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keys to the highway -dumb question

Big Al Whittle 27 Jan 18 - 09:56 AM
GUEST,Modette 27 Jan 18 - 10:03 AM
leeneia 27 Jan 18 - 11:02 AM
Big Al Whittle 27 Jan 18 - 11:11 AM
Big Al Whittle 27 Jan 18 - 12:22 PM
Jeri 27 Jan 18 - 12:37 PM
meself 27 Jan 18 - 01:28 PM
GUEST,guestrs 27 Jan 18 - 01:35 PM
Nick 27 Jan 18 - 01:35 PM
GUEST 27 Jan 18 - 02:00 PM
GUEST,paperback^ 27 Jan 18 - 02:35 PM
Jeri 27 Jan 18 - 05:20 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 27 Jan 18 - 06:00 PM
meself 27 Jan 18 - 06:10 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 27 Jan 18 - 06:23 PM
Big Al Whittle 27 Jan 18 - 06:31 PM
Nick 28 Jan 18 - 06:21 AM
GUEST,Roderick a warner 28 Jan 18 - 08:44 AM
GUEST 28 Jan 18 - 08:54 AM
Bee-dubya-ell 28 Jan 18 - 01:06 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 28 Jan 18 - 03:18 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 28 Jan 18 - 08:09 PM
leeneia 29 Jan 18 - 11:40 AM
meself 29 Jan 18 - 11:53 AM
Big Al Whittle 29 Jan 18 - 01:34 PM
GUEST 30 Jan 18 - 11:35 AM
leeneia 31 Jan 18 - 10:54 AM
leeneia 01 Feb 18 - 10:25 PM
meself 01 Feb 18 - 10:35 PM
GUEST,lhud john 04 Feb 18 - 02:45 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 04 Feb 18 - 04:12 PM
GUEST,paperback 04 Feb 18 - 08:23 PM
GUEST,paperback 04 Feb 18 - 08:26 PM
GUEST,paperback 05 Feb 18 - 02:41 PM
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Subject: keys to the highway -dumb question
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 27 Jan 18 - 09:56 AM

i know its a dumb question, but i have dull prosaic mind, and i hate singing what i don't understand.

he says he's got the keys to the highway
then he says something like 'billed up and bound to roam'
if he doesn't say billed up, what does he say?
if he does say billed up - what does that mean?

apologies in advance for asking a question which obviously doesn't bother anyone else.


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Subject: RE: keys to the highway -dumb question
From: GUEST,Modette
Date: 27 Jan 18 - 10:03 AM

'I'm billed out and bound to go.'


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Subject: RE: keys to the highway -dumb question
From: leeneia
Date: 27 Jan 18 - 11:02 AM

It's never bothered me till now, because I've never heard the song.

In the first place, highways don't have keys. I may have the keys to the car, but not the keys to the highway.


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Subject: RE: keys to the highway -dumb question
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 27 Jan 18 - 11:11 AM

the keys and the highway are a metaphor for personal freedom.

https://uk.video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=mcafee&p=big+bill+broonzy+keys+to+the+highway#id=51&vid=11f99a459168b498651b86


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Subject: RE: keys to the highway -dumb question
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 27 Jan 18 - 12:22 PM

billed up....billed out....is he a duck?


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Subject: RE: keys to the highway -dumb question
From: Jeri
Date: 27 Jan 18 - 12:37 PM

He paid his bill.


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Subject: RE: keys to the highway -dumb question
From: meself
Date: 27 Jan 18 - 01:28 PM

When I learned that song - way back before it was written, I think - I couldn't make out that line, and have always sung 'Packed up and bound to go' - which is nowhere near as cool; after all, what do you have to pack other than your guitar? Anything else fits in a matchbox, anyway ....


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Subject: RE: keys to the highway -dumb question
From: GUEST,guestrs
Date: 27 Jan 18 - 01:35 PM

' Booked out & bound to go' to my ears.


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Subject: RE: keys to the highway -dumb question
From: Nick
Date: 27 Jan 18 - 01:35 PM

I'm riding a metaphor that I don't understand
Holding tight to a world that similes can't stand
And my hope for a thing that I can't feel or touch
Is to find a rhyme for that last line


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Subject: RE: keys to the highway -dumb question
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Jan 18 - 02:00 PM

Billed-up: grip of money, maybe?


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Subject: RE: keys to the highway -dumb question
From: GUEST,paperback^
Date: 27 Jan 18 - 02:35 PM

Fistful of dollars, n_gger rich?

Just guessing


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Subject: RE: keys to the highway -dumb question
From: Jeri
Date: 27 Jan 18 - 05:20 PM

Nick:
...is that maybe, one day, I won't care so much.


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Subject: RE: keys to the highway -dumb question
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 27 Jan 18 - 06:00 PM

"Billed Out" = Entered in a railway book as a passenger

See Stephen Calt's book Barrelhouse Words.

Apparently 19th century US slang.

Who's version of the song are you referring to?

I am also puzzled by someone above "learning he song before it was written"

Am I missing something


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Subject: RE: keys to the highway -dumb question
From: meself
Date: 27 Jan 18 - 06:10 PM

Some lame humour, that's all ... !


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Subject: RE: keys to the highway -dumb question
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 27 Jan 18 - 06:23 PM

Sorry I didn't get the joke. I thought perhaps there was an older song from which the recorded versions developed.

Alway liked it from when I first heard Big Bill Broonzy do it.


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Subject: RE: keys to the highway -dumb question
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 27 Jan 18 - 06:31 PM

i suppose i heard Broonzy play it first. And to be honest - I'm not sure I've heard anyone play it better


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Subject: RE: keys to the highway -dumb question
From: Nick
Date: 28 Jan 18 - 06:21 AM

Jeri :)
It was a bit in jest I have to say but perhaps I should pursue it ...


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Subject: RE: keys to the highway -dumb question
From: GUEST,Roderick a warner
Date: 28 Jan 18 - 08:44 AM

My favourite version was by Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, though not heard it for a while. Think the start was: 'I've got the key to the highway/Lord, but I'm bound to go/Going to leave here running because/walking is just too slow' ...


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Subject: RE: keys to the highway -dumb question
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jan 18 - 08:54 AM

... or not! Just checked a YouTube version by Terry and McGhee and they do the 'billed up and bound to go' version... but I've heard the 'Lord but I'm bound to go' before, even sung it way back. Possibly nicked from Don Baker's version, who had toured with Terry and McGhee...


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Subject: RE: keys to the highway -dumb question
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 28 Jan 18 - 01:06 PM

My interpretation (for what it's worth):

The singer doesn't have a literal key to an automobile. Nor is he literally "billed up and bound to go". (He doesn't have passage booked on a train.) He doesn't have the money for either of those. He either spent all his money on the woman who wrecked his life, or she took it from him.

The only "key" he has is the freedom that comes from admitting he's in a bad situation and needs to do whatever it takes to get out of it. He may hitchhike, jump a freight train, or use his own two feet. Either way, he's gone.


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Subject: RE: keys to the highway -dumb question
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 28 Jan 18 - 03:18 PM

Big Al: the keys and the highway are a metaphor for personal freedom.

Hootenanny: "Billed Out" = Entered in a railway book as a passenger

Billed out and bound to (or for) is a general freight & passenger expression, works for an old Trailways or Greyhound bus too.

I always took it as the indigent version of the Midnight Special. If not picked up by family, or paying their own way, released inmates were bused to the State or County line by the prison.

They had to walk... or run, from there on.


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Subject: RE: keys to the highway -dumb question
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 28 Jan 18 - 08:09 PM

wikis:

Waybill

Bill of Lading


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Subject: RE: keys to the highway -dumb question
From: leeneia
Date: 29 Jan 18 - 11:40 AM

I just listened to the link that Big Al gave upthread. He is singing,

I got the keys to the highway.
Yes, and I do and I'm bound to go.

Nothing there about "billed" whatsoever. (As my sister-in-law from Tennessee would say.)

It's interesting that "the" in "the highway" has a long e.


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Subject: RE: keys to the highway -dumb question
From: meself
Date: 29 Jan 18 - 11:53 AM

"Yes, I'm billed out and bound to go" is what I hear - clearly and distinctly ... we must be listening to different recordings, or something.

Also: "key" - singular.


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Subject: RE: keys to the highway -dumb question
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Jan 18 - 01:34 PM

well it obviously means bugger all and matters even less. i suppose it shows how my approach to folk music has been such an isolating experience.

there have been dozens of cover versions of the song. i've been the first person to give a shit about such a niggling point.


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Subject: RE: keys to the highway -dumb question
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Jan 18 - 11:35 AM

I suspect thee are a few BBB versions out there.
leeneia could you copy a link to the one you were playing?

Big Al's link is to a Yahoo search and the links is offered might change & might be different in different countries.

Leeneia what do you hear on this one
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XY4wnTjnguk

or
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KN_f0WVsHuw

and this
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8xc4x9xs8o


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Subject: RE: keys to the highway -dumb question
From: leeneia
Date: 31 Jan 18 - 10:54 AM

Guest, thanks. I'll check the links later.
==============
"He either spent all his money on the woman who wrecked his life, or she took it from him."

BWL, don't be so quick to judge her. Jailbirds and similar are noted for blaming somebody else, anybody else, for the things they've done wrong.

Now I'm off to teach sewing.


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Subject: RE: keys to the highway -dumb question
From: leeneia
Date: 01 Feb 18 - 10:25 PM

re the 3 links

First one is the same as Big Al Whittle's. He's saying

yes, I do now I"m bound to go

Second one - has some word that starts with b. could be billed

Third one - not available.


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Subject: RE: keys to the highway -dumb question
From: meself
Date: 01 Feb 18 - 10:35 PM

That's not the same BBB recording I listened to earlier - but I still hear him saying clearly (though not QUITE as clearly) "billed out and bound to go".


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Subject: RE: keys to the highway -dumb question
From: GUEST,lhud john
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 02:45 PM

billed up to go means he's got money in his pocket to see him alright after he has left ! simple


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Subject: RE: keys to the highway -dumb question
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 04:12 PM

lhud john: got any sources for that?

Cut and paste the following into your fav search engine:

"billed out" "waybill"

"billed out" "bill of lading"

Anything but simple, one can also find it in both Admiralty Law (read above) and the U.S. Code of Federal Regs.

Ships, planes, cars and trains, it's still in use today.


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Subject: RE: keys to the highway -dumb question
From: GUEST,paperback
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 08:23 PM

Still in use for freight, passengers buy tickets.


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Subject: RE: keys to the highway -dumb question
From: GUEST,paperback
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 08:26 PM

Money in his pocket...Back pocket, in a billfold.


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Subject: RE: keys to the highway -dumb question
From: GUEST,paperback
Date: 05 Feb 18 - 02:41 PM

OTOH airline pilots refer to passengers as self-loading freight


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