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I did more for you than you understand, you can tell by the bullet holes, mama, now here in my hand - Peetie Wheatstraw, Ice And Snow Blues

Author Topic: Leadbelly lyrics  (Read 42953 times)

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Online banjochris

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Re: Leadbelly lyrics
« Reply #60 on: February 22, 2009, 01:17:31 PM »
Rivers -- yeah, go ahead and put a note -- the "fishin" is clearer (to me at least) in another recording I have of this song, where he sings the rest of the verse pretty much identically to this one. He sings it so quickly in this one it does sound like "feedin" -- and "feedin' on" would also make sense. When I come back later today I'll post that other version.
Chris

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Leadbelly lyrics
« Reply #61 on: February 22, 2009, 01:31:36 PM »
[edit, rivers: added to weeniepedia]

I agree re. Packin' Trunk, and I'd say like some (all?) of his other 6-string slide tunes in Spanish it is played lap style. I didn't check the pitch but recall from checking at another time that some of these Spanish tuning songs were pitched at Ab.

Here's the lyrics, which I had transcribed some time ago for myself.

Packin' Trunk - Leadbelly
Spanish tuning

(This song was made about a man and a woman. This man wanna marry the woman, she didn't want him. But she married him anyhow for the money that he had. And she thought she got every dollar he had, but she was mistaken. But she got him pretty well bent, he's sittin' with his head hung down. She walked by and she says, "Daddy, what's the matter with you?" He looked at her and here's what he said to her.)

I'm sittin' down here wonderin' would a matchbox hold my clothes
I'm sittin' down here wonderin' would a matchbox hold my clothes
I'm sittin' down here wonderin' would a matchbox hold my clothes

(She asks him, says, "Papa, says, what the matter with you?")

I don't wanna be bothered with no suitcase on my road
I don't wanna be bothered with no suitcase on my road
I don't wanna be bothered with no suitcase on my road

(He said, "I'm goin' to see my friend and see what he was doin' when his wife packin' up her trunk.")

Ah, what would you do when your baby packin' up her trunk
What would you do when your baby packin' up her trunk
Now what would you do when your baby packin' up her trunk

(He looked at him and here's what he told him)

"Get you a half a gallon o' whiskey and get on you a big drunk
Get you a half a gallon o' whiskey and get on you a big drunk
Get you a half a gallon o' whiskey and get on you a big drunk"

(She said, "Daughters, go play the piano please for me a little piece." Little girls jumped down and commenced to PLAY/PLAYIN' the piano.)

edited as per Rivers corrections
« Last Edit: February 24, 2009, 09:35:18 PM by Rivers »

Offline Pan

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Re: Leadbelly lyrics
« Reply #62 on: February 22, 2009, 01:59:57 PM »
Daddy I'm Coming Back to You: C (Is this the earliest recording of a black artist covering Jimmie Rodgers? and did we list this in the waltz thread?)

Er... it IS in the waltz thread, but listed as "Daddy and Home". Is this uncorrect?

http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?amp;Itemid=128&topic=3475.0

BTW I decided to rearrange the listings on the waltz thread in alphabetical order, so it would be a little more readable. I went by song titles, since some of the songs are performed by several artists.

Pan

Offline Rivers

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Re: Leadbelly lyrics
« Reply #63 on: February 22, 2009, 02:18:55 PM »
Quote
I didn't check the pitch but recall from checking at another time that some of these Spanish tuning songs were pitched at Ab.

Ab it is. Agree it's lap style.

Quote
I'm sittin' down here wonderin' would a matchbox hold my clothes
I'm sittin' here down wonderin' would a matchbox hold my clothes
I'm sittin' here down wonderin' would a matchbox hold my clothes

You have "...down here..." reversed in both the second and third line, they are identical to the first.

Quote
(She said, "Daughters, go play the piano please for me a little piece." Little girls jumped down and commenced to play the piano.)

...playin the piano

Online banjochris

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Re: Leadbelly lyrics
« Reply #64 on: February 22, 2009, 05:04:34 PM »
Er... it IS in the waltz thread, but listed as "Daddy and Home". Is this uncorrect?

Looking back, that was my mistake in the waltz thread -- I couldn't remember Leadbelly's title for it. Leadbelly (or someone at ARC) calls it "Daddy I'm Coming Back to You," but it's a direct cover of Jimmie Rodgers' "Daddy and Home." "Daddy and Home" is, incidentally, one of the three songs you can see Jimmie Rodgers perform in the short film of him.
Chris

Offline Rivers

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Re: Leadbelly lyrics
« Reply #65 on: February 22, 2009, 05:26:06 PM »
[edit: added to weeniepedia]
I've been noticing every song transcribed to date is very close to concert pitch, though tuned down dramatically of course. While other solo string players, and ensembles without a fixed pitch intrument in the lineup, are often tuned varying degrees sharp or flat, Huddie is usually right on or close to concert.

Here's the first part of a tale of unrequited love, or sexual harassment depending on your point of view. Could be first, perhaps only, stalker song in country blues. Thanks Chris for the playing position tip-off, makes perfect sense:

Roberta Part I - Leadbelly
23 January 1935 NYC
ARC 16683-1 unissued
Transcribed from Leadbelly King of the 12-String Guitar, Columbia Roots 'N' Blues 467893
12 string in standard down 6 semitones to B flat and played in F position, actual pitch is B

[Intro verse]

Oh Roberta! Honey where you been so long?
Oh Roberta! Honey where you been so long?
Yes I been across ??? the country
With my long clothes on

[holler]He went down to see Roberta
And Roberta was runnin' on a freight passenger trains
And she got tired of seein' him at the station
And she went to runnin' on the steamboat
He went down on the banks of the river
When he got on the banks of the river
He looked way up the river for Roberta[/holler]

Oh Roberta! Sit down on my knee
Oh Roberta! Sit down on my knee
Got a lot to tell you
That's been worryin' me

Way up the river, far as I can see
Way up the river, far as I can see
Lord I thought I spied my
Old time used-to-be

[holler]He thought he spied Roberta
Wasn't nothin' but a cypress tree[/holler]

Lord I thought I spied my
Old time used-to-be
Yes I thought I spied my
Old time used-to-be
And it was not nothin'
Honey but a cypress tree

[holler]When he was down on the river
Sittin' down on the banks of the river [fluffs a word here]]
Roberta come along[/holler]

Hon' I'm down on the river
Sittin' down on the ground
Way down on the river
Sittin' down on the ground
Gonna stay right here Lord
Until Roberta come down

Oh Roberta! Tell me where you been so long
Oh Roberta! Tell me where you been so long
'Cross the country
With my long clothes on

[outro, 3 bars end on I7]
« Last Edit: February 24, 2009, 09:19:26 PM by Rivers »

Offline Rivers

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Re: Leadbelly lyrics
« Reply #66 on: February 22, 2009, 06:19:39 PM »
[edit: added to weeniepedia]

Part II, wherein the hero calls the cops who give Roberta a lecture.

Roberta Part II - Leadbelly
23 January 1935 NYC
ARC 16684-1 unissued
Transcribed from Leadbelly King of the 12-String Guitar, Columbia Roots 'N' Blues 467893
12 string in standard down 6 semitones to B flat and played in F position, actual pitch is B

[Intro verse]

[holler]This man he was runnin' after Roberta
And Roberta was runnin' on a passenger train
And every station she would pass
This rascal'd be sittin' right down there lookin' for her
She got tired of lookin' at the rascal
She goes and run on the steamboat
And when the steamboat was passin' along
He's sitting down on the ground
And so when the steamboat'd get to the landin'
The rascal would be right there lookin' in Roberta's face
So when Roberta come off the steamboat
He looked up and he walked up and he talked to her[/holler]

Oh Roberta! What in the world you mean?
Tell me Roberta! What in the world you mmmm?
Honey, way you treat me, sure I ever seen

[holler]He looked at Roberta and he talked to her
Roberta wouldn't pay him no attention
He tore up to the police station
And he told the chief police
When he got there here what he said to the chief police[/holler]

Lord I'm goin' to the station
Go tell the chief police
Yes I'm goin' to the station
Go tell the chief police
Roberta done quit me
I can't see no peace

[holler]The police asked him "How in the world you gonna know Roberta from any other brown skin?
'Cause all of 'em is brown skin now
The black women is brown skin
They got so much high brown powder you can't tell a black woman from a brown skin"
He looked at the police and here what he said[/holler]

She's a brown skin woman! Got black wavy hair
She's a brown skin woman! Got black wavy hair
And I can describe her
A-prob'ly most anywhere

[holler]The police man goes on down to the landing with him
And walked up and talked to Roberta.
Here' what the police told her[/holler]

Tell me Roberta! What's the matter with you?
Tell me Roberta! What's the matter with you?
This man ain't got nobody
To take his troubles to

[4 bar outro end on the I7]
« Last Edit: February 24, 2009, 09:20:02 PM by Rivers »

Offline CF

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Re: Leadbelly lyrics
« Reply #67 on: February 23, 2009, 05:56:18 AM »
I have a photocopy of a transcription of 'Whoa Back, Buck' from, I'm thinking, a Lomax American folk song book. 'Buck' is song 282 & has this verse

'Me an' my gal come walkin' down the road
Wind from her feet knockin' Sugar In The Gourd
Sugar in the gourd & the gourd on the ground,
Want to get the sugar gotta roll the gourd around.'

The reference here seems to be to a folk melody.
Also, could it be 'Whoa back buck & GET by the lamb' ?
Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Leadbelly lyrics
« Reply #68 on: February 23, 2009, 08:03:25 AM »
Quote
I didn't check the pitch but recall from checking at another time that some of these Spanish tuning songs were pitched at Ab.

Ab it is. Agree it's lap style.

Quote
I'm sittin' down here wonderin' would a matchbox hold my clothes
I'm sittin' here down wonderin' would a matchbox hold my clothes
I'm sittin' here down wonderin' would a matchbox hold my clothes

You have "...down here..." reversed in both the second and third line, they are identical to the first.

Oops.

Quote
(She said, "Daughters, go play the piano please for me a little piece." Little girls jumped down and commenced to play the piano.)

Quote
...playin the piano

Yeah, not sure. I had that at first, then after repeated listenings went with just "play".
« Last Edit: February 23, 2009, 08:06:40 AM by uncle bud »

Offline Rivers

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Re: Leadbelly lyrics
« Reply #69 on: February 23, 2009, 04:02:52 PM »
Quote
'Me an' my gal come walkin' down the road
Wind from her feet knockin' Sugar In The Gourd

..which just goes to show you get much better transcriptions on weeniecampbell!

Offline Rivers

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Re: Leadbelly lyrics
« Reply #70 on: February 27, 2009, 03:32:51 PM »
[edit: updated courtesy of Chris and added to weeniepedia]

I hate it when I can't understand a chunk of the very first verse. This one though I believe Huddie forgot the words and sang a gibberish line, probably the correct line was what followed, lengthening the eventual verse. I do it all the time!

The verse/bar structure changes through the song, probably should be mentioned in that existing topic elsewhere on the forum. And the point of view shifts from female to male, that's another running topic we haven't revived for a while I believe.

All help and assistance gratefully received.

Four Day Worry Blues - Leadbelly
23 January 1935
ARC 16689-2
Transcribed from Leadbelly King of the 12-String Guitar, Columbia Roots 'N' Blues 467893
12 string in standard down 6 semitones to B flat and played in D position, actual pitch is A flat

Naaaa . . . hey, hey hey
Naaaa . . . Daddy you on my mind
I ain't got but little business<ref></ref>, Daddy when I am cryin'
Yes I would not been here had it not been for you
Said I would not been here had it not been for you
Treat me low down and dirty, Daddy that's the way you do

Oooooooooh pretty papa . . . Woh!
OooOooooh pretty papa . . . Oh!
Yes I ain't gonna be your low down dog no more
Been your dog, every since I entered your door

[spoken] That was a song, Ena was in the kitchen
She was cookin' my breakfast and I'd been out all night long
And I was so ashamed of myself to hear her standin' in there cryin'
And when she<ref></ref> began to cry I'd get up and go and pat her on the shoulder
And here're the words she said: [/spoken]

"Now I'm goin' away to wear you off my mind
I've got the blues Lord, I just can't keep from cryin'
I've got another pretty papa to ease me and to keep me from cryin'"

[spoken] I couldn't stand to hear that, say that word 'bout you had another pretty papa
I had to get up and go in the kitchen and see what is the matter with her.
She commenced to cryin' again: [/spoken]

"NoooOooOoow . . . Daddy what a low down feelin'
NoooOooOoow . . . Daddy what a low down feelin'"
Been my daily occupation, takin' the monkey mens' women

[Instrumental 8 bars out]

==Notes==
<references/>
<ref>'business' is best guess</ref>
<ref>He mispronounces 'she' as 're'</ref>

Carried forward the updated summary, all from Columbia Legacy "King of.."
Title  1st pos. chord or
open tuning name
 
  Semitones
down from E
 
  Pitch 
Packin' Trunk
Spanish, Ab
n/a
Ab
Becky Deem, She Was a Gamblin' Girl
E
6
Bb
Honey, I'm All Out And Down
D
6
Ab
Four Day Worry Blues
D
6
Ab
Roberta Part I
F
6
B
Roberta Part II
F
6
B
Death Letter Blues Part I
A
6
Eb
Death Letter Blues Part II
A
6
Eb
Kansas City Papa
E
6
Bb
Fort Worth & Dallas Blues
G
5
D
You Don't Know My Mind
G
5
D
Ox Drivin' Blues
A(7)
6
Eb
Daddy I'm Coming Back To You
C
5
G
Shorty George
C
4
Ab
Yellow Jacket
A
4
F
T.B. Woman Blues
A
3
Gb
Pig Meat Papa
F
4
Db
My Baby Quit Me
A
4
F

* = to do
« Last Edit: March 03, 2009, 06:31:44 PM by Rivers »

Online banjochris

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Re: Leadbelly lyrics
« Reply #71 on: February 27, 2009, 09:28:56 PM »
That first verse is weird, but I think I've got most of it, at least phonetically. The word I have as [business] sounds like it starts with more of an M sound than a B. Then some other suggestions:

1.3 I ain't got but little [business], Daddy when I am cryin'

2.1 BEEN not bin, no IT after had
2.2 NOT not not've
2.3 Daddy THATS the way you do

3.4 Been your dog, every since I entered your door

spoken:
And I was so ashamed of myself TO HEAR HER STANDIN' IN THERE cryin'
No SHE in next line

4.1 to WEAR you off my mind
4.3 to ease me and TO keep me from cryin'

spoken:
word 'BOUT you had another pretty papa

5.3 Been my daily occupation, takin' the monkey mens' women.

Chris

Offline Rivers

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Re: Leadbelly lyrics
« Reply #72 on: February 28, 2009, 07:13:25 AM »
Very impressive indeed, I held out little hope we'd get so close. Last line is great, reminds me of Minglewood Blues, "My former occupation was stealin' women from their men".

Agree with all major points, minor quibble and some notes:

Quote
1.3 I ain't got but little [business]...
-- That's about as close as I think we'll get and could well be correct, he's fluffing all around the actual phrase.

Quote
...Daddy when I am cryin'
-- Brilliant.

Quote
2.1 BEEN not bin
--OK--,
Quote
no IT after had
-- I definitely hear HAD IT in both lines, run together slightly.

Quote
And I was so ashamed of myself TO HEAR HER STANDIN' IN THERE cryin'
-- agree.
Quote
...No SHE in next line


-- He fluffs a word, sings "And when RE began to cry..." I believe he means 'she', since it's got to be a personal pronoun at that point. I'll make a note.

Excellent work as always Chis, thank you for your bending your ears in that direction.

Offline Rivers

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Re: Leadbelly lyrics
« Reply #73 on: February 28, 2009, 09:33:36 AM »
It occurred to me going through these songs they are generally around a single big theme or idea. This one's about loss and appreciating what you have. Lead plays a humongous discordant passage of chords in the intro, loud and intentional. I like to think he's saying "if you can listen past this part of the song you deserve to hear the rest of it". Or maybe it's tolling bells. I'm finding the biggest challenge learning to play this is keeping the triplet strums going interleaved with the bass line.

There are six more songs from that album to go. Each one I do I get a new appreciation of the song and for Huddie himself.

Mystery phrases marked ???

Death Letter Blues Part I - Leadbelly
24 January 1935
ARC 16695-2 unissued
Transcribed from Leadbelly King of the 12-String Guitar, Columbia Roots 'N' Blues 467893
12 string in standard down 6 semitones to B flat and played in A position, actual pitch is E flat

[Intro verse]

So many [horse and buggies ???] was standin' around
So many [horse and buggies ???] was a-standin' around
When they take my baby, to the buryin' ground

[spoken] ??? when they take his baby to the buryin' ground
He went to the preacher and put his hand on the preacher's shoulder
When they went to let her down here' what he told the preacher: [/spoken]

"You done taken my baby to the buryin' ground
You done taken my baby to the buryin' ground
You done break my heart Lord, when you let her down"

[spoken] He goes to the head board as her body was goin' home
And fell down on his knees
And here' what he said to his baby: [/spoken]

Yes he went to the head board, fell down on his knees
Ah, he went to the head board, fell down on his knees
If you would speak one word babe, give my heart some ease

[spoken] He goes back home to get him a bucket of water
And he goes to the well [/spoken]

You don't miss your water, 'til your well goes dry
Ah, miss your water, 'til your well goes dry
You don't miss pretty mama, shake your hand goodbye

[spoken] He goes back home, wanders 'round in the yard [/spoken]

Don't your house look lonesome when your woman done gone
Don't your house look lonesome when your woman done gone
I a-feel mistreated, but I won't let on

[Instrumental verse out]
« Last Edit: February 28, 2009, 11:17:51 AM by Rivers »

Offline Rivers

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Re: Leadbelly lyrics
« Reply #74 on: February 28, 2009, 10:32:09 AM »
Part II has the discordant breaks in one of the verses in the outro. In the verse occurrence it's between two references to crying, so maybe he's making the guitar cry and sob. I really like the intro, he alternates the two common A7 chord shapes and joins them together with the bass line to make a very cool riff. Nifty lyric, assuming it's correct, is this gem: My Mama said "Howdy!" Papa said "Goodbye!"

It's hard to figure out just what is going on in the narrative, it seems to have little relationship to part I other than the obvious death thing. It's hard to know when he says "Mama" and "Papa" if he means his mother/father or partner/himself.

And what's with firstly going to the graveyard, then catching a train, to get home to see his gal laid low? Bizarre. I think he lost the plot, no pun intended, mentioning the graveyard early on, otherwise it could be a song about zombies.

Death Letter Blues Part II - Leadbelly
24 January 1935
ARC 16696-2 unissued
Transcribed from Leadbelly King of the 12-String Guitar, Columbia Roots 'N' Blues 467893
12 string in standard down 6 semitones to B flat and played in A position, actual pitch is E flat

[Intro verse]

Yes they wrote me a letter, what do you reckon it read?
Yes they wrote me a letter, what do you reckon it read?
Come home big papa, your lovin' baby's dead

[spoken] Sure enough he goes to the graveyard
He goes back home. He goes to his friend.
When he got that letter, he goes to the depot
And he catch the longest train he seen
And he didn't stop at no short stop
He read somethin', got it in the heart
And when he got home here with his, told his mama [/spoken]

Yes I went to the depot, [cause the train to fly ??? ]
I went to the depot, caught the train [up long ???]
When he walks in Lord, she was low lay down

[spoken] His Mama met him at the door step.
Papa run to the bed side, told his daughter and daughter-in-law goodbye [/spoken]

My Mama said "Howdy!" Papa said "Goodbye!"
My Mama said "Howdy!" Papa said "Goodbye!"
Poor boy couldn't do nothing but, hang his head and cry

[3 instrumental lines]
Poor boy couldn't do nothing but, hang his head and cry

[spoken] He went to the bedside and looked down in the baby's face
She didn't know him from nobody else 'cause it's too late
When he looked down in her face, here' what he said to his Mama: [/spoken]

Yes he went to the bed Lord, looked down in her face
Yes he went to the bed Lord, looked down in her face
"Lord I love you pretty mama, just can't take your place"

[Instrumental verse out, end on first bar of the V]
« Last Edit: February 28, 2009, 10:55:24 AM by Rivers »

 


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