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Lyr Req: Catfish John (Bob McDill)

Related threads:
(origins) Origin: Catfish John (McDill, Reynolds) (9)
OBIT: Johnny Russell dead at 61 (10)


thosp 02 May 00 - 11:03 PM
Kelida 02 May 00 - 11:10 PM
thosp 02 May 00 - 11:15 PM
Crowhugger 02 May 00 - 11:22 PM
thosp 02 May 00 - 11:27 PM
Kelida 02 May 00 - 11:51 PM
thosp 02 May 00 - 11:56 PM
Crowhugger 03 May 00 - 04:15 AM
Vixen 03 May 00 - 08:14 AM
GUEST 03 May 00 - 08:56 AM
Fortunato 03 May 00 - 10:30 AM
Art Thieme 03 May 00 - 10:59 AM
Genie 12 Oct 02 - 02:02 PM
GUEST 12 Oct 02 - 02:08 PM
rangeroger 12 Oct 02 - 04:38 PM
12-stringer 12 Oct 02 - 05:32 PM
rangeroger 12 Oct 02 - 06:47 PM
GUEST,Genie 12 Oct 02 - 08:38 PM
michaelr 12 Oct 02 - 09:17 PM
Genie 13 Oct 02 - 03:48 AM
53 13 Oct 02 - 12:30 PM
Genie 13 Oct 02 - 12:52 PM
Genie 13 Oct 02 - 01:26 PM
Genie 13 Oct 02 - 01:29 PM
12-stringer 13 Oct 02 - 02:18 PM
Genie 13 Oct 02 - 10:29 PM
53 14 Oct 02 - 11:16 AM
GUEST,Sonja 14 Oct 02 - 11:53 PM
GUEST 15 Oct 02 - 01:32 PM
53 16 Oct 02 - 11:55 AM
Genie 16 Oct 02 - 12:24 PM
53 16 Oct 02 - 12:26 PM
Fortunato 17 Oct 02 - 09:42 AM
Genie 17 Oct 02 - 08:43 PM
53 18 Oct 02 - 10:48 AM
Genie 18 Oct 02 - 12:12 PM
GUEST,Q 22 Jun 03 - 09:10 PM
GUEST,Mark M. 28 Jun 15 - 09:52 AM
Joe_F 28 Jun 15 - 10:24 PM
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Subject: catfish john
From: thosp
Date: 02 May 00 - 11:03 PM

by bob mcdill & alan reynolds ---- i've found some threads that refer to it --- but no lyrics ------

peace (Y) thosp


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Subject: Lyr Add:: CATFISH JOHN
From: Kelida
Date: 02 May 00 - 11:10 PM

CATFISH JOHN

Let me dream of another morning
And the time so long ago
Where the sweet magnolias blossom
Cotton's fields as white as snow

Catfish john was a river hobo
Lived and dieon the river bend
Looking back I still remember
I was glad to be his friend


Mama said don't go near that river
Don't be hangin'around old catfish john
Come the morning I'll always be there
Walking in his footsteps in the sweet delta down

Born a slave in the town of pittsburg
Traded for a chestunt mare
Still he never spoke in angel
Though his love is hard to bare

* Refrain

Is this it?

Peace--Keli


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: catfish john
From: thosp
Date: 02 May 00 - 11:15 PM

thanks Keli!
that's the One

peace (Y) thosp


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: catfish john
From: Crowhugger
Date: 02 May 00 - 11:22 PM

I think a couple of words are wrong:

Maybe: "Catfish John was a "nigger" hobo" I'm sure: "...he never spoke in "anger" Also sure: "...born a slave in the town of "Vicksburg"

At least I'm sure about the version I learned!

Cheers,
CH.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: catfish john
From: thosp
Date: 02 May 00 - 11:27 PM

thanks for the edit Crowhugger!!

peace (Y) thosp


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: catfish john
From: Kelida
Date: 02 May 00 - 11:51 PM

Sorry about the mix-up, thosp. I'm not really familiar with the song, but I did a quick search on the title, and the first thing I clicked on was a link to lyrics. I mostly wanted to see if that was the right song, so I just pasted it here. Hope it helped.

Peace--Keli


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: catfish john
From: thosp
Date: 02 May 00 - 11:56 PM

hi Keli-- it definetly helped --- i don't know of any old folk song that doesn't have a few versions --- thanks again!

peace (Y) thosp


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: catfish john
From: Crowhugger
Date: 03 May 00 - 04:15 AM

Just the version I learned, Keli, from Workingman's Dead.

BTW I keep this song in my repertoire lest we forget the insidious assumptions of racism: It takes a particular perspective to say that someone "never spoke in anger." After all, I wonder, when did white folks become privy to the personal conversations of "niggers"?

$0.02.

CH.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: catfish john
From: Vixen
Date: 03 May 00 - 08:14 AM

I learned it as a "river hobo" which makes contextual sense, and sanitizes it some for a contemporary audience. Also, I thought he was born in the "town of Richmond"...

Ah the folk process. Great tune.

V


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Subject: Lyr Add: CATFISH JOHN (Johnny Russell)
From: GUEST
Date: 03 May 00 - 08:56 AM

When I learned if from him in 1972, Bob McDill sang it this way:

Let me dream of another morning
And s time so long ago
When the sweet magnolias blossomed
Cotton fields were white as snow

Catfish john was a river hobo
And he lived by the river bend
Thinking back I still remember
I was proud to be his friend

Mama said don't go near that river
Don't go hangin'around old catfish john
Come the morning I'd always be there
Walking in his footsteps in that sweet delta dawn

Born a slave in the town of Vicksburg
Traded for a chestnut mare
Still he never spoke in anger
Though his load was hard to bear


I think you'll find it holds together a bit better.
All the best, Fortunato


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: catfish john
From: Fortunato
Date: 03 May 00 - 10:30 AM

Should read "And a time so long ago"

not "And s time so long ago".

sorry Fortunato


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: catfish john
From: Art Thieme
Date: 03 May 00 - 10:59 AM

I did this one for many years and I strongly believe it is RIVER HOBO !! The town is VICKSBURGin the state of Mississippi---right on the Mississippi River. A huge and important battle was fought there during the U.S.'s Civil War to determine river supremacy. It made General Grant's reputation.

Art Thieme


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Subject: Lyr/Chords Add: CATFISH JOHN (Johnny Russell)
From: Genie
Date: 12 Oct 02 - 02:02 PM

Here are the words and chords I have.  Any corrections?
Genie

Catfish John  written by Johnnny Russell

                G                    D
Let me dream of another morning
                G               D
And the time so long ago,
                  A                       D
When the sweet magnolia blossomed
                             A                  D
And cotton fields were white as snow
 

             G                       D
Catfish John was a river hobo,
             G                       D
And he lived  on the river bend.
               A                 D
Looking back I still remember
                A              D
I was glad to be his friend

Chorus:
           D                    G             D
Mama said "Don't go near that river.
               D
Don't be hangin' round
                    A
Ol' Catfish John."
                         D              G        D
(But) Come the morning I'd always be there
                                                 A                D
Walkin' in his footsteps in the sweet delta dawn.
 
 

            G                            D
Born a slave in the town of Vicksburg,
            G                    D
Traded for a chestnut mare,
             A                   D
Still he never spoke in anger
                          A                D
Though his load was hard to bear.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: catfish john
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Oct 02 - 02:08 PM

I doubt that he was born a slave in the town of Pittsburg (unless there's a Pittsburg in the South).


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: catfish john
From: rangeroger
Date: 12 Oct 02 - 04:38 PM

Genie, where did you get the Johnny Russell attribution from? The Alison Kraus version on Circle attributes it to Bob Mcill and Allen Reynolds which fits with the other posts.

Also, which Grateful Dead album is this on. Crowhugger's post says Workingman's Dead, but it is not there or on American Beauty. As Crowhugger hasn't posted since last year, i assume he is no longer here so I can't ask him.Anyone else know?

rr


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: catfish john
From: 12-stringer
Date: 12 Oct 02 - 05:32 PM

I don't know of a Grateful Dead version. Johnny Russell had a moderate C&W hit on this in the middle 70s. Never saw the record, only heard it on the radio, but the "other" CC on it is surely the correct one, not the attribution to Russell (the only version I ever heard of this song).


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: catfish john
From: rangeroger
Date: 12 Oct 02 - 06:47 PM

OK, after a search on Google,found Catfish John on 2 Old and In the Way CDs "Breakdown" (hidden track not listed) and "High Lonesome Sound". Also on Jerry Garcia Band "Reflections".

Only Johnny Russell listings that I could find were that he had a hit with it in '72. All sources attribute the writing to McDill and Reynolds.

rr


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: catfish john
From: GUEST,Genie
Date: 12 Oct 02 - 08:38 PM

The way I saw it printed (by a source I generally trust), it was attributed to Johnny Russell. Not the first time someone has mis-attributed a song's authorship, and I'm sure it won't be the last.

If we can establish who did write it, will Joe or a clone please correct the error that I have helped to perpetuate?

Thanks,

Genie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: catfish john
From: michaelr
Date: 12 Oct 02 - 09:17 PM

Grateful Dead Lyric Finder site attributes it to McDill and Reynolds. It seems that Garcia sang "Vicksburg" on the JGB version and "Richmond" with Old and In The Way,

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: catfish john
From: Genie
Date: 13 Oct 02 - 03:48 AM

The "Dead" website is probably right. But then, I've seen a lot of errors in author credits on various websites -- even in published sheet music.Catfish John    I guess one way to be sure would be to go to McDill and Reynolds's website, if they have one.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: catfish john
From: 53
Date: 13 Oct 02 - 12:30 PM

this is a good song.


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Subject: Author(s) Corr.: Catfish John (McDill,Reynolds)
From: Genie
Date: 13 Oct 02 - 12:52 PM

OK, clones, if/when we certify that the "Catfish John" lyrics and music were written by Bob McDill & Alan Reynolds, can we fix the credit line in the posts above?

Genie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: catfish john
From: Genie
Date: 13 Oct 02 - 01:26 PM

I was not able to find a website for McGill and/or Reynolds, but several other sites attribute the song to them, so I will accept that until/unless someone has information to the contrary. I went to Johnny Russell's website (johnnyrussell.com) and was not able to find anything about the song's authorship, but I did find a long clip of him singing the song. Let's see if this really long web address works as a blicky.

Genie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: catfish john
From: Genie
Date: 13 Oct 02 - 01:29 PM

Well, that clicky just takes you to Johnny's website, but if you click on "Albums" you will find the contents listed for several of his albums and on one of them there's a link to a clip of "Catfish John."

Genie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: catfish john
From: 12-stringer
Date: 13 Oct 02 - 02:18 PM

Try here (this guy has written some good stuff! and a couple of things I could live happily without *ever* hearing again):

Bob McDill page


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Subject: author credit: Catfish John
From: Genie
Date: 13 Oct 02 - 10:29 PM

Thanks, 12-stringer. Looks like McDill wrote or co-wrote quite a few songs that became hits when recorded by Don Williams, Jerry Lee Lewis, and others.

BTW, according to McDill's website, his co-author on Catfish John spells his name "Allen," not "Alan" or "Allan."

Genie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: catfish john
From: 53
Date: 14 Oct 02 - 11:16 AM

Town of Ranger


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: catfish john
From: GUEST,Sonja
Date: 14 Oct 02 - 11:53 PM

Most of the sites where I found the lyrics printed said "Vicksburg." One site said "...born a slave in the land of Dixie... ."

SWO


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: catfish john
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Oct 02 - 01:32 PM

That's it. Thank you.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: catfish john
From: 53
Date: 16 Oct 02 - 11:55 AM

Born a slave in the town of ranger, traded for a chestnut mare, though he never spoke in anger and his load was hard to bear.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: catfish john
From: Genie
Date: 16 Oct 02 - 12:24 PM

53, are you sure that "...in the town of Ranger..." was the original lyric by McDill and Reynolds? "Guest" above says he learned it in 1972 from McDill himself as "...Vicksburg...".


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: catfish john
From: 53
Date: 16 Oct 02 - 12:26 PM

the copy that I have says town of Ranger.


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Subject: Lyr Add: CATFISH JOHN (Bob McDill)
From: Fortunato
Date: 17 Oct 02 - 09:42 AM

Well, gang, I took the lyrics from Bob McDill's demo 45 of the song, it's first recording. Here is what he sang on his demo. No, I never met him but we had mutual friends years ago.

CATFISH JOHN

Let me dream of another morning and the time so long ago,
When the sweet magnolias blossomed and cotton fields were white as snow.

Catfish John was a river hobo and he lived on the river bend.
Thinking back, I still remember I was proud to be his friend.

CHORUS: Mama said, "Don't go near that river. Don't go hangin' round ol' Catfish John."
Come the morning I'd always be there walkin' in his footsteps in that sweet delta dawn.

Born a slave in the town of Vicksburg, traded for a chestnut mare,
Still he never spoke in anger though his load was hard to bear.

Johnny Russell made the changes in lyrics you see above in his recording, with the exception of 'Pittsburgh' which is just a homophonic error for Vicksburg and the 'n' word. By the by, Bob McDill's arrangement of the song was not country, it was folky with country influence. I've been performing the song in a finger-style folk arrangement for some thirty years now.

cheers,
chance

Superfluous line breaks removed. --JoeClone, 20-Oct-02.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: catfish john
From: Genie
Date: 17 Oct 02 - 08:43 PM

You checked the "Automatic Linebreaks" box, didn't you, Fortunato?


Thanks for the background info and clarification. Do you know the original copyright date?

Genie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: catfish john
From: 53
Date: 18 Oct 02 - 10:48 AM

I still say the town of Ranger.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: catfish john
From: Genie
Date: 18 Oct 02 - 12:12 PM

Well, folks, this would not be the first time there's a discrepancy between (among) liner-note lyrics, published sheet music, and the words taken directly from the "horse's mouth." Songs by Woody Guthrie, The Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, and Jimmy Buffett come to mind, as does the song "The Bravest" by Tom Paxton.

Those of you who write songs, haven't you ever put out an "official" printing or recording of a song and then later changed a word or line or two when you thought of a better one (or one that better fit a particular audience)?   Also, some "fake books" seem to get the lyrics from listening to records, tapes, CDs, etc., and they often have errors.

Personally, I don't think it matters a lot, as long as you don't say "born a slave in ... Pittsburg." *G*

Genie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: catfish john
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 22 Jun 03 - 09:10 PM

He could have been born a slave in Pittsburg, Texas.
Gee- dont no body no no jography? Just south of Big Cypress Creek and just west of Lone Star.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Catfish John (Bob McDill)
From: GUEST,Mark M.
Date: 28 Jun 15 - 09:52 AM

Seemed like 2 verses was kinda short. Good story potential, so it needed at least one more verse.

Catfish John never had a dollar
He could save for another day
But he was as rich as any man was
Kind and gentle along his way


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Catfish John (Bob McDill)
From: Joe_F
Date: 28 Jun 15 - 10:24 PM

FWIW, if it really was "Pittsburg", it was the Texas one. (There was a Civil War battle there, too.) The Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania has an h on it (& thereby hangs a tale).

OTOH, "Pittsburg" for "Vicksburg" is a pretty likely mishearing.


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