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Origins: Baby Did You Hear

GUEST,Bob Coltman 29 Jun 07 - 05:06 PM
Peace 29 Jun 07 - 10:17 PM
katlaughing 29 Jun 07 - 11:06 PM
katlaughing 29 Jun 07 - 11:09 PM
Stringsinger 30 Jun 07 - 10:59 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 09 Jul 07 - 09:15 AM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 22 Apr 12 - 12:10 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 22 Apr 12 - 12:21 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 22 Apr 12 - 12:29 PM
GUEST,999 22 Apr 12 - 12:39 PM
GUEST,999 22 Apr 12 - 12:42 PM
GUEST,999 22 Apr 12 - 12:52 PM
GUEST,999 22 Apr 12 - 01:09 PM
GUEST,mando-player-91 22 Apr 12 - 02:27 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 22 Apr 12 - 06:39 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 22 Apr 12 - 06:56 PM
GUEST,999 22 Apr 12 - 08:17 PM
Jeri 22 Apr 12 - 08:43 PM
GUEST,999 23 Apr 12 - 04:14 AM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 23 Apr 12 - 05:14 PM
GUEST,999 23 Apr 12 - 05:57 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 23 Apr 12 - 06:29 PM
GUEST,999 23 Apr 12 - 06:55 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 23 Apr 12 - 07:28 PM
GUEST,999 23 Apr 12 - 07:49 PM
DanMan 15 Nov 12 - 02:31 AM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 15 Nov 12 - 06:51 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 15 Nov 12 - 07:10 PM
Jim Dixon 15 Nov 12 - 11:33 PM
Jim Dixon 16 Nov 12 - 12:40 AM
GUEST,David Laing 17 Nov 12 - 07:01 AM
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Subject: Origins: Baby Did You Hear
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 05:06 PM

Back in the early 50s Burl Ives sang a brief song called "Baby Did You Hear." It seems to be from? or at least about Florida, referring to the St. John's River.

BABY DID YOU HEAR

Baby, did you hear
Your sweetie's gonna leave you, yes, yes,
On the next pay day.

Baby, did you hear
Your sweetie's gonna ride the Cherokee down the St. Johns River,
And never a cent will I be the giver.

It's a mysterious pop-bluesy little song, and I've never heard of any story behind it. It does not appear in the Burl Ives Songbook or in any other publication by Ives that I know of. Its only reference in the DT is a title in a couple of "Rivers of America" threads.

It fascinated me enough that a few years ago I wrote a bunch more verses to it, just so I could sing it for a longer while.

I know of no one else who sang it -- unless Dinah Washington's song by that title is the same (I haven't been able to find lyrics for that song).

Where did it come from? Who wrote it? When? Is there more to it? Anyone know? Bob


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Subject: RE: Origins: Baby Did You Hear
From: Peace
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 10:17 PM

Baby Did You Hear – traditional, arr. Burl Ives [1:55]

Found that on a site, Bob. Seems to indicate it's trad. I'll dig around a bit.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Baby Did You Hear
From: katlaughing
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 11:06 PM

Sounds like the same song from the lyrics you've posted. You can listen to Dinah Washington's full version for free at Rhapsody, although you do have to download their player. It only took a few seconds. The info says it was released by Verve Records in 2005.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Baby Did You Hear
From: katlaughing
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 11:09 PM

Amazon has samples of it, too.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Baby Did You Hear
From: Stringsinger
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 10:59 PM

One of the best interpretations of this song is on Erik Darling's recording, "New Religion".
His banjo accompaniment I think is fantastic. I think Vanguard should release it as a CD.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Origins: Baby Did You Hear
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 09 Jul 07 - 09:15 AM

Makes sense that Burl and Dinah shared this song. Both were active in arts, theater, music and social circles in New York in the 40s and early 50s. They could easily have met at a party, shared a stage, or merely heard each other's records.

Next question, then, is, did Washington get it from Ives, or vice versa?

Washington first recorded in 1946. "Baby Did You Hear" was a Verve cut, but I haven't been able to find out when it was originally issued.

Ives first recorded in 1941 for Okeh, then for ARC sister label Columbia during the 40s, and for Decca after about 1950. After consulting an Ives discography (album titles only) I believe the record that contained the song was on the Decca label. The LP was issued in about 1950 or '51, I believe, but may have been based on earlier 78s. (???)

If the song is traditional, what might that mean in the context? Ives hearing some old Everglades fisherman humming it? a New York songwriter tinkering it into shape? Both? It has a slightly artsy sound. But artless, too, with that river/giver couplet.

It's not in Alton Morris' Folksongs of Florida, by the way. Nor in any other folk collection I know of.

Anyone know what the composer credit is on the Dinah Washington version? That is the most likely way to clear up its origin.

(Although if it says "traditional" or "Ives," we're still left wondering where Burl got it.)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Baby Did You Hear
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 12:10 PM

After five years I thought I'd refresh this thread.

The origin of "Baby Did You Hear" is still a mystery. As Peace notes above, it's credited on Burl Ives' records as "traditional." That's not a safe assumption to make, though, for Ives himself was a songwriter in a small way and seems occasionally to have slipped one of his compositions in under a "traditional" credit. (A likely example is "Pueblo Girl.")

There's also the question where this river is. Somewhere, I no longer remember where, I got the impression the locale of the song was the St. Johns River, longest river in the state of Florida. That's certainly the one that comes up when you wiki it. There is, though, the St. John River that flows 410 miles from Maine into the Bay of Fundy. It's easy enough for a singer to tack an S onto the end of it.

So do any of you know which St. John's River is meant? I still think Florida but have no very good evidence for thinking so.

Bob


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Subject: RE: Origins: Baby Did You Hear
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 12:21 PM

Revisiting the question whether the Burl Ives or Dinah Washington version came first:

I've found no earlier Dinah recording of the song than 1952, when it was included on her Mercury LP album "Blazing Ballads." Do any of you know of any earlier release by her?

Burl Ives had almost certainly recorded the song by 1951 and perhaps earlier—1950 or perhaps the late 40s.

Till I hear differently, I'll assume Dinah covered Burl's song, rather than the other way round.

There must be an answer to this pesky question! (Or do you think we're scraping bottom?)

Cheers,

Bob


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Subject: RE: Origins: Baby Did You Hear
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 12:29 PM

Notably, "Baby Did You Hear" is the only song on the Blazing Ballads album that *doesn't* get a composer credit.

Washington was a songwriter herself, but seems usually to have been credited as such. So lack of a composer credit on this one might strengthen the inference that she got "Baby Did You Hear" from elsewhere, and that too could point to Burl Ives as her source.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Baby Did You Hear
From: GUEST,999
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 12:39 PM

http://www.tefteller.com/html/78_colored_paged_washful.html

Bob, I am not adept enough to enlarge the photo of the DW 78 rpm recording, but if you are, I expect the answer is there as to who received the writing credit. I'm now off to dig around for the song's history. Ives btw was with a small folk label before those you listed above.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Baby Did You Hear
From: GUEST,999
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 12:42 PM

"By the end of 1938, he had made his Broadway debut, and he also sang folk songs in Greenwich Village clubs. In 1940, Ives began to appear regularly on radio, including on his own show, The Wayfarin' Stranger, on CBS. Ives made his first records for Stinson, a small folk label, then was signed to Decca, a major label."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Baby Did You Hear
From: GUEST,999
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 12:52 PM

I found the below on a forum--and I hope it doesn't further complicate an already complicated search. It is from

http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-36369.html

##################################################

but what was that tune where - "your furniture's gonna leave you on the next train...."

or something like that
St. John's River, I think:

Baby, can you hear me,
All your furniture's goin' to leave you, yes, yes,
On the next payday.
And nary a cent will I be a giver...

Baby, can you hear me,
Your sweetie's goin' to leave you, yes, yes,
On the next payday.

Baby, can you hear me,
Your sweetie's goin' to ride the Caribou
Down the St. John's River.

The album was True Religion, I think, which was the bottle-neck guitar piece I saw Erik Darling perform with the Weavers, 1961 or '62. He was from Canandaigua NY, in my neck of the woods, and was a member of some of the most important groups of the "folk revival" -- the Tarriers, the Weavers, and the Rooftop Singers. I still can hear him singing Gus Cannon's Walk Right In, one of the last big acoustic hits before the Beatles swept it all away (leaving a few of us washed up on the shore, and still playing those songs 40 years later).


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Subject: Lyr Add: BABY (from Vince Martin & Fred Neil)
From: GUEST,999
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 01:09 PM

The below is from

http://www.fredneil.com/lyrics-tear-down-the-walls/

Baby
Do you hear, do you hear me now
Your baby's gonna leave you
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Next pay day

I'll be sailin' up
That Saint John River
(I'll be sailin' up)
(The Saint John River)
Never more to be the giver
(Never more to be the giver)
Baby (Baby) Baby (Baby)

Baby (Baby)
Do you hear (Do you hear)
Do you hear me now
I say you're baby's gonna leave you now
(Your baby's gonna leave you)
Next pay day (Next pay day)
Next pay day

I'll be sailin' up
That Saint John River
(I'll be sailin' on)
(The Saint John River)
Never more to be the giver now
(Never more to be the giver)
Baby (Baby)

Baby
Do you hear, do you hear
Baby Baby, Baby, Baby,
Baby Baby, Baby,
Do you hear (Do you hear)
Do you hear me now

Baby
Do you hear, do you hear me
Baby Baby, Baby, Baby,
Baby Baby, Baby


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Subject: RE: Origins: Baby Did You Hear
From: GUEST,mando-player-91
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 02:27 PM

I heard a version of this like frank said on Erik Darling's True Religion album which I treasure along with another of his gems Train Time


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Subject: RE: Origins: Baby Did You Hear
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 06:39 PM

Hi 999: yes, that Mercury label remains just tantalizingly below what I can read, and I'm not adept enough to enlarge it either. Nice find though! I hope someone can spot the credit and let us know.

The Erik Darling and Fred Neil versions of "Baby Did You Hear" given above are of course later covers, both coming well after the Ives and Washington recordings. They do help show how this mysterious little song worked its wiles on a few later folk and pop singers alike.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Baby Did You Hear
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 06:56 PM

I can barely make out the issue number on the Dinah Washington Mercury 78 of Baby Did You Hear. It looks like 5734 as best I can tell.

I checked the Mercury 5000 series discography at

http://78discography.com/

5734 is unfortunately one of the number gaps in the discography. It is incomplete, as such discographies necessarily are while researchers keep trying to fill in the missing entries. Nor does a search turn up the title anywhere in that series. So the mystery rolls on!

The one thing informative is that the 5000 series includes recordings issued between 1950 and 1952. It does include a few earlier recordings originally made in the 1940s, presumably reissues. But if this record is original to the series, it would likely have been made no earlier than 1951—that tallies with the date for the "Blazing Ballads" album where it appears. Chances are that this song was recorded for that album in 1951, but not before.

That's as far as I've been able to get with the Dinah Washington record label. Wish I could read that credit line. Somebody's name is in there, and it's not Burl Ives. Could be "Dinah Washington," but I can't tell.

One more problem rears its head: a "Dinah Washington" author credit might have been inserted to reserve her rights to a song that's either traditional or the composer isn't known. Wouldn't be the first time that's been done! Not that DW necessarily did so herself—that could have been a standard practice of the record label.

More unknowns. Bob


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Subject: RE: Origins: Baby Did You Hear
From: GUEST,999
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 08:17 PM

Bob, don't give up yet. I have a line on the physical record at a great price. If I can score it (get my hands on it) then I'll send the info to you (post it here).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Baby Did You Hear
From: Jeri
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 08:43 PM

Bob, I can make out that the last name is "Washington", but I can't be sure of the first.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Baby Did You Hear
From: GUEST,999
Date: 23 Apr 12 - 04:14 AM

Just checked my e-mail and that item has been sold--unfortunately not to me.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Baby Did You Hear
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 23 Apr 12 - 05:14 PM

COndolences! Nice try though, 999.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Baby Did You Hear
From: GUEST,999
Date: 23 Apr 12 - 05:57 PM

I have e-mailed the owner of that record and hope he has the time to check the writer credit. I'll let you know if/when.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Baby Did You Hear
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 23 Apr 12 - 06:29 PM

Search suggests: Robert (Bob) Lee and Katie Ecton.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: Baby Did You Hear
From: GUEST,999
Date: 23 Apr 12 - 06:55 PM

Good one, Mick. That's from the Verve release, right?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Baby Did You Hear
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 23 Apr 12 - 07:28 PM

I think I started with an allmusic listing for the song, which gave just Lee as composer. I was checking on that and found The Complete Dinah Washington on Mercury Vol 2, which gave Lee, Scton. Scton looked odd and some poking about came up with Lee, Ecton.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: Baby Did You Hear
From: GUEST,999
Date: 23 Apr 12 - 07:49 PM

Thank you very much.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Baby Did You Hear
From: DanMan
Date: 15 Nov 12 - 02:31 AM

I've done a little bit of research into the song myself, and I may be able to fill in some of the gaps:

1. when introducing the song on his 1954 "Coronation Concert" album, Burl Ives says that he learned it in Florida and that it references a paddleboat called The Cherokee.

2. doing some Googling, I found a ship called The Cherokee that was indeed associated with the St. Johns River -- but it's an ocean-going steamship, not a river paddleboat! (link)

3. The earliest version I've found is by Burl Ives, on his 1950 album "More Folksongs". (link) It was also released on a 78 in 1950 (link). It was reportedly recorded in February 1950 and originally credited as "Trad."

4. according to this website, Dinah Washington's version was recorded in September 1951. If true, then it must not be the earliest version. Also, it's worth noting that Washington's original single (link) credits the song's writer as just "Lee".

5. Speaking of "Lee", I found a 1959 version by someone named Katie Lee (link) which contains the same "Lee, Ecton" writing credit that would later be associated with the song. But where did "Ecton" come from?

6. many of you are probably familiar with Erik Darling's 1961 version of the song (link), but what isn't as well known is that Darling also played guitar on the 1965 version by Lisa Kindred. (link)

7. Lisa Kindred's version was the inspiration for Quicksilver Messenger Service's 1967 song "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You". (link)

Anyway, I can't find any evidence of the song prior to 1950, but it seems reasonable that it was indeed a traditional song native to the Florida area.

I hope that was helpful!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Baby Did You Hear
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 15 Nov 12 - 06:51 PM

Well done Dan.

It seems likely, if the Wikipedia article on her is accurate, that the Katie Lee who recorded "Baby Did You Hear" in 1959 is the same protean Katie Lee who, in the course of a life doing all sorts of fascinating things, studied with Burl Ives (!) and Josh White:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katie_Lee_(singer)

Katie Lee (b. October 23, 1919 in Tucson, Arizona) is an Arizona folk singer, writer, actress and photographer.
She graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. After that, she went on to study with two of the most successful folksingers of the 1940s, Burl Ives and Josh White. Her early albums of folk music, Life is Just a Bed of Neuroses (1960) and Songs of Couch and Consultation (1957) are long out of print, but six more recent CDs are still available.[1] She has also released three videos, including Love Song to Glen Canyon (DVD, 2007).
After joining a rafting trip in the Grand Canyon she became a regular on river trips on the Colorado River and joined the opposition to the construction of Glen Canyon Dam. In 1964, Lee released an album on Folkways Records, entitled, Folk Songs of the Colorado River. In the 1980s she recorded a cassette-only release Colorado River Songs consisting of old songs popular among river runners on the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon, and some original compositions. This release was hailed by Edward Abbey and David Foreman among others. Colorado River Songs was expanded to include more songs and re-released in 1997 on CD. She has also released Glen Canyon River Journeys on CD, which mixes music and spoken word commentary, and is featured on the 2005 Smithsonian Folkways compilation album, Songs and Stories from Grand Canyon.
She has also written three books,Sandstone Seduction, Ten Thousand Goddam Cattle and All My Rivers Are Gone. ....


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Subject: RE: Origins: Baby Did You Hear
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 15 Nov 12 - 07:10 PM

"Ecton, Lee," from an fm broadcast site with no other information, is a credit associated with Dinah Washington, all right. These are two people, evidently in songwriter roles, given as Katie Ecton and Robert Lee.

Whether this, c. 1959, amounts to Katie Lee and a husband? or associate? I don't know. Could Katie Ecton be Katie Lee's maiden name?

There's also wiggle room to interpret "Robert Lee" as a pseudonym for Dinah Washington herself, but I can't be sure.

In any case, Ecton and Lee can only legitimately have been getting credit as arrangers. Composers they were not, as the song preexisted them by a good nine years at least.

Interesting sidelight.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Baby Did You Hear
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 15 Nov 12 - 11:33 PM

According to Billboard, Nov. 3, 1951, Mercury 5736 was Dinah Washington singing BABY, DID YOU HEAR and JUST ONE MORE CHANCE.


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Subject: Lyr Add: BABY DID YOU HEAR (from Dinah Washington)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 16 Nov 12 - 12:40 AM

Here's my transcription from Spotify. The same song is on several albums.


BABY, DID YOU HEAR?
As sung by Dinah Washington

Baby, did you hear?
Your sweetie's going to leave you, yes, yes,
On the next payday.
Baby, did you hear me?
You're never going to find me, no, no,
And there's no use tryin'.
I tell you I'm going, and boy, I'm not lyin'.
Baby, don't you know?
Any gal will go
When a man's untrue.
What else can she do?

Baby, did you hear?
All your furniture's goin' to leave you, yes, yes,
On the next payday.
Baby, did you hear me?
Your sweetie's going to ride the next boat
Down the Saint John River,
And nary a cent will I be the giver.
Baby, don't you know?
Any gal will go
When a man's untrue.
Then what else can she do?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Baby Did You Hear
From: GUEST,David Laing
Date: 17 Nov 12 - 07:01 AM

Bob, if/when you get a chance, please get in touch. Tx. David
davidlaing@aol.com


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