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ADD: Crow Jane Blues

Erik 04 Apr 97 - 08:17 AM
Mountain Dog 04 Apr 97 - 06:10 PM
Ralph Butts 04 Apr 97 - 06:24 PM
Erik. 05 Apr 97 - 04:37 AM
belter 05 Apr 97 - 12:55 PM
Erik. 06 Apr 97 - 06:06 AM
Wyatt Stephens 10 Apr 97 - 08:09 PM
Erik 11 Apr 97 - 02:47 AM
Erik 13 Apr 97 - 04:39 AM
Jim Dixon 13 Jun 11 - 07:33 AM
GUEST,harpgirl 15 Apr 17 - 11:08 PM
Richie 16 Apr 17 - 03:23 PM
Jim Dixon 19 Apr 17 - 02:57 PM
Jim Dixon 19 Apr 17 - 07:50 PM
GUEST,harpgirl 24 Apr 17 - 10:16 AM
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Subject: Crow Jane Blues
From: Erik
Date: 04 Apr 97 - 08:17 AM

I'm looking for the lyrics and history of a song called Crow Jane Blues or Crow Jane.


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Subject: RE: Crow Jane Blues
From: Mountain Dog
Date: 04 Apr 97 - 06:10 PM

I know Crow Jane was recorded by Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee on at least one of their albums. Sorry, don't recall any other specifics, but it's a step in the right direction. A number of their older albums were reissued in the 70s by Fantasy Records, you might try tracking it down through them.


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Subject: RE: Crow Jane Blues
From: Ralph Butts
Date: 04 Apr 97 - 06:24 PM

I also had this one on an old album "The Folk Blues of Eric Von Schmidt" by (who else) Eric Von Schmidt. Think it's lost, however. You might try looking up Eric's stuff....Tiger


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Subject: Lyr Add: CROW JANE (Nick Cave)
From: Erik.
Date: 05 Apr 97 - 04:37 AM

I'm particularly interested in a possible relation between Crow Jane by Nick Cave (and the Bad Seeds) and other songs with the same name. Here are the lyrics of Nick Cave's CROW JANE.

CROW JANE

Crow Jane Crow Jane
Crow Jane
Horrors in her head
That her tongue dare not name
She lives alone by the river
The rolling rivers of pain
Crow Jane Crow Jane
Crow Jane Ah hah huh

There is one shining eye on a hard-hat
The company closed down the mine
Winking on waters they came
Twenty hard-hats, twenty eyes
In her clapboard shack
Only six foot by five
They killed all her whiskey
And poured their pistols dry
Crow Jane Crow Jane
Crow Jane Ah hah huh

Seems you've remembered
How to sleep, how to sleep
The house dogs are in your turnips
And your yard dogs are running all over the street
Crow Jane Crow Jane
Crow Jane Ah hah huh

"O Mr. Smith and Mr. Wesson
Why you close up shop so late?"
"Just fitted out a girl who looked like a bird
Measured .32, .44, .38
I asked that girl which road she was taking
Said she was walking the road of hate
But she stopped on a coal-trolley up to New Haven
Population: 48"
Crow Jane Crow Jane
Crow Jane Ah hah huh

Your guns are drunk and smoking
They've followed you right back to your gate
Laughing all the way back from the new town
Population, now, 28
Crow Jane Crow Jane
Crow Jane Ah hah huh


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Subject: RE: Crow Jane Blues
From: belter
Date: 05 Apr 97 - 12:55 PM

I'm afraid I may sound follish, but could someone explain what that song is talking about. The only thing I get out of it is that she killed twenty people. and it does kind of sound like she's stark raving mad. Other than that I find the lyricks confusing.


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Subject: RE: Crow Jane Blues
From: Erik.
Date: 06 Apr 97 - 06:06 AM

The lyrics confuse me too. I think the girl is raped by 20 miners ("poured their pistols dry"); she then kill them.


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Subject: RE: Crow Jane Blues
From: Wyatt Stephens
Date: 10 Apr 97 - 08:09 PM

In "Guitar Styles of Brownie McGhee" by Happy Traum (1971) Brownie says he heard his father sing this song first, and lists only one verse of it: "Crow Jane, Crow Jane, don't hold your head so high, Remember Crow Jane, you gotta lay down and die."

In "The Blues Fakebook" by Woody Mann (1995) it's said that the song was recorded by Big Bill Broonzy, Carl Martin and Skip James as well as Brownie, and to the verse above are added these four others:

I dug her grave with a silver spade, ain't nobody gonna take my Crow Jane's place.
You know I let her down with a golden chain, and every link I would call my Crow Jane's name.
I never missed my water till my well run dry, didn't miss Crow Jane until the day she died.
repeat first verse.

In Country Blues Songbook by Stefan Grossman et al, there is a longer version attributed to Skip James. On the audio tape that goes with this book, Stefan Grossman plays an excellent instrumental version.

8


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Subject: RE: Crow Jane Blues
From: Erik
Date: 11 Apr 97 - 02:47 AM

Thanks a lot!


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Subject: Lyr Add: CROW JANE (David Soldier)
From: Erik
Date: 13 Apr 97 - 04:39 AM

Here are the lyrics of the Dave Soldier & the Kropotkins version. From their self-titled album on Koch records.


CROW JANE
David Soldier

Crow Jane, Crow Jane, what make your big head so high?
You realize, baby you gotta lay down and die.

You see me comin', go put your man outdoors.
I ain't no stranger; Lorrette been here before.

I love you, Crow Jane, and I ain't gonna tell no lie.
The day you quit me, that'll be the day you die.

We ain't gonna sleep outdoors and I ain't gonna sleep alone.
Ring the bells of mercy; let the sinner gal get back home.

Crow Jane, Crow Jane, what make your big head so high?
You realize, baby, you gotta lay down and die.
Crow Jane, Crow Jane, you gotta lay down and die.


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Subject: Lyr Add: CROW JANE (Skip James)`
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 13 Jun 11 - 07:33 AM

You can hear this recording at YouTube. This is my transcription:


CROW JANE
As sung by Skip James

Crow Jane, Crow Jane, Crow Jane, don't you hold your head high.
Someday, baby, you know you got to die.
You got to lay down an'—
You got to die. You got to—

You know I had to buy me a pistol; bought me forty rounds o' ball.
Shoot Crow Jane just to see her fall.
She got to fall. She got to—
Got to fall. She got to—

That's the reason I beg' Crow Jane not to hold her head so high.
Someday, baby, you know you got to die.
You got to lay down an'—

When I dug her grave wit' a silver spade,
Ain't nobody gon' take my Crow Jane' place.
You can't take her place.
No, you can't take her—

That's the reason I beg' Crow Jane not to hold her head too high.
Someday, baby, you know you got to die.
You got to lay down an'—

You know I let her down wit' a golden chain,
An' every link I would call my Crow Jane' name.
Crow Jane, Crow—
Crow Jane, Crow—

You know I never miss' my water till my well went dry.
Didn't miss Crow Jane until the day she die.
Till the day she—

That's the reason I beg' Crow Jane not to hold her head too high.
Someday, baby, you know you got to die.
You got to lay down an'—
You got to die. You got to—

You know I dug her grave eight feet in the ground.
Didn't feel sorry until they let her down.
They had to let her down, let her—
They had to let her down.

That's the reason I beg' Crow Jane not to hold her head too high.
Someday, baby, you know you got to die.
You got to lay down an'—


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crow Jane Blues
From: GUEST,harpgirl
Date: 15 Apr 17 - 11:08 PM

Hey, catters! I dig this song....


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crow Jane Blues
From: Richie
Date: 16 Apr 17 - 03:23 PM

Hi,

I like it too. Here's a learning video (teaching the song) I did: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6WuJ64IUNk

Here's a painting I did: http://mattesonart.com/crow-jane-blues.aspx

Richie


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Subject: Lyr Add: CROW JANE ALLEY (Foster & Harris)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 19 Apr 17 - 02:57 PM

CROW JANE ALLEY
As recorded by "Foster & Harris" (Georgia Tom Dorsey & Tampa Red)*, 1928.

[A]
(Boy, don't you hear that music playin' down at Miss Susie's house in Crow Jane Alley? Come on, let's go down there.)
I ain't goin down in Crow Jane Alley tonight; I got too much money, an' I don't feel like gettin' raided. I'm gwine stay out here on Avenue B an' let the sun shine on me an' my money.
(I'm goin on down there.)
You goin' down there anyhow?
(Yeah.)
'Fore you go down there in the Alley come here an' let me tell you somethin' 'bout Crow Jane.
(What you got to say?)
I'm 'on tell you. [scat] Listen here, boy:

[B]
I got a gal, (I know you is.) I mean a gal, (Uh-huh.)
She's the ugliest woman in town. (Tell the truth!)
And ev'ry place I go, don't matter where, (Yeah?)
She follows me just like a hound. (I bet she do!)
I was invited out to a ball the other day, (Uh-huh.)
Where all the high browns, they give a sway. (Sho' 'nuff!)
You know, that woman followed me all the way.
She like to ruint them folks' balls that day. (I'll bet she broke it up!)
That's the reason I'm forsted to say— (What you gon' say now?)

Partner, Crow Jane is all right with me,
But they done gone out o' style. (That's right, too!)
They will cut your th'oat while you sleep,
Boy, look down in yo' face an' smile. (Uh-huh!)
They will wake up in the mornin' and say, don't feel right,
Cut up your clo'es just for spite, (Yeah.)
Dream of ol' razors an' tin cans, (Hah!)
Always after some married woman's man. (That's right.)
Yellow woman get mad, partner, she'll hang her head an' pout. (Sho' will)
Crow Jane gets mad, boy, somebody's got to go out. (Ha!)
Want you to listen good to what I'm sayin'.
You don't have to be dark to be a real Crow Jane. (You don't.)
A brown is nice lookin'; she needs no repair. (Now ain't that the truth?)
A Crow Jane is ugly; she needs some false hair.
But a Crow Jane is all right with me, partner,
But they done gone out o' style.
I mean, they done gone clean out o' style. (That alley don't want no more o' me!)


* I have attempted to separate the two performers by putting the lines of one of them in parentheses, but I don't know which is which.
Part A is spoken with no particular rhythm. Part B is recited so that the rhythm of one performer's words (the one not in parentheses) roughly matches the accompanying piano music. Also note: Part B is in rhyme.
Vocabulary: like to=nearly; ruint=ruined; forsted=forced.


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Subject: Lyr Add: CROW JANE BLUES (from Sonny Terry)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 19 Apr 17 - 07:50 PM

CROW JANE a.k.a. CROW JANE BLUES
As recorded by Sonny Terry (several versions—these are not necessarily in chronological order):

I. 2:02 – This version appears on "Classic Harmonica Blues from Smithsonian Folkways," "The Folkways Years, 1944-1963," and "This Is the Blues with Big Bill Broonzy, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee."


1. Crow Jane, Crow Jane, don't hold your head so high.
You'll realize, baby, you're gonna lay down and die.

2. I done told you, baby, an' I ain't gon' tell you no mo'.
If I tell you 'gain, I'm gwinta grab my ol' four(?) forty-fo'.

3. I feel like snappin' my pistol in your face.
Some lonely graveyard be your restin' place.

4. I love you, Crow Jane, an' I ain't gwine tell no lie.
If today you quit me, that's the day you die.


II. 3:25 – This version appears on "Sonny Terry's New Sound."


1. Crow Jane, Crow Jane, don't hold your head so high.
You'll realize, baby, you gotta lay down and die.

2. You see me comin', baby, put your man outdo'.
Well, I ain't no stranger; old Sonny been here befo'.

3. Crow Jane, Crow Jane, what make your big head so high?
You'll realize, baby, you gotta lay down and die.

4. Well, I love you, Crow Jane, and I ain't gwine tell no lie.
Well, the day you quit me, that's the day you die.

5. Oh, tell me, Crow Jane, what is this you got on your min'?
You keep me worried, for wringin' my hand and cryin'?

6. Look-a-here, Crow Jane: you ain't treatin' your Sonny right.
You go out ev'ry mornin' but don't come back till the night.

7. Crow Jane, Crow Jane, what hold your head so high?
You realize, baby, you gotta lay down and die.

8-10. You gotta lay down and die. (4x)
(Y'all help me sing it.)
You gotta lay down and die. (6x)
Crow Jane, Crow Jane, you gotta lay down and die.


III. 3:50 – This version appears on "The Alligator Records 20th Anniversary Collection," "80s Blues," "Classic Harmonica Blues," "Blues Harmonica Magic," "Whoopin'," "Discover Blues Harmonica," and "Mouth Organ Blues."


1. Crow Jane, Crow Jane, what make you hold your head so high?
Oh, you realize, honey, you're gonna lay down and die.

2. I say go down to that council(?) and tell your brother Bill
That the woman he lovin' sho' gonna get him killed.

3. Did you get that letter I throwed in your backyard?
Well, I would 'a' come to see you, baby, but your other man had me barred.

4. I love you, Crow Jane, and I tell the world I do.
You're a good looker, Crow Jane, but I swear you won't be true.

5. I'm gonna sing this verse an' I ain't gon' sing no mo'.
Lord, my honey-...(?) called me, I'm booked and I'm bound to go

[Verse 1 is sung like a chorus after every verse, but the tune is the same as the verses.]


IV. 2:35 – This version appears on "Harmonica Blues" and "When He Shines"


1. Crow Jane, Crow Jane, babe, hold your head so high.
You remember, babe, that you gotta lay down an' die.

2. I just stopped here, baby, to cast my eyes up in wind(?).
Till the window breaks, honey, you know I'm up here an' gone again.

3. I done told you, baby, and I ain't gon' tell you no mo'.
If I tell you 'gain, I might grab my forty-fo'.

4. And I will snap my pistol, baby, in your low-down face.
Some here lonesome graveyard be your restin' place.

5. Crow Jane, Crow Jane, honey, [what] make you hold your head so high, baby?
You realize, honey, you gotta lay down and die.

6. I walked and I walked till my feet got soakin' wet.
I ain't found Crow Jane an' I ain't quit walkin' yet.

7. Crow Jane, Crow Jane, baby, don't hold your head so high.
I done tol' you, baby, you gotta lay down and die.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crow Jane Blues
From: GUEST,harpgirl
Date: 24 Apr 17 - 10:16 AM

Richie...that's awesome, thanks.
JimDixonn, thanks. I may have this on a Big Bill Broonzy record, it turns out. Stay tuned.
Love, harpeggio


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Mudcat time: 19 September 4:55 PM EDT

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