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Lyr Req: Junco Partner (Dr. John)

Related threads:
Lyr Req: Junco Partner / Junko Partner (15)
Lyr Req: Junco Partner (5) (closed)


GUEST,Don 26 Aug 04 - 09:35 PM
Rain Dog 27 Aug 04 - 08:48 AM
mack/misophist 27 Aug 04 - 09:32 AM
PoppaGator 27 Aug 04 - 03:20 PM
Dave Ruch 27 Aug 04 - 04:15 PM
robomatic 28 Aug 04 - 02:46 PM
fat B****rd 28 Aug 04 - 03:15 PM
mack/misophist 28 Aug 04 - 03:19 PM
mack/misophist 28 Aug 04 - 03:28 PM
GUEST 28 Aug 04 - 07:39 PM
GUEST,BBQ Dave 29 Aug 04 - 12:17 PM
Jim Dixon 30 Aug 04 - 11:01 PM
GUEST,Don 30 Aug 04 - 11:21 PM
PoppaGator 31 Aug 04 - 06:41 PM
GUEST,happydog 24 Aug 07 - 12:39 AM
GUEST,Neil McQuaig 10 Sep 08 - 01:43 AM
PoppaGator 10 Sep 08 - 09:56 AM
GUEST,Chef 04 Jan 09 - 07:27 PM
Azizi 04 Jan 09 - 09:45 PM
PoppaGator 05 Jan 09 - 12:32 PM
Azizi 05 Jan 09 - 04:43 PM
NormanD 06 Jan 09 - 02:57 PM
PoppaGator 06 Jan 09 - 03:28 PM
Azizi 06 Jan 09 - 04:30 PM
GUEST,Sean 04 May 09 - 03:20 PM
PoppaGator 04 May 09 - 03:39 PM
Jeri 04 May 09 - 04:25 PM
PoppaGator 05 May 09 - 12:49 PM
Joe Richman 28 May 11 - 10:53 AM
GUEST 12 Jan 18 - 08:20 PM
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Subject: Lyrics to Junco Partner
From: GUEST,Don
Date: 26 Aug 04 - 09:35 PM

I have a recording of Dr John singing "Junco Partner". I can barely understand ANY of it. Can anyone help with the lyrics?
Secondly, is it a traditional song or by a known composer?


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Subject: Lyr Add: JUNCO PARTNER (Bob Shad)
From: Rain Dog
Date: 27 Aug 04 - 08:48 AM

Is this it ?

Junco Partner by Bob Shad

Oh, down the road came poor little Junco
Boys, he was loaded as he could be
The poor man was knocked out, knocked out and loaded
And he was wobblin' all over the street.

I heard him singing six months ain't no sentence
He said one year was not no time
He said he had friends still in Angola
Serving from fourteen to ninety-nine

You know, when he had plenty of money
He had a friend all over town
He says he's been broke, dirty, and hungry
Not a single friend can be found

Well, a poor man pawned his white-handled pistol
Oh he bought, yeah, a diamond ring
He tried to pawn the woman he was lovin'
But the poor girl couldn't sign her name

He said give him water when he gets thirsty
Tell him that water is mighty fine when you're dry
Give him a tink, yeah, when he gets sickly
Give him the graveyard if he dies


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Subject: RE: Lyrics: Junco Partner (Dr. John)
From: mack/misophist
Date: 27 Aug 04 - 09:32 AM

My recording is a little different, but no matter. The notes say that Junko Podno is the 'national anthem' of Angola Penetentiary and that there are hundreds of verses. If no one else has the exact words, I'll copy them down in a day or two.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Junco Partner (Dr. John)
From: PoppaGator
Date: 27 Aug 04 - 03:20 PM

What Rain Dog gives us, above, is a good sampling of popular verses. Every singer has variants, of course. The late great James Booker (a phenomenal pianist, worth searching out and listening to) was a notorious Angola alumnus and did great versions of this song. I think I can quote a verse, or most of a verse anyway, off the top of my head:

Gimme whiskey when I'm frisky
Gimme water when I'm dry
Gimme cocaine when (something -- sorry!)
And a l'il her-on before I die.

Another verse ended "And run a marijuana farm until 1999." He's sing this, of course, back when '99 seemed to be way off in the future. Booker didn't live to see 1999.

He also usually included references to "The Ponderosa," which was one of the names used for the Angola prison farm.

I'm sorry I can't be there with you, listening along to your Dr.John recording. I'm sure I could decipher his patois for you; at least, I would have enough familiarity with enough different versions that I could deduce what he was saying.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Junco Partner (Dr. John)
From: Dave Ruch
Date: 27 Aug 04 - 04:15 PM

Great song! Professer Longhair did it too as I recall...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Junco Partner (Dr. John)
From: robomatic
Date: 28 Aug 04 - 02:46 PM

Warren Zevon sinks a short and frisky version on "Hindu Love Gods" backed up by most of the members of R.E.M. I couldn't make out the sense of it on that album either.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Junco Partner (Dr. John)
From: fat B****rd
Date: 28 Aug 04 - 03:15 PM

I first heard this by Arbee Stidham and I do believe Joe Strummer did a version. Great song.


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Subject: Lyr Add: JUNCO PARTNER (Dr. John)
From: mack/misophist
Date: 28 Aug 04 - 03:19 PM

This is real close to what's on the recording. I didn't try to reproduce the accent. That's up to you.

Down the road come Junko Podno
The boy was loaded, as can be.
Boy he was knock, knock , knocked out loaded.
You know he wobbled, all over the street.

Singing 'Six months ain't no sentence.
'Lord, and one year, ain't no time.
'They got boys, up on the Ponderosa,
'Doing life, and ninty-nine.'

If I had, if I had, if I had, a million dollars.
Just one million, for my own.
I would buy me a little bright red ribbon (?)
And I would roll me a big moogie bone.

Down the road, down the road, down the road
Yeah here he comes Mr Jones.
OOh boy, you on your back so hard.
Got to say 'Lordy lord.'
You say 'A penny make a nickle, 'n nickle make a dime
Dime 'll make a half and a half 'll make a dollar.
Make you high.

Well, give me whiskey, when I get a little frisky.
Cause it's my good drink, when I get a little dry.
Give me tobacco, when I get a little sickly
But give me heroine before I die.

Repeat first



I think Prof Longhair's version is similar. It wouldn't be surprising because the Professor supposedly taught the Doctor piano.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Junco Partner (Dr. John)
From: mack/misophist
Date: 28 Aug 04 - 03:28 PM

If it's any help, Dr John's supposed to have a 'Channel' accent. That's the standard New Orleans/Cajun accent overlaid with Irish. People from Baton Rouge say that in New Orleans, they talk so fast, they're hard to understand. In both Creole and English.


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Subject: Lyr Add: JUNCO PARTNER (Holy Modal Rounders)
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Aug 04 - 07:39 PM

The Holy Modal Rounders did Junco Partner on their double album "The Holy Modal Rounders" about 1972 I think, which incorporates some variations of the above lyrics, eg

Down the road down the road down the road
Come a junco partner partner partner
He was loaded
As can be
He was knocked out
Knocked out loaded
He was loaded
With misery

Once I had
One million dollars
Had a lot of good friends
All around
Now I don't have
Any money
And my best friend's
A gonna put me down


(Repeat first verse)

There might be another verse but this song is fairly short (as are most of the songs on this excellent album).

The only "Junco" I have heard of is a Slate-coloured Junco (bird, possibly American). I would hazard a guess that it might mean the same thing as "Junkie", and that knocked out or loaded would mean under the influence of drugs. Anyway I suspect this is either a traditional song or one which long pre-dates Dr. John.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Junco Partner (Dr. John)
From: GUEST,BBQ Dave
Date: 29 Aug 04 - 12:17 PM

Dr John's 3rd verse is more like this:

If I had, if I had, if I had, a million dollars.
Just one million, for my own.
I would buy me that old parish prison
And I would grow me a big mootie farm

(Mootie is old time New Orleans slang for marijuana.)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Junco Partner (Dr. John)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 30 Aug 04 - 11:01 PM

JUNCO PARTNER or JUNKO PARTNER has been recorded by Aaron King & the Imperials, Anders Osborne, Carlos del Junco Band, Dave Ray, Dr. John, Eric Von Schmidt, Fessor's Big City Band, Harry Connick Jr., Hindu Love Gods, James Booker, James Wayne, John Hammond Jr., John Mooney, Ken Saydak, Louis Jordan & His Tympany 5, Michael Bloomfield, Mike Wilhelm, Nobody's Children, Professor Longhair, Steady Earnest, The 101'ers, The Clash, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, The Holy Modal Rounders, The Radiators, Willie Egan.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Junco Partner (Dr. John)
From: GUEST,Don
Date: 30 Aug 04 - 11:21 PM

Thanks one an all for your help. It now all makes sense - sorta!
Don


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Junco Partner (Dr. John)
From: PoppaGator
Date: 31 Aug 04 - 06:41 PM

Of the many renditions so helpfully enumerated yesterday by Jim Dixon, I would single out James Booker's as the closest to "definitive," and certainly one worth listening to.

James Carroll Booker III was both the personification or "Platonic ideal" of a Junco Partner himself, and also an absolute virtuoso on the piano.

Booker was about the same age as Mac Rebbenac (Dr. John) and the two of them started out as young stars on the then-vibrant N.O. studio-recording scene in the '50s. Both learned from the same masters (e.g., Professor Longhair) at about the same time.

Booker was a junkie and a homosexual who spent a lot of time at the Angola Prison Farm. Sometime during the mid-70s, he established a cordial relationship with the local District Attorney (public prosecutor), one Harry Connick, Sr., a noted amateur trumpter and jazz/standard vocalist. Booker became a tutor for the DA's son, Harry Jr., when he was a young prodigy as a pianist. From that time on, Booker didn't serve any more prison time (although he seems NOT to have "cleaned up his act" to any noticeable degree, and indeed died young of causes attributable to excessive drug use).

Many cynical observers are convinced that Booker must have been serving as a police informer in order to avoid prosecution during his final years. That may or may not be true; Connick Sr. may have extended him favorable treatment purely because of his musical talent and his personal friendship with the DA and his son.

There's a famous Michael P. Smith photo of a *very* young Harry Connick Jr. sitting in with Booker before a huge crowd at Jazz Festival one year. I just tried to locate a copy on the web, with the intentino of posting a link, but no luck. Mike Smith is probably protecting his copyright.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Junco Partner (Dr. John)
From: GUEST,happydog
Date: 24 Aug 07 - 12:39 AM

Just as a footnote, the songwriting credit to "Bob Shad" is a crock. Shad was a record producer in the 1950s who had no hand in writing this song, which has been floating around in New Orleans since way before the 1950s. I don't know whether or not Shad has the copyright on it - I doubt it - but he sure as h#ll didn't write it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Junco Partner (Dr. John)
From: GUEST,Neil McQuaig
Date: 10 Sep 08 - 01:43 AM

one of the posts was close

If I had, if I had, if I had, a million dollars.
Just one million, for my own.
I would buy me the land around parish prison
And I would grow me a big mootie farm


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Junco Partner (Dr. John)
From: PoppaGator
Date: 10 Sep 08 - 09:56 AM

" this song, which has been floating around in New Orleans since way before the 1950s."

It's a fairly safe bet that this song's origins, if they could be found, would be found not in the city of New Orleans but at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, aka "the Ponderosa." Of course, many Angola inmates have always come from the state's largest city, and many of those relative few "alumni" who live long enough to be released find their way back to town. And this song has always gone back and forth with its singers.

I'm fairly sure that Champion Jack Dupree recorded this as "Junker's Blues," and that his rendition may be the first/oldest commercial recording. (I'm assuming that there was probably at least one earlier "collector's" recording made at Angola.)

(Great to see this old thread reappear...)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Junco Partner (Dr. John)
From: GUEST,Chef
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 07:27 PM

I believe it should read, "give him a tincture when he gets sickly" not "tink, yeah". This would make more sense medically speaking.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Junco Partner (Dr. John)
From: Azizi
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 09:45 PM

The version that GUEST 28 Aug 04 - 07:39 PM posted was "Down the road down the road down the road/come a junco partner partner partner"

That same Guest wrote "The only "Junco" I have heard of is a Slate-coloured Junco (bird, possibly American). I would hazard a guess that it might mean the same thing as "Junkie", and that knocked out or loaded would mean under the influence of drugs."

I agree with the guess that "knocked out or loaded would mean under the influence of drugs." However, I'm surprised that no one has suggested that a "junco partner" might be a man who is celebrating the African derived custom of Junkanoo {Junkanu; John Canoe}. Junkanoo is still celebrated in the Bahamas, and some other Caribbean nations. It is also celebrated in Belize [Central America] and elsewhere. In the US, the celebration of Junkanoo by enslaved, freed, and free people of African descent during the 18th century and earlier was called "kunering". Of course, some of these people of African descent had lived in the Caribbean before being brought to the United States.

There are many theories about the origin/s and meaning/s of Junkanoo. Two widely accepted theories are that John Canoe was the name of either a White slaver or an African king who was sold into slavery in the Caribbean. I think that both of these theories are balderdash. Instead, I believe the name of this celebration and
some of the traditional customs associated with it comes from the masquerades for the Nigerian, West African deity Egungun, and/or some other West African or Central African deities. Fwiw, I think that "Junkanoo" and "John Canoe" could be folk etymology for "Egungun".

That said, the customs associated with Jonkanoo {kunering} are also very much that of some traditional European celebrations. See this quote from Jonkannu parades-Wikipedia

"The etymology is disputed, but the celebration may have been named for a West African chieftain or shaman among the Papaws or Popos tribes of West Africa in the early 1700's. Recorded names have included King John Conny, Prince Jean Konnu and dzon'ku nu (an African sorcerer persona plus "nu" meaning "man"). Brought to the Americas in the slave trade the tradition survived during the slave off days of Christmas night and New Years. The practice bears great resemblance to Pre-Christian European animist or "mumming" traditions that survived into the 19th century as Christmas traditions. A notable survivor being the Celtic Wren day. Both the Jonkonnu traditions and the Mummer's involved covering the face in soot or ash, dressing in fanciful animal like garments such as the Cow Head and the Hobby Horse, and parading the streets with music before dawn on December 26th."...

-snip-

Notes from the Cronly Family Papers 1888-1925 [Wilmington, North Carolina] provide this information about kunering:

"A letter to D.T. Cronly of Wilmington, NC, from W. D. MacMillan, 3rd, of Chapel Hill, NC, is in reply to Cronly's interest in Wilmington's "Kuners." Dougald MacMillan later wrote "John Kuner," published in the Journal of American Folklore in January, 1926. In a footnote to the article, MacMillan acknowledged Cronly's help in investigating the custom. Kunering was a song and dance performance done in the street by masked and costumed Negro men (Kuners) on Christmas Day. After each performance, the leader passed a hat for contributions. MacMillan's article traced the custom to only a few other coastal towns of North Carolina, and to Nassau, where these men were called "John Canoes." In Wilmington, the custom apparently died out in the 1880's."

http://library.uncw.edu/web/collections/manuscript/MS009.html


-snip-

Finally, those interested may read this excerpt from an online article whose link no longer works {I quoted this excerpt in my 03 Aug 07 - 08:28 AM post to Jacomo finane? What does that mean?

"In his [book] Slave Culture, [Sterling] Stuckey, too, maintains "John Kunuering's" African origins. Yet he elaborates on Linda's, Cassidy's, and Prigg's discussions when he explains the import of the tradition in West Africa as well as the underlying motives behind the slaves' practice of it in the new world.

In terms of its African origins Stuckey tells us, "a Nigerian ritual that closely resembles John Kunering," traditionally took place in early summer as a spiritual aid in crop production. Although "Europeans thought the John Kunering to be mainly for children, the ceremony "had a deeper significance" as it was also performed "to honor the ancestors" (Stuckey 68). And where the slave's employment of the tradition is concerned, Stuckey asserts,

Knowing that in North America Christmas was the main religious period for the dominant group when families gathered, exchanged gifts, worshipped, and enjoyed the festivities of the occasion, the slaves took advantage of that time to revive African cultural expression along somewhat similar lines, since in Africa exchanges of gifts at reunions of family and friends on holidays were not uncommon, especially on important religious occasions.

Exchanges of gifts, such as they were, among slaves were often accompanied by the receipt of gifts from the master and, in the context of John Kunering, "presents" in the form of donations after performances. (69-70)

In other words, in practicing the "John Kunering" tradition on Southern plantations, such as Linda's, the slaves were able to mold African customs to accommodate and take advantage of a Euro-American holiday. Such blendings may have also served to satisfy an ancient need--honoring their ancestors and each other--as well as a new one--collecting much needed money and/or food.

Linda's account of the slaves' Johnkannaus practice implicitly validates Stuckey's assertions. But she explicitly concurs with Stuckey about the slaves' expecting gifts from their masters following their performances. For as she tells us, "It is seldom that any white man or child refuses to give them a trifle" (119). Yet, she also alludes to another aspect of both African and slave culture, the secular song, when she writes, "For a month previous they are composing songs, which are sung on this occasion, "especially when a white man, or master, refuses to give a donation. "If he does," Linda explains, "they regale his ears with the following song:--

   Poor massa, so dey say;
   Down in de heel, so dey say;
   Got no money, so dey say;
   Not one shillin, so dey say;
   God A'mighty bress you, so dey say. (119)

"Through Slave Culture's Lens Comes the Abundant Source: Harriet A. Jacobs's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl"
- Critical Essay MELUS, Spring, 1999 by Karen E. Beardslee


**
Click on these links for more information about Junkanu and kunering:

Jonkonnu-Belize

http://www.junkanoo.com/junkanoo/


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Junco Partner (Dr. John)
From: PoppaGator
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 12:32 PM

I've known for quite a while that the word "junkanoo" had somesort of Afro-Carribeanmeaning, and am glad to have been enlightened about it.

In the case of the song "Junco Partner," however, I'm pretty sure that the meaning has a lot more to do with dope than with ancient fertility rituals or whatever ~ at least to most of the characters up in Angola who originateed, developed, and folk-processed this song over the decades.

A guy like the late great James Carroll Booker III may have heard of "junkanoo" music or dancers from down in the islands, but probably didn't know (or care) much about the historical origins of the terminology. He'd know, and care, only that it sounded like it had something to do with junk. When Booker sang "Down the road, down the road, down the road, come a junko partner," he was definitely talking about someone looking to get stoned ~ period!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Junco Partner (Dr. John)
From: Azizi
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 04:43 PM

Thanks for that feedback, PoppaGator. I also pmed Q for his input and he agrees with you that "junko" in this song almost certainly refers to "junk" {dope}.

Oh well, at least I shared information about the African {and European} roots of Junkanoo {John Canoe, kunering} celebrations.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Junco Partner (Dr. John)
From: NormanD
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 02:57 PM

PoppaG - "Junker's Blues" by Champion Jack Dupree is a different song, lyrically and musically, but a close cousin thematically, ie, it's a song about dope. I'll try to dig it out and check how close the words are to "Junco Partner".

Fat's Domino's first ever hit, "The Fat Man", was a virtual steal of it, if you remember that one.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Junco Partner (Dr. John)
From: PoppaGator
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 03:28 PM

Norman:

Thanks for pointing tht out. I've heard that Champion Jack song, but can't remember it very clearly. I am able to hear "The Fat Man" in my mind's ear, however; the opening line of the melody is very similar to "Junco Partner," but the rest of the verse is different, and even (I think!) consists of a different number of measures. So, yeah, you rite!

Azizi:

I was glad to learn what you had to say about "junknoo," and appreciate your having posted it. My opinion that it probably has little or nothing to do with this song is a separate issue; I'm sure you understand


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Junco Partner (Dr. John)
From: Azizi
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 04:30 PM

PoppaGator, yes, you guys have convinced me that "Junco Partner" is about dope.

I'm cool and the gang with that {not that it matters a hill of beans how I feel about it. It is what it is}.

I'm glad I posted info about Junkanoo. I believe that I'm on much stronger ground about the origin of Junkanoo being some African customs and not the widely held view that enslaved Africans celebrated Junkanoo way back when and to this day in the Caribbean and elsewhere because of a slave trader named John Canoe or an African chief called Jon Conny.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Junco Partner (Dr. John)
From: GUEST,Sean
Date: 04 May 09 - 03:20 PM

I'm not an expert, but am a big Dr. John fan and have listened to this song a mill-y-un times. I always thought the last line was "but give me heaven before I die", meaning give me religion before I die, or at least the illusion of going to a better place.

Does anyone agree/disagree?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Junco Partner (Dr. John)
From: PoppaGator
Date: 04 May 09 - 03:39 PM

Disagree ~ strongly. It's give me heroin (pronounced "herr-on," which is not uncommon among junkies hereabouts) before I die. I could not be more certain about this.

I was listening to this on the radio just a couple of days ago, and thought of this thread, wondering just which lines were the most undecipherable to folks outside New Orleans (especially those FAR away, like England), such as the GUEST who started this discussion years ago. The most obscure lyric is probably where Dr. John muses about starting a "mootie farm" on the prison grounds. Based on the many other lyric variations, I have to conclude that "mootie" is one of the very many slang words (or "code" words) for marijuana. I'd guess that it comes from the Mexican "mota."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Junco Partner (Dr. John)
From: Jeri
Date: 04 May 09 - 04:25 PM

YouTube of the song here.
Sounds like he's singing:

Give me whiskey when I be frisky
Gimme the rye when I be dry
Give me the reefer when I be silly*
Give me my heaven before I die

*Not positive that's it


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Junco Partner (Dr. John)
From: PoppaGator
Date: 05 May 09 - 12:49 PM

Jeri, I'll try to remember to play the video (w/audio) at home tonight and "translate." I'm at work with no speakers right now, so I can't be of any immediate help.

As a New Orleanian of some 25 years standing, I can understand the local dialects, even the densest of them, pretty well. I can easily understand how others might find it indecipherable ~ I need a "translator" for other dialects that are similarly unfamiliar to me (e.g., Scots).

As noted yesterday, what the singer wants before he dies is very definitely "herr-on" (heroin) ~ not "heaven." Sorry if anyone finds this offensive, but that's exactly what this song, "Junc(k)o Podner," is about. (If you like the song well enough to sing it, but can't bring yourself to mention heroin, you can of course "folk-process" it to suit yourself ~ you wouldn't be the first to "personalize" this particular song, not by a long shot.)

I'm sure I'll be able to clarify that line about reefer as well. I can't remember what Mac sings for that line, but you're probably right in being unsure about the word "silly." I'm also pretty sure he sings "gimme tobacco [or maybe "to-backy"] when I'm a 'lil sickly" somewhere in this verse...

More later.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Junco Partner (Dr. John)
From: Joe Richman
Date: 28 May 11 - 10:53 AM

I was searching for the lyrics to James Wayne's song "Junko Partner" when I came across this thread. Only a single mention of his name in a long list of singers who had performed it. The song was indeed a prison folk song, and to the best of my knowledge it was first recorded by James "Wee Willie" Wayne. I have it on the CD mentioned in the following article:

http://borensteinslaw.blogspot.com/2006_08_01_borensteinslaw_archive.html

This story is pretty incredible, and is one of the best indictments of the mental "health" system I've ever read.

James Wayne has never gotten much credit for anything, but his version of the song was the first on record and is still the best. I can understand most of it, but not all. He definitely says "Give me Heavon (sic) when I die" and he raised a "tobacco farm." It sounds like he would've pawned his "Swee'Po' bello" who could'nt sign her name.

Joe


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Junco Partner (Dr. John)
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 08:20 PM

amazing thread, amazing story about Booker and Wayne, thanks.


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