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Lyr/Chord Req: Henhouse Blues (The Bentley Boys)

Beckett 02 Jul 07 - 10:10 PM
12-stringer 03 Jul 07 - 12:40 AM
12-stringer 03 Jul 07 - 03:11 AM
Beckett 03 Jul 07 - 01:18 PM
Beckett 05 Jul 07 - 11:55 PM
Beckett 05 Jul 07 - 11:56 PM
Jim Dixon 24 Jan 17 - 12:52 PM
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Subject: Chord Req: The Bentley Boys - Henhouse Blues
From: Beckett
Date: 02 Jul 07 - 10:10 PM

I've fallen in love with a ditty from The Red Clay Ramblers' /Merchants Lunch/ album. /Henhouse Blues/ is credited to The Bentley Boys, and thanks to (the totally wonderful) Juneberry 78s, I was able to listen to the original as well.

I've been able to pick out the lyrics with a few exceptions. If y'all care to chime in with suggestions for the uncertain parts, I'd be much o obliged. The song moves way to fast for me to pick up the chords. Again, if anyone knows the progressions here, I'd be grateful to learn them.

As for the Bentley Boys, I've been able to learn very little. Other than their version of Penny's Farm, which inspired some other significant artists, there just isn't much available on the Net or even here at Mudcat. Does anyone have light to shed? As far as I can tell they were a Negro string band, not blackface. Their lyrics here have a fairly defiant attitude (which may have prompted a hip hop group to name itself after them).

Here are the lyrics. It is a funny song. As you can see, the Ramblers made a few deft changes to certain words and resurrected it for modern sensibilities.

Henhouse Blues
The Bentley Boys (via Red Clay Ramblers)

Red Clay Ramblers version

Preacher wanted chickens, to himself he said, "to the henhouse I will go,
If there any fat pullets that are hanging around they'll soon be mine you know."
I [?fear lately?] the big bulldog [?pulled the?] henhouse from side to side,
Grabbed him a pullet climbed over the fence and to the dog he cried, sayin'

I don't care if you never wake up, this pullet is in my hand,
You don't stand no f'sure to catch no respectable preacher man,
What do I care for your knives or your guns or your bulldogs or your pups,
Just keep on a sleepin' while the preacher is a creepin' I don't care if you never wake up!

Preacher went to sleep on Election Day and he dreamed he was a candidate,
Told those folks who was votin' for him, he said you'll have to wait.
Early next morning while still in the bed, and the word to him was said,
Wake up preacher, you for are beat and a woman is President!

I don't care if I never wake up just so I get out of this trance,
Won't those girls make it hot for us when they put on the pants,
Put out the milkin' and mind the kids and the beds we'll have to make up.
Just go back to bed was the word he said, I don't care if I never wake up!



Bentley Boys version

Coonie wants chickens, to himself he said, "to the henhouse I will go,
If there any fat pullets a-hanging around they'll soon be mine you know."
I [?very lately?] the big bulldog [?well?] the henhouse from side to side,
Got him a pullet climbed over the fence and then to the dog he cried,

I don't care if you never wake up, this pullet am-a in my hand,
You don't stand no sho' to catch no respectable colored man,
What do I care for your knives 'n' guns says the bulldogs nor your pups,
Just keep on a sleepin' while the nigger am a creepin' I don't care if you never wake up!

Coonie went to sleep on Election Day, he dreamed he was a candidate,
Told those Coons who was votin' for him, he told 'em just to wait.
Early next morning was still in the bed, and the word to him was said,
Wake up Coonie you for am beat and a woman is President!

I don't care if I never wake up just so I get out of this trance,
Won't those women make it hot for us when they put on the pants,
Put up the milkin' and mind the kids, says the bed we'll have to make up.
"Just go back to bed." was the words he said, I don't care if I never wake up!


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Subject: RE: Chord Req: The Bentley Boys - Henhouse Blues
From: 12-stringer
Date: 03 Jul 07 - 12:40 AM

"Just by the fence lay the big bulldog, with the henhouse side by side."

Song is out of the minstrel/vaudeville tradition and was also recorded by Uncle Dave as "I Don't Care If I Never Wake Up." I would have sworn I got it from him, but with your reminder, I'm pretty sure that I actually learned it off "Merchants Lunch," an LP I've never owned but which got a great deal of airplay on the local C&W station in the 70s. (The long-gone WKKW, Bridgeport, WV, which may have been the first alt.country station.) In those days I could pick up a song from hearing it once or twice. Both ear and memory have deteriorated a lot since then!

Can't share your belief that this is a black group; they sound hillbilly to me -- NC, I would think, from the picking and the accent, or maybe east TN (their only sides were recorded in 10/1929 at Johnson City, when Columbia stopped there to record for a few days, en route to a bigger field session in Atlanta.

Dixon, Godrich & Rye were thoughtful enough to include a list of the field sessions by the record companies in the 1920s and 1930s, with the names of the race artists who recorded at each. Ellis Williams is the only black artist credited by them to the Johnson City session.

Tony Russell's hillbilly discography would be more useful if he had prepared a similar artist list for the field sessions. However, I see by a quick check that the Bentleys recorded immediately after Clarence Ashley's solo session of 4 banjo tunes.


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Subject: RE: Chord Req: The Bentley Boys - Henhouse Blues
From: 12-stringer
Date: 03 Jul 07 - 03:11 AM

Actually what the Bentleys are saying is
Out very late lay the big bulldog, well the henhouse side by side

The other is either what Uncle Dave says or what I folk processed it into sometime in the last 30-some years. But I think it's Uncle Dave.

Chord progression on this is
G-G-C-G
G-G-A7-D7
G-G-C-G
G-G-D7-G


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Subject: RE: Chord Req: The Bentley Boys - Henhouse Blues
From: Beckett
Date: 03 Jul 07 - 01:18 PM

Hey, thanks, 12-stringer! I appreciate the depth of your knowledge and willingness to share it.

And I think you are probably right regarding the race of the Bentley Boys. It's easier for me to think of the lyrics as brightly defiant rather than racist.

Much obliged for the chords, too. I'm a musical beginner, and this helps a lot.


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Subject: Lyr Add: HENHOUSE BLUES (Bentley Boys/Red Clay Ram
From: Beckett
Date: 05 Jul 07 - 11:55 PM

I've listened through a few times more and the following is as "definitive" as I can get with both sets of lyrics.

Henhouse Blues
The Bentley Boys (via Red Clay Ramblers)

Red Clay Ramblers version

Preacher wanted chickens, to himself he said, "to the henhouse I will go,
If there any fat pullets that are hanging around they'll soon be mine you know."
Out very late lay the big bulldog well the henhouse from side to side,
Grabbed him a pullet climbed over the fence and to the dog he cried, sayin'

I don't care if you never wake up, this pullet is in my hand,
You don't stand no f'sure to catch no respectable preacher man,
What do I care for your knives or your guns or your bulldogs or your pups,
Just keep on a sleepin' while the preacher is a creepin' I don't care if you never wake up!

Preacher went to sleep on Election Day and he dreamed he was a candidate,
Told those folks who was votin'for him, he said you'll have to wait.
Early next morning while still in the bed, and the word to him was said,
Wake up preacher, for you are beat and a woman is President!

I don't care if I never wake up just so I get out of this trance,
Won't those girls make it hot for us when they put on the pants,
Put out the milkin'and mind the kids and the beds we'll have to make up.
Just go back to bed was the word he said, I don't care if I never wake up!



Bentley Boys version

Coonie wants chickens, to himself he said, "to the henhouse I will go,
If there any fat pullets a-hanging around they'll soon be mine you know."
Out very late lay the big bulldog, well the henhouse side by side,
Got him a pullet climbed over the fence and then to the dog he cried,

I don't care if you never wake up, this pullet am-a in my hand,
You don't stand no sho' to catch no respectable colored man,
What d' I care for your knives 'n' guns says the bulldogs nor your pups,
Just keep on a sleepin' while the nigger am a creepin', don't care if you never wake up!

Coonie went to sleep on Election Day, he dreamed he was a candidate,
Told those Coons as a votin' for him, he told 'em just to wait.
Early next morning was still in the bed, and the word to him was said,
Wake up Coonie you for am beat and a woman am President!

I don't care if I never wake up just so I get out of this trance,
Won't those women make it hot for us when they put on the pants,
Put up the milkin' and mind the kids, says the bed we'll have to make up.
"Just go back to bed." was the words he said, I don't care if I never wake up!


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Subject: RE: Chord Req: The Bentley Boys - Henhouse Blues
From: Beckett
Date: 05 Jul 07 - 11:56 PM

BTW, would it be appropriate Mudcat etiquette to repost these with a "Lyric Add" subject line?


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Subject: Lyr Add: I DON'T CARE IF I NEVER WAKE UP (Knox)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 24 Jan 17 - 12:52 PM

The University of Illinois at Chicago has the sheet music:


I DON'T CARE IF I NEVER WAKE UP
Words and music by Paul J. Knox, ©1899.

1. There's a certain yellow coon lives in this town.
He's as lazy as he can be.
At a Chinese laundry he hangs around.
"I likes my hop" says he;
But the other day this man got drunk,
And a pipe full of dope he bought.
He went to sleep, dreamt he was rich,
And then to himself he thought.

CHORUS 1. Well, I don't care if I never wake up.
Sportin' life is a-killin' me.
I'm worth a million in-a my dream.
If I wake up, I'll be broke, you see.
Well, there ain't nothing like livin' like a king,
And a-drinkin' from a silver cup,
So, coons, you can pass, for you're out of my class.
Don't care if I never wake up!

2. This coon in a dream played policy,
Won a roll as big as his head.
Says he. "I'm rich; I'll sport 'em high.
I'll-a paint this here town red."
But in the night, through the window came
A thief, and the money he spied.
At the break of day when the smoke cleared away,
Then groaning to himself he cried.

CHORUS 2. Well, I don't care if I never wake up,
'Cause I cert'nly was a-livin' high.
You bet I'd 'a' bought this here whole town
If the clouds hadn't 'a' rolled by.
I never will brag on what I's got—
Many a slip 'twixt the lip and cup.
I'll take another pill to stop this nervous chill.
Don't care if I never wake up!

3. On election day he went to sleep,
Dreamt he was a candidate,
Thought all the coons was votin' for him,
And they told him just to wait;
But early next morning while still in bed,
This word to him was sent.
To smoke up again, for he was beat,
And a woman was president.

CHORUS 3. Well, I don't care if I never wake up.
Wish I'd never come out of my trance.
Them women will make it hot for us,
If they're goin' to put on the pants.
They'll have us a-washin' and a-nursin' all the kids,
And the beds we'll have to make up;
So I's gwine back to bed, put the cover on my head.
Don't care if I never wake up!

4. To a fancy colored ball this coon he went.
Says he: "I'll be ace high."
At the door he found he was a deuce,
And they told him to brush by.
Then he started some trouble with the ticket man,
Got a bustin' in the head;
Then to himself he sang this song,
As they carried him out for dead:

CHORUS 4. "Well, I don't care if I never wake up
Till these coons get through with me.
If I ever come to, I's a-comin' back.
I'll-a make them climb a tree.
Wish I'd 'a' never come to this place,
'Cause I feel like a yellow pup;
So, coons, I'll pass, for you're out of my class.
Don't care if I never wake up!"

5. "I like my chicken," this coon once said,
"To a hen-roost I will go.
If there's any fat pullets a-hangin' around,
They'll soon be mine, you know."
But he got there late, found a big bull dog
And a chicken roosting side by side.
He grabbed that fowl, jumped over the fence,
And then to the dog he cried:

CHORUS 5. "Well, I don't care if you never wake up.
This pullet am in my hand,
And you don't stand no chance to catch
This respectable colored man.
I ain't scared of knives and guns,
Much less of a lazy pup;
So keep on a-sleepin' while this nigger am a-creepin'.
Don't care if you never wake up."


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