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Lyr Add: Cocaine Blues (Reverend Gary Davis)

DigiTrad:
CANDY MAN
IF I HAD MY WAY
MOTHERLESS CHILDREN


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Jim Dixon 29 Dec 13 - 06:50 PM
Jim Dixon 29 Dec 13 - 08:08 PM
Jim Dixon 29 Dec 13 - 08:43 PM
Jim Dixon 30 Dec 13 - 09:53 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: COCAINE BLUES (Reverend Gary Davis)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 29 Dec 13 - 06:50 PM

Close attention to these lyrics should settle the question of whether such songs "glorify" drugs.

My transcription from the song heard on Spotify:

COCAINE BLUES
As sung by Reverend Gary Davis on "Manchester Free Trade Hall 1964" (Document Records, 2007)

[Spoken:] I'm 'on play y'all what you want now.

Done(?) been dead long time ago.
Snuffin' this cocaine, he won't snuff alone no mo'.
Cocaine has got all around my brain.

Come in one mornin' just about broad daylight.
Me and my gal had a great big fight.
Cocaine done got all around my brain.

Got up this mornin' 'bout half past nine.
My gal's got a chair and tried her best to knock me blind.
Cocaine has got all around my brain.

Send for the doctor and send for 'im quick.
This cocaine has done made me sick.
Cocaine has got all around my brain.

Run here, woman; won't you run here quick?
This cocaine has got me sick.
Cocaine has got all around my brain.

Run here, please, baby, won't you run here quick?
This cocaine has—get me worried.
Cocaine has got all around my brain.

I been out all night long; ain't slept none yet.
This cocaine is givin' me a terrible fit.
Cocaine has got all 'round my brain.

Comin' home I didn't know hardly how to act.
My gal struck me in the head with a seven-pound ax.
Cocaine has done got all around my brain.

Met my gal coming; she's all dressed in red.
She had a thirty-eight special to kill me dead.
Cocaine has got all around my brain.

Woke up this mornin' feelin' bad.
Worstest feelin' I ever most had.
Cocaine has got all around my brain.

[Spoken:] What you talkin' 'bout?

I tell you men, you just ought to be like me.
Drink good corn whiskey; let that ol' cocaine be.
Cocaine has got all around my brain.

I found myself settin' down on some lonesome road.
Said to myself I done spent all my money for room and boa'd.
Cocaine have got all around my brain.

[Spoken:] Pretty bad when a man spendin' money like that, you think?


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Subject: Lyr Add: COCAINE BLUES (Rev. Gary Davis)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 29 Dec 13 - 08:08 PM

This seems to be from a concert, and it seems cut short. I have taken the trouble to transcribe the patter at the beginning of the recording because it helps explain his attitude to cocaine. I heard this on Spotify:

COCAINE BLUES
As sung by Reverend Gary Davis on "Demons & Angels: The Ultimate Collection, Part 3" (2005)

Now then, some people drinks rum; some drinks this here homemade wine, or some thing and another. Some people drinks gin, all that kind o' stuff. Some folks takes a needle and some folks sniff cocaine.

Way back yonder when I was a child, I was hearin' tell o' cocaine, ever since I been knowin' what drinkin' was. Used to be, they tell me, when they used to sniff cocaine, they'd put it on the point of a knife, and sniff it up to here, y'understand. They had the biggest kind o' trouble. Now they studied a better way, y'understand, for to get it, y'understand.

Sometime you get it in your vein. They call it now today a narcotic, you understand. Of course, what I'm sayin', it doesn't matter. Well, it's that same name that they give it way back yonder, cocaine, but it's that same narcotic. Sometime our brain get filled up with cocaine and ain't had took ... neither. Sometime you get tied up in love, y'understand; you got cocaine a-plenty; you don't have to snuff none. Ain't that right?

I hear the boy says: "I'm goin' uptown, I'm goin'...."
He said: My baby's got somethin' I sure do like.
What is it? He said: "Cocaine, gettin' all around my brain."

Said: "See that woman comin' yonder, dressed in black?"
What's the matter? "I b'lieve to my soul she gon' take me back."
Cocaine all around my brain

Here's somebody draggin'; can't hardly make it. Said he oughta been dead
Long time ago, snuffin' cocaine up the head.
Cocaine all around my brain.

Here come a man with a pretty girl. Talkin' 'bout your good gal, y'ought to see mine.
She ain't so pretty but she do's just fine.
Cocaine.

Here's a fella done got too much of it, and 'bout to kill 'im.
Say: "Run here, baby; please, ma'am, run here quick.
This cocaine is just about to make me sick."
Cocaine.

That one o' that old-time playin', you see?

One o' these mornin', it won't be long,
You gon' wake up and call for me and I'll be gone.
Went to get somethin' now: cocaine. It done got all around my brain.

Here come a hot— a tall person. All you people ought to be like me.
Drink that good corn whiskey; let the cocaine be.
Cocaine.

That fella got some sense; he want somethin' to do him good, not to kill him, you see? FADE.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Cocaine Blues (Reverend Gary Davis)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 29 Dec 13 - 08:43 PM

Here's an excerpt from The Mayor of MacDougal Street: A Memoir by Dave Van Ronk and Elijah Wald (Da Capo Press, 2009), page 135:
    I messed around with a lot of his [Rev. Gary Davis'] songs, and "Candyman" and "Cocaine Blues" became staples of my repertoire. I was particularly attracted to those because he did not perform them himself. Being a reverend of the fundamentalist persuasion, he did not like to sing secular songs in any public situation. He especially would not sing blues, but any song that was not a religious song was the Devil's music, and those two songs were particularly sinful. (At first, I did not know that a "candy man" was a pimp, and I could not understand Gary's reluctance to perform that song. One time, I confronted him about it: "But Gary, that's a children's song." He said, "Yeah, you get lots of children from songs like that.")

    Fortunately, he was a little more relaxed in private, and appropriately enough to his calling, he had no head for liquor, so after a drink or two you could sometimes put the arm on him to sing some blues or party songs. Something like "Cocaine Blues," though, was a little too much for him, so he refused to sing it; he would just play the guitar part and speak the words in a sort of recitatif. I thought that was a pretty tenuous legal argument—I would have hated to be in his shoes when he had to face Saint Peter with the defense, "I didn't sing it; I just talked it."—but nothing would move him. As a result, when I recorded my version I just recited the lyric, and by now dozens of people have done versions, but none of us ever found out what the melody was. That melody died with Gary.
[However, you can hear snatches of a melody in the 2 versions I transcribed above.--JD]


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Subject: Lyr Add: COCAINE BLUES (from Bob Dylan)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 30 Dec 13 - 09:53 AM

Dylan's version definitely sounds more like singing than reciting, although the tune is very simple; some lines are nearly a monotone.

COCAINE BLUES – LIVE, 1997
As sung by Bob Dylan on "Tell Tale Signs: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 8" (2008)

1. Ever' time my lady and me we go uptown,
Police come and they knock me down.
Cocaine all around my brain.

CHORUS: Hey, baby, better come here quick.
This ol' cocaine is makin' me sick.
Cocaine all around my brain.

2. Yonder come my baby; she's dressed in red.
She's got a shotgun, says she's gonna kill me dead.
Cocaine all around my brain. CHORUS

3. Early one mornin', half-past four,
Cocaine come knockin' on my door.
Cocaine all around my brain. CHORUS

4. Cocaine's for horses and it's not for men.
Doctor says it'll kill you but he don't say when.
Cocaine all around my brain. CHORUS


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