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The famous Mother of the Blues doesn't want you to ever forget her-that's how much she loves her friends! So we put her picture on her latest record, 'Dream Blues.' On the other side is 'Lost Wandering Blues' by 'Ma.' Accompaniments by Pruitt Twins on those guitars that made Kansas City famous.... This is the first time, to our knowledge, that any artist's picture has ever appeared on a record. Paramount is always first with the features - Chicago Defender ad, 7 June 1924 for Ma Rainey's souvenir record

Author Topic: 'A World Unknown'  (Read 22352 times)

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Offline Stuart

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Re: 'A World Unknown'
« Reply #60 on: October 18, 2007, 06:49:29 PM »
I think it's brilliant.

Who's your shrink??!! :P

Offline waxwing

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Re: 'A World Unknown'
« Reply #61 on: October 18, 2007, 07:26:44 PM »
Hey, I just saw her yesterday and she says I'm doing fine.

You mean you don't think the song is brilliant?

Well, I'm actually off to play the song at my monthly boat club gig. I hope I can keep my mind on the song and off this discusssion and the one on the PWBG,

I'll check in around 2 AM PDT and see if this has progressed any further. I still wish someone would at least try to come up with some alternative to "bastard with" or agree with me, 'cause it sure ain't "somethin' with"

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

“Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22

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Offline uncle bud

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Re: 'A World Unknown'
« Reply #62 on: October 18, 2007, 08:50:19 PM »
It sure is.  :P 

I threw out tomahawk as a joke.  Didn't think people would take it seriously. :D

Charley sang like he had a mouthful of marbles much of the time, as we all know. He twisted words, pronunciations, elongated or left out syllables etc etc.  I can't imagine the majority of black Mississippians of the day pronouncing "oversea" or "overseas" as 3 clearly enunciated syllables anyways, let alone while singing, let alone Patton singing. O.C. blues? Find that bastard? You're creating things that aren't there.

As for Charley actually going to the Nation, well, there's no evidence I'm aware of. Doesn't mean it's not the case, but it sure seems more likely that Patton was simply using a reference to the Nation that occurred in songs by Bessie Smith, Papa Charlie Jackson, Blind Lemon Jefferson, George Bullet Williams, Ida Cox and others before Patton recorded -- singing about "going to the Nation and the Territory" -- and by Bo Carter, Jesse James (who actually sings "I've been to the Nation"), Skip James and others later.

I'm with JohnM:

Quote
I think these lyrics are like most of his non-narrative lyrics, drawn from a variety of sources, probably some original and some not, in a loose assemblage.

Offline waxwing

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Re: 'A World Unknown'
« Reply #63 on: October 18, 2007, 10:57:45 PM »
What do you know, Internet access at the boat club.

Well, that's an easy position to take, Andrew. Everything is just nonsense so you can say he sings the same old tired lyrics as everyone else. Turning a bit of a waver between O and C in one of three iterations into "over sea" because it was sung somewhere else? Okeh, fine. And who else here really hears "somethin' with"? (BC, I'd really like to hear from you on this. You've been oddly silent on this point since I first mentioned it on IGS several months ago) Sure Andrew, Occam's razor. Can't hear anything else (and the censors would supposedly have heard "bastard" and stopped the issue, eh?) so it must be that. Okeh, fine. End of discussion.

But why does he go to the Nation mid verse after doing some chopping? Who else sang it like that? I mean that's just not a stock verse.

Back to Tommy's Lonesome Home Blues for me.

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

“Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22

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

Offline waxwing

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Re: 'A World Unknown'
« Reply #64 on: October 19, 2007, 12:44:35 AM »
Uh, my better judgement says that I should point out that the above post was meant in the most comradely one-ups-manship. This thread has had it's share of outrageous certitude and I am only reflecting that level of tongue-in-cheek behaviour, I hope.

Besides I'm slightly inebrieted at a raucous musical happening. What do you expect?

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

“Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22

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

Offline dj

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Re: 'A World Unknown'
« Reply #65 on: October 19, 2007, 04:05:07 AM »
Based on how they're generally used in songs, it's my opinion that "the Nation" and "the Territor'", pretty much mean some place far away, on the edge of civilization.  So to my mind "I've been to the Nation" means "I've traveled, I've really been around, I've been everywhere."   

As for chopping, don't forget that Patton was singing in a time and place where if you wanted to eat or wanted to take the edge off a cold winter morning, you had to chop wood to feed the stove.
 

Offline Rivers

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Re: 'A World Unknown'
« Reply #66 on: October 19, 2007, 05:09:04 AM »
Andrew, I'd already mentioned tomahawks a few posts earlier.
Chopping = axe, tomahawk = Native American Indian axe.

It's not a racial stereotype, due to their importance and multiple uses in everyday life, including as tools, weapons and for smoking tobacco in the pipe versions, tomahawks evolved to a high art and make your average whitebread hardware store axe look like a very blunt instrument. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomahawk_%28axe%29

Wax, great point about Occam's Razor. Fortunately we have all the time in the world to come up with new alternatives and put them alongside each other. The most attractive outcome would be if we come up with something new that jumps up and grabs us by the throat. Horn Lake Road in Dry Land Blues, for example. It was only a willingness to try all possible means, Google maps in that case, that broke it. The 'Ear Power Collective' is what we are, so let's try to all keep an open and inquiring mind.

Today I'm going to try listening to both recordings again on loop with several variations of EQ, volume and naturally-achieved states of consciousness.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2007, 05:43:50 AM by Rivers »

Offline Stuart

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Re: 'A World Unknown'
« Reply #67 on: October 19, 2007, 07:29:17 AM »
It's been 20+ years since I looked at their writings, but Albert B. Lord and Milman Parry did work that some may find interesting, informative, and insightful. Not Country Blues, but oral lit and folksongs.



Here's totally unrelated clip:



Offline CF

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Re: 'A World Unknown'
« Reply #68 on: October 19, 2007, 10:42:54 AM »
I'm on the side of these being floating verses that maybe, overall, highlight a theme, thought, or mood for Patton, the use of floating verses in prewar blues & the recycling of the same verses being sooo pervasive. I've recently acquired a lot of new music both by more established blues stars & cats who had humbler amounts of recordings. It's mind-boggling how many lyric ideas & themes are reused. I find myself hearing new songs all the time & knowing exactly what the B part of the AAB verse is going to be . . . because a thousand other artists & songs have the exact same lyrics. I think if Dirt Road was specifically about Patton's native heritage or anything else it would be more clear. MS Boll Weavil is all about a boll weavil so we know he could write thematically, Spoonful too, Revenue Man, etc . . . I would happily be corrected here but my experience thus far has shown that there were many talented folk musicians from this time but there were very few out & out untouched, completely original artists. That's not a bad thing either, I like the communal aspect of traditional music, I think that's a big part of its appeal for everyone.
Waxwing I don't think Patton is saying 'something with' either but I do think he's implying it, referencing a well-worn traditional lyric. He's normally 'lazy' with traditional verses it seems, he doesn't even say 'spoonful' in 'Spoonful' but plays a slide lick instead & there are a lot of examples of it in his work.

'A rider [] something . . . she tryna keep it hid . . .
 A rider [] 't something . . . she tryna keep it hid . . .
Lord I got somethin', mm find that . . d' s'with

I'll admit that it does kinda sound like 'bastard' there for a second, & man I wish I could believe it did! but for me it's not clear enough to make a comfortable assertion, & I have to fall back on the overt evidence of the traditional verse form & Patton's garbling.

Dat's my two cents anyway

P.S. This song is brilliant + 2!!
« Last Edit: October 19, 2007, 01:20:21 PM by cheapfeet »
Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

Offline Rivers

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Re: 'A World Unknown'
« Reply #69 on: October 23, 2007, 05:04:48 PM »
I've been studying this for the past week and think I may have cracked a couple of things. I did not refer to any other sources and put the recent discussions out of my mind, attempted to practise pure forensic lyric reconstruction based on the two recordings I have.

Firstly, I firmly agree with Wax on 'bastard'. That's what he would like to be saying, he turns it into 'darstard' which I believe is either imposed- or self-censorship.

Second, I think I nailed the first line. It's so simple it's crazy we didn't pick it up.

Third, I've reheard the Nation line. The context might indicate what choppin' is all about. Sex, naturally.

Fourth, I'm more convinced it's 'OC', not overseas. All three times there is no 'S' on the end, and only two syllables. What OC might be is intriguing.

Finally, I came up with something very cool for the last line that I dunno if anyone has ever suggested. If it's right it represents a major piece of double entendre from Charley.

I would ask that before ripping it to shreds you cue up the record and listen along!

I'm goin' away, too well I know.
I'm goin' away, too well I know.
I'worried now, but I won't be worried long
 
My rider's somethin', she try to keep it hid
My rider's so' thin', she try to keep it hid
Oh and I got somethin, 'mm find that daa-ah-stard with
 
I feel like choppin', chip' flyin' everywhere
I feel like choppin', chip' flyin' everywhere
I could add to our Nation, mm, Lord but I couldn't stay there
 
Some people say them OC blues ain't bad (my, of course they are)
Some people say them OC blues ain't bad (what's the matter with 'em?)
It must not have been them OC blues I had
 
Every day, seem like murder here (my I'm gonna stay here)
Every day, seem like murder here
I'm gonna leave tomorrow, I know you don't been born here(?)
 
Can't go down that long road by myself
Can't go down that long road by myself (my God, what you gonna carry?)
I don't carry my ax, gonna carry me someone's hoe

   
« Last Edit: October 23, 2007, 07:55:54 PM by Rivers »

Offline dj

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Re: 'A World Unknown'
« Reply #70 on: October 23, 2007, 05:48:58 PM »
Hey, Rivers,

It's good to see an original take on the lyrics to "Down The Dirt Road Blues".  It kind of shakes me out of my rut and makes me think.

Your "too well I know" fits phonetically with what Patton is singing in the first verse.  I hear it as "to wah (d)un oh", with the "d" being a really mangled sound that's hard to express in the standard alphabet.  The other suggestions, "to where (I) don' know", "to (a) world unknown", and "to Illino'", also fit this phonetically.  At this point I think that's as close as I'll ever get to what Patton actually sings.

I'd still go with "find that somethin' with" in the second verse.  But "somethin'" is again pretty garbled, coming out more like "dahm-tin".

I prefer "I been out to the Nation" in the third verse, though I can see why you like "add".  Patton pronounces what I hear as "out" sort of like "aaht".

I'm sticking with "oversea" ("o'sea" with maybe the barest hint of an "r" at the end of the first syllable).

"I'm gonna leave tomorrow, I know you don't [bit don' (?)] care"     

And I hear the last verse as pretty much straight out of Tommy Johnson (or vice versa):
"Can't go down that dark road by myself
I don't carry my rider, gonna carry me someone else"

A lot of my suggestions are based on what traditional blues verses fit phonetically with what Patton is singing rather than on a firm conviction that he's pronouncing one word instead of another.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2007, 07:57:14 AM by dj »

Offline Rivers

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Re: 'A World Unknown'
« Reply #71 on: October 23, 2007, 07:29:31 PM »
Alright dj! We'll file those thoughts and revisit when more comments are in.

Any more takers?  8)

PS you must abide my rules, listen to the recording as you read, then rip it to shreds! You know it makes sense.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2007, 08:02:12 PM by Rivers »

Offline CF

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Re: 'A World Unknown'
« Reply #72 on: October 24, 2007, 07:22:11 AM »
Here's my take:

I'm going away to Illinooo . . .
I'm going away to Illinooo . . .
I'm worried now but I won't be worried long

A rider [] something . . . she tried ta keep it hid
A rider [] 't something . . . she tried ta keep it hid
Lord I got somethin', mm find that d' as'with

I feel like choppin' [it], chips flyin' everywhere
I feel like choppin', chips flyin' everywhere
I've been to the Nation, mm Lord but I couldn't stay there

Some people say them o'seas blues ain't bad (my, of course they are)
Some people say them o'seas blues ain't bad (what's the matter with 'em?)
It must not have been them o'seas blues I had . . .

Everyday seems like murder here (my god I'm gonna sing 'em)?
Everyday seems like murder here
I'm gonna leave tomorrow I know you don't bit more care

Can't go down this dirt/dark road by myself
Can't go down this dirt/dark road by myself
(My god, who ya gonna carry?)
'I don't carry my habit, gonna carry me someone new

 . . . & at the end of the day, WHO KNOWS?

River, no shred-ripping from me but I would politely suggest you're listening to this song too much! If that's possible of course  :)
Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

Offline dj

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Re: 'A World Unknown'
« Reply #73 on: October 25, 2007, 09:55:31 AM »
Michael Taft has a take I haven't seen before on the first line of "Down The Dirt Road".  He has it as:

I'm going away to (the) one I know

It fits as well phonetically as any of the other suggestions we've come up with so far.  Just thought I'd throw it out to muddy the waters a bit more.   :)   

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: 'A World Unknown'
« Reply #74 on: October 25, 2007, 11:34:46 AM »
Michael Taft has a take I haven't seen before on the first line of "Down The Dirt Road".  He has it as:

I'm going away to (the) one I know
 
Which I suspect originally came from Fahey's transcription on p.73 of the 1970 Blues Paperback since Taft's 1984 published four volume concordance cites Fahey as source.

 


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