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Origins: Sugar Babe (Mance Lipscomb, Tom Rush, etc

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Related threads:
Lyr Req: Red Rocking Chair / Sugar Babe (37)
Chord Req: Chattanooga Sugar Babe (Norman Blake) (5)
Lyr Req: Sugar Babe (5)
Lyr Req: rewrite sugar babe (9)
Lyr Req: I'm Going Back to Jericho, Sugar Babe (8)
Lyr Req: Sugar Babe (from the Youngbloods) (7)
Lyr Req: Sugar Babe (Mance Lipscomb) (3)


kcbrady@unm.edu 19 Feb 98 - 01:58 PM
Ralph Butts 19 Feb 98 - 02:35 PM
chet w 19 Feb 98 - 08:55 PM
hanrahan 20 Feb 98 - 07:32 AM
Brian Hoskin 20 Feb 98 - 12:53 PM
RICK B 22 Oct 99 - 01:50 PM
Fortunato 22 Oct 99 - 02:05 PM
katlaughing 22 Oct 99 - 02:07 PM
rick b 22 Oct 99 - 02:51 PM
katlaughing 22 Oct 99 - 02:54 PM
Fortunato 22 Oct 99 - 02:57 PM
Kevin 22 Oct 99 - 03:32 PM
Chet W. 22 Oct 99 - 03:57 PM
Stewie 22 Oct 99 - 08:26 PM
Pelrad 22 Oct 99 - 08:44 PM
katlaughing 22 Oct 99 - 08:46 PM
Chet W. 22 Oct 99 - 09:16 PM
harpgirl 22 Oct 99 - 10:33 PM
katlaughing 22 Oct 99 - 11:37 PM
Roger in Baltimore 23 Oct 99 - 07:12 AM
Tiger 23 Oct 99 - 07:57 AM
harpgirl 23 Oct 99 - 09:15 AM
Roger in Baltimore 23 Oct 99 - 10:05 AM
katlaughing 23 Oct 99 - 12:21 PM
Rockaday Johnnie 24 Oct 99 - 11:59 AM
katlaughing 24 Oct 99 - 12:15 PM
Tiger 24 Oct 99 - 03:27 PM
Rick B. 24 Oct 99 - 11:47 PM
harpgirl 25 Oct 99 - 08:28 AM
Fortunato 25 Oct 99 - 10:39 AM
ddw 25 Oct 99 - 10:16 PM
Brian Hoskin 26 Oct 99 - 08:39 AM
Stewie 22 Jan 00 - 06:21 PM
GUEST 14 Jul 00 - 09:26 AM
GUEST,Guest 2 20 Mar 15 - 04:02 AM
GUEST,# 20 Mar 15 - 11:42 AM
GUEST,# 20 Mar 15 - 11:54 AM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 15 Apr 15 - 02:18 PM
GUEST,Win 23 Sep 15 - 02:17 AM
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Subject: sugar babe
From: kcbrady@unm.edu
Date: 19 Feb 98 - 01:58 PM

An album by the Youngbloods, entitled "Earth Music" contained a song entitled Sugar Babe. Anyone know who wrote that tune. I always though it was Mississippi John Hurt, but I can't find any references to it
Click for Norman Blake's Chattanooga Sugar Babe


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Subject: RE: sugar babe
From: Ralph Butts
Date: 19 Feb 98 - 02:35 PM

KC......I've heard it by Tom Rush. My brother's got it.....Tiger


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Subject: RE: sugar babe
From: chet w
Date: 19 Feb 98 - 08:55 PM

Heard it played by Jonathan Edwards (Sunshine go away today...) It's on one of his albums.

Chet W.


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Subject: RE: sugar babe
From: hanrahan
Date: 20 Feb 98 - 07:32 AM

It was written by Jesse Colin Young and has been covered by many including Stephen Stills, John Renbourne and Steve Miller Band.

hanrahan


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Subject: RE: sugar babe
From: Brian Hoskin
Date: 20 Feb 98 - 12:53 PM

Mance Lipscomb recalls that Sugar Babe was the first song that he learned to play. This was at the age of 14, which would have been in 1919. Whether this is the same song or not though I don't know.

Brian


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Subject: RE: sugar babe
From: RICK B
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 01:50 PM

I KNOW MANCE LIPSCOMB'S VERSION OF THIS SONG. HOWEVER, I DO NOT KNOW ALL THE VERSES. CAN ANYBODY HELP ME OUT WITH SOME LYRICS? MUCH APPRECIATED, RICK


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Subject: RE: sugar babe
From: Fortunato
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 02:05 PM

Rick B. Goin' down town gonna get myself a rope whip my baby 'til she buzzard lope Sugar Babe, it's all over now.

That's all I can remember now, think I've got them at home....


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Subject: RE: sugar babe
From: katlaughing
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 02:07 PM

And, we think rap has some misogynistic lyrics!


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Subject: RE: sugar babe
From: rick b
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 02:51 PM

THANKS FORTUNATO. I'LL LOOK LATER TO SEE IF YOU COME UP WITH OTHER LYRICS FROM HOME. HEY KAT, I AGREE THAT LOTS OF OLD BLUES TUNES HAVE INAPPROPRIATE LYRICS. YOU CERTAINLY GET A SENSE OF THAT OLD (OR MAYBE STILL EXISTENT)MALE DOMINANT, VIOLENT ENVIRONMENT. BECAUSE I OFTEN PERFORM THESE SONGS I OFTEN CHANGE THE LYRICS TO BRING THEM UP TO DATE AND PRESENT WORDS THAT I CAN RELATE TO. EITHER THAT OR I JUST DON'T SING THAT SONG.


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Subject: RE: sugar babe
From: katlaughing
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 02:54 PM

It's okay, Rickb, no need to shout. I am aware of such lyrics and applaud your sensitivity. The words just brought to mind the Is Rap Folk thread and how those types of lyrics aren't necessarily new to music.


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Subject: RE: sugar babe
From: Fortunato
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 02:57 PM

kat/katlaughing

The reason I can't remember the rest of the lyrics is because I wouldn't sing the song. Songs I sing I usually can't ever forget.

However, in context the verse sounds like it's mock serious, an empty threat and meant to be 'humorous'.

Put me right off it though.


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Subject: Lyr Add: SUGAR BABE (from Tom Rush)
From: Kevin
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 03:32 PM

I remember some of the Tom Rush version.

Hey, Sugar Babe, what's the matter with you?
You don't love me like you used to do.
Sugar Babe, it's all over now.

All I want my sugar to do
Is make five dollars and give me two.
Sugar Babe, it's all over now.

Goin' down town, gonna get me a line.
Gonna whup that woman till she change her mind.
Sugar Babe, it's all over now.

Hey, Sugar Babe, what's the matter with you?
It ain't your honey; it's the way you do.
Hey, Sugar Babe, it's all over now.

There was more but that's all I can remember off the top of my head.

Kevin

HTML line breaks added. --JoeClone, 9-Nov-02.


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Subject: RE: sugar babe
From: Chet W.
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 03:57 PM

The version I used to do my partner learned from the Jonathan Edwards album. He sang the verses so I don't remember all of them, but I don't think we did any that were violent. I'll try to find it on one of our old tapes.

Yes it's true that a lot of old songs contain themes and images that today seem a lot less appropriate than they may have way back then. I do a lot of changing words, too. About as ugly (musically) as I ever get is "Frankie and Johnny", the Charlie Poole version where "Frankie put her finger on the 44 and the gun went Rootie-toot-toot, and Johnny fell...".

Back in the historic 1980's there was a rap album that was actually banned in our county by the Solicitor (District Attorney), so I went and bought it just because he said I couldn't. But when I listened to it (this was probably the first non-Jamaican rap I had ever heard) it literally made me sick. It was by 2LiveCrew, and the "songs" were all about horrible, inhuman violence to women presented in such a way that it was apparently meant to be normal, or even funny. I smashed it with a hammer. That was a turning point for me. There really is no comparison.

Chet


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Subject: Lyr Add: SUGAR BABE (from Mance Lipscomb)
From: Stewie
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 08:26 PM

Rick, here are Lipscomb's words. The source is 'Texas Songster' Arhoolie CD 306 - he said it was the first song that he learnt:

Sugar babe, I'm tired of you
Ain't you honey but the way you do
Sugar babe it's all over now

All I want my baby to do
Is make five dollars and give me two
Sugar babe it's all over now

Went downtown and bought me a rope
Whupped my baby 'til she buzzard lope
Sugar babe it's all over now

Sugar babe what's the matter with you
You don't treat me like you used to do
Sugar babe it's all over now

Went to town and bought me a line
Whupped my baby 'til she changed her mind
Sugar babe, sugar babe, it's all over now

Repeat first stanza


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Subject: RE: sugar babe
From: Pelrad
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 08:44 PM

My goodness. When I was three years old this was my favorite song; I sang it over and over - at least, I sang "Sugar baby what's the matter with you? You don't love me like you used to. Sugar babe, it's all over now." so often I drove my parents nuts. I seem to remember some verse about standing around in the rain, too...Now I sort of know where it came from. I wonder which version my father had a recording of?

Thanks for asking interesting questions around here! lol


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Subject: RE: sugar babe
From: katlaughing
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 08:46 PM

Back in 1989 or so(?), when I didn't know about their lyrics, Chet, and when I was a real activist/rabblerouser, I protested with a bunch of teenagers , including my daughter, in Westerly, RI, because they weren't going to let 2livecrew hold a concert there. I was incensed about the censorship that represented to me at the time. Also, that was about the time their cops had pulled me over at night to harass and threaten me for my "No Blood For Oil" sign in my car window, protesting the gulf war, so I wasn't too impressed with the town, anyway, even though I loved the arts center I worked at. I know better now, but I still don't know if I would agree wiht censoring them. Definitely wouldn't let my kids go to it and they did NOT listen to them. We had allof the discussions early on about misogyny etc., so my girls wouldn't have anyway.

Thanks, Fortunato, good choices IMHO.

kat


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Subject: RE: sugar babe
From: Chet W.
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 09:16 PM

Kat, of course you know I agree; NO government censorship. Popular censorship definitely. Parental censorship absolutely. But not the government. That was the only actual banning I had ever seen at the time, and I decided I wasn't having any. I ended up learning a lot from the experience.

Chet


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Subject: RE: sugar babe
From: harpgirl
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 10:33 PM

..."buzzard lope"...I thought it was "buzzin low"?...harpgirl


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Subject: RE: sugar babe
From: katlaughing
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 11:37 PM

I wondered about that, too, harpy! Had this hilarious image in my mind of a scrawny looking buzzard, wings spread out wide open, loping across the prairie like some crazed heathen horde! No, buffalo stampede......look out for those buzzards!


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Subject: RE: sugar babe
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 23 Oct 99 - 07:12 AM

Here with go with those old blues lyrics again. I thought I heard "Whipped that woman 'til she busted ope'". Any blues historians here? I would rather hear from someone who talked to Mance about the song. Having read some of Alan Lomax's transcriptions, I am very wary of anyone's transcriptions (even mine).

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: Lyr Add: SUGAR BABE (from Tom Rush)
From: Tiger
Date: 23 Oct 99 - 07:57 AM

Here's the way Tom Rush does it.

Sugar Babe - Tom Rush

Sugar baby, what's the matter with you,
You don't love me like you used to do.
Sugar babe, it's all over now.

Sugar baby, what's the matter with you,
You're 'runnin' round with somebody new.
Sugar babe, it's all over now.

All I want my sugar to do,
That's make five dollars and gimme two.
Sugar babe, it's all over now.

Goin' downtown and get me a line,
Gonna whup that woman 'til she change her mind.
Sugar babe, it's all over now.

Goin' downtown and get me a rope,
Gonna whup that woman 'til she's busted low,
Sugar babe, it's all over now.

Sugar baby, what's the matter with you,
(INSTRUMENT FILL)

Sugar baby, what's the matter with you,
You don't love me like you used to do.
Sugar babe, it's all over now.

Sugar baby, what's the matter with you,
It ain't your honey but the way you do.
Sugar babe, it's all over now.


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Subject: RE: sugar babe
From: harpgirl
Date: 23 Oct 99 - 09:15 AM

...ah Roger, I find the different interpretations of blues lyrics so fascinating...like dust my broom...maybe kat can find a discussion of this song with Mance on the web...harp


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Subject: RE: sugar babe
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 23 Oct 99 - 10:05 AM

Harpgirl,

Sorta like an aural Rorschach Test, eh?

Big RiB


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Subject: RE: sugar babe
From: katlaughing
Date: 23 Oct 99 - 12:21 PM

LOL! Big RiB!

Harpy, I wasn't very successful. I did find a site for new cd reissues of a lot of his stuff by Arhoolie records. It has an audio of him doing Sugar Babe, here, which, if you can get past the net congestion, might offer an answer.

katstillwatchingforlopingbuzzards


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Subject: RE: sugar babe
From: Rockaday Johnnie
Date: 24 Oct 99 - 11:59 AM

The "Buzzard Lope" is a 20's or 30's dancestep ...


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Subject: RE: sugar babe
From: katlaughing
Date: 24 Oct 99 - 12:15 PM

Ah, so "buzzard lope" it might jsut be, then. Thanks!


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Subject: RE: sugar babe
From: Tiger
Date: 24 Oct 99 - 03:27 PM

I've since found several direct links of buzzard lope with Sugar Babe. That's gotta be it. I remember listening to the song a hundred times trying to figger it out. Thanks for the tips, guys.


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Subject: RE: sugar babe
From: Rick B.
Date: 24 Oct 99 - 11:47 PM

Wow, you guys are incredible. I went away for the weekend and returned to find the many directions that this thread has taken. Informative, interesting, and often hilarious. I think I've found a new hang out. Thanks for all the lyrics. I think some cutting and pasting will allow me to do this song without offending anyone's sensibilities, including my own.


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Subject: RE: sugar babe
From: harpgirl
Date: 25 Oct 99 - 08:28 AM

...now will someone explain to me why Mance whips his baby until she finally begins to dance the "buzzard lope"? Is it like dancing while someone is shooting bullets around your feet?What the heck does this mean anyway?...harpgirl


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Subject: RE: sugar babe
From: Fortunato
Date: 25 Oct 99 - 10:39 AM

Rick B.et al

The source of the Mance Lipscomb lyrics are gone from my library. Sorry.

But the Tom Rush version seems exactly right, just much longer than what I had, seems like Tom put together a couple of versions or made some up himself (imagine that!)

fortunato


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Subject: RE: sugar babe
From: ddw
Date: 25 Oct 99 - 10:16 PM

I could be wrong on the time frame, but I have both versions of Sugar Babe and it seems to me Tom Rush had his out on an album before Mance ever went into a studio. It's possible Tom heard it from him, but I don't think so.

Maybe some cyberwhiz could go into Tom's web site and ask him....

david


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Subject: RE: sugar babe
From: Brian Hoskin
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 08:39 AM

Mance Lipscomb first recorded for Chris Strachwitz (Arhoolie Records) in 1960. Among the first songs he recorded, on a portable recorder set up in his home in Navasota, Texas, was Sugar Babe. This song, and the others he recorded in that session, were all released on two Arhoolie LPs later that same year.

As far as I could gather from a quick look at Tom Rush's website, he didn't record (at least not studio albums) until 1962.

Whether Rush learned his version from Lipscomb or not, I don't know, but it would appear to me that Lipscomb was first to record it. Although, David, you still might be right about Rush recording his version before Lipscomb ever went into a studio!

Brian


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Subject: RE: sugar babe
From: Stewie
Date: 22 Jan 00 - 06:21 PM

In this thread, there was considerable discussion about the meaning of 'buzzard lope'. I knew I had seen something about this somewhere, and I finally remembered where. The following might throw some light on the matter. Alan Lomax recorded the great Bessie Jones of the Georgia Sea Islands leading a song called 'The Buzzard Lope'. It has been reissued in the Lomax 'Southern Journey' series on Rounder - the final volume, volume 13, 'Earliest Times: Georgia Sea Island Songs for Everyday Living' Rounder CD 1713. The song itself has the words 'buzzard lope' only in its title. Lomax noted:

Bessie Jones leads a most beautiful and interesting African-American litany, which may be one of the most intact pieces of African dance in North America. It makes reference to a time when slaves were not given a proper burial. 'Throw me anywhere, Lord, in that old field' are the words of a slave identifying with Jesus at Golgotha, saying that, although he may be thrown in a field like carrion for the buzzards to eat, Jesus owns and chooses him.

While a ring of singers claps out the refrain ['In that old field'], a coat representing carrion, is dropped in the centre. A male dancer, his shoulders hunched up around his ears, his arms spread out, dipping, waving and thrusting forward his head with fierce gestures, comes high stepping into the ring. He is the buzzard. He spots the carrion and suddenly stoops over, crouching and circling lower and lower, his head thrust forward like a bird's, approaching and fluttering away, until finally he swoops low and snatches the cloth with his teeth or fingers and whirls away like a bird of prey with its meat. The cloth is replaced and the dance repeated, each dancer enacting the part of the buzzard in his own way.

Bessie Jones gave a spoken introduction to the song:

Now this song, 'The Buzzard Lope', is one of the old plays that we had, as though the buzzard had found some carrion. And we playin' that this thing lyin' on the floor here is the carrion. And this boy here is acting as the buzzard, as he goin' around, and he goin' to pick out the carrion's eye, whether he's a cow or a dog or whatever he is. He going to pick out his eye, then he going to pull out his tail, and then he's going to [get] him after awhile, and he's going to run the dogs from him. This is not our real Buzzard Lope boy tonight, but his brother.

Stewie.


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Subject: RE: sugar babe
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Jul 00 - 09:26 AM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sugar Babe (Mance Lipscomb, Tom Rush, etc
From: GUEST,Guest 2
Date: 20 Mar 15 - 04:02 AM

I'd like to know the origins of sugar babe, myself, but back in the 60s it was a frequently played song, but in the structure used by Johnny Cash for what is known apparently as "Chattanooga Sugar Babe". Heard this on "Fresh Air" in a discussion with Cash's longtime Dobro man. Anyway in the 60s it was usually a clean version, so I was surprised that this version (using the structure I was familiar with) started out with reference to cocaine. I got to thinking that maybe a lot of the folk songs for us innocents then had been cleaned up from the originals that might have dated back to the 20s or 30s or even before. "Bawdy Ballads" might have been the title of a collection of lyrics back then. Of course you had to be familiar with ancient slang or regional dialects or know where to look it up if there was even a book that collected such things then. Other such dictionaries were appearing by the 60s or 70s to update the ancient tracts of the 30s. I know because I used to consult them in my work as a lexicographer. So what was the first recording of the structure used by Cash? I thought I heard the name Frank Jackson mentioned in the broadcast. Hmm?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sugar Babe (Mance Lipscomb, Tom Rush, etc
From: GUEST,#
Date: 20 Mar 15 - 11:42 AM

Mance Lipscomb: Texas Sharecropper and Songster

- Freddie (2:35) #
- Sugar Babe, It's All Over Now (2:00) #

from

http://www.wirz.de/music/arhoofrm.htm

That LP was released in 1960.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sugar Babe (Mance Lipscomb, Tom Rush, etc
From: GUEST,#
Date: 20 Mar 15 - 11:54 AM

The man himself on YouTube.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sugar Babe (Mance Lipscomb, Tom Rush, etc
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 15 Apr 15 - 02:18 PM

"Mance Lipscomb recalls that Sugar Babe was the first song that he learned to play. This was at the age of 14, which would have been in 1919." He was born in 1895, so it would have been in about 1909.

Mance wasn't always reliable on years, but best I can tell he did remember well about how old he was when he got all excited about playing three songs on the guitar ("Sugar Babe," "All Out And Down," and "Take Me Back"). As Mance pointed out, "All Out And Down" was basically (like the "Poor Boy Long Ways From Home" Gus Cannon said he heard in about 1900 and the "Got No More Home Than A Dog" that W.C. Handy said he heard before 1900) a blues song before anyone he knew was talking about so-called "blues songs" yet. (The earliest known example of anyone talking about "blues" music in Texas is from 1910.) "Sugar Babe" had that three-line-stanza, third-line-is-the-refrain form (e.g. "Railroad Bill," "Hop Joint") that was rampant in folk music in about 1895-1910. "Take Me Back" was well known to folk musicians and was based on an 1898 pop song.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sugar Babe (Mance Lipscomb, Tom Rush, etc
From: GUEST,Win
Date: 23 Sep 15 - 02:17 AM

It's "buzzard Lope"... I learned it from Dave. Van Ronk. Buzzards Lope is an old dance..

Another verse, also from Dave's version is:

Sugar babe, I'm tired of you,
It ain't your honey but the way you do...


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