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Lyr Req: Red River (Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee)

Related threads:
Lyr Req: Red River / Red River Blues (11)
Lyr Req: Blood Red River (2) (closed)

Roger in Baltimore 19 Apr 98 - 08:32 PM
rosebrook 20 Apr 98 - 10:51 AM
Jon W. 20 Apr 98 - 10:53 AM
GUEST,Waldo 19 Jul 04 - 04:23 AM
dick greenhaus 19 Jul 04 - 07:18 PM
Amos 19 Jul 04 - 08:23 PM
GUEST,AU 08 Sep 12 - 05:26 PM
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Subject: Red River
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 19 Apr 98 - 08:32 PM

I'm looking for the lyrics to a blues called Red River. It was sung by Sonny Terry and is essentially the same tune (and similar verses) as 'Key to the Highway' that is on the DT database. The first verse is something like:
    How long, how long, does that blood red river run.
    It runs from my back door straight to the risin' sun.

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Subject: RE: Red River
From: rosebrook
Date: 20 Apr 98 - 10:51 AM

refreshing for those who couldn't get into Mudcat, and may have the answer!

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Subject: Lyr Add: RED RIVER (Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee)
From: Jon W.
Date: 20 Apr 98 - 10:53 AM

This version is sung by Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee from their "Midnight Special" album, I think. They alternate the verses with Sonny having the first turn. The spoken asides in parentheses are by Brownie except for in the last verse, as indicated. A great version of the old "Crow Jane" 8-bar blues theme.

Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee

Which way, which way, that blood red river run?
Honey, from my back door to the risin' sun.

(let me tell you, boy)
I hate to see that risin' sun go down.
Makes me feel just like I'm on my last go round.

Well that stomper, Oh Lord (what'd he say, boy?) well send me six foot of clay.
(Why?) Well that blood river rising six feet every day.

(let me tell you)
Willis run into the camp, tell my brother Bill,
Well the woman that he's loving, sure gonna get him killed.

(what was her name boy?)
Crow Jane, Crow Jane, honey don't hold your head so high.
You realize darlin', you're gonna lay down and die.

(play me some blues there, boy)
(Harmonica break)
(do it one more time)
(Harmonica break)
(let me play a little guitar for ya)
(guitar break)

Well I heard, heard a mighty rumblin', Sonny and then I looked around.
Well that Northern and the Southern, tearin' that old depot down.

If you see me comin' babe, honey Oh, put your man outdoor.
Honey I ain't goin' explain yo-- Sonny may have before.

(Brownie: Let me tell you somethin' 'fore I play this)
(Sonny: Go ahead, tell me now)
If you see, see me comin' babe (Sonny: yeah) heist your window high,
If you see me leavin' little girl, hang your head and cry.
(Red River)

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Subject: Lyr Add: CROW JANE (Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee)
From: GUEST,Waldo
Date: 19 Jul 04 - 04:23 AM

There is an another recording of Brownie McGhee & Sonny Terry on the Alligator Records 20th Anniversary Collection (also on Sonny Terry's "Whoopin'")

Lyrics something like this (sorry, some of the words I couldn't get)...


Crow Jane, Crow Jane
What makes you hold your head so high?
You realize honey you're gonna lay down and die

(harmonica break)

I said go down to that camp
and tell your brother Bill
that the woman he be lovin'
sure gonna get him killed.


(harmonica break)

Did you get that letter
I throwed (?) in your back yard?
Well I woulda come to see you baby
but your other man had me barred.


Wooo! Wooo! Wooo!
Wooo! Wooa.....

I love you Crow Jane
and I'll tell thee (?) what I do...
You're a good little girl Crow Jane
but I swear you won't be true.


I'm gonna sing this verse
and I ain't gonna sing no more
My other girl called me
I'm pooped/booked (?) and I'm bout to go home.

One more time!


Crow Jane! (yeah)
Don't hold your head so high baby!
(I think we got it)

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Subject: RE: Red River
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 19 Jul 04 - 07:18 PM

The late John Jackson made this (almost) a signature tune.

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Subject: RE: Red River
From: Amos
Date: 19 Jul 04 - 08:23 PM


There is a similar blues, which I think Broonzy also recorded, which begins,

"How long, how long
Has that evenin' train been gone?
How long!! Baby, how long? Baby how long".

It would be easy to mix the two up at our age...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Red River (Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee)
Date: 08 Sep 12 - 05:26 PM

I have an LP recording of a radio programme hosted by Studs Terkel with Terry, McGhee and Broonzy. On it Brownie does a beautiful, short and personal rendering of Red River blues as his "cradle" blues that I haven't heard elsewhere.

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