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If you can play the tune better than me, it's yours - Big Bill Broonzy

Author Topic: Charlie Spand--"Soon This Morning Blues" and Covers/Charlie Spand Lyrics  (Read 3192 times)

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Online Johnm

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Hi all,
Charlie Spand's "Soon This Morning Blues", recorded on August 17, 1929 with the backing of Blind Blake, evolved into one of the most covered of all blues, "Early In The Morning", and like other oft-covered songs--Leroy Carr's "How Long, How Long Blues", Walter Vinscon's "Sittin' On Top of the World", and Sleepy John Estes's "Someday Baby", its melody and phrasing were often used as a template for the insertion of new lyrics.
The Spand/Blake version is interesting for a number of reasons.  For one, Blake is virtually inaudible, and unusually subdued, with none of his characteristic moves or rhythmic excitement.  The tempo accelerates markedly throughout the course of the rendition, which is also uncharacteristic of Blake--maybe it is a different guitarist?  Though the song is constructed as a chorus blues, Charlie Spand alters the chorus as he goes to make it fit more closely with each verse.  The chorus he uses on the second verse is the one that survived into most of the covers of the song.  Spand's use of "soon" for "early" was  eliminated in the covers I have heard.  Here is "Soon This Morning Blues", and here are Spand's lyrics.



   It's early in the mornin', 'bout the break of day,
   My head on the pillow where my mama used to lay
   CHORUS:  Soon this mornin', 'bout the break of day
   Gonna get my pretty baby and make my getaway

   I love my pretty baby, tell this world I do
   I hope some day she'll come to love me too
   CHORUS:  Soon in the mornin', 'bout the break of day
   Gonna lay my head on the pillow where my mama used to lay

   My mama told me when I was a lad
   "Barrelhouse people gonna be your ruin at last"
   CHORUS:  Soon in the mornin', just about the break of day
   I'm gonna lay my head on the pillow where my mama used to lay

   Soon in the mornin', 'bout the break of day
   Head on the pillow where my mama used to lay
   CHORUS:  Soon in the mornin', 'bout the break of day
   I'm gon' get my pretty baby and make my getaway

   Look-a-here, baby, tell me what you're tryin' to do
   Make me kill you, swear I don't want to
   CHORUS:  Now, it was soon this mornin', 'bout the break of day
   Gonna lay my head on the pillow, where my mama used to lay

   Now, it's me and my partner, there's two or three more
   Gon' follow you most any place you go
   CHORUS:  Now it was soon this mornin', 'bout the break of day
   I'm gonna get my pretty baby and make my getaway

   SOLO:

All best,
Johnm
 
« Last Edit: July 03, 2020, 06:49:40 AM by Johnm »

Online Johnm

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Re: Charlie Spand's "Soon This Morning Blues" and Covers
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2007, 11:02:41 AM »
Hi all,
I found a really wild cover of "Soon this Morning Blues" performed by Bill Gaither with piano and guitar accompaniment (players unidentified) on "The Essential Bill Gaither".  The song is entitled "Strange Woman", and as in Spand's version, Bill Gaither alters the chorus to suit each verse.  Here is "Strange Woman":



   Now, I'm gonna tell you about a woman, ain't gonna tell you her name
   The way she done me was a low-down shame
   CHORUS:  Early in the mornin', baby, 'bout the break of day
   Well, I turned over on the pillow where that woman used to lay

   Now, there's somethin' about this woman that I couldn't understand
   She had the nerve to take her mama's man
   CHORUS:  Early in the mornin', baby, 'bout the break of day
   Well, she rolled around the bed, where her mama used to lay

   GUITAR SOLO

   She told her mama right to her face,
   "You done lost Papa 'cause I done taken your place."
   CHORUS:  "Early in the mornin', Mama, 'bout the break of day
   Well, I rolled around the bed, Mama, where you used to lay."

   She told here baby sister, "You better keep quiet
   I got a date with your husband tomorrow night."
   CHORUS:  "Early in the mornin', baby, 'bout the break of day
   Well I rolled around the bed, sister, where you used to lay."

   She went to Cincinnati, learned to do the b.d.
   She come back in Louisville and took my gal away from me
   CHORUS:  Early in the mornin', just about the break of day
   Well, it was undertaker, really, the man who laid that gal away

   SOLO

All best,
Johnm

 
   
« Last Edit: July 03, 2020, 06:50:44 AM by Johnm »

Online Johnm

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Re: Charlie Spand's "Soon This Morning Blues" and Covers
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2007, 11:30:38 AM »
Hi all,
Bill Gaither must have particularly liked the "Soon This Morning Blues" archetype, for there is another cover of it, called "Bout The Break Of Day", on "The Essential Bill Gaither".  This version turns the chorus's normal sense on its head, for rather than talking about the singer being lonely, it predicts the loneliness of the person to whom the song is addressed.  Has anybody found any other covers of this song out there?  Here is 'Bout The Break of Day":



   You gonna wake up some mornin', about half past three
   Turn over in your bed but you won't find me
   CHORUS:  Early in the mornin', baby, 'bout the break of day
   You'll turn over in your bed, mama, where I used to lay

   Now listen here, woman, I mean every word I say
   I'm doggone tired of your low-down way
   CHORUS:  Early in the mornin, baby, 'bout the break of day
   You gonna roll around the bed, mama, where I used to lay

   Well, of course I love you, but you done me wrong
   You're a midnight rambler and you're always gone
   CHORUS:  Early in the mornin', baby, 'bout the break of day
   You'll roll over in the bed, mama, where I used to lay

   PIANO SOLO

   You gonna leave some mornin' about half past four
   I won't worry, baby, 'cause you won't be back no more
   CHORUS:  As in verse two

   Well, that's something, baby, that I don't understand
   You and my other woman are running hand in hand
   CHORUS:  Early in the mornin', just about the break of day
   I b'lieve she's rollin' 'round the bed, mama, where I used to lay

   SOLO

All best,
Johnm

   
     
« Last Edit: July 03, 2020, 06:51:54 AM by Johnm »

Offline dj

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Re: Charlie Spand's "Soon This Morning Blues" and Covers
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2007, 12:11:28 PM »
Hi John,

Jimmie Gordon recorded "Soon In The Morning" in Chicago on July 7, 1935 with Scrapper Blackwell on guitar.  Like Spand and Gaither, he varies the chorus to suit the verse.  Gordon uses both "soon in the morning" and "early in the morning" in his verses.   

Both the fourth edition of Blues & Gospel Records and the notes to The Complete Bill Gaither Volume 1 list the personnel on "Strange Woman" as Bill Gaither on vocals and guitar with Honey Hill on piano.

   

Online Johnm

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Re: Charlie Spand's "Soon This Morning Blues" and Covers
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2007, 12:20:17 PM »
Thanks very much for the additional information, dj.  I'm really having a hard time figuring out why Gaither's guitar playing is so often spoken of dismissively.  He sounds fine to me; maybe it's just that he suffers by comparison to Scrapper, and who wouldn't?  Honey Hill was an absolute ace, of course.
All best,
Johnm 

Offline dj

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Re: Charlie Spand's "Soon This Morning Blues" and Covers
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2007, 12:43:41 PM »
Spand's record must have been popular in Alabama:  Sonny Scott recorded "Early This Morning" on July 19, 1933 with Walter Roland on piano.  Then Roland recorded "Early This Morning ('Bout The Break Of Day)" the next day.  Then Roland recorded "Early In The Morning No. 2 ('Bout The Break Of Day)" a year later on July 31, 1934.  Scott's version is a fairly fast boogie, while Roland's two versions slow the tempo down a bit.   

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Charlie Spand's "Soon This Morning Blues" and Covers
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2007, 12:32:06 PM »
FWIW from memory both Jazz Gillum and John Lee Williamson reworked the song as "Early In The Morning" in late 30s/early 40s and from there seemed to life as "(Come See Me) Early In The Morning" amongst post war Chicago harmonica recording artists.

Online Johnm

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Re: Charlie Spand's "Soon This Morning Blues" and Covers
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2007, 12:44:30 PM »
Thanks for the additions, Bunker Hill, and I think you're right--"Early In The Morning" really became a mainstay of the Chicago Blues repertoire.  I know I've had versions by Junior Wells and Charlie Musselwhite, among others.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Charlie Spand's "Soon This Morning Blues" and Covers
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2007, 12:51:31 PM »
Thanks for the additions, Bunker Hill, and I think you're right--"Early In The Morning" really became a mainstay of the Chicago Blues repertoire.  I know I've had versions by Junior Wells and Charlie Musselwhite, among others.
Yep Wells first recorded it in 1954 but titled 'Bout The Break Of Day but in the 60s and up as Early In The Morning.

Useless information or what?
« Last Edit: July 03, 2007, 12:52:47 PM by Bunker Hill »

Offline dj

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Re: Charlie Spand's "Soon This Morning Blues" and Covers
« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2007, 02:03:11 PM »
I don't know if he recorded a version later, but Jazz Gillum's "Early In The Morning" - the first song he ever recorded, on June 14, 1934 - is a different song, a standard 12 bar blues with no melodic or lyric relation (other than the title) to Spand's song.
   

Offline dj

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Re: Charlie Spand's "Soon This Morning Blues" and Covers
« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2007, 03:48:37 PM »
Walter Davis's "Early This Mornin'", recorded December 19, 1938 with Henry Townsend on guitar, is also unrelated to Spand's song.  This is interesting, as both men may have played on Sonny Boy Williamson's "Early In The Mornin'" the previous year - Dixon, Goodrich, and Rye have the personnel on Sonny Boy's session as Walter Davis, piano, and two unknown guitars, while the 1997 Bluebird cd of Sonny Boy's first sessions has unknown piano with Henry Townsend and possibly Robert Lee McCoy on guitars.

Offline Blues Vintage

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Re: Charlie Spand's "Soon This Morning Blues" and Bill Gaither covers
« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2020, 11:36:38 AM »
Walter Roland - Early This Morning ('Bout Break Of Day)

Walter Roland - Vocals, Piano
New York
July 20, 1933

Key of F





There’s one thing want you to know
I can get me a woman anywhere I go says
Early in the mornin' mama 'bout the break of day
I turned over and hugged the pillow where my baby used to lay

I woke up this morning ‘bout half past four
Heard somebody knocking on my back door says
Early in the mornin' baby 'bout the break of day
Says I turned over and hugged the pillow where my baby used to lay

Well I don't no want no woman got face like a natural man
She walk into your house and it'll be ‘struction in the land says
Early in the mornin' baby 'bout the break of day
Says I turned over and hugged the pillow where my baby used to lay

Woke up this morning ‘bout half past two
Met my woman down on Adams Avenue now
Early in the mornin' baby 'bout the break of day
Says I turned over and hugged the pillow where my baby used to lay
« Last Edit: August 31, 2020, 07:08:47 AM by harry »

Online Johnm

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Re: Charlie Spand's "Soon This Morning Blues" and Bill Gaither covers
« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2020, 02:01:43 PM »
Hi Harry,
Thanks for posting that--it's a beautiful tune.

In the third verse, I think the first half of the first line is:
  I DO NOT WANT NO woman, with "do" pronounced like "doe"
I think the second line of the same verse is:
  She walk INTO your house and there be 'STRUCTION in the land. He's quoting a Gospel song title, "There's A Destruction In The Land"
And in the last verse, second line,
  ADAMS Avenue

All best,
Johnm

Offline Blues Vintage

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Re: Charlie Spand's "Soon This Morning Blues" and Bill Gaither covers
« Reply #13 on: August 30, 2020, 02:42:57 PM »
Thanks John, Re-listening I'm hearing,

Well I don't want no woman her face like a natural man
She walk in your house and there be ‘struction in the land says

Online Johnm

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Re: Charlie Spand's "Soon This Morning Blues" and Bill Gaither covers
« Reply #14 on: August 30, 2020, 04:22:55 PM »
Hi Harry,
Roland sings "into" in the second line of that verse rather than "in".

 


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