collapse

* Member Info

 
 
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

* Like Us on Facebook

Karaoke bars combine two of the nation's greatest evils: people who shouldn't drink with people who shouldn't sing - Tom Dreesen

Author Topic: Leadbelly lyrics  (Read 43106 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Bricktown Bob

  • Member
  • Posts: 119
Re: Leadbelly lyrics
« Reply #105 on: March 14, 2009, 06:06:42 AM »
Yellow Jacket - Leadbelly
25 March 1935 NYC

Now this might be the nitpickiest of all nitpicks, but where I come from yellowjacket is pronounced and written as one word.  If Leadbelly pronounces it as two, then everything's just fine, though I can't imagine him doing that.  If he treats it as one word, I would suggest doing the same, at least in the lyrics.  The title is problematic.

Offline Rivers

  • Tech Support
  • Member
  • Posts: 6944
  • I like chicken pie
Re: Leadbelly lyrics
« Reply #106 on: March 14, 2009, 11:24:39 AM »
Hey there Bob, welcome back, haven't heard from you for a while.

We tend to go with the session info. Though examples are legion of record companies getting it wrong, the title always stuck. ARC called it Yellow Jacket, according to the bible, Dixon, Godrich & Rye, Blues & Gospel Records, 4th ed., page 523.

I'll put a note on weeniepedia though, I thought about that exact same thing myself when I wrote it down. My first impulse was to type it as one word.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2009, 11:26:28 AM by Rivers »

Offline uncle bud

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • Posts: 8314
  • Rank amateur
Re: Leadbelly lyrics
« Reply #107 on: March 16, 2009, 02:13:11 PM »
Nothing wrong with being nitpicky, Bob, but if I may be nitpicky myself, the two American and one Canadian dictionary I checked have "yellow jacket" as two words, as do citations from Random House, Merriam-Webster and the American Heritage Dictionary at dictionary.com. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/yellow%20jacket. So the two-word version is certainly common, perhaps even the accepted version, though I'm no bug expert.

Offline Bricktown Bob

  • Member
  • Posts: 119
Re: Leadbelly lyrics
« Reply #108 on: March 20, 2009, 10:30:17 PM »
Nothing wrong with being nitpicky, Bob, but if I may be nitpicky myself, the two American and one Canadian dictionary I checked have "yellow jacket" as two words, as do citations from Random House, Merriam-Webster and the American Heritage Dictionary at dictionary.com. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/yellow%20jacket. So the two-word version is certainly common, perhaps even the accepted version, though I'm no bug expert.

You are so right, Uncle Bud.  I hang my head in shame.  It does indeed appear to be usually spelled as two words, although it is a single lexical item, like the White House (as in the president's residence) as opposed to just any old house that's white.  I should know by now that I can never be so sure of something that I don't need to look it up.  But that's another lesson I will never ever learn, I fear.

So ... What's the story with Tom Bluecoat Nelson?

Offline Rivers

  • Tech Support
  • Member
  • Posts: 6944
  • I like chicken pie
Re: Leadbelly lyrics
« Reply #109 on: March 21, 2009, 09:27:39 PM »
Quote
So ... What's the story with Tom Bluecoat Nelson?

I've always worried about that... I went to a Bluecoat school, Reading to be precise, see http://www.archivist.f2s.com/bsu/Blcoat.htm ... weird, eh? I seriously doubt there's a connection though!  :P
« Last Edit: March 21, 2009, 09:29:46 PM by Rivers »

Offline Bricktown Bob

  • Member
  • Posts: 119
Re: Leadbelly lyrics
« Reply #110 on: March 22, 2009, 07:27:20 AM »
Quote
So ... What's the story with Tom Bluecoat Nelson?

I've always worried about that... I went to a Bluecoat school, Reading to be precise, see http://www.archivist.f2s.com/bsu/Blcoat.htm ... weird, eh? I seriously doubt there's a connection though!  :P

Tom Nelson was an Old Boy?  Pretty cool, that.

Quote
Years of managing the heavy skirted garment are said to develop a gait of measured dignity amongst the bluecoat boys.

Ah, so that would explain your gait of measured dignity, Rivers!

Offline Rivers

  • Tech Support
  • Member
  • Posts: 6944
  • I like chicken pie
Re: Leadbelly lyrics
« Reply #111 on: March 22, 2009, 07:37:07 AM »
Fortunately I was a 'day boy' so didn't have to wear the tudor get up, that was for the boarders. My gait is unaffected!

Offline Bricktown Bob

  • Member
  • Posts: 119
Re: Leadbelly lyrics
« Reply #112 on: March 22, 2009, 07:51:53 AM »
Natural dignity -- the finest kind.

Offline Rivers

  • Tech Support
  • Member
  • Posts: 6944
  • I like chicken pie
Re: Leadbelly lyrics
« Reply #113 on: April 04, 2009, 05:56:05 AM »
Continuing on with more Leadbelly, here's a piece from Rounder CD 1044 Midnight Special, LoC recordings disc 1. This is an inspiring program but often the surviving recording quality is poor so it will be a challenge to get some of the lyrics.

Take a Whiff On Me I have a soft spot for since it was one of the first folk blues I learned to play and sing on the guitar, Woody Guthrie's version. Great performance from Lead Belly, especially where he goes to the octave on a couple of choruses.

Huddie plays it with a square dance rhythm and feel. I believe he's flatpicking the 12, Louie Lasky style, though I guess he could be using the thumbick as a flatpick, that would take some skill. [edit: Still not sure about this]

I've taken a stab at the tuned-downness and position. I'm thinking I need to reconfigure my strings to have the double-high octave string on the 6th to get this sound, I'm in Willie McTell mode at present and it's not quite happening.

I welcome all comments and corrections.



Take a Whiff On Me - Leadbelly
Feb 1 1935, Wilton Conn.
LC: Elektra EKL301/2, Doc DLP544, DLP601, Rounder CD 1044 Midnight Special, LoC recordings disc 1

12 string flatpicked(?) in standard down six four semitones to B flat C. Played in E D position so actual pitch is B flat

[Instrumental 10 bars]

Take a whiff on me, take a whiff on me
And everybody take a whiff on me
And a-oh, oh, baby take a whiff on me

When I marry gonna buy me a line
Got to whip my baby if she change her mind
And it's oh, oh, baby take a whiff on me

When I marry gonna buy me a rope
I'm gonna whip my baby 'til she Buzzard Lope
And it's oh, oh, baby take a whiff on me

Take a whiff on me, take a whiff on me
And everybody take a whiff on me
And a-oh, oh, baby take a whiff on me

Blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice
Take a brown skin woman for my particular use
I said oh, oh, baby take a whiff on me

Chew my tobacca, spit my juice
But I love my baby 'til it 'tain't no use
I said oh, oh, baby take a whiff on me

Take a whiff on me, take a whiff on me
And everybody take a whiff on me
It's a-oh, oh, baby take a whiff on me

[Instrumental verse 12 bars]

Walked up Ellum and I come down Main,
Tryin' to bum a nickle just to buy cocaine
It's a-oh, oh, baby take a whiff on me

Tell ya' son, gonna make it my tickle
That's two bars of coke, can't buy it by the nickel
And a-oh, oh, baby take a whiff on me

Take a whiff on me, take a whiff on me
And everybody take a whiff on me
It's a-oh, oh, baby take a whiff on me

You take Sally and I'll take Sue
It's a mighty little difference in between the two
It's a-oh, oh, baby take a whiff on me

You take Sally and I'll take Jane
They both good lookin' but they ain't the same
It's a-oh, oh, baby take a whiff on me

Whiff-a-ree and a whiff-a-rye
Gonna keep on whiffin' until I die
And a-oh, oh, baby take a whiff on me

Cocaine for horses and not for men
Doctor say it'll kill ya but he don't say when
It's a-oh, oh, baby take a whiff on me

Two barrels of pickled pork, two barrels of meal
And oh how glad your ladys is
And a-oh, oh, baby take a whiff on me

Take a whiff on me, take a whiff on me
And everybody take a whiff on me
It's a-oh, oh, baby take a whiff on me

[Instrumental, 12 bars + 1 and out]

[edit: Thanks to Chris for comments and corrections]
« Last Edit: July 17, 2020, 05:08:16 PM by Johnm »

Offline banjochris

  • Member
  • Posts: 2086
Re: Leadbelly lyrics
« Reply #114 on: April 04, 2009, 03:27:14 PM »
Hey Rivers --
I don't think he's flatpicking, just using his usual thumb downstroke on this. It's played out of D position, by the way. One of the giveaways for this position with Leadbelly are the double hammer-on ascending runs on the fifth and fourth strings.

The missing words are
till she Buzzard Lope (Mance Lipscomb sings the same verse in Sugar Babe)
and
Chew my tobacco and I spit my juice.

I'm glad you posted this, it made me dig out my Elektra LPs and give 'em a listen.
Chris

Offline Rivers

  • Tech Support
  • Member
  • Posts: 6944
  • I like chicken pie
Re: Leadbelly lyrics
« Reply #115 on: April 04, 2009, 03:56:55 PM »
All I can say is Aaaargh...  >:( thank you Chris. That Lead Belly is a sly one with the chord positions/tunings. How on earth do you figure it out?

So he's tuned down only 4 semitones. Much easier in D position. It was interesting trying to play it in E, learned some good licks, so it wasn't wasted. Lyric corrections are excellent, will correct.

I still think he's flatpicking at this stage but I clearly need to do some forensic relistening. Messing around with the song also got me going on Louie Lasky, sure is fun flatpicking the Fraulini.

slshbleed

  • Guest
Re: Leadbelly lyrics
« Reply #116 on: July 04, 2009, 02:55:45 PM »
[edit: now added to weeniepedia]



Somebody please listen and tell me what he sings in the last line of each verse. My theory is total gibberish. I've translated as close as I can get to it. It sounds like it might be a mangled 'Believe I'm 'bout blow my line', and 'blow my line' is also clear in verse 2 line 1. But on the tag lines he sings 'low my line'.  ??? And what does 'blow my line' mean anyway, or is that a dumb question?

...Kansas City, ain't it a pity
Kansas City, b'lieve 'm 'bout to low' my line <ref>Clearly he says "low" which we believe is a contraction of "lower" and a fishing reference, he's casting his line out for the Kansas City women</ref>

When I get to Kansas City I'm gonna blow my line <ref>At variance with the tag lines, he clearly says "blow my line". Cab Calloway reports "line" means money in the Hepster's Dictionary</ref>
I get to Kansas City I'll be hard to find
In Kansas City, ain't it a pity
Kansas City, believe 'm bout to low' my line

Some of this was covered. There are lots of Leadbelly songs about gambling. "To blow my line" means he is willing to blow his whole bankroll. The odds laid on a game are often called "the line"

[spoken] Two women was jivin' with one another one day

"You keep on talkin' til you make me think
Your daddy was a bulldog and your mammy was a man" I think this line should be mink rather than man. Mink and weasel are closely related and the terms are interchanged. The offspring of a bulldog and a weasel would make for a pretty truculent woman. Later in the song he also mentions a polecat. Some people call skunks polecats (polecats and skunks are related, but they are not the same animal. They all stink however). It is kind of hilarious to think about a smell skunk climbing a persimmon tree to get at the tasty fruit. Its possible that it could be minx as well. I like the idea of a mink better because it is more internally consistent. 
In Kansas City, wadn't it a pity
Kansas City, b'lieve 'm 'bout to low' my line

"You keep on talkin' til you make me mad
I tell you 'bout the puppies that your sister had" Another hilarious line! I though he said "trouble that your sister had". Now that I have gone back and listened to it, it really does sound like puppies!"
In Kansas City, wadn't that a pity
Kansas City, b'lieve 'm 'bout to low' my line


The funniest thing that I ever did see
S'a polecat climbin' up a 'simmon tree
In Kansas City, wadn't it a pity
Kansas City, b'lieve 'm 'bout to low' my line


slshbleed

  • Guest
Re: Leadbelly lyrics
« Reply #117 on: July 04, 2009, 03:50:14 PM »
[edit: This is now in weeniepedia]

The phrase 'gee by the lamb', is that a cuss defused by an oblique reference to Christ do you think, or have I misheard 'lamb'? Perhaps it evolved from the vernacular, from 'gee-by-Christ' to 'gee-by-The-Lamb' is not too big of a stretch. I'm not convinced though.

I transcribed it blind first then did a lot of searching to see what others had come up with. There are a lot of dubious transcripts out there. Nobody else has "who made it black bad", you'd have to be a weenie and know some Lemon to hear that. I think it's right but as always I'm open to all corrections & comments.

I always thought it was "lam" as in "on the lam" or running from the law. Leadbelly of course had many prison songs/crime songs. I "heard it differently as well. There are other songs that refer to "jaybird". Jaybird pulling the turnin plough, sparrow pulling the harrow. Your gonna pull it today big boy, I'm gonna pull it tomorrow. Sometimes singers use and odd cadence to make the words fit the melody. Sometimes words are repeated etc. I always thought that it was about a prison break, and they were trying to get back home.

So........

Whoa back buck and jaybird on the lam
who mad it back, back.....Cunningham? ( Cunningham? Who is Cunningham? Is Jaybird Cunningham? Or is it a town? A jail, a sheriff or did it just rhyme?)
Whoa back buck and jaybird on the lam
Who made it back, back.....Oh God damn.

The contexts of the word "who" is interesting. Is it a question? Could it be read as "Buck and Jaybird, the ones that made it back" or the ones that successfully escaped prison.




Ox Drivin' Blues - Leadbelly
24 January 1935 NYC
ARC 16694-1 unissued
Transcribed from Leadbelly King of the 12-String Guitar, Columbia Roots 'N' Blues 467893
12 string in standard down 6 semitones to B and played in A(7) position, actual pitch is E flat

Whoa! back buck, and gee! by The Lamb!
Who made the back band? Cunningham
Whoa! back buck, and gee! by The Lamb
Who made the back band? Oh God damn
Whoa buck, and gee, by the lamb
Who made the back band? Oh God damn

[holler]This man he was drivin' twenty yoke of oxen
He was a long ways from home
And he looked down the road, looked like he could see his wife
And he 'gin to holler at the old oxen
"Kyyah! Whoa yeah buck, back up!"[/holler]

Whoa buck, and gee, by The Lamb
Who made the back band? Whoa, God damn

Eighteen, nineteen, twenty years ago
I'd take Shirl' to the party-oh
I'd take Shirl' to the party-oh
All dressed up in her calico
Whoa buck, and gee, by The Lamb
Who made the back band? Whoa, God damn

Me and my baby come a-walkin' down the road
Wind from her feet knockin' "Sugar In The Gourd"
Sugar in the gourd and the gourd on the ground
Want to get a sugar gotta roll the gourd around
Whoa buck, and gee, by The Lamb
Who made the back band? Whoa, God damn

[holler]"Kyyah! Whoa yeah, back up, whoa buck!"[/holler]

Whoa buck, and gee, by The Lamb
Who made the back band? Whoa, God damn

Whoah b(l)ack buck, and gee, by The Lamb
Who made the back band? Whoa, God damn
When I was skinnin' for Johnny Rye
Puttin' my initials on a mule's behind
Whoa buck, and gee, by The Lamb
Who made the back band? Whoa! God damn
[holler]"Kyyah! Whoa yeah, back up, whoa buck!"[/holler]
Whoa Buck, and gee, by The Lamb
Who made the back band? Whoa, God damn

Eighteen, nineteen, twenty years ago
Shirl' knocked down old Cotton Eyed Joe
Cotton Eyed Joe and-a Cotton Eyed Joe
Wouldn't let him dance for to sell his soul
Whoa buck, and gee, by The Lamb
Who made the back band? Whoa, God damn

==Notes==
<references/>

<ref>Whoa, back buck: Later song titles have 'back', he sometimes sings 'black' here</ref>
<ref>Gee: Animal team driver command to turn right. "Haw" is the command to turn left, "Whoa" to stop</ref>
<ref>"Gee! by The Lamb!", reference to Christ, defused exclamation venting frustration at getting the team to turn</ref>
<ref>back band: A strap going through the harness saddle to join the belly band either side. Takes the weight of the shafts or pole. In cart harness it is replaced by a chain running in a groove in the harness saddle, hooked to the shafts either side.</ref>
<ref>black bad: Alternative theory is "black bad", as in "too black bad". It actually sounds most like a hybrid, "black band"</ref>
<ref>Had fun feedin' on the sugar in the gourd: Could also be "Went for fishin' out the sugar in the gourd"
<ref>Sugar in the gourd: Various theories exist. Reference to coitus is the more likely, "gourd" as female reproductive apparatus, "sugar" as male, or semen</ref>

[edit: picked up corrections, added notes at bottom for inclusion in-line in weeniepedia]
[edit: picked up correction from cheapfeet]

millerspacecowboy

  • Guest
Lyrics for Leadbelly's You Don't Know My Mind, Dallas/Ft Worth Blues
« Reply #118 on: January 22, 2010, 11:03:28 AM »
I'm brand new on this site, but does anybody have the correct lyrics for Huddie Ledbetter's "You Don't Know My Mind" and "Fort Worth and Dallas Blues" as done on the 1991 "King of the 12-String Guitar" cd?  I've got 90% for the first but "Ft Worth/Dallas Blues" is really hard to make out.  Thanks, millerspacecowboy, Mike
« Last Edit: January 25, 2010, 04:20:54 PM by Johnm »

Offline uncle bud

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • Posts: 8314
  • Rank amateur

 


SimplePortal 2.3.7 © 2008-2020, SimplePortal