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I want to let you know that some snakes have been seen in the Roundyard neighborhood. The grass has grown up around the sidewalk and the snakes has been seen, looking for water - Early Wright, obituary to the DJ, WROX Clarksdale

Author Topic: Mance Lipscomb Lyrics  (Read 24518 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Re: Mance Lipscomb Lyrics
« Reply #45 on: May 21, 2012, 03:59:34 PM »
Hi all,

Mance's recording of "Willie Poor Boy" was first released on his old album, "Texas Sharecropper and Songster, Volume 2", on Arhoolie.  Mance played the song out of Spanish tuning and it is one of very few non-slide tunes in Spanish recorded by Texas players.  A number of my friends have commented on its similarity to Leadbelly's "Poor Howard", and like "Poor Howard", the way the left hand works in the front end of the performance is very much akin to Bluegrass banjo.  Toward the tale end of the song, Mance goes into a very syncopated lyric break, starting with "Whoa, mule" that is a marked contrast with the smoothly flowing front end of the song.

Willie, Willie, Willie poor boy
Do let my Saviour be

Yes, I love my baby, God knows I do
I'll love her 'til the sea goes dry
If I thought she didn't love me
I'd take morphine and I'd die

Oh me, oh my
Do Lord, remember me

Went down to the old New Ground
Get me a load o' corn
Well, the racoon sicced them dog on me
That possum blowed his horn

SOLO

Do Lord, remember me

I went down to New Orleans
Didn't go there to stay
I fell in love with a brownskin girl
Stayed there half of my day

Ah me, ah my, Willie poor boy
Do let my Saviour be

Would not marry a knotty-headed girl
Tell you the reason why
'Cause every time she combed her head
The nap begin to fly

SOLO

Now if I had a Northern wife
I'll tell you what I'd do
I'd take her down to New Orleans
I'd trade her off for corn

SOLO

Whoa mule, whoa mule, whoa mule
That old mule

Hit that mule, he wouldn't gee
'Cross the head with a single-tree

Whoa mule, whoa mule, whoa mule

All best,
Johnm


Edited November 4, 2016 by Lindy:

Banjo Chris taught this song at Port Townsend this summer (great thing about a lot of Mance Lipscomb tunes, it only takes 20 minutes to teach/learn the basic song, then it takes weeks of practice to get at the subtleties and variations). I went looking for lyrics, and I found some that are on a couple of other recordings besides "Texas Sharecropper and Songster, Vol. 2."

The first stanzas are from ?Hear Me Howlin?,? the 50th Anniversary Arhoolie boxed set.

I went down to my true love?s house the other day.
I didn?t go there to stay.
She treated me so nice and kind.
I stayed there half of my day.
Aw me, aw my, aw my,
Do let my savior be.

Some people tell me that a preacher won?t steal.
I caught two down in my cornfield.
One had a shovel, the other had a hoe,
Digging my corn all up by the road.
Aw, aw my, lord do have mercy on me.

Old mule, that old mule,
Can?t get the saddle on that old mule.
Old mule, old mule, old mule
Old mule, that old mule.

------------------

The next two stanzas are from "Texas Songster 2000" (no ?volume? number like the other Mance CDs on Arhoolie):

Well the raccoon up that simmon tree,
And the possum down on the ground.
Well the possum said to raccoon, ?I want you
To shake me some simmons down.?
Aw-me, aw-my, do lord remember me.

I went down to my true lover?s house.
Hadn?t never been down there before.
She fed me out of an old hog trough,
I ain?t going back no more.
Aw-me, Willie Poor Boy
Do let my savior be.

Lindy
« Last Edit: November 07, 2016, 10:59:06 AM by lindy »

Offline sofingraw

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Re: Mance Lipscomb Lyrics
« Reply #46 on: May 22, 2012, 07:03:37 PM »
Re: "I Wonder Why" on Live at the Cabale,

I think 'two kind of nations' is actually 'two kind of natures'. Meaning two types of men/women that he can't stand.

Offline sofingraw

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Re: Mance Lipscomb Lyrics
« Reply #47 on: June 10, 2012, 08:27:40 AM »
Also, in some live versions of 'Rocks and Gravel', he says 'Goin out west Texas, see my pony run' vice goin out 'west to'. Probably mixed the two up as they came to him on stage on any given night, and it's hardly worth mentioning.

A minor point as I said, as the thought gets across regardless.

Plus, 'out west' from his hometown of Navasota for 600 miles or so is nothing but more Texas anyhow!

Offline plop72

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Re: Mance Lipscomb Lyrics
« Reply #48 on: October 30, 2012, 02:56:03 AM »
Hi,
I Found two videos of Mance playing Alcohol Blues (also known as Whiskey Blues):


and


I currently try to figure out the lyrics, which is hard as i am not a native speaker.
The lyrics seem to be quite different in these two versions; this is what i hear:

Mance Lipscomb - Alcohol Blues

I?m out on 5th street to buy some alcohol
out on 5th street in the morning to buy some alcohol
told the man to cut it half full o' water
But he didn't put a drop at all

Drunk my alcohol (this morning) and walked on down the street (2*)
My eyes got so heavy couldn?t see my feet

She said Daddy Daddy you?re no good at all
She said Daddy Daddy you aint no good at all
You dont do nothing than drink your alcohol

You don?t love like you say you do
You don?t love me baby like you say you do
You can?t be my woman, somebody else will do

1.Solo


???? can not stand myself
???? can not stand myself
Every woman i get, she got someone else


Left home this morning played like i was gone
Left home this morning and played like i was gone
When I slipped back somebody is on my babys arms

I shot that woman and thought that she would die
Yes I shot that woman and thought that gal would die
Instrumental

???

Come in this house get your morning exercise
Come in this house (woman) get your morning exercise
When I get through with you take your farewell ride

That?s alright things going back my way
That?s alright things going back my way
Got (some) money in my pocket change clothes every day

If anyone has an idea what the lyrics for the missing line are or has any improvement proposals for the lines i heard it would be highly appreciated

all
best
carsten

Offline Dom94

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Re: Mance Lipscomb Lyrics
« Reply #49 on: October 30, 2012, 02:35:56 PM »
One thing people can not stand myself
Hey one thing can not stand myself
Playin' Blues is Freedom

Offline banjochris

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Re: Mance Lipscomb Lyrics
« Reply #50 on: November 01, 2012, 10:32:52 PM »
Missing bits:

Here's one thing I can't understand myself

Tell me baby how you want your rollin' done,
I want you to do just like my old-time rider done.

Got a two by four, totin' in my hand
Got a two by four, totin' 'round in my hand
When I get through with you, you know how to treat your next man.

Offline plop72

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Re: Mance Lipscomb Lyrics
« Reply #51 on: November 02, 2012, 12:06:25 AM »
thanks a ton for your help and time chris & dom!
I will try to incorporate the lyrics in my "version" of the song.
all best
Carsten

Offline ScottN

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Re: Mance Lipscomb Lyrics
« Reply #52 on: February 15, 2013, 02:09:28 PM »
Casey Jones

Come all you rounders if you want to hear
Story 'bout a brave engineer
Casey Jones was the rounder's name
On a six eight wheeler where he won his fame

Caller called Casey just a half past four
Kissed his wife at the station door
He mounted to the cabin with his order in his hand
Takin' a farewell trip a to the promised land

(guitar) mounted to the cabin
(guitar)
Casey Jones (guitar)
Takin' a farewell trip a to the promised land

Casey said just before he died
Fix all the cars so the bums can't ride
If they ride they got to ride the rod
Put their hopes in Jesus and their trust in God

(guitar)
(guitar)
(guitar)
(guitar)

Haul in your water shovel in your coal
Stick your head out the window watch the drive wheel roll
Gon' run this train til they leave the rail
'Cause I'm eight hours late with the western mail

Casey Jones (guitar)
Casey Jones (guitar)
(guitar)
(guitar)

When Casey was going up the Reno Hill
He blowed for the crossing with an awful shrill
Switchman knowed by the engine's moan
Man 's at the throttle must be Casey Jones

(guitar)
(guitar)
(guitar)
(guitar)

Looks at his watch and the watch was slow
Looked at the water and the water was low
He turned to the fireman and then he said
We will (fix broke?) but we'll all be dead

(guitar)
Casey Jones (guitar)
Casey Jones (guitar)
Takin' a farewell trip a to the promised land

When he died he went to Heaven from here
Told Saint Peter he's a brave engineer
Saint Peter said Casey 'cause you're brave and bold
I'm gonna send you down yonder where you can shovel coal


In verse 10, other songs have lyrics like "Boy we're gonna reach Bristol but we'll all be dead" or "We're going to reach Frisco but we'll all be dead."  Could be he was going for "Frisco" but muffed the lyric...

Any corrections or suggestions are always appreciated.

Thanks,
Scott

Offline cru423

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Jack of Diamonds
« Reply #53 on: March 11, 2013, 09:03:31 PM »
This is off the Arhoolie recordings. I believe this is originally a song about the card game Coon Can, or gin rummy.

Jack of Diamonds

Well I played him end of spring
And he never won a thing

Jack of Diamonds was a hard card to play

Well I played him end of fall
And he never won at all

Jack of Diamonds was a hard card to play

I fell down on my knees
Tried to play Jack of Spades

Jack of Diamonds was a hard card to play

Well I played him 'gainst the ace
He was a starvation in my face

Jack of Diamonds was a hard card to play

Well I played him 'gainst the deuce
pulled a jack when it weren't no use

Jack of Diamonds was a hard card to play

Well I played him 'gainst the tre
It was on ??it a fiver lay??

Jack of Diamonds was a hard card to play

And I played the jack 'gainst the four
Turned the jack's red indigo

Jack of Diamonds was a hard card to play

I played him 'gainst the five
That Abe Lincoln made me cry

Jack of Diamonds was a hard card to play

And I played him 'gainst the six
It left me in a terrible fix

Jack of Diamonds was a hard card to play

And I told you last week
Just as plain as a man could speak
I'm gonna send you to your proper pay day

And I played the jack 'gainst the king
And it made the deal sing

Jack of diamonds was a hard card to play

And I played it 'gainst the queen
And it turned my money green

Jack of diamonds was a hard card to play


Offline cru423

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Jack of Diamonds
« Reply #54 on: March 11, 2013, 09:49:30 PM »
In the 5th and 7th verses, after listening to another live recording on youtube, I'm switching to "lay". Instead of imagining the money he will win is already in his hand. He is contrasting "play", to hold the hand, with "lay", to put down the hand.

5th verse:

I played the jack 'gainst the tre
It was only a five to lay

7th verse:

I played the jack 'gainst the five
That lay likely (lay length/meld length) make/made me cry

Any other suggestions?

Offline banjochris

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Re: Mance Lipscomb Lyrics
« Reply #55 on: March 12, 2013, 09:03:11 AM »
It's "fiver lay" and "lay like to made me cry" -- also in the verse about "pay day" it's "send you to your papa pay day" (which is  a pretty common blues lyric.

The game that the song is about is Monte, which is sort of a relative of Faro, but there was a "layout" of cards to bet against:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monte_Bank

Chris

Offline cru423

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Re: Mance Lipscomb Lyrics
« Reply #56 on: March 12, 2013, 02:56:21 PM »
I just found a whole thread on this forum devoted to discovering what game it was. I don't think we'll know. The reason why I thought it was coon-can, was because the high cards like jack of diamonds are hard to finally get rid of as deadwood. And you can't have over ten points in your hand before you lay or throw down your cards (at least in gin rummy). So the meaning in that case would be, "Jack of Diamonds is hard card to finally throw down". 

Yet it begs the question, if this player is pulling cards out of the deck in serial order, 1,2,3,...6...why does pulling a 6 leave him in a terrible fix? He's got two melds and a possible third on the way. Earlier in the song, "Only a 5 to lay" could mean that he has two melds already in his hand and he needs to pull one more five to lay/throw down his hand. Then he pulls a 4, and he figures he will more likely make a run out of 4,5,6, so he discards a 5 AND also pulls a 5 out of the deck. That's why the "lay length" makes him cry at this point, because he just ruined what would have been a perfectly good meld for a dubious one. Then he pulls a six and the theory seems to be lost, because he's in a terrible fix with two melds. Although, isn't that what singing blues is about? This isn't a card game, it's poetry, so... To cap off this game, when he gets the third meld, he then discards one of the two fives he has, and only has one five left over.

Like I said, monte could also be the game, as it says in the liner notes of the Arhoolie album. It would then make since to have a "fiver" or a "five-spot" on the lay-out. I'll have to do some more research and listen to more versions before I'm sold.

Papa pay day? Could you list some songs that have this verse in it? I know Mississippi John Hurt sings about Mama payday. What an interesting post! thanks chris!

Offline dj

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Re: Mance Lipscomb Lyrics
« Reply #57 on: March 12, 2013, 03:04:37 PM »
Quote
Yet it begs the question, if this player is pulling cards out of the deck in serial order, 1,2,3,...6...why does pulling a 6 leave him in a terrible fix?

Because the song demanded a word to rhyme with "six".

Don't over-intellectualize this stuff.   ;D

Seriously, there's nothing in the song that indicates that the cards were actually played in the order they're sung.  The singer could be talking about separate instances in multiple games.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2013, 03:08:19 PM by dj »

Offline cru423

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Re: Mance Lipscomb Lyrics
« Reply #58 on: March 12, 2013, 04:05:27 PM »
yeah, you're right, as a game it doesn't make sense unless we all agree that there were so many games of faro, played coincidentally, or remembered in sequence. But as a folksong it's a structural masterpiece. That's why I spend so much time with this.   O0

You know, I was just thinking, intelexualizing if you will  :P. One of the biggest problems or shall I say "mysteries" about this way of looking at it is (and it's a popular view since the wikipedia stub on this song mentions that it is about a game of coon can), besides what I've already mentioned:

If (during the same game of coon can) on the deuce he pulls another jack of another suit when it doesn't matter, and on the next turn he pulls a tre and only needed a five to win, that would mean that he has pulled a third jack, between moves two and three, skipping this move over in the verse. He then later substitutes the queen and the king for those two jacks to complete the verse. So why is there such a slight of hand (in the song) at this point? Probably because he is talking about casino/saloon games where cardsharping was notorious. In a song like this "slide of hand" is also most deceptive.

Offline cru423

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Re: Mance Lipscomb Lyrics
« Reply #59 on: March 12, 2013, 04:59:16 PM »
Hey has anyone ever listened to Butterbeans and Susie's "Deal Yourself Another Hand"? I'm convinced that no matter what game they're talking about, it all boils down to this:

The Jack that's three-card Charlie, and he's using me for a goat
The Queen that's you sweet mama, also trying to cut my throat
The King that's Papa Butterbeans and he's gonna wear the crown
So be careful y'all ain't broke when the deal goes down

They're playing a three-handed whist in this song. The fact that the ace was a "starvation" in the Lipscomb song makes me think it's also a reference to whist (spades or hearts) where it is possible to play backwards in a misere contract, so that the party with the most tricks loses instead of wins. The ace would be the least valuable card instead of the highest (in a game like coon can or faro it doesn't matter).


 


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