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Arrest me for murder and I ain't harmed a man. Arrest me for forgery, I can't even sign my name - Furry Lewis, Judge Boushay Blues

Author Topic: Peg Leg Howell Lyrics  (Read 39945 times)

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Offline Ale_Buster_Ponti

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Re: Peg Leg Howell Lyrics
« Reply #120 on: August 30, 2014, 11:31:43 PM »
Wow this is great Johnm, thank you. I can immagine Pel Leg wanting his overall ironed while he's hoboing around, taking trains, is funny, dramatic and poetic at the same time, just like the blues is (in my way of feeling it).

Offline Johnm

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Re: Peg Leg Howell Lyrics
« Reply #121 on: October 24, 2014, 08:15:16 PM »
Hi all,
Peg Leg Howell did a very spooky version of "Red River Blues" on his Testament album, recorded soon after he was re-discovered by George Mitchell in the early '60s.  He accompanied himself out of E position in standard tuning with a simple boom-chang back-up, and got an eerie sound by singing his minor melody without ever hitting the third of his I chord E, so he ended up with a sort of hollow, open sound.  He was living in very dire poverty at the time and was an ailing old man, but even so, there's something about his vocal that communicates such a presence. 
His lyrics place the song in the In the Pines/The Longest Train family, unlike other versions of "Red River Blues" I have heard, and Peg Leg sings an altogether different melody than the one he used for his early recording of a song in that family, "Rolling Mill Blues".  After each verse, he sings a little tagline with a creepy descending melody line in which he omits the last word of the phrase, every time.  It's nice to see that expression of intent made so clearly, especially by a person operating in extremis.  I'm attaching an .mp3 of the performance for folks who are interested in hearing it because I know the record is terribly difficult to find and has never been re-issued on CD.

Which-a way, which-a way, the blood Red River run?
Tell me, babe, which-a way do it run?
Some says East, some says it's West
Tell me, babe, which-a way do it run?

Over my back window, Lord, to the risin' ---

I's a-went down to the Southern new depot
Freight train come rollin' by
I's thinkin' about good time, once have had
Hung down my head and I cried

Lord, I hung down my weary head and ---

Freight train runned off the track last night
And it killed my woman dead
Her head was found in driver's wheel
And her body have never been seen

Which-a way, which-a way the blood Red River ---

SOLO

The longest train I ever seen
Run 'round Joe Brown's coal mine
The engine was at the Four-Mile Hill
And the cab had never left town

Which-a way, which-a way the blood Red River ---

Goin' away, gonna stay
Had my money, I'd go today

Which-a way do the blood Red River ---

Which-a way, which-a way, do the blood Red River run?
Tell me, babe, which-a way do it run?
Some says it's East, and some says it's West
Tell me, babe, which way do it run?

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: October 24, 2014, 09:57:04 PM by Johnm »

Offline ScottN

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Re: Peg Leg Howell Lyrics
« Reply #122 on: December 08, 2014, 10:22:41 AM »
Hi John,

We're probably approaching the 10 year statute of limitations on suggestions for Coal Man Blues but thought I would throw a couple in since I've been listening to it a lot over the past few days:

3.4 DIDN'T vs dead
5.1 GET vs just
8.4 TRICK vs cheat
12 "me my rider and two three more" vs "me (and) my rider and two (or) three more"
14.1 GOT THE HO...(guitar)
14.2 GREET ME mama and two (or) three (guitar)
14.3 Me and my brown AND

I think 3.4 changes the meaning quite a bit, the others are pretty minor.

Thanks,
           Scott

Offline Johnm

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Re: Peg Leg Howell Lyrics
« Reply #123 on: December 08, 2014, 12:05:06 PM »
Hi Scott,
Thanks for the catches.  I've incorporated them all into the transcription, both in this thread and in Weeniepedia, and caught some other stuff as well.
All best,
Johnm

Offline coco

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Re: Peg Leg Howell Lyrics
« Reply #124 on: March 01, 2019, 07:59:02 AM »
I was wondering, what the heck they were talking about when they said "Do the Hindenburg" Since the only Hindenburg I know is that German Zeppelin that was burned down in 1937 (ten years later after the song was recorded). A profecy???

Hi all,
"Too Tight Blues" was recorded by Peg Leg Howell, with Eddie Anthony and Henry Williams, in a session on November 1, 1927 that also yielded "Moanin' And Groanin' Blues", "Hobo Blues" and "Peg Leg Stomp".  "Too Tight Blues" must have come out of Blind Blake's "Too Tight", and while it lacks Blake's nifty circle-of-fifths progressions and turn-arounds, it more than makes up for those lacks with an infectious "whatever happens is okay" spirit and deep backbeat that would have made it very danceable.  Instrumentally, it is kind of a free-for-all melee, with Henry Williams flat-picking in C position, standard tuning, Peg Leg capoed up playing out of Spanish tuning (almost inaudibly, at least as far as details go, until the outro) and Eddie Anthony fiddling.  The sung portion of the song is an 8-bar phrase that repeats.  The band switches to a 12-bar form for solos, and Eddie Anthony really shines on these; he does a wonderful bow-skittering descending phrase in his second big solo pass.  The chord progression is changed for two solo passes near the end of the tune, with a pretty VI chord inserted in the seventh and 8th bar. The vocal asides on this tune are amazingly entertaining.  Among them, "Just like Maxwell House"--answered, "Good to the last drop", and later on in the song "Do the Hindenburg" (!).  Eddie Anthony sings lead, Henry Williams doubles him an octave lower and Peg Leg joins in.  They were definitely having fun.  Any help with phrases in bent brackets would be appreciated.

   Grab your gal, fall in line, while I play this rag of mine,
   Too tight, that rag of mine
   Too tight, it just won't [        ], too tight, it make you moan,
   Too tight, that rag of mine
   Too tight, ain't you ashamed, too tight, I was shakin' that thing
   Too tight, that rag of mine

   Too tight, hear me cry, too tight, just won't die
   Too tight, that rag of mine
   Too tight, look at old [         ], too tight, I got to pull it back out,
   Too tight, that rag of mine

   Grab your gal, fall in line, while I play this rag of mine,
   Too tight, that rag of mine
   Too tight, into the gate, too tight, let's don't wait
   Too tight, that rag of mine
   Too tight, you hear me say, too tight, make us pray,
   Too tight that rag of mine

All best,
Johnm


Offline Johnm

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Re: Peg Leg Howell Lyrics
« Reply #125 on: March 01, 2019, 08:47:06 AM »
Hi coco,
The only guesses I would have on the "Hindenburg" in this context would be (and they are guesses!):
   * It may have been some kind of long-forgotten, localized dance craze popular at the time the record was made;
   * It may have been some trick bowing move that Eddie Anthony used on the fiddle that had visual appeal for an audience;
   * It may have been an expression along the lines of "Let's blow up!" or "Go crazy!"
Like I said, they're just guesses.  Maybe other people know more about the use of the Hindenburg in this context.
All best,
Johnm

Offline coco

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Re: Peg Leg Howell Lyrics
« Reply #126 on: March 02, 2019, 09:39:10 AM »
Hi coco,
The only guesses I would have on the "Hindenburg" in this context would be (and they are guesses!):
   * It may have been some kind of long-forgotten, localized dance craze popular at the time the record was made;
   * It may have been some trick bowing move that Eddie Anthony used on the fiddle that had visual appeal for an audience;
   * It may have been an expression along the lines of "Let's blow up!" or "Go crazy!"
Like I said, they're just guesses.  Maybe other people know more about the use of the Hindenburg in this context.
All best,
Johnm


I did some research and could be related to World War I.

The Hindenburg light or Hindenburglicht, was a source of lighting used in the trenches of the First World War, named after the Commander-in-Chief of the German army in World War I, Paul von Hindenburg. It was also used in World War II in air raid shelters (Luftschutzkeller) or during power cuts, and mandated black outs as emergency lighting.[1] It was a flat bowl approximately 5?8 cm (2.0?3.1 in) diameter and 1?1.5 cm (0.39?0.59 in) deep. It resembles the cover of Mason jar lid (Schraubglasdeckel) and was made from pasteboard. This flat bowl was filled with a wax-like fat (tallow). A short wick (Docht) in the center was lit and burned for some hours. A later model of the Hindenburglicht was a "tin can (Dosenlicht) lamp." Here, a wax-filled tin can has two wicks in a holder. If both wicks are lit, a common, broad flame (zungenfoermige Flamme) results.

The Hindenburg Programme of August 1916 is the name given to the armaments and economic policy begun in late 1916 by the Third Oberste Heeresleitung (OHL, the German General Staff), Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg and General Erich Ludendorff. The two were appointed after the sacking of General Erich von Falkenhayn on 28 August 1916 and intended to double German industrial production, to greatly increase the output of munitions and weapons

Offline Johnm

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Re: Peg Leg Howell Lyrics
« Reply #127 on: March 02, 2019, 12:03:27 PM »
Hi coco,
That information is interesting, but it's very hard to imagine that it had anything to do with the way Peg Leg Howell and his buddies used the term "Hindenburg" in "Too Tight Rag".
All best,
Johnm

Offline anomalousaudio

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Re: Peg Leg Howell Lyrics
« Reply #128 on: March 02, 2019, 02:14:31 PM »
A little off topic but too fortuitous to pass up?
First post, been meaning to join for years but today was listening to ?Away From Home? by Howell, trying to figure out the (surprisingly advanced!) mandolin parts from Jim Hill, and I found myself compelled to find more about him, to no avail. Does anyone know who the hill (heh heh) Jim was? Point me right and true, if ye can! Glad to be on board! I can?t believe there?s other weirdos like me out there.

Offline banjochris

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Re: Peg Leg Howell Lyrics
« Reply #129 on: March 08, 2019, 06:01:36 PM »
Hi coco,
The only guesses I would have on the "Hindenburg" in this context would be (and they are guesses!):
   * It may have been some kind of long-forgotten, localized dance craze popular at the time the record was made;
   * It may have been some trick bowing move that Eddie Anthony used on the fiddle that had visual appeal for an audience;
   * It may have been an expression along the lines of "Let's blow up!" or "Go crazy!"
Like I said, they're just guesses.  Maybe other people know more about the use of the Hindenburg in this context.

I would think that at the time "Too Tight" was recorded, the word "Hindenburg" would have been associated in most people's minds with the "Hindenburg Line" from WWI (mentioned in "That Old Gang of Mine," for instance). So it wouldn't surprise me if some kind of dance or way of lining up would have come from that.

Offline Stuart

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Re: Peg Leg Howell Lyrics
« Reply #130 on: March 10, 2019, 12:32:45 PM »
I think you're right Chris. The WWI context makes electronic searches difficult. There might be mentions or references in writings from the twenties, but finding them could be next to impossible since many texts have yet to be converted to searchable scans that are part of larger textbases.

Since there was a breakthrough of the Hindenburg Line, it could have been part of a dance where some folks lined up and others passed through a break in the line. But that's just an uneducated guess.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2019, 12:36:11 PM by Stuart »

Offline Rivers

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Re: Peg Leg Howell Lyrics
« Reply #131 on: March 13, 2019, 08:20:13 PM »
Lane Hardin, California Desert Blues, 1935, also mentions the Hindenburg Line.

Quote
Crossin' that old desert, mama, just like breakin' the Hindenburg Line

Only clear relevance here is "Hindenburg Line" was still part of the collective consciousness in 1935 two years before the whole airship thing.

See https://weeniecampbell.com/wiki/index.php?title=California_Desert_Blues