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bamalong - what is it?

GUEST,anewman@nytimes.com 22 May 00 - 12:28 AM
Sorcha 22 May 00 - 01:30 AM
Barbara 23 May 00 - 02:55 PM
RWilhelm 14 Sep 04 - 02:00 AM
GUEST 17 Jun 07 - 12:21 AM
GUEST,George F. Ralston 23 May 18 - 09:56 PM
GUEST 24 May 18 - 03:33 AM
GUEST,Senoufou 24 May 18 - 03:35 AM
wysiwyg 24 May 18 - 08:25 AM
Johnny J 24 May 18 - 08:27 AM
GUEST 24 May 18 - 05:19 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 25 May 18 - 07:44 PM
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Subject: bamalong - what is it?
From: GUEST,anewman@nytimes.com
Date: 22 May 00 - 12:28 AM

on the yazoo comp 'before the blues, vol 1.', there's a song called bamalong blues by andrew and jim baxter. the first verse goes ain't gonna be in the second bamalong ain't gonna be in the second bamalong ain't gonna be in the second bamalong

does anyone know what bamalong is? even the people at bamalong.com, a site devoted to alabama folk music, weren't sure, though they said they thought it might be another word for babylon. in that case, though, what would 'second babylon' refer to?

thanks very much,

andy newman


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Subject: RE: bamalong - what is it?
From: Sorcha
Date: 22 May 00 - 01:30 AM

We are supposed to say, "I have no clue," so that you know this has been noticed, and not ignored.


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Subject: RE: bamalong - what is it?
From: Barbara
Date: 23 May 00 - 02:55 PM

Could it be "Ain't gonna be in the second 'bama long"?
Alternatively,
it's a come-along with BIG rachets
it's an Alabama thats long and narrow
it's a gamalon for heavy handed mallets
or dyslexics
it's the first name of Bamalong Hopiday
it's Bamashort's taller brother

....well, you asked...
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: bamalong - what is it?
From: RWilhelm
Date: 14 Sep 04 - 02:00 AM

I came across this thread because I was looking for someone who had recoreded the song. Turns out I already have the CD, somewhere. I like the phrase because it has that old, weird, American, snake-handling, pentecostal feel to it.

Anyway, what I heard is that it's pretty much what Barbara said first, "Ain't gonn be in the second 'bama long" as in "Ain't gonna be in the Second Alabama Infantry long." I'd be interested in other opinions.


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Subject: RE: bamalong - what is it?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Jun 07 - 12:21 AM

I have heard that "bamalong" is a corruption of "Babylon" and that the reference is to the Second Babylonian Captivity in the Bible. However, nothing else in the has anything to do with this notion.
Bob Linn


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Subject: RE: bamalong - what is it?
From: GUEST,George F. Ralston
Date: 23 May 18 - 09:56 PM

My theory for that mysterious first verse:

In April, 1861, the "Magnolia Regiment" was organized at Fort Morgan, Alabama. This regiment served as the Fort Morgan garrison until March, 1862, when it was ordered to Fort Pillow, Tennessee. Here it was disbanded because its term of service had expired.

Now, the Magnolia regiment was also known as the 2nd Infantry Regiment, or 2nd Alabama, OR POSSIBLY -- wait for it -- 2nd 'Bama. It's not hard to imagine the soldiers sitting around their campfires in February or March of '62, waiting for the end of service, singing "ain't gonna be in the 2nd 'Bama long …"

… and this fragment was eventually picked up by Andrew and Jim Baxter and recorded in 1927.


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Subject: RE: bamalong - what is it?
From: GUEST
Date: 24 May 18 - 03:33 AM

If you Google 'Barrelhouse words, Mike Ballantyne' you'll find a good explanation which correlates with Guest George F Ralston above.


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Subject: RE: bamalong - what is it?
From: GUEST,Senoufou
Date: 24 May 18 - 03:35 AM

Sorry, that was me!
Ballantyne's site is a 'blues dictionary' and quite useful for translating terms one may come across in blues songs.


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Subject: RE: bamalong - what is it?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 24 May 18 - 08:25 AM

In Black music, what seems "either/or" to european-heritage thinking is often "both/and" in the range of connotations of people whose original languages have been ripped from them in enslavement. Look for elegantly conceived expressions of several things in one well-chosen phrase or word. Captivity in "Bama" or "Babylon"-- are they so different? These types of fluidly comprehensive phrasings are so frequent in spirituals that it never surprises me to find them all over the blues.

~S~


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Subject: RE: bamalong - what is it?
From: Johnny J
Date: 24 May 18 - 08:27 AM

"Bam-A -Long" is also to be found in Scottish music..... i.e. football songs and the like.

;-))


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Subject: RE: bamalong - what is it?
From: GUEST
Date: 24 May 18 - 05:19 PM

Whoa, Black Betty (bam-ba-lam)
Whoa, Black Betty (bam-ba-lam)
She really gets me high (bam-ba-lam)
You know that's no lie (bam-ba-lam)
She's so rock steady (bam-ba-lam)
And she's always ready (bam-ba-lam)
Whoa, Black Betty (bam-ba-lam)
Whoa, Black Betty (bam-ba-lam)


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Subject: RE: bamalong - what is it?
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 25 May 18 - 07:44 PM

I hear it as "Ain't goin' be no" (or any) "second bamalong," and my hunch is that the word means a lover or "easy rider." That would make sense, not wanting to play (metaphorical) second fiddle ...

Black Betty's bam-a-lam is widely believed to represent the blow from an overseer's whip, but as a second meaning could in some contexts be taken to refer to a woman, I suppose. In that case it could well be implying the same thing as "bamalong" ... it certainly does have the sound of a flat-spring cot.

But I have no certain knowledge to prove that interpretation of either term.

Bob


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