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The poor are getting poorer. The rich are getting rich. If I don't starve I'm a son of a gun - David McCarn, Cotton Mill Colic

Author Topic: Leadbelly lyrics  (Read 42951 times)

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Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Leadbelly lyrics
« Reply #75 on: February 28, 2009, 10:33:47 AM »
So many [high ???] was standin' around
So many [high ???] was a-standin' around
When they take my baby, to the buryin' ground
What I can hear in my head is "hacks" which I've always taken to mean carriages which brought folk to the funeral. But I'll have to give it a spin.

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Leadbelly lyrics
« Reply #76 on: February 28, 2009, 10:37:48 AM »
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
Again in my head I can hear for the first line "caught the train a-flyin'" but as this is a common blues expression I'd better listen to the disc!

Offline frankie

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Re: Leadbelly lyrics
« Reply #77 on: February 28, 2009, 10:45:33 AM »
So many [high ???] was standin' around
So many [high ???] was a-standin' around
When they take my baby, to the buryin' ground
What I can hear in my head is "hacks" which I've always taken to mean carriages which brought folk to the funeral. But I'll have to give it a spin.

I'm not sure I have the same version of the song, but it sounds like a garbled "So many hackney horses was a-standin' around."

Other suggestions:

Quote
If you would speak one word babe, give my heart to me

If you would speak one word babe, give my heart SOME EASE

Quote
You don't miss pretty mama, 'til you're [hang Huh] goodbye

You don't miss pretty mama, 'til you SHAKE YOUR HANDS goodbye





Offline Rivers

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Re: Leadbelly lyrics
« Reply #78 on: February 28, 2009, 11:10:43 AM »
Thanks guys.

Quote
I'm not sure I have the same version of the song, but it sounds like a garbled "So many hackney horses was a-standin' around."

It fits, but phonetically it sounds like: So many high ten bogies / buggies(?) was a-standin' around. I think you are right, it's about carriages sho nuff. Second time it could almost be, with a little allowance for pronunciation, "So many horse and buggies, was a-standing around"

Quote
If you would speak one word babe, give my heart SOME EASE

Correct.

Quote
You don't miss pretty mama, 'til you SHAKE YOUR HANDS goodbye

That's it. No '"'til you", it's:  You don't miss pretty mama, 'til you SHAKE YOUR HANDS goodbye
« Last Edit: February 28, 2009, 11:14:49 AM by Rivers »

Online Johnm

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Re: Leadbelly lyrics
« Reply #79 on: February 28, 2009, 03:23:27 PM »
Hi all,
I remembered this morning that I had transcribed Leadbelly's version of "John Henry" from his Last Sessions over in the thread devoted to different versions of "John Henry", here:
http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?amp;Itemid=60&topic=4256.msg30402#msg30402
This was before there was a Leadbelly Lyrics thread.  I'll post his version of "John Henry" in Weeniepedia, Mark.
All best,
Johnm 
« Last Edit: February 28, 2009, 05:43:06 PM by Johnm »

Offline Rivers

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Re: Leadbelly lyrics
« Reply #80 on: February 28, 2009, 04:41:32 PM »
Thanks John. That disc is on my shopping list after hearing Alvin mention it favorably on the recent youtubes interview posting.

Offline Rivers

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Re: Leadbelly lyrics
« Reply #81 on: March 01, 2009, 06:31:52 AM »
[edit: Corrected, annotated and added to weeniepedia]

Transcribing this next one prompted me to start researching its origins. I've always thought You Don't Know My Mind is a very beautiful tune. Earliest version I can find in B&GR, well the same title anyway, is Viola McCoy, 1924. Anyone know if it's the same song?

The other version I have of this (LoC) make it clear Huddie had many, many stock verses for this song. In this take you can spot Barbecue Bob's Mississippi Heavy Water Blues from 1927 and two of the other verses seem awful familiar, can anyone name an earlier tune with the same verse? For example who did "...I could stand to see you die"? "Worked all summer, follow the fall" reminds me of Luke Jordan's Church Bell Blues, though it ends differently.

Joe Callicott's version is the exact same tune, I'm wondering from where Joe got it. Likewise Herman Johnson's version.

This is a pretty easy tune to play in G position, what gives Lead's version major appeal I think is the delayed bass run down to the V, starting one bar later than when you think he's going to do it, followed by a shuffle on the IV, it really is a killer syncopated lick. Once again a nice mix of a picked bass line interspersed with a strummed riff gets him the texture.

Help much appreciated for the ???'s. What on earth is she gettin' him in the kitchen? I searched on "getting / giving toe" and got a lot of foot fetish sites  :P

You Don't Know My Mind - Leadbelly
24 January 1935
ARC 16706-2 unissued
Transcribed from Leadbelly King of the 12-String Guitar, Columbia Roots 'N' Blues 467893
12 string in standard down 5 semitones to B and played in G position, actual pitch is D

[Intro, 5 bars on the I]

My breakfast's on the table and my coffee<ref></ref> gettin' cold
My mama's in the kitchen gettin' a-sweet papa told
Baby you don't know, don't know my mind
When you see me laughin', laughin' just to keep from cryin'

Ask my baby could she stand to see me cry
She said "Sweet papa I could stand to see you die"
Baby you don't know, don't know my mind
When you see me laughin', laughin' just to keep from cryin'

Walkin' down the levee with my head hangin' low
Lookin' for my sweet mama and she ain't here no more
Baby you don't know, don't know my mind
When you see me laughin', laughin' just to keep from cryin'

Baby you don't know, you don't know, you don't know my mind, doggone it mama
You don't know, don't know my mind
When you see me laughin', laughin' just to keep from cryin'

I can't fork no wheeler, can't shake no flour<ref></ref>
But I can do anything if you show me how
Baby you don't know, don't know my mind
When you see me laughin', laughin' just to keep from cryin'

First I met you, Lord, made out of stone, Lord I...
I took you in you didn't have no home
Baby you don't know, don't know my mind
When you see me laughin', laughin' just to keep from cryin'

I worked all the summer, follow the fall
Come home and took my Christmas in my overalls<ref></ref>
Baby you don't know, don't know my mind
When you see me laughin', laughin' just to keep from cryin'

You don't know, you don't know, you don't know my mind, doggone it baby
You don't know, Lord, know my mind
When you see me laughin', laughin' just to keep from cryin'

[Instrumental verse out]
==Notes==
<references/>

coffee: alternative hearing is "collards"
can't shake no ''flour'': alternative hearing is "plow"
''took my Christmas in my overalls'': alternative hearing: ''tucked my pistols in my overalls''
« Last Edit: March 03, 2009, 04:21:56 PM by Rivers »

Offline CF

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Re: Leadbelly lyrics
« Reply #82 on: March 01, 2009, 08:29:50 AM »
Couple suggestions Rivers:

'Breakfast on the table, my COFFEE's getting cold
Mama's in the kitchen getting her sweet papa TOLD'?

' . . . Come home & tucked my pistols in my overalls'
Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

Offline CF

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Re: Leadbelly lyrics
« Reply #83 on: March 01, 2009, 08:41:01 AM »
Quote
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.'


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


Having just listened to this I would say that this is possibly what Huddie is saying. Give it a listen.
Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

Offline Rivers

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Re: Leadbelly lyrics
« Reply #84 on: March 02, 2009, 03:35:46 PM »
Re. Ox Driver, I gave it a listen and now feel very foolish about my previous flip reply. That is what he's saying, gosh darn it. Apologies for not getting right onto it. Lesson learned, I thought we'd explored all the possible hearings.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2009, 04:42:26 PM by Rivers »

Offline Rivers

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Re: Leadbelly lyrics
« Reply #85 on: March 02, 2009, 04:27:06 PM »
'Breakfast on the table, my COFFEE's getting cold

I toyed with that one for a while. In the LoC recording it's about the same clarity. It sounds like 'collar' in the ARC, and you can hear an '...s' on the LoC. I think 'coffee' is very possible though, and will put a note, but personally I hear an 'L', as in 'collards'.

Quote
Mama's in the kitchen getting her sweet papa TOLD'?

Likewise, I thought at the time 'told' was possible, and it sounds very similar comparing the ARC and LoC recordings. So the question would be, does it make sense? It does if it was a vernacular expression around at the time. The meaning is clear, we just don't use that phrase any more. The clincher would be to find another instance of it in country blues. It makes more sense than 'toe' so I'll make it the primary and put 'toe' in a note.

Quote
' . . . Come home & tucked my pistols in my overalls'

I'm gonna have to disagree on that one, after thrashing it under the cans for a while, I'm 99.9% sure it's:
"Come home and took my Christmas in my overalls". I'll put another note though.

How about that other mystery line:

I can't [fork no wheeler ???], can't shake no flour
« Last Edit: March 02, 2009, 04:29:07 PM by Rivers »

Offline banjochris

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Re: Leadbelly lyrics
« Reply #86 on: March 02, 2009, 09:31:33 PM »
I'm pretty sure it is "coffee's getting cold"; the next line is "sweet papa told" -- it makes sense, she's in the kitchen telling him off.

The "fork no wheeler" line -- "fork no wheeler" is right, but the end is "shake no plow," not flour. Charlie Patton sings a verse about a wheeler and plow in "Jim Lee - Part I." I assume by "fork no wheeler" he means replacing a fork on some kind of farm equipment -- does someone know better? is it a steamboat reference?

(also in the 4th verse second line there's a missing "my.")
Chris

Online Johnm

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Re: Leadbelly lyrics
« Reply #87 on: March 03, 2009, 10:57:41 AM »
Hi all,
It occurred to me that "Sugar in the Gourd" should be in quotes in the verse of "Ox-Driver's Song" that has been discussed, since it is the name of a fiddle tune.  For those interested in hearing it, there's a nice recording of it by Ernest Stoneman with Kahle Brewer playing the fiddle.
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: March 03, 2009, 03:58:29 PM by Johnm »

Offline Rivers

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Re: Leadbelly lyrics
« Reply #88 on: March 03, 2009, 03:30:20 PM »
OK I'm outnumbered on the coffee / collard thing, I'll make coffee primary and add a note. I still believe I hear collards. As an aside, in the LoC take recorded a few months later in Connecticut he doesn't sing "breakfast" so far as I can tell, not sure what he does sing however.

Re Sugar In The Gourd, I wasn't sure originally that he was singing about the fiddle tune due to us not having the lead-in phrase right. Cheap's correction makes it most likely they're dancing to that tune, as you point out, so point taken there on it should be in quotes.

Re. 'Plow' versus 'flour' in You Don't Know My Mind - I definitely hear flour, on headphones, with a lot of passes and volume. Will add a note re alternative hearings.

Re. "Fork no wheeler" - good enough for me... As you say, it would be great to know what it means. Jim Lee was a paddle steamer, right? With what they referred to as the "wheel" at the back. Sounds very possible.

I had one flash "wheeler" could have been a pronunciation of "willow", and he could have been talking about making something, perhaps a catapult, "fork..."? I've gone off that idea though.

Thanks very much for the input y'all, will correct them and move on.

Offline Rivers

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Re: Leadbelly lyrics
« Reply #89 on: March 03, 2009, 04:06:26 PM »
[edit: updated courtesy Cheapfeet and added to weeniepedia]

Huddie does Jimmie Rodgers in waltz time. This song grows on you the more you listen to it, perhaps due to the heartfelt sincerity he conveys and, as always, beautiful singing and guitar.

Daddy I'm Coming Back To You - Leadbelly
5 February 1935 NYC
ARC 16806-1 unissued
Transcribed from Leadbelly King of the 12-String Guitar, Columbia Roots 'N' Blues 467893
12 string in standard down 5 semitones to B and played in C position, actual pitch is G

[Intro, 4 bars on the I]

Your hair has turned to silver
I know you're fadin' too
Daddy, dear old Daddy
I'm comin' back to you
Made my boyhood happy
Still I longed to roam
I've a-had my way, but now I'll stay
I long for you and for home

Daddy, you shared my sorrows and joys
You tried to bring me up right
But still I remember you's a-one of the boys
Now I'm starting back home tonight
Your hair has turned to silver
I know you's fadin' too
Daddy, dear old Daddy
I'm comin' back to you
Made my boyhood happy
Still I longed to roam
I've a-had my way, but now I'll stay
I long for you and for home

[spoken] This here's the last verse. His Papa's hair had turned to silver.
And when he got back home: [/spoken]

I'm dreaming tonight of an old Southern town
The best friend I ever had
Been wonderin' and worryin' and rovin' 'round
Now I'm goin' back home to my Dad
Your hair has turned to silver
I know you're fading too
Daddy, dear old Daddy
I'm comin' back to you
Made my boyhood happy
Still I longed to roam
I've a-had my way, but now I'll stay
I long for you and for home

[Instrumental 4 bars out]
« Last Edit: March 03, 2009, 06:04:41 PM by Rivers »

 


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