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Lyr Req: Tennesse Dog (from Mike Seeger)

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GUEST,Isaiah Sellers 30 Dec 09 - 01:39 PM
Jim Dixon 02 Jan 10 - 01:28 PM
Jim Dixon 04 Jan 10 - 06:24 PM
GUEST 04 Jan 10 - 09:38 PM
GUEST,Isaiah Sellers 14 Jan 10 - 11:43 AM
Jim Dixon 14 Jan 10 - 03:12 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Lyr Req: Tennesse Dog (Mike Seeger)
From: GUEST,Isaiah Sellers
Date: 30 Dec 09 - 01:39 PM

I am looking for lyrics to the tune Mike Seeger called 'Tennessee Dog,' but which was apparently also called 'Anybody Here Want to Buy a Little Dog.'

There is only one line that isn't clear:

Anybody here want to buy a little dog / I'm right here to sell you / Her ain't no catfish, he ain't no hog / and I'm right here to tell you

That dog / That Tennessee dog / His head is long, ears is flat / Never stops blah blah-blah, blah blah blah blah

'Blah phrase' = [something that maybe end-rhymes with flat, but sounds like jack]


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tennesse Dog (Mike Seeger)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 02 Jan 10 - 01:28 PM

From Kentucky Folklore Record, Volume 10 (Bowling Green: Kentucky Folklore Society, 1964), page 7:

A tuneful little ditty collected from an eleven-year-old Negro girl follows:

Does anybody here want to buy a little dog?
I've got one to sellum.
If you don't believe it's a he or a she,
Pull up his tail and smellum.

My little dog is a good little dog,
Eats beefsteak and liver.
Kills more rats than a thousand cats
From here to the Mississippi River.


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Subject: Lyr Add: TENNESSEE DOG (Jimmie Strothers?)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 04 Jan 10 - 06:24 PM

TENNESSEE DOG was recorded by both Mike Seeger and Jimmie Strothers. Their versions are quite similar, and Strothers' recording is older, therefore I would guess that Seeger learned it from Strothers. I have listened to snippets of both recordings, and I have put this together:


1? Anybody here want to buy a little dog?
I'm right here to sell you.
He ain't no catfish, ain't no hog,
And I'm right here to tell you.

CHORUS: That dog, that Tennessee dog,
Oh, his head is long, ears is flat.
He never stops a-eatin' till the ballin' of the jack.
That dog, talkin' 'bout that dog.
He's the meanest dog that come from Tennessee.

2? Now, he can eat more meat than any butcher dog,
Eats steak, pork chops, and liver.
He can catch more rats than any other cat
On this side o' Mississippi River.

CHORUS: That dog, that dog, that—talkin' bout that dog,
Oh, his head is long, ears is flat....


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tennesse Dog (Mike Seeger)
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Jan 10 - 09:38 PM

Kip Lornell's note to the song on 'Virginia Traditions: Non-Blues Secular Black Music' Global Village CD 1001 indicates that 'Tennessee Dog' is from the minstrel stage. Strothers was an inmate when he recorded the piece in May 1936.

After the final chorus of Jim's transcription above, Strothers repeats stanza 1 and the chorus, then:

I say come here to me Tabby
Walk right up and shiver
He can catch more rats than any other cat
On this side of Mississippi River

Repeat chorus - That dog ...


--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tennesse Dog (Mike Seeger)
From: GUEST,Isaiah Sellers
Date: 14 Jan 10 - 11:43 AM

Thank you!

"Never stops eating til the ballin of the jack"

That is the line I was looking for. No wonder I couldn't make sense of it: I have no idea what that combination of words means.

I see "balling the jack" has meant having a real good time or takin a big risk. Any comments on how the phrase applies to when a dog would stop eating?

In any case, I am indebted to you, Jim. I can stop singing "never stops eating til the bowl's laid flat," though at least that did make sense.

Isaiah


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tennesse Dog (Mike Seeger)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 14 Jan 10 - 03:12 PM

Isaiah: Do you know any more of the song than what I posted above? If so, please post what you have.


From Dictionary of American Regional English: D - H, Volume 2 by Frederic G. Cassidy (Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1991), page 140:

(I have omitted the illustrative quotations, except the last one.)

ball the jack v phr
1 Esp of a locomotive or train; to move rapidly; transf, to work swiftly or energetically.
2 To perform an energetic dance accompanied by vigorous handclapping; also n ballin' the jack, occas ball and (the) jack, chiefly among Blacks.
3 To move in a conspicuous manner.
4 To have a good or exciting time.
5 To risk everything on one attempt.
6 To be the last straw.
  When you come to the end of your patience, you might say, "Well, that certainly balls the jack."


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