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Early documented blues lyrics, revised

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'Blues' in blues lyrics early, revised (3)


GUEST,Joseph Scott 24 May 16 - 10:08 PM
Joe_F 25 May 16 - 06:38 PM
Stanron 25 May 16 - 07:11 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 26 May 16 - 07:09 PM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 26 May 16 - 11:43 PM
Joe Offer 27 May 16 - 02:16 AM
GUEST,.gargoyel 27 May 16 - 08:58 PM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 27 May 16 - 09:32 PM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 05 Mar 17 - 11:06 PM
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Subject: Early documented blues lyrics, revised
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 24 May 16 - 10:08 PM

Song lyrics:
"I got the blues and can't be satisfied" by 1908 (H. Odum)
"I got the blues but too damn mean to cry" by 1908 (H. Odum)
"I got the blues... want to lay down and die" by 1912 (F. Seals)
"Some folks say that the rolling blues ain't bad" by 1912 (W. Thomas)
"The blues ain't nothing but a good man feeling bad" by 1912 (L. White)
"When a woman gets blue she hangs her head and cries" by 1912 (L. White)
"I don't know what to do... I always feel so blue" by 1912 (S. Brooks)
"The blues ain't nothing but the doggone heart disease" by 1913 (L. White)
"Got the St. Louis blues" by 1914 (Handy)
"If you ever had the blues, you know just how I feel" by 1915 (F. Canada)
"... blues so bad..." by 1915 (F. Canada)
"I got them hesitation blues" by 1915 (B. Smythe)
"Did you ever wake up with the blues all 'round your bed?" by 1916 (Leighton brothers)
"If the blues was whiskey, I'd stay drunk all the time" by 1916 (B. Pennington and A. Holloway)
"I got the railroad blues" by 1916 (B. Wooten)
"If the blues overtake me, I'll jump overboard and drown" by 1917 (J. Lomax)
"Blues in the bottle I've got stoppers in my hand" by 1920 (C. Kemp)

Tune titles:
"I Got The Blues" by 1907 (black Louisiana guitarist, 12-bar tune, per listener A. Maggio)
"I'm Alabama Bound
Ragtime Two Step
(Also Known As The Alabama Blues)" 1909 (R. Hoffman)
"Easton Blues" by 1910 (H. Love)
"The Blues In The Indian Style" by 1911 (E. Harris)
"Dallas Blues" by 1912 (H. Wand)
"Yeah! Hoo! I've Got The Blues" by 1912 (J. Woods)
"Railroad Blues" by 1912 (W. Thomas)
"I've Got The Weary Blues And Don't Know What To Do" by 1914 (J. Anderson and J. Smith)
"Joe Turner Blues" by 1915 (Handy)

The expression "blues," not in music:
"got the blues" early 1800s, e.g. _Godey's Magazine_ 1841
"terrible 'blues'" by 1850
"awful blues" by 1869
"blues so bad" by 1876
"ever had the blues" by 1884
"when a man gets the blues" by 1894


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Subject: RE: Early documented blues lyrics, revised
From: Joe_F
Date: 25 May 16 - 06:38 PM

With regard to the last list, "blues" for depression is short for "blue devils". The OED has a citation from 1741 ("not troubled with ye blews as I have been"). "Blue devils" must be older, but the OED does not have any older instances. I once saw an old cartoon showing a depressed man being attacked by small blue devils using various implements of torment.


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Subject: RE: Early documented blues lyrics, revised
From: Stanron
Date: 25 May 16 - 07:11 PM

Joe_F wrote: The OED has a citation from 1741 ("not troubled with ye blews as I have been"). "Blue devils" must be older, but the OED does not have any older instances.


Hardly surprising since, for example, Samuel Jacksons first dictionary wasn't published until 15 April 1755.


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Subject: RE: Early documented blues lyrics, revised
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 26 May 16 - 07:09 PM

Take a look at:

On Highway 61 Music, Race, and American Freedom.

By - Dennis McNally
Published - Berkley Press - 2014

The book is highly documented...much more so than any paltry pieces, spliced across this thread.


Sincerely,
Gargoyle

When "rag-time" was tagged early in the book...I was hooked.


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Subject: RE: Early documented blues lyrics, revised
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 26 May 16 - 11:43 PM

If you take p. 105 of that book, for instance, unfortunately it's not very good. For instance, we don't know whether a single one of the songs Charles Peabody documented in 1903 even was what we'd call a blues song, as Peabody heard them. So it's unmotivated, you'd think, to go from there to suggesting that Peabody is one of the four best sources of information we have on early blues.

Howard Odum's research of 1905-1908 tells us more about blues music than Rainey's (questionable) story does. (A piece written by Rainey's brother about her suggests that she probably hadn't even really set foot in Missouri as of 1902. Abbott and Seroff have written about when she apparently really took up blues music, based on various newspaper articles they've found that described her early career as it went along, down to song titles etc.)

It's oddly misguided to just dismiss Maggio's piece, which Maggio described basing on a tune also called "I Got The Blues" by a black guitarist he heard in 1907. Read Peter Muir on Maggio and Handy's dispute with each other to see how misguided.

Merely bringing up signifying (p. 106) does not tell us how a line about a "brown-skin man" being the "cause of it all," for instance, or whatever, would supposedly be signifying something political.

P. 102: Why is there no mention of "Got No More Home Than A Dog," the 12-bar song that Handy called a "blues," indicated in his 1941 book he heard before 1900, and recorded himself, vocal and guitar, in 1938? Why does McNally assume Handy heard the Tutwiler song "in 1903"?

P. 103: "The blues would not touch the white world at all until Handy put them on paper" Wrong. E.g. Maggio 1908.

Pp. 111-112 "the weight of evidence is considerable" Nope. A lot of people saying something a lot of times because Alan Lomax said it isn't "evidence."

P. 109: Why Handy called "Memphis Blues" a blues "we cannot say." ?! Handy explained that the 12-bar stuff he used in "Memphis Blues," and onwards, was "blues music," which he'd heard folk musicians do.

P. 112: reasoning that if blues music was very popular in the Delta as of about 1914 then it's "vastly" likely that blues music originated in the Delta isn't... even reasoning. Handy recalled hearing "Got No More Home Than A Dog" in Indiana in about 1896, which is 18 years before 1914.

All in all, the usual stuff: Why write about Emmet Kennedy, who is documented singing blues before 1910, if he wasn't in the Delta? Why write about Johnnie Woods, who is documented singing blues in 1910, if we wasn't in the Delta? Why write about H. "Kid" Love, who is documented playing "Easton Blues" in 1910, if he wasn't in the Delta? Why take Maggio seriously if he wasn't in the Delta? Why write about "Got No More Home Than A Dog" if Handy wasn't in the Delta at the time? Why write about Hoffman using "Alabama Blues" in a tune subtitle in 1909 if he wasn't in the Delta? Why write about the variant of "K.C. Moan" Elbert Bowman heard blacks singing by 1905 if Bowman wasn't in the Delta? Etc.


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Subject: RE: Early documented blues lyrics, revised
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 May 16 - 02:16 AM

Hi, Joseph - you might enjoy Web Concordance of Michael Taft's Pre-War Blues Lyrics. I think it includes the entire text of Taft's Talkin' to Myself collection of blues lyrics. I talked with Taft about it. He wishes he could have done a better job of transcribing the songs. Nonetheless, it's the largest collection of blues lyrics I've ever seen.

Michael Taft was the director of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. I figure that's the most prestigious U.S. folklore job anyone can have. B.A. Botkin and both Lomaxes held the job previously, as did Joe Hickerson.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Early documented blues lyrics, revised
From: GUEST,.gargoyel
Date: 27 May 16 - 08:58 PM

Joseph Scott,

THANK YOU



Sincerely


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Subject: RE: Early documented blues lyrics, revised
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 27 May 16 - 09:32 PM

You're welcome.


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Subject: RE: Early documented blues lyrics, revised
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 05 Mar 17 - 11:06 PM

"I woke up this morning with the blues all 'round my bed" is in "Shoeboot's Serenade" by W.C. Handy, 1915.


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