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Lyr Req: He's Got Better Things For You

cshurtz 07 May 07 - 10:58 PM
Peace 07 May 07 - 11:07 PM
Peace 07 May 07 - 11:12 PM
cshurtz 07 May 07 - 11:27 PM
Peace 07 May 07 - 11:41 PM
Peace 07 May 07 - 11:46 PM
cshurtz 07 May 07 - 11:51 PM
Peace 07 May 07 - 11:57 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 08 May 07 - 12:10 AM
cshurtz 08 May 07 - 12:17 AM
Peace 08 May 07 - 12:32 AM
Stewie 08 May 07 - 12:45 AM
Stewie 08 May 07 - 12:53 AM
cshurtz 08 May 07 - 01:02 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 08 May 07 - 01:10 AM
Peace 08 May 07 - 02:00 PM
Jim Dixon 10 May 07 - 12:04 AM
Ross Campbell 23 Jul 10 - 08:48 PM
Ross Campbell 23 Jul 10 - 08:52 PM
Ross Campbell 23 Jul 10 - 08:57 PM
GUEST,Etan 23 Jul 10 - 09:38 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 23 Jul 10 - 09:43 PM
Ross Campbell 24 Jul 10 - 10:11 PM
GUEST,kendra g. 28 May 11 - 04:15 PM
Jim Dixon 01 Jun 11 - 05:27 PM
GUEST,cathfour 21 Mar 12 - 06:06 PM
toadfrog 09 Nov 14 - 05:43 AM
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Subject: Lyr Req: He's Got Better Things For You
From: cshurtz
Date: 07 May 07 - 10:58 PM

This question is about the gospel song "Better Things For You" It appears on the Anthology of American Folk music and has also been recorded by those such as the Holy Modal Rounders. The lyric I cannot understand is the name at the beginning of this line

_______ was humble, he prayed to God all day, but that was not sufficient, he did not kneel to pray.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: He's Got Better Things For You
From: Peace
Date: 07 May 07 - 11:07 PM

The title is "He Got Better Things for You". It was recorded in 1929 by the Memphis Sanctified Singers.

"I went home and put the Anthology on. I had read somewhere that, in the Fifties, the photographer and film-maker Robert Frank used to listen to the twentieth song on the 'Social Music' discs, the Memphis Sanctified Singers' 1929 'He Got Better Things for You', over and over, as if there didn't need to be any other music in the world. I'd tried to hear something of what he must have heard; I never could. But this day it was all there—as if, again, it had all been obvious.

Smith hadn't credited the singers individually, no doubt because he couldn't find their names. In the supplemental notes to the 1997 reissue by the folklorist Jeff Place, you find them: Bessie Johnson, leading, followed by Melinda Taylor and Sally Sumner, with Will Shade, of the Memphis Jug Band, on guitar. Johnson starts out deliberately, with small, measured steps. 'Kind friends, I want to tell you,' she says in a friendly way. Then her almost mannish vibrato deepens; it's getting rougher, harder, with every pace. When she says 'Jesus Christ, my saviour,' he's hers, not yours. Her throat seems to shred. With that roughness, and the roughness of the words that follow—'He got the Holy Ghost and the fire'—right away it's an angry God that's staring you in the face. Uncle Dave Macon, agent of Satan? This is much scarier. But then, as the first verse is ending, the whole performance, the whole world, seems to drop back, to drop down, to almost take it all back, the threat, the rebuke, the condemnation. Every word is made to stand out starkly, right up to the point of the title phrase. 'He got better things for you'—the phrase seems to slide off Bessie Johnson's tongue, to disappear in the air, leaving only the suggestion that if you listened all the way into this song your life would be completely transformed."

That is from here.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: He's Got Better Things For You
From: Peace
Date: 07 May 07 - 11:12 PM

I realize that isn't much help, but I haven't been able to locate the lyrics. Ten to one however that the name is a biblical one. Could you please post what you think you hear?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: He's Got Better Things For You
From: cshurtz
Date: 07 May 07 - 11:27 PM

Yes I believe it is Bibical. When I play the song I sing "Manesseh" After a little Bible research and comparing it to the Sanctified Singers version, I thought it was the best candidate.

The song doesn't make sense in other ways like the line....Mary was a virgin she birthed the son of God, but that was not sufficient, she had to go with John. I don't think the bible talks about going with John. I love the song though. It's one of my favorite to play because it is so unusual.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: He's Got Better Things For You
From: Peace
Date: 07 May 07 - 11:41 PM

Please check this site.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: He's Got Better Things For You
From: Peace
Date: 07 May 07 - 11:46 PM

I mean no offense, but there may be a difficulty with 'When I play the song I sing "Manesseh"' (and I could be way out to lunch). But Manesseh is Old Testament and from what you've posted and what was on the www, the song seems to be New Testament based.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: He's Got Better Things For You
From: cshurtz
Date: 07 May 07 - 11:51 PM

Thanks...so that's where the John fits in.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: He's Got Better Things For You
From: Peace
Date: 07 May 07 - 11:57 PM

Manasses is a NT name. Would it make sense in the context of the song?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: He's Got Better Things For You
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 08 May 07 - 12:10 AM

Listened to it, but can't do any better than cschurz.

But thanks for reminding me of this album, the discs have some fine tracks. I'll start listening to them again tonight.
Voluminous notes, but no transcribed lyrics- pity!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: He's Got Better Things For You
From: cshurtz
Date: 08 May 07 - 12:17 AM

That might work. I have a bible scholar friend I could ask (as I am not a bible scholar). The other few versions of the song I have heard seem like they mumble over the name. I thought about trying to locate some old pentecostal song books from the turn of the century (if such a thing exists) from the library and see if the song appears anywhere. I guess I need not be so obsessive over one word, but I guess I could be doing worse things with my time


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: He's Got Better Things For You
From: Peace
Date: 08 May 07 - 12:32 AM

You could be running for political office.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: He's Got Better Things For You
From: Stewie
Date: 08 May 07 - 12:45 AM

I can't get it either, but I hear 'L' sounds rather than 'M' and 'S'. What I think I hear is 'Elias Lee was humble'. I don't know about the 'Lee', but if you google 'Elias', you will find a wikipedia entry indicating that he was a prophet in the New Testament.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: He's Got Better Things For You
From: Stewie
Date: 08 May 07 - 12:53 AM

It could well be simply 'Elias he was humble', with a bit of a stumble on the 'he' that makes it sound a bit like an 'l'.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: He's Got Better Things For You
From: cshurtz
Date: 08 May 07 - 01:02 AM

Yes I do hear the "L" too. It kind of sounds like Lineus (or however it is spelled)--like the 19th century scientist with the classification system


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: He's Got Better Things For You
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 08 May 07 - 01:10 AM

Found this online-
"Why no song lyrics for Memphis Sanctified Singers? Originally we planned on showing lyrics, but it appears to be a legally sticky situation. Lawsuits are flying and we are happy to stay out of it for now. Let's hope it all gets settled and everyone comes out happy."
http://memphis-sanctified-singers.omg-music.com/
Memphis

There may be two takes by the M. S. S.; one 2.91 minutes, another 2.95 minutes.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: He's Got Better Things For You
From: Peace
Date: 08 May 07 - 02:00 PM

"La'mech [poor] La-od-i-ce'a [just people] La-od-i-ce'ans [citizens of Laodicea] La-se'a [built upon a rock, a rocky country] Laz'a-rus [assistance of God] Lab-be'us [a man of spirit] Le'vi [who is held and associated] Le'vites [descendants of Levi] Li'nus [nets] Lo'is [better] Lord [proprietor] Lot [wrapped up, hidden, covered] Lu'cas, Lu'ci-us, Luke [luminous] Lyb'i-a [cloudy, rainy] Lyd'da, Lyd'di-a [a magnet] Ly-sa'ni-us [that drives away sorrow] Lys'i-a, Lys'i-as [dissolving] Lys'tra [that dissolves or disappears]"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: He's Got Better Things For You
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 10 May 07 - 12:04 AM

Will someone who has the lyrics (or most of them, anyway) please post them here? They don't seem to be anywhere on the Internet that I can find.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: He's Got Better Things For You
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 23 Jul 10 - 08:48 PM

Better Things For You (Memphis Sanctified Singers) on YouTube

First heard this from the Holy Modal Rounders about forty years ago. They presumably heard the version above from forty years before that and ran with it. I found myself singing it this evening and thought to check the words on the DT - only found this thread - there's another long thread (9245) on HMR history, a few other lyrics but not "Better Things". I'll follow this post with the lyrics as I hear them from the YouTube version. Can't find the Granta article that Peace referred to above, but the description of the performance is very apt.

Ross


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Subject: Lyr Add: HE GOT BETTER THINGS FOR YOU
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 23 Jul 10 - 08:52 PM

Lyrics as I hear them from the YouTube link above:-

HE GOT BETTER THINGS FOR YOU (Memphis Sanctified Singers)

Kind friends, I want to to tell you
Because I love your souls
No doubt you've been converted
But that ain't ever been told
Some people will try to fool you
There's nothing else to do
But Jesus Christ my Saviour
He got better things for you

CHORUS:
        He got better things for you
        No one on earth can do (alt. More than your friends can do)
        He got the Holy Ghost and the Fire
        Sure can bring you through
        He got better things for you
        No one on earth can do
        Oh place my mind on Jesus
        He got better things for you
        
Aeneas he was humble
He prayed to God alway
But that was not sufficient
He did not kneel to pray
God sent to him an angel
And he told him what to do!
Some say he's waitin' in Glory
With better things for you

St Mary was a virgin
She birthed the Son of God
But that was not sufficient
She had to be with John
And set off to Jerusalem
And there he made her new
Now there she's waitin' in Glory
With better things for you

RJC

Ross


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Subject: Lyr Add: BETTER THINGS FOR YOU (Holy Modal Rounder
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 23 Jul 10 - 08:57 PM

And how I remember the Holy Modal Rounder's version:-


BETTER THINGS FOR YOU
As sung by the Holy Modal Rounders

1. Kind friends, I'm here to tell you,
Because I love your souls:
No doubt you've been converted,
But that ain't never been all.
Some people may try to fool you.
They got nothin' better to do,
But Jesus Christ, my Saviour,
Has better things for you.

CHORUS: He's got better things for you,
More than your friends can do.
He's got the Holy Ghost and the Fire,
Just to bring you through.
He's got better things for you,
More than your friends can do,
So set your mind on Jesus,
And better things for you.

2. Now Mary was a virgin.
She birthed the Son of God,
But that was not sufficient.
She had to go with John,
And travel to Jerusalem,
And there he made her new,
An' now she's sittin' in Glory
With better things to do.

3. Aeneas he was humble.
He prayed to God all day,
But that was not sufficient.
He did not kneel to pray.
'N' then God sent down his angels
And told him what to do.
Now he's sittin' in Glory
With better things to do.


RJC

Ross


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: He's Got Better Things For You
From: GUEST,Etan
Date: 23 Jul 10 - 09:38 PM

Peter Stampfel was a Christian
Only good would he partake
But that was not sufficient
For the music he would make
Antonia and Weber
They helped him through and through
And now he's a fiddlin' monster
With better things for you.

... with apologies to all named parties, especially myself

Etan Ben-Ami


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: He's Got Better Things For You
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 23 Jul 10 - 09:43 PM

The Holy Modal Rounders used the lyrics to songs as a jumping off point, and changed lines as they liked. I love the group but I would never take the lyrics from their vesions of older recordings as accurate.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: He's Got Better Things For You
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 24 Jul 10 - 10:11 PM

I would agree about the lyrics. But I have often been surprised when accidentally coming across the original source of one of their songs, how close the HMR sound or presentaton of the song can be to that original, while remaining unmistakably their own take on the song. I've been trying to persuade people for years that these are serious musicians, and it's always a pleasure to find the occasional fellow enthusiast.

Ross


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: He's Got Better Things For You
From: GUEST,kendra g.
Date: 28 May 11 - 04:15 PM

me too Ross.. I love the HMR..!


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Subject: Lyr Add: HE GOT BETTER THINGS FOR YOU
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 01 Jun 11 - 05:27 PM

This transcription is given in American Music: A Panorama, by Lorenzo Candelaria & Daniel Kingman (Boston: Schirmer, Cengage Learning, 2012), page 165—but I wouldn't take it as "gospel" (sorry).


HE GOT BETTER THINGS FOR YOU
[As sung by the Memphis Sanctified Singers]

1. Kind friends, I want to tell you,
Because I love your soul:
No doubt you've been converted,
But this ain't ever been told.
Some people they'll try to fool you.
There's nothing else to do,
But Jesus Christ, my saviour,
He got better things for you.

CHORUS:
He's got better things for you,
And no one on earth can do.
He's got the Holy Ghost and the fire,
Sure can make you true.
He got better things for you,
No one on earth can do.
Oh, place my mind on Jesus.
He's got better things for you

2. Cornelius he was humble.
He prayed to God always,
But that was not sufficient.
He had to give Him praise.
God sent to him an angel
And he told him what to do,
'Cause there he's awaitin' in glory
With better things for you.

3. Mary was a virgin.
She birthed the Son of God,
But that was not sufficient.
She had to be well-shorn.
God sent her to Jerusalem,
And there He made her new,
'Cause there she's awaitin' in glory
With better things for you.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: He's Got Better Things For You
From: GUEST,cathfour
Date: 21 Mar 12 - 06:06 PM

Hi all. In my search for the lyrics of this song I was sure that the name in the second verse was Cornelius and not Aenaes. ( I have been known to be wrong though). At any rate I looked up the story of Cornelius and it seems to match the verse perfectly so I have stuck with that. Here is a link to the case of Cornelius. Great work everyone and thanks for posting those lyrics.

http://cnview.com/bible_study/case_of_cornelius.htm


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: He's Got Better Things For You
From: toadfrog
Date: 09 Nov 14 - 05:43 AM

Some of those words are hard to understand, all right.

As I hear them (on the 1947 Anthology of American Folk Music)
Kind friends, I want to tell you,
Because I love your soul:
No doubt you've been converted,
But you ain't ever been told.
Some people they'll try to fool you.
They got nothing else to do,
But Jesus Christ, my saviour,
He got better things for you.


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