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I ain't never loved but three men in my life. One's my father, and my brother, and the man that wrecked my life - Alberta Hunter, Down Hearted Blues

Author Topic: Tommy McClennan Lyrics  (Read 7053 times)

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Offline GhostRider

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Re: Tommy McClennan Lyrics
« Reply #60 on: December 02, 2011, 10:25:46 AM »
Hi:

Would it be possible to post .MP3s of the contencious lyrics. I'd love to give them a try, but I don't have any TMcC tunes in my library.

Alex

Offline Johnm

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Re: Tommy McClennan Lyrics
« Reply #61 on: December 05, 2011, 03:44:53 PM »
Hi all,
I will try to post the tunes that have unsolved places in the lyrics, Alex.  Also, I think I figured out the missing place in "Bottle It Up And Go"
   I told my girl, the week before last
   The GAGE/GAUGE she's trimmin', just a little too fast
"Gage" was the preferred term for marijuana for Louis Armstrong and many other musicians.  I am satisfied that Tommy is saying "gage", and will make the change.
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: December 05, 2011, 04:07:06 PM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Tommy McClennan Lyrics
« Reply #62 on: December 05, 2011, 04:23:29 PM »
Hi all,
Tommy McClennan recorded "Whiskey Head Man" on December 12, 1940, backing himself out of G position in standard tuning.  The song is essentially a cover of his earlier hit, "Whiskey Head Woman", but has a different cast to it; perhaps Tommy wanted to cover all the bases.  Boy, could he sing!  He opens with an unusual spoken intro, which he delivers very smoothly.  As was common for him at this point in his career, he has a lot of spoken asides in the course of the rendition.

   SPOKEN:  This is Tom McClennan, the one that put out the "Whiskey-Headed Woman Blues".  Instead of puttin' out the "Whiskey-Headed Woman Blues", I'm gon' put out "He's A Whiskey-Headed Man", just like myself and all the rest of you whiskey-headed men.

   SOLO

   Now he's a whiskey-headed man and he stays drunk all the time
   He's a whiskey-headed man and he stays drunk all the time
   Just as sure if he don't stop drinkin', I believe he goin' to lose his mind

   Now ev'y time I see this man, he at some whiskey joint
   Tryin' to catch a big bet so he can get him one more half a pint
   'Cause he's a whiskey-headed man and he stay drunk all the time (Spoken: That's like the old two-bits the rest of us.)
   And if he don't stop drinkin', I believe he goin' to lose his mind

   Now ev'y time I see this man, he's standin' down the streets
   Laughin', grinnin', talkin' with 'most every man he meet
   'Cause he's a whiskey-headed man and he stays drunk all the time
   Just as sure if he don't stop drinkin', I believe he goin' to lose his mind

   Now ev'y time I see this man, he at some whiskey joint
   Slippin' 'round the back door, "Baby, one more half a pint."
   He's a whiskey-headed man and he stays drunk all the time
   Just as sure if he don't stop drinkin', I believe he goin' to lose his mind (Spoken: Yeah, man, let's get it!)

   SOLO (Spoken during solo: Just like myself.  I likes my whiskey and I likes my gin.  Sure as you born.
Yeah, heh.  Play it a long time!)

   He's a whiskey-headed man, now-now, and he stays drunk all the time (Spoken: Take your time, play it right.)
   He's a whiskey-headed man and he stays drunk all the time
   Just as sure if he don't stop drinkin', I believe he goin' to lose his mind

All best,
Johnm
 

   

Offline Rivers

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Re: Tommy McClennan Lyrics
« Reply #63 on: December 05, 2011, 05:38:09 PM »
   The GAGE/GAUGE she's trimmin', just a little too fast
"Gage" was the preferred term for marijuana for Louis Armstrong and many other musicians.  I am satisfied that Tommy is saying "gage", and will make the change.

In corroboration Paul Garon's Blues & The Poetic Spirit has a short section on drugs, mentions a Yack Taylor song Knocking Myself Out, "I started blowin' my gage, and I was having my fun", and mentions reefer elsewhere. I haven't heard the recording, or if I had I didn't inhale. Great lyrics though.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2011, 05:42:29 PM by Rivers »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Tommy McClennan Lyrics
« Reply #64 on: December 05, 2011, 06:06:41 PM »
Yes, Mark, and Gabriel Brown used "gage" in his song "Baby Boy Baby", too.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Rivers

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Re: Tommy McClennan Lyrics
« Reply #65 on: December 05, 2011, 07:08:10 PM »
Interesting. I've added the "slang" tag to this topic.

Offline banjochris

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Re: Tommy McClennan Lyrics
« Reply #66 on: December 06, 2011, 11:50:00 AM »
Hi all,
I will try to post the tunes that have unsolved places in the lyrics, Alex.  Also, I think I figured out the missing place in "Bottle It Up And Go"
   I told my girl, the week before last
   The GAGE/GAUGE she's trimmin', just a little too fast
"Gage" was the preferred term for marijuana for Louis Armstrong and many other musicians.  I am satisfied that Tommy is saying "gage", and will make the change.

Cool! I don't think I'd heard of that one before. Thanks for finding that, John.
Chris

Offline Johnm

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Re: Tommy McClennan Lyrics
« Reply #67 on: December 06, 2011, 09:17:33 PM »
Hi all,
Tommy McClennan recorded "Travelin' Highway Man" on Sepetember 15, 1941.  It is essentially a cover of his "New Highway 51 Blues", recorded the previous year, and like that song was accompanied out of G position in standard tuning.  Lyrically, the song has an impromptu, thrown-together quality, as though Tommy was asked to record a number like "New Highway 51 Blues" but different, and assented to doing so without giving it much thought in advance.  In several places the lyrics make little sense, as in the tagline to the first verse, or no sense at all, as in the opening line to the fourth verse.  Indeed, in the fourth verse, it's apparent that Tommy was conscious of the first line making no sense, for he essays an awkward explanation of what he meant to say in the re-singing of the line.  He also has some very pregnant pauses between "highway" and "one", where it sounds as though he stopped himself at the last instant from saying "fifty-one".  Despite these apparent shortcomings, Tommy McClennan's playing on this take is excellent, and he takes one of his very best solos, funky in the extreme.  It's hard to hold Tommy's occasional extreme looseness against him, because he was always so present and engaged with what he was doing.

   SOLO

   I'm a highway man, travel that highway all the way down
   I'm a highway man, travel that highway all the way down
   I travel that road 'til my baby couldn't be found

   Now yond' come that Greyhound, with his tongue stickin' out on the side (Spoken: Yes, Good God Almighty, now!)
   Yond' come that Greyhound, with his tongue stickin' out on the side
   And if you buy your ticket, swear 'fore god that man will let you ride

   My babe didn't have but one five dollars, spent it on, uh, must-a T Ford
   My baby didn't have but one five dollars, spent on me, on a V-8 Ford
   So I can meet that Greyhound bus, go up and down that highway road (Spoken: Yeah)

   Any time you gets funny now, then you don't want to have no fun
   Any time your woman gets funny now, which and I mean, she don't want you to have a bit of fun
   Get down to Little Tommy little boat, stay on that Highway One (Spoken: Yeah, play on, now!)

   SOLO (Spoken: Yes!)

   I got a little cabin on Highway One
   I got a little cabin, it's on that highway road
   Any time you get your woman, that's all the further you can go

All best,
Johnm

   

   

Offline Johnm

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Re: Tommy McClennan Lyrics
« Reply #68 on: December 12, 2011, 07:17:18 PM »
Hi all,
Tommy McClennan recorded "You Can't Read My Mind" on September 15, 1941, accompanying himself out of G position in standard tuning.  The basic accompaniment is one he used for many of his songs.  The biggest challenge in terms of transcribing his lyrics is determining the name of the woman the song is addressed to; by the end of the song, it's pretty clear he is saying "Ernestine", but at the front end of the rendition, the name sounds more like Erna Deem, barely the hint of an "s" in the second syllable, and an "m" rather than an "n" in the final syllable.  He sings wonderfully well here, phrasing so freely, and his concluding solo has rocking time.

   Ernestime a good-lookin' woman, holler she lives up on that hill (Spoken: Talkin' 'bout [    ?          ]
   Ernestime a good-lookin' woman, holler she lives up on that hill
   She been tryin' to quit poor Tommy, whoa, Lord, but I love her still

   She walks the street late at night, she won't treat nobody right
   She walk the streets ev'y night, she sure ain't gonna treat nobody right
   Oh, she drinks that moonshine whiskey, but me an' her'll make ev'ything all right

   Ernestime, if you quit Mr. Butler, we will make everything all right
   Ernestime, if you quit Mr. Butler, we'll make everything all right
   If I can't see you today, we may get together tomorrow night

   Now you can read my letter, oh, but you can't read my mind
   Ernestine, you can read my letter, now-now, but I swear you can't read my mind
   Sometime you think I'm crazy 'bout you, I'm liable to be quittin' you all the time

   Now that's all right, baby, what you did last Sunday night
   I say that's all right, Ernestine, what you did one Sunday night
   If I had've been in my whiskey too, it liable to cause a fuss and a fight (Spoken: Play the box now, son!)

   SOLO (Spoken: Yeah!)

All best,
Johnm
 

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Tommy McClennan Lyrics
« Reply #69 on: December 13, 2011, 11:29:56 AM »
The biggest challenge in terms of transcribing his lyrics is determining the name of the woman the song is addressed to; by the end of the song, it's pretty clear he is saying "Ernestine", but at the front end of the rendition, the name sounds more like Erna Deem, barely the hint of an "s" in the second syllable, and an "m" rather than an "n" in the final syllable.
The first microgroove release of "You Can't Read My Mind" was on a 1968 Roots compilation, the source of which was a w-e-l-l played 78. The name of the women had me beat (Erma Dean was my guess back then). When the 1997 RCA CD set was released with its pristine sound  I was sort of sure in hearing Ernestime throughout.  I shall find time to listen again with greater attention.

Keep up the good work with the Tommy McC transcriptions.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Tommy McClennan Lyrics
« Reply #70 on: December 14, 2011, 10:36:14 AM »
Thanks for the encouragement, Alan, and happy birthday, by the way!  It's reassuring to know that other people get as crazy about this stuff as I do.
all best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: Tommy McClennan Lyrics
« Reply #71 on: December 14, 2011, 03:19:50 PM »
Hi all,
Tommy McClennan recorded "Bluebird Blues" at his last session, on February 20, 1942, with Ransom Knowling backing him on bass.  Tommy was playing out of G position in standard tuning, capoed up a ways.  His vocal is so impassioned he sounds almost over-mastered.  Interestingly, his alternate take is almost identical, so he must have been more controlled than he sounded.  The lyrics are hard for me to hear in a number of places.  The street name in the first verse sounds like "Shandon" the first time he sings it, and "Shannon" when he repeats it.  The middle of the tagline in the second verse is very tough.  I'd appreciate help, correction or corroboration.

   SOLO

   Bluebird, 'en you get into Jackson, please fly down on Shannon Street
   Bluebird, 'en you get into Jackson, please fly down on Shannon Street
   I dont want you to quit flyin' 'til you find Miss Daisy Belle for me

   Daisybelle, she maybe not be at home, please knock up on her door
   Well, she may be at home, please knock up on her door
   Now she might be in [Minnie's, at] next door neighbor, bluebird, you don't know

   Look-a here, oh, look-a here, look-a here
   Look-a here, babe, I mean, look-a here, look-a here
   I love little Lacey Belle, she doesn't know why I can't tell?

   Bluebird, bluebird, where in the world you been so long?
   Bluebird, bluebird, where in the world you been so long?
   You must've been out in Texas, if you had your habits on

   Gon' sing this time, ain't gon' sing no more (Spoken: Long time, and a heap of it, last a while)
   I'm gonna sing this time, ain't gonna sing them no more
   Next time I sing 'em, be right where I wants to go

Edited, 12/14, to pick up corrections from banjochris

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: December 14, 2011, 10:20:40 PM by Johnm »

Offline banjochris

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Re: Tommy McClennan Lyrics
« Reply #72 on: December 14, 2011, 05:24:27 PM »
There must be another take of this, because the version here has different lyrics:



It's definitely "Shannon Street" in the original, Sonny Boy Williamson's version. Williamson sings something like "She may be right across the street, visitin' her next door neighbor you know."

Offline Johnm

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Re: Tommy McClennan Lyrics
« Reply #73 on: December 14, 2011, 05:33:48 PM »
I will change it to "Shannon Street" for both times--thanks for the help, Chris.  The JSP set where I got this, has two takes and they are very close.  I currently can't play videos on my computer, but I take it the one you've found is different.  That's strange, because the JSP titles were touted as being complete, I thought.
All best,
Johnm

Offline banjochris

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Re: Tommy McClennan Lyrics
« Reply #74 on: December 14, 2011, 08:57:59 PM »
Going back and listening, I think what's labeled Take 2 on the JSP set is just a different copy of Take 1 - its sounds absolutely identical to me. I think that last line of verse 2 is Tommy stumbling over his delivery. Take 2 (or B, as it is on the record in the video) has completely different lyrics. It was a bit difficult to make out, considering the video is someone recording a speaker with a microphone, but you'll get the idea:

Take B

SOLO

Bluebird, bluebird, please fly down south for me,
Bluebird, bluebird, please fly down south for me,
You don't find it nowhere on that M&O, you find it somewhere on that Santa Fe.

Bluebird, when you get to Jackson, don't tell nobody that I'm home,
Bluebird, when you get to Jackson, please don't tell nobody I'm home,
Tell 'em I'm going back to [Kansas?] City, that's where poor Tommy belong.

Oh babe, you is on my mind,
Oh babe, you is on my mind,
I hope to see you some of these days, you know I sure ain't lyin'.

Now bluebird, you get to Jackson, fly down on Shannon Street
(Take your time, now play the [blues])
Bluebird, when you get to Jackson please fly down on Shannon Street
Tell em' Tommy's soon there, ooh well, [?? make a dude about weep].

Oh babe, [see your] Tommy be all right,
Oh babe, in a little bit your Tommy'll be all right,
I can't see you today, 'twill be all right tomorrow night.


PS the "Take 2" on the JSP set is also listed as Take 2 on Document's Too Late Vol. 8. Wonder what happened?

 


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