Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Origin: Baby Let Me Follow You Down

Big Al Whittle 04 Oct 08 - 09:16 PM
Richie 05 Oct 08 - 12:52 PM
Richie 05 Oct 08 - 12:59 PM
Azizi 05 Oct 08 - 01:16 PM
Richie 05 Oct 08 - 01:20 PM
Azizi 05 Oct 08 - 01:42 PM
Big Al Whittle 05 Oct 08 - 01:44 PM
Azizi 05 Oct 08 - 01:56 PM
Azizi 05 Oct 08 - 03:43 PM
john f weldon 05 Oct 08 - 04:18 PM
Little Hawk 05 Oct 08 - 06:24 PM
meself 05 Oct 08 - 06:30 PM
Little Hawk 05 Oct 08 - 06:57 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:





Subject: Baby Let me Follow You Down - origins?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 04 Oct 08 - 09:16 PM

I wonder if some of my American friends could share what they know about this song? I've been playing it for forty years or so - and I wish i had something to say about it - the kind of thing you can only say when you know what a song sprang from.

Like everyone else I heard it on Dylan's first album - by then The Animals had had their first hit with Baby let Me Take You Home - presumaly stolen from it.

I know (or think I know) this much:-

1) Ric Von Schmidt wrote it. The book BLMFYD seems to link it with a Blind Boy Fuller song.
2) I'm pretty sure I heard a Snooks Eaglin thing called Alberta - I don't know whether that came after BLMFYD - it sounds very similar.

I was puzzled by the idea that it was considered rather daring. Why? Is it an American colloqialism that I don't understand?

I don't know Ric Von Schmidts version - he said that it had different chords to the Dylan one.   I think the chords Dylan uses are pretty exquisite - they are what attracted me to the song.

Anyway, can anyone tell me a little bit about what it signified to the people who first sang it? Or just give me some insight.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Baby Let me Follow You Down - origins?
From: Richie
Date: 05 Oct 08 - 12:52 PM

Hi,

Here's some info:

Eric (not Ric) Von Schmidt is widely (and erroneously) credited as the author of the song, "Baby, Let Me Follow You Down", which was for years a staple of Dylan's musical catalogue. Dylan verbally credited the song to 'Rick von Schmidt' in the spoken introduction to the song on his 1961 debut album, and told of meeting him "in the green pastures of Harvard University." In fact, von Schmidt had himself adapted the song from Blind Boy Fuller. Eric von Schmidt himself credits the Reverend Gary Davis as author of "three-quarters" of the song.[5] In 1979, he co-wrote a book of the same name about the Cambridge scene.

Richie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Baby Let me Follow You Down - origins?
From: Richie
Date: 05 Oct 08 - 12:59 PM

Here's more info:

The song was adapted by Eric Von Schmidt, a blues-guitarist and singer-songwriter of the folk revival in the late 1950s. Von Schmidt was a well-known face in the east coast folk scene and was reasonably well-known across the United States. His chronicles of the Cambridge Folk era, are titled "Baby, Let Me Follow You Down", and describe the evolution of the song. Eric had first heard a song by Blind Boy Fuller called "Baby, Let Me Lay It On You." Eric von Schmidt credits Reverend Gary Davis for writing "three quarters" of this song.

First known recording by Walter Coleman in 1938 (Yazzoo 1991 B000008I25). It was changed to Baby, Let Me follow You Down around 1959 and became a feature in the coffee houses of Greenwich Village in the early 1960s. The song was sung by local heroes such as Dave Van Ronk. The song was later picked up by the young and up-and-coming folk singer Bob Dylan who (after signing a record deal with Columbia Records) made the song famous.

Another famous recording of the song was performed by The Animals in 1964, who changed the title to "Baby Let Me Take You Home".

An alternative history of the song is given on Arnold Ryens site "The Originals". He claims that the earliest version was by the "State Street Boys" (featuring Big Bill Broonzy). It was issued in 1935 under the title "Don't You Tear My Clothes." Washboard Sam recorded it under the same title in 1936.

Baby, Don't You Tear My Clothes

Baby, don't you tear my clothes
Baby, don't you tear my clothes
Push and shove me all night long
Baby, don't you tear my clothes

Baby, you can wear my shoes
Do anything you want to do
Push and shove me all night long
Baby, don't you tear my clothes

Baby, don't you tear my clothes
Baby, don't you tear my clothes
Wear anything I got on the table
Baby, don't you tear my clothes

Baby, you can wear my shoes
Do anything you want to do
You can push and pull me all night long
Darling, don't you tear my clothes

Hug and kiss me all night long
Baby, don't you do me wrong
Sit and listen to this lonesome song
But baby, don't you tear my clothes


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Baby Let me Follow You Down - origins?
From: Azizi
Date: 05 Oct 08 - 01:16 PM

Here's the lyrics that are [or, at least as per my online search, appear to be] usually given for this song:

Baby, let me follow you down, baby, let me follow you down,
Well, I'll do anything in this Godalmighty world
If you just let me follow you down.
Can I come home with you, baby, can I come home with you?
Yes, I'd do anything in this Godalmighty world
If you just let me come home with you.

Baby, let me follow you down, baby, let me follow you down,
Well, I'll do anything in this Godalmighty world
If you just let me follow you down,
yes, I'll do anything in this Godalmighty world
If you just let me follow you down.

http://www.bobdylanroots.com/babylet.html


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Baby Let me Follow You Down - origins?
From: Richie
Date: 05 Oct 08 - 01:20 PM

Here's more info on "MAMA LET ME LAY IT ON YOU."

"Baby, Let Me Follow You Down" (learned from Eric Von Schmidt) is in fact a rewrite of "Mama Let Me Lay It On You" (recorded by Blind Boy Fuller, New York, NY, Apr 29, 1936), which Reverend Gary Davis claimed to have written.

There are, however, several recordings that predate Blind Boy Fuller's version:
Walter Coleman's Feb 8, 1936 recording (Chicago, IL; 90611-A-test), which remained unissued at the time (released version recorded Chicago, IL, 3 Jun 1936; 90611-C, both available on "Cincinnati Blues 1928-1936," Document CD 3519-2).

TONY RUSSELL, in "The Blues Collection, No. 52: Blind Boy Fuller," (p. 624) claims that Memphis Minnie recorded and released a duet version (with her husband Joe McCoy) as early as 1930.
Thus, Reverend Gary Davis' claim of authorship and his subsequent listing as the author of "Baby, Let Me Follow You Down" on "The Last Waltz" is IMO unfounded and the song is most likely traditional.

As ERIC VON SCHMIDT points out (in his 1993 SongTalk interview):

What finally happened was that Manny Greenhill, who had been my manager back in the folkie days, also managed Gary Davis. He sat Gary down and asked. "What songs did you write?" Aside from the "Star Spangled Banner" and maybe "Moonlight Becomes You," it was every song that anybody heard of, Gary Davis wrote.

Reverend Gary Davis also claimed authorship of Blind Boy Fuller's "Step It Up And Go," covered by Dylan on "Good As I Been To You," 1992.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Baby Let me Follow You Down - origins?
From: Azizi
Date: 05 Oct 08 - 01:42 PM

The phrase "follow you down" may mean something as "innocent" as "follow you down to your home".

However, "follow you down" might be used the same way the phrase "get down to the real nitty gritty" is used in this R&B song:

Let's Get Down To The Real Nitty Gritty
[performed by Shirley Ellis]

Yeah, mmm, yeah
Do you know that some folks know about it, some don't
Some will learn to shout it, some won't
But sooner or later baby, here's a ditty
Say you're gonna have to get right down to the real nitty gritty
Now let's get right on down to the nitty gritty
Now one, two nitty gritty
Now yeah, mmm, nitty gritty now
Ooooowee, right down to the real nitty gritty
Ooooowee, can you feel it double beatin', I keep repeatin
Get right down to the real nitty gritty
Say it again double beatin'
Get on down, we gotta get right down to the real nitty gritty
Let's get, let's get right on down to the real nitty gritty
It's all right, it's all right
Get on down, get on down
Get right down to the real nitty gritty
Listen to me now
Oooowee, ooowee
Come on and let the good times roll
Let the music sink down in to your soul
Double beatin', keep repeatin'
You gotta get right down to the realy nitty gritty
Get on down, get on down
Talkin' about the nitty gritty
Get on down, get on down
-snip-


And what is the real "nitty gitty" that "you gotta get right down to"? Well, "nitty gritty" could mean the essence of a subject or the important, key part of a music-or in the case of the dance. Gettin down to the real nitty gritty could mean being "for real" about how you do something. For instance, dancing your heart out without worrying about outside appearances; letting it all hang out, dancing till you sweat and the funk {as in underarm smell} comes out {which is one source of the slang term "getting funky"}.

But "getting right down to the real nitty gritty" and "gettin on down" could also mean "doin the do" {meaning the "sexual act"} or at least the oral sex prelude to the real sexual act. Imo, a related term is the relatively contemporary African American colloquial phrase "getting down on" which refers to doing oral sex.

If these phrases have anything to do with the phrase "follow you down" in the song "Baby Let Me Follow You Down", that might explain why some folks consider that song to be daring, wouldn't you say?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Baby Let me Follow You Down - origins?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 05 Oct 08 - 01:44 PM

Many thanks. Does anybody remember how Von Schmidt performed and presented it? seems to have impressed Dylan!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Baby Let me Follow You Down - origins?
From: Azizi
Date: 05 Oct 08 - 01:56 PM

Thanks Richie for that information.

I should note that I've never heard the song "Baby Let Me Follow You Down" or the song "Baby Let Me Follow You Down".

However, the information that "Mama Let Me Lay It On You" is a precursor of the song "Baby Let Me Follow You Down" supports my opinion that the phrase "follow you down" in that song alludes to the sexual act since Mama, let me lay it on you" is also a "coded" line for sex.

A person could say "Let me lay it on you" and mean "let me tell you this". But, I would bet that the singer is trying to "get next to" a woman for the purpose of sex or at least for romance {since these two purposes might not be one and the same}.

To cite another example, the words to the R&B song "I Wanna Get Next To You" may appear innocent, but they're also alluding to wanting to "get with" a person for the purposes of love or at least sex.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Baby Let me Follow You Down - origins?
From: Azizi
Date: 05 Oct 08 - 03:43 PM

But then again, the phrase "Come On Down", as recalled by millions of American tv viewers, has absolutely nothing to do with sex or romance.

Especially when it is prefaced by a person's first & last name, that phrase more than likely brings to mind the announcer's statement on the television game show "The Price Is Right". On that long running program, "So and so, cme on down!" is an order for that person to come down to the front of the audience and join the other four {or is it five?} contestants who were previously called to play the game of guessing the price of a featured piece of furniture, or car or whatever.

Which just goes to show you that trying to guess the meaning of a phrase gets tricky without knowing the context when the phrase is used.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Baby Let me Follow You Down - origins?
From: john f weldon
Date: 05 Oct 08 - 04:18 PM

I remember Rev Gary Davis playing a very similar piece as an instrumental, with the only words being the odd cry of "Hey, Baby!".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Baby Let me Follow You Down - origins?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 05 Oct 08 - 06:24 PM

Here's another alternative verse I've heard Dylan do in live performance:

I'll buy you a diamond ring, I'll buy you a wedding gown
Yes, I'll do anything in this Godalmighty world
If you just let me follow you down.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Baby Let me Follow You Down - origins?
From: meself
Date: 05 Oct 08 - 06:30 PM

There was a song recorded by Maria Muldaur that included a line to the effect that "any man in this town would pay $..... just to follow me down". Don't know if it was an old song or a contemporary one written in old (blues/vaudeville) style. In that context, I always took the phrase to be a euphemism for "having sex". The idea being, "followed down into a bed" (preferably one of the big, brass variety - or else a pallet on the floor).

Ready to stand corrected, as usual.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Baby Let me Follow You Down - origins?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 05 Oct 08 - 06:57 PM

Buffy Sainte-Marie also did a deliciously rambunctious song with the chorus: "97 men in this here town would give a half a grand in silver just to follow me down...so appreciate a dedicated baby, cos boy, you are a lucky ma-a-an!"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 22 July 10:04 PM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.