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One of the last words of advice we got from Jim Dickinson was "Get less accurate tuners" - Jimbo Mathus, South Memphis String Band, at Music in the Hall

Author Topic: "It Takes a Long Tall Brown Skin Gal to Make a Preacher lay his bible down."  (Read 4390 times)

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Wesley s

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Hi there - I've decided to stop lurking:

I've been looking for the lyrices to Skidmore and Walker's 1917 "It Takes a Long Tall Brown Skin Gal to Make a Preacher Lay His Bible Down."  A google surch indicated that Skidmore and Walker either wrote it or performed it. I've never heard them so I don't really know for sure.

Can anyone help? I havn't heard the song in over 35 years - a singer down in Florida used to do it and as an impressionable teenager of the 60's it stuck with me.Are there any recordings of it available that you know of in existance?

Offline Bunker Hill

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Not quite what you require but aave a look at this anyway

http://tinyurl.com/3954yz

Online Johnm

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    • johnmillerguitar.com
Hi a567and8,
Welcome to Weenie Campbell and thanks very much for your post.  I especially appreciate hearing information that derives from personal experience and family history, as in your post.
All best,
Johnm 

Offline a567and8

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I found an old piece of sheet music in my parent's home one day.  I guess my father played the song on his violin, or sang it when he sat in with a touring minstrel show that used to pass through our area. I have a picture of him in that ensemble.  He also played in small dance bands, as did my granduncle, in our southwestern New York village of Watkins Glen. I have a dance card from one celebration he evidently played for.  I had often heard joyous references to "...the picnic dance."  My brother told me that blacks came from all around to celebrate.  "What?", I asked.  He didn't know.  The old dance card informed me:  That "picnic dance"  was one part of a celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation.  Evidently, it was what is now called, in other parts of the country, "Juneteenth."  He played with that minstrel troupe whenever it came through and was going on the road with them just before he was drafted into the army for WWI.  That pretty much ended minstrel shows!  I happily remember playing the song on our piano in the living room and wailing out the lyrics, at age 14/15.  I still remember some of them.  Here goes.


Old Deacon Johnson was a preachin' man.
The black sky pilot of old Dixie land.
He never missed a Sunday, rain or shine.
Was always in his pulpit right on time.

One day a brown skin gal came into town.
Somebody started scandalation round.
Next Sunday morn they found the Church Door locked!
This was the only word the preacher
Left his lonely flock!

It takes a Long, Tall, Brown Skin Gal
To make a preacher lay his Bible down
For twenty year I'se pass'd Joy by
But nowI'm goin' to get mine' till I die,
I always thought that preachin' was my line,
But since I met this gal I chang'd my min',
It takes a Long, Tall Brown-Skin'd Gal
To make a preacher lay his Bible down.

When Deacon Johnson took his "Brown" away
The congregation tried to make him stay
They promised him if he would not leave town
They would'n come between him and his "Brown"
The deacon studied and declared at last
It ain't no use, my preachin' days is past
I never realized where Heaven lies,
Until today when I looked down into my baby's eyes,

It takes a Long, Tall, Brown Skin Gal
To make a preacher lay his Bible down
For twenty years I've parsed "Joy" by
But now I'm goin' to get mine 'till I die.
I always thought that preachin'' was my line,
But since I met this gal I changed my min'
It takes a Long, Tall Brown Skin Gal
To make a preacher lay his Bible down.


The Deacon studied and declared at last:
"It ain't no use, my preachin' days is past."
"I never knew just where heaven lies,"
Until the day when I looked down into"
My baby's eyes."
"It takes a long, tall brown skin gal,"
To make a preacher lay his Bible down."
For twenty years I's passed joy by,"
But now I'm gonna get mine till I die!"
I always thought that preachin' was my line,"
But when I met that gal I changed my mind."

"It takes a long, tall, brown skin gal
To make a preacher lay his Bible down!" 

There are more verses:  the preacher is forgiven, gets back in his pulpit, but finally has to state that he can't let anybody

"come between him and his brown."
Cause, "It takes a long, tall......etc. etc.

Maybe somebody could write some lyrics for the present day about the clergy and young men!   
("You just can't leave well enough alone, can you, John?",  Marguerite Patterson known as MY MOTHER)
« Last Edit: December 13, 2014, 08:48:17 AM by a567and8 »

Offline LucyStag

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  • Howdy!
That's great.

I found an old piece of sheet music in my parent's home one day.  I guess my father played the song on his violin, or sang it when he sat in with a touring minstrel show that used to pass through our area. I have a picture of him in that ensemble.  He also played in small dance bands, as did my granduncle, in our southwestern New York village of Watkins Glen. I have a dance card from one celebration he evidently played for.  I had often heard joyous references to "...the picnic dance."  My brother told me that blacks came from all around to celebrate.  "What?", I asked.  He didn't know.  The old dance card informed me:  That "picnic dance"  was one part of a celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation.  Evidently, it was what is now called, in other parts of the country, "Juneteenth."  He played with that minstrel troupe whenever it came through and was going on the road with them just before he was drafted into the army for WWI.  That pretty much ended minstrel shows!  I happily remember playing the song on our piano in the living room and wailing out the lyrics, at age 14/15.  I still remember some of them.  Here goes.


Old Deacon Johnson was a preachin' man.
The black sky pilot of old Dixie land.
He never missed a Sunday, rain or shine.
Was always in his pulpit right on time.

One day a brown skin gal came into town.
Somebody started scandalation round.
Next Sunday morn they found the Church Door locked!
This was the only word the preacher
Left his lonely flock!

It takes a Long, Tall, Brown Skin Gal
To make a preacher lay his Bible down
For twenty year I'se pass'd Joy by
But nowI'm goin' to get mine' till I die,
I always thought that preachin' was my line,
But since I met this gal I chang'd my min',
It takes a Long, Tall Brown-Skin'd Gal
To make a preacher lay his Bible down.

When Deacon Johnson took his "Brown" away
The congregation tried to make him stay
They promised him if he would not leave town
They would'n come between him and his "Brown"
The deacon studied and declared at last
It ain't no use, my preachin' days is past
I never realized where Heaven lies,
Until today when I looked down into my baby's eyes,

It takes a Long, Tall, Brown Skin Gal
To make a preacher lay his Bible down
For twenty years I've parsed "Joy" by
But now I'm goin' to get mine 'till I die.
I always thought that preachin'' was my line,
But since I met this gal I changed my min'
It takes a Long, Tall Brown Skin Gal
To make a preacher lay his Bible down.


The Deacon studied and declared at last:
"It ain't no use, my preachin' days is past."
"I never knew just where heaven lies,"
Until the day when I looked down into"
My baby's eyes."
"It takes a long, tall brown skin gal,"
To make a preacher lay his Bible down."
For twenty years I's passed joy by,"
But now I'm gonna get mine till I die!"
I always thought that preachin' was my line,"
But when I met that gal I changed my mind."

"It takes a long, tall, brown skin gal
To make a preacher lay his Bible down!" 

There are more verses:  the preacher is forgiven, gets back in his pulpit, but finally has to state that he can't let anybody

"come between him and his brown."
Cause, "It takes a long, tall......etc. etc.

Maybe somebody could write some lyrics for the present day about the clergy and young men!   
("You just can't leave well enough alone, can you, John?",  Marguerite Patterson known as MY MOTHER)

Offline LucyStag

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  • Posts: 30
  • Howdy!
« Last Edit: December 17, 2014, 03:24:51 PM by uncle bud »

Offline biggles

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  • Howdy!
Hello Wesley. I just happened across this website quite by accident and found you comments on the tune "It Takes a Long Tall Brown Skin Gal to make a Preacher Lay his Bible Down". I cannot answer the exact question you asked but I wanted to comment. The man who wrote the lyrics to this tune was my grandfather, Marshall Walker. Walker wrote the lyrics to many tunes during this period. Marshall had a traveling minstrel show called "Marshall Walker's Wizbang Review" and he met my grandmother who was a dancer during his travels with the show. Unfortunately I have not got a lot of information on him but wanted to pass this along to you. It was a pleasure to find someone interested in his songs. Presently I own 3 pieces of his original sheet music and always searching for the day I find more. Through my family history search, his trunk of costumes ended up with his 5th wife in the mid west. I would have loved to have had them.

 


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