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GUEST,Richie Origins: Early Blues Songs (37) RE: Origins: Early Blues Songs 02 Mar 11

Hi Q,

Handy writes about Careless Love and Loveless Love in his autobiography, Father of the Blues:

"Loveless Love is another of my songs of which one part has an easily traceable folk ancestry. It was based on the Careless Love melody that I had played first in Bessemer in 1892 and that had since become popular all over the South. In Henderson I was told that the words of Careless Love were based on a tragedy in a local family, and one night a gentleman of that city's tobacco-planter aristocracy requested our band to play and sing this folk melody, using the following words:

You see what Careless Love has done,
You see what Careless Love has done
You see what Careless Love has done,
It killed the Governor's only son.

We did our best with these lines and then went into the second stanza:

Poor Archie didn't mean no harm,
Poor Archie didn't mean no harm,
Poor Archie didn't mean no harm -

But there the song ended. The police stepped in and stopped us. The song, they said, was a reflection on two prominent families. Careless Love had too beautiful a melody to be lost or neglected, however, and I was determined to preserve it.

Another similar 16 bar song Handy knew from the 1892 time frame was "High Sheriff" AKA "Deadheads and Suckers" AKA "Two Dollar Bill". I guess Handy was around 19 in 1892. I was off a few years on the date.

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