The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #97813 Message #1931006
Posted By: Richie
08-Jan-07 - 10:36 PM
Thread Name: Origin: Alabama Bound & Don't You Leave Me Here
Subject: RE: origin and lyr: Alabama Bound
The blues standard "Baby, Please Don't Go" is based on the Alabama Bound form and was originally called Don't Leave Me Here until the lyrics were changed. Here's some info:
"Baby Please Don't Go (Origins of a Blues)" by Max Haymes
"Baby, Please Don't Go" is often associated with Poor/Big Joe Williams (in 1963,Paul Oliver credited him with composing it) who recorded several post-war versions of the song. But both he and "Baby Doo" Caston drew on a group of earlier blues songs: "Alabama Bound"/Elder Greene's In Town"/ "Don't Leave Me Here". Oliver reports that a Texas collector "published.. . an "Alabama Boun'" with Elder Green verses, which he dated from 1908." (5).
As Oliver notes, in 1925, banjoist Papa Charlie Jackson's "I'm Alabama Bound" showed the links between all three titles. "Elder Greene" would be featured on later recordings by Blind Lemon Jefferson Charlie Patton(1920s) and in 1958 by Mississippi singer/guitarist "Cat-Iron". "Alabama Bound" was recorded by Leadbelly in 1935 and 1940 and cropped up c.1956 by Lonnie Donegan during the British skiffle craze! Whilst "Don't Leave Me Here" was first recorded in 1927 by a Mississippi group who were sometimes billed as "Sunny Boy And His Pals" or "Long Cleve Reed" and "Little Harvey Hull". Tampa Red and Georgia Tom backed each other's vocals on "Mama Don't Leave Me Here" (1931) and "Don't Leave Me Here"(1932), respectively; but are 2 versions of an unrelated blues.
Washboard Sam recorded "Don't Leave Me Here" in 1938 again unheard by me but is probably an urbanised version of the Long Cleve Reed title or of "Baby Please Don't Go". The melody from this group of songs was utilised and speeded up with a more aggressive approach to the vocal. Indeed, Big Joe William's first postwar version of "Baby Please Don't Go" was titled "Don't You Leave Me Here", made in 1947. Though the string bass of Ransom Knowling and the drums of Judge Riley have been added to Sonny Boy's harp, giving a 'Chicago blues' feel to the song Joe himself, curiously, harks back to many of the lines of his 1935 recording with fiddle and washboard. These include the reference to "his long chain on" and "my baby's done lyin'.' Joe substitutes the phrase 'don't you leave me here' for 'baby please don't go' and changes the Southern locale of New Orleans for the more relevant one of Chicago, where he cut this track.