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Lyr Add: Cocaine Blues 4 (Luke Jordan)

DigiTrad:
COCAINE BLUES
COCAINE BLUES (4)
COCAINE BLUES 2
COCAINE BLUES 3
TAKE A WHIFF ON ME


Related threads:
Chords Req: Cocaine Blues (from Dave Van Ronk) (13)
Lyr Req: Rogaine (parody of 'Cocaine') (9)
(origins) Origins: Who sang this specific version of Cocaine (13)
Public help question: Cocaine song again (6)
Cocaine.... (52)
Lyr Req: Propane (spoof on 'Cocaine') (23)
Lyr Req: Cocaine Blues (11)
Lyr Req: Cocaine Blues (from David Bromberg) (3)
(origins) Origins: Cocaine Blues (28)
Cocaine - version - (5)
Chords Req: Cocaine Blues (Luke Jordan) (4)
Chords Req: Cocaine Blues (Luke Jordan) (5)
Lyr Req: Cocaine Blues (from David Bromberg) (20)
Lyr Req: Cocaine Blues (5)


Stewie 21 Nov 99 - 10:40 PM
Stewie 21 Nov 99 - 11:00 PM
Stewie 22 Nov 99 - 04:39 AM
jeepman (inactive) 10 Jan 01 - 12:24 PM
GUEST,Albert Calleros 16 Feb 04 - 02:28 AM
Stewie 16 Feb 04 - 03:52 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 16 Feb 04 - 07:09 AM
Stewie 16 Feb 04 - 07:12 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 17 Feb 04 - 05:49 AM
GUEST,Jim Crutchfield 21 Feb 10 - 08:23 PM
GUEST,Ian McMillan 16 Dec 10 - 09:58 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 17 Dec 10 - 10:29 AM
GUEST,dumpp 26 Dec 12 - 12:50 AM
Jim Dixon 29 Dec 13 - 01:53 PM
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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Cocaine Blues 4
From: Stewie
Date: 21 Nov 99 - 10:40 PM

The version of 'Cocaine Blues' in DT as 'Cocaine Blues 3' attributed to Luke Jordan is NOT Luke Jordan's 1927 recording. The note to it in the DT refers to Jordan's 2 contributions from 1929 on 'Virginia Traditions: Western Piedmont Blues' Global Village. I have most of the GV Virginia Traditions series, but unfortunately not that one. However, on checking the Global Village website, it lists the 2 Jordan tracks on that album as 'Goin' Up To the Country' and 'Jailhouse Blues'. Is the 'Cocaine Blues 3' in DT hiding under one of those titles? It seems unlikely. Godrich and Dixon has no mention at all of Jordan blues of the titles on VT album, so they cannot have been issued commercially.

There was a request for Jordan's 'Cocaine Blues' within the 'cocaine' thread. I have started a new 'lyric add' thread because I believe it is an important and fine blues that has been sorely neglected. It is probably the first blues about cocaine addiction to be recorded. As I indicated in the other thread, it was recorded in 1927 by a black artist, Luke Jordon, who was born in West Virginia in 1892, but who settled in Lynchburg, Virginia, in 1916. Two years later, 1929, it was recorded by the white West Virginian artist, Dick Justice. The versions are very close – Justice even sings the line: 'I got a girl she works in the white folks yard'. The work of many West Virginian white artists, in particular, provides ample evidence that there was considerable interaction between the races, at least as far as music was concerned. The wonderful Yazoo 2000 series compilations that intermingle 78s from the 'race' series and the 'hillbilly' series offer many examples of this interrelationship throughout the south.

Below is my attempt at a transcription of Luke Jordan's recording. As with any transcription of old blues, it will be subject to correction because different ears will hear different things. It took me a long time to get 'elephant' in the third stanza until I recalled how Johnny Jones pronounced 'elephant' in his famous version of 'Dirty Dozens' – you then wonder why you couldn't hear it at first. Jordan gives a specific circus name in stanza 3 – does anyone know what it should be? Justice simply refers to 'a vaudeville circus'. In the refrain verse, I cannot be sure whether Jordan is singing 'she come on sniffin'' or 'she come on sniffed me', but I have opted for the former even though it more often sounds like the latter. In the 'what in the world' verse Jordan sings 'earthly plant' clearly enough, but Justice sings 'masonry plank'. Part of the 2 'furniture man' verses are similar to Lil McClintock's (male singer, Lil is short for Little) justly famous 'Furniture Man' that he recorded in 1930.

The 'baby's in the cradle' stanza is a real puzzle. Nothing seems to make much sense and, try as I might, I cannot decipher what he is singing in the second half of the second line. Any ideas? The Justice version is different, but just as odd:

'Now the baby's in the cradle in New Orleans, the dog's getting whippin till the baby got mean
Stopped the whippin' till the baby got sore, mama said she couldn't smell no more
Sayin', go doctor, ring the bell - the women in the alley
I'm simply wild about my good cocaine'

Oliver says that only a small number 'of blacks were "snowbirds" going on a "sleigh-ride" by sniffing cocaine'. The commonest drug used in the black community was marijuana. Jordan's blues may be the first time the wellknown lines about 'coke's for horses etc' made it to vinyl. Rev Gary Davis didn't record his more famous 'Cocaine Blues' till he was 'rediscovered'. Both Jordan and Justice were excellent guitarists and singers and their music is well worth a listen.

Cheers, Stewie. (Hoping for some corrections and puzzled by the attribution in the DT)

COCAINE BLUES
(Luke Jordan)

Oh go on, gal, don't you take me for no fool
I'm not gonna quit you, pretty mama, while the weather's cool
Around your back door, oh honey, I'm gonna creep
As long as you make those two and a half a week

Now I got a girl, she works in the white folk's yard
She brings me meal, I can swear she brings me lard
She brings me meat, she brings me lard
She brings me everything, I swear, that she can steal

Now Barn and Beale's (?) circus came to town,
They had an elephant looking good and brown
They did not know it was against the law
For the monk(ey) to stop at a five drugstore
Just around the corner, just a minute too late,
Another one's standin' at the big back gate
I'm simply wild about my good cocaine

I called my Cora, hey hey
She come on sniffin' with her nose all sore,
The doctor swore (she's) gonna smell no more
Sayin', run doctor, ring the bell - the women in the alley
I'm simply wild about my good cocaine

Now the furniture man came to my house, it was last Sunday morn
He asked me was my wife at home and I told him she had long gone
He backed his wagon up to my door, took everything I had
He carried it back to the furniture store and I swear I did feel sad

What in the world has anyone got for dealing with the furniture man
If you got no dough, you stand no show, it's certain he'll back you back
He'll take everything from an earthly plant, from a skillet to a frying pan
If ever there was a devil born without any horns,
It must have been a furniture man

I called my Cora, hey hey
She come on sniffin' with her nose all sore,
Doctor swore (she's) gonna smell no more
Sayin' coke's for horses, not women nor men
The doctor said it will kill you, but he didn't say when
I'm simply wild about my good cocaine

Now the baby's in the cradle in New Orleans,
It kept a-whippin' till it got so mean
It kept a-whippin had to fix it so (indecipherable)
Saying, run doctor, ring the bell – the women in the alley
I'm simply wild about my good cocaine

I called my Cora, hey hey
She come on sniffin' with her nose all sore,
The doctor swore (she's) gonna smell no more
Sayin', run doctor, ring the bell - the women in the alley
I'm simply wild about my good cocaine

Now the baby's in the cradle in New Orleans,
The dog's getting whippin till the baby got mean
Stopped the whippin' till the baby got sore,
Mama said she couldn't smell no more
Sayin', go doctor, ring the bell - the women in the alley
I'm simply wild about my good cocaine

SOURCE: Luke Jordan 'Cocaine Blues' Vi 20176. Recorded Tuesday 16 August 1927 in Charlotte NC. Reissued on Various Artists 'The Roots of Rap' Yazoo CD 20218. Dick Justice recorded 'Cocaine Blues' on 20 May 1930 in Chicago Ill. It is reissued on 'Old-time Music from West Virginia' Document DOCD-8004. ^^


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Subject: Lyr Add: Cocaine Blues 4^^
From: Stewie
Date: 21 Nov 99 - 11:00 PM

Sorry, the last verse (without line breaks) is the Justice alternative version which I meant to delete. This is how it should be:

COCAINE BLUES

Oh go on, gal, don't you take me for no fool
I'm not gonna quit you, pretty mama, while the weather's cool
Around your back door, oh honey, I'm gonna creep
As long as you make those two and a half a week

Now I got a girl, she works in the white folk's yard
She brings me meal, I can swear she brings me lard
She brings me meat, she brings me lard
She brings me everything, I swear, that she can steal

Now Barn and Beale's (?) circus came to town, they had an elephant looking good and brown
They did not know it was against the law for the monk(ey) to stop at a five drugstore
Just around the corner, just a minute too late, another one's standin' at the big back gate
I'm simply wild about my good cocaine

I called my Cora, hey hey
She come on sniffin' with her nose all sore, the doctor swore (she's) gonna smell no more
Sayin', run doctor, ring the bell - the women in the alley
I'm simply wild about my good cocaine

Now the furniture man came to my house, it was last Sunday morn
He asked me was my wife at home and I told him she had long gone
He backed his wagon up to my door, took everything I had
He carried it back to the furniture store and I swear I did feel sad

What in the world has anyone got for dealing with the furniture man
If you got no dough, you stand no show, it's certain he'll back you back
He'll take everything from an earthly plant, from a skillet to a frying pan
If ever there was a devil born without any horns, it must have been a furniture man

I called my Cora, hey hey
She come on sniffin' with her nose all sore, doctor swore (she's) gonna smell no more
Sayin' coke's for horses, not women nor men
The doctor said it will kill you, but he didn't say when
I'm simply wild about my good cocaine

Now the baby's in the cradle in New Orleans, it kept a-whippin' till it got so mean
It kept a-whippin had to fix it so (indecipherable)
Saying, run doctor, ring the bell – the women in the alley
I'm simply wild about my good cocaine

I called my Cora, hey hey
She come on sniffin' with her nose all sore, the doctor swore (she's) gonna smell no more
Sayin', run doctor, ring the bell - the women in the alley
I'm simply wild about my good cocaine

SOURCE: Luke Jordan 'Cocaine Blues' Vi 20176. Recorded Tuesday 16 August 1927 in Charlotte NC. Reissued on Various Artists 'The Roots of Rap' Yazoo CD 20218. Dick Justice recorded 'Cocaine Blues' on 20 May 1930 in Chicago Ill. It is reissued on 'Old-time Music from West Virginia' Document DOCD-8004. ^^


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Cocaine Blues 4
From: Stewie
Date: 22 Nov 99 - 04:39 AM

I wish to pursue this because it is most interesting. The versions of 'Cocaine Blues' in the DT 'Cocaine Blues' and 'Cocaine Blues 3'(forgetting about George Thoroughgood) are identical and are word-for-word what Dave Van Ronk sings on 'Inside Dave Van Ronk'. Like the Van Ronk record, the DT attributes this version to Luke Jordan. This is almost certainly incorrect - I'd bet my boots on that anyway. I reckon some record company staffer gave the wrong attribution and it has stuck. The Van Ronk Fantasy label record credits 'Luke Jordan Peer International BMI'. Peer was working for Victor in the 1920s and probably was the recording engineer at the Jordan session in 1927. As one can see from the above posting, the Jordan song bears no resemblance to the DT/Van Ronk version for which he is given credit.

The note at the bottom of the identical versions in DT reads:

'The following note on Luke Jordan is from a review of the Global Village CD - VIRGINIA TRADITIONS: Western Piedmont Blues. "Any fan of the pre-war blues will be familiar with Luke Jordan and his constant pursuit of cocaine. His two tracks were cut in 1929 and are followed by a hiatus that lasts until James Lowry cut his three offerings at a radio station in 1953.RB'

In this context, that note is absurd or next to useless. I misread the Global Village listing that I gave above - it was confusing because some of the song titles are in bold and others in italics. Anyhow, the 2 Jordan tracks on the CD are 'Won't You be Kind' and 'My Gal's Done Quit Me' and Godrich and Dixon lists them as being recorded in 1929. Neither of them has anything at all to do with 'Cocaine Blues' recorded 2 years earlier. The quote offered as shedding some sort of light on Jordan merely indicates that the time span on the CD jumps from Jordan's 2 1929 contributions to some dubs of James Lowry from a radio station in 1953 - to the rest of the CD which consisted of 1970s field recordings. Very illuminating! The quote also says that 'any pre-war blues fan will be familiar with Luke Jordan and his constant pursuit of cocaine'. As a pre-war blues fan, I have never heard any suggestion that Jordan was a coke head. Kip Lornell, an expert on Virginia blues, has written: 'Jordan is still remembered by black musicians in Lynchburg as a unique and forceful guitarist. Moreover, he had a reputation as a problem drinker and an expert angler who never held down a regular job. His "signature" songs were "Cocaine Blues" and "Church Bells Blues" which some local blues musicians still perform'.

Given that the version sung by Van Ronk and in the DT has nothing to do with Luke Jordan (except for a few lines that floated from his version), where does that version come from? It is much closer to the Rev Gary Davis words given in the 'Cocaine' thread, but not the same. I always assumed the Van Ronk song was the Gary Davis version, but had never bothered to check the attribution on the record. The reference to Beale suggests a Memphis connection, but the only Memphis cocaine blues that springs to mind is the Memphis Jug Band's 'Take a Whiff on Me'. All very intriguing and worthy of further investigation. I think I'll go and have some dinner.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Cocaine Blues 4
From: jeepman (inactive)
Date: 10 Jan 01 - 12:24 PM

Hey folks its me again. I want to play and sing theCocaine Blues version by Luke Jordan and later Dave Bromberg.

I can't figure out the chord progression. If I can find just the basics it will help. Thanks. Ignorant as always, Jman


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Cocaine Blues 4
From: GUEST,Albert Calleros
Date: 16 Feb 04 - 02:28 AM

Hey Stewie,

Thanks mucho for the transcription to "Cocaine Blues". I've been trying to untangle the song for years (in my head) and now you've given me some great clarifications. I've gone through and added my corrections/suggestions in brackets. I hope that at least a few of them are good. By the way, have you ever tried to transcribe Luke Jordan's "Church Bell Blues?"


Oh [Ah] go on, gal, don't you take me for no fool
I'm not gonna quit you, pretty mama, while the weather's cool
Around your back door, oh [said] honey, I'm gonna creep
As long as you make those two and a half a week

Now I got a girl, she works in the white folk's yard
She brings me meal, I can swear she [breaks the law] brings me lard
She brings me meat, she brings me lard
She brings [bring] me everything, I swear, that she can steal

Now [Barnum & Bailey, poorly pronounced] Barn and Beale's (?) circus came to town, they had an elephant looking good and brown
They did not know it was against the law for the monk(ey) [monks, meaning blacks?] to stop at a five fine] drugstore
Just around the corner, just a minute too late, another one's standin' at the big back gate
I'm simply wild about my good cocaine [I always though that this was "I sniffed awhile about my good cocaine", but I like your interpretation better]

I called my Cora, hey hey
She come on sniffin' with her nose all sore, the doctor swore (she's) [he wasn't, but run together into "hewan'"] gonna smell [sell] no more
Sayin', run doctor, ring the bell ["ring the bell" was sometimes used as a slang term for stimulating the clitoris- no offense]- the women in the alley
I'm simply wild about my good cocaine

Now the [that] furniture man came to my house, it was last Sunday morn
He asked me was my wife at home and I told him she had long gone
He backed his wagon up to my door, took everything I had
He carried it back to the furniture store and I swear I did feel sad

What in the world has anyone got for dealing with the furniture man
If you got no dough, you stand no show ["standin' fo' sho', as in nothing left to sit on], it's certain he'll back you back
He'll [He will] take everything from an earthly plant, from a skillet to a frying pan
If [it ever was a devil] ever there was a devil born without any horns, it must have been a furniture man

I called my Cora, hey hey
She come on sniffin' with her nose all sore, doctor swore (she's) [he wasn't] gonna smell no more [sell her more]
Sayin' coke's for horses, not women nor men
The doctor said it will [it'd] kill you, but he didn't say when
I'm simply wild about my good cocaine

Now the baby's in the cradle in New Orleans, it [he] kept a-whippin' till it got so mean
It [he] kept a-whippin had to fix it so (indecipherable) [the judge would laugh at her and sell her more?]
Saying, run doctor, ring the bell the women in the alley
I'm simply wild about my good cocaine

I called my Cora, hey hey
She come on sniffin' with her nose all sore, the doctor swore (she's) gonna smell no more
Sayin', run doctor, ring the bell - the women in the alley
I'm simply wild about my good cocaine

albert calleros
micronaut@adelphia.net


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Cocaine Blues 4
From: Stewie
Date: 16 Feb 04 - 03:52 AM

Albert,

Thanks for the corrections. I found out later that the circus was 'Barnum and Bailey', but never got around to correcting it.

Paul Oliver has a PART transcription at pp 127-128 of his 'Songsters and Saints'. I didn't have that at the time of my transcription. He agrees with you that the refrain is 'I sniffed a while upon my good cocaine'. I think 'I'm simply wild' was more common in later versions and I probably heard what I wanted to hear - though it does sound very like it, particularly in the very last occurrence.

In the 'what in the world' stanza, Oliver has 'If you got no dough, certain for sho' he certainly won't back your plan'. That makes more sense. It should be an 'ugly' plant, not an 'earthly' plant.

I reckon you are right about 'breaks the law', albeit Oliver has 'brings lard' in both lines.

Below is a transcription that incorporates corrections from you and from Oliver's part transcription. What do you reckon?

I think it is pretty close now, but for that line in the curious 'baby' stanza. The indecipherable bit could be something like you suggest, but I hear a 'smell/sell no more' in there.

I haven't had a lash at transcribing 'Church Bell Blues'. I don't think I even have a copy now - I used to have it on an cassette compilation that is long gone.

COCAINE BLUES
(Luke Jordan)

Ah go on, gal, don't you take me for no fool
I'm not gonna quit you, pretty mama, while the weather's cool
Around your back door, said honey, I'm gonna creep
As long as you make those two and a half a week

Now I got a girl, she works in the white folk's yard
She brings me meal, I can swear she breaks the law
She brings me meat, she brings me lard
She bring me everything, I swear, that she can steal

Now Barnum & Bailey circus came to town, they had an elephant looking good and brown
They did not know it was against the law for the monk(s) to stop at a fine drugstore
Just around the corner, just a minute too late, another one's standin' at the big back gate
I sniffed a while upon my good cocaine

I call(ed) my Cora, hey hey,
She come on sniffin' with her nose all sore, the doctor swore gonna sell no more
Sayin', run doctor, ring the bell, the women in the alley
I sniffed a while upon my good cocaine

Now that furniture man came to my house, it was last Sunday morn
He asked me was my wife at home and I told him she had long gone
He backed his wagon up to my door, took everything I had
He carried it back to the furniture store and I swear I did feel sad

What in the world has anyone got for dealing with the furniture man
If you got no dough, (it's) certain for sho' he certainly won't back your plan
He will take everything from an ugly plant, from a skillet to a frying pan
If it ever was a devil born without any horns, it must have been the furniture man

I called my Cora, hey hey,
She come on sniffin' with her nose all sore, doctor swore gonna sell no more
Sayin' coke's for horses, not women nor men
The doctor said it'd kill you, but he didn't say when
I sniffed a while upon my good cocaine

Now the baby's in the cradle in New Orleans, he kept a-whiffin' till it got so mean
He kept a-whiffin had to fix it so (indecipherable) [the judge would laugh at her and sell her more?]
Saying, run doctor, ring the bell, the women in the alley
I sniffed a while upon my good cocaine

I called my Cora, hey hey
She come on sniffin' with her nose all sore, the doctor swore (she's) gonna smell no more
Sayin', run doctor, ring the bell, the women in the alley
I sniffed a while upon my good cocaine

Regards, Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Cocaine Blues 4
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 16 Feb 04 - 07:09 AM

Variations I have heard (and sing):

Barnum (&) Bailey's Circus come to town put up a tent that was big and brown

Re; The Furniture Man; He'll take anything from a Nursery plant, from a skillet to a fryin'pan

Mystery re Baby's in a cradle:

I take cradle to mean "crib". Cribs were rows of shacks in the Storyville district of New Orleans where the very cheap whores plied their trade.

Baby's in a cradle down in New Orleans, Doctor kept whiffin till my baby got mean

He kept whiffin till his nose got sore etc etc


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Cocaine Blues 4
From: Stewie
Date: 16 Feb 04 - 07:12 PM

Hootenanny,

Dick Justice has 'the tent', but Jordan has 'elephant' in that line - he pronounces it like Johnny Jones does in his version of 'The Dirty Dozens': 'air-phant'. I will stick with 'ugly' in Jordan's version. I thought it was 'earthly' at first (which made little sense), but then I came across the stanza in Oliver's book. Once I knew what it was, I could hear it clearly enough. It certainly sounds nothing like 'nursery' in Jordan's recording.

'Whiffin'' would certainly make more sense. In both the Jordan and Justice recordings, it could well be 'whiffin''. Justice definitely sings 'I'm simply wild about my good cocaine', but this could be the result of a mishearing of the original.

Your 'cradle' theory is interesting, but I reckon it falls down because both Jordan and Justice very clearly sing 'THE baby's in the cradle' not 'baby's' nor 'my baby's'. There is no 'doctor' in the line in Jordan's version: 'Now, the baby's in the cradle in New Orleans, he kept whiffin' till it got so mean'. Justice has 'doctor' in his line: 'Now, the baby's in the cradle in New Orleans, the doctor kept whiffin' till the baby got mean'. When I first listened to Justice's version, I misheard 'dog' - probably an association with 'whippin''. In a cover of Justice's version, I have heard the following variation:

Baby in the cradle in New Orleans
Doctor kept a-whippin till the baby got mean
Then they stuffed up his sniffer till the baby got sore
The doctor said the baby couldn't smell no more

The folk process at work.

Many thanks for your contribution.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Cocaine Blues 4 (Luke Jordan)
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 17 Feb 04 - 05:49 AM

Stewie
I should have made it clear that my version comes from several other sources too, Sandy Darlington is one guy I can think of and one or maybe two other guys from the days of the Big Folk Scare, it's an amalgam that I feel happy with.
The chords sometimes cause a raised eyebrow with newcomers to the sessions too, but let's not get into that, "circle of fifths and a wild card".
Just remember in this music there are no rules.


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Subject: Lyr Add: COCAINE BLUES (Luke Jordan)
From: GUEST,Jim Crutchfield
Date: 21 Feb 10 - 08:23 PM

In case anybody's still interested, here's my best effort at transcribing the lyrics to this song, reposted from Weenie Campbell. Notes follow.

1. Now go on gal, don't you take me for no fool,
   I'm not gonna quit you pretty mama whilst the weather's cool
   Around your back door, says, Honey I'm gonna creep,
   As long's you make those two and a half a week.

2. Now I got a girl, she works in the white folks' yard,
   She brings me meal, I can swear, she brings the lard,
   She brings me meal, she brings me lard,
   She brings me everything, I swear that she can steal.

3. Now Barnum Bailey Circus it came to town,
   He had his el'phant looking good and brown
   They didn't know it was against the law
   For the monk to stop at a fine drug store
   Just around the corner just a minute too late,
   Another monk setting at the big back gate.
   I'm simply wild about my good cocaine.

4. I call my Cora, hey hey,
   She come on sniffin' with her nose all sore,
   The doctor swore I'm gon' to sell no more,
   Sayin' run doctor, ring the bell,
   The women in the alley.
   I'm simply wild about my good cocaine.

5. Now the furniture man came to my house
   It was last Sunday morn,
   He asked me was my wife at home,
   And I told she had long gone,
   He backed his wagon up to my door,
   Took everything I had,
   He carried it back to the furniture store,
   And I swear I did feel sad.

6. What in the world has anyone got,
   Dealin with the furniture man,
   If you got no dough,
   To stand up for show,
   He certainly will back you back.
   He will take everything from an earthly plant,
   From a skillet to a frying pan,
   If it ever was a devil born without any heart,
   It must have been the furniture man.

7. I call my Cora, hey hey,
   She come on sniffin with her nose all sore,
   Doctor swore I'm gon' to sell no more,
   Sayin coke for horses, not womens or mens,
   The doctor say it kill you but he didn't say when.
   I'm simply wild about my good cocaine.

8. Now the babys in the cradle in New Orleans,
   It kept a-whiffin till it got so mean,
   It kept a-whiffin had to [?stick to the store],
   The judge wouldn't 'low to sell no more,
   Sayin run, doctor, ring the bell,
   The women in the alley,
   I'm simply wild about my good cocaine.

9. I call my Cora, hey hey
   She come on sniffin' with her nose all sore,
   The doctor swore I'm gon' to sell no more,
   Sayin run doctor, ring the bell,
   The women in the alley.
   I'm simply wild about my good cocaine.

NOTES:

2.3   I suspect "she brings me meat", because the word seems to end with an unvoiced stop (k, t, or p), not an l; but on these old, low-fi records terminal consonants often disappear, so I can't tell. Probably the line should go,

   She brings me lard, she brings me meal.
   
in order to rhyme with "steal" in the fourth line.

3.3   This is probably a mocking reference to the Jim Crow laws that were in force in Virginia when Jordan was performing. Black performers from the North could easily get into trouble for going into the wrong establishment. It's a little distasteful today to hear monkey (i.e., "monk") used as a reference to a black man, but black music from this period is full of that kind of thing. ("Monkey Woman Blues", "You Gonna Look Like a Monkey When You Get Old", etc.)

3.4   "Settin'", not "standin'", seems pretty clear to me. I hear "another monk" instead of "another one"--there seems to be a pretty clear "m" in there, at least. The line doesn't make much sense, in any case, so all I can go by is my subjective impression.

4.3 This line and its repetitions (7.3 & 9.3) are troublesome. I don't think it's "The doctor swore I ain't gonna sell her more," as some propose. In this verse it sounds to me like "The doctor swore I'm gwon to sell no more;" then in 7.3 I think I hear "The doctor swore I'm gwon't sell her more;" and then in 9.3 it sounds to me like "I'm gwon't sell no more," again. I suspect the line is properly, "The doctor swore, 'I won't sell no more,'" and that Jordan mixes that up with "ain't going to sell her more" or "I'm going to sell her no more" or something similar.


6.6 Stewie proposes

   He will take everything from an ugly plant
   From a skillet to a fryin' pan.
   
I hear "earthly", and I suspect the line is properly, "He will take everything on this earthly planet," and that Jordan drops the e in "planet", and accidentally sings "from an" a line too soon. Google "earthly planet", and among hundreds of Hindu and Mormon cosmological references, you'll also find a good many 19th Century writers talking about "this earthly planet," as in, "Is there anyone on this earthly planet who . . . ?"

8.1 I have "babys", by analogy to "moms" and "pops". Jordan is clearly singing about one baby ("it kept a-whiffin"), but there's a definite "s" at the end of the word. That could mean "the baby is" just as well, but it wouldn't make any better sense.

8.3 I can't really make this line out, but I'm pretty sure there are more syllables in the second half than "had to fix it so," as proposed by Stewie.

8.4 This line sounds a little odd, and I suspect Jordan fluffs it a little bit. The word I have transcribed as "to" is strangely lengthened, as if he meant to put in another word before (or possibly after) it, but lost it.

Cheers,

Jim Crutchfield


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Subject: Lyr/Chords Add: COCAINE BLUES (from D Bromberg)
From: GUEST,Ian McMillan
Date: 16 Dec 10 - 09:58 PM

I just found this place and haven't figured out how to navigate it yet, but maybe I can help here. I play David Bromberg's version, not nearly as well though, and he credits Luke Jordan. He uses a capo on the 2nd fret. Here's my version that I recorded a year ago. I can play it better now but haven't got it online yet. This link worked, but it just took two tries for me right now.

http://www.reverbnation.com/tunepak/3103752

And here's the lyrics and the basic chords I use, the formatting might be out a bit-

    E7                                     A7
I said come here mama don't you take me for no fool
D7/F#bass                               G
I wouldn't quit you woman while the weather's cool
G          B7                C             C#dim
Around your back door, honey, I will make my creep
       G          E7       A7      D7    G
Just as long as you earn your two and half a week

      E7                                  A7
Now I got a gal she works in a rich folks' yard
    D7                            G
She brings me meal, she brings me lard
G             B7          C       C#dim
She brings me meal, she brings me lard
G             E7   A7         D7    G
She brings me everything that she can steal

Chorus 1:
          E7          A7
I call my Cora hey hey
D7                                           G
Along comes Sally with her nose all tore, the doctor says she can't sniff no more
       E7                                        A7
I said run here doctor, ringin' the bell there's women in the alley
G          E7    A7      D7   G
I'm simply wild about my good cocaine.


E7                                                    A7
You know the furniture man come to my door last Sunday morn'
D7                                     G
He asked me was my wife at home, I said no she's been long gone.
            E7                                          A7
And then he backed his truck right up to my door and he took everything I had
    G                     E7                  A7      D7       G
And carted on back to the furniture store I declare I did feel sad.
E7                                             A7
What in the world has anybody got to do with a furniture man?
       D7                                 G
If you got no dough to put up a show he'll take everything he can.
      E7                                 A7
He'll take everything from ugly plant, a skillet to a frying pan,
         G                E7                   A7             D7       G
If there ever was a devil without any horns, it must've been a furniture man

Chorus 2:         
          E7          A7
I call my Cora hey yeah
D7                                           G
Along comes Sally with her nose all tore, the doctor says she can't sniff no more
       E7                                     A7
He says cocaine's for horses, it's not for men, he says it's gonna kill me but he don't say when
    G      E7    A7      D7    G
I'm simply wild about my good cocaine.


G B7 C C#dim G E7 A7 D7 G


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Cocaine Blues 4 (Luke Jordan)
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 10:29 AM

For the line given "back you back," "back your plan," etc., I hear:

... he cert'nly for sho'
Will come around and pack your bags ...

Makes more sense in the context of oving out, too, I think.

Bob


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Cocaine Blues 4 (Luke Jordan)
From: GUEST,dumpp
Date: 26 Dec 12 - 12:50 AM

you did good bob but luke jordan does it on the recording in the key of A


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Cocaine Blues 4 (Luke Jordan)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 29 Dec 13 - 01:53 PM

I am pleased to find this song posted at Mudcat. I am especially pleased to see that it is attributed to the correct artist. There is a lot of confusion at Mudcat about who sang what, or who wrote what, owing to the fact that there are several different songs with the title COCAINE BLUES.

See the Wikipedia article Cocaine Blues, which attempts to sort them out. Even that article has some wrong information, but hopefully it will be corrected.

I'd like to suggest 2 improvements to Jim Crutchfield's transcription, which is the best of those posted in this thread:

Verse 3, line 6: Another one's standin' there at the big back gate.

Verse 8, line 3: He kept a-whiffin', had the sickness and sore.

I'm not sure about the last one, but at least it gives you something to sing, if you want to sing this song.


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