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Lyr Req: Memphis Flu (Elder Curry)

DigiTrad:
INFLUENZA


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INFLUENZA (30)


Bob the Postman 10 May 07 - 08:13 AM
Bob the Postman 11 May 07 - 08:07 AM
The Fooles Troupe 11 May 07 - 08:25 AM
Bob the Postman 13 May 07 - 08:26 AM
Peace 13 May 07 - 01:32 PM
Peace 13 May 07 - 01:37 PM
Bob the Postman 14 May 07 - 07:35 PM
Peace 14 May 07 - 10:08 PM
Jim Dixon 17 May 07 - 07:48 AM
GUEST,Rob 05 May 11 - 04:26 PM
GUEST,kpg 25 Oct 14 - 12:05 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Elder Curry's Memphis Flu
From: Bob the Postman
Date: 10 May 07 - 08:13 AM

Can anyone supply the lyrics to the jug-band inflected 1930 gospel song Memphis Flu? The gifts of the Holy Spirit do not include Precise Diction, so I can't make out a lot of the words. The chorus goes something like:

With God's mighty hand
He is judging this old land
North and south, east and west, ?dum-dee-dum?
He has killed rich and poor
And he's going to kill more
If you don't turn away from your shame.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Elder Curry's Memphis Flu
From: Bob the Postman
Date: 11 May 07 - 08:07 AM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Elder Curry's Memphis Flu
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 11 May 07 - 08:25 AM

I'd like this too.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Elder Curry's Memphis Flu
From: Bob the Postman
Date: 13 May 07 - 08:26 AM

One last kick at the 'cat.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Elder Curry's Memphis Flu
From: Peace
Date: 13 May 07 - 01:32 PM

BINGO, maybe.

The title in the DT is "Influenza".


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Elder Curry's Memphis Flu
From: Peace
Date: 13 May 07 - 01:37 PM

Incidentally, I tripped over that with a Google of


Nineteen hundred twenty nine, memphis flu


It's strange the combinations that locate some stuff.


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Subject: Lyr Add: INFLUENZA (from Ace Johnson)
From: Bob the Postman
Date: 14 May 07 - 07:35 PM

Thanks, Peace, brilliant work.

The words you have uncovered seem to be those of a field recording made in a Texas prison. I have copied them here in the hope that someone with a good ear for the African American idiom of 75 years ago will compare this version with the Elder Curry MP3 linked to in the first post above. The two versions are quite similar but the MP3 goes "if you don't turn away from your shame," for instance, not "from your sins".

A. S., who posted this version to DigiTrad, speculates that the song really refers to the famous Spanish Flu of 1918-19. However this article makes clear that the flu season of 1929 was the worst since 1919. The 1929 epidemic killed one out of every 200 cases; the 1919 epidemic killed 3 out of every 200 cases. Death rates were much higher in some districts, particularly the southern part of the Mississippi/Missouri watershed where Memphis is located.


INFLUENZA

1. In nineteen hundred and twenty-nine, men an' women sure was dyin',
From de disease what de doctors called de flu.
People was dyin' ev'ywhere; death was creepin' th'ough de air,
For de groans of de sick sure was sad.

CHORUS: It was God's almighty hand; he was judgin' this old land;
North an' South; East an' West could be seen,
Yes, he killed de rich an' poor, an' he's goin' to kill more
If you don't turn away from your sins.

2. In Memphis, Tennessee, doctors said it soon would be,
In a few days influenza will (we'll?) control.
But God showed that He was head, an' He put de doctor to bed,
And the nurse they broke down with de same.

3. Influenza is a disease, makes you weak all in your knees;
'Tis a fever ev'ybody sure does dread;
Puts a pain in ev'y bone, a few days an' you are gone
To a place in de groun' called de grave.

Sung by Ace Johnson, Clemens state farm, Brazoria, Texas, April 16, 1939.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Elder Curry's Memphis Flu
From: Peace
Date: 14 May 07 - 10:08 PM

Tis a fever ev'ybody sure does dread;

I hear "sure do dread"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Elder Curry's Memphis Flu
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 17 May 07 - 07:48 AM

Verse 1 line 2: I'm not sure what they're singing, but I'm pretty sure it isn't "disease." The word sounds like "dust." Does that make sense?

Verse 1 line 3: "People DIED ev'rywhere"

Chorus line 2: I think the words at the end are "can't you see"

Chorus line 4: I agree the lead singer seems to be singing "shame" but other people joining in may be singing "sins."

Verse 2 line 1: I don't think the words at the beginning of the line are "Memphis, Tennessee" but I can't make out what they are.

Verse 2 line 3: "SO HE SENT the doctor to bed"

Verse 3 line 2: begins with "CARRY a fever"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Memphis Flu (Elder Curry)
From: GUEST,Rob
Date: 05 May 11 - 04:26 PM

1. Nineteen hundred and twenty-nine, men an' women sure was dyin',
From that stuff what de doctors called de flu.
People died ev'rywhere; death was creepin' th'ough de air,
For de groans of de sick sure was sad.

CHORUS: It was God's mighty hand; he is judgin' this old land.
North an' South, East an' West can be seen.
Yes, he killed de rich an' poor, an' he's goin' to kill more,
If you don't turn away from your shame.

2. All the land hope to see, doctors lead us to believe,
A few days the Influenza, we'll control,
But God showed dem His hand, Lord He put de doctor to bed,
And the nurse broke down with de same. CHORUS

3. Influenza is a disease, makes you weak all in your knees,
Carries fever, Cares heartack, you do dread.
Putting pain in their bone, a few days an' you are gone
To a place in de groun' called de grave. CHORUS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Memphis Flu (Elder Curry)
From: GUEST,kpg
Date: 25 Oct 14 - 12:05 PM

Thanks so much.


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