Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Origins: Been In The Pen So Long

DigiTrad:
I WISH I WAS A MOLE IN THE GROUND
MY LAST OL' DOLLAR


Related threads:
(origins) Origin: I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground (54)
(origins) Origins: Mole in the Ground/Tempie/Capie (5)
Lyr/Chords Req: I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground (3) (closed)


Gerard 14 Jun 04 - 06:48 PM
GUEST,Pete 18 Jan 13 - 09:56 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 18 Jan 13 - 12:05 PM
Stringsinger 18 Jan 13 - 04:49 PM
Mr Happy 19 Jan 13 - 05:42 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 19 Jan 13 - 06:16 AM
Stringsinger 19 Jan 13 - 03:59 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 19 Jan 13 - 04:57 PM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 05 Nov 14 - 02:47 PM
GUEST 05 Nov 14 - 02:59 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:





Subject: Origins: Been In The Pen So Long
From: Gerard
Date: 14 Jun 04 - 06:48 PM

From Mel Bay's Complete Folk Guitar Method by Jerry Silverman,
I'm looking for any background information on the following songs:

BEEN IN THE PEN SO LONG
IT MAKES A LONG TIME MAN FEEL BAD
IN THE PINES
ALBERTA LET YOUR HAIR HANG LOW

E6                     A7
Been in the pen so long
E6            A7       Am
Honey, I'll be long gone
E                      A7
Been in the pen, and I gotta go back again
A7             D7   G7(b5) C7
Baby where you been so    long?
F#9            B7      E "C7" B7
Baby where you been so long?

etc....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Been In The Pen So Long
From: GUEST,Pete
Date: 18 Jan 13 - 09:56 AM

I guess the song could originate from the blues era, since the songs it also in two other Mel Bay Blues songbooks. Do you like the melody of this song? The song could possible also have Jewish roots, since Jerry Silvermann, being a Jew, seems the be the only person who has put this song into print.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Been In The Pen So Long
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 18 Jan 13 - 12:05 PM

Pete you are a little off beam. At least three of the above if not all four in one form or another show up in both black and white tradition.
Jerry Silverman is only one of many Jewish performers and writers who have documented the American folk and blues tradition and done much over the years to keep it alive and kicking.
My own personal feeling regarding Jerry's printed songs are that there seem to be too many chords. A little too sophisticated for my taste.

Hoot


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Been In The Pen So Long
From: Stringsinger
Date: 18 Jan 13 - 04:49 PM

The song originally appeared in The American Songbag by Carl Sandburg. The arrangement with the chord sequence was mine performed years ago with my singing partner Guy Carawan. It was printed in SingOut! at one time and I think Jerry picked it up from our performance. I gave it a jazz tinge.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Been In The Pen So Long
From: Mr Happy
Date: 19 Jan 13 - 05:42 AM

Been In The Pen So Long
The ink's all dried up!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Been In The Pen So Long
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 19 Jan 13 - 06:16 AM

Stringsinger, Thanks for pointing out the inclusion of the song in "Songbird's Sandbag". I checked out my copy and thought that as the original poster was looking for background he migh be interested to know Sandburg's comments:
Learned by three regular army men in jail in Oklahoma "A white man's rearrangement of a negro wail such as one recorded in a publication of The Texas Folklore Society".
Sandburg's book was published in 1927.
I guess it was the late 50's when your version was in Sing Out.

Hoot


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Been In The Pen So Long
From: Stringsinger
Date: 19 Jan 13 - 03:59 PM

Sure Hoot. It was about 1957 or so, can't remember when it came out.

Sandburg's book was a "bible" of folk songs at that time. I have a 1927 edition when it first came out.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Been In The Pen So Long
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 19 Jan 13 - 04:57 PM

Stringsinger, I thought my copy was 1927 too but now I am not so sure. It is copyrighted in 1927 with no other date but inside the dust jacket it shows a price of $4.95. It then goes on to state that the book was originally published at $7.50 but it's great success and it's assured popularity make possible it's republication in this new edition.
I won my copy in an auction probably about 3 years ago.

1957. That's about the time I started buying Sing Out. I still have a whole heap of them but must admit I haven't seen a copy for a number of years now

Hoot


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Been In The Pen So Long
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 05 Nov 14 - 02:47 PM

Gates Thomas said he heard "Been In The Pen So Long" in approximately 1890 and gave lyrics and music; see his article in _Rainbow In The Morning_ ed. Frank Dobie. Given that Thomas wasn't consistent in his claims about when he heard "Boll Weevil," 1895 or 1900 might be more likely. Example stanza from Thomas: "Don't like no Fort Worth gal; don't like no Fort Worth gal;/She'll meet you on the street and it's, 'Baby, can't you treat?'/Don't like no Fort Worth gal."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Been In The Pen So Long
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Nov 14 - 02:59 PM

If you modify "Been in the pen so long" to "Where have you been so long," you get structurally similar white-sung stuff from 1907 (TN) and 1909 (WV) that E.C. Perrow reported on in the 1910s, with a melody given. On the structure, compare "Going Away From Home" by John Snipes, who was born about 1900 and learned songs from musicians much older than himself. (Forgetting the structure, Howard Odum came across a version of "Railroad Bill" before 1909 that happened to have the lyric "Where have you been so long" in it.)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 22 September 11:18 AM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.