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Author Topic: Jack Kelly & His South Memphis Jug Band Lyrics  (Read 2972 times)

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Offline uncle bud

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Jack Kelly & His South Memphis Jug Band Lyrics
« on: July 11, 2012, 08:28:34 PM »
Will Batts recorded Country Woman in August 1933 for Vocalion, probably with Jack Kelly and Dan Sane on guitars. They were playing out of Spanish tuning, and discussion of the musical accompaniment can be found here.

I have some trouble spots in the lyrics. Line 3 of the first verse is not clear to me. The first option I include is from a transcription on the internet, though I am not sure I buy it. The 2nd option is my guess. Other spots in square brackets as well. Any help appreciated!

Country Woman Blues - Will Batts
Spanish tuning

I've got two women in the country, I've got two women stays in town (yeah, boy)
I've got two women in the country, I've got two women stays in town
Reason I can fiddle it so careful, 'cause nar' don't dog me around

Say, you may be brownskin woman, great God, your hair long as my arm (all right, sing it)
Say, you may be brownskin woman, great God, your hair long as my arm (yeah)
Can't do the bedspring poker, you sure done lost your home

(Well, play it, boy!)

[Know] the short-haired woman waitin' for to carry your troubles on
Make you think through the daytime, trouble you all night long (Why?)
She make you think you right, when you know darn well you wrong (yeah, boy)

I don't want no jealous-hearted women, great God, makin' up my bed
I don't want no jealous-hearted women, great God, makin' up my bed
Man, she put somethin' in your mattress, make you wish you was dead
« Last Edit: July 15, 2012, 09:22:27 AM by uncle bud »

Offline Rivers

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Re: Will Batts - Country Woman
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2012, 08:37:38 PM »
I think you have it right,

Reason I can fiddle it so careful, 'cause ne'er don't dog me 'round

Who knows what that means  :P

Plus I think he's phrasing the first & second lines of verse 1:

"I'm got two women in the country..", rather than "I've.."

Reminds me of Minnie's classic first line "Is anybody seen my pigmeat on the line...', messing with the verb tenses.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2012, 08:45:13 PM by Rivers »

Online Johnm

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Re: Will Batts - Country Woman
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2012, 10:20:47 PM »
Uncle bud, I think the phrase in 1.3 is, "Reason I consider it so careful".  The only reason I know that is because Frank Basile pointed it out to me--I wasn't hearing it either.  I think Frank Stokes used the line in one of his songs with fiddle.
All best,
Johnm

Offline banjochris

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Re: Will Batts - Country Woman
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2012, 12:58:33 AM »
UB -- I'm hearing "fiddle" in 1.3 and "nar' none" for the other bit in brackets. I think he means he can get away with having four women because none of them bother him about it.
Chris

Offline Gumbo

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Re: Will Batts - Country Woman
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2012, 01:28:40 AM »
i'm hearing "fiddle it so careful cause now none dog me 'round"

Also in verse 1 I hear "I'm" in each instance rather than "I've" (EDIT as Rivers already pointed out)

v3 " 'nuther short haired"
« Last Edit: July 12, 2012, 01:30:02 AM by Gumbo »

Offline dj

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Re: Will Batts - Country Woman
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2012, 04:12:58 AM »
I'm with Chris on the last line of the first verse:

"Reason I can FIDDLE it so careful 'cause NE'ER NONE dog me around"

Also, I'd transcribe the first line of verse three as:

"KNOW THE short-haired woman waitin' for to carry your troubles on", with the phrase understood to be "You know the short-haired woman...", but the "you" left out in this case.   

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Will Batts - Country Woman
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2012, 09:19:20 AM »
Sorry for the delay in responding, things have been kind of hectic. I got a chance to go back and listen some more with all the suggestions in mind. For the line in question, I am hearing

Reason I can FIDDLE it so careful 'cause NAR' DON'T dog me 'round

Or should that be NE'ER, as in neither? I am pretty sure I am hearing a D sound in DON'T rather than an N sound for NONE. I really hear the F sound in FIDDLE, and indeed the rest of the word as well.

Johnm mentioned Frank Stokes using this line somewhere and I was able to track it down after much listening to Papa Frank himself. Never a bad thing. The (very similar) line occurs in "Downtown Blues (Take 2)" and was transcribed in the Frank Stokes lyrics thread as "Reason, I can feel it so careful, 'cause nar' one don't thrown me down". I think Stokes is singing "FIDDLE IT" as well in his version. Worth noting he sings "DON'T throw me down".

The meaning Chris proposes sounds reasonable to me, though I guess we won't know for sure without seeing other examples of this expression/sentiment. I wonder though whether "fiddle it" -- if that is correct, as I think it is -- comes as well quite literally from the the fact that Batts was a fiddler, who of course played on a number of Stokes' recordings. It doesn't make sense chronologically, since as far as recording dates go, Stokes and Sane recorded Downtown Blues in February 1928 while Batts, Sane and Jacky Kelly (prob.) recorded Country Woman in August 1933. But there's nothing to say this verse doesn't pre-date both of those recordings and is just a verse that this gang of musicians would use, possibly originating with Batts. Pure speculation!

Edited to add: Forgot to deal with verse 3. I'm considering dj's suggestion that it begins "KNOW, the short-haired woman...". I'm still waffling, but it makes some sense. This verse also appears in a Frank Stokes song: Mistreatin' Blues. In that song, it sounds like it could be "ANOTHER short-haired woman" but Stokes regularly adds the syllable ah/a/uh in front of many words for rhythmic effect, and this could instead be a case of that habit. So the line there would be "AH KNOW THE short-haired woman waitin' to carry your troubles on." Dunno.

Also forgot to address the question of I've/I'm. I hear what you're saying, fellas, though I think it is more I'mve, or I'm've, but for simplicity's sake I am leaving it as I've. 
« Last Edit: July 15, 2012, 09:48:08 AM by uncle bud »

Offline Gumbo

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Re: Will Batts - Country Woman
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2012, 03:37:59 PM »
Reason I can FIDDLE it so careful 'cause NAR' DON'T dog me 'round

Or should that be NE'ER, as in neither? I am pretty sure I am hearing a D sound in DON'T rather than an N sound for NONE. I really hear the F sound in FIDDLE, and indeed the rest of the word as well.

Johnm mentioned Frank Stokes using this line somewhere and I was able to track it down after much listening to Papa Frank himself. Never a bad thing. The (very similar) line occurs in "Downtown Blues (Take 2)" and was transcribed in the Frank Stokes lyrics thread as "Reason, I can feel it so careful, 'cause nar' one don't thrown me down".

might nary be the intended word - would that have been a common usage? It means (or meant once upon a time) not any, never, as in nary a sound.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Will Batts - Country Woman
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2012, 06:49:41 AM »
Yup, that's why I've transcribed it as nar', as Chris suggested.

Offline Gumbo

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Re: Will Batts - Country Woman
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2012, 08:34:45 AM »
grand so  :)

Offline Suzy T

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Jack Kelly & His South Memphis Jug Band Lyrics
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2015, 06:58:19 PM »
I'm having a rough time making this out, any help much appreciated!  Here's what I have:
President Blues ? Jack Kelly & South Memphis Jug Band (Will Batts, fiddle)

I?m walking round in Memphis, I?m telling ?.. didn?t have a dime

Don?t people go to see Roosevelt, I would have gone up ?..?

He woke up one morning, ????????
He begin to thinking about his poor people, and he begin to feel sad

Fiddle

If I had four or five dollars, that would make everything all right
If I don?t see no dinner, I?ll see you for a kiss goodnight

I believe I believe, President he?s all right
I believe I believe, President he?s all right
He kept me from going, out there to have a big fight.

Offline bnemerov

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Re: Jack Kelly/ South Memphis Jug Band lyric - President Blues
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2015, 07:26:13 PM »
Hi Suzy,

...in Memphis, I'm tellin' my good gal didn't 've a dime
...see Roosevelt; I would have done a penitentiary crime.

He woke up one mornin'
He was feelin' mighty bad

best,
bruce

Offline Suzy T

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Re: Jack Kelly/ South Memphis Jug Band lyric - President Blues
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2015, 07:34:42 PM »
Holy crow.  That was fast!  Thanks you Bruce.

Offline Suzy T

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Jack Kelly/South Memphis Jug Band: You Done Done It
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2017, 09:20:23 AM »
Love the fiddle part on this! Would appreciate help with lyrics.



I had a little dog his name pour soul
?..But he Run to the door
He done done it, he done done it,
Now you High powered mama , daddy really got your water on

Now the cat told the water (otter?) swimming around
Thought he had?. but he ?..went down
He done done it, he done done it,
Now you High powered mama , daddy really got your water on

Now  ?.baby crossed the roof
Couldn?t do a thing but wiggle and (then?) shoot
She done done it, she done done it,
Now you High powered mama , daddy really got your water on

Now two little boys, lay in the bed
One turned over what d?you reckon he said
He done done it, (he) done done it,
Now you High powered mama , daddy really got your water on

I red
Good potatoes at the bottom of the till
He done done it,  done done it,
Now you High powered mama , daddy got your water on

Now, Two little boys, lay in the bed,
One turned over what d'you Reckon HE said
He done done it, he done done it,
Now you High powered mama , daddy got your water on

Now the 4 legged rooster told the 9 headed hen
Meet me down here cause you know we ain?t no kin
He done done it,  done done it,
Now you High powered mama , daddy got your water on

Online Johnm

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Re: Jack Kelly/South Memphis Jug Band: You Done Done It
« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2017, 10:37:50 AM »
Hi Suzy,
Boy, a lot of that is tough to hear, but I think I have a couple of the verses:

   I had little dog, his name Poor Soul
   Tryin' to find a number, he run through the door

   Now the cat fell in the water, swimmin' around
   Thought he had his belly, but he gut went down 

   Now, I tossed my baby, 'cross the roof
   She couldn't do thing but wiggle, and "Shoot!"
   She done done it, etc.

   Now, it's two little boys, layin' in the bed
   One turned over, what you reckon he said?

   I raise potato, bottoms, raise 'em on the hill
   Yes, they're good potatoes at the bottom in the field

   Now, the bow-legged rooster told the knock-kneeded hen,
   "Meet me down the hill, 'cause you know we no kin."

Those first couple of verses, I feel like I have the sound right, but I'm not sure of the sense.

All best,
Johnm
   
« Last Edit: April 18, 2017, 04:08:26 PM by Johnm »

 


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