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Lyr Req: Who was Eloise in Leadbelly's Linin'

DigiTrad:
ALABAMA BOUND
BILL MARTIN AND ELLA SPEED
BRING ME LITTLE WATER, SYLVIE
COTTON FIELDS BACK HOME
DUNCAN AND BRADY
DUNCAN AND BRADY (2)
GOOD NIGHT IRENE
JUMPIN' JUDY
KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF HER
KISSES SWEETER THAN WINE
LININ' TRACK
MIDNIGHT SPECIAL
ROCK ME ON THE WATER
SKEWBALL
SO LONG IT'S BEEN GOOD TO KNOW YUH
SONG TO WOODY
TAKE THIS HAMMER
THE GRAY GOOSE
THE ROCK ISLAND LINE (is a mighty fine line)
WE SHALL WALK THROUGH THE VALLEY
WHOA BACK BUCK
YOU DON'T KNOW ME


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GUEST,Karl Dallas (karl@houstonmedia.net) 06 Dec 00 - 08:16 AM
Mrrzy 06 Dec 00 - 09:00 AM
Snuffy 06 Dec 00 - 09:05 AM
M. Ted (inactive) 06 Dec 00 - 09:50 AM
GUEST,Blind desert Pete. 06 Dec 00 - 12:41 PM
Rick Fielding 06 Dec 00 - 04:25 PM
Stewie 06 Dec 00 - 06:53 PM
Stewie 06 Dec 00 - 07:08 PM
Doctor John 06 Dec 00 - 08:03 PM
Stewie 06 Dec 00 - 08:56 PM
Rick Fielding 07 Dec 00 - 12:32 PM
GUEST,King Street Smith 07 Dec 00 - 01:31 PM
Snuffy 07 Dec 00 - 05:43 PM
Rick Fielding 07 Dec 00 - 09:58 PM
harpgirl 07 Dec 00 - 11:18 PM
GUEST,King Street Smith 08 Dec 00 - 07:51 AM
GUEST,King Street Smith 08 Dec 00 - 07:55 AM
Rick Fielding 08 Dec 00 - 10:48 AM
GUEST,Karl Dallas (karldallas@blueyonder.co.uk 28 Aug 01 - 10:01 AM
GUEST,iamjohnne 28 Aug 01 - 03:04 PM
CRANKY YANKEE 28 Aug 01 - 03:55 PM
GUEST,Karl Dallas 28 Feb 02 - 05:56 AM
greg stephens 28 Feb 02 - 06:28 AM
Stewie 08 Apr 03 - 03:05 AM
Barry Finn 09 Apr 03 - 09:22 PM
Stewie 09 Apr 03 - 09:33 PM
Barry Finn 09 Apr 03 - 10:26 PM
Stewie 09 Apr 03 - 11:13 PM
Barry Finn 13 Apr 03 - 03:01 PM
Roger in Baltimore 16 Jun 05 - 01:06 PM
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Subject: Who was Eloise in Leadbelly's Linin' Tra
From: GUEST,Karl Dallas (karl@houstonmedia.net)
Date: 06 Dec 00 - 08:16 AM

I am puzzled by a line in the transcribed lyrics to Leadbelly's Linin' Track on his Leadbelly Sings Folk Songs LP, which goes: See Eloise go the linin' track. I suspect (like the notorious "Borrow Love and Go" for "Bottle up an' go") that this is a mistake, for something like "See how the ??? ??? the linin' track." either that, or the whole song is nothing to do with laying rialroad lines, and is an elaborate sexual metaphor, making Eloise (perhaps) a whore and linin' track being the way into some female orifice (sounds far-fetched to me, but you never know with folk songs). Can anybody help? This came to my attention because a singer in Bradford sang the song the other day, saying Eloise was the person who guided the men so they got the track lined up. I doubt that a woman would have this sort of supervisory role in an all-male gang.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Who was Eloise in Leadbelly's Linin'
From: Mrrzy
Date: 06 Dec 00 - 09:00 AM

No idea; the only Eloise I can think of Lived In The Plaza...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Who was Eloise in Leadbelly's Linin'
From: Snuffy
Date: 06 Dec 00 - 09:05 AM

I can't make out many words on Linin' Track, but my theory was that the name of the railroad was the C.L.O.E.

But you can get more info on these threads
Lyr Add: Linin' track
Eloise?

Wassail! V


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Who was Eloise in Leadbelly's Linin'
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 06 Dec 00 - 09:50 AM

Eloise, most likely, was the nickname for the flat car that carried the rails--The track caller, who led the work chants, would give everyone and everything a nickname, to make the job more fun--the names of women were used to keep things interesting, and the work chants were peppered with sexual references,particularly double-entendres- "rock and roll" was an instruction to the work crew, who used the rhythm of the work chant to pull and lift together, but the sexual metaphor was obvious enough, and it was a good way to get a smile and to keep the crew focussed--

Alan Lomax's "The Land Where the Blues Began" has a chapter describing this work, with examples of the chants, and conversation about how they were used. It's a really great book for anyone who is involved in folk music and blues--


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Who was Eloise in Leadbelly's Linin'
From: GUEST,Blind desert Pete.
Date: 06 Dec 00 - 12:41 PM

Try Seee how a we's go lining track


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Who was Eloise in Leadbelly's Linin'
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 06 Dec 00 - 04:25 PM

Dear Karl

If you're the Karl (Fred) Dallas who wrote "Family of Man", thanks for a wonderful song that I've been singing for over thirty years now. Used to close every concert with it.

The reference to "Eloise" is actually "Ella-Louise", whom Huddie describes as "The most track-linin' woman I ever known". He recorded the song several times and the spoken introduction is on one of them, although I can't recall which one.

Hope that's a bit of help.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Who was Eloise in Leadbelly's Linin'
From: Stewie
Date: 06 Dec 00 - 06:53 PM

Rick, 'Eloise' appears in the chorus of 'Tie-Shuffling Chant' that Lomax recorded from John 'Black Sampson' Gibson in 1933. Lomax noted that Black Sampson 'furnished the air and, along with other Negro convicts in Texas, Lousiana, Mississippi and Tennessee, the verses'. In his 'Appendix 1' to 'Long Steel Rail', Norm Cohen lists all railroad worksong field recordings for the L of C, including Black Sampson's. There are several 'Can't you line 'em's and 'Tie-shuffling chant's, but none by Leadbelly. Godrich & Dixon give only one Leadbelly recording of 'Can't You Line 'Em' - an unissued 1940 Victor recording with the Golden Gate Quartet. Other recordings by Leadbelly would have been post-1943 - G&D's cut-off date. This suggests - to me at least - that Leadbelly may have been indulging in embellishment with his 'Ella Louise' story, but I could be totally off track so to speak.

Cheers, Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Who was Eloise in Leadbelly's Linin'
From: Stewie
Date: 06 Dec 00 - 07:08 PM

Karl, I meant to say - if you are the Karl Dallas to whom Rick refers - how much I learned from and enjoyed 'Folk News: All the folk that's fit' back in the 70s - it was only 20p, but I can't remember what I paid for it here in Oz. I still have a couple of very yellowed copies.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Who was Eloise in Leadbelly's Linin'
From: Doctor John
Date: 06 Dec 00 - 08:03 PM

Stewie, As far as I can tell there is, as you say, only one recording by Lead Belly of "Line 'Em"; this was with the Golden Gate Quartet in 1940 but has been issued by RCA and by Document. There were no Library of Congress recordings. So your idea may well be correct; did he learn it from the Lomaxes rather than the other way round. Later recordings of this were post 1940 for Asch. Dr John


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Who was Eloise in Leadbelly's Linin'
From: Stewie
Date: 06 Dec 00 - 08:56 PM

Dr John, thanks. When I said 'unissued', I meant unissued at the time according to G&D. G&D usually indicate subsequent issues of unissued sides, but in this case made no mention of the RCA issue you mention. They do refer to an RCA (England) issue of an unissued recording of 'Take This Hammer' from the same 1940 session with the GGQ. Johnny Parth, of course, later issued on Document every pre-war 'race' record he could access.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Who was Eloise in Leadbelly's Linin'
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 07 Dec 00 - 12:32 PM

You got me thinkin' overtime now. Does anyone know the exact recording where Huddie talked about "The most track linin' woman ("I ever heard of"...think THAT's the way he said it)

I think it may have been from the Ramsey recording of "Last Sessons" or possibly the Concert recording from Texas, shortly before he died. My record player is on the fritz at the moment so i can't check. (and none of my friends even know what a record player IS, let alone have them!) I believe the cut is simply listed as "Linin' Track".

Rick


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Who was Eloise in Leadbelly's Linin'
From: GUEST,King Street Smith
Date: 07 Dec 00 - 01:31 PM

I think Eloise is going to turn out to be like Rosebud in "Citizen Kane" - we're never going to know. However Leadbelly did record a version of Linin'Track in NYC circa May 1944 titled Line 'Em (see discography in back of "The Life & Legend of Leadbelly" by Charles Wolfe and Kip Lornell) and was issued in the UK on vynyl on Folkways and then again on a cheapo label, XTRA. This was in the '60s. It is Lead, solo, and he does sing Eloise.As to Karl Dallas he was an important member of the Folk scene in England and Scotland, he was a journalist proselytizer and performer, amongst other things, he published two collections of traditional songs under the titles of "The Cruel Wars" and "Songs of Toil" Sadly however I believe he has been dead for many years now.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Who was Eloise in Leadbelly's Linin'
From: Snuffy
Date: 07 Dec 00 - 05:43 PM

I thought Karl Dallas was posting on Mudcat earlier this week - can't remember what thread, though.

Wassail! V


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Who was Eloise in Leadbelly's Linin'
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 07 Dec 00 - 09:58 PM

Holy cow! occasionally Mudcat has given me a headache...but I hope this thread hasn't KILLED Karl!

Snuffy and King Street, you ARE joking aren't you? This thread ain't THAT long....are you saying that the Karl dallas who posted this is an imposter?

Karl, please come back (hopefully not from the dead) and reassure us!

Rick


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Who was Eloise in Leadbelly's Linin'
From: harpgirl
Date: 07 Dec 00 - 11:18 PM

...The May 1944 recordings , whose original masters are in the Folkways Archive at the Smithsonian Institution, have a version of "Linin' Track" which doesn't seem to have the remarks about the "most linin track woman..."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Who was Eloise in Leadbelly's Linin'
From: GUEST,King Street Smith
Date: 08 Dec 00 - 07:51 AM

As far as I know, and in good faith, I understand that


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Who was Eloise in Leadbelly's Linin'
From: GUEST,King Street Smith
Date: 08 Dec 00 - 07:55 AM

As far as I know, and in good faith, I understand that the Karl Dallas referred to in my note is deceased. But there may be more than one Karl Dallas - the world is a big place. Can the KD that started this thread resolve this?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Who was Eloise in Leadbelly's Linin'
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 08 Dec 00 - 10:48 AM

Thanks Harp, I guess I'm gonna have to get my turntable fixed and go on a field trip through those thousands of damn records.

Did I perhaps put Karl off by remembering him from when he was "Fred"? Damn! Happens when you're 54!

Rick


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Who was Eloise in Leadbelly's Linin'
From: GUEST,Karl Dallas (karldallas@blueyonder.co.uk
Date: 28 Aug 01 - 10:01 AM

PS: Sorry to have waited nearly a year before responding to all you wonderful people who tried to help (plus those who said such nice things about me and my work). It was mucho appreciated!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Who was Eloise in Leadbelly's Linin'
From: GUEST,iamjohnne
Date: 28 Aug 01 - 03:04 PM

Fred Neil covered Linin' Track on his "Tear Down the Walls" recording back in about 1966. Freddie's lyric is

"Evelinna and her daughter run a sportin house down by the water (repeat)

Gonna line track today

And tomorrow we gonna play

tomorrow

tomorrow we gonna play"

I think that Evelinna and Eloise were one and the same and she seems to be a madam.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Who was Eloise in Leadbelly's Linin'
From: CRANKY YANKEE
Date: 28 Aug 01 - 03:55 PM

For Goodness sake, the guy just wants to know who "Eloise" was, and you go on and on about irrelevant crap.

The crank, himself
Jody Gibson

I remember asking Leadbelly who Eloise was when I was a kid in N,Y,C. He said, "Just some woman I knowed"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Who was Eloise in Leadbelly's Linin'
From: GUEST,Karl Dallas
Date: 28 Feb 02 - 05:56 AM

A long time since I started this thread (and I'm startled not to find my contribution about indeed being "the" Karl Dallas and decidedly not dead) but I was talking to a friend about this the other day and he said that it was a tradition for all the locomotives to have female names, and Eloise was probably the name of the first loco to proceed down the track after it had been laid.

BTW, I'm not 54, but actually 71, and still singing and gigging, and currently working on two CDs at Alistair Russell's brilliant Glade Studio in Leeds. I can be reached at karldallas@blueyonder.co.uk, tel: +44(0)771 980 5907.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Who was Eloise in Leadbelly's Linin'
From: greg stephens
Date: 28 Feb 02 - 06:28 AM

The line should be transcribed "Siello Huisco linin'track". Huisco was a Mexican prison-reformer who worked in the USA c1900. He was actually responsible for many of the design features of the prison where Leadbelly spent some time before Governor Pat Neff pardoned him at the request of the Lomaxes. Huisco's liberal reforms were much appreciated by Leadbelly and his colleagues, and lead to some good-natured references in song, as noted in "Linin' Track". Huisco's name has obviously been proposed as the source of the word "hoosegow" for prison: opinions are divided on this, as the earliest recorded use of "hoosegow" would appear to predate Huisco's rise to fame by four years. The song (as "Can't you line'em"), without the Golden Gate Quartet), was available in England in the late 50's on one of the Melodisc Leadbelly EP's which much influenced the skifflers of that era, including myself.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Who was Eloise in Leadbelly's Linin'
From: Stewie
Date: 08 Apr 03 - 03:05 AM

This thread seems to be resurrected every year or so. I was searching the Net for definitions of 'gandy dancer' and came upon this simple explanation that seems pretty persuasive:


There's a bit of lyric garbling from the song "Linin' Track": singers who do this song often repeat the line that's been recorded many times: "See Eloise go line that track!" An interesting image, but an incorrect one; the actual line, in the dialect of the US south, is "See how we'se gonna line that track."



I found the above HERE in the entry for 'lining track'.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Who was Eloise in Leadbelly's Linin'
From: Barry Finn
Date: 09 Apr 03 - 09:22 PM

I would put alot of stock in what it says about Linin Track. In that it says that "Buddy Russel ( of all the print I've seen on Bud Russel this is the 1st time I've heard of him being called Buddy) drove the women like he drove the men" The only driving Bud Russel did was as transfere agent for the Texas Prison system. The meaning of driving here is the pushing of the prisoners to work hard. I still say the name is Eloise & in song she no difference than Rosie or Alberta or any other women that a singer may be thinking about. Barry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Who was Eloise in Leadbelly's Linin'
From: Stewie
Date: 09 Apr 03 - 09:33 PM

Barry, fair enough, but I find it difficult to dismiss entirely the suggestion that the initial 'Eloise' may have been the result of a mishearing.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Who was Eloise in Leadbelly's Linin'
From: Barry Finn
Date: 09 Apr 03 - 10:26 PM

Hi Stewie, here's another thread on the same subject ( http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=6591 ). May be someone can do that blue clicky thing? Thanks. In one of the versions there's a line that goes


"See Eloise talking in the shade

Talking bout the money that I ain't made."

Barry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Who was Eloise in Leadbelly's Linin'
From: Stewie
Date: 09 Apr 03 - 11:13 PM

Barry, I read that thread, but am still not convinced that the 'mishearing' theory should necessarily be rejected. Is Black Samson's 'Tie-Shuffling Chant' given in 'AB&FS' the earliest appearance of 'Eloise' in print?

Bud Russell seems to have been the Texas equivalent of Tennessee's long-chain man, Joe Turner (Turney). I recall Alan Lomax commenting somewhere that he was referred to as 'Uncle Bud'. Is there any connection with the Uncle Bud who was the subject of ribald songs?

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Who was Eloise in Leadbelly's Linin'
From: Barry Finn
Date: 13 Apr 03 - 03:01 PM

Hi Stewie, No connection that I know of. Here's a verse & chorus found in 'Railroad Songs & Ballads' collected by J & A Lomax from Allen Prothero (a railroad man) State Penn. Nashville. Tenn 1933. Same yr as collected , I believe from Black Sampson.


Hey, boys joint ahead

I'm gonna tell something now

Oh, all I want, my navy beans

A big fat woman & a wheeler team


Hi,hi.won't you line em

Hi, hi won't you line em

Ho, ho won't you line em

See Eloise go lining track


Barry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Who was Eloise in Leadbelly's Linin'
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 16 Jun 05 - 01:06 PM

Document released a CD in September of 2004 called Leadbelly Live: New York 1947 and Austin, Texas 1949. On it, he does a spoken introduction of Linin' Track that talks about Ella Louise as a woman who is calling out the lead, directing the other workers how to line the track. This is the recording Rick Fielding was referring to (may he rest in peace). I, too, suspect that Lead Belly's story may be apocryphal. However, it does help rule out that Eloise was not just misheard. I'm pretty sure Lead Belly was very accustomed to the vernacular on the prison farms. I suspect Eloise is just a symbol for many other women, just like Alberta. I think that puts me in agreement with Barry Finn.

Roger in Baltimore


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