed woman and you stay drunk all the time
   Baby, if you don't stop drinkin', little woman, I believe you gonna lose your mind
   (Spoken: Yeah)

   Now didn't I told you, baby, when you fell down 'cross your bed
   You was drinkin' that moonshine whiskey and talkin' all out your head?
   'Cause you's a whiskey-headed woman and you stay drunk all the time
   Baby, and if you don't stop drinkin', I believe you gonna lose your mind (Spoken: Yeah)

   Now look-a-here, babe, I don't want to tell you no more
   You can get all my lovin' if you just let him go
   'Cause you's a whiskey-headed woman and you stay drunk all the time (Spoken: Yeah)
   And if you don't stop drinkin', baby, I believe, gonna lose your mind

   Now when you start a-drinkin', make me a pallet on your floor
   'Cause if you keep on drinkin', I ain't come to your house no more
   'Cause you're a whiskey-headed woman, baby, you stay drunk all the time
   (Spoken: Yeah, heh)
   Now if you don't stop drinkin', little woman, I belive you gonna lose your mind
   (Spoken: Yeah)

   Now you's a whiskey-headed woman and you stay drunk all the time
   (Spoken: Play it, man!  Play it long as your satisfaction!)
   Now you's a whiskey-headed woman, babe, and you stay drunk all the time
   And it's as sure if you don't stop drinkin', I swear you gonna lose your mind

All best,
Johnm
   
   

   
     

Offline Johnm

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Re: Tommy McClennan Lyrics
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2011, 09:02:40 AM »
Hi all,
Tommy McClennan recorded "Blues Trip Me This Morning" on February 20, 1942, at what was to turn out to be his final recording session.  He is backed by Ransom Knowling on bass, almost inaudibly, on the cut, for which he (Tommy) accompanied himself out of D position in standard tuning, playing a part similar to what he had played on "I'm A Guitar King" the previous September. 
This a shocking performance, vocally.  Tommy sounds like he had been gargling with steel wool, really just as though it absolutely hurt to sing.  That having been said, expressively he was absolutely at the top of his game--his commitment to what he was singing and the spontaneity with which he delivered it could be taken as a lesson for anyone wanting to sing the blues.  This and the remainder of Tommy McClennan's recordings can be found on Document or on the JSP set, "Big Joe Williams and the Stars of the Mississippi Blues".

   SOLO

   Now the blues come up on me last Sunday mornin', they tripped me and throwed me down
   The blues grabbed my poor legs this mornin', a-tripped me and throwed me down
   Lord, I wouldn't hate it so bad but the news done got all over town

   Now look-a here, babe, yeah, where did you stay last night?
   Looky here, babe, where'd you stay last night?
   Oh well, when you come home, you know you wasn't smellin' just right

   Now I had the blues 'bout that baby, on one Sunday morn
   I had the blues 'bout that baby, on one Sunday morn
   You oughta hate to hear my baby, way at night when she groan

   Look-a here, mama, I ain't gonna fool wit' you no more
   (Spoken: Take your time.  Play the blues right.)
   Looky here, mama, fool wit' you no more
   For every time I fool wit' you, you got to make me love you more and more

   Now my baby got somethin', never told what it is
   My baby, she got somethin' I ain't never told what it is
   Every time that poor girl shakes the shimmy, Lord knows, I can't be still

All best,
Johnm

   
 
   

Offline Johnm

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Re: Tommy McClennan Lyrics
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2011, 02:32:54 PM »
Hi all,
Tommy McClennan recorded "Cross Cut Saw, Take 1" on September 15, 1941, backing himself out of G position in standard tuning.  He was joined by an unknown and only intermittently audible bass player for the session.  I don't believe Tommy was the first to record the song, but he has different lyrics from most people who have performed it.  He altogether loses the thread for an instant at the beginning of his solo, but rights himself instantly--perhaps the fluff was the reason he followed this performance with another take of the same song.  After the first verse, the song shifts into a chorus blues, much as "Whiskey Head Woman" did.

   Now I'm a cross-cut saw, drag me 'cross your log
   I'm a cross-cut saw, drag me 'cross your log
   I'll cut your wood so easy, can't help but say, "Hot dog!"

   They call me "Wood 'n' Cuttin' Slim", call me "Wood 'n' Cuttin' Dan",
   But the woman I did wood 'n' cuttin' for, she wants me back again
   'Cause I'm a cross-cut saw, babe, and drag me 'cross your log
   I'll cut your wood so easy, can't help but say, "Hot dog!"

   SOLO: (Spoken during solo: Yeah!  Now play it there one time. Yeah!)
  
   I'm a cross-cut saw, babe, and drag me 'cross your log
   Cut your wood so easy, can't help but say, "Hot dog!"

   Now I got a doub'-bladed axe and it sure cuts good
   Try my cross-cut saw, here, will ease on through the wood
   'Cause I'm a cross-cut saw, babe, and drag me 'cross your log
   I'll cut your wood so easy, can't help but say, "Hot dog!"

   Now I'll cut your wood in the mornin', cut your wood late at night
   I'll cut your wood 'bout the time I want thing called a fuss-and-fight
   'Cause I'm a cross-cut saw, babe, and drag me 'cross your log (Spoken: Yeah)
   I'll cut your wood so easy, can't help but say, "Hot dog!"

All best,
Johnm
 
  

« Last Edit: October 28, 2011, 04:16:12 PM by Johnm »

Offline dj

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Re: Tommy McClennan Lyrics
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2011, 06:36:30 PM »
Quote
Tommy McClennan recorded "Cross Cut Saw, Take 1" on September 15, 1941...  I don't believe Tommy was the first to record the song, but he has different lyrics from most people who have performed it.

Tony Hollins recorded a version with similar lyrics, also for Bluebird, on June 3.  McClennan certainly didn't learn his version from Hollins' record, as the earlier version was unissued at the time.

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Tommy McClennan Lyrics
« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2011, 10:53:59 PM »
Tony Hollins recorded a version with similar lyrics, also for Bluebird, on June 3.  McClennan certainly didn't learn his version from Hollins' record, as the earlier version was unissued at the time.
Indeed so dj, it eventually saw release in on a Columbia CD in late 80s.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2011, 10:57:44 PM by Bunker Hill »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Tommy McClennan Lyrics
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2011, 09:32:07 AM »
Hi all,
Tommy McClennan recorded "I'm Going Don't You Know" at his second session, on May 10, 1940, with an unknown and superfluous bass player.  Tommy accompanied himself out of C position in standard tuning.  What a terrific dance number this is!  Tommy's playing in C here has some of the qualities of Mance Lipscomb's playing in C:  he phrases the melody throughout right underneath the singing and keeps a strong bass thumping going all the while; if chord tones are available in the bass in convenient places, so much the better, but if not, open strings suffice. Tommy's playing here reminds me a bit of Sam Collins' playing in C, too, so-called "primitive" hot guitar, wild and without the "every note in its place" sort of feel you can get with Blind Blake on occasion.  It must be said, too, that I have never heard this song covered, and it would make a wonderful ensemble piece.
The vocal plays to Tommy McClennan's strengths.  It's rhythmic, extroverted and sells good times about as well as they can be sold.  Plus Tommy must have been one of the finest scat singers in the Country Blues, along with Guitar Shorty.  If you haven't heard this performance, seek it out--it's a hell of a lot of fun.

   SOLO (Spoken during solo:  Yes, yes!)

   Yes, I'm goin', don't know where I'm goin' but I'm goin'
   Yes, I'm goin', don't know where I'm goin' but I'm goin'
   Yes, I'm goin', yes, I'm goin', baby, don't you want to go?

   Ah beep-bop-bop, well, all right
   Hee-hah-hah, well, all right, well, all right, well, all right, well, all right
   Hear me talkin' to you, baby, don't you want to go?

   We gonna pitch a boogie-woog', well, all right
   We gonna pitch a boogie-woog', well, all right, well, all right, well, all right, well, all right
   Gonna pitch a boogie-woogie, baby, don't you want to go?

   Eee-dah, bih-tum, bah-tum, scoo-tum, dee
   Dee-dah, dah-tum bee-tum be-bop-bop, oh
   Oom, ah, eee, eee, eee-yah
   Oom, bee-tum, bee-tum, bop, oh
   Bah-tum, bah-tum, dee-dah, dee-dah, dah

   Now daddy's gettin' hot, well, all right (Spoken: Yeah!)
   Daddy's gettin' hot, well, all right, well, all right, well, all right, well, all right, well, all right
   Daddy's gettin' hot, baby, don't you want to go?

   Bee-um, bah-um, bah-um, bop, oh
   Bee-um, bah-um, bah-um, bop, oh
   Bah-um, bah-um, bah-um bop, oh
   Bee-um, bah-um, bah-um, bop, oh
   Bah-um, bah-um, dee-da-dee-da-dee-dats
   Eee-dats, eee-dats

   Now mama's gettin' cold, well, all right (spoken: Yeah, man!)
   Mama's gettin' cold, well, all right, well, all right, well, all right, well, all right, well, all right
   Mama's gettin' cold, daddy don't want you no more (Spoken: Play the blues, man!)

   SOLO (Spoken during solo: Yeah!  Yeah!  Now!  Yes-yes-yes!  Yeah!  Yeah!)

   Oh, bee-um bah-um bah-um bop, oh
   Eee-tum, dee-tum, dee-tum, bop, oh
   Scoo-tum, dee-tum, dee-tum, bop, oh
   Oom, ah, ah, ah, ah,
   Ah, ah

All best,
Johnm  
« Last Edit: October 31, 2011, 02:13:44 PM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Tommy McClennan Lyrics
« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2011, 12:43:27 PM »
Hi all,
Tommy McClennan recorded "Cotton Patch Blues" at his first session, backing himself out of G position in standard tuning.  Close listening to his various pieces in G makes clear that he was not just recycling the same accompaniment, over and over.  "Cotton Patch Blues" has some exciting and distinctive work in the bass, especially in the last verse, where he reefs on a G note on the sixth string with vibrato underneath his singing.  Tommy sounds so alive on his tracks, and so fully engaged by what he was doing.

   I left my babe in Mississippi, pickin' cotton down on her knee
   I left my babe in Mississippi, whoo, pickin' cotton down on her knee (Spoken: Yeah)
   She said, "Babe, if you get Chicago, please write me a letter, if you please." (Spoken: Yeah)

   I said, "Baby, that's all right, baby, that's all right for you."
   I said, "Baby, that's all righ-yigh-yigh', that's all right for you." (Spoken: She didn't say what she mean.)
   "You just keep a-pickin' cotton right there, oh babe, 'til I get through." (Spoken: Yeah)

   Now I'm gon' leave Mississippi, hopin' I might flag a ride (Spoken: What you say?)
   I say, I'm gonna leave Mississippi, baby, hopin' I might flag a ride
   And if I don't get nobody, oh babe, I'm gon' pass on by (Spoken: Play the box, man!)

   SOLO (Spoken during solo: Yeah! Yeah!)

   Baby, when I get in Chicago, I do swear I'm gonna take a chance (Spoken: Take your time now and play it right, here, 'cause it's last a while.)
   When I get in Chicago, babe, I do swear I'm gon' take a chance (Spoken: Yeah)
   If I don't never get back to Mississippi, I'm sure gonna change your name

All best,
Johnm
 
   
   

Offline Johnm

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Re: Tommy McClennan Lyrics
« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2011, 04:26:56 PM »
Hi all,
Tommy McClennan recorded "Baby, Please Don't Tell On Me" at his second session, on May 10, 1940 in Chicago.  Tommy was supposedly joined by an unknown bass player for the session, and if that was indeed the case, the bass is altogether inaudible on this track.  Tommy accompanies himself out of E position in standard tuning on the track, the only cut other than "Deep Blue Sea Blues" he ever recorded in that position.  It is a real shame he did not record more in E, for this is a superlative performance, full of ideas and LOOSE! 

Tommy outdoes himself with the spoken asides on "Baby, Please Don't Tell On Me", laying a strong claim to Charlie Patton's status as the foremost woofer in the blues.  Tommy sort of alternates between self-motivating asides with regard to his playing and queries as to where the narrative of the song is going.  My favorite line of Tommy's is, "You know, this what your wife likes!".  He must have been amazing to see in person, a 4'11'' guy with a big voice, a powerful guitar style, and the self-assurance to assume that you were hanging on his every word.  Seek this one out, it's a gas.

   SOLO: (Spoken during solo:  Listen now, get on this here one, it's last one you got now. When you play these blues you ain't got to play no more now, let's get on like you like it.  These're your own blues you're makin' now!  Yeah!  You know this what your wife likes!  Yes-yes-yes.  Yeah!  Yeah!

   Looky here, babe, don't wanta tell you no more (Spoken: You don't need to hurry now, let's take your time and play this one right, 'cause you ain't got to play nar' nothin' after this.)
   Looky here, babe, don't wanta have to tell you no more
   You can get all of my lovin' if you let that bla-ack man go

   Now my Mama told me and my Papa sot and cried
   Now my Mama told me, my Papa, he sot and cried
   Says, "Son, don't let none of these Chicago women, oh baby, take your life

   Now, I'm in my whiskey, Lord, and I got my work to do (Spoken: Yes, yes!  What you say?  Tell me again!)
   Now say, I'm in my whiskey, and I got my work to do
   Said, I'm a stranger here, babe, but please, ma'am, take me home wit' you (Spoken: Yeah, yeah!)

   Now you can get my little money, babe, and you can wear my clothes (Spoken: Play it right now, you know it's the last one!)
   You can get all my money, babe, and you can wear my clothes (Spoken: But what about it?)
   But I swear I don't wanta catch you, sweet mama, playin' 'round outdoors

All best,
Johnm
   

   

 

 


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