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Wow - but Bessie Smith spills fire and fury in Hateful Blues on Columbia Record 14023D. Talk about hymns of hate - Bessie sure is a him-hater on this record. The way she tells what she is going to do with her "butcher" will make trifling fellows catch express trains going at 60 miles an hour. The music is full of hate too. You can almost see hate drip from the piano keys. Every note is a half-note. No quarter for anyone - Chicago defender ad, July 1924

Author Topic: Tommy McClennan Lyrics  (Read 7435 times)

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Online Johnm

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Re: Tommy McClennan Lyrics
« Reply #30 on: November 11, 2011, 05:59:26 PM »
Thanks very much for the catches, Chris.  I feel like I've been hearing Tommy pretty well, but how I could get "terminal" out of what is clearly "jumpin'-off" . . . tsk-tsk, shame on me!  Listening to Tommy McClennan this much has really made me appreciate how consistently strong his performances were, and he was a hell of a guitarist.  I think he was also one of the country Blues' most exciting singers, and very influential.  Think about it:  no Tommy McClennan and you've got no Dan Pickett, at least vocally, as I was saying to Bunker Hill. And I think Tommy really excelled at putting a lyric across.  Right now he is standing as one of my favorites in the style.
All best,
Johnm   

Offline dj

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Re: Tommy McClennan Lyrics
« Reply #31 on: November 12, 2011, 07:12:39 AM »
Quote
I think he was also one of the country Blues' most exciting singers, and very influential.

I think you're right on the money there, John, but you didn't go far enough.  I my view, the major vocal influences of Chicago blues in the 1930s were Leroy Carr and, a bit later, Peetie Wheatstraw.  McClennan was one of a group of best-selling singers (with Sonny Boy Williamson and Sleepy John Estes) who started to break away from Carr's and Wheatstraw's influence for a more down-home style.  I think if the war hadn't intervened to halt recording activity, there would be a pretty clear line of vocal influence from McClennan to people like Elmore James, Muddy Waters, and other Chicago singers from the late 40s and early 50s. 

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Re: Tommy McClennan Lyrics
« Reply #32 on: November 16, 2011, 08:14:02 AM »
Hi all,
Tommy McClennan recorded "My Baby's Doggin' Me" on May 10, 1940 with the unknown inaudible bass player he used for that session.  Tommy accompanied himself out of C position in standard tuning, and while some of his runs are reminiscent of Lemon Jefferson, he sounds the most (unsurprisingly) like himself.  The song as he performed it has an unusual form.  For the verses that start with humming that book-end the rendition, he starts each of the hummed lines on the IV chord, so that those verses end up being like the last twelve bars of a 16-bar blues.  The other verses he accompanies with a stop-time treatment over the first four bars, before going into a loose refrain.  This would make a good ensemble number.  Here is "My Baby's Doggin' Me":



   Mmmmmm, my baby's doggin' me
   Mmmmmm, my baby's doggin' me
   I'm gettin' sick and tired of the way my baby's doggin' me

   Now she dogged me every mornin', she dogged me late at night
   She keep on a-doggin' me, tell me gonna make everything all right
   Look-a here, mama, gettin' tired of the way, the way you do
   I'm gettin' tired, baby, the way you keep on doggin' me

   Now look-a here, mama, tell me where you stay at night
   She said, "It ain't none of your business, you know you don't treat me right."
   Cryin', oh, babe, you know I don't like the way you do
   Yeah, mama, you know you're really doggin' me

   Now I done told you once, pretty mama, ain't gon' tell you no more
   You can get all my lovin' if you just let him go
   I said, look-a here, babe, I'm gettin' tired of the way you're doggin' me
   'Cause I love you, pretty mama, better than any woman that I ever seen (Spoken: Play that, man, play it!)

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

   Mmmmmm, my baby's doggin' me
   Mmmmmm, my baby's doggin' me
   I love that little old woman, better' n any woman I ever seen
   Ahm, be-bop, dee-dah, dee-dee dah dah

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: June 20, 2020, 08:59:00 AM by Johnm »

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Re: Tommy McClennan Lyrics
« Reply #33 on: November 16, 2011, 09:06:54 AM »
Hi all,
Tommy McClennan recorded "She's A Good Looking Mama" on May 10, 1940, backing himself out of G position.  It's a superlatively strong track, and one of Tommy's vocal asides may provide a clue to the mysterious support he was ostensibly getting from a bass player.  After the opening line of verse three, Tommy says, "Play that, play that can, man, play it!", and you can hear the thumping articulation of someone playing a washtub bass, but it is altogether devoid of pitch or tone, at least to my ears.  So it is that this may be the oft-described "imitation bass" on a number of his sides.  Many or most of the verses Tommy used here were ones he had either used previously or would use again in the future, but in his singing of them, they sound no less fresh for that.  Here is "She's A Good Looking Mama":



   SOLO

   She's a good-lookin' woman, teeth don't even shine like pearl
   She's a good-lookin' woman, whoo, teeth don't even shine like pearl
   But that old good disposition that woman got, I do swear that carry all through the world

   Now friend, don't never let your good girl fix you like this here woman got me (Spoken: Yes, yes, yes)
   Friend, don't never let your good girl, whoo, fix you like this here woman got me (Spoken: How's she got you?)
   She got me stone crazy 'bout her, as a good-lookin' woman can be

   Now you know that I love you, baby, and that's why we can't get along (Spoken: Play that, play that can, man, play it!)
   Now you know that I love you, babe, whoo, and that's why we can't get along
   But some day you're gon' be sorry that you ever did your daddy wrong

   Now some day you're gon' want me back, baby, now-now, and you gonna acknowledge you did wrong (Spoken: Great God Almighty, now!)
   Some day you're gonna want me back, babe, and acknowledge you did wrong
   But it's gon' be too late, pretty mama, your daddy will be gone

   Lord, Lord, Lord, Lordy-Lord
   Lord, Lord, Lord, Lordy-Lord
   Sugar, I love you, sweet mama, but I sure ain't gonna be your dog

All best,
Johnm

   
« Last Edit: June 20, 2020, 09:00:04 AM by Johnm »

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Re: Tommy McClennan Lyrics
« Reply #34 on: November 17, 2011, 10:47:33 AM »
Hi all,
Tommy McClennan recorded "Mr. So And So Blues" at his last session, on February 20, 1942, backed by Ransom Knowling on bass.  Tommy accompanies himself out of D position in standard tuning on the song, and his vocal is pushed to the limit.  For his solo after the third verse, he plays over the first eight bars of the form, doing a modified "Big Road Blues" walk-up in the first four bars, and then repeats the tagline from the previous verse, a move much favored by Texas Alexander.  I can't seem to suss out the first half of the opening lines to verse two and would sure appreciate some help.  Here is "Mr. So And So Blues":



Babe, I feel so worried, yes, and I feel so low
Babe, I feel so worried, yes, and I feel so low
'Cause I b'lieve you've been out with Mr. So-And-So

Now baby, all right you got a chance, please get outta my face
Now, I guess you're right you got a chance, please get outta my face
'Cause I got myself a brand new woman, yeah, goin' to take yo' place

Ooooo babe, you know that sure ain't right
Ooooo babe, you know that sure ain't right
Stay off half of the day, you don't come home at all at night (Spoken: Play that some!)

SOLO (Spoken: Yeah, heh!)
Stay, you're gone part of the day and you know you don't come home at all at night (Spoken: Play it a little bit!)

SOLO (Spoken: Yeah!  Ah!)

Edited 2/8/14 to pick up correction from Professor Scratchy

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: June 20, 2020, 09:01:05 AM by Johnm »

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Re: Tommy McClennan Lyrics
« Reply #35 on: November 17, 2011, 11:56:24 PM »
Hi all,
Tommy McClennan recorded "New 'Shake 'Em On Down' " at his first session, on November 22, 1939, backing himself out of D in standard position.  For a novice in the studio, he was happily un-selfconscious, and was obviously well prepared to lay down some good takes.  This came to be a much-recorded number, but I don't know if the energy Tommy brought to his rendition has ever been surpassed.  He plays a double solo. Whew!  Here is "New Shake 'Em On Down":



   SOLO

   Little old mama, teasin' brown, done quit hollerin', got to shake 'em on down, now,
   REFRAIN: Must I holler, or must I shake 'em on down?
   I done quit hollerin', babe, I believe I'll shake 'em on down

   Look here, mama, don't you see, shakin' that thing is 'bout to kill poor me, now,
   REFRAIN: Must I holler, or must I shake 'em on down?
   I done quit hollerin', babe, I believe I'll shake 'em on down

   Get my nightshirt, get your gown, let's get together and try to shake 'em on down, ow,
   REFRAIN: Must I holler, (Spoken: Yes, yes), or must I shake 'em on down?
   I done quit hollerin', babe, I believe I'll shake 'em on down (Spoken: Shake 'em on down now, a little while)

   SOLO: (Spoken:  Yes, yes.  Yes, yes.  Yes, man.  Yes, yes, yeah.  Play 'em a long time!)
   SOLO: (Spoken: Get on over there and play 'em right, get that right, now!  Yeah!  Yes, yes. Yeah.  Yeah. ) Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

   Mama goin' to town, papa don't care, juke-juke children, you know it's here, ah,
   REFRAIN: Must I holler, or must I shake 'em on down?
   I done quit hollerin', babe, I got to shake 'em on down

   My Mama told me, Papa sot and cried, "Son, too young a man to have them women your side", ah,
   REFRAIN: Must I holler, or must I shake 'em on down?
   I done quit hollerin', babe, I believe I'll shake 'em on down

Edited 11/22 to pick up correction from banjochris

All best,
Johnm
   
« Last Edit: June 20, 2020, 09:02:04 AM by Johnm »

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Re: Tommy McClennan Lyrics
« Reply #36 on: November 18, 2011, 08:42:33 AM »
Hi all,
"Katy Mae Blues" finds Tommy McClennan working out of G position in standard tuning at a quicker tempo than was usual for him.  He sounds to have been in an ebullient mood, and amuses himself by reefing on a single G note at the third fret of the sixth string after the opening line of several of his verses, commenting on it as he does so.  It's great the way he does it, because it's as though he chooses to suspend musical time until he's played the lick to his satisfaction, a textbook case of "thriving on a riff".  Tommy's way of preceding observations about a partner's behavior with "you know" is a sort of sly negotiating ploy.  Here is "Katy Mae Blues":



   SOLO

   Katy Mae, I love you for my own, Katy Mae
   Katy Mae, I love you for my own, Katy Mae
   Katy Mae, I love you, baby, don't care what you do

   Now if you make any money, Katy Mae
   If you make any money, Katy Mae
   If you make any money, Katy Mae, bring it home to me

   Katy Mae is a good-lookin' woman, now, but she stays out all night long
   Katy Mae is a good-lookin' woman, but she stays out all night long
   Katy Mae be doin' somethin', Lord, Lord, when you know it's wrong

   You know I love you, Katy Mae, and that's why we can't get along (Spoken: Take your time. You don't need to hurry, you got all day to do this.)
   You all know I love you, Katy Mae, and that's why we can't get along
   Someday you, you gon' be sorry that you ever done poor Tommy wrong

   I give you all my lovin', Katy Mae, what more can a poor man do? (Spoken: Take your time)
   Give you all my lovin', Katy Mae, what more can a poor man do?
   You's a sweet little girl, but I swear you won't be true

   Now, how can I do right, now babe, and you won't do right yourself? (Spoken: Teh-heh. Moan it, then!)
   How can I do right now, Katy Mae, you won't do right yourself?
   Before you love me, baby, you wants to love somebody else

   Now Katy Mae, she won't wash, now, and she won't starch my clothes (Spoken: Yes, yes-yes-yes-yes)
   Katy Mae, she won't wash now, she won't starch and iron my clothes (Spoken: What she do?)
   Katy Mae won't do nothin', oh oh, but walk the road

Edited 11/22 to pick up correction from banjochris

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: June 20, 2020, 09:03:06 AM by Johnm »

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Re: Tommy McClennan Lyrics
« Reply #37 on: November 20, 2011, 10:03:37 AM »
Hi all,
Tommy McClennan recorded "Bottle It Up And Go" at his first session, on November 22, 1939.  He backs himself out of C position in standard tuning for the song, and it is a hilariously entertaining performance.  Tommy is enjoying himself so much, really cracking himself up, and the interplay between the sung vocal lines, the guitar finishing lines and spoken interjections is on a par with Charlie Patton's much-lauded version of "Spoonful".  In performance, I suspect he got the audience or bystanders to sing "bottle it up and go".  The song initially has the appearance of a 12-bar chorus blues, but is, in fact, considerably more complex than that, and I'll discuss it in the "Vocal Phrasing:  The Long and the Short of It" thread.  I suspect this was the song that Tommy sang against the advice of Bill Broonzy (because it included the word "nigger" in the lyrics), that got the two of them chased out of a house party in Chicago, according to Samuel Charters in "The Country Blues". 
In the transcription, places where the guitar is used to play what would normally be sung lines are indicated by dashes.  Here is "Bottle It Up And Go":



   -----------------(Spoken: Yes!  Yeah)------------------------
   Got to bottle it up and go,
   Got to bottle it up and go,
   Now them high-powered women -------------------------(Spoken: Yeah)

   Now, she may be old, ninety year
   She ain't too old for to shift them gears
   She got t'-------------------(Spoken: Got to do what?  Tell me again)
   -------------------------------(Spoken: Got to bottle up and go)
   Now them high-powered women -------------------------(Spoken: Yeah!)

   Now I told my girl, the week before last
   The gage she's trimmin' just a little too fast
   She had to bottle it up and go
   She had to bottle it up and go
   Them high-powered women ------------------------------(Spoken: Yes, yes)

   Now the nigger and the white man playin' Seven-Up
   Nigger beat the white man, was scared to pick it up
   He had to (Spoken: Bottle up and do what?)
   ----------------------------------- (Spoken: Had to bottle up and go)
   Now them high-powered women ---------------------------(Spoken: Yeah-heh)

   "Now look here, baby, 'd'you stay last night?"
   "Ain't none o' your business, you don't do me right!"
   She got to ---------(Spoken: Got to do what?  Tell me again, I didn't understand you.)
   I got to bottle up and go (Spoken: I ain't gonna bottle it up)
   Now them high-powered women ----------------------(Spoken: Yeah-heh)

   Now, nickel is a nickel, a dime is a dime
   Don't need no girl if she won't whine
   She has to --------------------------(Spoken: Had to do what?)
   ----------------------------------------(Spoken: Had to bottle up and go)
   Now them high-powered women ----------------------(Spoken: Yeah-heh)

   Now my mama killed a chicken, she thought it was a duck
   She put him on the table with his legs stickin' up
   He had to ------------------------(Spoken: Had to do what?)
   He had to bottle up and go
   Now them high-powered women sure got to bottle up and go (Spoken: Yeah, play it man, now!)

   Bee-dop, beepum, bopum, bopum, bop, oh
   Deetum, beepum, bop, bop, bow
   Bopum, bopum, bopum, bop, beedop
   Beedum, bopum , bopum, bop, bow
   Beepum, bopum, bopbah, beebah
   Skeedah, skeedah, deedah, dah, dah

   -------------------------------------------(Spoken: Yeah-uh, huh)
   Got to bottle it up and go
   Got to bottle up and go
   Now you high-powered women sure got to bottle up and go

Edited 12/5 to pick up correction from Johnm

All best,
Johnm
   

   
« Last Edit: June 20, 2020, 09:04:10 AM by Johnm »

Offline banjochris

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Re: Tommy McClennan Lyrics
« Reply #38 on: November 21, 2011, 09:35:47 PM »
John -- going back through a few of these. That line in "Mr. So and So" has me stumped too, I'll try again tomorrow. I have a couple minor suggestions:

New Shake
5.1 YOUNG instead of little


Katy Mae

5.2 has an aside of "What'd she do" at the end


Bottle It Up

3.2 Sounds like it might be "The gait she carryin' just a little to fast" although I can hear an "m" sound in there too.

Chris

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Re: Tommy McClennan Lyrics
« Reply #39 on: November 22, 2011, 10:11:14 AM »
Thanks for the help, Chris.  I made the changes you suggested in "New'Shake 'Em On Down' and "Katy Mae".  For "Bottle It Up And Go", I agree that the front end of 3.2 does sound like "gait" (or gate), but the tail end of that section sounds to be a verb with an "m".  I'll hold off on that change until I can hear something in which the sound makes some sense, too.
I'm currently hearing the lines in question in "Mr. So And So Blues" as
   Now baby, I'll write you that check, please get out of my face
   Now I got you, I'll write you a, God, check, please get out of my face
I think part of the problem is that he garbled the lines himself.  The second line, especially, I can't imagine that he sang what he intended to sing.  I'll be interested to see what you come up with.
All best,
Johnm

Offline banjochris

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Re: Tommy McClennan Lyrics
« Reply #40 on: November 22, 2011, 10:48:43 AM »
Not that this makes much sense, but could it be: The gate she came in just a little too fast?

I'll listen to Mr So and So again tonight.
Chris

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Re: Tommy McClennan Lyrics
« Reply #41 on: November 22, 2011, 03:43:43 PM »
Hi all,
Tommy McClennan recorded "Love With A Feeling" on December 12, 1940, backing himself out of C position in standard tuning.  The song had previously been recorded by Sonny Jones in 1939 and Blind Boy Fuller prior to that.  I don't know if Fuller's version was the first recorded version. 
In any event, Tommy McClennan delivers his version with his characteristic gusto.  I particularly like the way he changed refrains for the different verses on his chorus blues; it makes everything feel so much more in the moment than doing every refrain the same way does.  His C blues had so much more oomph than C blues often do.  His last solo opens featuring bass runs and is set up by his prefatory comment.  Here is "Love With A Feeling":



   SOLO (Spoken during solo: Yeah! Yeah-heh)

   If you're gonna love a woman, love her with a thrill
   And if you don't love her, some other man will
   REFRAIN: Y' got to love her with a feelin' (Spoken: Yeah-heh)
   You got to love her with a feelin'
   Y' got to love her with a feelin', or don't you love at all

   Now, no woman don't want that old half-way stuff
   'Cause when you turn her loose, be sure she got enough
   REFRAIN: 'N' just love her with a feelin'
   And just love her with a feelin'
   Just love 'em with a feelin', or don't you love at all (Spoken: Play the box now!)

   SOLO (Spoken during solo: Yeah! Yeah! Yeah, that's yes, yeah!)

   Now, you know, baby, you ain't doin' me right
   And when you come home will cause a fuss and fight
   REFRAIN: 'Cause I want you love me with a feelin'
   I want you to love me with a feelin'
   I want you to love me with a feelin', or don't love at all

   Mmmm, Mama told me, Papa sot and cried
   "That way you got doin', babe, gon' take your life."
   REFRAIN: She got to love me with a feelin' (Spoken: Yeah!)
   Ya got to love me with a feelin'
   You got to love me with a feelin', or don't love at all (Spoken: Break on basses some!)

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

   Mmmmm, just love me with a feelin'
   Mmmmm, just love me with a feelin'
   Mmmmm, and just love me with a feelin'
   Mmmmm, and just love me with a feelin'
   She don't love me with a feelin', don't want you to love at all

All best,
Johnm

   
« Last Edit: June 20, 2020, 09:05:29 AM by Johnm »

Offline JohnLeePimp

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Re: Tommy McClennan Lyrics
« Reply #42 on: November 23, 2011, 09:38:53 AM »
... I'm pretty sure the Bassist in the McClennan recording sessions was a dude called Alfred Elkins -http://www.discogs.com/artist/Alfred+Elkins

and that Love With a Feeling's a song by Tampa Red - it certainly sounds like the type of stuff he did
...so blue I shade a part of this town.

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Re: Tommy McClennan Lyrics
« Reply #43 on: November 23, 2011, 10:53:23 AM »
Thanks for that information, John Lee.
All best,
Johnm

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Re: Tommy McClennan Lyrics
« Reply #44 on: November 23, 2011, 04:47:19 PM »
Hi all,
Tommy McClennan recorded "Baby Don't You Want To Go" at his second session, in Chicago on May 10, 1940.  He accompanied himself out of C position in standard tuning for the song, a cover of Robert Johnson's version of "Sweet Home Chicago".  Tommy's version of the song is considerably less reined-in than was Robert's, and it's the most exciting version of this fairly boring song that I've heard.  Tommy was in a pretty loquacious mood for the take, and it abounds in spoken asides.  Here is "Baby Don't You Want To Go":



   Mmmmmmmm, baby, don't you want to go (Spoken: Take your time, now, make this one right!)
   Mmmmmmmm, baby, don't you want to go?  (Spoken: Go where?)
   To that ol' land of California, sweet old Chicago (Spoken: Yeah!)

   Now did you get that letter, dropped in your back yard?
   I wants to come to see you, your best man got me barred, cry
   Oh, oh (Spoken: What is it?) baby, don't you want to go?
   To that ol' land of Californ', sweet old Chicago

   Now I don't drink because I'm dry, I drink because I'm blue
   The reason I drink, pretty mama, now, I can't get along wit' you
   Mmmmmmmmmm, baby, don't you want to go? (Spoken: Yeah!)
   To that ol' land of Californ', sweet old Chicago

   Now look-a here, baby, don't have to tell you no more
   You can get my lovin' if you just let him go, cry
   Oooohh, (Spoken: Play it man, long time!) baby, don't you want to go?
   To that ol' land of Californ', sweet old Chicago (Spoken: Play it now, man!)

   SOLO (Spoken during solo: Yes, yes! Yeah! Yes, yes! Yeah! Get 'er now, man!)

   Mmmmmmmm, baby, don't you want to go? (Spoken: Yeah-heh)
   Mmmmmmmm, baby, don't you want to go? (Spoken: Go where?)
   To that ol' land of Californ', sweet old Chicago (Spoken: Yeah!)

   Now my, my Mama told me, my Papa sot and cried
   "Son, you're too young a man to have them women your side."
   She cried, "Look-a here, babe, I know you wants to go.
   To that ol' land of California, sweet old Chicago
   Oh, beep, beep beebop, deedah, dah, dah

All best,
Johnm
   
 

   
« Last Edit: June 20, 2020, 09:06:47 AM by Johnm »

 


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