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Loveless/Careless Love- WC Handy

DigiTrad:
CARELESS LOVE
THYME IT IS A PRECIOUS THING


Related threads:
(origins) Lyr Add: Careless Love (various versions) (39)
Origins: Bunch of Thyme (15)
Lyr Req: Careless Love (Dr John) (2)
African- American folksong by Odum 1911 (7)
Lyr Req: Let No Man Steal Your Thyme (June Tabor) (9)
Lyr Req: Now my apron strings don't tie (12)
Lyr Req: Careless Love (Bessie Smith version) (35)
Help: Careless Love / Bunch of Thyme (8)
Tune Req: Thyme It Is a Precious Thing (3)


Richie 21 Sep 08 - 10:05 AM
meself 21 Sep 08 - 10:32 AM
Richie 21 Sep 08 - 12:41 PM
masato sakurai 21 Sep 08 - 02:11 PM
Richie 21 Sep 08 - 02:47 PM
Richie 21 Sep 08 - 02:51 PM
Desert Dancer 21 Sep 08 - 05:07 PM
Malcolm Douglas 21 Sep 08 - 05:40 PM
Richie 21 Sep 08 - 10:13 PM
Brian Hoskin 22 Sep 08 - 05:21 AM
Malcolm Douglas 22 Sep 08 - 07:20 AM
Richie 22 Sep 08 - 09:01 AM
greg stephens 22 Sep 08 - 09:17 AM
Brian Hoskin 22 Sep 08 - 09:40 AM
Brian Hoskin 22 Sep 08 - 10:06 AM
meself 22 Sep 08 - 06:32 PM
Richie 22 Sep 08 - 10:32 PM
meself 22 Sep 08 - 11:14 PM
meself 22 Sep 08 - 11:35 PM
meself 22 Sep 08 - 11:50 PM
meself 22 Sep 08 - 11:52 PM
meself 23 Sep 08 - 12:06 AM
Brian Hoskin 23 Sep 08 - 04:46 AM
Brian Hoskin 23 Sep 08 - 10:16 AM
Richie 23 Sep 08 - 12:31 PM
Brian Hoskin 24 Sep 08 - 05:49 AM
Richie 24 Sep 08 - 08:38 AM
GUEST 15 Jan 12 - 07:01 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 15 Jan 12 - 11:12 AM
GUEST,tina laurent 03 Oct 12 - 04:12 AM
meself 03 Oct 12 - 10:12 AM
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Subject: Careless Love- WC Handy
From: Richie
Date: 21 Sep 08 - 10:05 AM

Hi,


I was wondering if anyone has the lyrics to WC Handy's "Loveless Love" a song he wrote based on "Careless Love" ?

He aslo published a version of "Careless Love." Anyone have the lyrics or info about the origin according to Handy?

As I recall, someone (maybe Lomax?) inteviewed Handy about the song. Handy claimed that Careless Love was the first blues. Also that his folk version came from the 1800's.

Anyone have any info corroborating this?

Thanks,

Richie


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Subject: RE: Careless Love- WC Handy
From: meself
Date: 21 Sep 08 - 10:32 AM

All I remember is: Love, oh love, oh, loveless love.

And: Love is like a (burning flame?),
      Like a banknote(?) in a bunco game ...


"Loveless Love" is of course a slightly more genteel way of saying "Careless Love", which is a slightly more genteel way of saying ...


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Subject: RE: Careless Love- WC Handy
From: Richie
Date: 21 Sep 08 - 12:41 PM

As I remember Handy's "Loveless Love" was published in the 1920's and several years later Handy published the "folk" version, Careless Love.

Randolph collected a version from a man who learned it in the 1880's. I've also heard it's an American song of white origin that was later adapted by blacks. Anyone have any other details about the origin?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Careless Love- WC Handy
From: masato sakurai
Date: 21 Sep 08 - 02:11 PM

Katherine Handy - Loveless Love is on YouTube. "This is one of the earliest recordings (Jan., 1922 for Paramount) of this moving composition by William Christopher Handy. In spite of the relatively poor sound quality, this song is obviously brilliantly performed by his daughter Katherine and Handy's Memphis Blues Orchestra, directed by W. C. Handy."


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Subject: RE: Careless Love- WC Handy
From: Richie
Date: 21 Sep 08 - 02:47 PM

Thanks Masato,

I've transcribed some of the words. The last verse surprisingly is the same as the bluegrass "Free Little Bird" which as I recall was derived from a 1800s parlor song Kitty Clyde. Handy's orchestra plays a latin beat throughout. Missing is the fourth verse which I had trouble hearing easily- anyone? Corrections welcome.
^^
Loveless Love- WC Handy 1921

Love is like a hydrant turns off and on,
Like some friendships when your money's gone.
Love stands in with the loan sharks,
when your heart's in tongs.

It I had some strong wings like an aeroplane,
Had some broad wings like an aeroplane.
I would fly away forever,
Never to return again.

Oh love, oh love, oh loveless love
Has said our hearts are goldless gold.
From dreamless dreams and schemeless schemes
How we wreck our love boats on the shoals.

(missing this verse)

If I were a little bird,
I'd fly from tree to tree.
I'd build my nest way up in the air,
Where the bad boys wouldn't bother me.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Careless Love- WC Handy
From: Richie
Date: 21 Sep 08 - 02:51 PM

Compare this to Billie Holiday's "Loveless Love." Lyrics are from an on-line source (not sure of accuracy).

Loveless Love W.C. Handy (Billie Holiday Version)

Love is like a hydrant turns off and on,
Like some friendships when your money's gone.
Love stands in with the loan sharks,
When your heart's in tongs.

It I had some strong wings like an aeroplane
Had some broad wings like an aeroplane.
I would fly away forever
Never to return again.

Oh love oh love oh loveless love
Has said our hearts are goldless gold
From milkless milk and silkless silk
We are growing used to soul-less souls

Such grafting times we never saw
That's why we have a pure full law
In everything we find a flaw
Even love oh love oh loveless love
Just to fly away from loveless love


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Subject: RE: Careless Love- WC Handy
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 21 Sep 08 - 05:07 PM

Some more lyrics, but none that seem to match the 4th verse of the Katherine Handy recording, from The HEPTUNE CLASSICAL JAZZ and BLUES LYRICS Page:

Transcribed from Blanche Calloway and Her Joy Boys, recorded March 27, 1931.
From Blanche Calloway and Her Joy Boys, 1925-1935; The Chronogical Classics 783.

Such tragic times we never saw,
That's why we have proficient law,
In everything we find a flaw,
Even love, oh, love, oh, loveless love.

Transcribed from the Dixieland Jazz Group of NBC's Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street, from vocals by Lena Horne, recorded June 23, 1941.
From Lena Horne, L'Art Vocal, vol. 11. La Selection1935-1941; DK 025.

Love, oh love, oh, careless love,
You fly right to my head like wine,
You've wrecked the life of many a gal,
And you nearly wrecked this life of mine.

If I was a little bird,
I would fly from tree to tree;
I'd build my nest up in the air,
Where the bad boys couldn't bother me.

Now I wear my apron high,
Now I wear my apron high,
Now I wear my apron high,
And he never, never passes by.

---

But the lyrics aren't his:

From a listing of Handy's works, as Reprinted from Father Of The Blues, Sidgwick and Jackson, 1957 at University of Northern Alabama Special Collections:
1921   Loveless Love
       Aunt Hagar's Children Blues (instrumental; 1922; words by J. Tim Brymn)

What you want is to find the sheet music:

Handy, W.C. "Loveless Love," New York: Handy Brothers Music Company, Inc., 1929.

I'm not able to spot it yet in digitized form, just references to it.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Careless Love- WC Handy
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 21 Sep 08 - 05:40 PM

Roud 422

The tune is basically 'The Sprig of Thyme', and 'Careless Love' frequently includes floating verses familiar from songs like 'Died For Love'; so its antecedents are essentially British, though re-made in America with new stylistic influences.

Presumably when you say '1800s' you mean 'the nineteenth century' rather than just its first decade?


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Subject: RE: Careless Love- WC Handy
From: Richie
Date: 21 Sep 08 - 10:13 PM

Thanks for the responses.

I'll check out 'The Sprig of Thyme.' Since Handy was born in 1873, the quote I was referring to must have been in the late 1800s.

The other timeline from Randolph indicated circa 1880.

Apparently Handy published a folk version in the 1920s that was made up of exsisting or collected verses. Anyone have info about that?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Careless Love- WC Handy
From: Brian Hoskin
Date: 22 Sep 08 - 05:21 AM

Handy writes about Careless Love and Loveless Love in his autobiography, Father of the Blues:

"Loveless Love is another of my songs of which one part has an easily traceable folk ancestry. It was based on the Careless Love melody that I had played first in Bessemer in 1892 and that had since become popular all over the South. In Henderson I was told that the words of Careless Love were based on a tragedy in a local family, and one night a gentleman of that city's tobacco-planter aristocracy requested our band to play and sing this folk melody, using the following words:

You see what Careless Love has done,
You see what Careless Love has done
You see what Careless Love has done,
It killed the Governor's only son.

We did our best with these lines and then went into the second stanza:

Poor Archie didn't mean no harm,
Poor Archie didn't mean no harm,
Poor Archie didn't mean no harm -

But there the song ended. The police stepped in and stopped us. The song, they said, was a reflection on two prominent families. Careless Love had too beautiful a melody to be lost or neglected, however, and I was determined to preserve it.
    [. . .]
Having created a vogue for Careless Love, which John Niles calls Kelly's Love in his book of folk songs, I proposed to incorporate it in a new song with the verse in the three-line blues form.
   That week I went to Chicago, and while there I sat in Brownlee's barber shop and wrote Loveless Love, beginning with "Love is like a gold brick in a bunko game." There I wrote the music and made an orchestration which I took next door to Erskin Tate in the Vendome Theatre. His orchestra played it over, and it sounded all right. A copy was immediately sent to the printers.
   Without waiting to receive a printed copy, however, I taught Loveless Love to Alberta Hunter, and she sang it at the Dreamland caberet. It made a bull's-eye. Before Alberta reached my table on the night she introduced the song, her tips amounted to sixty-seven dollars. A moment later I saw another lady give her twelve dollars for "just one more chorus." I knew then and there that we had something on our hands and the later history of the song bore this out."

Originally published by New York: Macmillan 1941, the above excerpt from the Da Capo Press paperback version pp 147 - 149.


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Subject: RE: Careless Love- WC Handy
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 22 Sep 08 - 07:20 AM

For more on 'Careless Love' and 'The Sprig [Bunch] of Thyme', see several past discussions, including African- American folksong by Odum 1911.


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Subject: RE: Careless Love- WC Handy
From: Richie
Date: 22 Sep 08 - 09:01 AM

Thanks Brian,

That was the info I was looking for.

Odum wrote in 1911: "One may note, for instance, the striking similarity between the mountain song: "She broke the heart of many poor fellows But she won't break this of mine."

What mountain song is Odum referring to?


The line could read:

"She broke the heart of many a poor boy But she won't break this of mine."

What song is it?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Careless Love- WC Handy
From: greg stephens
Date: 22 Sep 08 - 09:17 AM

The original Handy lines that have defeated transcribers earlier in this thread are:
"Such grafting times we never saw
That's why we have a Pure Food Law"


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Subject: RE: Careless Love- WC Handy
From: Brian Hoskin
Date: 22 Sep 08 - 09:40 AM

Richie

That is a perplexing question; Odum seems to assume that the "mountain song" to which he refers will be well known to readers. However, if the song and the line from it were commonly known in 1911 they clearly aren't now, for instance if you google the line you exclusively find references to Odum's article.

Incidentally, I agree with your suggestion in the other thread that 'Kelly's Love' sounds very much like a mondegreen.

Brian


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Subject: RE: Careless Love- WC Handy
From: Brian Hoskin
Date: 22 Sep 08 - 10:06 AM

In the Perrow transcription of Careless Love he footnotes the "You have broken the heart of many a poor boy, But you'll never break this heart of mine" stanza, with the comment:

"For the same sentiment cf. this journal, vol. xxii, p. 249."

I don't have access to that volime, but I think that The Journal of American Folklore is available to anyone with a JSTOR subscription. I'd like to know what exactly is referred to in volume 22 (1909) p 249. It may answer the question as to which song Odum was referring to.

Brian


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Subject: RE: Careless Love- WC Handy
From: meself
Date: 22 Sep 08 - 06:32 PM

Love is like a gold brick, in a bunko game,
Like some bank note, with a bogus name.


(It's very slowly coming back to me).


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Subject: RE: Careless Love- WC Handy
From: Richie
Date: 22 Sep 08 - 10:32 PM

Thanks for the replies everyone.

I found WC Handy's biography on-line. Very interesting.

He gives a version of the bluegrass song Two Dollar Bill known also as Long Journey Home from 1892. The version known as High Sheriff or in one early recording as "Deadheads and Suckers" I believe by Wade Ward or probably his father Hines. That's the earliest version I've heard of.

Also he prints a version of Sail Away Ladies that Uncle Dave Macon later recorded (and later came a pop version by Van Morrison) that he got from his uncle Whit. Great stuff.

We still don't have Handy's folk version of Careles Love or the complete Loveless Love. I'm not sure I can transcribe the 4th verse from the UTube recording.

Any more help would be appreciated. We're close.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Careless Love- WC Handy
From: meself
Date: 22 Sep 08 - 11:14 PM

There was a book of Handy songs with piano arrangements (re?)printed ca 1970. It may have had the same title as the autobiography (W.C. Handy: Father of the Blues), or something very similar; unfortunately, much as I can picture the cover, I can't quite make out the words .... It's from there that my scraps of Loveless Love come - the book indeed had a "complete version" of that song. It must be available somewhere.


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Subject: RE: Careless Love- WC Handy
From: meself
Date: 22 Sep 08 - 11:35 PM

There is also an LP of Handy's daughter singing his songs, with just piano accompaniment. It's much better sound-quality than that youtube clip - but I don't remember if Loveless Love is on it. It was also recorded in the 1920s, I think.


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Subject: RE: Careless Love- WC Handy
From: meself
Date: 22 Sep 08 - 11:50 PM

This must be the book I was thinking of - although I recall a different cover ...


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Subject: RE: Careless Love- WC Handy
From: meself
Date: 22 Sep 08 - 11:52 PM

And if you're in Chicago, it seems to be available in this library.


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Subject: RE: Careless Love- WC Handy
From: meself
Date: 23 Sep 08 - 12:06 AM

The rest of that verse I've been trying to remember has come into my head:

Love is like a gold brick, in a bunko game,
Like some bank note, with a bogus name;
Both have caused many a downfall,
Love has done the same.


Obviously, Handy's daughter doesn't sing that verse in the youtube clip.


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Subject: RE: Careless Love- WC Handy
From: Brian Hoskin
Date: 23 Sep 08 - 04:46 AM

Here's a very different version of Loveless Love from Bo Carter, recorded in New York on 4th June 1931.

Oh love, oh love, oh loveless love.
You broke my heart and you didn't care.
My love is growin' cold, but yet it hurts my soul.
With your love, oh love, oh loveless love.

Some day I may be lucky again.
Some day I may be lucky again.
Some day I may be lucky again.
To find some truly lovin' friend.

I was good and lovin' all the time.
I was good and lovin' all the time.
I was good and loving, you abused all the time.
But still you wouldn't not be mine.

I just stand and squeeze my hands and cry.
I just stand and squeeze my hands and cry.
I just stand and squeeze my hands and I cry.
Hates to tell the one I love goodbye.

Oh love, oh love, oh loveless love.
You broke my heart and you didn't care.
My love is growin' cold, but yet it hurts my soul.
With your love, oh love, oh loveless love.


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Subject: RE: Careless Love- WC Handy
From: Brian Hoskin
Date: 23 Sep 08 - 10:16 AM

Here's another take on the Kelly's Love variant; Daniel Hardie (2002) Exploring Early Jazz, writes about Chris Kelly's Band 1918/19:

"Kelly was particularly known for his muted playing of "Careless Love" a tune someone renamed "Kelly's Love". Some people associated with him claimed that Kelly composed the blues." (p126)

This is an interesting idea, although Hardie doesn't reference any clear sources for this information.
However, the idea that Chris Kelly was particularly known for his rendition of Careless Love is given elsewhere, for instance in Scott Yanow's (2001)Classic Jazz, but again with no reference to a source for the information.

Also in the The Rough Guide to Jazz, where Digby Fairweather writes:

"Kelly's famous feature was "Careless Love" which (says researcher Len Page) he played into a plunger-mute at a time when the technique was new; the effect of the rendition (it was claimed) made men weep and women tear their clothes off. To at least one New Orleans citizen,Kelly's wife Edna, the song was really titled "Kelly's Love", and it became to his admirers, who knew his whispered, deep-muted variations note for note." (2004: 433)

Again, not exactly comprehensive in its referencing of sources.


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Subject: RE: Careless Love- WC Handy
From: Richie
Date: 23 Sep 08 - 12:31 PM

Interesting Brian,

Since Handy said Niles (assume it's John Jacob) had the song as "Kelly's Love," it's possible that both Niles and Odum misheard the song (maybe Niles got his title from Odum) and Chris Kelly adopted the title since it fit with his last name.

Kelly's 1918 date predates Handy's two published versions.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Careless Love- WC Handy
From: Brian Hoskin
Date: 24 Sep 08 - 05:49 AM

I can find no references to connect Niles with any version of Kelly's Love, although he was familiar with more than one version of Careless Love. For instance he writes about the song in a 1932 paper for the Musical Quarterly:

"The singers in the Southern Apalachians have odd rhythms, and they do repeat;but there is very little similarity between what they sing and how they sing it and what the Negro sings and how he sings it. Occaisionally one finds the same verses sung in both. In practically every case it is a song that was originally a white man's song and has been adapted and sung over into the Negro idiom.
    One example is my father's version of "Careless Love":
          When you pass by my door I hang my head and cry,
          When my apron string I bow
          You pass my door and say hello
          Buy when my apron string I pin
          You pass my door and won't come in.

          Don't never trust no railroad man,
          He'll break your heart if he but can,
          He'll take your love and go his way
          Not meaning anything he say.

          Some day my apron string I'll tie
          And then I'll lay right down and die,
          And you won't know 'cause down in Hell
          The Devil's mean, he will not tell.

Some shameless black man turned this lovely antique into a blues in this manner:

          When I wore my apron low,
          When I wore my apron low
          When I wore my apron low
          Boys would pass right by my door.

          Now I wear it to my chin
          Now I wear it to my chin
          Now I wear it to my chin
          Boys all pass and dey won't come in." (p66)



John Jacob Niles
The Musical Quarterly, Vol. 18, No. 1 (Jan., 1932), pp. 60-75


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Subject: RE: Careless Love- WC Handy
From: Richie
Date: 24 Sep 08 - 08:38 AM

Niles statement gives some creedence to the claim that his was originally a white song that was adapted by blacks.

Since Niles was born in 1892 and didn't become a folk collector until he was in his 20s Careless Love clearly predates him. Too bad he doesn't supply any more info about when his father learned the song or the origin.

Handy probably got Niles confused with Howard Odum.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Careless Love- WC Handy
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Jan 12 - 07:01 AM


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Subject: RE: Careless Love- WC Handy
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 15 Jan 12 - 11:12 AM

There's a recording of WC Handy singing this at archive.org: Loveless Love - WC Handy. There is no date with the recording.

I've started a trancription of it, but there are some parts that are not easy to make out. Corrections appreciated.

Mick



LOVELESS LOVE
(WC Handy)

  Love is like a goldbrick in a bunko game,
  It's like a banknote with a bogus name;
  Both have caused me to downfall
  Love has done the same

  Love acts like a symblin'? Cupid with his bow
  Loveless love has bags and bags of gold
  So if Paris? is a jack?
  And pick em as as you go

Love, oh love oh, loveless love
Has set out hearts on goal-less goals,
Some milkless milk and silkless silk
We are growing used to soul-less souls.

Such grafting times we never saw,
That's why we have a pure food law.
In everything we find a flaw,
Even love, oh love, oh loveless love.

<instrumental break>

Oh love, oh love, oh loveless love
We set our hearts on goal-less goals.
With dreamless dreams and schemeless schemes
How we wreck our love boats on the shore.


We SOS our wireless wide?
And in the rested? wide blue sky
We find our wings like Noah's dove,
Just to fly away from loveless love


Source: WC Handy recording at archive.org


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Subject: RE: Careless Love- WC Handy
From: GUEST,tina laurent
Date: 03 Oct 12 - 04:12 AM

Thanks, had a great time reading and listening. Only wanted to get the words to Careless Love.


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Subject: RE: Careless Love- WC Handy
From: meself
Date: 03 Oct 12 - 10:12 AM

"Some milkless milk and silkless silk"

I believe Handy published that as "FROM milkless ... "


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