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Lyr Add: Mister Boll Weevil / Boll Weevil Song

DigiTrad:
HONEST FARMER or BOLL WEEVIL
THE BOLL WEEVIL
THE BOLL WEEVIL (2)


Related threads:
Tune Add/Lyr Req: Weevils in the Flour (D Hewitt) (4)
Lyr Req: Bollweevil Holler (Mollie O'Brien) (3)


harpgirl 26 Dec 99 - 09:17 PM
raredance 31 Dec 99 - 12:34 AM
Art Thieme 31 Dec 99 - 02:12 PM
raredance 31 Dec 99 - 06:59 PM
harpgirl 01 Jan 00 - 11:33 AM
Jeep man 02 Feb 00 - 04:09 PM
Sandy Paton 02 Feb 00 - 04:22 PM
GUEST,phil 02 Feb 00 - 05:14 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 May 04 - 12:56 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 May 04 - 12:58 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 25 Sep 09 - 05:34 PM
Joe Offer 19 Jun 10 - 10:00 PM
Joe Offer 19 Jun 10 - 10:13 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 20 Jun 10 - 09:11 AM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 20 Jun 10 - 09:23 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 20 Jun 10 - 06:56 PM
Dan Schatz 20 Jun 10 - 07:20 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 20 Jun 10 - 09:27 PM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 05 Nov 14 - 06:35 PM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 21 Nov 14 - 01:41 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: MISTER BOLL WEEVIL
From: harpgirl
Date: 26 Dec 99 - 09:17 PM

...This text comes from Alabama near the state line and is known on the Mississippi side...

Mister Boll Weevil

First time I saw little Weevil he was on the western plain
Next time I saw him he was riding a Memphis train
He was seeking him a home, a happy home

Next time I saw him he was settin' on the cotton square
The next time I saw him he had his family there
He was seekin him a home, a happy home

Next time I saw him he was runnin a spinnin wheel
The next time I saw him he was ridin in an automobile
He was seeking him a home, a happy home

Mr. Merchant said to the farmer,"Well what do you think of that?
If you'll get rid of little Weevil, I'll give you a Stetson hat."
He was seekin him a home, a happy home

Mr. Farmer took little Weevil, put him in paris green
"Thank you, Mr. Farmer;it's the best I've ever seen
I'm going to have a home, a happy home

Then he took little Weevil and put him in a block of ice
"Thank you Mr. Farmer;it is so cool and nice
I'm going to have a home, a happy home"

Mr. Farmer then got angry and sent him up in a balloon
"Goodbye, Mr. Farmer; I'll see you again in June
I'll be seeking me a home, a happy home

Little Weevil took Mr. Farmer, throwed him in the sand
Put on Mr. Farmer's overcoat, stood up like a natural man
I'm going to have a home, a happy home

Little Weevil said to the sharpshooter, "Better get up on your feet
Look down across the Delta at the cotton we'll have to reap
We've got us a home, a happy home

Mr. Merchant said to the farmer, "I can not see your route
Got a mortgage on old Beck and Kate; just as well be taking them out
And bring them home, and bring them home

"Come on old woman, and we will travel out West
The weevils et up everything we've got but your old cotton dress
And it's full of holes, it's full of holes"


harpgirl


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Mister Boll Weevil
From: raredance
Date: 31 Dec 99 - 12:34 AM

This is good. I'm giving a presentation next week on "DNA differences between boll weevils and thurberia weevils" at the Beltwide Cotton Insect Research conference in San Antonio. Y'all come.

rich r


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Mister Boll Weevil
From: Art Thieme
Date: 31 Dec 99 - 02:12 PM

Abby & Rich,

Here's some of what I enearthed over the years---but most of it was from rummaging at the old Archive Of Folksong at the Library of Congress---U.S.A.---about 35 years ago...

#1 to #7 is from a John Lomax radio show in 1941.

1) The boll weevil is the most sung about insect in the U.S.

2)The Texas legislature once had a $50,000.00 price on the insect's head. It was never won.

3)Mississippi had a quarantine on imports from Texas but the insect crossed just the same.

4)The insect moved at a rate of 40 miles per year. Took 25 years for it to reach the Atlantic Ocean from Mexico.

5) One pair of insects produces 12 million, 775 thousand and 100 boll weevils.

6)A man named Gates Thomas recorded 3 "Boll Weevil" verses in 1897.

7) In the ballad there are several encounters between the insect and the farmer. The insect usually wins.

8) The adult with snout extended measures about 1/4 inch and about a third of that is snout.

9) The insects appetite demands he make two or 3 punctures in the immature cotton boll (the 4 leaves of the bowl form "the square"). The damage done inside the boll by the developing young is separate.

10) Has a life span of 70 days and an average weevil kills about 140 squares in his life.

11) In the early 1900s a farmer was paying ten to thirty cents to raise each healthy insect.

12) Thrives in summer. Hibernates in winter.

13) The insect first crossed into the U.S. from Mexico about 1892. Some suggested that cotton not be planted within 50 miles of the border. That probably would've stopped it--but the idea was tied up in red tape and was never tried.

14) The Louisiana quarantine of the Sabine River proved ineffectual.

15) The boll weevil hit the Afro-American sharecropper hard. Folks stood out on the red clay of Georgia and on dilapidated porches all over the south and wrote verse after verse about the insect that was ruining them. Hundreds claimed to be the original author but none ever proved their claim.

16) The boll weevil actually raised the price of cotton to a higher level because of the scarcity of cotton it caused.

17) The boll weevil offers himself well to balladry. He is an outlaw hunted in every field. He seems to posess super-human powers, amazing cunning and trickery. After outwitting the farmer he goes on his way despite all human effort to stop him.----Dorothy Scarborough On The Trail Of Negro Folksong

18) The ballad often takes the form of a dialogue between the farmer and the insect. The farmer tells the bug what he is going to do to him and the insect responds by telling the farmer to go ahead and try and see where that gets you. Less often the dialogue is between the farmer and his creditors and reflects dfficulties the family is having because of the boll weevil.

19) Paul Oliver, in his book The Meaning Of The Blues says that the boll weevil was observed in Mexico as early as 1862.

20) Enterprise Alabama 1919: erected a monument to the boll weevil which read "In profound appreciation of the boll weevil and what it has done as the herald of prosperity, this monument is erected by the citizens of Enterprise---12/11/1919". The insect forced the southern farmers to diversify their crops.

21) classification:
order: coleoptera family: curculionidae zoological name: anthomormus grandis

22)Here's what Woody Guthrie had to say about the boll weevil in the book Hard Hitting Songs For Hard Hit People:

"The boll weevil was a homebreaker, and worse than that, he was a home getter. There are certain ways of whispering into women's ears, certain ways of sayin' things, certain ways of talkin' about their hair, their eyes, their red ruby lips and their beauty that some fellers are talented with. These boys are called home winners. They win a home with a good warm bed, abottle of liquor, a new June bride, and all the good things and heartaches that go with it, but---all of this, all of your soft words about love and romance, all of your whispers about home and fireside and little ones; all of those are beat out by one black bug from Mexico. All of your years and months of hard work , all of your breaking the land, all of your greasing the machinery, all of your oiling the tractor, all of your feeding the team of horses, all of your nights and mornings of back-breaking work are wiped out in one broad sweep by the little boll weevil. They come in millions, they come in jillions, and they blacken the earth and the fields, and the green cotton stalks and they take away everything that you have worked for and dreamed of for years and years---just lookin' for a home---just like you was looking for a home.

It's a funny old world when a little black bug can stop and starve and take away the home and the land of a man---and here's a song that comes from all over the cotton country, from Atlanta to Phoenix, Arizona all through Texas, back through the whole midwest and all over the nation to prove it. One animal a-lookin' for a home can deal another completely out of a home. Sing this one loud and long..."---------Woordrow Wilson Guthrie--------------------------------------------------

One of these days I'll get around to posting the composite version of this grand ballad that I put together from many different versions. When I quit (got tired of it) I had 62 verses. But right now I just wanna sit back and enjoy the turning of the year/millenium tonight. It is FUN to be here for it. One of you good folks out there ought to create a new version of "THE BOLL WEEVIL BALLIT" utilizing this thing I'm gonna ignore tonight called the "Y2K BUG". It seems right fittin' that one good bug deserves another.

HAPPY NEW YEAR AND A FINE 2000 TO EVERYONE !!!!

(Abby, an interesting cassette will be on it's way to you after the holiday.)

Love,

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Mister Boll Weevil
From: raredance
Date: 31 Dec 99 - 06:59 PM

Hey Art,

They are actually making some progress with beating back the weevil 100 years after it beat back the farmers. An eradication program in the early 90's has effectively eliminated it from Arizona, California, and northern Sonora cotton fields. A push to eliminate from the southeastern US began in North Carolina some years ago and is now centered in Texas. After several rounds of new insecticides followed by resistance, it turns out that a huge dent can be put in the population by simply cleaning up the fields and ditches of cotton stubble and stray cotton plants at the end of the season. Leaves the little buggers looking for a home but with no place to hide for the winter. The correct spelling of the species name is Anthonomus grandis (this should actually be in italics, but I don't do html italics).

rich r


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Mister Boll Weevil
From: harpgirl
Date: 01 Jan 00 - 11:33 AM

Happy New Year to you Art and Rich. I understand Leadbelly sang a version of this song, as well....


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Subject: the boll weevul song
From: Jeep man
Date: 02 Feb 00 - 04:09 PM

My spelling may be wrong but that is how it sounds. Was recorded by lots of people, I remember Tex Ritter. Thanks Jim


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: the boll weevul song
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 02 Feb 00 - 04:22 PM

Try typing [Boll Weevil] in the DT space at the top of the page. The Lomax version is titled "The Boll Weevil (2)" in the DT, although Alan Lomax also recorded a splendid, more melodic version from Vera Hall in Livingston, Alabama, for the Library of Congress. Her singing of it may now be available on one of the LOC releases on Rounder. Check it out!

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: the boll weevul song
From: GUEST,phil
Date: 02 Feb 00 - 05:14 PM

The first time I seen the boll weevil, he was sailing through the air.
The next time I seen the boll weevil, he had his whole family there.
It'll be my home.
It'll be my home.

The farmer took the boll weevil and put him in the fire.
Boll weevil said to the farmer, this is just what I desire.
It'll be my home.
It'll be my home.

The farmer took the boll weevil and put him in the ice.
Boll weevil said to the farmer, this is treating me mighty nice.
It'll be my home.
It'll be my home.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Mister Boll Weevil
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 May 04 - 12:56 PM

I don't believe anyone has interpreted the verses about the weevil in the 'square.' Most people think it has to with a town square.

De fus' time I saw de boll weevil
He was settin' on de square;*
De nex' time I saw de boll weevil
He had all his family there
A-lookin' for a home
Jes' a-lookin' for a home.

The 'square'* refers to the 'cotton square' on the plant (part of the plant structure). Cotton farmers' lingo.
Another verse from Lomax and Lomax:

De Sharpshooter say to de boll weevil,
"What you doin' in dis square?"
An' de boll weevil say to de Sharpshooter,
"Ise makin' my home in here,
Here in dis square,
Here in dis square."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Mister Boll Weevil
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 May 04 - 12:58 PM

Oh, my! Art Thieme had already explained that. Note to me- Read, don't scan.


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Subject: Lyr Add: DE BOLL WEEVIL
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 25 Sep 09 - 05:34 PM

Lyr. Add: De Boll Weevil
Anon.

Oh, have you heard de latest,
De latest all yore own?
All about de Boll Weevil
Whut caused me to lose mah home?
To lose mah home,- to lose mah home!
2
First time ah saw de Boll Weevil
He was sittin' on de squah.
Next time ah saw dat Weevil
He was sittin' everywhah,
Jes' a-lookin' foh a home,- lookin' foh a home!
3
Fahmah say to de Weevil,
"Whut makes yore head so red?"
Weevil say to de fahmah,
"It's a wonder ah ain't dead,
Lookin' foh a home, lookin' foh a home!"
4
Nigger say to de Weevil,
"Ah'll throw you in de hot sand."
Weevil say to de nigger,
"Ah'll stand hit lak a man.
Ah'll have a home, ah'll have a home."
5
Says de Captain to de Mistis,
"Whut do you thing ob dat?
Dis Boll Weevil done make a nes'
Inside mah Sunday hat;
He'll have a home,- he'll have a home!"
6
Ef you wanta kill de Boll Weevil
You bettah staht in time.
Use a little sugar
An' lots of turpentine,
An' he'll be dead,- an' he'll be dead.

A couple of verses not in the DT versions nor in the post by harpgirl.
Mabel Major and T. M. Pearce, coll and ed., 1950, "Signature of the Sun, Southwest Verse, 1900-1950, pp. 166-167, University of New Mexico Press.


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Subject: ADD Version: Boll Weevil Song
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Jun 10 - 10:00 PM

BOLL WEEVIL SONG

1. Oh, de boll weevil am a little black bug,
Come from Mexico, dey say,
Come all de way to Texas,
Jus' a-lookin' foh a place to stay,
Jus' a-lookin' foh a home,
Jus' a-lookin' foh a home.

2. De first time I seen de boll weevil,
He was a-settin' on de square.
De next time I seen de boll weevil,
He had all of his family dere.
Jus' a lookin' foh a home,
Jus' a-lookia' foh a home.

3. De farmer say to de weevil:
"What make yo' head so red?"
De weevil say to de farmer,
"It's a wondah I ain't dead,
A-lookin' foh a home,
Jus' a-Iookin' foh a home."

4. De farmer take de boll weevil,
An' he put him in de hot san'.
De weevil say: "Dis is mighty hot,
But I'll stan' it like a man,
Dis'll be my home,
It'll be my home."

5. De farmer take de boll weevil,
An' he put him in a lump of ice;
De boll weevil say to de farmer:
"Dis is mighty cool and nice,
It'll be my home,
Dis'll be my home,"

6. De farmer take de boll weevil,
An' he put him in de fire.
De boll weevil say to de farmer:
"Here I are, here I are,
Dis'll be my home,
Dis'll be my home."

7. De boll weevil say to de farmer:
"You better leave me alone;
I done eat all yo' cotton,
Now I'm goin' to start on yo' corn,
I'll have a home,
I'll have a home."

8. De merchant got half de cotton,
De boll weevil got de res'.
Didn't leave de farmer's wife
But one old cotton dress,
An' it's full of holes,
It's full of holes.

9. De farmer say to de merchant:
"We's in an awful fix;
De boll weevil et all de cotton up
An' lef' us only sticks,
We's got no home,
We's got no home."

10. De farmer say to de merchant:
"We ain't made but only one bale,
And befoh we'll give yo' dat one
We'll fight and go to jail,
We'll have a home,
We'll have a home."

11. De cap'n say to de missus:
"What d' you t'ink o' dat?
De boll weevil done make a nes'
In my bes' Sunday hat,
Goin' to have a home,
Goin' to have a home."

12. An' if anybody should ax you
Who it was dat make dis song,
Jus' tell 'em 'twas a big buck niggah
Wid a paih o' blue duckin's on,
Ain' got no home,
Ain' got no home.

Source: American Songbag, by Carl Sandburg, 1927 - pp. 8-9


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Subject: RE: ADD: Mister Boll Weevil / Boll Weevil Song
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Jun 10 - 10:13 PM

Here's the Tradiotional Ballad Index entry on this song:

    Boll Weevil, The [Laws I17]

    DESCRIPTION: The boll weevil, which is just "a-lookin' for a home," inevitably comes in conflict with the cotton farmer. The farmer tries many techniques to drive the weevil out; the weevil, far from being inconvenienced, is often represented as thanking the farmer
    AUTHOR: possibly Postal McCurdy & Emabel Palmer
    EARLIEST DATE: 1921 (recordings, Al Bernard & Ernest Hare)
    KEYWORDS: animal bug poverty farming
    HISTORICAL REFERENCES:
    c. 1898 - Boll Weevil arrives in the southern U.S. from Mexico
    FOUND IN: US(Ap,So,SE)
    REFERENCES (17 citations):
    Laws I17, "The Boll Weevil"
    BrownIII 214, "Boll Weevil Blues" (2 texts)
    Hudson 72, pp. 199-200, "Mister Boll Weevil" (1 text)
    Scarborough-NegroFS, p. 66, (no title) (1 excerpt, probably of this song); pp. 77-79, "Mr. Boll Weevil" (plus other versions with no title) (2 texts plus 3 excerpts, 1 tune)
    Friedman, p. 319, "The Ballet of the Boll Weevil" (2 texts+1 fragment, 1 tune)
    Sandburg, pp. 8-10, "Boll Weevil Song"; 252-253, "De Ballet of de Boll Weevil" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
    Scott-BoA, pp. 316-318, "The Ballad of the Boll Weevil" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
    Lomax-FSUSA 69, "The Boll Weevil" (1 text, 1 tune)
    Lomax-ABFS, pp. 112-117, "De Ballit of de Boll Weevil" (1 text, 1 tune, composite)
    Lomax-FSNA 285, "The Boll Weevil Holler" (1 text, 1 tune)
    Botkin-AmFolklr, pp. 916-918, "Boll Weevil Song" (1 text, 1 tune)
    Arnett, pp. 140-141, "Boll Weevil" (1 text, 1 tune)
    Botkin-SoFolklr, p. 751, "Boll Weevil" (1 text, 1 tune)
    Darling-NAS, pp. 244-246, "Mississippi Bo Weavil Blues"; "The Boll Weevil" (2 texts)
    Silber-FSWB, p. 118, "Ballad Of The Boll Weevil" (1 text)
    DT, BOLLWEEV* BLLWEEV2* (BOLWEV2)
    ADDITIONAL: Fred W. Allsopp, Folklore of Romantic Arkansas, Volume II (1931), p. 163, (no title) (1 fragment)

    Roud #3124
    RECORDINGS:
    Pink Anderson, "Bo Weevil" (on PinkAnd1)
    Arkansas Trio, "Boll Weevil Blues" (Edison 51373-R, 1924)
    Al Bernard, "Boll Weevil Blues" (Brunswick 2092, 1921)
    Fiddlin' John Carson, "Dixie Boll Weevil" (OKeh 40095-B, 1924)
    Jaybird Coleman, "Boll Weevil" (Black Patti 8055, 1927; on StuffDreams1)
    [Vernon] Dalhart, [Ed] Smalle & [Harry] Reser, "Boll Weevil Blues" (OKeh 40156, 1924)
    Fats Domino, "Bo Weevil" (Imperial 5375, 1956)
    Vera Hall, "Boll Weevil" (AFS 1323 A1, 1937)
    Ernest Hare, "Boll Weevil Blues" (Vocalion 14151, 1921)
    Lead Belly, "The Boll Weevil" (Musicraft 226, rec. 1939)
    W. A. Lindsay & Alvin Condor, "Boll Weevil" (OKeh 45346, 1929; rec. 1928)
    The Masked Marvel (pseud. for Charley Patton), "Mississippi Boweavil Blues" (Paramount 15805B. 1929; on AAFM1, BefBlues2)
    Charlie Oaks, "Boll Weevil" (Vocalion 5113, c. 1927)
    Ma Rainey w. Lovie Austin & her Blues Serenaders, "Bo-Weavil Blues" (Paramount 12080, 1924)
    Tex Ritter, "Boll Weevil" (Capitol 40084, 1948)
    Carl Sandburg, "The Boll Weevil" (Victor 20135, 1926)
    Pete Seeger, "Boll Weevil" (on PeteSeeger05) (on PeteSeeger43); "Ballad of the Boll Weevil" (on PeteSeeger31)
    Bessie Smith, "Boweavil Blues" (Columbia 14018-D, 1924)
    Gid Tanner & Riley Puckett, "Boll Weevil Blues" (Columbia 15016-D, c. 1924)

    CROSS-REFERENCES:
    cf. "Poor Man Blues" (floating lyrics)
    cf. "Frankie and Albert" [Laws I3] (tune)
    Notes: Sandburg reports collections of Boll Weevil verses dating back to 1897, but it is not clear in context whether these are actually part of this song. - RBW, PJS
    And indeed, the origins of the song are obscure, or at least messy. The Bernard, Hare & Arkansas Trio recordings credit the authorship to McCurdy & Palmer, as does a regional guide to the town of Fakes Chapel [state unknown] which claims that McCurdy wrote the "'well-known' folk song" there in 1923. The recordings, of course, make this date impossible, but he seems to have had a hand in the creation of some well-known verses. Fiddlin' John Carson copyrighted his version in 1924, and it certainly contains some of the classic lines. - PJS
    File: LI17

    Go to the Ballad Search form
    Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
    Go to the Bibiography
    Go to the Discography

    The Ballad Index Copyright 2009 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: Lyr Add: MISSISSIPPI BOWEAVIL BLUES (C Patton)
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 20 Jun 10 - 09:11 AM

Charley Patton's first record, as The Masked Marvel, Paramount Records, Richmond, IN, 1929. Some lyrics' accuracy questionable. — Bob

MISSISSIPPI BOWEAVIL BLUES

Sees a little boll weevil keeps movin' in the, Lordie!
You can plant your cotton and you won't get a half a bale, Lordie

Bo weevil, bo weevil, where's your native home? Lordie
"A-Louisiana raised in Texas, least is where I was bred and born", Lordie

Well, I saw the bo weevil, Lord, a-circle, Lord, in the air, Lordie
The next time I seed him, Lord, he had his family there, Lordie

Bo weevil left Texas, Lord, he bid me "fare ye well", Lordie
(spoken: Where you goin' now?)
I'm goin' down the Mississippi, gonna give Louisiana hell, Lordie

(spoken: How is that, boy?)
Suck all the blossoms and he leave your hedges square, Lordie
The next time I seed you, you know you had your family there, Lordie

Bo weevil meet his wife, "We can sit down on the hill", Lordie
Bo weevil told his wife, "Let's trade this forty in", Lordie

Bo weevil told his wife, says, "I believe I may go North", Lordie
(spoken: Hold on, I'm gonna tell all about that)
"Let's leave Louisiana, we can go to Arkansas", Lordie

Well, I saw the bo weevil, Lord a-circle, Lord, in the air, Lordie
Next time I seed him, Lord, he had his family there, Lordie

Bo weevil told the farmer that "I 'tain't got ticket fare", Lordie
Sucks all the blossom and leave your hedges square, Lordie

Bo weevil, bo weevil, where your native home? Lordie
"Most anywhere they raise cotton and corn", Lordie

Bo weevil, bo weevil, "Oughta treat me fair", Lordie
The next time I did you had your family there, Lordie


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Subject: Lyr Add: BOLL WEEVIL HOLLER (Vera Hall Ward)
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 20 Jun 10 - 09:23 AM

My favorite, from Vera Hall Ward. Wish I could give the citation. Thought it was on one of the Negro Folk Music of Alabama Folkways LPs, recorded by Harold Courlander, but I can't find it to make sure. Anyway here it is.

If you could hear it (slow, mournful, different tune), you'd scarcely think it's related to the usual Boll Weevil song.

BOLL WEEVIL HOLLER
As sung by Vera Hall Ward

Hey hey boll weevil, where's yo' native home,
Way down the Bye-Lam'* among the cannin' corn.      [*Georgia]

Boll weevil here, boll weevil everywhere,
Doggone the boll weevil, he's sittin' on the square.

First time I seen a boll weevil, he's sittin' on the square,
Next time I seen him, he had his family there.

An' the farmer ast the merchan', for some meat an' meal,
Kain't up an' die, old man, boll weevil's in yo' field.

Boll weevil's in yo' field, boll weevil's in yo' field,
Ain't nothin' doin', man, boll weevil's in yo' field.

Hey hey, boll weevil, where's yo' native home?
Way down in the Bye-Lam, among the cannin' corn.


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Subject: Lyr Add: BOLL WEEVIL BLUES (O. Johnson)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Jun 10 - 06:56 PM

Lyr. Add: Boll Weevil Blues
O. Johnson, c. 1940.

Farmer said to the boll weevil,
"I see you're on the square."
Boll weevil said to the farmer,
"And my whole family's there;
I have a home, I have a home.
2
"Look up your bar'l o'pizen,
And scatter it on the row,"
Boll weevil said to the farmer;
"You scatter pizen, though
I have a home, I have a home."
3
Boll weevil said to the lightning bug,
"Kin I get up a trade with you?
Ef I wuz a lightning bug
I'd work the whole night through,
All night long, all night long."
4
"Don't you see how them creeturs
Now have done me wrong?
Boll weevil's got my cotton
And the merchant's got my corn.
What shall I do? What shall I do?"
5
Boll weevil said to the merchant,
"Better drink yo' cold lemonade;
When I get thru with you
Gwine drag you out o' the shade-
I have a home! I have a home!"
6
Boll weevil said to the doctor,
"Better po' out all them pills;
When I get through with the farmer
He can't pay no doctor's bills-
I have a home! I have a home!"
7
Boll weevil said to the preacher,
"Better shet your church house door;
When I get through with the farmer
He can't pay the preacher no more-
I have a home! I have a home!"
8
Boll weevil said to the farmer,
"Better sell your old machine;
When I get thru with you
You can't buy no gasoline-
I have a home! I have a home!"
9
Boll weevil said to his wife,
"Better stan' up on your feet
'N look way down here in Georgy
At all the cotton we got to eat-
All night long, and all day too!"
10
Boll weevil said to the farmer,
"I wisht that you wuz well."
Farmer said to the boll weevil,
"I wisht you wuz in hell!"
Boll weevil blues! Boll weevil blues!

No. 214, H. M. Belden and A. P. Hudson, 1952, "Folk Songs from North Carolina," vol. 3, Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore.


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Subject: RE: ADD: Mister Boll Weevil / Boll Weevil Song
From: Dan Schatz
Date: 20 Jun 10 - 07:20 PM

I've been singing the Vera Ward Hall version, with some bluesy guitar. I love the phrasing she does - "next time time I seeeeeeeeeeeen him, he had his family there....."

Dan


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Subject: RE: ADD: Mister Boll Weevil / Boll Weevil Song
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Jun 10 - 09:27 PM

More verses:

Farmer took the bol weevil
Set him on a lump of ice,
Boll weevil said to the farmer,
"It's mighty cool and nice,
It'll be my home;
It'll be my home."

Boll weevil said to the farmer,
"Gonna swing right on your gate;
When I get through with the cotton,
Gonna sell that Cadillac Eight.
Jus' looking for a home;
Jus' looking for a home."

The farmer said to the merchant,
"Want to get a little meat and meal."
Merchant said, "Get out of here;
You got boll weevils in your field.
Jus' looking for a home;
Jus' looking for a home."

From J. H. Odum, who learned it from family, cotton mills, Columbus, GA.
Alton C. Morris, edit., 1950, "Folksongs of Florida," Univ. Florida.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Mister Boll Weevil / Boll Weevil Song
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 05 Nov 14 - 06:35 PM

"A man named Gates Thomas recorded 3 'Boll Weevil' verses in 1897." In the late 1920s, A. Gates Thomas of Texas (born 1877) wrote an article about black folk music he could remember, "South Texas Negro Work-Songs...." The article contradicts itself: it categorizes "Boll Weevil" as a song he had encountered "since 1905," then says explicitly that he encountered it "since 1905," then says he "learned [it] about 1907," and goes on to suggest that he first encountered part of it in "approximately" 1897. (See p. 157 of the article as reprinted in _Rainbow In The Morning_ for the "approximately.") John Lomax of Texas (born 1867) wrote in 1915, "This song we know to have been made by plantation negroes during the last fifteen years...." Thomas specifically mentioned hearing songs from blacks in Fayette County in his article. The boll weevil was first spotted in Fayette County in 1898, and Fayette County reportedly had the third-biggest cotton crop of any county in the United States in 1899.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Mister Boll Weevil / Boll Weevil Song
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 21 Nov 14 - 01:41 PM

In a later article, in 1945, Gates Thomas said he learned "Boll Weevil" in 1906, and didn't mention the 1890s in connection with it, and implied that he had learned all the songs in the earlier article in or very near Fayette County.

As Newman White noticed, the refrain about "hunting" for a home in "Boll Weevil" was similar to earlier religious music. An interesting example (in light of the popular use of 12-bar strains in secular black folk music during about 1893-1910) was in this excerpt from a black spiritual that was in an 1882 book by Henry Newman:

"You'll see de moon a bleedin', I do love de Lord;
You'll see de stars a fallin', I do love de Lord;
My bredren don't get weary, I'm hunting for a home."


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