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Eloise?

anna 18 Sep 98 - 01:49 AM
Roger Himler 18 Sep 98 - 06:21 AM
anna 18 Sep 98 - 01:49 PM
Joe Offer 18 Sep 98 - 03:36 PM
Barry Finn 18 Sep 98 - 10:10 PM
harpgirl 18 Sep 98 - 11:02 PM
Barry Finn 18 Sep 98 - 11:28 PM
Martin Ryan 19 Sep 98 - 06:31 PM
Barry Finn 19 Sep 98 - 09:52 PM
Martin Ryan 20 Sep 98 - 04:56 AM
Barry Finn 20 Sep 98 - 12:10 PM
Martin Ryan 21 Sep 98 - 07:27 AM
dick greenhaus 21 Sep 98 - 10:50 PM
Roger Himler 22 Sep 98 - 06:08 PM
harpgirl 22 Sep 98 - 06:53 PM
Roger Himler 22 Sep 98 - 08:24 PM
Joe Offer 23 Sep 98 - 01:44 AM
Roger Himler 23 Sep 98 - 06:10 AM
Barry Finn 23 Sep 98 - 05:22 PM
dick greenhaus 23 Sep 98 - 09:09 PM
Barry Finn 23 Sep 98 - 11:34 PM
harpgirl 24 Sep 98 - 06:52 PM
Barry Finn 24 Sep 98 - 10:14 PM
Barry Finn 24 Sep 98 - 11:04 PM
harpgirl 25 Sep 98 - 04:40 PM
Barry Finn 25 Oct 98 - 04:36 PM
harpgirl 26 Oct 98 - 12:21 AM
Snuffy 06 Dec 00 - 09:17 AM
LR Mole 06 Dec 00 - 09:41 AM
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Subject: Eloise?
From: anna
Date: 18 Sep 98 - 01:49 AM

My husband keeps singing a song to our daughter, but doesn't know all the lyrics. He says Taj Mahal sings it, and the lyrics he remembers are "See Eloise, gonna ride on the track-a-lack-a/Oh, boy, she's gonna ride on... And if I could, I surely would/Stand on the rock where Moses stood/ Oh, boy, etc." Does anyone have any idea what song this might be, and what album it might be on? Thanks in advance!


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Subject: RE: Eloise?
From: Roger Himler
Date: 18 Sep 98 - 06:21 AM

Anna,

I am not familiar with Taj's version of this song, but it is clearly a work song usually called "Linin' Track." Work gangs building the railroads would often sing songs to make the work go easier, to coordinate efforts (everybody pushing at the same time), and to help the gang pace themselves so they didn't run out of steam (so to speak) before the end of a very long day (dusk to dawn). The same concept that spawned sea chanteys.

Koerner, Ray and Glover do a version on their recently reissued CD. Lead Belly also does a version (that's where KRG got the song).

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Eloise?
From: anna
Date: 18 Sep 98 - 01:49 PM

Roger, thanks for the lead! The only KRG disc I have is "One Foot in the Groove," which doesn't have any song like that; I've never been able to find another. Do you know the name of the reissue?


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Subject: RE: Eloise?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Sep 98 - 03:36 PM

Hi, anna - there's a KRG reissue on Red House called Blues, Rags, & Hollers. That one has "Linin' Track," for sure. CDNow has three KRG CD's available. Go to CDNow through our "Support the Mudcat" link above, and search for "Koerner." I looked for the lyrics to "Linin' Track" in the database and on a forum search, but couldn't find it. I can't understand the singing on the CD well enough to come up with a transcription of the lyrics.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Eloise?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 18 Sep 98 - 10:10 PM

Taj Mahal recorded this on a LP called "Take A Gaint Step" in the late 60's. The chakalacka is one version of "Lining Track" bit not done to the same timing as it would've been done if being sung to work. If you sang it like a Jody Chant or like a military marching cadence you'd be much closer to the way it was used for working.
The lead sings the full song first, then sings it broken done ito single lines. A line of men would stand inbetween the tracks facing one direction another line of men would stand, facing the same direction, on the outside track, with their bars under the track like levers they'd lift together moving the whole section of both tracks & ties only an inch or so. This lift would happen on the repeat of the lead's line. The lead singing "Aint no use in writing home", the repeat by the gang "Ain't no use in writing home" is where the gang lifts.
The lift would actually be a double lift, the first quick lift wound raise it so slightly then they'd let the track fall, almost bounce, on the bounce they'd give the track it's second quick lift or jerk with a little more effort so it would move move with the bounce. Like a capstan shanty with it's short refrains & then the grand chorus, the greatest effort comes at the last refrain on the track lining song.

Ain't no use in writing home (the men in a line lift their bars)
Jody got your girl & gone (they lift their bars again)

the Jackalacka part would be the great effort, then a repeat of the whole scene until the man eyeballing the track says it's stright.

See the Captain sitting in the shade
He don't do nothing but he gets paid
Chorus
Ho boys can you line it, Ho boys give it hell
Ho boys can you line it, see Eloise go lining track

Way done younder in the holler field
Angels working on that chariot wheel

Mary, Martin, Luke & John
All those disciples dead & gone

Jack the rabbit said to Jack the bear
Can't you move it just a hair

See old Moses on the Red Sea shore
Smoting that water with a 2 X 4

I got to see the Birmingham Lining Bar Gang back in June. You'd have to see them in action to believe it. These men between 60 & 90 spiking the track to the ties, one on each side of the track racing to see whose faster at driving the spikes in, setting their own track section then moving it while singing, what an experince. Rounder just reissued in CD "Railroad Songs & Ballads" from the Library of Congress, this & some other great stuff is on it. Barry


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Subject: RE: Eloise?
From: harpgirl
Date: 18 Sep 98 - 11:02 PM

I first heard KR&G do "Linin Track" on Folksong 65,Elektra 15th anniversary commemorative album.


Mary and the baby's sittin in the shade
thinkin all the mutha's I ain't made
been on the river 19 and 10
but ah hadn't got a women like a drivin man
If I could I surely would
stand on the rock where Moses stood
You keep talkin about ta break a head
ain't said nuthin bout my hawg an bread
All I hate about linin track
These ole boys about to break may back

...harpgirl


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Subject: RE: Eloise?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 18 Sep 98 - 11:28 PM

A few more verses

God told Noah about the rainbow sign
No more water but a fire next time

Captain keeps talking bout the joint ahead (the next joint in the track)
Ain't said nothing bout the bowl (or hog) & bread

Gone to town going to hurry back
See Corinna when she ball the jack

See Eloise sitting in the shade
Talking bout the money that I ain't made

Barry who can't spell anymore (see above), Goodnight.


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Subject: RE: Eloise?
From: Martin Ryan
Date: 19 Sep 98 - 06:31 PM

Why "Eloise"? Looks out of place to me?

Regards


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Subject: RE: Eloise?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 19 Sep 98 - 09:52 PM

Eloise just happens to be the name that was used in this song, don't know why it was chosen over Berta, Rosie, Judy or any of the others who happen in other songs. Barry


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Subject: RE: Eloise?
From: Martin Ryan
Date: 20 Sep 98 - 04:56 AM

Barry
There are lots of Rosies, Judies (and, perhaps) Bertas in songs. I've just never heard Eloise in this sort of context.Its hardly biblical - which you might have expected, given the rest of the song. Assuming it was pronounced as three syllables, I would have expected Mar-y Anne or somesuch. I suppose its just that I expect the folk process to be reductionist.

regards


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Subject: RE: Eloise?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 20 Sep 98 - 12:10 PM

Martin, Eloise would be 3 syllables sounding something like (L-O-Wize). Although there are Biblical references in this, along with many other of the work songs, this shares it's backround with both the railroads & the prisons. The prison worksongs would probably contain more religious subject matter even though the men on the work gangs would be no more religious than those that worked the rails, maybe the difference lies in the more hopelessness situation of prisons. The names of the women, sometimes preceeded by a nickname or a discription (Big Legged Rosie, Old Dollar Mamie, Jumping Judy, Little Rosie, Black Betty, Yellow Gal, Black Gal) were most likely a reflection of the names common to them. Two I've only heard used once would be Eadie & like you mentioned the unlikely Eloise. Barry


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Subject: RE: Eloise?
From: Martin Ryan
Date: 21 Sep 98 - 07:27 AM

Barry

Thanks!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Eloise?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 21 Sep 98 - 10:50 PM

At the risk of being a lone dissenting voice, when I heard Leadbelly sing it, I didn't hear "Eloise"--it sounded much more like "Here we (go linin' track)". Eloise didn't appear in any of the verses; Evalina did.

Huddie was never much on enunciation, anyway.


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Subject: Lyr Add: LINING TRACK (Koerner, Ray & Glover)
From: Roger Himler
Date: 22 Sep 98 - 06:08 PM

The version with which I am most familiar is by Koerner, Ray, and Glover, and it sounds like Eloise. However, I am taken by Dick's suggestion. No doubt KR&G listened to a lot of Lead Belly (and he is likely the source for this song), but it does get hard sometimes to understand Lead when he sings. "See, Eloise, goin' linin' track' does not make much sense and most work songs were not overly obscure in their thoughts. I guess I'll go back to Lead Belly's version and see what I can hear.

One of the pains of learning from recordings is that different people hear different things, often rendering an entirely different meaning. For instance, let me go through harpgirl's version of Linin' Track and place beside it my own understanding from the same recording.

Mary and the baby's sittin in the shade [Mary and the baby's sittin' in the shade]
thinkin all the mutha's I ain't made Thinkin' on the money that I ain't made]
been on the river 19 and 10 [Oughta been on the the river 19 and 10]
but ah hadn't got a women like a drivin man [Buddy Russell drove the women like he drove the men]
If I could I surely would [If I could I surely would]
stand on the rock where Moses stood [Stand on the rock where Moses stood]
You keep talkin about ta break a head [You keep talkin' 'bout the break ahead]
ain't said nuthin bout my hawg an bread [Ain't said nothin' 'bout my hog and bread]
All I hate about linin track [All I hate about linin' track]
These ole boys about to break may back [These old bars about to bust my back]

Harpgirl, I'm not picking on you, because I truly don't know what the "right" words are. I just wanted to point out how honestly different lyrics can be heard from the same recording.

Sometime recently I went to a web site that had an index of "Misunderstood" lyrics to pop songs. Some were quite humorous, some were not credible.

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Eloise?
From: harpgirl
Date: 22 Sep 98 - 06:53 PM

Roger,
How sweet to consider my feelings! I think ofthe hearing and offering of differing lyrics as a characteristic of the "oral tradition" (not the one BC refers to!)and I am not offended. KRG did cite Leadbelly as their source. What is hog and bread anyway... Oh BTW I always thought Eloise was "see how wese goin'linin track...harp


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Subject: RE: Eloise?
From: Roger Himler
Date: 22 Sep 98 - 08:24 PM

Could be.

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Eloise?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Sep 98 - 01:44 AM

...and instead of "see Eloise," I have always heard "Seattle Region." I guess I was wrong, huh?
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Eloise?
From: Roger Himler
Date: 23 Sep 98 - 06:10 AM

Max,

I think your Joe Offer program has developed a bug. Please evaluate and repair as needed.

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Eloise?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 23 Sep 98 - 05:22 PM

Harpgirl you stand to be righted,Eloise, sung as Eloise by Black Samson recorded & collected by Allen Lomax (1936?) under the title of "Tie Shuffling Chant" see American Ballads & Folk Songs (pp. 14), other names, collected in different versions, Little Evaline, Corinna, Mattie.
Roger, Bud Russell was the transfer agent for 40 years in the Texas Prison system, driving the men would be to push the maximum amount of work out of the men, The driving Bud did was a wagon called Black Annie shufflling 115,000 prisoners about. He's mentioned in a few song but in the "Midnight Special" it speaks of him at work in his trade:
"Here come Bud Russell, how in the world do you know
Well he know him be his wagon & the chains he wore
Big pistol on his shoulder, big knife in his hand
He's coming to take you back to Sugarland".

So much for the names, they can be changed to protect the innocent, like the names of towns or ships. Barry


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Subject: RE: Eloise?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 23 Sep 98 - 09:09 PM

Barry- I'm not sure that Lomax deciphered Leadbelly's diction any better than anyone else did.


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Subject: RE: Eloise?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 23 Sep 98 - 11:34 PM

Dick, I'd put my money on Lomax's ear. I have the Leadbelly version recorded by Lomax & it's Eloise there, as I said above Black Samaon's version is also Eloise. It seems to me that Taj Mahal's (which to my ear sounded like Eloise) version may have come from another of Lomax's sources, collected in northern Florida, far from his other sources. At the time he was collecting with his father, I'd say four ears are better than two, the taping in those days, granted was not of the best, but the recordings are still pretty clear. The next best source for a song after the singers would be those that collected the songs from the original sources, if they're backed up by recordings & not flawed memory & there is more that one source, that's where I'm puttin my apples. I've always thought very highly of Allen Lomax, so I'm pretty much a doubting Barry on this one. Barry


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Subject: RE: Eloise?
From: harpgirl
Date: 24 Sep 98 - 06:52 PM

Barry, Who was Lomax's source in north florida? harpgirl


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Subject: RE: Eloise?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 24 Sep 98 - 10:14 PM

Harpgirl, he only say it was recorded by Zora Hurston & himself from Negroes in northern Florida 1935. Barry


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Subject: RE: Eloise?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 24 Sep 98 - 11:04 PM

Harpgirl, I problably should've said that in that version he (Lomax) calls it "Can't You Line It", see 'Folk Songs Of North America'. I'm wondering though why are we (me included) are getting stuck on one name (even though the thread is the name), like shantymen (better than shantymen, much more time to work their craft & their hours were twice as long) they could improvise on the spot, so if the next singer perfered Edith to Eloise & sang it to someone taking notes or into a recorder, that's it, it doesn't have to stay Edith or only Eloise or Edith. I picked up a song from an old timer, never was sure of what the song was called, he substituted the name of the ship (the Carthiginian) we were partying on for the one that it's been known by, so I never connected his version of the "Albertina" until he wrote me about the song 17 yrs later & only then did I find another version in Hugill 's collection. So does it matter if we change the names of places or people or things like ships or wagons or was it only alright for the source singer to do this & once it's be set in stone can it ever be changed again, can we legally continue the folk process without fear, I've been told that something I did wasn't the done the same way as in Rise Up Singing so what I was singing was wrong? OK, I'll stop, I'm even getting to myself, I sometimes wonder if I don't sleep enough. Barry or


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Subject: RE: Eloise?
From: harpgirl
Date: 25 Sep 98 - 04:40 PM

Barry, I don't often try to explain myself since my day job is to help others understand themselves.But now that you've brought it up, what I enjoy and the way I approach controversy of almost any kind is to argue for a larger truth, a kind of dialetical materialism where matter over mind is elevated and reality is constantly changing..(except with my teenage son , of course). I would be terribly constrained by someone telling me the right way to sing a song since song exists for me in the constantly changing present...sometimes people think I argue because I know what's right...but I like the process much more than searching for the one and only truth...As to the issue of Eliose, I wondered why Eliose would be linin track because I didn't think women did that sort of thing in the days of railroad building. Were they prisoners that the gangboss drove from a women's prison? Just what the heck does that line mean anyway? .Did Zora hang with Leadbelly? By the way I found a couple more versions of Johnny Lovely Johnny in the Irish Woman's Songbook by Carmel O Boyle while we DoneyGals were practicing last night.Should I post them? harpgirl


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Subject: RE: Eloise?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 25 Oct 98 - 04:36 PM

Hi again Harpgirl, lost track of this thread. As to Eloise, my comment was that it was sung that way, not that it should be, God knows why it's in one version & not another. Women didn't work in the gangs. In slave times they did work the fields. Maybe the same reason Sally or Nancy shows up in shanties, Eloise shows up here, someone misses her. The women prisoners didn't mix with the men, the men sometimes could have private unsupervised visits from women if they were working hard & on someone's good side, "Rosie turn up your clothes, maybe the last time, I don't know". About Leadbelly & Zora, don't know anything about it.
If you have more of Johnny Lovely Johnny, definitly post the rest. Thanks. Barry


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Subject: RE: Eloise?
From: harpgirl
Date: 26 Oct 98 - 12:21 AM

Hi Barry,
I should be in bed but DoneyGals did a benefit tonight and I am "keyed up." I plan on reading Zora's books. I heard the first field song I ever knew from Bryan Bowers called "Green Sally Up."
I think I posted some other lyrics for Johnny Lovely Johnny in that thread. But it is way off in cyberspace...I also posted a verse in Jack Haggerty which identifies it as a Michigan folk song which I thought you might be interested in...I've been working on singing Bonny Portmore... g'night...harpgirl


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Subject: RE: Eloise?
From: Snuffy
Date: 06 Dec 00 - 09:17 AM

Refresh


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Subject: RE: Eloise?
From: LR Mole
Date: 06 Dec 00 - 09:41 AM

A number of these couplets appear in Ry Cooder's "Tamp 'em Up Solid" on his "Paradise and Lunch" album. Does this cognate with the secretary's, waitstaff's, and teacher's blues, "Temp 'em Up, Salad"?


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