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Lyr Add: Susianna - Take Me Back to Tulsa

Q (Frank Staplin) 03 Nov 03 - 02:32 PM
Susan A-R 03 Nov 03 - 08:55 PM
Sorcha 04 Nov 03 - 12:05 AM
Richie 30 Aug 09 - 09:15 AM
Richie 30 Aug 09 - 09:43 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 30 Aug 09 - 02:35 PM
Richie 30 Aug 09 - 05:22 PM
Richie 30 Aug 09 - 06:09 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 30 Aug 09 - 08:47 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: SUSIANNA- TAKE ME BACK TO TULSA
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 02:32 PM

What is the earliest use of the fiddle-breakdown tune used in "Take Me Back to Tulsa"? What are the variations? Little in the threads.

In 1846 (and 1848) a minstrel tune was published as "Brack Eyed Susianna," by A. Fiot, Philadelphia. Copies are in American Memory and the Levy collection. The blackface dialect is thick, but a little-less stylized version was published in a broadside by Pratt, Birmingham, England, about 1850; Bodleian Library, Ballads Catalogue, Harding B 11(360). Because of the similarity in form of the verses, I am making a big assumption that the tune is the same as that of "Take Me Back To Tulsa."

Lyr. Add: Black-Eyed Susiannah!

I've been to th east, I've been to the west,
I've been to Indiana,
There is no one there, or anywhere,
Like my charming Susiannah.

For she is black- that's a fact,
For she is black- that's a fact.

Spoken- How do you know she was black? Why-

I've been to the east, I've been to the west,
I've been to ole Carolina,
Of all the girls that I lub best,
Is my black-eyed Susianna.

I once did lub a pretty gal,
A gal they call Miss Dinah,
She lives away down in the south,
Right down in ole Carolina.

I wrote a letter to my lub,
It was down in ole Carolina,
And ebery word that I did write,
Was my charming Susiannah.

There was a gal in New Orleans,
Her name it was Miss Dinah,
She stole dis nigger's heart away,
Right down by Alabama.

Broken hearted den I feel,
I was shocked in such a manner,
I could not play the good ole tune-
Till I married Susiannah.

In the DT is the song, "Away Down East."

Away down east, away down west,
Away down Alabama,
The only girl that I love best
Her name is Susy Anna.
(The last verse mentions margarine, so this one is 1870s or later)

Also in the DT is "Black-eyed Susie."
All of these as well as some versions of "Girl with the red (blue) dress on" are related in a group "Great Big Yam Potatoes."

One verse of Susianna in Ceolas, with tune:
Been to the East, and I've been to the west
And I've been to Alabama,
Prettiest gil I ever did see
And her name was Susianna.

I am sure that Old Man Turtle, Stewie and Richie, among others know more of the history and variations and will do a good job of exposing my ignorance.

Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys (original by Tommy Duncan and Bob Wills) had a big hit with "Take Me Back To Tulsa." A version in the DT has the basic lyrics, but often other verses were added in performances, and the playing could be quite extended with repeats until the dancers mostly gave up.

Lyr. Add: Take Me Back To Tulsa

You see that girl with the red dress on,
Some folks call her Dinah
Stole my heart away from me
Way down in Lou'siana.

Cho.:
Take me back to Tulsa, I'm too young to marry,
Take me back to Tulsa, I'm too young to wed (marry).

The big bee sucks the blossom,
And the little bee makes the honey,
A poor man throws the cotton
And the rich man makes the money.

We travel all over this country wide,
Playing music by the hour, (ow-wer)
(We) Always wear a great big smile,
We never do look sour. (sow-wer)

Would I go to Tulsa, you bet your boots I would,
Travel all over the country, playin' music by the hour.
Let me off at Archer Street,
And I'll walk down to Greenwood,
Take me back....

Extras, sometimes used but not on the record.

Oh, walk and talk, Susie,
Just walk and talk, Susie,
Oh, walk and talk, (with) Susie,
Just walk and talk, (with) Susie.

I went to the railroad, laid my head on the track,
I thought about that gal of mine, And I gradually eased it back.
etc.

Can't be certain that the tune of the minstrel song is the same as that of "Take Me Back to Tulsa."

Vance Randolph called "Take Me Back To Tulsa" an old Ozark breakdown tune, but I think it was very widespread.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: SUSIANNA- TAKE ME BACK TO TULSA
From: Susan A-R
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 08:55 PM

Thanks for the post We do this one at our jam session and I've never been clear on the words to Tulsa.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: SUSIANNA- TAKE ME BACK TO TULSA
From: Sorcha
Date: 04 Nov 03 - 12:05 AM

Susan, if you need more Bob Wills lyrics, let me know. I have the album "For the Last Time". Has most of the classics on it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: SUSIANNA- TAKE ME BACK TO TULSA
From: Richie
Date: 30 Aug 09 - 09:15 AM

According to what I know, this song was composed of floating traditional and original verses by Tommy Duncan. This verse is traditional usually it's: *black man "throws" and white man "makes":

The big bee sucks the blossom,
And the little bee makes the honey,
A poor man throws the cotton
And the rich man makes the money.

The tune is known as "Shear 'Em" which has been confirmed by Chubby Wise and Meade.

Apparently there are lyrics to Shear 'em but I've never seen them. Wills said it was an old tune his grandfather knew and there were verses to it.

I'd like to find out more about Shear Em.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: SUSIANNA- TAKE ME BACK TO TULSA
From: Richie
Date: 30 Aug 09 - 09:43 AM

Black-Eyed Susiannah! is IMHO the lyric source for the fiddle tune "Been To The East, Been to the West" by the Leake County Revelers and others.

I don't see the connection with Take me Back to Tulsa.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: SUSIANNA- TAKE ME BACK TO TULSA
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 30 Aug 09 - 02:35 PM

No more connection than to a dozen other songs that have floating, borrowed lines or verses.
Agree with Richie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: SUSIANNA- TAKE ME BACK TO TULSA
From: Richie
Date: 30 Aug 09 - 05:22 PM

Hey Q,

The lyrics to Shear Em appear the the song, Steamboat, by Charles L. Long, from Quitman, Mississippi.

Also in Folksongs of Florida p. 184.

There might more info in books about Wills regard Take Me Back to Tulsa and how Wills came up with the melody. Walking Georgia Rose, an instrumental has teh same melody.

Anyone have access to these lyrics and post them?

R-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: SUSIANNA- TAKE ME BACK TO TULSA
From: Richie
Date: 30 Aug 09 - 06:09 PM

Q, I found a verse, it's all I could find:

Shear Um- Sung to the Melody of Take Me Back to Tulsa
T. C. Fertic, Kissamee FL
Folksongs From Florida 1950


Makes no difference How You shear 'um
Makes no difference How or when
Makes no difference How You shear 'um
Just so you shear 'um clean.

By posting Black-Eyed Susiannah! you found the lyrics source for "Been to the East" something that Kuntz (Fiddler's Companion) and other have not associated or known.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Susianna - Take Me Back to Tulsa
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 30 Aug 09 - 08:47 PM

Can't find any lyrics; these and similar fiddle tunes (Sam Taylor's Tune, etc.) on Rounder, Traditional Fiddle Music of the Ozarks, vol. 1, 2; but you are probably familiar with those.


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