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I don't play by alphabet - Robert Belfour, in response to a PT05 question on what note he was playing

Author Topic: Memphis Willie B. Lyrics  (Read 10935 times)

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Online Johnm

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Re: Memphis Willie B. Lyrics
« Reply #30 on: January 08, 2010, 09:05:37 AM »
Hi all,
Memphis Willie B. concluded the program of "Introducing Memphis Willie B." with "Grief Will Kill You", accompanying himself out of D position in standard tuning.  This song seems another good candidate for being flat-picked; pick noise is evident throughout the course of the rendition and Willie B. seems to do more non-singing vocalizing when he's picking.  In any event, it's a strong number.  After the intensity of all that has preceded it, the opening line of the final verse is kind of funny, you get the feeling, "Ah, here's the real source of the grief."  Here is "Grief Will Kill You":



   Boys, grief will kill you, Lord, it'll bring you down to skin and bone
   Lord, grief gon' kill you, Lord, it'll bring you down to skin and bone
   And that same old girl'll be advertisin' after you is dead and gone

   You can take these wild, mighty women, boy, they'll have your biscs in the stove
   You take these wild, mighty women, boy, they'll have your biscuits in the stove
   They get to thinkin' about thei' good man, and they gon' slam the door and out they'll go

   I was talkin' to a brother, man, talkin' to him the other day
   I was talkin' to a man, talkin' to him the other day
   And he say, "If you don't take life so hard,", say, "your worries will pass away."

   SOLO

   Boy, you can be a little too sweet to your woman, see don't she do you a dirty act
   You can be a little too sweet to your woman, see don't she do you a dirty act
   She gonna have you workin', seem like you got your coffin on your back

   Mmmmmmm, babe, I ain't gon' buy you no more shoes
   Mmmmmmm, I ain't gon' buy you no more shoes
   You won't stay home with me, help me drive away these blues

All best,
Johnm     
« Last Edit: June 30, 2020, 09:50:49 AM by Johnm »

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Memphis Willie B. Lyrics
« Reply #31 on: January 08, 2010, 10:38:30 AM »
Hi all,
Memphis Willie B. concluded the program of "Introducing Memphis Willie B." with "Grief Will Kill You", accompanying himself out of D position in standard tuning.  This song seems another good candidate for being flat-picked; pick noise is evident throughout the course of the rendition and Willie B. seems to do more non-singing vocalizing when he's picking.  In any event, it's a strong number.  After the intensity of all that has preceded it, the opening line of the final verse is kind of funny, you get the feeling, "Ah, here's the real source of the grief."
John, it's another Little Buddy Doyle song, but this time one issued on 78. Check out the LBD feature posted in Books and Articles section of Weenie.

Online Johnm

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Re: Memphis Willie B. Lyrics
« Reply #32 on: January 09, 2010, 08:15:48 AM »
Thanks for that information, Bunker Hill.  When will I learn?  I should have read the piece on Little Buddy Doyle as soon as it was made available.  What I want to know is where did Little Buddy Doyle get off doing all of those Memphis Willie B. songs before Memphis Willie B.?  Just kidding. . . .
All best,
Johnm

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Re: Memphis Willie B. Lyrics
« Reply #33 on: January 09, 2010, 09:43:17 AM »
Hi all,
Memphis Willie B. played "Mattie Mae" out of G in standard tuning while accompanying himself on harmonica off a rack.  The lyrics are a bit of a puzzle; is he in fact talking about two diferent women, Mattie Mae and Katie Mae, or did Mattie Mae end up morphing into Katie Mae in the course of the singing?  The joshing simile he uses in the tagline of the next-to-last verse is unusual.  I could use some help with the bent bracketed portion of verse two.  What I have sounds like what is sung, but is nonsense.  Thanks for any help.  Here is "Mattie Mae":



   Hello, stranger, say, you sure do remind me of Mattie Mae
   Hello, stranger, you sure do remind me of Mattie Mae
   Now, I'm thinkin' about how you left me, Lord and just how she walked away

   She got cute dimples in her jaw, she got great long curly hair
   She got cute dimples in her jaw, she got great long curly hair
   You know, she be [at up kind deed] in the waist, and her complexion is awful fair

   SOLO

   If you'd-a be my baby, Katie Mae, you can be my boss
   If you'd-a be my baby, Katie Mae, you can be my boss
   You know I'm gonna stick closer to you than Jesus did the cross

   So now fare thee well, I ain't got no more to say
   Fare you well, I ain't got no more to say
   Lord, I see you one of these mornin's, Katie Mae, some old rainy day

   SOLO

All best,
Johnm
   
« Last Edit: June 30, 2020, 09:51:38 AM by Johnm »

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Memphis Willie B. Lyrics
« Reply #34 on: January 09, 2010, 10:46:45 AM »
   Hello, stranger, say, you sure do remind me of Mattie Mae
   Hello, stranger, you sure do remind me of Mattie Mae
   Now, I'm thinkin' about how you left me, Lord and just how she walked away
Interesting song and having given it a listen it is sung to the tune of Baby Boy Warren's "Mattie Mae" which he recorded twice, with different accompanists, in 1954 both of which begin:

Hello, stranger, sure do remind me of Mattie Mae
Hello, stranger, sure do remind me of Mattie Mae
And if you should ever need a favour, call on Baby Boy right away.

Offline jpeters609

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Re: Memphis Willie B. Lyrics
« Reply #35 on: January 09, 2010, 11:38:32 AM »
A variation of the lyric also shows up in Big Joe Williams' unissued Columbia recording, "Bad And Weakhearted Blues," from 1947, in which he sings after the break:

"Hello, stranger, you sure do remind me of my sister Mattie Mae" (repeat)

Sonny Boy Williamson also plays on this recording, and I can't help but wonder if the lyric originated with him. Baby Boy Warren adopted many of Sonny Boy's lyrics. (Of course, just to continue the Little Buddy Doyle conversation, Baby Boy Warren also played with him back in the day and certainly considered him an inspiration. What tangled strands these lryics weave...)
Jeff

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Re: Memphis Willie B. Lyrics
« Reply #36 on: January 11, 2010, 06:41:32 PM »
Hi all,
Memphis Willie B. opened the program of "Introducing Memphis Willie B." with "Brownsville Blues", arguably his strongest number and performance.  He played it out of Vestapol with an eerie sort of response lick following the vocal, as well as a beautifully expressive reading of the melody phrased right underneath the sung melody.  Willie B. also hits some striking, very controlled bends on his second and sixth strings.  The one-chord accompaniment approach that Memphis Willie B. employs for the song provides a different sound than is usually heard in Vestapol, and perfectly suits the melody and text of the song.  This performance would be worth figuring out just the way Memphis Willie B. did it, whether or not you chose to change it or add some of your own elements later on.   

This song appears to have been played by a lot of Memphis blues musicians.  I think, but am not sure, that the earliest recorded version is Sleepy John Estes' "The Girl I Love, She Got Long Curly Hair" (and not Sleepy John's "Brownsville Blues", which is about his mechanic friend, Vassar).  Here is "Brownsville Blues":



   If you go to Brownsville, take that right hand road
   If you go to Brownsville, take that right hand road
   Lord, and don't stop walkin' just to get in pretty mama's door

   What's the need of lovin' and I don't see whyr I should
   What's the need of lovin', don't see whyr I should
   Lord, the woman I'm lovin' don't mean me no good

   Says, I fold my arms and I slowly walked away
   Says, I fold my arms and I slowly walked away
   I said, "That's all right, your troubles will come someday."

   SOLO

   You see that spider, goin' upside the wall?
   And you see that spider, goin' upside that wall?
   Says, I'm goin' to Brownsville and have my ashes hauled

   Say, you talk about Brownsville, it's a place I long to be
   Say, you talk about Brownsville, it's a place I long to be
   I got a Brownsville woman, down there, waitin' for me

All best,
Johnm   
« Last Edit: June 30, 2020, 09:52:36 AM by Johnm »

Offline dj

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Re: Memphis Willie B. Lyrics
« Reply #37 on: January 12, 2010, 04:16:24 AM »
John, in Mattie Mae, the line you have as:

You know, she be [at up kind deed] in the waist, and her complexion is awful fair

I think should be:

You know, she BUILT UP KIND THIS A-WAYS, and her complexion is awful fair

Willie sings the i's of built and this with an EE sound, and there's an 'of' implied between KIND and THIS which Willie leaves out.

Online Johnm

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Re: Memphis Willie B. Lyrics
« Reply #38 on: January 12, 2010, 08:09:06 AM »
Hi dj,
Thanks very much for the suggestion.  After reading it and re-listening several times, it now sounds to me like,

  You know, she built up kindA NEAT IN THE WAIST, and her complexion is awful fair

What do you think?  "Neat" seems pretty clear to me now, and he sort of swallows "in the".  Thanks for listening to this.
All best,
Johnm

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Re: Memphis Willie B. Lyrics
« Reply #39 on: January 12, 2010, 07:08:41 PM »
Hi all,
Memphis Willie B. played "Highway 61", found on "Introducing Memphis Willie B." accompanying himself out of G position in standard tuning.  He uses pretty much the same accompaniment he used for the pieces in G he played harmonica on, but perhaps because he didn't have to concentrate on harmonica here, he delivers a much more varied and exciting guitar part.  His vocal here is tremendous, with great focus and commitment to the song.  Here is "Highway 61":



   I'm gonna leave here walkin', goin' out Highway 61
   I'm gonna leave here walkin', goin' out Highway 61
   And if I run up on my no-good doney, I declare, we are have some fun

   Oh yeah, I'm gonna make ev'ything all right
   Oh yeah, I'm gonna make ev'ything all right
   And if I don't today, baby, says I will tomorrow night

   Says, I'm leavin' in the mornin', I'm gonna travel 61 by myself
   I'm leavin' in the mornin', I'm gonna travel 61 by myself
   So if I get killed on my journey, say, no one will know my death

   Fare you well, fare you well to the State of old Tennessee
   Fare you well, fare you well to the State of old Tennessee
   Say, I'm goin' back to my no-good doney 'cause she won't come back to me

   Good-bye, baby, I ain't got no more to say
   Good-bye, baby, I ain't got no more to say
   Say, I see you over 61 Highway some dark and rainy day

All best,
Johnm

   
« Last Edit: June 30, 2020, 09:53:33 AM by Johnm »

Online Johnm

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Re: Memphis Willie B. Lyrics
« Reply #40 on: January 13, 2010, 06:05:26 PM »
Hi all,
"Country Girl Blues" is another of Memphis Willie B.'s tunes in G with harmonica.  Both because the songs he recorded this way tended to share the same accompaniment and instrumental fills, and because he tended to play more interestingly and more varied when not also playing harmonica, I wish the songs with harmonica had comprised a smaller percentage of the songs he recorded on August 12, 1961, when he recorded his two albums for Prestige Bluesville.  And while his harmonica playing was serviceable, Memphis Willie B. would never exactly be called a tonemaster in a class with such stellar rack players as Robert Lee McCoy or Dr. Ross.
For "Country Girl Blues", Willie Borum puts himself in a league with Louis Hayes for jamming a lot of syllables into a blues line.  If you read the lyrics and wonder how Willie B. fit them in, the short answer is he phrases long.  For the opening phrase in each verse he is most often two beats long in the first bar of each four-bar phrase; in a departure from the practice of many players who phrase long, his instrumental fills tend to be perfectly regular.  Here is "Country Girl Blues":





   I went way out in the country and got you, baby, you was way out in the woods
   I went way out in the country and got you, baby, you was way out in the woods
   You know, I got sick of you tellin' me that country life wasn't no good

   You done start to leave me in the mornin', you don't come back 'til the break of day
   You done start to leave me early in the mornin', and don't come back 'til the break of day
   You gon' keep on doin' that and you gonna drive my love away

   SOLO

   Lord, I don't want to hurt your feelin', 'bout the little things you do is wrong
   I don't want to hurt your feelin', 'bout the little things you do is wrong
   You know, if I would scold you, well, God knows I don't mean no harm

   The reason I love you, you the onliest girl in this world
   Lord, the reason I love you, you the onliest girl in this world
   You know I went to the country and got you, raised you from a little old country girl

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: June 30, 2020, 09:54:38 AM by Johnm »

Online Johnm

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Re: Memphis Willie B. Lyrics
« Reply #41 on: January 18, 2010, 07:04:17 PM »
Hi all,
For "Bad Girl Blues", Memphis Willie B. sounds as though he is accompanying himself with a flat-pick out of D position in standard tuning.  The song, a complaint about lesbianism, evidently came out of a verse from Little Buddy Doyle's version of "Grief Will Kill You", according to the article by Bob Groom cited by Bunker Hill earlier in this thread.  Perhaps Little Buddy Doyle did an unrecorded song that Memphis Willie B.'s version more closely tracks.  At this point, there is no way of knowing if Willie Borum fleshed out the idea or simply covered another song.  In any event, the subject matter is not something discussed all that often in blues lyrics, except in passing.  As usual, I would appreciate any help with bent bracketed portion of the last verse.  Here is "Bad Girl Blues":



   Women lovin' each other, man, they don't think about no man
   Women lovin' each other, and they don't think about no man
   They ain't playin' no secret no more, these women playin' it a wide open hand

   I buzzed a little girl the other day, I wanted a little thrill
   She say, "I'm so sorry, mister, see, I'm puttin' out the same thing you is."
   I'm sayin', women lovin' each other, and they ain't thinkin' about no man
   They ain't playin' for no secret, these women playin' it a wide open hand

   Have you ever taken out car ridin', bought her all kind of whiskey and wine?
   Say, you was too drunk to realize, say, "I'll see you another time."
   You know, women lovin' each other and they don't think about no man
   They ain't playin' it with no secret, these women playin' it a wide open hand

   SOLO

   Have you ever left, you goin' out jitterbuggin', smellin sweet like a rose?
   Come back about 5 o'clock in the mornin' with the fish scent all in her clothes
   You know, women lovin' each other and they don't think about no man
   They don't play with no secret no more, they playin' it a wide open hand

   Have you ever had a little woman, give her the last dollar you had?
   Ev'y time you say somethin' to her, she'll say, ah, stomach hurt her so bad."
   You know, women lovin' each other, and they don't think about no man
   They ain't playin' with no secret, the playin' it a wide open hand

Edited, 1/19 to pick up correction from dj

All best,
Johnm   
« Last Edit: June 30, 2020, 09:55:31 AM by Johnm »

Offline dj

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Re: Memphis Willie B. Lyrics
« Reply #42 on: January 19, 2010, 05:03:20 AM »
Hi, John

I think the phrase in question is:

Ev'y time you say somethin' to her, she'll say, AW, STOMACH HURT HER so bad

Online Johnm

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Re: Memphis Willie B. Lyrics
« Reply #43 on: January 19, 2010, 08:33:14 AM »
Thanks very much for that line, dj, I think you are right on with that.  I will make the change.
All best,
Johnm

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Re: Memphis Willie B. Lyrics
« Reply #44 on: January 20, 2010, 04:44:41 PM »
Hi all,
Memphis Willie B. played "The Stuff Is Here", a raggy tune of the "Tight Like That" family out of C position in standard tuning, backing himself on straight harp in C, very high.  It's a great sound that really suits the tune, which sounds like it would really have been a hit at parties.  Willie B. played stop time behind the harmonica for the first four bars of most of the solos, and it's a catchy effect.  There are some funny lyrics here, and the song would make a great jug band number.  Willie B. pronounces "deaf" "deef".  Here is "The Stuff Is Here":



   You ain't got no glass, bring along the cup
   Stuff right here, you got to mix it up
   REFRAIN:  You know, the stuff is right here, you know, the stuff is right here
   B'lieve me, it's mellow, I know the stuff is right here

   You know, the peoples in Mississippi want a wet state
   But it get any wetter, God knows, it won't wait
   REFRAIN:  'Cause the stuff right there, there's stuff right there
   I know it's nice and mellow, I know the stuff is right there

   SOLO

   You know, my little girl shaped like a frog
   Ev'y time I tell her, she holler, "Hot dog!"
   REFRAIN:  Said, the stuff right there, sayin', the stuff right there
   You know, it's nice and mellow, I swear the stuff is right there

   You know, I had a little girl, deaf and dumb
   She never said a word 'til I made her know
   REFRAIN:  That stuff right there, yeah, that stuff right there
   B'lieve me, it's mellow, know that stuff is right there

   SOLO

   You know, I don't drink whiskey, but I'm crazy about gin
   I ain't had a drink in God-knows-when
   REFRAIN:  But the stuff is right here, yes, the stuff is right here
   God knows it's mellow, I know the stuff is right there

   You know, I had a old hen laid twelve eggs a day
   The rooster got shamed and he walked away
   REFRAIN:  So that stuff right there, yeah, the stuff's right there
   You know, it's nice and mellow, swear the stuff is right there

   You know, the monkey and baboon layin' in the grass
   The monkey said, "No!", but the baboon said "Yes!"
   REFRAIN:  I know the stuff is right there, say, the stuff's right there
   I know it's nice and mellow, I know that stuff is right there

   SOLO X 2

All best,
Johnm
 
« Last Edit: June 30, 2020, 09:56:27 AM by Johnm »

 


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