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Lyr Req: Free and Equal Blues (Josh White)

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05 Nov 96 - 01:55 PM
10 Nov 97 - 03:53 PM
robd 05 Oct 09 - 03:02 PM
Charley Noble 05 Oct 09 - 07:48 PM
Thomas Stern 05 Oct 09 - 10:52 PM
clueless don 06 Oct 09 - 09:05 AM
Charley Noble 06 Oct 09 - 06:04 PM
Charley Noble 06 Oct 09 - 06:05 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: FREE AND EQUAL BLUES (Josh White)
From:
Date: 05 Nov 96 - 01:55 PM

Can anyone fill in the few blanks that I have in this Josh White lyric. It is a sort of parody/takeoff of St. James Infirmary, with a hoppy blues chorus:


FREE AND EQUAL BLUES
As performed by Josh White

I went down to that St. James Infirmary
I saw some plasma there
I upped and asked that doctor man
Now was the donor dark or fair

The doctor laughed a great big laugh
And he puffed it right in my face
He says, "A molecule is a molecule son,
And the damn thing has no race."

And that was news, yes that was news
That was very, very, very special news
'Cause ever since that day we've had those
Free and equal blues

I never knew that in a plasma
Test tube there could be
White man, black man, yellow man, red,
Well, that's just what that doctor said,

So he put down his doctor book
And he gave me a very scientific look
And spoke out plain and clear and rational, and said,
"Metabolism's international"

And that was news, that was news
That was very, very, very special news
'Cause ever since that day we've had those
Free and equal blues

Then he rigged up his microscope with some royal blue blood
It was the same as Chun King-(??)-Chattanooga-Timbuktu blood
Those men think they know the corpuscle's global
And international racial supremacy
Flying in the face of old man chemistry,
Taking all the facts and trying to twist 'em
But you can't overthrow the circulatory system

And that was news, that was news
That was very, very, very special news
'Cause ever since that day we've had those
Free and equal blues

So I stayed at that St. James Infirmary
I couldn't leave that place, it was too interesting
So I said to that doc,
"Give me some more of that "scientific talk" talk
And he did,
He said, "Melt yourself down into a crucible,
Pour yourself out into a test tube and what have you got?
35 cubic feet of gas, that's the same for the upper and lower class"
Well, I let that pass
Carbon, 22 pounds 10 ounces, (??)
Carbon, 22 pounds 10 ounces,
Iron, seven grains; not enough to keep a man in chains
50 ounces of phosphorous, whether you're poor or prosperous,
Hey buddy, can you spare a match
(? ?) for all nations
Then you take 22 teaspoons of sodium chloride, that's salt,
You add 38 quarts of H20, that's water
Mix two ounces of lime, a pinch (??) of potash, a drop of magnesia,
A bit of sulfur, a soupcon of hydrochloric acid
And you stir it all up and what are you?
You're a walkin' drugstore. An international metabolistic cartel."

And that was news, that was news
That was very, very, very special news

So listen, you African, Indian, Mexican, Mongolian, Tyrolean and Tartar
The doctor's right behind the magna charter
The doc's behind the new brotherhood of man
As prescribed at Gettysburg, Iwo Jima, at Bull Run, and at Guadalcanal
"Every man, every where is the same... when he got his skin off"

And that's the news, that's the news
That's the free and equal blues


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Subject: Lyr Add: FREE AND EQUAL BLUES (Josh White)
From:
Date: 10 Nov 97 - 03:53 PM

I am looking to see if anyone can fill in the missing bits of the lyric below, marked with "???":


FREE AND EQUAL BLUES
As performed by Josh White

I went down to that St. James Infirmary
I saw some plasma there
I upped and asked that doctor man
Now was the donor dark or fair

The doctor laughed a great big laugh
And he puffed it right in my face
He says, "A molecule is a molecule son,
And the damn thing has no race."

And that was news, yes that was news
That was very, very, very special news
'Cause ever since that day we've had those
Free and equal blues

I never knew that in a plasma
Test tube there could be
White man, black man, yellow man, red,
Well, that's just what that doctor said,

So he put down his doctor book
And he gave me a very scientific look
And spoke out plain and clear and rational, and said,
"Metabolism's international"

And that was news, that was news
That was very, very, very special news
'Cause ever since that day we've had those
Free and equal blues

Then he rigged up his microscope with some royal blue blood
It was the same as Chun King-???-Chattanooga-Timbuktu blood
Those men think they know the corpuscle's global
And international racial supremacy
Flying in the face of old man chemistry,
Taking all the facts and trying to twist 'em
But you can't overthrow the circulatory system

And that was news, that was news
That was very, very, very special news
'Cause ever since that day we've had those
Free and equal blues

So I stayed at that St. James Infirmary
I couldn't leave that place, it was too interesting
So I said to that doc,
"Give me some more of that "scientific talk" talk
And he did,
He said, "Melt yourself down into a crucible,
Pour yourself out into a test tube and what have you got?
35 cubic feet of gas, that's the same for the upper and lower class"
Well, I let that pass
Carbon, 22 pounds 10 ounces, ???
Carbon, 22 pounds 10 ounces,
Iron, seven grains; not enough to keep a man in chains
50 ounces of phosphorous, whether you're poor or prosperous,
Hey buddy, can you spare a match
??? for all nations
Then you take 22 teaspoons of sodium chloride, that's salt,
You add 38 quarts of H20, that's water
Mix two ounces of lime, a pinch ??? of potash, a drop of magnesia,
A bit of sulfur, a soupcon of hydrochloric acid
And you stir it all up and what are you?
You're a walkin' drugstore. An international metabolistic cartel."

And that was news, that was news
That was very, very, very special news

So listen you African, Indian, Mexican, Mongolian, Tyrolean and Tartar
The doctor's right behind the magna charter
The doc's behind the new brotherhood of man
As prescribed at Gettysburg, Iwo Jima, at Bull Run, and at Guadalcanal
"Every man, every where is the same... when he's got his skin off"

And that's the news, that's the news
That's the free and equal blues


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Free and Equal Blues (Josh White)
From: robd
Date: 05 Oct 09 - 03:02 PM

Well, this won't be the first time I answered my own request, albeit 13 years later!

Finally found the missing bits, including the most important one. This song was written Yip Harburg. Somewhere Over the Rainbow! Among many others. Here, forthwith, the complete Free and Equal Blues:

FREE AND EQUAL BLUES
As performed by Josh White, with music by Earl Robinson and lyrics by Yip Harburg

I went down to that St. James Infirmary
I saw some plasma there
I upped and asked that doctor man
Now was the donor dark or fair

The doctor laughed a great big laugh
And he puffed it right in my face
He says, A molecule is a molecule son,
And the damn thing has no race.

And that was news, yes that was news
That was very, very, very special news
'Cause ever since that day we've had those
Free and equal blues

I never knew that the plasma in that
Test tube there could be
White man, black man, yellow man, red,
Well, that's just what that doctor said,

So he put down his doctor book
And he gave me a very scientific look
And spoke out plain and clear and rational, and said,
Metabolism's international

And that was news, that was news
That was very, very, very special news
'Cause ever since that day we've had those
Free and equal blues

Then he rigged up his microscope with some royal blue blood
It was the same as Chun King- Quebechef-Chattanooga-Timbuktu blood
Those men think they're noble
Don't even know that the corpuscle's global
And international racial supremacy
Flying in the face of old man chemistry,
Taking all the facts and trying to twist 'em
But you can't overthrow the circulatory system

And that was news, that was news
That was very, very, very special news
'Cause ever since that day we've had those
Free and equal blues

So I stayed at that St. James Infirmary
I couldn't leave that place, it was too interesting
So I said to that doc,
Give me some more of that scientific talk talk
And he did,
He said, Melt yourself down into a crucible,
Pour yourself out into a test tube and what have you got?
35 cubic feet of gas, that's the same for the upper and lower class
Well, I let that pass
Carbon, 22 pounds 10 ounces
You mean that goes for princes, dukeses and countses?
Carbon, 22 pounds 10 ounces,
Iron, 57 grains; not enough to keep a man in chains
50 ounces of phosphorous, whether you're poor or prosperous,
Hey buddy, can you spare a match
Sugar, 60 ordinary lumps, free and equal rations for all nations.
Then you take 22 teaspoons of sodium chloride, that's salt,
You add 38 quarts of H20, that's water
Mix two ounces of lime, a pinch chloride of potash, a drop of magnesium,
A bit of sulfur, a soupçon of hydrochloric acid
And you stir it all up and what are you?
You're a walkin' drugstore. An international metabolistic cartel.

And that was news, that was news
That was very, very, very special news

So listen, you African, Indian, Mexican, Mongolian, Tyrolean and Tartar
The doctor's right behind the magna charter
The doc's behind the new brotherhood of man
As prescribed at Gettysburg, Iwo Jima, at Bull Run, and at Guadalcanal
Every man, every where is the same... when he got his skin off

And that's the news, that's the news
That's the free and equal blues


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Free and Equal Blues (Josh White)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 05 Oct 09 - 07:48 PM

Rob-

You're not the only one who has tried to decode this song. I remember it well, including Josh White's laugh!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Free and Equal Blues (Josh White)
From: Thomas Stern
Date: 05 Oct 09 - 10:52 PM

FYI - in addition to DT and the various lyrics websites,
a good place to search for lyrics is the Smithsonian Folkways
site. The booklets for most albums are available (free)
as PDF files, and most have the lyrics.

Best wishes, Thomas.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Free and Equal Blues (Josh White)
From: clueless don
Date: 06 Oct 09 - 09:05 AM

I first heard this song way back in the early seventies, performed by Michael Cooney. After that, I tried to find the words for a long time, without success. I saw Michael Cooney several times after that, and he never did the song again in my hearing. This experience led me to formulate the idea that in many ways it is worse to hear a great song exactly once than it is to never have heard it.

Years later, I found a Josh White (possibly Josh White jr.?) album in a used record store. It had the song. And now, at last, I have the lyrics written out. Thank you!

Don


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Free and Equal Blues (Josh White)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 06 Oct 09 - 06:04 PM

Don-

Josh White, Senior, is the one that I remember singing that song but his song may sing it as well.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Free and Equal Blues (Josh White)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 06 Oct 09 - 06:05 PM

"his son may sing it as well"

Charley


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