The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #121526   Message #2655373
Posted By: Ken Schatz
12-Jun-09 - 10:19 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Early in the Mornin' (prison work song)
Subject: ADD Version: Early in the Morning
OK, here follows Lomax's transcription:


Wake up in the mornin', well-a,
With a cup and a pan (2x)
Well, you say anything about it,
Well-a have trouble out the man. (2x)
Oh captain, captain, don'tcha,
Well-a, know my name? (2x)
Well, I used to be the porter, well-a,
On the southbound train. (2x)
I'm the same grand rascal, well-a,
Stole your watch and chain (2x)

Cryin' ol' Mamie, well-a, Oh Lordy, gal! (2x)
Well, Mamie in Meridian, livin' at ease, (2x)
Well, I'm on Parchman, got to work or leave. (2x)
I'll call Alberta from the woman's wall. (2x)

Well, look over yonder, sun done gone, (2x)
Well, way over yonder, where the western sun. (2x)

Right. A couple of problems, though:

1. This transcription is a little loose. If you listen to the field recording, you'll hear a couple of small deviations.

2. Before "I'll call Alberta..." there is a whole other line that I can't quite make out, and which Lomax omits - I think because he couldn't make it out either. It's a veritable mondegreen festival, something like:

"I'm gonna holler like - [give a mighty good squall]?"

But it seems like that might not be it. I've done some cursory checking for the couplet in other references, books and recordings, and I can't find what it might be. Paging Dr. Finn! Barry might know.

PS About the shouts at the end, William Ferris, in Blues from the Delta, says:

"When a tree is cut or the hoers reach the end of a row, the caller signals the end of his chant by crying 'Mud! Mud! Mud!'"

Welcome Yoda/Judy. Hope that's a help. I'll keep an eye out for that line.