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Author Topic: Brand and product names in country blues  (Read 36469 times)

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Offline uncle bud

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Re: Brand and product names in country blues
« Reply #60 on: August 23, 2007, 02:12:19 PM »
In "Machine Gun Blues", from 1941, Willie Blackwell refers to a "Johnson machine gun".  He may have it wrong, and mean a Thompson machine gun; I've never heard of a Johnson machine gun, but that doesn't prove anything, necessarily.
I'm fairly sure there was such a comapny and weapon during the 30s John. 20 years ago it was brought up in a review of the compilation which first included that particular song. The reference Blackwell makes to "snapping my typewriter in your face" I think alluded to the fact that the company also manufactured typewriters. I'm sure somebody more clued up than I in such matters can put us straight.

I noted awhile back in the Willie Blackwell lyrics thread that "typewriter" was actually slang for machine gun, as in "Chicago typewriter" (Chicago referring not to a brand but to the city, where some of the inhabitants were fond of such weaponry at the time).

Edit: and Googling after the fact, it turns out there was indeed a real Chicago typewriter, but the slang term for machine gun still stands. The kind of thing one could imagine Jimmie Cagney saying...
« Last Edit: August 23, 2007, 02:15:44 PM by uncle bud »

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Brand and product names in country blues
« Reply #61 on: August 24, 2007, 03:01:06 AM »
I noted awhile back in the Willie Blackwell lyrics thread that "typewriter" was actually slang for machine gun, as in "Chicago typewriter" (Chicago referring not to a brand but to the city, where some of the inhabitants were fond of such weaponry at the time).
Apologies UB, I obviously hadn't, if at all, been following the latter stages of that thread. There's just so much at Weenie to digest my pea-size brain can't cope.  :(

Offline Rivers

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Re: Brand and product names in country blues
« Reply #62 on: August 24, 2007, 03:52:50 AM »
Brought up to date, I slotted the individual businesses & names into the same format, I agree John those are particularly interesting. Added D-Con, Johnson, Bulldog.

[edit: moved table to latest post]
« Last Edit: August 25, 2007, 05:46:02 AM by Rivers »

Offline Rambler

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Re: Brand and product names in country blues
« Reply #63 on: August 24, 2007, 05:26:43 AM »
Uneeda Biscuits, Blind Lemon in Rabbit's Foot Blues.  JK 

Offline waxwing

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Re: Brand and product names in country blues
« Reply #64 on: August 24, 2007, 07:32:19 AM »
Heh, heh. Nice one, JK. Riv forgot to include the first item in his first post, which is his avatar.

Riv, Ginger Jake was not a bath tub concoction but was produced "legally" in a factory. I don't know of any instances, off hand, in which it was mentioned by name tho'. In most instances I can think of it was referred to as "Jake", or "Jake Alcohol" (TJ's Canned Heat Blues and Jake and Alcohol Blues and Bracey's Jake Liquor Blues) or by the symptoms of the poisonous effects, "Jake Leg" as in many Jake Leg Blues (Mississippi Shieks and Willie 'Poor Boy' Lofton).

Here's a link to the Jake Leg thread from a few years back which was inspired by a New Yorker article (which I no longer have). As I recall there was an entire CD produced containing songs that mentioned Jake Leg in one way or another. A search at Document turned up a few more similarly titled songs but I don't have time to research them at present.

All for now.
John C.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2007, 07:41:31 AM by waxwing »
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
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Offline Mr.Natural

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Re: Brand and product names in country blues
« Reply #65 on: August 24, 2007, 08:11:18 AM »
John,
This is an intesting article on Jake Leg paralysis:http://www.fohbc.com/PDF_Files/JakeWalkStory_CMunsey.pdf.
As you wrote, an interresting compilation exists, called Jake Leg Blues (Narmour & Smith, Willie Lofton, Ishman Bracey, Tommy Johnson).
Ed
don't mess with the Natch - he flosses with razorblades

Offline Rivers

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Re: Brand and product names in country blues
« Reply #66 on: August 24, 2007, 03:47:13 PM »
Read my first post again boys! It's in the table, brand is NBC (National Biscuit Co, later Nabisco)
« Last Edit: August 24, 2007, 03:48:40 PM by Rivers »

Offline waxwing

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Re: Brand and product names in country blues
« Reply #67 on: August 24, 2007, 09:41:22 PM »
Does Lemon actually mention Nabisco?! Heh, heh, I'm gonna have to dig it up.

Anyway, I know it's hard to figure out what to alphabetize by, but it might be better to have the actual word(s) from the song as the first column?

All for now.
John C.
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

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Willie Brown's Liquor at CD Baby

Offline Rivers

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Re: Brand and product names in country blues
« Reply #68 on: August 25, 2007, 04:56:40 AM »
No he doesn't mention the brand. Since Uneeda was a National Bisuits Co brand it's there by implication only.

Alphabetizing by the actual line wouldn't group by brand, although it would be nice to include for interest's sake. I mean you'd get a lot of "I got me a..." "I had me some..."s grouped together. My original intention, among others, was to get a picture of what brands and products were at the forefront of people's consciousness back then.

Re. Jake, thanks Wax, I found a list at http://www.ibiblio.org/moonshine/drink/jakesongs.html and have added them to the table. It's missing Canned Heat Blues. The Jakes songs are grouped under brand 'Various' since google reveals that was the case, including one recipe I found from 1909 that shows a Sears & Roebuck brand.  :o

Also am now spitting out the year column after looking 'em up in D&G. Chris, do you have dates for those Uncle Dave Macon tunes?

Added another Buddy Moss Ford V8 (great song title btw), another Terraplane...

[edit: moved table to latest post]
« Last Edit: August 25, 2007, 08:52:36 AM by Rivers »

Offline Rivers

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Re: Brand and product names in country blues
« Reply #69 on: August 25, 2007, 07:33:31 AM »
Old Jim Canaan's, Wilkins 1934

Offline waxwing

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Re: Brand and product names in country blues
« Reply #70 on: August 25, 2007, 07:51:47 AM »
Sounds like good reasoning to me, Riv. Good work on all the research, too.

As to Jake in Canned Heat, I think the 4th verse is

Lord, Lord I wonder, Canned Heat's killin' me
Jake alcohol has ruined me, churnin' 'bout my soul
'Cause brownskin women don't do that easy roll

All for now.
John C.
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

http://www.youtube.com/user/WaxwingJohn
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Willie Brown's Liquor at CD Baby

Offline Rivers

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Re: Brand and product names in country blues
« Reply #71 on: August 25, 2007, 08:43:45 AM »
Please do post the actual lyrics, I've added another column.

The Victrola ref was Bill 'Jazz' Gillum, Washboard Sam and Broonzy were in the band, song was Gillum's Windy Blues, 1938

[edit: from the Peg Leg Howell lyric thread added 2 Elgins & 2 daily newspapers, Lemon's Elgin lyric]

[edit: moved list to latest post]
« Last Edit: August 26, 2007, 01:57:53 PM by Rivers »

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Brand and product names in country blues
« Reply #72 on: August 26, 2007, 10:20:20 AM »
Re. Jake references. I just came across one while listening to Earl McDonald's Original Louisville Jug Band and their version of He's In the Jailhouse, which is done as "She's In the Graveyard Now."

We were drinkin' every minute/I thought I was in it/I was buying Jamaica Ginger by the pound

Offline waxwing

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Re: Brand and product names in country blues
« Reply #73 on: August 26, 2007, 10:43:42 AM »
And another Canned Heat reference in Arthur Pettis' Good Boy Blues:

First verse: Canned Heat ain't no good, boy, leave you with a fly away mind (2X)

Second verse: You don't want no more Canned Heat when the judge give you your time

All for now.
John C.
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

http://www.youtube.com/user/WaxwingJohn
https://www.facebook.com/WaxwingJohn

Willie Brown's Liquor at CD Baby

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Brand and product names in country blues
« Reply #74 on: August 26, 2007, 11:23:53 AM »
Re. Jake references. I just came across one while listening to Earl McDonald's Original Louisville Jug Band and their version of He's In the Jailhouse, which is done as "She's In the Graveyard Now."

We were drinkin' every minute/I thought I was in it/I was buying Jamaica Ginger by the pound
Probably inspired by Whistler's Jug Band's 1924 recording which has a similar reference:

We were strikin' every minute/I made sure I was in it/I was buying Jamaica Gin just by the gallon/But when I went to pay that man/I found that poor gal's hand etc etc

Jamaica rum I've sampled, but gin is there such?


 


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