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Lyr Req: Sweet Mama Tree-Top Tall (Lasses White)

GUEST,"Riverboat John" Ferguson 14 Aug 00 - 06:09 AM
Brian Hoskin 14 Aug 00 - 08:21 AM
GUEST,Gene 14 Aug 00 - 04:21 PM
celticblues5 14 Aug 00 - 11:09 PM
Jim Dixon 02 Oct 02 - 08:53 PM
Jim Dixon 02 Oct 02 - 09:33 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 03 Oct 02 - 04:25 AM
Jim Dixon 20 Jul 05 - 10:31 PM
Arkie 21 Jul 05 - 10:33 PM
Arkie 21 Jul 05 - 11:15 PM
Azizi 21 Jul 05 - 11:19 PM
GUEST,Arkie 22 Jul 05 - 10:23 AM
Azizi 22 Jul 05 - 12:58 PM
GUEST 09 Aug 08 - 04:39 AM
GUEST,koz11751 29 Oct 10 - 03:01 PM
GUEST,Jim Mattson 03 Nov 11 - 01:40 PM
Jim Dixon 05 Nov 11 - 04:48 PM
GUEST 19 Aug 12 - 11:37 AM
GUEST,Arkansas Red-Ozark Troubadour 03 Jun 13 - 01:18 PM
GUEST,Arkansas Red-Ozark Troubadour 03 Jun 13 - 01:29 PM
GUEST 02 Aug 13 - 08:15 PM
Jim Dixon 03 Aug 13 - 01:40 AM
GUEST,Dave Philips, Gallup, NM 06 Nov 13 - 11:49 PM
Jim Dixon 07 Nov 13 - 02:06 PM
GUEST,Sheet Music collectibles 15 Jul 15 - 09:06 AM
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Subject: Hey! Sweet Mama treetp tall won't you ki
From: GUEST,"Riverboat John" Ferguson
Date: 14 Aug 00 - 06:09 AM

Looking for lyrics. Goes something like this:

Hey Sweet Mama treetop tall Won't you kindly turn your damper down


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Hey! Sweet Mama treetp tall won't yo
From: Brian Hoskin
Date: 14 Aug 00 - 08:21 AM

John,

Do you have any further information on this? Any idea of the artist(s)? Is it from a blues? Any additional info. you can provide will increase your chances of getting a result.

Brian


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Hey! Sweet Mama treetp tall won't yo
From: GUEST,Gene
Date: 14 Aug 00 - 04:21 PM

According to a knowledgeable friend
Sweet Mama Tree-Top Tall
was recorded by Johnny Bond in the 40s's
and by Merrill Moore in the 50's


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Hey! Sweet Mama treetp tall won't yo
From: celticblues5
Date: 14 Aug 00 - 11:09 PM

Don't recall the treetop bit, but do recall a misc. blues lyric -
I smell your bread a-burnin', better turn your damper down
If you ain't got a damper, good God, honey, better turn your bread around


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet Mama Tree-Top Tall
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 02 Oct 02 - 08:53 PM

"Sweet Mama, Tree Top Tall" was recorded by the Birmingham Jubilee Singers, and the song appears on the CD "Birmingham Jubilee Singers Vol. 1: 1926 - 1927" Document Records, DOCD-5345. Here's a transcription from a sound sample:
    I just got a letter from a gal in Rome.
    Says she got plenty money, gonna bring it home.
    Sweet mama, treetop tall, baby, turn your damper down.
    Sweet mama, treetop tall, baby, turn your damper down.
    I smell your bread cookin', honey. Done got good an' brown.
A version by The Maddox Brothers & Rose appears on "Live on the Radio: Excerpts from 1953 Radio Broadcasts" Arhoolie CD 467, 1998. Here's a transcription from a sound sample:
    Oh, sweet mama, treetop tall, won't you kindly turn your damper down.
    I can smell them hoe-cakes a-burnin', honey. They done burnt till I'm (?) brown.
    You make the best hot biscuits with the honey, too,
    But I tell you, baby, nothin's sweet as you.
    Oh, sweet mama, treetop tall, won't you kindly turn your damper down.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet Mama Tree-Top Tall
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 02 Oct 02 - 09:33 PM

A version of this song called "Honey Turn Your Damper Down" was also recorded by the Dunham Jazz & Jubilee Singers. It is on the album "Complete Recorded Works (1927-1931)" Document CD 5498, 1997. On the sound sample I found, the lyrics are very similar to the version by the Birmingham Jubilee Singers quoted above.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet Mama Tree-Top Tall
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 03 Oct 02 - 04:25 AM

I remember this being a hit in the 50's... Looked it up in Joel Washburn's Pop Memories Book... it was in the top 40 for 5 weeks, peaking at #13 in 1953... the year that I graduated from High School. It was recorded by the Lancers... a group that did back-up vocals for Kay Starr. It was occasional records like this that sparked my interest in folk and black gospel...


Jerry


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Subject: Lyr Add: SWEET MAMA TREE TOP TALL (Lasses White)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 20 Jul 05 - 10:31 PM

From Duke University's 'Historic American Sheet Music' collection:

SWEET MAMA* TREE TOP TALL
Lasses White, 1920.

1. Mary Euphonus Elizabeth Lee was known for many miles around.
The folks called her the society belle way down in old Blackville Town.
When Jasper Johnson arrived down there, he acted like a yellow cur.
When he saw Mary Euphonus Elizabeth, this is what the said to her:

CHORUS 1: Sweet mamma, tree-top tall, won't you kindly turn your damper down?
I can smell your hoe-cakes burning, honey. They done burnt plumb brown.
There's a change on the ocean, on the deep blue sea.
If you don't treat me right, there'll be a change in me.
So sweet mamma, tree-top tall, won't you kindly turn your damper down?

2. Mary Euphonus Elizabeth Lee dressed up in her Sunday gown.
She told all the other gals down there, "I'm going to see this town."
She called herself the Blackville vampire; said, "Jasper he belongs to me."
Jasper said, "Mary, stop your vamping right now. Listen, honey, patiently:

CHORUS 2: Sweet mamma, tree-top tall, won't you kindly turn your damper down?
I can smell your hoe-cakes burning, honey. They done burnt plumb brown.
Well I laid my head right on the railroad track,
Then I thought of my baby and I drug it back,
So sweet mamma, tree-top tall, won't you kindly turn your damper down?

[*The spelling is "mama" on the cover and "mamma" in the text.

[In the cover photo, Lasses White is obviously a white man in blackface.]


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet Mama Tree-Top Tall
From: Arkie
Date: 21 Jul 05 - 10:33 PM

I remember Lasses White from old Tim Holt and Jimmy Wakely westerns. They were two cowboy stars who did not play the little Sedley theater very often but Tim Holt's movies were on TV with some regularity. There were other sidekicks who left a more favorable and lasting impression than Lasses.   Lasses also was on the Grand Ole Opry and teamed with Honey Wilds who later became part of the comedy duo Jamup and Honey.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet Mama Tree-Top Tall
From: Arkie
Date: 21 Jul 05 - 11:15 PM

The remembering of Jam-up & Honey got me curious and I discovered this article in No Depression. Admittedly it is only indirectly related to "Sweet Mama" but it may be of interest to someone.

Honey Wild


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet Mama Tree-Top Tall
From: Azizi
Date: 21 Jul 05 - 11:19 PM

I've got a slightly off-topic question:

What does the sentence "turn your damper down" mean?
I'm guessing it has some sexual reference, or does it mean something like "cool down your temper"?

I tried to use a search engine to find out the meaning of this colloquial expression, and learned that it seems to have been used in a number of Blues {Jazz?} songs. I found this excerpt of a song in a website that presented the lyrics of a number of songs performed by Blind Willie McTell:

"Love my loving, like to get it any time of day
To get my right lovin', I'm going to south Georgia right away
I got three womens, yellow, brown and black
Take the governor of Georgia to judge which one I like

One woman's Atlanta yellow, the other is Macon brown
But the Statesboro blackskin will turn your damper1 down
So bye bye baby; I'll see you some sweet day
And you'll be sorry you drove your man away"

__________
Note 1: damper, a device that damps as a valve or plate (as in the flue of a furnace) for regulating the draft. "

Source: "Lord, Send Me An Angel" by probably Blind Willie McTell
recording of 19 ? from Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 2 (1931-1933) (Document 5007),

More Lyrics Here

-snip-

{BTW, "Atlanta yellow" and "Macon brown", like "Statesboro blackskin" are all {old, no longer used}African American skin color references}}

****

I also found this passage from an article on Bessie Smith:

"Her relationships with other female singers were often stormy. Bessie did agree to record with rival, Clara Smith (no relation) a few songs of which My Man Blues portrays the two in mock competition over the same man. The following dialogue comes from that 1925 recording.22

(Bessie:) It is my man, sweet papa Charlie Gray.
(Clara:) Your man? How do you git that way?
(Bessie:) Now look here, honey, I been had that man for umpteen year.
(Clara.) Child, didn't I turn your damper down?
(Bessie.) Yes, Clara, and I've cut you every way but loose!"

-snip-

That article is
HERE

****

I know that somebody here can easily set me straight about the colloquial meaning of that sentence. And I also know that folks here can probably provide other examples of the use of this sentence as a title or lyrics to other Blues, Jazz {and other?}songs.

Thanks {in advance}.


Azizi


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet Mama Tree-Top Tall
From: GUEST,Arkie
Date: 22 Jul 05 - 10:23 AM

Having grown up in a farm house heated by a woodstove with a damper in the stovepipe, I've always taken the phrase to mean "calm down" or "don't be so intense". The phrase was sometimes used in conversation when someone had become a little overheated or excited. While I suspect that some may have conjured up sexual imagery from the phrase, in my own experience it was related to a volatile temper.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet Mama Tree-Top Tall
From: Azizi
Date: 22 Jul 05 - 12:58 PM

Thanks, Arkie.

I suppose intensity can be taken both ways...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet Mama Tree-Top Tall
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Aug 08 - 04:39 AM

In case anyone is still looking for this information! If you want more details post a response, and I will get back to you....

I loved this song when I was very young.... I found a 45 online, recorded by the Lancers, and the lyrics are a little different than the Lasses White ones, but essentially the same. I don't have all the lyrics right now, but I remember most of them, at least the last 2 verses....


Oh, Sweet Mama treetop tall, won't you kindly turn your damper down?
I can smell them hoe-cakes burning, honey. They done burnt plumb brown.
There was a Dominic rooster and a Shanghai Hen,
They run around together but they ain't no kin
Oh, Sweet Mama treetop tall, won't you kindly turn your damper down?

Oh, Sweet Mama treetop tall, won't you kindly turn your damper down?
I can smell them hoe-cakes burning, honey. They done burnt plumb brown.
If you ever travel South, just drop around
To my one-room shanty on the edge of town
Oh, Sweet Mama treetop tall, won't you kindly turn your damper down?


I can't remember the first verse.....but anyway, I found it on ebay a few years ago.
    Please note that anonymous posting is no longer allowed at Mudcat. Use a consistent name [in the 'from' box] when you post, or your messages risk being deleted.
    Thanks.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet Mama Tree-Top Tall
From: GUEST,koz11751
Date: 29 Oct 10 - 03:01 PM

another part of it went; whoa ooh sweet mama won't you kindly turn your damper down. since ham went up to a $ a pound,i eat so many rabbits i just hop all around


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet Mama Tree-Top Tall (Lasses White)
From: GUEST,Jim Mattson
Date: 03 Nov 11 - 01:40 PM

As I get older, phrases from my youth just pop into my head and stay there. The latest was a "Dominic rooster and a Shanghai hen".
Thanks for your post; now I can go back to sleeping at night.


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Subject: Lyr Add: SWEET MAMA, TREE TOP TALL
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 05 Nov 11 - 04:48 PM

Here's my transcription from the song available on Spotify. It has a few gaps:


SWEET MAMA, TREE TOP TALL
As sung by the Birmingham Jubilee Singers on "Birmingham Jubilee Singers: Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order: Volume 1: 1926 – 1927" (Document Records, DOCD-5345):

1. Sweet mama, treetop tall, baby, turn your damper down.
I smell your bread cookin', honey. Done got good an' brown.
I'm going away, sweet mama, ...
'Cause you keep me so worried 'bout you(?), baby, all the time.
Sweet mama, treetop tall, baby, turn your damper down.

2. Sweet mama, treetop tall, baby, turn your damper down.
I smell your bread cookin', honey. Done got good an' brown.
I just got a letter from a gal in Rome.
Says she got plenty money, gonna bring it home.
Sweet mama, treetop tall, baby, turn your damper down.

3. Sweet mama, treetop tall, baby, turn your damper down.
I smell your bread cookin', honey. Done got good an' brown.
I've got a gal in Georgia, two in Tennessee.
Got three in Alabama good enough for me.
Sweet mama, treetop tall, baby, turn your damper down.

4. Hey beauty, wake up honey, I know you heard the whistle blow.
You got a few more minutes to get your clothes on; then you have to go.
Your hands are already rough and your feet are long.
... can't see what 'n the world you're waitin' on.
Hey beauty, wake up honey, I know you heard the whistle blow.

5. Sweet mama, treetop tall, baby, turn your damper down.
I smell your bread cookin', honey. Done got good an' brown.
I'm standing on the corner with my hat in my han',
Gonna wait for the woman ain't got no man.
Sweet mama, treetop tall, baby, turn your damper down.

6. Sweet mama, treetop tall, baby, turn your damper down.
I smell your bread cookin', honey. Done got good an' brown.
If you don't like my peaches, don't you shake my tree.
... ought to let my peaches be.
Sweet mama, treetop tall, baby, turn your damper down.
(I said) Baby, turn your damper down.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet Mama Tree-Top Tall (Lasses White)
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Aug 12 - 11:37 AM

oh! oh! sweet mamma, tree-top tall, won't you kindly turn your damper down.
i can smell them hoe cakes a burin', they done turned plum brown....
since ham went up to a dollar a pound,
i've been eatin' so may rabbits, i'm just hoppin' around...
oh ho sweet mamma..........etc.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet Mama Tree-Top Tall (Lasses White)
From: GUEST,Arkansas Red-Ozark Troubadour
Date: 03 Jun 13 - 01:18 PM

I think the words Jim Dixon couldn't get from the Jubilee Singers version are:

I'm goin' away sweet mama just worry you off my mind,
'Cause you keep us both worried 'bout the baby all the time.

Check it out and see if you hear differently.

Thanks for the words.

Arkansas Red


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet Mama Tree-Top Tall (Lasses White)
From: GUEST,Arkansas Red-Ozark Troubadour
Date: 03 Jun 13 - 01:29 PM

From what I understand "turning a damper down" in cooking with a wood stove means to reduce the heat. So the double entendre in this song probably refers to "sweet mama" having "the hots" for other men, and spreading it around, so she is advised to keep her damper turned down and "make it hot" for her man only. This I was told by an black blues singer who probably knew more double entendres in songs than anybody. Blues are filled with double entendres. That's what makes the blues so great.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet Mama Tree-Top Tall (Lasses White)
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Aug 13 - 08:15 PM

Do you have the song on tape. It is an old one for sure.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet Mama Tree-Top Tall (Lasses White)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 03 Aug 13 - 01:40 AM

Another correction to the Birmingham Jubilee Singers version:
Verse 4, lines 1 and 5:
Hey beauty, wake up honey, I know you heard the whistle blow.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet Mama Tree-Top Tall (Lasses White)
From: GUEST,Dave Philips, Gallup, NM
Date: 06 Nov 13 - 11:49 PM

To the guest of August 9, '08

Here's the complete lyrics from the Lancers:

Oh, Sweet Mama, treetop tall, won't you kindly turn your damper down.
I can smell those hoe-cakes a-burnin', honey. They done burnt plumb brown.
Since ham went up to a dollar a pound,
I eat so many rabbits I just hop all around!
Oh, sweet mama, treetop tall, won't you kindly turn your damper down.

Oh, Sweet Mama treetop tall, won't you kindly turn your damper down?
I can smell those hoe-cakes burning, honey. They done burnt plumb brown.
There was a Dominic rooster and a Shanghai Hen,
They run around together but they ain't no kin
Oh, Sweet Mama treetop tall, won't you kindly turn your damper down?

Oh, sweet mama, treetop tall, won't you kindly turn your damper down.
I can smell those hoe-cakes a-burnin', honey. They done burnt plum brown.
You make the best hot biscuits with the honey, too,
But I tell you, baby, nothin's sweet as you.
Oh, sweet mama, treetop tall, won't you kindly turn your damper down.

Oh, Sweet Mama treetop tall, won't you kindly turn your damper down?
I can smell those hoe-cakes burning, honey. They done burnt plumb brown.
If you ever travel South, just drop around
To my one-room shanty on the edge of town
Oh, Sweet Mama treetop tall, won't you kindly turn your damper down?


The Lancers' recording is worth a listen. You can access it on Youtube at this link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rztJwBriY7o
I used to listen to this Lancers' recording on KMPC, Los Angeles.

Dave Philips, Gallup, NM


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Subject: Lyr Add: SWEET MAMA TREE TOP TALL (Maddox Bros...
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 07 Nov 13 - 02:06 PM

Spotify also has this early recording:

SWEET MAMA, TREE TOP TALL
As sung by The Maddox Brothers and Rose on "Live on the Radio" (1998)

The lyrics are nearly the same as those posted above for The Lancers, except the first verse is omitted and this verse is added:

4. Oh, sweet mama, treetop tall, won't you kindly turn your damper down.
I can smell them hoe-cakes a-burnin', honey. They done burnt plumb brown.
You take-a two steps forward and-a two steps back,
Do a little wiggle and you ball the jack.

Oh, sweet mama, treetop tall, won't you kindly turn your damper down.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweet Mama Tree-Top Tall (Lasses White)
From: GUEST,Sheet Music collectibles
Date: 15 Jul 15 - 09:06 AM

You can fi nd the music on Ebay now.


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