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Lyr Add: Ball and Chain Blues (various)

Jim Dixon 31 May 15 - 03:15 PM
Jim Dixon 31 May 15 - 04:26 PM
Jim Dixon 31 May 15 - 04:44 PM
Janie 31 May 15 - 08:20 PM
GUEST,Phil 31 May 15 - 09:18 PM
Jim Dixon 31 May 15 - 09:29 PM
Jim Dixon 31 May 15 - 10:59 PM
Janie 01 Jun 15 - 07:45 PM
Janie 01 Jun 15 - 07:48 PM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 02 Jun 15 - 03:19 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: BALL AND CHAIN BLUES (Peg Leg Howell)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 31 May 15 - 03:15 PM

The Songwriters Hall of Fame web site says Andy Razaf and Fats Waller wrote a song called BALL AND CHAIN BLUES; however, I have found several different songs by that title, and I haven't been able to identify which one, if any, is theirs.

Here's one:

BALL AND CHAIN BLUES
As recorded by Peg Leg Howell, 1929.

I laid in jail, back turned to the wall. (2x)
There's a Georgia woman was the cause of it all.

They 'rested me, they carried me 'fore the judge. (2x)
Said the judge wouldn't 'low me to say a mumbling word.

I asked the judge what might be my fine. (2x)
Said the ... jailhouse deep down in the mine.

I told the judge I ain't been here before. (2x)
If you give me light sentence, I won't come here no more.

Mister judge, mister judge, please don't break so harsh. (2x)
I've always been a pie-back(?); never had no job.

The next day, they carried this poor boy away. (2x)
Said the next day, I laid in ball and chain.

Stripes on my back, chain … 'round my leg. (2x)
This ball and chain 'bout to kill me dead.


There were other early recordings of songs titled BALL AND CHAIN BLUES by:
Happy Bud Harrison, 1929.
Memphis Minnie, 1935.

and later recordings by:
Josh White
Lonnie Johnson
Cowboy Copas


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Subject: Lyr Add: BALL AND CHAIN BLUES (Memphis Minnie)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 31 May 15 - 04:26 PM

BALL AND CHAIN BLUES
As sung by Memphis Minnie, 1929.

I'm goin' down by the sea; I want to carry me a ball and chain. (2x)
I want to jump overboard and drown, just because I can't wear my baby's name.

But I'm goin' to get down, doin' like a pig in a fattenin' pen. (2x)
I'm goin' to put him up for safekeepin' until I get back home again.

Just as sho' [as] the Lord sets up in heaven above, (2x)
You know your life ain't worth livin' if you can't be with the one you love.

Well, I know somebody, somebody's been talkin' to you. (2x)
I don't need no tellin'; I been watchin' the way you do.

Here I go [now], with my ball and chain. (2x)
I'm gonna jump in the sea, just because I can't wear my baby's name.
Ain't this a cryin' shame?


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Subject: Lyr Add: BALL AND CHAIN BLUES (Lonnie Johnson)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 31 May 15 - 04:44 PM

BALL AND CHAIN BLUES
As recorded by Lonnie Johnson, 1926.

Standing in the rain by the lamppost, next to the curbing stone, (2x)
Wanting to see the one I love, is leaving me all alone.

[People,] the worried blues stick by me the whole night through. (2x)
I said: "Blues, what do you think I can do with you?"

I'll leave you people; I don't know your name, (2x)
But the blues is weighing my poor heart down just like a ball and chain.

People, I once had a good wife, but those days are passed by. (2x)
All these triflin' women has made me throw my happy home life.

You get a good wife, try and try to keep her home.
If you get a good wife, men, try [all] you can to keep her home.
All these women now, only do to lead a good man wrong.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ball and Chain Blues
From: Janie
Date: 31 May 15 - 08:20 PM

Ball and Chain Blues Peg Leg Howell   

Ball and Chain Blues Memphis Minnie

Ball and Chain Blues Lonnie Johnson

I don't have your research skills, Jim, so not surprising that I can't find anything either. The Peg Leg Howell song sounds like a derivative of Betty and Dupree. The other two are different. In addition to what you listed above I listened to Etta James, Janis Joplin and a few others. None attributed to the collaborations of Razaf and Waller. I'm not likely to find new leaves to turn, but will keep looking.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ball and Chain Blues
From: GUEST,Phil
Date: 31 May 15 - 09:18 PM

Don't know if this helps:
http://it.warnerchappell.com/song-details/WW001114052000

The 1952 copyright re-up seems to be linked to the songbook:
"Ace in the Hole & 215 Other Titles" but I got nothin' (yet)


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Subject: Lyr Add: BALL AND CHAIN BLUES (Josh White)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 31 May 15 - 09:29 PM

This sounds as if it may be based on a true incident, but I have been unable to confirm it.


BALL AND CHAIN BLUES a.k.a. NO MORE BALL AND CHAIN
As sung by Josh White

Twenty souls have gone home to meet their God.
Twenty souls have gone home, home to meet their God.
From that fiery van, they've gone home to meet their God.

They were trapped behind a locked door, a locked door of a motor cage.
Trapped behind a locked door, a locked door of a motor cage.
They burnt to a frazzle, well, Lord, while that hellfire raged.

It was mighty cold outside; the north wind, north wind moaned and cried.
Mighty cold outside; north wind, he moaned and cried,
While inside twenty poor boys, Lord, in agony died.

Now no more ball and chain to carry on their weary feet.
They'll be singing hallelujah sittin' by God's mercy seat.
No more ball and chain to cause a powerful lot o' pain.
No ball and chain, no more worries again,
Singin' hallelujah, sittin' by my God's mercy seat.

Twenty souls have gone home to meet their God. (2x)
From that fiery van, they've gone home to meet their God.

Now no more ball and chain to carry on their weary feet.
They'll be singin' hallelujah sittin' by God's mercy seat.
No ball and chain to cause a powerful lot o' pain.
No ball and chain, no more worries again.
They'll be singin' hallelujah, sittin' by my God's mercy seat.


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Subject: Lyr Add: BALL AND CHAIN BLUES (Cowboy Copas)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 31 May 15 - 10:59 PM

BALL AND CHAIN BLUES
As recorded by Cowboy Copas.

(Got the ball and chain blues.)

Just left my baby; it was late last night.
Had to leave that girl; she wouldn't treat me right.
The cops picked me up; they put me in jail.
Now that mean old woman won't go my bail.

I got the ball and chain blues; keep a-lookin' through the bars.
Only friends I have are the moon and stars.
There's nobody to tell my troubles to,
So I'll stay here with the ball and chain blues.

(Got the ball and chain blues.)

When I left that woman, she was mighty, mighty mad.
Didn't make no difference; had to leave that gal.
I packed my bag, headed out for the rail.
I just couldn't make it; landed up in jail.

I got the ball and chain blues; keep a-lookin' through the bars.
Only friends I have are the moon and stars.
There's nobody to tell my troubles to.
So I'll stay here with the ball and chain blues.

(Got the ball and chain blues.)

(Got the ball and chain blues.) [fade]


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ball and Chain Blues (various)
From: Janie
Date: 01 Jun 15 - 07:45 PM

Don't know if this will helpful to you or not, Jim but will pass it on. Copying two posts from Jim Day in response to an inquiry I made to a facebook music group to see if any of them might have information or lyrics to the Razaf/Waller song.

archive dot org has this entry under catalog of copyright entries - copyrighted in 1925, copyright(s) renewed in 1952: BALL AND CHAIN BLUES; w Andrea [i.e.
Andy] Razaf, m Thomas Waller. ©
28Mar25, E6IO786. R94108, 30Apr52 f ...See More
Full text of "Catalog of Copyright Entries Series 3 Vol.6 Part 5c Nos.1-2 (Jan.-Dec....
archive.org

and here's the Warner/Chappell copyright claims to the Waller/Razaf song - http://it.warnerchappell.com/song-details/WW001114052000


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ball and Chain Blues (various)
From: Janie
Date: 01 Jun 15 - 07:48 PM

Oops. Jim Clay, not Jim Day.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ball and Chain Blues (various)
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 02 Jun 15 - 03:19 PM

"The Peg Leg Howell song sounds like a derivative of Betty and Dupree." Frank DuPre stole the diamond ring for Betty Andrews in 1921 when Howell was 33 years old.

Howell:

"I laid in jail, back turned to the wall. (2x)
There's a Georgia woman was the cause of it all....

"I asked the judge what might be my fine. (2x)
Said the ... jailhouse deep down in the mine...."

Folk blues lyrics Howard Odum had collected by 1908:

"Yonder comes that lovin' man o' mine
Yonder comes that lovin' man o' mine
Yonder comes that lovin' man o' mine
Comin' to pay his baby's fine

Well, I begged the jedge to low' my baby's fine
Well, I begged the jedge to low' my baby's fine
Well, I begged the jedge to low' my baby's fine
Said de jedge done fine her, clerk done wrote it down....

So she laid in jail back to de wall
So she laid in jail back to de wall
So she laid in jail back to de wall
Dis brown-skin man cause of it all...."

"Goin' take my pick an' shovel -- goin' deep down in mine
Goin' take my pick an' shovel -- goin' deep down in mine
Goin' take my pick an' shovel -- goin' deep down in mine
I'm goin' where de sun -- don't never shine"

Odum also included a "Got up in the mornin', couldn't keep from cryin'," so all this stuff should be compared to the lyrics of "Moanin' The Blues" by Allen Shaw, "No No Blues" by Willie Baker, and "Judge Harsh Blues" by Furry Lewis.


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