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ADD: We Shall Be Free-Guthrie, Leadbelly, Houston

George Ellias 03 May 10 - 08:30 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 03 May 10 - 09:38 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 03 May 10 - 09:49 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 03 May 10 - 10:03 PM
Jim Dixon 05 May 10 - 06:51 PM
Richie 05 May 10 - 09:48 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 05 May 10 - 10:17 PM
GUEST,BrooklynJay 16 Jul 10 - 05:01 PM
BrooklynJay 17 Jul 10 - 02:32 PM
BrooklynJay 19 Jul 10 - 01:50 PM
GUEST,George Ellias 23 Aug 10 - 01:35 AM
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Subject: Lyr Req: We Shall Be Free-Guthrie, Leadbelly,Cisc
From: George Ellias
Date: 03 May 10 - 08:30 PM

Anyone know the lyrics to this song?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We Shall Be Free-Guthrie, Leadbelly,Cisc
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 03 May 10 - 09:38 PM

This refrain goes back to the Contraband days of the Civil War.
See thread on Songs of the Jubilee Singers, Children, we all shall be free.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We Shall Be Free-Guthrie, Leadbelly,Cisc
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 03 May 10 - 09:49 PM

Guthrie, Houston and friends on youtube- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zU6efMni9A4


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We Shall Be Free-Guthrie, Leadbelly,Cisc
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 03 May 10 - 10:03 PM

The version sung by Guthrie is attributed to Lead Belly. It is on a 1962 Guthrie album. Any earlier?


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Subject: Lyr Add: WE SHALL BE FREE (Leadbelly, Guthrie, &c)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 05 May 10 - 06:51 PM

Here's my attempt at a transcription from the recording at YouTube. There are some gaps where I found the words unintelligible. The lines in italics are more shouted than sung:

WE SHALL BE FREE
As sung by Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie, Sonny Terry & Cisco Houston.

CHORUS 1. In the mornin'
You shall be free
'Fore day
You shall be free
Hear me say
You shall be free
When the good Lord sets you free

VERSE 1. I was down in the hen house other night
Awful dark, I didn't have no light
I reached for a chicken, I got me a goose
A man come out, I had to turn him loose

CHORUS 2. I jumped a gully
You shall be free
I jumped a rose bush
You shall be free
...
You shall be free
When the good Lord sets you free

VERSE 2. Preacher an' a rooster had a terr'ble fight
Preacher knocked the rooster clean out o' sight
Preacher told the rooster that'll be all right
Meet ya at the hen house tomorrow night

CHORUS 3. You shall be free
In the mornin'
You shall be free
You know, rooster
You shall be free
When the good Lord sets you free

VERSE 3. I's down in the hen house on my knees
I thought I heard a chicken sneeze
Only a rooster sayin' his prayers
Thankin' his God for the hens upstairs

CHORUS 4. Here's the preacher
You shall be free
He's a-singin'
You shall be free
Takin' up c'llection
You shall be free
When the good Lord sets you free

VERSE 4. Oh, some folks says times is hard
Preacher says put your trust in God
Matter no diff'rence, don't you see
A hog can't run too fast for me

CHORUS 5. Gettin' that ...
You shall be free
Gettin' that hogeye
You shall be free
Eatin' up chitt'lin's
You shall be free
When the good Lord sets you free

VERSE 5. As some people say, a preacher won't steal
I caught two down in my corn fiel'
One had a bushel, other had a peck
Other'n had a roastin' ear down his neck

CHORUS 6. ...
You shall be free
Gettin' roastin' ears
You shall be free
Gettin' dried corn
You shall be free
When the good Lord sets you free

VERSE 6. Oh the gun said boom an' the hog said ...
... jumped on 'er with all o' his will
...
How that hog gets ...

CHORUS 7. ...
You shall be free
I don't care
You shall be free
Forget about ...
You shall be free
When the good Lord sets you free


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We Shall Be Free-Guthrie, Leadbelly,Cisc
From: Richie
Date: 05 May 10 - 09:48 PM

Jim,

This is an improvement on verse 6:

VERSE 6. Oh the gun said boom an' the hog said "zip,"
He jumped on 'im with all o' his grip.
Pull all the gold and put a hundred on the rail
Now that hog eats out a golden pail.

The third line works but probably isn't right.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: We Shall Be Free-Guthrie, Leadbelly,Cisc
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 05 May 10 - 10:17 PM

Tail? I can't be sure either.


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Subject: RE: ADD: We Shall Be Free-Guthrie, Leadbelly, Houston
From: GUEST,BrooklynJay
Date: 16 Jul 10 - 05:01 PM

There are actually two versions (at least, two that I have) of this song as performed by Woody Guthrie/Leadbelly/Sonny Terry. One is (obviously) an alternate take, and the lyrics are somewhat different in spots from what has been posted.

As soon as I can complete the transcriptions, I'll post what I have. Alas, a few of the lyrics (mostly Leadbelly) are pretty much much unintelligible.


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Subject: RE: ADD: We Shall Be Free-Guthrie, Leadbelly, Houston
From: BrooklynJay
Date: 17 Jul 10 - 02:32 PM

Here are the lyrics, as best as I could transcribe them (with a little help from the Smithsonian/Folkways website), from the CD "Woody Guthrie Sings Folk Songs" on Smithsonian/Folkways. Some lyrics are almost impossible to decipher, though, so a little conjecture has been employed.

[LEADBELLY:]
(In the mornin')
We shall be free
('Fore day)
We shall be free
(Hear me say)
We shall be free
When the Good Lord sets you free

[WOODY:]
I was down in the hen house, other night
Awful dark, I didn't have no light
I reached for a chicken, I got me a goose
A man come out, I had to turn it loose

(I jumped a gully)
We shall be free
(I jumped a rose bush)
We shall be free
(Lotsa plowed ground)
We shall be free
When the Good Lord sets you free

[LEADBELLY:]
Preacher and a rooster had a terrible fight
Preacher knocked the rooster clean outta sight
Preacher tell the rooster that'll be all right
Meet ya at the hen house tomorrow night

(Where the chickens at)
We shall be free
(In the mornin')
We shall be free
(And the rooster)
We shall be free
When the Good Lord sets you free

[WOODY:]
I was down in the hen house on my knees
I thought I heard a chicken sneeze
Only a rooster, sayin' his prayers
Thankin' his God for the hens upstairs

(He's a-preachin')
We shall be free
(He's a-singin')
We shall be free
(Takin' up collection')
We shall be free
When the Good Lord sets you free

[LEADBELLY:]
Some folks say that times is hard
Preacher would tell you put your trust in God
Matters no difference what, don't you see
A hog can't run too fast for me

(Get my hopes up)
We shall be free
(Get them hog eyes)
We shall be free
(Get them chit'lins)
We shall be free
When the Good Lord sets you free

[WOODY:]
There's some people say a preacher won't steal
I caught two down in my cornfield
One had a bushel, other had a peck
Other had a roastin' ear down his neck

(In the kitchen)
We shall be free
(Gettin'a roastin' ear)
We shall be free
(Gettin' dried corn)
We shall be free
When the Good Lord sets you free

[LEADBELLY:]
Oh, the gun said boom [??] and the hog said zip [??}
He jumped on 'er with all his grip
Pulled off his overcoat and hung it on a nail
Caight [??] that hog, guess I'll go to jail

(I don't care)
We shall be free
(Now let's hear)
We shall be free
(Forget about the jailbird)
We shall be free
When the Good Lord sets you free

At this point Woody says "Now Sonny," but the recording abruptly fades out. There may have been a vocal by Sonny Terry (or harmonica solo) but it's not included on the record.


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Subject: RE: ADD: We Shall Be Free-Guthrie, Leadbelly, Houston
From: BrooklynJay
Date: 19 Jul 10 - 01:50 PM

Here are the lyrics to the alternate take, as best as I could decipher them. I got this from a vinyl LP I bought back in the 1980's: "The Collection: Leadbelly - 20 Blues Greats" (Deja Vu DVLP #2072), but I'm pretty certain it was released on other albums. It's not included in the discography in "The Life & Legend of Leadbelly" by charles Wolfe & Kip Lornell.

Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly and Sonny Terry all sing the chorus, but only the person noted speaks the "asides". On this version, though, it sounds like they are singing "You shall be free" instead of "We shall be free."

[LEADBELLY:]
(In the mornin')
We shall be free
(I done tol' you)
We shall be free
(I said it)
We shall be free
When the Good Lord sets you free.

[WOODY:]
I was down in the hen house,on my knees
Thought I heard a chicken sneeze
Nothin' but a rooster, sayin' his prayers
Thankin' his God for the pullets upstairs

(He's a-preachin')
We shall be free
(Takin' up collection)
We shall be free
(Prayin' on th' knees)
We shall be free
When the Good Lord sets you free

(Spoken:)
Now you tell it

[LEADBELLY:]
Now, there's some folks says that the times is hard
Preacher said to put your trust in God
Matters no difference, don't you see
A hog can't run too fast for me

(Gettin' my hopes up)[??]
We shall be free
(I done told ya)
We shall be free
(Oh, preacher)[??]
We shall be free
When the Good Lord sets you free

[WOODY;]
Ain't no use in me a-workin' so hard
I got a woman in the rich folks' yard
When they kill a chicken, she sends me the head
Thinks I'm a-workin', I'm a-layin' up in bed

(Takin' it easy)
We shall be free
(Two other women)
We shall be free
(I thought you noticed)
We shall be free
When the Good Lord sets you free

(Spoken:)
Now you tell it

[LEADBELLY:]
Oh, you see that preacher, sittin' on a log
Money [??] in his finger and his eyes on the hog
The gun said boom, lose his grip [??]
He jumped on him with all of his zip [??]

(Gettin' my hopes up)
We shall be free
(Gettin' a hog eye)
We shall be free
(Gettin' them chit'lins)
We shall be free
When the Good Lord sets you free

[There is a gap of several seconds here, where Woody apparently forgets the lyrics, or doesn't realize that it's his turn to sing.]

[WOODY:]
Ain't no use in me a-workin' so hard
I got a woman in the rich folks' yard
When they kill a chicken, she sends me the feet
Thinks I'm a-workin', I'm a walkin' down the street

(Havin' a big [??] time)
We shall be free
(Havin' a good time)
We shall be free
(Seein' the women go by)
We shall be free
When the Good Lord sets you free


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Subject: RE: ADD: We Shall Be Free-Guthrie, Leadbelly, Houston
From: GUEST,George Ellias
Date: 23 Aug 10 - 01:35 AM

Thanks you guys... Such an awesome song. Dylan often re-wrote the lyrics to this song and kept the melody.

Examples: I shall be free, I shall be free #2.

www.myspace.com/georgeelliasmusic

see you all later!


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