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One night an obscure Mississippi country boy showed up... and he impressed Mr. Wright with his politeness and showmanship. "He always had a motion, you know" - Early Wright, WROX Clarkdale DJ on Elvis

Author Topic: "Winin' Boy'  (Read 7160 times)

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Offline Richard

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"Winin' Boy'
« on: June 17, 2004, 04:12:00 AM »
Not wishing to correct you Slack, but I will!  :o

JRMs tune is actually called Winin' Boy and not Whinin' Boy as you have it - well, I'll let you off as you were not brought up on JRM etc etc... anyway my real  point is, what actually is a "Winin' Boy"???

It's question that jazz know-it-alls' often ask each when they have nothing more esoteric to talk about and have yet to come up with an answer - so "winin' boy" any ideas?
(That's enough of that. Ed)

Offline Slack

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Re: "Winin' Boy'
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2004, 07:50:50 AM »
Hey Richard,  :) - yeah I know - I meant to go back to correct it after removing the song from the queue.  I suppose it is a phonetic typo - as it sounds like he says the word "Whine" to me. In any case, I don't know what a Winin' Boy or (Whinin' boy) is --- tough to tell from the context!

cheers,
slack

Offline uncle bud

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Re: "Winin' Boy'
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2004, 08:21:21 AM »
Is it possible it derives from "winding", stemwinder et al?


Offline Richard

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Re: "Winin' Boy'
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2004, 08:34:35 AM »
U-B, stemwinder, what's that then...that's new to me!
(That's enough of that. Ed)

Offline MotMot

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Re: "Winin' Boy'
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2004, 08:41:46 AM »
Never thought too much about it, but I always thought "winin'" was the typo, because "wining boy" doesn't make any sense at all (at least to me).
But a "whining boy" does make some sense to me.? It makes me think of somebody who's always whining, which my dictionary says can mean "uttering a high-pitched plaintive or distressed cry," or "uttering a complaint with or as if with a whine." Though I was a well-behaved child (wink), I remember other children being told to "quit your whining!"
I imagine a whining boy as somebody who's always bitchin' and moanin' and bellyaching ... about his sister, the little sow who wants to be a bad girl (but unlike him, doesn't know how), the (horny?) spider on the wall, whatever.? If you were around, he'd complain about you, too.
And a whining boy who won't deny the name (label), but picks it up and shakes (rattles?) it like a (noisy? and confining?) ball and chain, is proud of it.
So, to put it in high-falutin', multisyllabic words, to me the song conjures up somebody who's aggressively & swaggeringly obnoxious.
To bring it back full circle, maybe he got that way because he had too much wine.
And that's probably too much analysis for a great and earthy old song ...
Cheers.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2005, 11:28:27 PM by Johnm »
... but it's a slow consumption, killing me by degrees

Offline uncle bud

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Re: "Winin' Boy'
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2004, 09:02:28 AM »
U-B, stemwinder, what's that then...that's new to me!

See here at Early Blues and scroll down to stem winder. Blind Boy Fuller did a tune called "I'm a Good Stem Winder", meaning talented in the, er, sexual arts. The origin is apparently from braking systems on trains.

Was also thinking of Bo Carter etc. references to winding, e.g. in Twist It Baby.

Offline frankie

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Re: "Winin' Boy'
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2004, 09:31:08 AM »
"Wind the clock" is also an older euphemism for sex.

Sliver

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Re: "Winin' Boy'
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2004, 12:17:06 PM »
hey the juke sounds great.  and i love the intro bit - positively john peel!

Offline Richard

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Re: "Winin' Boy'
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2004, 01:36:49 PM »
I have a feeling there could be even more to come  :-X

Regards, winin' boy .. yes, it's obviously sexual but like many a blues thing it's the blues it's all in the detail.
(That's enough of that. Ed)

Offline Bill Roggensack

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Re: "Winin' Boy'
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2004, 02:01:49 PM »
Although I have never heard the 'original' version, I have been told that this song was first recorded as "Winding Boy Blues" - a specific reference to JRM's generous male appendage, of which he was apparently rightfully quite proud. Might this open the possible metaphorical allusion to a fishing reel, that being JRM's usual method for securing a preferred catch?

I have also been told the the lyrics of his 'original' version would be rated "explicit sexual content" if released by a record company today - i.e., it's a real paint peeler. Lastly, I have been told that this 'original' version can be had from the Libarary of Congress by special request. When JRM speaks/sings the word [Winin'], the innocent ear hears [Whinin'] as a contraction of [Whining - i.e. to make a sorrowful sound], but the more jaded among us will definitely hear the contraction of [Winding], complete with all its intentional sexual innuendo. Lastly, I am told that JRM softened this song up (title and lyrics) so as to be able to "get the message out" without running into trouble with the censors.

Some interesting reading and listening can be found here:
http://www.doctorjazz.freeserve.co.uk/page10.html

This site will stream Real Audio for two versions (1938 and 1939) of "Winin' Boy Blues" by JRM himself.
http://www.redhotjazz.com/jellyroll.html

Enjoy.
Cheers,
FrontPage

Offline MotMot

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Re: "Winin' Boy'
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2004, 09:54:43 PM »
<...snip...>a specific reference to JRM's generous male appendage, of which he was apparently rightfully quite proud.<...snip...>
the innocent ear hears [Whinin'] as a contraction of [Whining - i.e. to make a sorrowful sound], but the more jaded among us will definitely hear the contraction of [Winding], complete with all its intentional sexual innuendo. <...snip...>

Oh, well, so much for the elaborate explanation of a whining boy, and I'm not sure where I fall on the innocent-to-jaded spectrum, but some people might consider singing about one's generous male appendage as aggressively and swaggeringly obnoxious ...


U-B, stemwinder, what's that then...that's new to me!

See here at Early Blues and scroll down to stem winder. Blind Boy Fuller did a tune called "I'm a Good Stem Winder", meaning talented in the, er, sexual arts. The origin is apparently from braking systems on trains.<...snip...>

I've also heard "stem winder" applied to rousing political speeches, as in "he gave a real stem winder at the convention."

Whatever Jelly Roll meant when he sang it (and whatever the others who have sung it after him had in mind), it's a great and earthy piece of music.

Thanks, FrontPage, for the links to the Jelly Roll sites, which were enjoyable and informative.

Cheers,
Mot
... but it's a slow consumption, killing me by degrees

Offline Richard

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Re: "Winin' Boy'
« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2004, 01:48:07 AM »
Yes, I certainly have read that he was in 'big' demand by the ladies, but the fishing reel comparison is one even I would not have thought of.. whatever sort of sites do you visit to learn about that ;D

(That's enough of that. Ed)

Offline OMpicker

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Re: "Winin' Boy'
« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2004, 05:57:24 PM »
Just some additional information.? Here's a link to a site that has a transcription of the Library of Congress interview of JRM by Alan Lomax.? JRM talks about Winin' Boy as a number he specifically did to counteract the apparently typical characterization of pianists as less than masculine.? (To add to the confusion, the notes refer to both Winin' Boy and Winding Boy.)

http://www.doctorjazz.freeserve.co.uk/locspeech4.html

By the way, here's the home page for this pretty amazing site:

http://www.doctorjazz.freeserve.co.uk/index.html

It's got midi files, photographs and lots of information on ragtime and early jazz piano music and its past and present interpreters.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2005, 11:30:47 PM by Johnm »
Dennis

Offline Richard

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Re: "Winin' Boy'
« Reply #13 on: July 03, 2004, 11:49:46 AM »
Good sites.
(That's enough of that. Ed)

Offline Slack

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Re: "Winin' Boy'
« Reply #14 on: July 04, 2004, 08:36:17 AM »
Thanks for the links Dennis!  Very interesting sites adn a very interesting intgerview w/ JRM - and long, I'm still reading it!

cheers,

Offline Rats in my Kitchen

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Re: "Winin' Boy'
« Reply #15 on: July 27, 2004, 05:37:32 PM »
Just found out about this place and just registered. First post! I will work up a better introduction when I find the spot for it!

Early bluesy jazz is another love of mine. I look at Red Hot Jazz often, at http://www.redhotjazz.com/

I always thought this was Winin' Boy (boy drinks wine), but I won't mind hearing the song again  to see what I can make of it.

I'll look for a Sleepy John Estes avatar soon.

Offline MotMot

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Re: "Winin' Boy'
« Reply #16 on: August 31, 2004, 07:57:27 PM »
Here http://slate.msn.com/id/2105971/ is a link to an article talking about the term "stemwinder" as I know it: a rousing political speech.
... but it's a slow consumption, killing me by degrees

RichdCollins

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Re: "Winin' Boy'
« Reply #17 on: January 22, 2007, 12:23:45 AM »
a winin' boy brings food and drinks to the prostitutes in the Fauberg district of old New Orleans..first brought to our attention by Jelly Roll Morten in his song "Winin' Boy Blues"...Ian Buchanon did a wonderful rendition of this tune on guitar for the Blues Project (Electra Records, 1967)..in which he capos up on the 3rd fret and plays in the c position(basic E-flat Major)..chezztone  does this song  using the naughty lyrics of Morton, but uses his own arrangement..take  care..richd

Muddyroads

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Re: "Winin' Boy'
« Reply #18 on: January 22, 2007, 06:18:07 AM »
a winin' boy brings food and drinks to the prostitutes in the Fauberg district of old New Orleans..first brought to our attention by Jelly Roll Morten in his song "Winin' Boy Blues".

This song was a must learn back in the '60's among the bunch of guitar pickers I hung with then and one of the better pickers sited Morton as the source.  It was understood that piano often served as the model for guitar arrangements among that group.  Made for some dern tough pieces back then.

Mud

Offline uncle bud

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Re: "Winin' Boy'
« Reply #19 on: September 22, 2008, 07:45:23 AM »
Just going back to the debate over the origins of the phrase "winin' boy", I recently picked up "Jelly Roll Morton Library of Congress Recordings Vol 2 - Anamule Dance" at a used shop, and in the notes by James Dapogny there's another explanation (of sorts) of winin' boy.

"...he explained that this 'smutty' set of lyrics was there partly to make clear that although he played piano, which some in his youth said was a lady's instrument, he was no sissy. And perhaps the fact the his friend and idol Tony Jackson was homosexual had something to do with it too. 'Windin' Ball', another sexual reference, was Morton's earlier alias, before he came to be called 'Jelly Roll', and it's a short leap of New Orleans pronunciation from 'Windin' Ball' to the more cryptic 'Winin' Boy'."

So there you go. Winding Ball, just to complicate things.

BTW, the four-part version of Make Me a Pallet on the Floor included in these recordings would make Lucille Bogan blush. I mean, it's rude.

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: "Winin' Boy'
« Reply #20 on: September 22, 2008, 12:33:49 PM »
BTW, the four-part version of Make Me a Pallet on the Floor included in these recordings would make Lucille Bogan blush. I mean, it's rude.
And I guess as would the rendition of Winin' Boy transcribed on pages 169-70 by Paul Oliver in his chapter The Blue Blues in his book Screening The Blues.

Offline spradder

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Re: "Winin' Boy'
« Reply #21 on: November 12, 2015, 05:17:28 PM »
Sheeesh.  I'm posting something new to this 11 years after the initial discussion...

...But I'd like to add to the confusion about the possible etymology of "Winin' Boy".

I remember reading quite a long time ago that this was actually a variation (or corruption) of the term "Winning Boy".  I also vaguely remember that it had something to do with piano players employed in Storyville brothels to provide musical accompaniment to, well, the "act", these players being located in a small area of the "crib" separated by a wall.  The player would look through a peephole and try to provide appropriate music for what was happening at any given time.  I don't recall why these musicians were called "Winning Boys", but JRM was employed as one early in his musical career.  I also don't remember why or how the term got corrupted to "Winin'".

Caveat:  Just want to state here that I'm almost positive I have some (maybe almost all) of this wrong, but I'm almost sure the etymology of the term is discussed in Lomax' bio on JRM, Mister Jelly Roll--which is a great read.  So if you stumble across this and your interest in piqued, check out the source.

Offline Richard

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Re: "Winin' Boy'
« Reply #22 on: December 03, 2015, 08:51:10 AM »
Don't worry about your post even if it is little late - I still haven't  found the definitive answer... yet!
(That's enough of that. Ed)

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