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Let me be your little dog till your big hound comes - Barbeque Bob Hicks, Untitled

Author Topic: Henry Townsend lyrics  (Read 6905 times)

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Offline banjochris

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Re: Henry Townsend lyrics
« Reply #15 on: November 17, 2010, 10:46:39 PM »
Couldn't agree more on "Mean Disposition," John. Muddy Waters recorded this a few years later in a much less intense version -- there's just no comparison to the original. I was looking at Stefan Wirz's Townsend discography yesterday and the original issue of this had Bo Carter's "I Get the Blues" on the flip side. What a record!

Made a slight mistake on this -- it wasn't the original issue, it was a Bluebird 78 reissue, but the comment still stands!

Offline Johnm

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Re: Henry Townsend lyrics
« Reply #16 on: November 18, 2010, 09:00:37 AM »
Hi all,
Henry Townsend recorded "Doctor, Oh Doctor" around May of 1931.  He played it in cross-note tuning, but at an absolute pitch of around F rather than the higher-pitched A flat he favored in his first session. This one has a very intense vocal.  It was perhaps the last of Henry Townsend's early recordings to make it in to the hands of collectors, and it may be a record of which there is only one known copy.  In any event, the version that can be found on the JSP set, "The Paramount Masters" is very difficult to hear and I would appreciate help with the bent bracketed portions of the lyrics.  Here is "Doctor, Oh Doctor":



   Oh doctor, oh doctor, oh, you cannot cure my blues
   Oh doctor, oh doctor, you can't cure my blues
   You can run and get my woman, she knows just what to use

   Babe, oh baby, please don't delay your time
   Oh babe, oh baby, please don't delay your time
   'Cause you're the only one can cure my worried mind

   Oh please, oh please, baby, will you please
   Oh please, oh please, babe, oh will you please
   Say one word of consolation to give my poor heart some ease

   Oh, I am dying on my feet
   Oh, I am dying, I say, on my feet
   These are bad a blues that ever a poor man could meet

   SOLO

   Oh doctor, oh doctor, please don't think hard of me
   Oh doctor, oh doctor, please don't think hard of me
   I just want to see my baby, I am sick as I can be

Edited, 11/18, to pick up corrections from dj

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: June 29, 2020, 06:44:44 AM by Johnm »

Offline dj

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Re: Henry Townsend lyrics
« Reply #17 on: November 18, 2010, 09:14:44 AM »
John,

The third line of the first verse is "You can run and get my woman, SHE KNOWS JUST WHAT TO use"

Edited to add:

Sorry, I forgot the other line in question.  I think that's "These ARE [as] BAD A blues AS a poor man could meet"  The bracketed "as" isn't sung, though I think there's a hint of the "s" an the end of "are".  I hear Townsend singing "are's".  

Edited again to add:

I don't have the JSP Paramount Masters set, but the version of this song that came on the CD with the 2010 Blues Images calendar, while still whupped, is much clearer and better sounding than the version on Document's Too Late Too Late Volume 5. 
« Last Edit: November 18, 2010, 09:25:59 AM by dj »

Offline Pan

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Re: Henry Townsend lyrics
« Reply #18 on: November 18, 2010, 09:23:17 AM »
John,

The third line of the first verse is "You can run and get my woman, SHE KNOWS JUST WHAT TO use"

I was going to suggest:

"You MUST run and get my woman, she knows just what to DO"

But this, of course, is just a suggestion from a non-native english speaker. :-\

Offline Johnm

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Re: Henry Townsend lyrics
« Reply #19 on: November 18, 2010, 09:38:53 AM »
Hi dj and Pan,
Thanks so much for the help.  That tagline to the first verse sounds so right, dj, I now don't know how I could have missed it.  It's often that way.  "Bad a blues" sounds right, too, though I hear "that ever" clearly right after that.  I have made the changes.  Thanks!
All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: Henry Townsend lyrics
« Reply #20 on: November 23, 2010, 11:48:57 AM »
Hi all,
"Jack of Diamonds Georgia Rub" is the flip side of "Doctor, Oh Doctor", and like that song was played out of cross-note tuning pitched around F.  As was noted by uncle bud and banjo chris in the "Adventures in Cross-note" thread, http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?amp;Itemid=60&topic=648.0, the instrumental breaks that Henry Townsend plays in "Jack of Diamonds Georgia Rub" closely resemble Charley Jordan's accompaniment to his "Hunkie Tunkie Blues" in bars 5--8 and 11--12 (though "Hunkie Tunkie" was played out of E position in standard tuning).  "Jack of Diamonds Georgia Rub" has a more conventional structure than any of Henry Townsend's other early solo recordings.  It would make a terrific small ensemble piece with fiddle and mandolin or mandolin-banjo or banjo.  It has a strong fiddle tune sort of flavor.
I really like the lyrics I was able to get here, but I could use quite a bit of help.  The copy I have is pretty whupped, and if it is possible to feel fairly good about missing so many of the lyrics, I guess I do.  I would very much appreciate some help in completing the transcription.  As usual, bent brackets enclose problem areas.  Here is "Jack of Diamonds/Georgia Rub":



   Jack of Diamonds said to the Queen of Spades
   Jack of Diamonds, tell me of those creepin' ways
   'Cause my mama do not allow me, stay out all night long
   'Cause she knows I'm a boy-child, women gonna do me wrong

   Jack of Diamonds ain't no friend to me
   Jack of Diamonds got the low-down heart disease
   I said, my mama don't allow me, stay out all night long
   'Cause she knows I'm a boy-child, women gonna do me wrong

   Come on, mama, I said, stop your ways
   You don't expect me to be your low-down slave
   Hollerin', mama, mama, mama, I can't be your slave
   Now I'm tired of sleepin' in this low-down and dirty place

   Jack of Diamonds is lean and mean
   Gave me a deck and stayed long a-hind the queen
   Oh, baby, baby, babe, what more can I do?
   I've done all and whatever I could, can't get along with you

   SOLO

   Jack of Diamonds come to town
   Taken my woman then dogged me around
   Ow, baby, baby, baby, what more can I do?
   Now I'm lookin' for a baby girl and I'm through with you

   Jack of Diamonds took my last old dime
   I'm gettin' tired of you doggin' me around
   I said it's baby, baby, baby, what more can I do?
   I'm gettin' tired of bein' worried, Jack of Diamonds, with you

   Jack of Diamonds made me cry
   Take my baby on the sly
   I said, mama, mama, mama, Jack of Diamonds made me cry
   Well, he taken my sweet woman, taken her on the sly

Edited 11/23 to pick up corrections and additions from dj
Edited 11/23 to pick up corrections from uncle bud
Edited 11/24 to pick up corrections from uncle bud and Johnm
Edited 11/24 to pick up correction from banjo chris
Edited 11/25 to pick up correction from banjo chris
Edited 11/27 to pick up correction from Johnm

All best,
Johnm


     
« Last Edit: June 29, 2020, 06:45:52 AM by Johnm »

Offline dj

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Re: Henry Townsend lyrics
« Reply #21 on: November 23, 2010, 12:58:59 PM »
Here's some suggestions, John.

"Jack of Diamonds tell me of those [cheatin'] ways"

I think "cheatin'" is right.

"'Cause she's [     ?   , watchin' out], they won't do me wrong"

'Cause she's LOOKIN' OUT, watchin' out, they won't do me wrong

"[     ?                  ] long [      ?           ]"

[ ? ] THE DECK AND [ ? ] ON THE [ ? (JACK AND/BLACK AND?) ] QUEEN

"Now I'm [            ?          ], and I'm through with you"

Now I'm LOOKIN' FOR ANOTHER ONE, and I'm through with you

"Jack of Diamonds took my [over-time?]"

Jack of Diamonds took my ALL-THE-TIME

 




Offline Johnm

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Re: Henry Townsend lyrics
« Reply #22 on: November 23, 2010, 05:15:53 PM »
Thanks very much for the help, dj.  This one is hard to hear, isn't it?  I incorporated a number of your suggestions.  I was wondering, in the verse following the solo, could Henry Townsend be saying in the tagline,
   
   Now I'm lookin' for a baby girl, and I'm through with you

Please let me know what you think.
All best,
Johnm

Offline dj

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Re: Henry Townsend lyrics
« Reply #23 on: November 23, 2010, 06:18:53 PM »
John,

"Now I'm lookin' for a baby girl, and I'm through with you" sounds right to me.  Good ears.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Henry Townsend lyrics
« Reply #24 on: November 23, 2010, 07:18:36 PM »
Sure is a whupped record, the only known copy apparently. JohnM, I'm wondering which CD version you are working from. Because there is a version on the Blues Images Calendar Vol 7 2010 CD that is remastered. Although that word is more promising than the result. But it is better. I have not gone through the song in detail yet, but I'm amazed you got as far as you did. However, the last phrase in the first two verses sounds like "women gonna do me wrong" to me.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Henry Townsend lyrics
« Reply #25 on: November 23, 2010, 07:41:55 PM »
Thanks for that, uncle bud, you are right about the tail end of those first two taglines.  I will make the changes.  This one may take a while, even with a bunch of us working on it--shades of "Suitcase Full of Blues"!
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: November 23, 2010, 11:31:19 PM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Henry Townsend lyrics
« Reply #26 on: November 24, 2010, 10:39:18 AM »
Hi all,
Being given access to a cleaner copy of "Jack of Diamonds Georgia Rub" (thanks, uncle bud!) has made some of the lines easier to hear, and also possibly created some new and different confusions.  I thought that rather than just make the new changes to the lyrics on my original post, I would list them here, and let them sit here a little while for corroboration/correction before editing the original post.

   Verse 1, line 1:  Jack of Diamonds SAYIN' to the Queen of Spades
        "    , line 2:  Jack of Diamonds tell me of those HEATHEN ways
        "    , line 4:  'Cause she's [lookin' out], watchin' out HOW, women gwon do me wrong

   Verse 4: Jack of Diamonds is lean and mean
               GAVE ME A DECK AND STAYED 'LONG A'HIND THE QUEEN
               Oh, baby, baby, babe, what more can I do?
               I'm doin' all and whatEVER I could, can't get along with you

   Verse 6: Jack of Diamonds took my OLD LAST DIME
               I'm gettin' tired of you doggin' me around
               I said it's baby, baby, baby, what more can I do?
               I'm gettin' tired of bein' worried, Jack of Diamonds, with you

Any thoughts on these changes?
All best,
Johnm 

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Henry Townsend lyrics
« Reply #27 on: November 24, 2010, 11:16:19 AM »
Hi John - I am hearing things rather differently in verse 1:

1.1 Jack of Diamonds PLAYIN' the Queen of Spades
1.2 Jack of Diamonds tell me your CREEPIN' ways
1.4 AND THESE LOW-DOWN [?? ??] women gonna do me wrong

Those missing words sound like they might begin with a B and a T, but damned if I can tell for sure.

in verse 4 I also can't tell what I hear for line 2. But for line 4 I hear:

4.4 I'VE DONE all and whatever I could, can't get along with you

Verse 6 is still mysterious to me though where you have OLD LAST DIME, it sounds like it could possibly be LAST OLD DIME. Perhaps you had things reversed?

Still tough to hear, and I've no doubt muddied the waters further, but what a great song. I really like the effect of this played in cross-note, where there's more drone than one would get in Charley Jordan's stuff in E.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2010, 11:19:43 AM by uncle bud »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Henry Townsend lyrics
« Reply #28 on: November 24, 2010, 11:43:53 AM »
Thanks for the help, uncle bud, I think were homing in on it.  "Creepin'" in the first verse is definitely the word, as is "low-down".  "I've done" is similarly right, and you're right, I put "old last dime" where I meant "last old dime".
I agree this piece is terrific, and one thing that gives it great force is the extent to which Henry Townsend accelerates over the course of the rendition, which is pretty extreme even by Country Blues standards.  I"ll keep plugging away at it.
All best,
Johnm

Offline banjochris

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Re: Henry Townsend lyrics
« Reply #29 on: November 24, 2010, 02:38:41 PM »
I would suggest for 1.2 "be on your creepin' way"
and for the tagline for the first two verses "low-down fortune women"
Chris

 


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