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A lot of people think Elmore James wrote this song. My vote goes to Robert Johnson because he recorded it when Elmore was 12 - Chris Smither introducing Dust My Broom

Author Topic: Blind Lemon Jefferson lyrics  (Read 160874 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Re: Blind Lemon Jefferson lyrics
« Reply #735 on: January 18, 2021, 06:06:09 PM »
Thanks for checking on that, Slack! I have to admit, if somebody tried to serve me "strong" meat I'd turn it down without a second thought. Poultry that has turned is especially tough to take, whew!

I can imagine Lemon and his family and plenty of other folks in his growing up years and later who would be paid in food rather than cash by farmers whose crops they worked to get in at harvest time. Sounds like my dad's early years were much like your dad's, the eldest of five brothers, educated, but grew up poor and did a lot of work like that in Kansas where they were. My dad wasn't a picky eater, but he wouldn't touch watermelon with a ten-foot pole--I'm pretty sure he got paid too many times in over-ripe watermelons for his farm labors. Some farmers I'm sure gave workers decent food, but I'm also sure there were some who used it as a way to get rid of food they wouldn't eat themselves and couldn't sell.

Offline Slack

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Re: Blind Lemon Jefferson lyrics
« Reply #736 on: January 18, 2021, 06:18:38 PM »
John, That's very interesting about your father not touching watermelon... too much punky watermelon, ha!  We need to talk about our fathers side rural roots next time we are together.

We romanticize the era, but for poor folks, poor black folks, times were very lean, meat was rare and I think folks just took a chance.

Offline Rivers

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Re: Blind Lemon Jefferson lyrics
« Reply #737 on: January 18, 2021, 08:53:55 PM »
I prefer my red meat a bit on the gamey side, will sometimes leave it in the fridge for a couple of weeks after its 'use by/freeze by' date. But that's just me, not the song. Will give it a listen.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2021, 08:55:23 PM by Rivers »

Offline dj

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Re: Blind Lemon Jefferson lyrics
« Reply #738 on: January 19, 2021, 04:34:08 AM »
Quote
Maypearl is a little town a bit southwest of Waxahachie, just west of Interstate 35E, Southwest of Dallas. What do you think?

Yes!  Good ears, and good investigating.  The second syllable definitely sounds like "pearl".  I love it when a little piece of information clicks into place like that.   

Offline Johnm

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Re: Blind Lemon Jefferson lyrics
« Reply #739 on: January 19, 2021, 05:43:30 AM »
Thanks for checking that, dj! I've had a lot of occasion to use my Rand McNally Road Atlas lately. It's nice to find things without going on-line sometimes.

Offline banjochris

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Re: Blind Lemon Jefferson lyrics
« Reply #740 on: January 19, 2021, 11:54:59 AM »
Now it doesn't sound like Memphis or Maypearl to me, John! The "pearl" or "pull" sounds right but it still sounds like "Mem" at the start. Agree about the "meat" verse.
Chris

Offline Johnm

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Re: Blind Lemon Jefferson lyrics
« Reply #741 on: January 19, 2021, 12:35:11 PM »
Thanks for checking those, Chris. I do think it is Maypearl, but with the vowel sound in the first syllable the same as it would be in Memphis, so that Lemon pronounces it more like "Mehpearl"--it definitely does not have a long A sound in the first syllable, but it also does not end the first syllable in an "m", as Memphis does.

Offline dj

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Re: Blind Lemon Jefferson lyrics
« Reply #742 on: January 19, 2021, 01:26:54 PM »
Yes, "Mehpurl" is how I hear it phonetically.  I assume that's how locals or semi-locals pronounce it. 

Or maybe Texans just talk funny.  :P

On the other hand, I grew up in a hamlet named Hopewell Junction, which I and all other locals pronounce "Hoepull".  I guess New Yorkers talk funny too.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2021, 01:32:24 PM by dj »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Blind Lemon Jefferson lyrics
« Reply #743 on: January 25, 2021, 11:50:57 AM »
Hi all,
Checking more Lemon lyrics, I found that in Weeniepedia for "Piney Woods Money Mama", for the next-to-last verse we have:

Well the cook's in the kitchen, pickin' and fussin' over turnip greens.
I say cook's in the kitchen, fussin' and pickin' over turnip greens.
White folks in the parlor playin' cards, and they're suppin'[1] at cake and cream.

The footnote indicates that "suppin'" is pronounced "soupin'".

In re-listening to the song just now, I hear in that tagline, plain as day:

Well the cook's in the kitchen, pickin' and fussin' over turnip greens.
I say cook's in the kitchen, fussin' and pickin' over turnip greens.
White folks in the parlor playin' cards, and the SOUVENIR IS cake and cream.

You can give it a listen here--the line in question is at around 2:24.



What do you think?

All best,
Johnm

Offline Slack

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Re: Blind Lemon Jefferson lyrics
« Reply #744 on: January 25, 2021, 12:25:20 PM »
I don't hear an "R' sound at the end of the tag line.  Phonetically I hear "soovin in cake and cream"  ...which is nonsense so not much help.

The lyrics seem to be a common set floating around, maybe originally from musixmatch.
https://www.musixmatch.com/lyrics/Blind-Lemon-Jefferson/Piney-Woods-Money-Mama

Offline Johnm

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Re: Blind Lemon Jefferson lyrics
« Reply #745 on: January 25, 2021, 12:29:59 PM »
Hi Slack,
If you re-listen, there is one more syllable there than in "soovin' in". I can hear the "s" on "is" in the last syllable in that little phrase, and the three syllables prior sounds just like "souvenir" with a slightly softened "r" at the end.

Offline Rivers

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Re: Blind Lemon Jefferson lyrics
« Reply #746 on: January 25, 2021, 02:00:45 PM »
First time around I heard "...and the ??? is chasin' queens"

Which does go with "playin' cards". Wasn't clear on the mystery word yet but contextually I thought it likely somebody in the game.

After a few more spins I heard "...and they're soupin' and chasin' queens", as in soup after dinner while playing cards. Who does that? Nobody.

Finally, and much more likely, "..and they're suppin'/sippin' and chasin' queens", suppin'/sippin' mispronounced as soopin'. In other words drinking after dinner and playing some card game where queens are significant. As one does.

Whatever it is, cake and cream isn't in there, to my ears.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2021, 02:56:42 PM by Rivers »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Blind Lemon Jefferson lyrics
« Reply #747 on: January 25, 2021, 03:05:57 PM »
Interesting--I have no problem with "cake and cream" at all, especially "cake", nice "k" sound at the front and end of that syllable.

Offline Rivers

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Re: Blind Lemon Jefferson lyrics
« Reply #748 on: January 25, 2021, 03:12:03 PM »
Still sounds like "Ch-" as in "chasing" to me, with no "and". The "kwee", for "queen", sound starts the next word, not "cree" (for "cream"). Plus mine makes sense, having a strong narrative pass, you guys must be nuts to hear that!  :P

Here's my suggestion in full, listen again while reading, make allowance for the mispronunciation of "sippin'":

"White folks in the parlor playin' cards, and they're sippin' and chasin' queens"

The queen in question could be the queen of spades, if they were playing Hearts, worth 100 points, versus the other royal cards, worth 10, if I recall correctly. Or something like that, it's been a long time since my misspent youth.

Later - I was thinking of some other game, here's the scoring in Hearts:
Quote
At the end of each hand, players count the number of hearts they have taken as well as the queen of spades, if applicable. Hearts count as one point each and the queen counts 13 points. The aggregate total of all scores for each hand must be a multiple of 26. The game is usually played to 100 points (some play to 50)
« Last Edit: January 25, 2021, 03:45:57 PM by Rivers »

Offline Rivers

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Re: Blind Lemon Jefferson lyrics
« Reply #749 on: January 25, 2021, 03:57:02 PM »
Actually the more I look into it there is actually a poker game variously called "Chasing Queens", "Chase The Queen". I've no idea if people were playing it back then but it's an interesting fact.

 


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