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Soft and easy, good and greasy, I'm a fool about my greasy greens - Pink Anderson, Greasy Greens

Author Topic: Blind Lemon Jefferson lyrics  (Read 160827 times)

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Offline GhostRider

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Re: Easy Rider Blues - Blind Lemon Jefferson
« Reply #30 on: October 08, 2004, 10:30:55 AM »
Hey Unkie Bud:

I'm away from home right now so I don't have the song with me, but I do have S. Grossman's version of the words. He puts:

3rd line Verse 1: Well, anywhere these women always in the wrong.

3rd line, 4th verse: The coal i burn, everybody say is the cannonball.

3rd line, 6th Verse: She left me this morning, with her face in a terrible frown.

The second of these makes no sense.

Later,
Alex


Offline uncle bud

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Re: Easy Rider Blues - Blind Lemon Jefferson
« Reply #31 on: October 08, 2004, 05:43:48 PM »
Thanks Alex.

I hear "always in the wrong" at the end of the last line of the 1st verse, but don't quite hear "anywhere these women".

For the 4th verse, Eric Sackheim has "The coal house burner: everybody's snapping cannonballs" which I don't hear and equally makes no sense to me. Googling on the phrase "coal house burner" yields zilch. I'm starting to hear "The coal I's burnin' everybody says the cannonball", perhaps with an implied "is" before "the cannonball". Not much better, sense-wise, to my knowledge.

"With her face in a terrible frown" works for me, pronounced turrible. Thanks!

Any other shots from anyone? I've attached an mp3 to facilitate online listening...

edited to add: modified the lyric above to match changes discussed.

[attachment deleted by admin]
« Last Edit: October 08, 2004, 06:05:56 PM by uncle bud »

Offline waxwing

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Re: Easy Rider Blues - Blind Lemon Jefferson
« Reply #32 on: October 08, 2004, 07:07:52 PM »
Sounds pretty much like you got it to me. Just a few little touch ups:
v.1,l.2:? Won'chya tell me where my easy rider's gone (very quiet, but there)
v.2,l.3:? I'm poor boy here 'n'ain't got nowhere to go
v.3,l.1-2: There's gonna be the time that a woman don't need no man
?Well there's gonna be a time a woman don't need no man
v.4,l.3:? The coal I's burnin' everybody say is the cannonball (really splittin' hairs, but makes a little sense)
v.7,l.3:? Sugar if you don't quit crochetin' you goin' lose your mind

Most of the "and"s I would write as "an' " or just " 'n'..." at the beginning of a word.
I think the meaning of the "burnin' coal" line is that he is describing his anger, "the coal I's burnin", and he's so angry that people would call him the cannonball, a big steam engine. The first two lines indicate he doesn't usually get angry, i.e. "don't burn no coal at all". I love the way he says "boinin' ". More open and less nasal than a New York accent, but still substituting "oi" for "ur". McTell and Howlin' Wolf sometimes use a similar pronunciation
All for now.
John C.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2005, 06:04:55 PM by Johnm »
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Offline Alexei McDonald

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Re: Easy Rider Blues - Blind Lemon Jefferson
« Reply #33 on: October 08, 2004, 10:10:33 PM »
I think the verse should be  "The train I ride don't burn no coal at all [x2], The train I ride everybody call the Cannonball," but somewhere along the way it has become pied, and Lemon sings "The coal I's burnin' everybody says the Cannonball" instead.   Interpretation is up to the listener, as always.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Easy Rider Blues - Blind Lemon Jefferson
« Reply #34 on: October 09, 2004, 09:12:27 AM »
Thanks Wax and Alexei. Makes sense to me. Now I just have to learn to sing it...


Offline Rivers

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Re: Easy Rider Blues - Blind Lemon Jefferson
« Reply #35 on: October 09, 2004, 02:07:24 PM »
Here's what I came up with years ago, recall listening to it hard for a while while I was working the guitar part. Offered here FWIW:

Now tell me where my easy rider's gone (X2)
These worry women always in the wrong

Well easy rider died on the road (x2)
I'm a poor boy now, ain't got no where to go

There's gonna be a time when a woman don't need no man (x2)
So baby shut your mouth and don't be raising sand

The train I ride don't burn no coal or coke (x2)
The coal I burn everybody said was cannonballs

I went to the depot, and set my suitcase down (x2)
The blues overtake me and the tears come rolling down

The woman I love man she's out of town (x2)
She left me this morning with her face in terrible frown

I met a gal uptown, crochets all the time (X2)
You know with crochet, you're gonna lose your mind

Said bad brown, what's the matter now (X2)
You turn your back to quit me, woman you just don't know how

Not sure if I consciously transliterated 'cocaine' for 'crochet', which I just couldn't imagine causing anyone to lose their mind. Come to think of it it might make me lose my mind.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2008, 12:20:25 PM by Rivers »

Offline frankie

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Re: Easy Rider Blues - Blind Lemon Jefferson
« Reply #36 on: October 09, 2004, 03:20:00 PM »
Not sure if I consciously transliterated 'cocaine' for 'crochet', which I just couldn't imagine causing anyone to lose their mind. Come to think of it it might make me lose my mind.

I'm pretty sure he says "crocheting", which I understood as a euphemism for prostitution:

crocheting -> hooking -> prostitution

nothing whatsoever to back it up, though.

Offline Rivers

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Re: Easy Rider Blues - Blind Lemon Jefferson
« Reply #37 on: October 10, 2004, 07:54:32 PM »
Thanks frankie, clearly he does sing 'crochet', I just needed a good explanation in case anyone asked. It has to be a euphemism for something, I like yours better than mine.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Easy Rider Blues - Blind Lemon Jefferson
« Reply #38 on: October 11, 2004, 01:31:40 PM »
I always wondered why these women were crocheting in CB songs, until Paul Geremia explained it. One of those 'duh' moments.

crawley

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Lemon's lyrics - Bad Luck Blues
« Reply #39 on: April 15, 2005, 11:35:10 PM »
Okay, I need some help here.
I'm diggin' "Bad Luck Blues" by Blind Lemon, but I can't understand a word he's saying. Does anyone know the lyrics or where I can get'ed.




Crawley
« Last Edit: July 19, 2020, 09:55:14 AM by Johnm »

Offline a2tom

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Re: Lemon's lyrics - Bad Luck Blues
« Reply #40 on: April 16, 2005, 05:32:56 AM »
Bad Luck Blues is a real favorite of mine - it's been a long time goal to be able to play and sing that (haven't come close yet, but haven't tried for a while now).

Anyway, the lyrics are easy to come by, for example this seems pretty accurate:
http://www.luckymojo.com/bluesbadluckjefferson.html

tom
« Last Edit: April 16, 2005, 09:42:49 PM by uncle bud »

crawley

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Re: Lemon's lyrics - Bad Luck Blues
« Reply #41 on: April 16, 2005, 11:08:16 AM »
Thanks Tom,
That about all I needed. You ought to give the song some more tries. The repetitive guitar makes it easier to work on the vocals I think.
Hopefully I'll post a go at it on the backporch.
Crawley
« Last Edit: April 16, 2005, 09:43:32 PM by uncle bud »

Offline a2tom

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Re: Lemon's lyrics - Bad Luck Blues
« Reply #42 on: April 16, 2005, 05:09:45 PM »
Crawley - I'd love to hear it! 

I wonder where you learned the guitar part from - there is a tab out there that I think was done by Happy Traum originally and that I've seen floating about on the web (ostensibly original, but note for note a copy of the Traum tab...).  The problem is it isn't correct!  It misses many of the important notes that make the BLJ version so interesting. 

BTW, I don't know why we are talking about the Bad Luck Blues in this thread - perhaps a moderator will see fit to move it. 

tom
« Last Edit: April 16, 2005, 09:44:01 PM by uncle bud »

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Lemon's lyrics - Bad Luck Blues
« Reply #43 on: April 16, 2005, 09:29:46 PM »
Crawley - I'd love to hear it! 

I wonder where you learned the guitar part from - there is a tab out there that I think was done by Happy Traum originally and that I've seen floating about on the web (ostensibly original, but note for note a copy of the Traum tab...).  The problem is it isn't correct!  It misses many of the important notes that make the BLJ version so interesting. 

BTW, I don't know why we are talking about the Bad Luck Blues in this thread - perhaps a moderator will see fit to move it. 

tom

It's now moved. I agree, Tom - Happy Traum's version could only be called an adaptation of Lemon. Ari Eisinger does a much better version on his instructional tape.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2005, 09:44:23 PM by uncle bud »

Offline a2tom

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Re: Lemon's lyrics - Bad Luck Blues
« Reply #44 on: April 17, 2005, 07:26:51 AM »
I actually spent some time with this in Transcribe yesterday.  I have most of it (can't necessarily play it, but I know what he was doing pretty much).  However, there is one thing I wonder how others interpret.  It is the fourth beat of the repeating phrase in most of the I (i.e. C) bars. 



  |       |       |       |
|-----0---3-------0------(0)----|---
|-------------4-------1--(1)----|---
|-------------------------2---0-|---
|---------0---------------2-----|---
|-3----------------------(3)----|-3-
|-------------------------------|---
  |       |       |       |



I've tabbed out all the notes that are registering almost every time he plays that fourth beat, and it is odd, in my book.  The "melody" note the riff is driving to on that beat  is the A on the 2nd fret of the 3rd string (followed by the open string G).  Since he is playing in C, the most obvious thing to do is to move the middle finger up from the 4th string to the 3rd string.  However, there is no question in my mind that the beat - which most often he is really emphasizing with a solid 4th beat strike - also prominently sounds the E on the 2nd fret of the 4th string.

So then I think, he's actually fingering an A minor - some sense to this, as A minor frequently shows up in C as a modal variant.  However, I often clearly still get the C from the 3rd fret of the 5th string.  So, how the heck is he fingering this?  As near as I can tell, he is playing A minor and then adding the pinky to the 3rd fret of the 5th string.   And, indeed, when I finger that I get the sound that I hear from Lemon - only, I do not find it easy at all to snap to that chord form.  I've been hitting it as A minor (dropping the pinky) and it still sounds decent.

What do others think, or Ari teach?  I've attached a pitch corrected and slowed down version of the first three bars in case you want to listen close (it should loop seemlessly).

I think through much of the tune that the 4th beat is the critical one. For example I love the way with very subtle changes in that beat he hints at the chord change to the IV (F) bars. 



  |       |       |       |
|-----0---3-------0-------------|---
|-------------4-------1---------|---
|-------------------------0-----|---
|---------0---------------------|---
|-3-----------------------------|-3-
|-----------------------------1-|---
  |       |       |       |



Even though he never ends up fully sounding an F chord in the F bar repeating phrase, you still feel the chord change.  The guy was brilliant.

tom

 


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