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Lyr/Origins: Maybellene (Chuck Berry)

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Peter T. 25 Aug 01 - 04:40 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 26 Aug 01 - 01:42 PM
GUEST,john h 26 Aug 01 - 01:59 PM
GUEST 26 Aug 01 - 02:15 PM
Amos 26 Aug 01 - 02:27 PM
Peter T. 26 Aug 01 - 02:44 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 26 Aug 01 - 05:53 PM
GUEST 26 Aug 01 - 06:00 PM
GUEST, NOMADman 26 Aug 01 - 09:33 PM
RWilhelm 26 Aug 01 - 10:44 PM
Gary T 27 Aug 01 - 09:44 AM
Armen Tanzerian 27 Aug 01 - 09:56 AM
GUEST 27 Aug 01 - 10:05 AM
Peter T. 27 Aug 01 - 10:16 AM
Amos 27 Aug 01 - 11:51 AM
RWilhelm 28 Aug 01 - 01:17 AM
Rick Fielding 28 Aug 01 - 01:50 AM
GUEST 28 Aug 01 - 12:54 PM
GUEST,David Bowman, Manhattan 19 Jun 10 - 04:31 PM
Joe Offer 19 Jun 10 - 04:46 PM
GUEST,maddudus 20 Jun 10 - 03:29 PM
pavane 21 Jun 10 - 08:49 AM
GUEST 12 Dec 10 - 12:23 PM
GUEST 10 Feb 11 - 04:14 PM
Jim Dixon 15 Feb 11 - 08:47 PM
GUEST,Matt 18 Mar 17 - 07:05 PM
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Subject: Maybelline:What Are The Original Lyrics?
From: Peter T.
Date: 25 Aug 01 - 04:40 PM

O.K., Folk impurists. Can someone tell me what the original lyrics of Maybelline are, and which are the subsequent additions added by Chuck Berry and when? Having checked 25 or so sites, it is a total mess. I don't want links to sites, I have done that. I want the real goods. Experts please!!!!

yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Maybelline:What Are The Original Lyrics?
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 26 Aug 01 - 01:42 PM

I have posted just to keep this thread alive for another day. There is a version by the Heart of Gold Band, Keith Godchaux vocal, dated 1979, but that seems late and probably is not what you are looking for.


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Subject: RE: Maybelline:What Are The Original Lyrics?
From: GUEST,john h
Date: 26 Aug 01 - 01:59 PM

I would have tried my best to answer, but Peter T's assertion of:

"I don't want links to sites"

makes posting a comprehensive answer a little difficult...

john h


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Subject: RE: Maybelline:What Are The Original Lyrics?
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Aug 01 - 02:15 PM

It's a bit like asking a librarian a question, and then qualifying it:

"but don't point me towards any books - I looked in a couple, and I couldn't find the answer, therefore I know that the answer isn't in any book - I want you to answer my query, off the top of your head"


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Subject: Lyr Add: IDA RED
From: Amos
Date: 26 Aug 01 - 02:27 PM

Peter:

The accepted wisdom seems to be that Maybelline was a rework of a standard named "Ida Red.” I am little puzzled by this, because the scansion is so different.

IDA RED (one version, anyway) goes:

Ida Red, Ida Green
Prettiest gal I ever seen.
Ida Red lives in town
Weighs three hundred and forty pounds.
Ida red, Ida Red
I'm plumb crazy about Ida Red.

Ida Red, Ida Blue
Ida bit a hoecake half in two.
Ida Red, Ida Red
Everybody's crazy 'bout Ida Red.

If I'd 'a listened to what Ida said
I'd 'a been sleepin' in Ida's bed.

If Ida said that she'd be mine
I'd be Ida's all the time.

If Ida said she'd be my wife
I'd be happy all my life.

Woody Guthrie is among those who have recorded it although I do not believe he wrote it. According to one interview, I forget with whom, the name for Maybelline was randomly taken from a mascara case that was on the table while they were working up the song.

A

HTML line breaks added. --JoeClone, 21-Feb-02. Thread #23672   Message #276341
Posted By: Sorcha
12-Aug-00 - 01:52 PM
Thread Name: Tune Add: Please Post Tunes Here I
Subject: RE: Tune Add: Please Post Tunes Here I

file name [ IDARED
X: 1
T:IDA RED
M:2/4
L:1/16
Q:120
K:C
B2B2 A3A | G2G2 E4| G2G2 AGE2 | [1D2G2 G3A :|[2 D2G2 G4 [|:B4 d4 | B4 G4 | A2A2 BAG2 |[1 D2G2 G3 A :|[2 D2 G2 G4 |]


click for related thread (Ida Red)


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Subject: RE: Maybelline:What Are The Original Lyrics?
From: Peter T.
Date: 26 Aug 01 - 02:44 PM

If someone can give me the definitive first Chuck Berry version, and some sequence of additions, by directing me to the appropriate site, then I naturally will be happy. There are at least 25 sites that give versions of Maybelline, with variants. I am trying to cut through this confusion. I was trying to point out that I have already searched through a number of sites, so as to save people wasting their time.

yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Maybelline:What Are The Original Lyrics?
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 26 Aug 01 - 05:53 PM

The only way to answer this is to go to the different Chuck Berry recordings and hope that they are dated.


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Subject: RE: Maybelline:What Are The Original Lyrics?
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Aug 01 - 06:00 PM

Dicho,

Careful with your language

There are several ways in which such information might be gleaned.

Saying that the only way is to get the Chuck Berry recordings (duur, never thought of that!) merely makes you look like a total dimwit


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Subject: Lyr Add: MAYBELLENE (Chuck Berry)
From: GUEST, NOMADman
Date: 26 Aug 01 - 09:33 PM

I can't help with any subsequent version, but here are the original lyrics, transcribed from what I believe was Chuck Berry's very first recording of the song - one of those 7-inch 45-rpm donuts, issued on th Chess label (Cat. no. 1604) in 1955, I think

MAYBELLENE
(Chuck Berry)

Maybellene, why can't you be true
Oh Maybellene, why can't you be true
You done started back doin' the things you used to do

As I was motivatin' over the hill
I saw Maybellene in a Coupe de Ville
Cadillac rollin' on the open road
Nothin' outrun my V-8 Ford
Cadillac doin' about ninety-five
Bumper-to-bumper, rollin' side-by-side

Maybellene...

Cadillac pulled up to a hundred and four
My Ford got hot and wouldn't do no more
Begun to get cloudy and started to rain
I tooted my horn for the passin' lane
The rain water blowin' all under my hood
I knewed I was doin' my motor good

Maybellene...

(Instrumental break)

Maybellene...

Motor cooled down, the heat went down
And that's when I heard that highway sound
Cadillac settin' like a ton of lead
A hundred and ten, a half a mile ahead
Cadillac lookin' like it's settin' still
And I caught Maybellene at the top of the hill

Maybellene


There were a lot of slurred words and dropped articles in this rendition, but that's what it sounds like. Note that the first time he sings the chorus, he sings "you done started doin the things..." All subsequent times he sings "you done started back doin the things..."


Interestingly, on the record label the title is spelled Maybellene.

Regards,
John


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Subject: RE: Maybelline:What Are The Original Lyrics?
From: RWilhelm
Date: 26 Aug 01 - 10:44 PM

One small thing. It sounds like he was motivatin', I think Berry says he was motorvatin'.


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Subject: RE: Maybelline:What Are The Original Lyrics?
From: Gary T
Date: 27 Aug 01 - 09:44 AM

Yes, it was "motor-vatin'."

Until I saw this thread, I had no inkling that there ever were "original" lyrics to Maybellene before Chuck Berry. I accepted it as a song he wrote. I could see that it might have been inspired by Ida Red, though "reworking" strikes me as a reach.

If you will indulge me, what is the basis for believing that there was some form of Maybellene prior to Chuck Berry's release of the song?


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Subject: RE: Maybelline:What Are The Original Lyrics?
From: Armen Tanzerian
Date: 27 Aug 01 - 09:56 AM

Gee, having heard thousands of country blues, jug band, R 'n B, jazz, old-time, and country tunes, I have to say that I've never heard anything close enough to Maybellene to be called a source. Could it be that it essentially sprang from the fertile mind of Chuck Berry? After he hit the big time with Maybellene, he practiced the time-honored art of self-plagiarism with Nadine, which, this being Chuck Berry, is just as good.


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Subject: RE: Maybelline:What Are The Original Lyrics?
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Aug 01 - 10:05 AM

I thought the original words were

Maybe she's born with it
Maybe it's Maybelline


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Subject: RE: Maybelline:What Are The Original Lyrics?
From: Peter T.
Date: 27 Aug 01 - 10:16 AM

Thank you John (Nomadman) for the work. Variations seem to include "on the olde Glen Road"(?)"pink in the rearview mirror" and others from later. yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Maybelline:What Are The Original Lyrics?
From: Amos
Date: 27 Aug 01 - 11:51 AM

Wal, I am not an authority on who wrote what when -- but if you stick "Maybelline" into Google you'll find at least six citations describing the derivation from Ida Red, some mistakenly referring to Ida Red as Berry's (which it were not no how.) The recasting of it was done, apparently, at the request of Chess record execs.


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Subject: RE: Maybelline:What Are The Original Lyrics?
From: RWilhelm
Date: 28 Aug 01 - 01:17 AM

In his autobiography CB says it was inspired by "Ida Red" which his band used to play in St. Louis. "Maybelline" was orignally titled "Ida May" and, as Amos says, retitled by Chess Records.

I have always felt that Chuck Berry's first single, "Maybelline"/"Wee Wee Hours" was the mirror image of Elvis' first single "That's Alright Mama"/"Blue Moon of Kentucky". In one case you have a white boy singing the blues country style and in the other you have a black boy singing white country, blues style. In each case, the B side is somehow the opposite. Neither can claim to be the first rock'n'roll record but with these two records it was clearly here to stay.


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Subject: RE: Maybelline:What Are The Original Lyrics?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 28 Aug 01 - 01:50 AM

I think the "Ida Red" may have been a jump blues performed by Louis Jordan.

I've heard a few versions of "Ida" that could be close. Bob Wills' version is quite different than the earlier one quoted. Sort of like "Cotton Eyed Joe". Wills' version and Burl Ives' one have almost nothing in common.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Maybelline:What Are The Original Lyrics?
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Aug 01 - 12:54 PM

And if an aside can be indulged in the midst of this thread: what a great instrumental break CB provides in the middle of the song. The distortion he pulls out of the amp predates the psychedelic '60s by a few years.


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Subject: Chuck Berry 'motorvating'
From: GUEST,David Bowman, Manhattan
Date: 19 Jun 10 - 04:31 PM

Chuck Berry singing MAYBELLINE

Most online lyric databases have Chuck Berry

'motivating' over the hill...

from, motivate
1885, "to stimulate toward action," from motive (q.v.), perhaps modeled on Fr. motiver or Ger. motivieren . Related: Motivated ; motivating .

Yet, I have always heard Berry 'motorvating' on the hill---

the man just turning the noun MOTOR into an adjective.

How deluded am I?


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Subject: RE: ADD: Maybellene (Chuck Berry)-'motorvating'?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Jun 10 - 04:46 PM

Hi, David -
I moved you over here to add to the existing discussion. There's a YouTube Video of Chuck Berry singing the song, and I can't tell. Sometimes I hear "motorvating" and sometimes "motovating/motivating"? I think it's one of those eternal unanswered questions....
You'll see above that others have had the same question.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: ADD: Maybellene (Chuck Berry)-'motorvating'?
From: GUEST,maddudus
Date: 20 Jun 10 - 03:29 PM

What's in a Name?
IDA RED's story begins in the civil war era as a traditional free form folk song of unknown origins. The first recording of Ida Red dates back to 1924 when Fiddlin' Powers and Family recorded the tune for Victor Records. The first instrumental recording was done in 1927 by the Dyke's Magic City Trio for the Brunswick Label. American folklorist Alan Lomax, founder of Folkways Records, documents another version in the Negro Bad Men chapter of his book American Folksongs. This version tells the story of Ida Red as an androgynous criminal type immersed in self-pity.

Bob Wills took Ida Red in the early 30's and set it to a 2/4 beat, making it a faster fiddle based square dance number, with drums, which he added to the band in 1935.*
Using the folk process, Bob lifted lyrics from an 1878 F. W. Root parlor song called "Sunday Night". Bob and the Playboys recorded Ida Red in 1938 for the Vocalion label. During Bob's short lived Hollywood career, he and the Playboys performed this version in two of his films, Go West, Young Lady and Blazing the Western Trail.
14 years later Bob would record a second version called "Ida Red likes the Boogie". This song stayed on the charts for 22 weeks peaking at number 10.

19 years later, a die hard Bob Wills fan and musician quickened the beat and rewrote the lyrics (at the behest of Leonard Chess)of Ida Red to tell the story of a car race. He recorded the song on May 21, 1955 for Leonard Chess of the Chess Record label. The song went to number 1 on the R&B charts and number 5 on the Billboard charts. His name – Chuck Berry. The song is Maybellene. With this reworked version of Ida Red, Chuck Berry became the first African American to integrate the Billboard chart. Rolling Stone listed Maybellene as number 18 out of the 500 most important songs in Rock n Roll history.

*Bob's use of drums in a "country", "western" or "cowboy" song was not the first. Drums had not been integrated into this genre and had been restricted to jazz, ragtime and what was called at the time "Race" music. This intergration came natural to Bob. He claimed his unique sway of the fiddle bow came straight from the Negro Field Spirituals his co-workers (who were freed slaves and their descendant) sang as they picked the cotton fields of West Texas. Thus began poor white country jazz (overalls and a gimme cap) or a more marketable term, Western Swing (pimpin' suit and cowboy hat). This marked the beginings of a uniquely Texas/Oklahoma musical art form that Alan Freed, the payola deejay, called "Rock n Roll"

the following is from thanksforthemusic.com
"For decades, drums were considered too uptown by many in country music. Ironically, many of those who held the line admired the late Jimmie Rodgers, who'd used a drummer on his 1929 recordings of "Desert Blues" and "Any Old Time." In Texas, Milton Brown and His Musical Brownies used a drummer on specific dance jobs, and in 1935, Bob Wills hired Smokey Dacus as drummer for his Texas Playboys. Wills played to vast dance crowds, and needed Dacus, who occasionally used a brush on one of his drum cases to push the beat. In later years, Wills used other drummers with strong Dixieland roots, including Gene Tomlons and Monte Mountjoy, who worked with him in the 1940's; talents in later editions of Playboys including Johnny Cuvilello and his own younger brother, Billy Jack Wills. Adolph Hofner's San Antonians also used a drummer by the 1940's. West coast bands such as Spade Cooley's routinely used drummers on all engagements, many of them ex-big band drummers like Muddy Berry.At the Grand Ole Opry, drums were expressly forbidden, though Bob Wills defied the ban when he performed there on December 30, 1944, with Monte Mountjoy playing his entire drum set onstage. Pee Wee King's band used a drummer, "Sticks" McDonald, but not on the Opry stage. Likewise, Paul Howard's Arkansas Cotton Pickers, another Western swing act on the Opry, briefly employed Joe Morello, later known for his work with Jazz pianist Dave Brubeck. One of the first country drummers in Nashville was Farris Coursey, who played in Owen Bradley's dance band. Still, most Nashville and Southeastern artists avoided drums (though Hank Williams briefly used a drummer in Alabama before he became a star). Coursey, who slapped his thighs on Red Foley's 1950 hit recording of "Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy," was used on some sessions, though in other cases, muted rhythm guitar was used to provide percussion. Carl Smith's 1954 hiring of Nashville big band drummer, BuddyHarman, caused further controversy at the Opry. Opry managers still refused to allow a drum set on stage, but eventually relented to the point of allowing Harman to play a snare drum, with brushes, behind a curtain-only to have new Opry boss Dee Kilpatrick briefly ban them again. After rock 'n' roll hit, more performers added drums to their bands and their records. Buddy Harman helped Ray Price develop his famous "shuffle" beat.Drums have been routinely used in country music ever since, except in traditional bluegrass. The Osborne Brothers, however, used Buddy Harman on records beginning in 1958. Several country drummers used the instrument to break into the business before becoming stars, including Roger Miller, who drummed with Faron Young, and Jack Greene, who worked with Ernest Tubb.Even Roy Acuff used a snare drum with brushes on the Opry after the drum was allowed to be seen. In 1973, when the Opry moved to Opryland, full drum sets were permitted on the stage at last."

Lee Roy Chapman
Screenprinter/History Recovery Specialist

Sources
www.thanksforthemusic.comAmerican Folksongs – Alan Lomax, author
San Antonio Rose – Dr. Charles Townsend, author
Dr. Guy Logsdon _ Smithsonian Fellow/Western Folklorist
Wikipedia
Wapedia
and some other good folks


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Subject: RE: ADD: Maybellene (Chuck Berry)-'motorvating'?
From: pavane
Date: 21 Jun 10 - 08:49 AM

"Chuck Berry became the first African American to integrate the Billboard chart"

Doesn't seem to make sense - should it be "infiltrate"?


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Origins: Maybellene (Chuck Berry)
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 12:23 PM

Motivatin' could be chuck's tongue-in-cheek wordplay with the already in use adjective auto-motive (mobile and motive having the same root in Latin ) so as to make the act of driving into something more serious and "chic";
Note the rhytmic quality of the syllables Mo ti va ting .


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Origins: Maybellene (Chuck Berry)
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Feb 11 - 04:14 PM

Does anyone what he is actually talking about in the song?


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Origins: Maybellene (Chuck Berry)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 15 Feb 11 - 08:47 PM

I don't care if he meant "motivating." I like "motorvating" better.


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Origins: Maybellene (Chuck Berry)
From: GUEST,Matt
Date: 18 Mar 17 - 07:05 PM

Stephen King contends that Chuck coined the term Motorvating and used it in several songs


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