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Lyr Req: Brown's Ferry Blues

Torbjörn Olsson 09 Jun 99 - 05:33 AM
Philippa 09 Jun 99 - 07:20 AM
Dale Rose 09 Jun 99 - 09:50 AM
Dale Rose 09 Jun 99 - 09:57 AM
Gene 09 Jun 99 - 11:09 AM
bseed(charleskratz) 10 Jun 99 - 12:04 AM
Mark Ross 03 Feb 09 - 06:53 PM
cnd 03 Apr 15 - 11:32 AM
Jim Dixon 05 Apr 15 - 02:32 PM
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Subject: Brown's ferry blues
From: Torbjörn Olsson
Date: 09 Jun 99 - 05:33 AM

Howdy. I'm searchin for the lyrics to Brown's ferry blues as sunged by Doc Watson.

Torbjörn Olsson, Sweden. torbjorn.olsson@mbox308.swipnet.se


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Subject: RE: Brown's ferry blues
From: Philippa
Date: 09 Jun 99 - 07:20 AM

I found BROWN'S FERRY BLUES by typing [Brown's ferry] in the search box, upper right-hand corner of the screen. I hope it's what you're looking for.


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Subject: RE: Brown's ferry blues
From: Dale Rose
Date: 09 Jun 99 - 09:50 AM

That's the right one, Phillippa. It was written by Alton Delmore in 1930, though not recorded until December 6, 1933. I took the following paragraph from the notes to The Delmore Brothers, Brown's Ferry Blues, County CD 116, 1995.

In 1930, the Delmores entered the annual old-time fiddler's contest at Athens, the county seat, and won first prize. They almost lost to a group which sang a comical song, and the judges called both groups back several times before awarding the prize to Alton and Rabon. When they returned home that night Alton remarked that if the public wanted a funny song he would give them one. His contribution was Brown's Ferry Blues, a song he named for the old ferry site near their home on the Tennessee River. (ironically, the spot on the river which provided inspiration for this famous song later became the site for the TVA's Brown's Ferry Nuclear Plant, the largest of it's kind in the world.) While this song is rightly considered a novelty piece, the dark overtones of hard times are unmistakenly heard: "Hard luck papa standin' in the rain, If the world was corn he couldn't buy grain. .." Thinking the song was of interest only to folks around Limestone County, they didn't perform it on their WSM appearances. In fact, they had been playing on WSM a full year before the station manager heard them singing it in a jam session and insisted they include it in their radio programs.

They made their first recordings for Columbia in November of 1931, and joined the Grand Old Opry in 1932.


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Subject: RE: Brown's ferry blues
From: Dale Rose
Date: 09 Jun 99 - 09:57 AM

One "L" in Philippa. Wouldn't want to consign her 2 "L", now would we?


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Subject: Lyr Add: BROWN'S FERRY BLUES (from Doc Watson)
From: Gene
Date: 09 Jun 99 - 11:09 AM

The lyrics to Doc's version are VERY different!

BROWN'S FERRY BLUES
Recorded by: DOC WATSON
Trad: No author listed

Hardluck papa comin' down the lane
Mama give him back his walkin' cane
Lawd! Lawd! I got them Brown's Ferry Blues;
Throwed it away and he went to town
To see that woman and now he's down
Lawd! Lawd! I got them Brown's Ferry Blues.

Hardluck papa gettin' too tight
If he don't quit drinkin', he'll be higher'n a kite
Lawd! Lawd! I got them Brown's Ferry Blues;
He's drinkin' that block and tackle kind
He can walk a block and tackle a lion
Lawd! Lawd! I got them Brown's Ferry Blues.

I walked up to my girl's old man
And I asked him for my true love's hand
Lawd! Lawd! I got them Brown's Ferry Blues;
He said, "You are a little GALOOT!"
Instead of his hand, I got his foot
Lawd! Lawd! I got them Brown's Ferry Blues.

Hardluck papa standin' in the rain,
If the world was corn, he couldn't buy grain
Lawd! Lawd! I got them Brown's Ferry Blues;
He runs around in second-hand clo'es.
You can smell his feet wherever he goes
Lawd! Lawd! I got them Brown's Ferry Blues.

Revenue man took my gin
I hope they won't come back ag'in
Lawd! Lawd! I got them Brown's Ferry Blues;
Took my sweetie with them, too
'Cause she'd had a little drink or two
Lawd! Lawd! I got them Brown's Ferry Blues

[adlib] Said that's why he took her!

SOURCE: DOC WATSON ON STAGE (w/Merle Watson)
VANGUARD VSD 9/10


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Subject: RE: Brown's ferry blues
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 10 Jun 99 - 12:04 AM

Doc does a slightly different version on "Doc Watson on Stage," most of the differences a word, but one complete line: "He walks around in second-hand clothes" instead of "Hard luck poppa countin' his toes" before the line "You can smell his feet wherever he goes."

Word differences: "Revenue agent" instead of "Revenue man," and ..."my girl's old man" instead of "...the girl's old man": it makes a bit more sense, since this is the first mention of her in the song.

--seed


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Brown's Ferry Blues
From: Mark Ross
Date: 03 Feb 09 - 06:53 PM

Does anyone know if there is a copyright in effect for this song? A friend wants to record it and every where I look it says Trad.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Brown's Ferry Blues
From: cnd
Date: 03 Apr 15 - 11:32 AM

Mark--I don't think so, and if there is, it's loosely enforced. Upon checking a Youtube video of it I posted (and not even my version, but the Doc Watson album version) there was no "3rd Party Copyright" banner beside it. I'd say knock yourself out.


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Subject: Lyr Add: BROWN'S FERRY BLUES (Delmore Brothers)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 05 Apr 15 - 02:32 PM

BROWN'S FERRY BLUES
As recorded by The Delmore Brothers, Bluebird 5403A, 1933.

Hardluck papa can't stand his ground.
He was a good papa but he done gone down.
Lawd! Lawd! Got them Brown's Ferry blues.
Hardluck papa standing in the rain,
If the world was corn, he couldn't buy grain.
Lawd! Lawd! Got them Brown's Ferry blues.

Two old maids playing in the sand,
Each one wishin' that the other'n was a man.
Lawd! Lawd! Got them Brown's Ferry blues.
Two old maids done lost their style.
If you want to be lucky, you've got to smile.
Lawd! Lawd! Got them Brown's Ferry blues.

Hardluck papa countin' his toes,
You can smell his feet wherever he goes.
Lawd! Lawd! Got them Brown's Ferry blues.
Hardluck papa can't do his stuff.
The trouble with him, he's been too rough.
Lawd! Lawd! Got them Brown's Ferry blues.

Early to bed and early to rise,
And your girl goes out with other guys.
Lawd! Lawd! Got them Brown's Ferry blues.
If you don't b'lieve me, try it yourself.
I tried it, but I got left.
Lawd! Lawd! Got them Brown's Ferry blues.


BROWN'S FERRY BLUES – PART 2
As recorded by The Delmore Brothers, Bluebird 5893, 1935.

Hardluck papa couldn't pay his rent.
He went to town to buy a tent.
Lawd! Lawd! Got them Brown's Ferry blues.
He laid his money down for that tent,(?)
But the landlord slipped in, picked it up.
Lawd! Lawd! Got them Brown's Ferry blues.

Moonshine liquor don't taste so good
Unless you let it age in wood.
Lawd! Lawd! Got them Brown's Ferry blues.
When you drink, take my advice:
Before each drink, you'd better think twice.
Lawd! Lawd! Got them Brown's Ferry blues.

Hardluck papa's done had his time.
Another good man come(?) down the line.
Lawd! Lawd! Got them Brown's Ferry blues.
Hardluck papa's took down his sign.
He's through with moonshine, women, and wine.
Lawd! Lawd! Got them Brown's Ferry blues.

I got a little sweetie down on the farm.
When she gets mad, she's like a storm.
Lawd! Lawd! Got them Brown's Ferry blues.
I asked her if she'd marry me,
But I'm still a bachelor, don't you see?
Lawd! Lawd! Got them Brown's Ferry blues.


[There is another recording
BROWN FERRY BLUES #3
Recorded by The Delmore Brothers, Bluebird 8230, 1936,
but I was unable to find a recoding online so I could transcribe it.--JD]


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