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Origins: Bad Lee Brown / Little Sadie

DigiTrad:
COCAINE BLUES 2
LITTLE SADIE


Related threads:
Lyr/Chords Req: Little Sadie (8)
(origins) Origins: Bad Man's Blunder / Little Sadie (20)
Little Sadie - ringing my bell? (11)


In Mudcat MIDIs:
Bad Man Ballad (from Lomax, American Ballads and Folk Songs)


Richie 04 Dec 02 - 09:56 PM
Mr Happy 04 Dec 02 - 10:00 PM
Richie 04 Dec 02 - 10:03 PM
katlaughing 04 Dec 02 - 10:49 PM
Joe Offer 04 Dec 02 - 11:00 PM
Joe Offer 04 Dec 02 - 11:43 PM
Richie 04 Dec 02 - 11:46 PM
Joe Offer 05 Dec 02 - 12:17 AM
Richie 05 Dec 02 - 12:50 AM
masato sakurai 05 Dec 02 - 07:36 AM
masato sakurai 05 Dec 02 - 08:09 AM
Fossil 05 Dec 02 - 12:10 PM
Joe Offer 05 Dec 02 - 12:38 PM
GUEST,Les B. 06 Dec 02 - 11:22 AM
Mark Ross 06 Dec 02 - 12:10 PM
Richie 06 Dec 02 - 08:05 PM
Richie 06 Dec 02 - 08:25 PM
Richie 06 Dec 02 - 08:31 PM
GUEST,joan 06 Mar 06 - 12:23 AM
Peace 06 Mar 06 - 12:37 AM
Peace 06 Mar 06 - 12:45 AM
GUEST,brotherdave@bigfoot.com 11 Mar 06 - 01:36 PM
GUEST,Coyote Breath "geezer rapper" 12 Mar 06 - 12:43 AM
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Subject: Lyr. Req: BAD LEE BROWN
From: Richie
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 09:56 PM

I'm looking for the lyrics and info about "Bad Lee Brown," or "Bad Man Lee Brown."

No, it's not Croce but it's related to "Little Sadie," "Bad Man Ballad" "Penitentiary Blues" "Chain Gang Blues" and has also been called "Cocaine Blues" but it's not the "cocaine run all round my brain" version.

Here are two artists:
John Dilleshaw's "Bad Lee Brown,"

"Bad Lee Brown," Randolph Ozark 2 pp117-8 -- Tom Paley (voc/ banjo): ARGO ZFB-3 1960

Unusual versions of "Little Sadie" would also help.

Thanks,

Richie


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Subject: RE: Lyr. Req: BAD LEE BROWN
From: Mr Happy
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 10:00 PM

is it 'bad, bad leroy brown, baddest man in the whole darn town.....'?


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Subject: RE: Lyr. Req: BAD LEE BROWN
From: Richie
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 10:03 PM

No, Mr. Happy.

That's where Croce probably got the title to his hit song. I did say it's not Croce in the first thread.

Thanks,

Richie


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Subject: RE: Lyr. Req: BAD LEE BROWN - not Croce's
From: katlaughing
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 10:49 PM

Hi, Richie,

Maybe it is this one: Little Sadie tabs and lyrics.

I found that by putting the words "lee brown" in the search box for the Forum and DT. There are lyrics for Little Sadie in the DT and 3-4 other related threads came up in the search. This one looked likely.

Hope this helps,

kat


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Subject: Origins: BAD LEE BROWN / Little Sadie
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 11:00 PM

Here's the entry from the Traditional Ballad Index. I don't have Randolph or Laws, but maybe somebody does and can post the lyrics.
-Joe Offer-

Bad Lee Brown (Little Sadie) [Laws I8]

DESCRIPTION: The singer goes out one night to "make his rounds." He meets his (girlfriend/wife), Little Sadie, and shoots her. He flees, but is overtaken and sentenced to (a long prison term/life)
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1922 (Randolph)
KEYWORDS: murder prison
FOUND IN: US(Ap,So,SE)
REFERENCES (9 citations):
Laws I8, "Bad Lee Brown"
Randolph 155, "Bad Lee Brown" (2 fragments, 1 tune)
Cambiaire, p. 22, "Little Sadie" (1 text)
MWheeler, pp. 109-111, "Late One Night" (1 text, 1 tune)
BrownII 252, "Sadie" (1 text)
MHenry-Appalachians, pp. 39-40, "Little Sadie" (1 text)
Scarborough-NegroFS, p. 243, (no title) (1 fragment)
Lomax-ABFS, pp. 89-91, "Bad Man Ballad" (1 text, 1 tune)
DT 659, LILSADIE*

Roud #780
RECORDINGS:
Clarence Ashley, "Little Sadie" (Columbia 15522-D, 1930; rec. 1929; on RoughWays1)
Blue Heaven, "Bad Man Ballad" (AAFS 384 B)
Mrs. Lloyd Bare Eagle, "Little Sadie" (AAFS 2851 B1)
Louise Foreacre, "Little Sadie" (on Stonemans01)
Wendell Hart & group of convicts, "Bad Man Ballad" (AAFS 2591 B2)
Willie Rayford, "Bad Man Ballad" (AAFS 2591 B2)
Wade Ward, "Little Sadie" [instrumental] (on Holcomb-Ward1)
Clarence Ashley & Doc Watson, "Little Sadie" (on Ashley03, WatsonAshley01)
Unidentified Negro convict, "Bad Man Ballad" (AAFS 1859 A1-10)

ALTERNATE TITLES:
Bad Man's Blunder
File: LI08

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Bibiography
Go to the Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2007 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: Lyr Add: BAD MAN BALLAD (from J & A Lomax)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 11:43 PM

I got this from American Ballads and Folk Songs (John & Alan Lomax, 1934). I like the note - it says it came from a "tongue-tied Negro convict at Parchman, Mississippi." This is one heck of an interesting song. It's certainly the same song as the "Little Sadie" that's in the Digital Tradition, but it has lots of juicy verses not in the DT version.
-Joe Offer-


BAD MAN BALLAD

Late las' night I was a-makin' my rounds,
Met my woman an' I blowed her down,
Went on home an' I went to bed,
Put my hand cannon right under my head.

Early nex' mornin' 'bout de risin' o' de sun,
I gets up-a for to make-a my run.
I made a good run but I made it too slow,
Got overtaken in Mexico.

Standin' on de corno', readin' of a bill,
Up step a man name o' Bad Texas Bill:
"Look here, bully, am' yo' name Lee Brown?
B'lieve you are de rascal shot yo' woman down."

"Yes, oh, yes," says. "This is him.
If you got a warrant, jes' read it to me."
He says: "You look like a fellow that knows what's bes'
Come 'long wid me—you're under arres'."

When I was arrested, I was dressed in black;
Dey put me on a train, an' dey brought me back.
Dey boun' me down in de county jail;
Couldn' get a human for to go my bail.

Early nex' mornin' 'bout half pas' nine,
I spied ol' jedge drappin' down de line.
I heered ol' jailer when he cleared his th'oat,
"Nigger, git ready for de deestreec' cote."

Deestreec' cote is now regin,
Twelve big jurymen, twelve hones' men.
Five mo' minutes up step a man,
He was holdin' my verdic' in his right han'.

Verdic' read murder in de firs' degree.
I said, "O Lawd, have mercy on me."
I seed ol' jedge when he picked up his pen,
Say, "I don' think you'll ever kill a woman ag'in.

"This here kuhn' of women natchly got to stop,
I don't know whether to hang you er not.
Ninety-nine years on de hard, hard groun',
'Member de night you blowed de woman down."

Here I is, bowed down in shame,
I got a number instead of a name.
Here for de res' of my nachul life,
An' all I ever done is kill my wife.

        * * *

I went up-a in Tennessee,
Two lil' womens got stuck on me,
One was name Sal and the other name Sue,
They was a-hustlin' an' I was too.

Oh, dey beat me up an' dey beat me down,
Oh, dey beat me up-a an' dey beat me down,
Oh, dey beat me up an' dey beat me down,
Betcha five dollars dey cain' beat me to town.

Click to play


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Subject: Lyr Add: LITTLE SADIE
From: Richie
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 11:46 PM

Here's a similar version to what I play:

LITTLE SADIE

Went out last night to take a little round,
I met my Little Sadie and I blowed her down.
I run right home and I went to bed,
A forty-four smokeless under my head.

I begin to think what a deed I done,
I grabbed my hat and away'd I'd run.
I made a good run, just a little to slow,
They overtook me in Jericho.

Standing on the corner a-ringing a bell
And up stepped the sheriff from Thomasville,
Says, 'Young man, is your name Brown?
Remember the night you blowed Sadie down.'

'Oh, yes, Sir, my name is Lee,
I murdered little Sadie in the first degree,
First degree and second degree,
Got any papers, will you read 'em to me?'

Took me downtown and dressed me in black,
They put me on a train and they sent me back,
Had no one for to go my bail,
Crammed me back in the county jail.

Judge and the jury took their stand,
Judge had his papers in his right hand.
Forty-one days, forty-one nights,
Forty-one years to wear the ball and the stripes.

Notes: As recorded by Clarence 'Tom' Ashley, vocal / banjo, Doc Watson, guitar, Chicago, IL, Feb 1962, released on 'Old Time Music at Clarence Ashley's, Vol. 2', Folkways FA 2359, 1963, covered by Bob Dylan on "Self Portrait" 1969. Doc does a slightly different version also, I can post that too if anyone wants it.

Chords I play: Dm F Dm C Am C A7 Dm

I sing it:

[Dm]Standin' on the [F]corner, readin' a [Dm]bill
[C]Up stepped the sheriff from Thomas[Am]ville;
[C]Says, "Young man, is your name Lee Brown?
[A7]Remember the night you blowed Sadie [Dm]down?"

Different people sing "ringing a bell," Dylan does. I sing, "reading a bill (wanted poster or warrant).

Thomasville , NC is just down the road a bit from me and Jericho, SC isn't too far.

I wanted to look at some different versions.

Thanks,

Richie


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Subject: RE: Lyr. Req: BAD LEE BROWN - not Croce's
From: Joe Offer
Date: 05 Dec 02 - 12:17 AM

Hi, Richie - there's a version of Cocaine Blues posted in the forum and included in the Digital Tradition. It mentions your Jericho, but also Juarez in Mexico, and San Quentin Prison in California.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr. Req: BAD LEE BROWN - not Croce's
From: Richie
Date: 05 Dec 02 - 12:50 AM

Joe- Thanks for your posts, and thanks Katlaughing for the version I used to post the chords I use.

There's an intresting article here about John Dilleshaw:http://www.1001tunes.com/fiddlers/dilly1.htmlby Charles Wolfe.

Dilleshaw did a version "Bad Lee Brown" back in the late 20's.

-Richie


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Subject: RE: Lyr. Req: BAD LEE BROWN - not Croce's
From: masato sakurai
Date: 05 Dec 02 - 07:36 AM

The entry in Laws, Native American Balladry, rev. ed. (1964, p. 250):

                              I 8
                         BAD LEE BROWN
                         (Little Sadie)

   After killing his woman, the bully tries to run away, but he is arrested, tried, and sentenced to ninety-nine years.

       Late las' night I was a-makin' my rounds,
       Met my woman an' I blowed her down,
       Went on home an' I went to bed,
       Put my hand cannnon right under my head,

       Here for de res' of my nachul life,
       An' all I ever done is kill my wife.

   Lomax, Amer. Ballads, 89, 12, m. (Miss. "Bad Man Ballad," partly from L.C. Record 1859, 8 sts.). St. 1 and the last half of st. 10 are given above. Brown II, 597, 8 (N.C. "Sadie"). Cambiaire, 22 (same source as Henry's). Henry, Songs Sung, 39, 6 ( (Tenn. "Little Sadie"). Randolph II, 117, 2, m.; 1½ (Mo.). Wheeler, 110, 10. m. ("Late One Night"). Williams, 410, 9 (Ky.). L.C. Records 2851 B1 (N.C. "Little Sadie"); 384 B (Fla.); and the following under the title "Bad Man Ballad"; 706 A1 (S.C.) and 2591 B2 (Ark.).

~Masato


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Subject: Lyr Add: BAD LEE BROWN (Randolph)
From: masato sakurai
Date: 05 Dec 02 - 08:09 AM

Two versions (both fragments; A with music) from Randolph, Ozark Folksongs, Vol. II (1948, pp. 117-118):

                  BAD LEE BROWN

   Scarborough (On the Trail of Negro Folk-Songs, 1925, pp.87-89, 243) reports a very similar piece, and Sandburg (American Songbag, 1927, pp. 310-311) found a related item in Fort Smith, Ark. See also the "Bad Man Ballad" which Lomax (American Ballads and Folk Songs, 1934, pp. 89-91) "learned from a tongue-tied Negro convict at Parchman, Mississippi."


                         A

   Sung by Miss Billie Freese, Joplin, Mo., Apr. 17, 1922. Miss Freese learned it from her boy-friend, a native of West Plains, Mo.

         Last night I was a-makin' my rounds,
         Met my old woman an' I blowed her down,
         I went on home to go to bed,
         Put my old cannon right under my head.

         Jury says murder in the first degree,
         I says oh Lord, have mercy on me!
         Old Judge White picks up his pen,
         Says you'll never kill no woman ag'in.

                         B

   Contributed by Mr. Robert L. Kennedy, Springfield, Mo., May 3, 1934. Mr. Kennedy says that the song was popular in Springfiled fifty years ago.

         Don't know whether to hang you or not,
         This killin' women jest nachelly's got to stop!
                . . . . .
         Here I is bowed down with shame,
         Got a number instead of a name,
         Forty-nine years in prison for life,
         All I ever done was to kill my wife.


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Subject: RE: Lyr. Req: BAD LEE BROWN - not Croce's
From: Fossil
Date: 05 Dec 02 - 12:10 PM

Forgive me for mentioning them on a folkie forum, but didn't the Kingston Trio do a take-off of this song?

"Bad Man's Blunder", it was called - if I recall it rightly.

It was (more or less) the same story, transposed to a Western setting, where the Bad Man kills a deputy sheriff, takes off, gets captured, tried and sentenced to "ninety and nine on the hard rock ground (and all I ever did was shoot a deputy down....)"

OK, that's my 2 euro's worth.


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Subject: ADD: Coon Can / Poor Boy [from Sandburg]
From: Joe Offer
Date: 05 Dec 02 - 12:38 PM

Fossil, I was thinking the same thing - in "Bad Man's Blunder," there's this line:
The judge said, "Son, this here shootin' of deputy sheriffs has just natcherly got to stop."
Or something like that. "Blunder" must be different, but it sure steals a lot from this song.
Thanks to Masato, I found the entry in Carl Sandburg's American Songbag (1927). The title is certainly different, but it's definitely the same song. There are some great bits of humor in these songs, a bit different in each one.
-Joe Offer-


COON CAN (POOR BOY)

1. My mother called me to her deathbed side, these words she said to me:
"If your don't mend your rovin' ways, they'll put you in the penitentiary,
They'll put you in the penitentiary, poor boy, they'll put you in the penitentiary,
If you don't mend your rovin' ways, they'll put you in the penitentiary."

2. I sat me down to play coon can, could scarcely read my hand,
A thinkin' about the woman I loved, ran away with another man.
Ran away with another man, poor boy, ran away with another man.
I was thinkin' about the woman I loved, ran away with another man

3. I'm a standin' on the corner, in front of a jewelry store,
Big policeman taps me on the back, says, "You ain't a goin' to kill no more."
Says, "You ain't a goin' to kill no more, poor boy," says, "You ain't a goin' to kill no more."
Big policeman taps me on the back, says, "You ain't a goin' to kill no more."

4. "Oh, cruel, kind judge, oh, cruel, kind judge, what are you goin' to do with me?"
"If that jury finds you guilty, poor boy, I'm goin' to send you to the penitentiary.
I'm goin' to send you to the penitentiary, poor boy, goin' to send you to the penitentiary.
If that jury finds you guilty, poor boy, I'm goin' to send you to the penitentiary."

5. Well, the jury found him guilty, the clerk he wrote it down,
The judge pronounced his sentence, poor boy; ten long years in Huntsville town.
Ten long years in Huntsville town, poor boy, ten long years in Huntsville town;
The judge pronounced his sentence, poor boy, ten long years in Huntsville town.

6. The iron gate clanged behind him, he heard the warden say,
"Ten long years for you in prison, poor boy, yes, it's ten long years for you this day.
Ten long years for you in prison, poor boy, yes, it's ten long years this day."
As the iron gate clanged behind him, that's what he heard the warden say.

    Here are Sandburg's notes on the song:
      Of Fort Smith, Arkansas, we have heard, "There is no fort there and they have forgotten which Smith it was named after." It is a town where they sing Coon Can and Poor Boy; either name is correct, according to Kate Webber of Fort Smith and Chicago, who communicated the tune and one verse, other verses coming by fast freight with no demurrage from Jack Hagerty of Los Angeles
      Its moral is plain: retribution overtakes the wrongdoer; years in the penitentiary are long. Folk songs are often like this; they leave the hearer to piece out the story. . . . The boy is found guilty of killing a woman. Why he killed her, his excuses, and explanations, are not told. There must have been extenuating circumstances, or the jury was impressed by the youthful aspect of the prisoner at the bar, in addition to the mother's testimony that he was always a good boy.


    Source: Carl Sandburg's American Songbag (1927), page 310


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Subject: RE: Lyr. Req: BAD LEE BROWN - not Croce's
From: GUEST,Les B.
Date: 06 Dec 02 - 11:22 AM

The old time guitar picker, Sam McGee, does a version of Bad Lee Brown on the album Mike Seeger recorded of him in the late 1960's, titled something like "Grandad of Country Guitar Pickers" (I just listened to it, but it's at home).

He has fairly complete verses, but the melody is a little flatter than I've heard others do. No minor chords like Richie's above. I also heard it done 35 years ago by a kid who came back to Wyoming after spending a summer in Tennessee - he used a circle of fifths chord progression - G, E, A, D, G.   It's a great song, and after hearing McGee do it, I'm going to relearn it!


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Subject: RE: Lyr. Req: BAD LEE BROWN - not Croce's
From: Mark Ross
Date: 06 Dec 02 - 12:10 PM

Woody Guthrie did a version of BAD LEE BROWN, similar to these. The version I do(I think I learned it from Doc Watson)is done on the banjo in G-modal. It has a minor feel. Woody's is in a major key.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Lyr. Req: BAD LEE BROWN - not Croce's
From: Richie
Date: 06 Dec 02 - 08:05 PM

There's been a bad ice storm here. No power for a few days. Here's a version you can hear on-line from the 1939 Lomax rcording trip:
http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/S?ammem/lomaxbib:@FIELD(OTHER+@band(+rayford,+willie+))

Thanks for your help,

Richie


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Subject: ADD Version: SADIE (from Carl Sandburg)
From: Richie
Date: 06 Dec 02 - 08:25 PM

This is a version "Frankie and Johnny" with some Little Sadie lyrics mixed in from Sandburg's American Songbag. It has Henry Brown instead of Lee Brown:

SADIE

Sadie went into the bar-room, and she ordered up a big glass of beer.
She said, "Tell me the truth, Mister Bartender, has my Henry Brown been here?
'Cause he's my man, and he's doin' me wrong, he won't come home."

"Well I ain't goin' to tell you no secrets, and I ain't goin' to tell you no lies,
But I saw Henry Brown just a moment ago, and I could hardly b'lieve my eyes,
'Cause he's your man, what's been doin' you wrong, he won't come home."

Sadie drank up all her beer, and she ordered up a big glass of gin,
She said, "Ain't it a shame, Mister Bartender, that I've a-takin' to drinkin' again,
On account of my man, what's a-doin' me wrong, he wouldn't come home."

Sadie went up a dark alley, and she didn't go up there for fun,
For under her sky-blue kimono, she had a great big forty-four gun,
On account of her man, what was doin' her wrong, he wouldn't come home.

"Roll me over easy, now roll me over slow, Oh, roll me over on my right side because my left side hurts me so, 'Cause I'm Sadie's man, what's a done her wrong, I wouldn't come home."

They hauled out the rubber-tired carriage, and they hauled out the rubber-tired hack,
They were haulin' a guy to the grave-yard, and they weren't gonna haul him back,
He was Sadie's man, that had done her wrong, he wouldn't come home.


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Subject: Lyr Add: TRANSFUSION BLUES (from Johnny Cash)
From: Richie
Date: 06 Dec 02 - 08:31 PM

Here's a version of Little Sadie similar to the one in the DT as Cocaine Blues by T.J. Arnall. It was recorded by Johnny Cash. This is probably where George Thorogood got his version.

TRANSFUSION BLUES
As recorded by Johnny Cash on "Now, There Was a Song!" (1960)

Early one mornin' while makin' the rounds,
Took a transfusion and I shot my woman down.
Went right home and I went to bed.
I stuck that lovin' 44 beneath my head.

Got up next mornin' and I grabbed that gun.
Took a transfusion and away I run.
Made a good run but I run too slow.
They overtook me down in Juarez, Mexico.

Laid in the hot joint takin' the pill.
In walked a sheriff from Jericho Hill.
He said: "Willie Lee, your name is not Jack Brown.
You're the dirty hack that shot your woman down."

Said: "Yes, oh, yes, my name is Willie Lee.
If you've got a warrant just read it to me.
Shot her down because she made me slow.
I thought I was her daddy but she had five more.

When I was arrested I was dressed in black.
Put me on a train and they took me back.
Had no friends for to go my bail.
They slapped my dried-up carcass in that county jail.

Into the courtroom my trial began,
Where I was handled by twelve honest men.
Just before the jury started out,
I saw that little judge commence to look about.

In about five minutes in walked a man,
Holding the verdict in his right hand.
Verdict read: "In the first degree."
I hollered: "Lawdy, Lawdy, have mercy on me!"

Judge he smiled as he picked up his pen.
"Ninety-nine years in the San Quentin pen."
Ninety-nine years underneath that ground.
I can't forget the day I shot my woman down.

Come on; you gotta listen unto me.
Lay off that liquor and let that transfusion be.


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Subject: RE: Lyr. Req: BAD LEE BROWN - not Croce's
From: GUEST,joan
Date: 06 Mar 06 - 12:23 AM

So sorry for anyone who thinks I'm nuts for this post..every time I search for Doc Watson's lyrics to "Let the cocaine be" it sends me to Johnny Cash's Cocaine Blues lyrics. This is the only place that seems cool enough to maybe know what I am talking about...... anyone have the lyrics?
Thanks a bunch. Joan


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Subject: RE: Lyr. Req: BAD LEE BROWN - not Croce's
From: Peace
Date: 06 Mar 06 - 12:37 AM

Dogbite's first CD, Ruff Mix , features New London washboard/punk pals The Can Kickers , and might be available in time for the Books & Company show, "if the insert gets back from the printer," Hugh tells us. In the meantime, check out Dogbite's Can Kickin' collaborative track, Doc Watson's "Let the Cocaine Be," off the great Towers of New London, Volume 3 compilation disc.


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Subject: RE: Lyr. Req: BAD LEE BROWN - not Croce's
From: Peace
Date: 06 Mar 06 - 12:45 AM

Doc's "Let the Cocaine Be"

Only lines I can get from a sound clip are:

Don't know what I'ma goin' to do
It's killin' my friends, [and?] it'll kill me too


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bad Lee Brown (from Randolph)
From: GUEST,brotherdave@bigfoot.com
Date: 11 Mar 06 - 01:36 PM

3-11-06

More historical info on Little Sadie here...

http://home.freeuk.net/pdcmusic/little_sadie.html
http://www.soundclick.com/therosinators


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Subject: ADD Version: LITTLE SADIE
From: GUEST,Coyote Breath "geezer rapper"
Date: 12 Mar 06 - 12:43 AM

This is MY version of Little Sadie (or Bad Lee Brown). The mention of Frankfort which was the location of the prison Lee Brown was sent to, makes me think the event might have taken place in Kentucky. I'm not sure where I picked up some of the verses but the majority came from Clarence Ashley's singing of it. I play it in G modal minor but I've been toying with doing a "gangsta" version of it.


LITTLE SADIE

Late one night I was makin' my rounds
Met Little Sadie and I blowed her down
Ran back home and jumped into bed
A 44 smokeless all under my head.

Woke up next morning at quarter to nine
The cabs and hacks was standing in line
Sports and gamblers standing all 'round
Gonna carry Little Sadie to her burying ground.

I got to thinkin' 'bout the deed I'd done
Grabbed my hat and away I run
Made a good run but a little too slow
They over took me in Jericho.

I was standing on the corner readin' the bill
       (hand bill about the murder)
Up came the sheriff from Jericho Hill
He said "hey fella, is your name Brown?
Remember the night you blowed your Sadie down?"

Yes sir, yes my name is Lee
You got me for murder in the first degree
First degree or the second degree
If you got any papers won't you read 'em to me?

They took me to the station dressed in black
Put me on the train and sent me back
Had no money for to go my bail
So they crammed me back in the county jail.

Judge and the jury made me take the stand
The judge held the papers in his right hand
Forty one days and forty one nights
Forty one years to wear the ball and stripes.

Took me to Frankfort, I been there before
Made me wear the chain 'til my ankle was sore
Gave me forty one years to life
And all I did was kill me wife.

Now all you young men take my advice
Never take another poor girl's life
It will cause you to weep, it will cause you to mourn
Cause you to lose your home-sweet-home



Maybe a rap version of Little Sadie is a bit over the top but a few years ago I altered Willow Garden and Pretty Polly so the singer seems a bit deranged and possibly a serial killer of young women. First time I sang it I got goose bumps. I know it's taking liberties with our sacred folk idiom but I was struck by the idea that most songs of death and destruction, murder and suicide, resonate with current news stories. Charlie Lawson, The Damsel's Lament, Knoxville Girl, Willow Garden, Pearl Bryant, Little Sadie, Omie Wise, Fatal Flower Garden and many more sound like events covered by the evening news or at least The National Enquirer.

CB


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Subject: ADD Version: LITTLE SADIE (From Stoneman family)
From: GUEST,John P Bean
Date: 16 Mar 07 - 02:34 PM

Here's the version from the Stoneman family album I borrowed from Art Rosenbaum 40 years ago so I don't have the particulars. I can't figure out the line "Fords in the gambling stand went by,/to carry little Sadie to the buryin ground." Let's just say that's not it, but Dylan might have had access to this version in doing things like "up stepped High Sheriff Thomas Hill," turning into "the sheriff from Thomasville." -JPB

LITTLE SADIE

Went out last night a making my round.
I met a little Sadie and I blowed her down.
I ran to the house and I went to bed
a forty-four smoker all under my head.

Got up this morning about half past nine
The cars and the hacks all formed in line
Fords in the gambling stand went by
To carry little Sadie to the burin ground

Standing on a corner a readin' a bill,
Up stepped high sheriff Thomas Hill,
Says, "Young man is you name Brown?
Remember the night you brought your Sadie down."

"Yes sir-ree, my name's Lee.
If you got any papers please read 'em to me"
Forty-four days, forty-four nights,
Forty-four years to wear the stars and the stripes.

Instrumental

Come all young men take my advice
Never take another poor girl's life
It'll cause you to weep, it will cause you to moan
It will cause you leave your home sweet home

The judge and the jury they both took the stand.
The judge held the papers all in his right hand.
Forty-four days, and a forty-four nights;
Forty-four years to wear the stars and the stripes.


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Subject: ADD Version: LITTLE SADIE
From: Goose Gander
Date: 22 Mar 08 - 12:07 PM

LITTLE SADIE

Went out last night to make a little round
Met little Sadie and shot her down
Went back home and I went to bed
44 pistol under my head

Woke up next morning about half past nine
Hacks and buggies all standing in a line
Cheats and gamblers standing all around
Take little Sadie to the burying ground

I began to think what a deed I'd done
Grabbed up my hat and away I run
Made a good run but a little too slow
They overtook me in Jericho

Standing on a corner reading a bill
Up stepped a sheriff from Thomasville
Said, "Young man, is your name Lee?
Must have been the man shot Sadie down."

"Yes, oh yes, my name's Lee
Got any papers read 'em over me
First degree and second degree*
Got any papers read 'em over me."

Well, they took me uptown and dressed me in black
Put me on a train and brought me back
Carried me back to that Thomasville jail
Had no one to go my bail.

Judge and jury took a stand
Judge held the papers in his right hand
44 days, 44 nights
44 years to wear the ball and stripes


Source:
Doug Wallin, Sodom Laurel, North Carolina (n.d.)
from the CD that accompanies Rob Amberg's Sodom Laurel Album (Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina Press, 2002).

*garbled


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Subject: ADD Version: LITTLE SADIE
From: GUEST,John from Elsie`s Band
Date: 22 Mar 08 - 01:56 PM

Hers is the version we do, learned from the singing and playing of Malcolm Price, undoubtedly one of the finest flat pickers in England at the time. In fact I haven`t played the record for so long I feel obliged to listen again.

LITTLE SADIE

It was late last night I took a little round
I met Little Sadie and I blowed her down.
Went right home and I went to bed
A forty four smokeless under my head.

I got to thinking `bout the deed I done
I grabbed my hat and away I ran
Made a good run but a little too slow
They overtook me down Jericho.

Standing on a corner reading a bill
Up comes the sheriff from Thomasville
He said "Young man is your name Brown?
Remember the night you blowed Sadie down?"

I said " Yes sir, my name is Lee
I murdered Little Sadie in the first degree"
"First degree, second degree
If you`ve got any blues boy, sing `em to me"

They took me down town and dressed me in black
Put me on a train and ran me back
I had no one for to go my bail
And the crammed me back in the county jail

The judge and the jury took their stand
The judge had the papers in his right hand
Forty one days, forty one nights
Forty one years with the ball and stripes.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bad Lee Brown / Little Sadie
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 22 Mar 08 - 02:19 PM

Richie, maybe you've already done this, but I do some informed speculation about the song in the thread at the top of this page called "Origins: Bad Man's Blunder / Little Sadie."   Might help add depth to what's above. Bob


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bad Lee Brown / Little Sadie
From: Goose Gander
Date: 22 Mar 08 - 03:16 PM

About the Doug Wallin recording:

"Recordings of Doug Wallin were made at his home by Wayne Martin and George Holt in 1992 and 1993. From theses recordings Martin produced a record for Smithsonian Folkways, Doug and Jack Wallin: Family Songs and Stories from North Carolina, issued in 1995."

Iris Tillman Hill, in Amberg, Sodom Laurel Album, p.165.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bad Lee Brown / Little Sadie
From: Goose Gander
Date: 22 Mar 08 - 03:31 PM

Sorry, that should have been 'these recordings' . . .


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Subject: ADD Version: LITTLE SADIE
From: sharyn
Date: 22 Mar 08 - 06:29 PM

I love this song. I first heard it from a Roger Abrams album I heard in North Carolina in 1979 or 1980 when I was dubbing tapes for the music library at UNC.

My version is substantially similar to what has been posted and I've put it on my upcoming album. For the record, here it is:

LITTLE SADIE

Early one mornin' makin' my rounds
Met Little Sadie and I blowed her down
Went on home, went to my bed
Forty-four smokeless under my head.

Woke up next mornin' 'bout half past nine,
Hacks and the buggies all standin' in line
Hacks and the buggies all standin' around,
Take Little Sadie to her buryin' ground

I began to think about the deed I done
Got on my horse and away I run
Made a good run but a little too slow
Overtaken me in Jericho.

Standin' on the corner readin' the bill
'Long come the sheriff from Thomasville,
Said "Young man, is your name Brown?
"Member the night you blowed Sadie down?"

Yes, oh yes, my name is Brown
I 'member the night I blowed Sadie down.
First degree, second degree
'F you got any papers read 'em to me.

They took me downtown, they dressed me in black,
Put me on a train and sent me back,
When I got there no one would go my bail,
Put me into the county jail.

So young man take my advice:
Never take a Little Sadie's life --
Cause you to weep, cause you to moan
Cause you to leave your happy home.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bad Lee Brown / Little Sadie
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 25 May 11 - 09:12 AM

Hedy West, on her BALLADS (Topic 12T163, 1967) sang a version in which the first line of each verse is repeated, followed by single second line ~~ so that the first 2 verses went

Went out last night and made my rounds
Went out last night and made my rounds
Met Little Sadie & I shot her down

Says I went back home and I went to bed
Says went back home and I went to bed
And I stuck my pistol right under my head

and so on, to a tune much related to the familiar Clarence Ashley one. Other variants I noted were that he fled to *Baltimore*, where he was challenged by the sheriff from *Louisville*. When challenged, replied "No sir, no sir, my name is Robert E Lee. If you got any papers don't read them to me". Fled, arrested, brought back ~~ abridged thereafter to final verse

Got up this morning, put on my boots {x2}
They going to send me down to Frankfurt to wear the stripéd suit.

A L Lloyd in the sleevenote wrote: "Hedy Weast sings & accompanies this song in the way she learnt from Hobart Bailey, an unemployed miner of the Cumberland Plateau of eastern Kentucky... The tune, pentatonic, three-lined with 'firth transposition', is one of the evergreen commonplaces of Southern mountaim melody, & close variants have been found for Died For Love and Pretty Polly.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bad Lee Brown / Little Sadie
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 25 May 11 - 09:16 AM

Last para ~ That should be "fifth transposition".


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bad Lee Brown / Little Sadie
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 25 May 11 - 10:47 PM

Anyone else come across any versions of this variant?


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Subject: Lyr Add: PENITENTIARY BLUES (Ernest "Buddy" Baker)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 28 Apr 16 - 09:32 AM

This is an earlier version, sung to a different tune than the familiar one for LITTLE SADIE. Instead of the desperate hard-driving rhythm, it is sung slower and more mournfully.

PENITENTIARY BLUES
As recorded by Ernest "Buddy" Baker on Victor 21549-A, 1928.

[scat verse, semi-yodeling]

Now late one night, I made my round.
I met my woman and I blowed her down.
I went on home and I went in to bed.
I stuck my pistol in up under my head.

Early next mornin', by the risin' sun,
I got up, well, I started to run.
I made a run but I run too slow,
'Cause a man overtook me down in Jericho.

Standin' on the corner, readin' my father's will,
Along come a man; they called him Bad Texas Bill.
He says: "Now, look-a here, Billy, ain't your name Lee Brown?
I b'lieve you' the rascal blowed your woman down."

"Yes sir, Cap', my name is Lee.
Now, if you got any blues, why, sing 'em to me."
He says: "Well, now, boy, I b'lieve that you know the best.
You better come go with me; the judge'll tell you the rest."

When I was arrested I was dressed in black.
They put me on the train and they brought me back.
Wasn't a man in town had to go my bail.
They locked me up in that old county jail.

Now, early one mornin', 'bout half past nine,
I spied a chief o' police comin' down the line.
I heared that ol' chief when he cleared up his throat.
He say: "Get ready, Lee Brown, for that circuit cou't."

That circuit cou't had been commenced.
Twelve big jurymen come steppin' hence.
In five minutes up stepped a man.
He was holdin' my verdic' in his right hand.

That verdic' read: "Murder in the first degree."
Cried: "Lord in heaven, have some mercy on me!"
See that old judge when he picked up his pen.
He say: "I don't think you'll never kill a woman again.

"Killin' these [here] women, boy, has nach'lly got to stop.
I don't know whether to tell 'em for to hang you or not.
I'll give you ninety-nine years on the hard, hard ground.
You'll remember the night you blowed your woman down."

Here I am bowed down in shame.
I got a number instead of a name.
I'll be here the rest o' my life.
All I done was kill one wife.
Lord help me!


[Sam McGee later sang this version, with lyrics very similar to these, on "Grand Dad of the Country Guitar Pickers" 1971. His lyrics have been posted here.]


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bad Lee Brown / Little Sadie
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 28 Apr 16 - 05:22 PM

Doc Watson sang a version similar to that last one, I recall.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bad Lee Brown / Little Sadie
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 29 Apr 16 - 03:23 AM

Also iirc Tom Paley.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bad Lee Brown / Little Sadie
From: 12-stringer
Date: 30 Apr 16 - 01:35 AM

Cocaine Blues (cc:Hughes)
Billy Hughes, King 636 (78rpm)
recorded 14 Feb 1947, Hollywood CA, by Billy Hughes & His Buckaroos (the Buckaroos not credited on the release label). Lyrics are a rewrite of the more familiar "Cocaine Blues" to which T J Arnall takes CC; musically, the same, with the (rit) in the last line. Probably did OK in juke joints, but I wonder how much airplay this got. It's my favorite version of the song family.

Come home from work in that old Tulsa town
Caught my baby triflin' and I shot her down.
I went to bed but I rolled all night
I knew I had to beat it, before daylight.

'Bout 4 o'clock someone knocked on my door
I grabbed my pistol and I fell to the floor.
I heard a man calling my baby's name
I opened up the door and I blew out his brains.

When I realized the thing I had done
I grabbed my hypodermic and I made my run.
I made a good start but I run too slow
They got me in a dive down in El Paso.

I'm sittin' at a table, blowin' the stick,
The plainclothes grabbed me and he got me quick
"Don't try to tell us your name is Brown.
You're the Cocaine Kid that shot your woman down."

I knew they had me solid, with no alibi,
It wouldn't help me any if I told a lie.
I said "I'm the Kid, and I'm beat, you see,
So if you got a warrant, just read it to me."

He said, "You shot your woman, and a rounder, too,
They might have had it comin' but it's bad for you."
Well, I said, "I'm no angel, and I'm full of sin,
But under those conditions I would do it again."

When I was arrested, I was dressed in blue
They handcuffed me and throwed me on an old choo-choo.
I didn't have a nickel, couldn't make a bail,
So they shook me down and throwed me in that old dirty jail.

Jury walked out, and then they walked back in,
The foreman held a verdict in his right hand.
Ninety-nine years, 'way down in Mac,
Made me regret the night I wouldn't take her back.

Now, listen, all you dopers, take my advice
Don't ever use a needle any more than twice.
Or you'll become an addict, and blow your lid,
Take a look at what it did to the Cocaine Kid.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bad Lee Brown / Little Sadie
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 06 Oct 16 - 02:53 AM

From Will H. Thomas's 1912 article "Some Current Folk-Songs Of The Negro":

"I dreamt last night I was walking around,
I met that nigger and I knocked her down;
I knocked her down and I started to run,
Till the sheriff done stopped me with his Gatling gun.
I made a good run, but I run too slow,
He landed me over in the Jericho;
I started to run off down the track.
But they put me on the train and brought me back."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bad Lee Brown / Little Sadie
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 06 Oct 16 - 03:27 AM

Cecil Sharp collected it in 1918 as "Satey."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bad Lee Brown / Little Sadie
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 25 Dec 16 - 06:07 AM

Good version by Waymon "Sloppy" Henry:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNPIc16t3Mo


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