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Lyr Req: Kokomo Blues (Mississippi Fred McDowell)

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Froodo 14 Feb 00 - 01:22 PM
GUEST,_gargoyle 14 Feb 00 - 03:51 PM
Froodo 14 Feb 00 - 04:12 PM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 16 Feb 00 - 09:14 AM
Jon W. 16 Feb 00 - 10:22 AM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 16 Feb 00 - 10:33 AM
Froodo 16 Feb 00 - 02:31 PM
Fortunato 16 Feb 00 - 02:49 PM
Froodo 16 Feb 00 - 04:25 PM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 17 Feb 00 - 03:46 AM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 17 Feb 00 - 03:49 AM
Fortunato 17 Feb 00 - 08:56 AM
lamarca 17 Feb 00 - 10:30 AM
Froodo 17 Feb 00 - 11:59 AM
Stewie 17 Feb 00 - 10:05 PM
Stewie 17 Feb 00 - 10:18 PM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 18 Feb 00 - 03:40 AM
Jon W. 18 Feb 00 - 11:47 AM
GUEST,Chris Nixon 18 Feb 00 - 01:34 PM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 21 Feb 00 - 04:14 AM
Jon W. 21 Feb 00 - 12:41 PM
Stewie 21 Feb 00 - 10:21 PM
Barky 22 Feb 00 - 12:26 AM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 22 Feb 00 - 03:41 AM
Jon W. 22 Feb 00 - 10:53 AM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 03 Aug 01 - 06:41 AM
GUEST 03 Aug 10 - 08:43 PM
Bobert 03 Aug 10 - 09:19 PM
Roger the Skiffler 04 Aug 10 - 12:36 PM
GUEST 04 Aug 10 - 02:16 PM
Roger the Skiffler 05 Aug 10 - 06:13 AM
Roger the Skiffler 05 Aug 10 - 06:24 AM
PoppaGator 05 Aug 10 - 03:19 PM
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Subject: Kokomo Blues
From: Froodo
Date: 14 Feb 00 - 01:22 PM

Mississippi Fred McDowell did this number called Kokomo Blues. If anyone knows the lyrics please let me know. It's a nice litte blues number, I'd like to add it to my list-O-tunes.

Merci Buckets


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Subject: Lyr Add: KOKOMO (Beach Boys)
From: GUEST,_gargoyle
Date: 14 Feb 00 - 03:51 PM

How about a lite little number by the Beach Boy's Mike Love and copyrighted 1988 by Disney's BuenaVista for the movie Cocktail

KOKOMO

4/4 key of C

(Refrain)
Aruba, Jamaida, Oh I wanna take ya.
Bermuda, Bahama, cone on pretty mama.
Key Largo, Mentego, Baby why don't we go,
Jamaica. Off the Florida Keys.
We'll put out to sea.

There's a place called Kokomo.
That's where we wnat to go to get a way from it all.
Bodies in the sand, Tropical drink melting in your hand.
We'll be falling in love - to the rhythm of a steeldrum band
Down in Kokomo, Jamaica, so I wanna take ya to
Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama
Key Largo, Mentego, baby, why don't we go. Kokomo. We'll get there fast and then we'll take it slow.
That's where we wanna go.
Way down in kokomo

Martinique, that Montserrat mystique.
Port Au Prince, I wanna catch a glimpse

(Refrain)
We'll put out to sea and we'll perfect our chemistry.
By and by we'll defy a little bit of gravity.
Afternoon delight cocktails and moonlit nights.
The dreamy look in you eye, gives me a tropical contact high
Way down in Kokomo.

Every body know a little place like Kokomo.
Now if you wanna go to get a away from it all
Go down to Kokomo.

(Refrain)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Kokomo Blues
From: Froodo
Date: 14 Feb 00 - 04:12 PM

Very cool, but not the one I'm lookin' for.

I just got the tune runnin through my head but don't know it that well to recall how de words go. I'll probably just end up writing my own lyrics but, I'd love to have the original ones to build on.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Kokomo Blues
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 16 Feb 00 - 09:14 AM

I checked my blues books and personal notebooks last night and don't have it written down. I'll transcribe it from one of my Fred McD records, probably tomorrow, but as I'm tied up in meetings all Friday it may be Monday or Tuesday before I can post them, if no-one else beats me to it.
RtS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Kokomo Blues
From: Jon W.
Date: 16 Feb 00 - 10:22 AM

While we wait for RtS, here's a link to a thread from last year where I posted the lyrics from Scrapper Blackwell's version. I don't know how similar it is to Fred McDowell's since I've never heard the latter.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Kokomo Blues
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 16 Feb 00 - 10:33 AM

That sounds about right, Jon, I'll compare the versions when I'm at home. BTW, I know I'm going a bit deaf but you don't have to repeat everything!
:o)}
RtS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Kokomo Blues
From: Froodo
Date: 16 Feb 00 - 02:31 PM

You guys are the best. I've been fleshing out my version of this tune all week and can't wait to play it for an audience. The more versions I have to work with the better. Like to be educated on the songs I sing. I've been like a mad man trying to soak up as many old delta style tunes as I can.

Thanks all.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Kokomo Blues
From: Fortunato
Date: 16 Feb 00 - 02:49 PM

Froodo sorry to join in late. I have a version by Bonnie Raitt that is cool but I think a little different. do you want that as well?

regards, fortunato


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Kokomo Blues
From: Froodo
Date: 16 Feb 00 - 04:25 PM

Lay it on me Fortunato. I'd love to see all versions possible.

Thanks, Froo


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Subject: Lyr Add: KOKOMO BLUES (Mississippi Fred McDowell)
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 17 Feb 00 - 03:46 AM

KOKOMO BLUES

(Mississippi Fred McDowell)

1) Kokomo me baby,
Kokomo me right
Kokomo your daddy
I'll be back tomorrow night
Crying "Baby don't you want to go
Down that eleven-night* city
Sweet old Kokomo"

2)Kokomo me baby
Kokomo me twice
Kokomo your daddy
Like you did the other night
Cryin' "Baby don't you want to go
Down to eleven-night* city Sweet old Kokomo"

3)Well I'll never love you
Hope you never will
'Cause lovin' always gets somebody killed
Cryin' Baby don't you want to go
Down to that eleven-night* city
Good old Kokomo

* I've listened to two different versions by Fred and can't make out the word before City in each verse. It sounds like eleven night. Perhaps any 'Catters more familiar with his Tennessee accent can enlighten us.
Bonnie Raitt was a fan and may have got her version from him, though she's usually linked with John Lee Hooker.
RtS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Kokomo Blues
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 17 Feb 00 - 03:49 AM

Missed a couple of line breaks, sorry. Fred's version seem to have more sexual inuendo than Scrapper's ( and him a pillar of the local Baptist church as well!).
RtS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Kokomo Blues
From: Fortunato
Date: 17 Feb 00 - 08:56 AM

Bonnie sings "bright light" city.

Sorry Froodo I forgot to retrieve Bonnies lyrics. CRS. Maybe tonight. later dudes and dudettes. Fortunato


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Kokomo Blues
From: lamarca
Date: 17 Feb 00 - 10:30 AM

Bonnie Raitt credits her version to Mississippi Fred - she combined it with another of his songs, "Write Me a Few of Your Lines". Bonnie Raitt has been very good about crediting her sources (unlike some big-time performers like Dylan) - she would frequently tour with Fred McDowell and Sippie Wallace while they were still alive, introducing them as the original masters to whole new audiences. I liked her music better when she was doing more blues than rock, but she's one classy lady.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Kokomo Blues
From: Froodo
Date: 17 Feb 00 - 11:59 AM

This is awesome. Again the mudcat comes through.

Thanks all.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Kokomo Blues
From: Stewie
Date: 17 Feb 00 - 10:05 PM

Roger,

I can't decipher the particular words either. In his 1934 'Old Original Kokomo Blues', which shares the 'baby don't you want to go' bit in the McDowell song, Kokomo Arnold seems to sing something 'light city' rather than something 'night city'. Sounds like 'leven light or eleven light city. Bonnie Raitt sings the same in her version mentioned above that is coupled with 'Few of your lines' - she certainly doesn't sing 'bright lights' there, but may well do so in another version. Is it a sexual reference or, less likely, even a real place?

Whatever, my ears hear the last verse of Fred's version a little differently from what Roger has posted. The version I have in on Arhoolie 'Mississippi Delta Blues':

Well I ain't never loved you Hope I never will 'Cos where you got lovin' why


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Kokomo Blues
From: Stewie
Date: 17 Feb 00 - 10:18 PM

Sorry, I clicked the submit button too soon. Fred's last verse sounds to me more like:

Well, I ain't never loved you
Hope I never will
'Cos where you got lovin' why
Get somebody killed
Cryin' aye, baby don't ...

The 'why' at the end of the third line sounds more like 'while', which could be a contraction for 'why you'll'. What do you reckon, Roger? Cheers, Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Kokomo Blues
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 18 Feb 00 - 03:40 AM

Yes I think it was a typo, should have been "I" rahrer than "you" .There is also an extra verse on another take I've got which I couldn't get at first listening so chickened out!
I though "Bright light" made sense but it certainly sounds like "eleven-night".
RtS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Kokomo Blues
From: Jon W.
Date: 18 Feb 00 - 11:47 AM

Could it be "lovin' light" as in "turn on your love light"?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Kokomo Blues
From: GUEST,Chris Nixon
Date: 18 Feb 00 - 01:34 PM

Funny that - I have a recording of John Renbourne and I can't make out the mystery line either...

other verses: Well I went down to the station And I looked up on the wall Said "There's good times here boy, But they're better on down the road...

WEll if you don't want my lovin' You sure don't have to crawl, I can get more women Than a train can haul....

And another version: I don't want no other lover, Guess I never will, Why lover's propositions Gonna get somebody killed...

ATB Chris


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Kokomo Blues
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 21 Feb 00 - 04:14 AM

My marriage has lasted 29 years but I don't think it will last much longer if I keep playing 3 diferent versions of Fred's Kokomo Blues over and over!
The version I posted is substantially as on "You Gotta Move" Arhoolie CD304." Mississipii Fred McDowell" on Rounder CD2138 has an extra verse I can't get. On the LP "I do not play no rock and roll " Capitol ST409, there is a different extra verse which has some strange maths:
Well one and one is two
Three and four make six(?!)
(Something something) baby
(Something something) tricks.
At this point I retire from the field and leave it to the experts!
RtS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Kokomo Blues
From: Jon W.
Date: 21 Feb 00 - 12:41 PM

Roger, if you follow the link in my posting of the 16th, you will find the Robert Johnson version (Sweet Home Chicago) which has a verse with six...tricks in it--except it's "streets" not "tricks". But on the recording it sounds an awful lot like "tricks". RJ gets the math right also: "Two and two are four, Four and two are six..."


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Subject: Lyr Add: OLD ORIGINAL KOKOMO BLUES (Kokomo Arnold)
From: Stewie
Date: 21 Feb 00 - 10:21 PM

It seems to be generally agreed by blues writers that, like several other blues, Robert Johnson's 'Sweet Home Chicago' was inspired by - albeit a radical reworking of both the lyrics and guitar accompaniment - Kokomo Arnold's 'Old Original Kokomo Blues' which was recorded in 1934. Arnold's piece was only vaguely related to Scrapper Blackwell's 1928 recording 'Kokomo Blues' for which Jon W has provided a link to his transcription of the lyrics. David Harrison - 'World of the Blues' - suggests Arnold's song may have been inspired by Jabo Williams' 1932 record 'Ko Ko Mo Blues' (I have not heard this so I cannot comment). Anyhow, I provide my transcription of 'Old Original Kokomo Blues' which will complete the picture. It is most certainly the model for the tune and refrain of Fred McDowell's version. The mystery phrase is 'Eleven Light City', but more about that below.

OLD ORIGINAL KOKOMO BLUES

One and one is two, mama
Two and two is four
You mess around here, pretty mama
You know you got to go
Cryin', oooh, baby don't you want to go
Back to the Eleven Light City
To sweet old Kokomo

Now four and one is five, mama
Five and one is six
You mess around here, pretty mama
You're going to get me tricked
Cryin', oooh, baby don't you want to go
Back to the Eleven Light City
To sweet old Kokomo

Now six and one is seven, mama
Seven and one is eight
You mess around here, pretty mama
You're going to make me late
Cryin', oooh, baby don't you want to go
Back to the Eleven Light City
To sweet old Kokomo

Says I told you, mama
When you first fell across my bed
You been drinkin' your ole bad whiskey
And talkin' all out your head
Cryin', oooh, baby don't you want to go
Back to the Eleven Light City
To sweet old Kokomo

I don't drink because I'm dry, mama
Don't drink because I'm blue
The reason I drink, pretty mama
I can't get along with you
Cryin', oooh, baby don't you want to go
Back to the Eleven Light City
To sweet old Kokomo

Now eight and one is nine, mama
Nine and one is ten
You mess around here, pretty mama
I'm going to take you in
Cryin', oooh, baby don't you want to go
Back to the Eleven Light City
To sweet old Kokomo

Now ten and one is eleven, mama
Eleven and one is twelve
You mess around here, pretty mama
You going to catch a lot of hell
Cryin', oooh, baby don't you want to go
Back to the Eleven Light City
To sweet old Kokomo

Source: Kokomo Arnold 'Blues Classics by Kokomo Arnold: Peetie Wheatstraw' Blues Classics 4. Recorded 10 September 1934 Chicago Decca De 7026. PS.

James 'Kokomo' Arnold was a left-handed slide guitarist from Georgia. He played the guitar laid flat across his knees - an unusual style for a Georgian bluesman. He moved to Chicago in about 1929 and his main pursuit was bootlegging. He did some early recordings under the name of Gitfiddle Jim. However, his 'Old Original Kokomo Blues' and its monumentally influential backing piece 'Milk Cow Blues', recorded for Decca in 1934, made him one of the most popular and influential blues artists of the thirties. Many versions of his 'Kokomo Blues' were recorded by other singers. Paul Oliver points out that Frank Busby's ''Leven Light City (Sweet Old Kokomo)' recording for Decca in 1937 was very similar to Arnold's but others, such as that recorded by Willie 'Boodle-It Wright', were quite different. Paul Oliver gives Arnold's version of the 'Eleven Light City' with reference to Arnold's only interview given to French blues historian, Jacques Demetre:

Generally, they [versions of Arnold's 'Old Original'] were recorded as 'Eleven Light City Blues' and in all instances the strange phrase of 'Eleven Light City', apparently unrelated to any of the listed nicknames for towns, remained. Arnold explained the significance of the words in part to Jacques Demetre, telling him that Eleven Light City was the name of a drugstore near 35th and State where a girl with whom he was consorting was working. The store sold a brand of coffee labelled 'Koko' and it was from this, with an alliteration of his own, that he devised the phrase 'sweet Kokomo'. Mayo Williams however saw the commercial possibilities in exploiting the association of the brand name with Arnold and dubbed him 'Kokomo Arnold' for this and his subsequent records. He thought that Big Bill Broonzy's belief that he owned a grocery store stemmed from this, for in fact he never owned nor worked in one. There still remain certain problems not wholly explained by this - not least of which is the significance of Eleven Light City as a name itself, or whether in fact a brand of coffee called 'Koko' was so marketed. [Paul Oliver 'Off The Record' The Baton Press 1984 pp 105-106]

In his quite extensive piece on Arnold, Oliver made no reference at all to the earlier Scrapper Blackwell piece. Obviously, he did not consider it important in this context. 'Old Original Kokomo Blues' was not the only Arnold song to inspire Robert Johnson. Johnson's 'I Believe I'll Dust My Broom' was adapted from Arnold's 'Sagefield Woman Blues'(De 7044) and, in turn, it was taken from Johnson by Elmore James.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Kokomo Blues
From: Barky
Date: 22 Feb 00 - 12:26 AM

Does anyone know where I can get the chord changes for the other Kokomo by the Beach Boys?

Barky


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Kokomo Blues
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 22 Feb 00 - 03:41 AM

Stewie, awesome!
Thanks for all that.
RtS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Kokomo Blues
From: Jon W.
Date: 22 Feb 00 - 10:53 AM

Barky, you probably ought to start another thread on that request--you'll get better response.


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Subject: Lyr Add: KOKOMO BLUES (Mississippi Fred McDowell)
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 03 Aug 01 - 06:41 AM

The lyrics weren't on Harry's Blues Lyrics when we were discussing this last. They aren't now either but I found this from a cached version elsewhere from when they were (if you see what I mean!). These render the mystery words as "livin' life city.” Full lyric as transcribed on Harry below. Whose guess is best I'd not like to speculate!

KOKOMO BLUES
By Mississippi Fred McDowell
Recording of February 13 1964, at his house near Como, Mississippi
From You Gotta Move (Arhoolie 304), (c)

Well, it's Kokomo me, baby. Kokomo me right.
Kokomo your daddy. I'll be back tomorrow night.
Cryin' I, baby don't you want to go, down to that livin' light city, sweet old Kokomo?

Well, it's Kokomo me babe. Kokomo me twice.
Kokomo your daddy like you did the other night.
Cryin' I, baby don't you wanna go, down to that livin' light city, sweet old Kokomo?

Well, I ain't never loved, baby. Hope I never will.
'Cause the way that you been lovin', gonna get somebody killed.
Cryin' I, baby don't you want to go, down to that livin' light city, sweet old Kokomo?

RtS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Kokomo Blues
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Aug 10 - 08:43 PM

I ripped this out of wikipedia ... for what that's worth:

"The earliest recorded version of the song by Scrapper Blackwell in 1928 referred to Kokomo, Indiana, a city well known to the Indianapolis-based guitarist. Kokomo was famous for the number of traffic lights. It was known to truckers as "stop light city" and to blues singers after Arnold as "level light city"."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Kokomo Blues
From: Bobert
Date: 03 Aug 10 - 09:19 PM

WOW!!!

I wasn't here when this thread was started and being a blues musican myself I always love a blue thread...

Yeah, I love Mississippi Fred McDowell's (from Tennesee???) version of the song... It's got that North Misissippi "hill country" sound... Mean, get yer feets movin' and yer pant leg shakin'...

But seems to me, and I'll kinda have to do some thinkin' here that there were several other references to Kokomo prior to Fred McDs version... I'll think on it...

B~


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Kokomo Blues (Mississippi Fred McDowell)
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 12:36 PM

Nice to revisit this old thread (now I'm nearly 40 years married, still)!
Despite all the erudite explanation for "eleven light" city. I confess to invoking the "folk process" and using "love-light" (in the red-light sense)as it fits the context that Kokomo is a scene of danger and misbehaviour in the eyes of innocent country visitors from Como or Rockville.

RtS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Kokomo Blues (Mississippi Fred McDowell)
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 02:16 PM

Fred was born in Tennessee, presumably near Memphis and the Mississippi "Delta" region, but lived most of his adult life in Como, Mississippi. Hence the name Mississippi Fred....

Having spent a few years (including a few hard winters) in Indiana, I have a passing acquaintance with Kokomo, IN, home to a large US military base (Air Force, I think). Even as recently as the 1960s, there were 'way too many traffic lights there, slowing down north-south travel on the old "Dixie Highway." (US31, if I remember correctly.) So, "eleven-light city" (probably pronounced "'lebben-lite") makes sense of a line that had NEVER made sense to me before.

And as far as the Beach Boys song is concerned ~ anyone who's ever been to the real Kokomo, especially in wintertime, would know that it should NEVER be confused with any kind of tropical paradise. When I first heard the song, I found it to be incredibly dumb, and assumed that it must be the work of some wannabee Beach-Boys imitators. I didn't want to believe that the real Beach Boys would stoop to such stupidity.

Of course, the song came out many years after the BBs' original 1960s heyday, so it could be argued that those latter-day Beach Boys were not the original or "real" group, anyway.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Kokomo Blues (Mississippi Fred McDowell)
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 06:13 AM

"My name is Fred McDowell, folks call me Mississippi Fred McDowell but I was born in Rockville, Tennessee" (Fred on the first track of the essential "I do not play no rock & roll".

RtS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Kokomo Blues (Mississippi Fred McDowell)
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 06:24 AM

OOOPS!
That should have been Rossville of course in my last 2 posts!

RtS
(proofread, Roger, proofread!)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Kokomo Blues (Mississippi Fred McDowell)
From: PoppaGator
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 03:19 PM

That was me, inadvertently without my cookie, at 2:16 pm yesterday. Sorry!


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