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John had recently flown for the first time and did not like it at all. Pat Sky tried to reassure him, saying it was a pretty safe means of transport and adding, "Anyway, when it's your time to go, it's your time to go." John thought a while and answered, "Yeah, but what if you're on the plane and it's the pilot's time to go?" - from Phil Ratcliffe's Biography of Mississippi John Hurt

Author Topic: Sonny Scott Lyrics  (Read 225 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Sonny Scott Lyrics
« on: November 17, 2020, 09:45:48 AM »
Hi all,
I realized that we didn't have a dedicated Sonny Scott Lyrics thread, and so I thought I'd start one. Sonny Scott had a session for Vocalion in New York City on July 18, 1933, at which all but two of the titles recorded were solo tracks (the other two were duets with Water Roland). The first song he recorded was "Coal Mountain Blues", for which he accompanied himself out of A position in standard tuning. This record is fairly whupped, and I'd very much appreciate help with any bent bracketed passages in the transcription. Here is "Coal Mountain Blues":



INTRO SOLO (Spoken: Aw, play it just like I feel it!)

Oh, I went on Coal Mountain, saw the men pulling coal from the mine
Lord, I went on Coal Mountain, saw the men pulling coal from the mine
I saw the men wearing their minelamps, boy, how their lights did shine

Lord, I went to the mine foreman, told him, "I need a job mighty bad."
Lord, I went to the mine foreman, told him, "I need a job mighty bad."
He said, "You have to go the doctor, and boy, you sure want that."

Lord, I have got mine infection, went to the seashore town
Lord, I looked at mine infection, went to a seashore town
I b'lieve I've got the TBs, I'm gonna jump overboard and drown

SOLO (Spoken: Aw shucks, what is this, you reckon? I couldn't tell what it's all about.)

Lord, I've seen a big gull flyin', baby, over my wat'ry grave
Lord, I've seen a big gull flyin', baby, over by my wat'ry grave
And it seems to say that, he's going away to stay

Edited 11/17 to pick up correction from banjochris
Edited 11/17 to pick up correction from Harry
Edited 11/18 to pick up corrections from dj
Edited 11/18 to pick up correction from Harry

All best,
Johnm   

« Last Edit: November 18, 2020, 07:38:47 AM by Johnm »

Offline banjochris

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Re: Sonny Scott Lyrics
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2020, 10:34:00 AM »
Pretty sure it's TB, dragged waaaayyyy out.
Chris

Offline Johnm

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Re: Sonny Scott Lyrics
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2020, 10:38:02 AM »
I think you're right, Chris, and it makes so much sense, thanks! I will make the correction. Sonny Scott really had different lyrics than most of his colleagues.

Offline banjochris

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Re: Sonny Scott Lyrics
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2020, 02:03:34 PM »
He sure did, that's a very peculiar story in that tune!
Chris

Offline harry

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Re: Sonny Scott Lyrics
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2020, 02:51:19 PM »
4.2 over by my watery grave

Offline Johnm

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Re: Sonny Scott Lyrics
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2020, 03:13:04 PM »
Thanks for the catch, Harry, I have made the change.

Offline dj

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Re: Sonny Scott Lyrics
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2020, 05:43:24 AM »
1.3: I saw the men wearing their down-mine lamps, boy, how their lights did shine 

3.1: Lord, I have got mine infection, went to the seashore town

3.2:  Lord, I got that mine infection, went to a seashore town

4:  Lord, I've seen a big gull flappin', babe, over my watery grave
     Lord, I've seen a big gull flappin', babe, over by my watery grave
     And it seems to say that he's going away to stay

I'm pretty sure about verses 1 and 3.  Verse 4 is a bit less clear to me.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Sonny Scott Lyrics
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2020, 06:20:50 AM »
Thanks very much for the help, dj. I think that most of what you've heard is correct, and I've made several changes. In the first verse, there are not enough syllables to accommodate both "their" and "down", so I think the line is:

   I saw the men wearing their mine lamps, boy, how their lights did shine

I agree that in verse three what he has is an infection rather than an inspection, but I'm not hearing "got" at all in the second line, it seems pretty clearly "looked", still, so I think the line is

   Lord, I looked that mine infection, went to a seashore town

I think in the third line of that verse he says "TBs" in the plural.

In the final verse, I think the vowel sound is wrong for "flappin'", and it's pretty clearly "flying". He actually pronounces "watery", "wat'ry", I realized. He also says "baby" pretty clearly twice, rather than "babe". I think you're right about "he's" in the tagline.

Your catches really improved the sense in the first and third verses. Thanks! That's some really great close listening on your part.
All best,
Johnm

Offline harry

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Re: Sonny Scott Lyrics
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2020, 07:22:06 AM »

3.2 Lord, I looked that at mine infection

I hear TBs also not TB.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Sonny Scott Lyrics
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2020, 07:39:21 AM »
I agree with both of those, Harry, and have made the changes. Thanks.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Sonny Scott Lyrics
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2020, 09:13:34 AM »
Hi all,
For "Rolling Water", recorded in New York City on July 19, 1933, Sonny Scott was accompanied by Walter Roland on piano, playing in C. Sonny did not play guitar on the song, but contributes a great vocal, freed from his normal self-accompaniment role, and as in "Coal Mountain Blues", an interesting and unusual set of lyrics. Walter Roland was really a ripping pianist! Here is "Rolling Water":



INTRO

Lord, that water rollin', down my rider's door
Oh the rollin' water rolled up, in my rider's door
It got so cloudy that evenin', didn't have no place to go

Lord, I went fishin' in the rollin' water, caught a fish, eel and a snake
I went fishin' in the rollin' water, caught a fish, eel and a snake
I saw a frog and a terr'pin do the shimmy down on that lake

Lord, I saw the flood risin', I tried to get back home
Lord, I saw the flood risin', I tried to get back home
But I got bad news my, baby got lost in that storm

Lord, I didn't want to go home, baby, I tried to die, myself
Lord, I didn't want to go home, baby, I tried to die, myself
Lord, my baby got killed and I, can't love nobodys else

When it dried off, baby, sky was powerful red
When it dried off, baby, sky was powerful red
But that weren't my trouble, the woman I love was dead

CODA

All best,
Johnm
 
 

Offline Johnm

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Re: Sonny Scott Lyrics
« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2020, 12:50:16 PM »
Hi all,
Sonny Scott recorded "Red Rooster Blues" on the same day he recorded "Coal Mountain Blues", accompanying himself out of G position in standard tuning and playing many of the same licks that he used on "Highway No. 2 Blues". Sonny Scott once again had some different lyrics in this one. He cuts his concluding solo short for his coda. Here is "Red Rooster Blues":



INTRO SOLO

I got a rooster in my back yard, been crowin' all day long
I got a rooster in my back yard, been crowin' all day long
I believe to my soul, and my, chicken wants some corn

I went out last night, try to, get myself two hens
Lord, I went out last night, I tried to, get myself two hens
Lord, to put with my rooster, 'cause I wants to hear him crow again

Lord, he crowed this mornin', crowed 'fore the break of day
Lord, he crowed this mornin', crowed 'fore the break of day
And it puts me on the wonder, when my rooster crows that way

I went out in my henhouse, I did not make a sound
Lord, I went out in my henhouse, did not make a sound
First time my rooster is crowin' and there weren't no hens around

If my rooster don't stop crowin', baby, I don't know what I'll do
If my rooster don't stop crowin', don't know what I'll do
Because he wants one hen, baby, b'lieve I wants one, too

SOLO

CODA

All best,
Johnm




Offline Johnm

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Re: Sonny Scott Lyrics
« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2020, 02:10:43 PM »
Hi all,
Sonny Scott recorded "Fire Wood Man" at his big solo session day in New York City on July 18, 1933. He played the song out of C position in standard tuning, and his accompaniment is very similar to the one that he played on "Black Horse Blues". Sonny Scott was quite the philosopher--I love that next-to-last verse, and I've not heard one like that before. Here is "Fire Wood Man":



INTRO

Lord, a fire will burn wood and coal and a man sit down to warm
Lord, a fire will burn wood and coal and a man will sit down to warm
And if his woman ain't right, she will do something wrong

Lord, a good girl can jump a rope, baby, and a duck can swim a pond
Lord, a good girl can jump a rope, baby, and a duck can swim a pond
I come home late last night and, she was out and gone

Oh babe, you don't mean your fire wood man no good
Oh babe, you don't mean your fire wood man no good
Well you treat me so mean, I had to leave my neighborhood

Lord, a man come in this world and he, have but a few minutes to stay
Lord, a man come in this world and he, have but a few minutes to stay
Lord, his head is full of nonsense and his feets all full of clay

I got cold last night, Lord, I got up to warm
I got cold last night and, I got up to warm
But you had your hairpins on, and I had to leave my home

SOLO

CODA

All best,
Johnm





Offline Johnm

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Re: Sonny Scott Lyrics
« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2020, 05:28:50 PM »
Hi all,
I realized that I have heard the phrase "feet of clay" all my life without knowing it's origin. Google offered the following from a UK website called the phrase finder:
FEET OF CLAY - "The phrase comes from the Old Testament (Dan. 2:31-32). There the Hebrew captain Daniel interprets a dream for Nebuchadnezzar, founder of the new Babylonian Empire. ... Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar that the clay feet of the figure made it vulnerable, that it prophesized the breaking apart of his empire.Aug 26, 2002

Feet of clay - phrase meaning and origin - The Phrase Finder

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: November 21, 2020, 06:11:27 PM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Sonny Scott Lyrics
« Reply #14 on: Today at 10:19:01 AM »
Hi all,
Sonny Scott recorded "Naked Man Blues" on the same day as he recorded all of his other solo titles, with the exception of "Red Cross, No. 2". He played "Naked Man Blues" out of E position in standard tuning, and it's probably his most exciting playing. Unfortunately, the only copy of the song up on youtube is seriously whupped, so you'll see a number of bent bracketed places in the transcription, all of which I would very much appreciate help in hearing. And as far as that goes, I may well have screwed up the places I think I'm sure of. This is in as bad a shape as a couple of those Ed Bell songs, like "Rosca Mama Blues". Anyway, here is "Naked Man Blues":



INTRO

I'm gonna get me a woman, I can call my own
I'm gonna get me a woman that I can call my own
I've been [driven ?       ], 'til I don't know right from wrong

Lord, [I read the news, baby], my woman's in this town
Lord, I heard the news, my, woman's in this town
But you never listen, baby, you do love to run around

SOLO

Babe, I ain't got no shoes, baby, I ain't got no clothes to wear
Lord, I ain't got no shoes, baby, I ain't got no clothes to wear
Gal, and if I did, I would follow you everywhere

Lord, she's long and tall, Lord, hips just like a snake
Lord, she's long and tall, and her, hips just like a snake
Lord, she's long and tall, ooo, hips just like a snake
That's the onliest girl I will love, that is, in this place

Pretty babe, I know you don't mean me no good
Yeah, babe, I know you don't mean me no good
'Cause every time I leave you, you're all over the neighborhood

CODA

All best,
Johnm 

 


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