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If you want to learn how to make songs yourself, you take your guitar and you go to where the road crosses that way, where a crossroads is. Get there, be sure to get there just a little 'fore 12 that night so you know you'll be there. You have your guitar and be playing a piece there by yourself... A big black man will walk up there and take your guitar and he'll tune it. And then he'll play a piece and hand it back to you. That's the way I learned to play anything I want - Tommy Johnson, to his brother

Author Topic: Jack Kelly & His South Memphis Jug Band Lyrics  (Read 2973 times)

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Offline TenBrook

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Re: Jack Kelly/South Memphis Jug Band: You Done Done It
« Reply #15 on: April 18, 2017, 10:49:42 AM »
John, I agree, the beginnings of most of those verses are near impossible to hear (I had given up on the first verse but now I can totally hear what you heard). It seems like you and Suzy have most of them worked out pretty good. For the potatoes verse though I think it goes:
   I raised potato, bottoms, raised 'em on the hill
   Yes, they good potatoes asked her put em in the till

At first that didn't make sense to me as I think of a till involving money but its definition is less specific and can refer to any container, box, etc. Also it makes the chorus 'She done, done it' make a little more sense.

I was also helped by Youtube allowing you to slow down a song, at half speed it was easier to make out the line.

« Last Edit: April 18, 2017, 10:54:22 AM by TenBrook »

Offline Stuart

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Re: Jack Kelly/South Memphis Jug Band: You Done Done It
« Reply #16 on: April 18, 2017, 12:39:04 PM »
A tough one, to be sure. I listened a few times and the only differences are that I think I hear "tossed" for "throwed."--"tossed my baby..."

And I hear an "a" before "thing." --"She couldn't do a thing..."

For "raised em" I hear "right up"

I agree with Lew re: "put em in the till"

My ears ain't what they used to be, not that they ever were, so I'll be interested in what the final consensus is regarding the lyrics.

I agree, Suzy, great fiddle. I'm sure  that whatever you settle on as the working version of the lyrics, you'll craft the song into a real showstopper.

Offline Suzy T

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Re: Jack Kelly/South Memphis Jug Band: You Done Done It
« Reply #17 on: April 18, 2017, 06:39:14 PM »
You guys are awesome!  I wasn't even thinking of working up this song to perform, it's to satisfy the voracious appetite of my local string band blues class for material they haven't heard before. It's so funny how many of those verses, or versions of them, crop up in so many other songs.

Offline Stuart

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Re: Jack Kelly/South Memphis Jug Band: You Done Done It
« Reply #18 on: April 18, 2017, 07:28:44 PM »
I wasn't even thinking of working up this song to perform,...

Famous last words--That's what they all say! But in all seriousness, glad to be of assistance, if only in a very minor way.

Offline Johnm

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Jack Kelly & His South Memphis Jug Band Lyrics
« Reply #19 on: April 27, 2017, 03:09:23 PM »
Hi all,
Jack Kelly & His South Memphis Jug Band recorded "Believe I'll Go Back Home" at their first recording session, in New York City on August 1, 1933.  For the song, Kelly accompanies himself out of E position in standard tuning, which was fairly unusual for him, since he almost always played in Spanish tuning.  A second guitarist, described on the JSP set "Memphis Shakedown" as "probably Dan Sane" plays second guitar, contributing flat-picked bass runs, similarly out of E position in standard tuning, and Will Batts, on fiddle, and D.M. "Doctor" Higgs, on jug, round out the band.  The guitarists' approach to duet playing is something of a precursor to the approach taken several years later, on Little Buddy Doyle's records, with both guitars playing busily, pretty much right on top of each other.  Kelly really was an exciting singer.  Here is the group's performance:



INTRO SOLO

I believe, I believe, I believe I'll go back home
I believe, I believe, I believe that I'll go back home
I'm gon' acknowledge to my baby, that I have done her wrong

St. Louis is on a fire, Chicago is burning down
St. Louis is on a fire, Chicago is burning down
I'm sick and tired of my baby foolin' 'round

Babe, please forgive me, I know that I've done you wrong
Oh baby, please forgive me, I know that I've done you wrong
I'm gon' get down on my knees, I wants my little old baby back home

ENSEMBLE SOLO

It's the same old fireman, same old engineer
It's the same old fireman, same old engineer
And they took my baby, and left me standing here

All best,
Johnm

 

Offline Johnm

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Re: Jack Kelly & His South Memphis Jug Band Lyrics
« Reply #20 on: April 28, 2017, 11:23:19 AM »
Hi all,
I merged three earlier threads on songs performed by Jack Kelly & His South Memphis Jug Band into this new dedicated thread, so it instantaneously has over a thousand views--pretty cool!
All best,
Johnm

Offline Lastfirstface

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Re: Jack Kelly & His South Memphis Jug Band Lyrics
« Reply #21 on: April 28, 2017, 12:51:48 PM »
Will Batts is generally tuned low on these recordings, right? I remember reading that in a thread here, but I'm not sure which one. I was messing around with "Policy Rag" on my fiddle and it sounded like C position tuned down to about A.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Jack Kelly & His South Memphis Jug Band Lyrics
« Reply #22 on: April 28, 2017, 03:22:03 PM »
Hi all,
For "Diamond Buyer Blues", recorded in Memphis on July 14, 1939, Jack Kelly works out of E position in standard tuning,  with a seconding flat-picking guitarist (who does not sound like Dan Sane) providing bass support while Will Batts fiddles.  Will Batts is recycling a lot of his favorite licks here.  "Manicure" seems like a good possibility for a word appearing only once in blues lyrics.  Here is the group's performance of "Diamond Buyer Blues":



FIDDLE INTRO

I will buy you a diamond, manicure your fingernails
I will buy you a diamond, baby, manicure your fingernails
Says, I will stand a trial, baby, lay out some time in the county jail

Somebody, somebody, been trimmin' off my horse's mane
Somebody, somebody, been trimmin' off my horse's mane
Well, that will be all right, baby, I'll see you just the same

I can tell when my woman's kidman come in town
I can tell when my woman's kidman, when he come in town
She will go get them soft-sleepin' teddies, and them good old soft-sleepin' gowns

FIDDLE

I had a dream last night, and it really was tight
I had a dream last night, and it really was tight
It seemed to me like, my baby, she ain't treatin' me right

All best,
Johnm
 

Offline Johnm

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Re: Jack Kelly & His South Memphis Jug Band Lyrics
« Reply #23 on: April 30, 2017, 04:25:11 PM »
Hi all,
Jack Kelly and the band recorded "World Wandering Blues" at their last session, the July 14, 1939 date in Memphis.  I don't know who his seconding guitarist was for the session, but they grooved especially intensely together, and from the sound of it, their intensity jacked Will Batts up, too.  They blow the lid off on the solo.  Jack Kelly works out of E position in standard tuning here, and the second guitarist flat picks out of G position in standard tuning.  There is wonderful singing from Jack Kelly, as per usual, and he always had interesting lyrics, too.  Here is the song:



FIDDLE INTRO

I am in this world, wanderin', wanderin' from town to town
I am in this world, wanderin' from town to town
Well, if I find my baby, I'm gonna run her just like she was a hound

Will, if you play the violin, I will do the howlin'
Will, if you play the violin, I will do the howlin'
Well, bein' late at night, these women will turn to prowlin'

I am a man, I says, of this kind
I am a man, I says, of this kind
Well, I get a long ways, just to try to make me a dime

SOLO

It's three o'clock in the mornin', by the clock hangin' up on the wall
Well, it's three o'clock in the mornin', by the clock hangin' up on the wall
My baby used to come home at midnight, now she don't come home at all

Edited 5/2 to pick up correction from frankie

All best,
Johnm


 
« Last Edit: May 02, 2017, 04:11:02 PM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Jack Kelly & His South Memphis Jug Band Lyrics
« Reply #24 on: May 02, 2017, 10:19:39 AM »
Hi all,
Jack Kelly & His South Memphis Jug Band recorded "Flower Blues" at their last session, in Memphis on July 14, 1939.  Jack plays out of E position in standard tuning, the unidentified second guitarist flat picks out of G position in standard tuning, and Will Batts fiddles.  This blues has a notably tough sound.  I would love to have been there at this session and heard in person the two guitarists and the way they worked together.  it's worth noting, too, that the way these two guitarists worked together has gone completely unexamined and unplayed by present-day players, just as has the duet sound of Little Buddy Doyle's recordings gone unexamined and unplayed.  Here is "Flower Blues":



INTRO

I'd rather see the flowers, growing on top of my baby's grave
I'd rather see the flowers, growing on top of my baby's grave
Than to see some other man smilin', smilin' in my baby's face

Here I am, here I am, settin' right chere with folded arms
Here I am, here I am, settin' right chere with folded arms
Well, it seem like all good times, for me, in this old world have gone

My Mother's dead and gone to Glory, my Papa's done th'owed me 'way
My Mother's dead and gone to Glory, Papa, he's done th'owed me 'way
But to have a low-down dirty heart, baby, to mistreat me this-a-way

ENSEMBLE SOLO

And you take me back, baby, I'll tell you just what I'll do
And if you take me back, baby, I'll tell you what I'll do
I will work hard and I'll slave, baby, I'll bring that money back home to you

All best,
Johnm

 

« Last Edit: May 02, 2017, 02:53:01 PM by Johnm »

Offline frankie

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Re: Jack Kelly & His South Memphis Jug Band Lyrics
« Reply #25 on: May 02, 2017, 02:54:50 PM »
Well, if you play the violin, I will do the howlin'
Well, if you play the violin, I will do the howlin'
Well, bein' late at night, these women will turn to prowlin'

I know Jack Kelly sings "well" a lot...  and I do mean a LOT.. but I always heard the first two lines as starting with "Will, if you play..." - basically shouting out to Will Batts

The ensemble sound on these recordings is one of my favorites ever...  and that Flower Blues...  gawdamighty!

Offline Suzy T

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Re: Jack Kelly & His South Memphis Jug Band Lyrics
« Reply #26 on: May 02, 2017, 03:18:59 PM »
So inspiring!  I think I'm about to embark on a Will Batts binge!

Offline Johnm

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Re: Jack Kelly & His South Memphis Jug Band Lyrics
« Reply #27 on: May 02, 2017, 04:09:58 PM »
Thanks for the lyrics catch, Frank.  It makes so much sense, and the sound is right, too.  I will make the fix.  I couldn't agree more about the ensemble sound, especially on the solos.  I love the way they're all just blasting, and on some of the solos Jack Kelly and the seconding guitarist are playing runs right in the same register--what a mash-up!  It's a treat.
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: May 02, 2017, 05:14:17 PM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Jack Kelly & His South Memphis Jug Band Lyrics
« Reply #28 on: May 03, 2017, 05:20:37 PM »
Hi all,
Jack Kelly & His South Memphis Jug Band recorded "Cold Iron Bed" at their first session, on August 1, 1933 in New York City.  For the session, Jack, who accompanied himself out of Spanish tuning, was joined by Will Batts on fiddle, D.M. Higgs on jug and possibly Dan Sane on seconding guitar.  Whoever was playing the seconding guitar sounds to have been working out of A position in standard tuning.  This version of the band didn't have quite the intensity of ensemble sound as did the 1939 version of the band, but it still sounds pretty great.  Here is "Cold Iron Bed":



INTRO SOLO

Baby, take me up and lay me down in your cool iron bed
Baby, take me upstairs, lay me down in your cool iron bed
If I don't get no better, I want you to come and rub my head

You's a no-good weed, the cows is gon' mow you down (Spoken:  Yeah!)
Says, you's a no-good weed, the cows is gonna mow you down
And if I was a policeman, I would run you clean out of town

SOLO

Ever since, ever since, my poor Mother been dead (Spoken:  Yeah!)
Ever since, ever since, my poor Mother been dead
The rocks have been my pillow, and the cold ground have been my bed

Baby, I will make everything all right
Baby, I'll make everything all right
If I don't see you tomorrow, I'll see you tomorrow night

SOLO

All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: Jack Kelly & His South Memphis Jug Band Lyrics
« Reply #29 on: May 04, 2017, 02:45:17 PM »
Hi all,
Jack Kelly & His South Memphis Jug Band recorded "Red Ripe Tomatoes" at their first session, on August 1, 1933 in New York City.  Jack Kelly sang lead and played lead guitar out of E position in standard tuning, Will Batts fiddled, Dan Sane (possibly) played seconding guitar, flat-picked, out of G position in standard tuning and D. M. Higgs played jug.  Will Batts fiddling seemed like it had a bit more variety in these early cuts of the band, though at the same time, it was probably less intense and bluesy.  He sounds here more like he did on the cuts he backed Frank Stokes on, like "Shiny Town Blues".    Here is "Red Ripe Tomatoes":



FIDDLE SOLO

I've got a 32.20, shoot just like a .45
I've got a 32.20, shoot just like a .45
I can walk on old Green River levee, babe, I won't have to hide

Now, I ain't gon' sell it, too good to give away
I ain't gon' sell it, too good to give away
I'm gon' save it for me and my baby, I ain't sayin' 'til some rainy day

Now, red ripe tomatoes, don't forget your T-bone steak
Now, your red ripe tomato, don't forget your T-bone steak
Well, when you get ready, go to fishin', go over on that Horseshoe Lake

SOLO

Well, Mr. Charlie, you had better watch your men
Now, Mr. Charlie, you had better watch your men
They all going through the bushes, and they are going in

SOLO

All best,
Johnm

« Last Edit: May 04, 2017, 03:22:17 PM by Johnm »

 


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