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In 1976 for the bicentennial I rented a motor home, I thought that would be so cool, and three months later, I bought the motor home, gave up my apartment and I lived on the road for 26 years with my first two wives. Not at the same time. - Roy Book Binder, Bob West interview, Port Townsend 2006

Author Topic: Blind Willie McTell lyrics  (Read 54333 times)

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Offline banjochris

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Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
« Reply #225 on: November 19, 2015, 10:43:18 AM »
Couple suggestions on "Mama," John.

2.1 I've got these blues, REASON I'm not satisfied
4.3 MAYBE THE SUNSHINE'LL drive these blues away

Such a beautiful song, as you say John. Worth also noting that it's one of the four songs (plus one alt. take) that McTell recorded on a six-string guitar.
Chris

Online Johnm

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Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
« Reply #226 on: November 19, 2015, 11:13:53 AM »
Thanks for the catches, Chris.  I re-listened and they're all spot on--no surprise!  I will make the changes.
All best,
Johnm

Online Johnm

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Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
« Reply #227 on: November 19, 2015, 01:08:17 PM »
Hi all,
I was surprised to find today that in a thread devoted to Blind Willie McTell's lyrics, with close to 34,000 hits, nobody has ever even attempted to transcribe his "Statesboro Blues".  He played it in dropped-D tuning, D position, and it was his first performance I ever heard, on the old Samuel Charters-curated "The Country Blues" album on RBF.  I'll never forgot the feeling when Willie McTell comes in singing--wow!  Here is his recording of the song:



SOLO

Wake up, mama, turn your lamp down low
Wake up, mama, turn your lamp down low
Have you got the nerve to drive Papa McTell from your door?

My Mother died and left me reckless, my Daddy died and left me wild, wild, wild
Mother died and left me reckless, Daddy died and left me wild, wild, wild
Know I'm not good-lookin', but I'm some sweet woman's angel child

She's a mighty mean woman, do me this-a way
She's a mighty mean woman, do me this-a way
When I leave this time, pretty mam', I'm goin' away to stay

Once loved a woman better than anyone I'd ever seen
I once loved a woman, better than I'd ever seen
Treated me like I was a king and she was a doggone queen

Sister, tell your brother, brother, tell your auntie, now, auntie, tell your uncle
Uncle, tell my cousin, now, cousin, tell my friends
Goin' up the country, mama, don't you want to go?
May take me a fair brown, may take one or two more

Big 80 left Savanna, Lord, it did not stop, You oughta saw that colored fireman when he got the boiler hot
You can reach over in the corner, mama, and hand me my travelin' shoes
You know by that I've got them Statesboro Blues

Papa, sister got 'em, auntie got 'em, brother got 'em, friends got 'em, I got 'em
I woke up this mornin', we had them Statesboro Blues
I looked over in the corner, Grandma and Grandpa had 'em, too

OUTRO

Edited 11/19 to pick up correction from Harry

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: July 16, 2020, 05:56:00 PM by Johnm »

Offline Harry

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Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
« Reply #228 on: November 19, 2015, 01:14:40 PM »
When I leave this town

When I leave this time

Online Johnm

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Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
« Reply #229 on: November 19, 2015, 01:16:39 PM »
Thanks for the catch, Harry.  I've never heard that right.  I'll make the change.
All best,
Johnm

Offline harriet

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River of Jordan - Mctell
« Reply #230 on: February 28, 2017, 01:53:55 PM »
Hi All - Here's both versions of Blind Willie Mctell's "River of Jordan" as accurately as I could transcribe them:

I Got To Cross That River Of Jordan
(1940)


I got to cross... that?
Lord, I got to cross there for myself
There?s nobody here can cross that for me
Lord, I got to ... there for my...

And I got to meet my dear old my mother
I got to meet her for my...
There?s nobody here can meet her for me
Lord, I got to meet her for my...

I got to stand my?
I got to stand there for myself
There?s nobody here can stand there  for me
Lord I got to...here for myself

Jordan river is?
I got to cross there for my...
There?s nobody... can cross there for me
Lord, I got to ... there for my....

BREAK

I got to face my dear savior
I got to face Him for my...
There?s nobody here can face Him for me
Lord, I got to face Him ...

And I got to work soul salvation
Lord, I got to ...that for myself
There's nobody here can work that for me
Lord I got to work out for my....

BREAK

So I got to meet my loving father
I got to meet him for my...
There?s nobody here can meet him...
Lord I got to ... him for my....

BREAK
Ain't nobody here can...
Lord, I got to stand there for myself

So I got to lie in some lonesome graveyard
I got to lie there for my...
There?s nobody here can lie there for me
Lord, I got to lie there for my...
.................................................................................
.................................................................................
I Got To Cross That River Of Jordan
(1949)


In this version the guitar/vocal alternates for the complete verse. I used dots to indicate the guitar, but the guitar represents not only unsung words, sometimes it echoes the sung words and sometimes its a filler

I got to cross? that.?
I got... O Jordan?
Nobody here.. can...
Lord, I got...river of Jordan?
That  Jordan river is?cold and chilly
Lord I got...I got  to cross it?
Nobody... can...
Lord, I got to ... chilly Jordan?

And I got to love...and some?
Lord I got...in the graveyard?
Nobody ....can?
Lord I got...in the cold clay?

And I got to meet my ....
Lord I got to meet my savior?
Nobody... can...
Lord I got to ...my father?

And I got to stand my?
Lord I  got...my trial?
Nobody ...can?
Lord I got to ...in the judgement..

And I got to wade...that?
Lord I've got  ...chilly Jordan
Nobody...can...
Lord I got to....before?

I got to walk that lonesome journey,
Lord I got...to this journey?
Nobody...can...
Lord I got to...oh Lordy?

And I got to cross cross cross that?
Lord I got...Jordan?
No I ain't...can...
Lord I got...chilly Jordan?

..........................................................
« Last Edit: March 01, 2017, 05:50:22 PM by harriet »

Online Johnm

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Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
« Reply #231 on: April 04, 2017, 06:53:49 AM »
Hi all,
I merged Harriet's recent thread on Willie McTell's "River of Jordan" lyrics into this thread.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Chezztone

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Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
« Reply #232 on: November 09, 2017, 01:22:26 PM »
OK, folks -- I don't see anyone else's take on the lyrics to this marvelous song on here. Here is mine. Questions:
-- Is it really McTell playing slide and Weaver backing him as the liner notes to Yazoo 1037 say? I'd think it's vice versa, especially since the non-slide guitar sounds like McTell's familiar 12-string.
-- Anyone heard "goo loo loo" in any other songs? Is it a dance? Love it but this is the only time I've heard it. It's in two verses here.
-- The final verse is the mysterious one, the one I'm not sure at all of my transcription of. Help/interpretation with that? Thanks! Ch.



It?s a Good Little Thing
Willie McTell

Looka here, mama, just a word or two
Could I get you to let?s goo loo loo?
Cause it?s a good little thing
And it?s a good little thing
And it?s a good little thing and it?s just right for me

Look here, mama, just don?t stop
I ain?t gonna be your other man?s stumblin? block

Wait just a minute let?s get this right
We gon? goo loo until broad daylight

Goin to Savannah, make some jack
Hold that cat till I get back

What is that mama you got in that sack?
It?s got hair on it and I believe it?s a cat

Well it looks pretty much like Santa Claus
Best little somethin I?ve ever saw

Look here mama, just like a law
She gets shook it?s like a shaggy dog.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2020, 05:56:56 PM by Johnm »

Online Johnm

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Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
« Reply #233 on: November 09, 2017, 01:53:31 PM »
Hi Chez,
I think the last verse is:
   Look here, mama, just like a log
   She gets to shook it like a shaggy dog

All best,
Johnm

Offline snakehips

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  • Hi there !
Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
« Reply #234 on: November 13, 2017, 02:48:05 PM »
Hi there !

East St. Louis Blues



Don?t laugh, but I?ve always thought that in the 3rd verse, McTell sings :

She tried to, make me bleed,
By the ramblings of her tongue,
Where the sun don?t ever, ever shine !

Not convinced he was talking about THAT though !

Sorry, for lowering the tone !
Delete as appropriate !!
« Last Edit: July 16, 2020, 05:57:55 PM by Johnm »

Offline Chezztone

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Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
« Reply #235 on: December 01, 2017, 07:34:07 PM »
Some corrections/comments on "Scarey Day Blues":
1.1. I wants to wait around here, baby, until your fried pieS get ON.
2.2. I wonder could I find a woman...
6.3. BUT she's a hotshot mama...
And yes, "my black self" = myself. No hidden meaning there. It and similar phrases are in other blues songs with same meaning.
Love this song! Thanks. Cheers, Chezz

Online Johnm

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Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
« Reply #236 on: September 03, 2018, 08:58:42 AM »
Hi all,
For "Writing Paper Blues", Blind Willie McTell accompanied himself out of E position in standard tuning.  As he starts his intro, he sounds like he is channeling Sylvester Weaver instrumentally, and it really isn't until the end of the first verse, when he goes up the neck and plays an E chord out of the "long A" position that he sounds more like himself instrumentally.  Willie McTell accelerates markedly over the course of his rendition and routinely "goes long" in his instrumental responses to his vocal lines.  Here is the song:



INTRO

I wrote you a letter, mama, put it in your front yard
I wrote you a letter, put it in your front yard
I would love to come to see you, but your good man's got me barred

Ah, you wrote me a letter, to come back to Newport News
You wrote me a letter, mama, come back to Newport News
To leave the town and don't spread the news

I wrote you a letter, mama, sent you a telegram
I wrote you a letter, mama, and sent you a telegram
Not to meet me in Memphis, but meet me in Birmingham

Mmmmm, hear my weeps and moans
Mmmmm, hear my weeps and moans
Honey, hear my pleading, hear my grieve and groan

GUITAR INTERLUDE

I, I wanna get me one more drink of boo-ooze
If I could get me one more drink of boo-ooze
I guess it would ease these old writin' paper blues

I caught a freight train special and my mama caught a passenger behind
Caught a freight train special and my mama caught a passenger behind
"Lord, you can't quit me, papa, there's no need in tryin'."

All best,
Johnm

Online Johnm

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Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
« Reply #237 on: September 03, 2018, 09:42:00 AM »
Hi all,
Willie McTell's "Drive Away Blues" starts out instrumentally as a cover of Lemon Jefferson's "Right of Way Blues", but soon ventures into territory that Lemon's song never visited.  I think this is one of the very greatest of Willie McTell's performances in E position standard tuning, really kind of epic in its scope.  The way he repeats the end of the first two lines of most verses has a wonderful ruminative quality.  Here is his performance of "Drive Away Blues":



INTRO

I believe that if I had my sweet woman's heart in my hand, in my hand
I believe that if I had my sweet woman's heart in my hand, in my hand
I believe I could teach her how to treat a real good man

I drink so much whiskey, mama, I can hardly talk, hardly talk, sweet mama, hardly talk
I drink so much whiskey, I can hardly talk, hardly talk
What it's done, addled on my brains, people, I can't hardly walk

How my poor heart weeped and worried, baby, when you drove me 'way, drove me 'way, sweet mama, you drove me 'way
How my poor heart weeped and worried, baby, when you drove me 'way,
You will cry for poor boy McTell, some old rainy day

GUITAR INTERLUDE

Goin' up on the Lookout Mountain, down to Niagna [sic] Falls, Niagna Falls, sweet mama, Niagna Falls
Goin' up on the Lookout Mountain and look down to Niagna Falls, Niagna Falls
Seem like to me I can hear my Atlanta mama call, I hear her call

Don't fret and worry and don't grieve after me, sweet mama, after me
Don't grieve and worry and don't fret after me, after me
Don't you scream and cry, 'cause I'm goin' back to Tennessee

INTERLUDE (Spoken: Ah boy, play the Drive Away Blues for me.  That's all I know)

Can't read and write, can't even spell my name, spell my name, I know, spell my name
Can't read and write, can't even spell my name
You've drove me away and you drove my heart insane (Spoken: But I won't be back no more, mama.)

Edited 9/5 to pick up correction from banjochris

All best,
Johnm

 
 


« Last Edit: September 05, 2018, 10:15:00 AM by Johnm »

Online Johnm

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Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
« Reply #238 on: September 03, 2018, 10:18:37 AM »
Hi all,
For "Stomp Down Rider", Willie McTell was playing out of G position in standard tuning, and it is a ripping up-tempo number.  Here it is:



INTRO SOLO

When I first met you, mama, you was so nice and kind, you done got reckless and changed your mind
REFRAIN: Now you's a stomp down rider, now you's a stomp down rider
You's a stomp down rider, but you're 'most too drunk for me

When I was down South, baby, I was with my broad, I'm here in Atlanta, treated like a dog
REFRAIN: Now you's a stomp down rider, now you's a stomp down rider
You's a stomp down rider, but you're 'most too drunk for me

Now if you don't want me, baby, don't you dog me around, my home ain't here and I can leave your town
REFRAIN: Now you's a stomp down rider, now you's a stomp down rider
You's a stomp down rider, but you're 'most too drunk for me

Now if you don't want me, baby, give me your right hand, I'll go back to my woman, you go back to your man
REFRAIN: Now you's a stomp down rider, now you a stomp down rider
You's a stomp down rider, but you're 'most too drunk for me

I even give you my money, baby, I admire, I done all for you that you require
REFRAIN: Now you's a stomp down rider, now you's a stomp down rider
You's a stomp down rider, but you're 'most too drunk for me (Spoken: Whip it a little bit, boy.)

SOLO

Even hold your head when you're feelin' bad, sing and dance for you when you're sad
REFRAIN: But you's a stomp down rider, but you's a stomp down rider
You's a stomp down rider, but you're 'most too drunk for me

You done come in this mornin', you won't tell me where you been, you got strange lovin', goin' back again
REFRAIN: But you's a stomp down rider, yes, you's a stomp down rider
You's a stomp down rider, but you're 'most too drunk for me

I was walkin' around, baby, with my head hung low, look here, mama, I ain't gon' do right no more
REFRAIN: But you's a stomp down rider, but you's a stomp down rider
You's a stomp down rider, but you're 'most too drunk for me (Spoken: Play it out.)

SOLO

I want take me a trip aboard these mountaintops, come back and show you how to Eagle Rock
REFRAIN: But you's a stomp down rider, but you's a stomp down rider
You's a stomp down rider, but you're 'most too drunk for me

INTERLUDE (Spoken: I like that 'cause it's good. Play it like it's 'cause the same thing.)

When I first met you, mama, you was so nice and kind, but you done got reckless and changed your mind
REFRAIN: But you's a stomp down rider, yes you's a stomp down rider
You's a stomp down rider, but you're 'most too drunk for me (Spoken: Stand by, gonna hear it again.)

All best,
Johnm

   
« Last Edit: September 03, 2018, 01:06:40 PM by Johnm »

Offline banjochris

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Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
« Reply #239 on: September 05, 2018, 09:58:54 AM »
One suggestion on "Drive Away," John --

The fourth verse I believe should be:

Goin' up on the Lookout Mountain and look down to Niagna Falls
etc.

It's easier to hear on the repeated line.

Chris

 


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