Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Lyr Req: If it Wasn't for Dicky (Lead Belly)

DigiTrad:
KISSES SWEETER THAN WINE


Related threads:
(origins) Derivation of 'Kisses Sweeter than Wine' (60)
Lyr Req: Evening Shades & Northfield (Weavers) (2)


GUEST,murray@mpce.mq.edu.au 17 Aug 00 - 06:01 AM
GUEST,Bruce O. 17 Aug 00 - 07:07 PM
GUEST,Bruce O. 17 Aug 00 - 08:01 PM
GUEST,Bruce O. 17 Aug 00 - 08:46 PM
GUEST,murray@mpce.mq.edu.au 17 Aug 00 - 09:33 PM
GUEST,Bruce O. 17 Aug 00 - 11:23 PM
GUEST,murray@mpce.mq.edu.au 18 Aug 00 - 02:57 AM
GUEST,Bruce O. 18 Aug 00 - 10:06 PM
Joe Offer 29 Jul 17 - 04:20 AM
Joe Offer 29 Jul 17 - 10:44 PM
Joe Offer 29 Jul 17 - 10:53 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:





Subject: If it weren't for Dickey
From: GUEST,murray@mpce.mq.edu.au
Date: 17 Aug 00 - 06:01 AM

The forum has the song "Kisses Sweeter than Wine" and a reference to the tune being an Irish Lament for a dead cow sung by Leadbelly. But the lament is not on the Trad--just the usual song "Kisses Seeeter than Wine"! Does anyone know the lyrics for the Leadbelly version. He sings it on a Library of Congress CD put out by Rounder.

The album also includes "Governor Neff" and a slide guitar version of "C.C. Rider". When Leadbelly does anything on the guitar he does it well and his slide playing is no exception. It is clean and accurate!

Murray


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: If it weren't for Dickey
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 17 Aug 00 - 07:07 PM

I don't have Leadbelly's version. There are two 19th century versions in the Scarce Songs 1 file on my website, along with notes on the history of the song. Look for 'Drumion Dubh' in the table of contents, and click on it. It's a big file but that one is near the beginning so you won't have to wait for the whole file to load. www.erols.com/olsonw


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: If it weren't for Dickey
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 17 Aug 00 - 08:01 PM

The earliest known version of the song was given by Sidney Owenson in Twelve Original Hibernian Melodies, 1805 (along with her song "Oh! Farewell Dear Erin" to the same tune). This I haven't seen. A sheet music copy is on the Levy sheet music website (Mudcat's Links). Search for 'Drimendoo'. It's not clear that the song given there is complete, and her tune has been altered somewhat. Note that Leadbelly's tune and other traditional ones are all different from the original tune.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: If it weren't for Dickey
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 17 Aug 00 - 08:46 PM

I may have remembered incorrectly. I can't find evidence the Sidney Owenson gave a version of the song "Drumion Dubh" in her book of 1805. It may have been added only on the Levy sheet music copy of her song to the old tune.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: If it weren't for Dickey
From: GUEST,murray@mpce.mq.edu.au
Date: 17 Aug 00 - 09:33 PM

Thanks for the info Bruce. I bookmarked your web page.

I couldn't find an ABC file for "Drumion Dubh", so I was unable to see what the tune was. It would be an interesting exercise to trace how this song became "Kisses Sweeter than Wine". I think I might start a separate thread for that.

Murray


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: If it weren't for Dickey
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 17 Aug 00 - 11:23 PM

I pointed out in my 2nd post above that Leadbelly's tune is NOT the original tune for "Drumion Dubh".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: If it weren't for Dickey
From: GUEST,murray@mpce.mq.edu.au
Date: 18 Aug 00 - 02:57 AM

Yes. That is why I wondered what it WAS.

Murray


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: If it weren't for Dickey
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 18 Aug 00 - 10:06 PM

Sorry, there are typos in my Scarce Songs 1 file telling where the tunes are. The ABCs of the tunes are in Tunes for Scare Songs 1, file S1.HTM, tunes DRUMDB1 & 2.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: If it weren't for Dickey
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Jul 17 - 04:20 AM

It's clear that the Weavers must have gotten their tune for "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine" from Lead Belly's "If It Wasn't For Dicky." I found the Lead Belly recording og "Dicky" Here:...but I can't make out the lyrics. Anybody good at transcribing Lead Belly songs?

-Joe-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: If it Wasn't for Dicky (Lead Belly)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Jul 17 - 10:44 PM

Here are notes from somebody named Luke Sinden:
    Published on Jun 20, 2015
    Chords to Leadbelly's "If It Wasn't For Dicky".

    If you tune a guitar down two and a half steps so the low E string is a C, this rendition of the chords will go along with the recordings of Leadbelly.

    There are a few sites that provide some guidance on the lyrics, but I've come up with my own rendition that tries to find a balance between acknowledging the original song "Drimmin Down", and to faithfully reflect the words Leadbelly sang. Any errors are my own.

    Oh, oh, musha sweeter than dow

    And that if it weren’t for Dicky
    I will tell you right now
    But his old man
    He had but one cow

    He would send her to the fields
    To be fed
    And the way they beat ole Drimmer drop dead

    Oh, oh, musha sweeter than dow

    When the old man heard that his cow she was dead
    Over hedges and ditches and field he had fled
    Over hedges and ditches and field that was plowed
    Never privy to his wife till he came to his cow

    Oh, oh, musha sweeter than dow

    When he first saw Drimmer she was in the green grass
    No carter man past that Drimmer so fast
    She gave her milk freely without any bale
    But the blood of her life spilled out of a pail

    Oh, Oh, musha sweeter than dow

    So now I sit down and eat my dry meal
    But I have no butter to put in my tea
    I have no milk to sop up my bread
    But the way they beat old Drimmer drop dead


    NOTES:

    Leadbelly apparently heard the Irish tune “Drimmin Down”, and redrafted the song as “If It Wasn’t For Dicky”. Later, Pete Seeger heard Leadbelly sing it, and redrafted it again as “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine.”

    “dow” comes from Old Irish “dam” (“ox, stag”)
    “musha” comes from Irish also, an expression of surprise

    My interpretation of the chorus, “oh, musha sweeter than dow,” is that he’d rather have milk and butter and work hard, than to have an ox to plow his fields.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2UHhG_lb4g


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: If it Wasn't for Dicky (Lead Belly)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Jul 17 - 10:53 PM

Offline Rivers
Tech Support
Member

Posts: 6468
Hmmm...

Re: Leadbelly- If It Wasn't For Dicky
« Reply #126 on: July 21, 2012, 05:23:26 PM »
I think I must have a different version, the one I have is from The Essential Leadbelly on Classic Blues. Beautiful song, very unusual.

The lines of dashes I haven't gotten yet. Wish I knew what the tagline, at the end of each verse, starting 'Oh, -----', was.


Oh, -------------

And that everyone but Dicky I would change you right now
But this old man he had but one cow
He would send her to the field to be fed
And the way they beat old Jemma dropped dead
Oh, -------------

When the old man heard that his cow she was dead
Over hedges and ditches and fields he had fled
Over hedges and ditches and fields that were ploughed
----- visit to the wife til they came to his cow
Oh, -----------------------

When he first saw Jemma she was in the green grass
No --------------------- Jemma so fast
She gave her milk freely without any bill
But the blood of her life spilled out of her pail
Oh, -----------------------

So now I sit down and eat my dry meal
But I have no butter to put in my tea
I have no milk to sup with my bread
--------------------------
Oh, ----------------------

If it wasn't for Dicky I would change you right now
But this old man he had but one cow
He would send her to the field to be fed
And the way they beat old Jemma dropped dead
Oh, ----------------------




Re: Leadbelly- If It Wasn't For Dicky
« Reply #129 on: July 22, 2012, 02:51:32 AM »
This is Leadbelly's version of an old Irish song known as Drimmin down, so the cow's name is meant to be Drimmer, not Gemma. As to the rest, I'm sure I've seen a transcription somewhere, maybe in the Leadbelly Songbook.

Here's a more Irish version of the song, for the curious :-

Drimindown / Drimmin Down ( Traditional Irish Ballad )





Re: Leadbelly lyrics
« Reply #130 on: March 21, 2013, 09:17:09 PM »
The refrain goes like this: "Ooohhhh, oohhhh, switches beated him down".
It may make no sense for a cow to be beaten with its own tail, but this was a song that was originally something of an Irish blazon, meaning it was all a national metaphor. Leadbelly didn't like the Sam Kennedy version, it didn't have enough rhythm. The switches weren't beating hard enough, I guess. :P

Second verse:
Had a visit to his wife til he came to his cow

Third verse:
The ol' carter-man passed that Jemma so fast
(meaning he passed right by her, didn't notice her)

4th verse:
But the way they beat ol' Jemma dropped dead

Source: http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=4318.120


Another Web page worth exploring: https://secondhandsongs.com/work/76034/all. How is Ses baisers me grisaient related to which song in the ancestry of "Kisses Sweeter than Wine"?

-Joe-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 16 December 7:42 AM EST

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.