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Origins: Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out

DigiTrad:
NOBODY KNOWS YOU WHEN YOU'RE DOWN AND OUT


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Down and Out (from Dave Van Ronk) (8)
Chord Req: Nobody Knows You When You're Down and.. (13)


Will.Bakker@inter.nl.net 24 Jan 99 - 02:40 PM
Mike Billo 24 Jan 99 - 03:16 PM
Will Bakker 24 Jan 99 - 04:11 PM
GUEST,Lakeman 29 Nov 04 - 06:30 PM
GUEST,MCP 29 Nov 04 - 07:06 PM
GUEST,Lakeman 30 Nov 04 - 06:06 PM
Peace 30 Nov 04 - 06:29 PM
GUEST,MCP 30 Nov 04 - 06:39 PM
Joe Offer 30 Nov 04 - 09:05 PM
Big Al Whittle 01 Dec 04 - 04:55 AM
RWilhelm 01 Dec 04 - 09:12 AM
Jim Dixon 08 Dec 04 - 09:14 AM
Roger the Skiffler 08 Dec 04 - 09:18 AM
Mr Happy 24 Apr 08 - 02:45 AM
MikeofNorthumbria 24 Apr 08 - 06:49 AM
Nick 24 Apr 08 - 08:50 AM
Leadbelly 24 Apr 08 - 01:37 PM
pdq 24 Apr 08 - 01:53 PM
Leadbelly 24 Apr 08 - 02:04 PM
GUEST,Jim 24 Apr 08 - 03:34 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 24 Apr 08 - 06:46 PM
GUEST,Dave MacKenzie 24 Apr 08 - 06:50 PM
MissouriMud 25 Apr 08 - 12:28 PM
M.Ted 25 Apr 08 - 08:23 PM
Mooh 25 Apr 08 - 09:40 PM
Flash Company 26 Apr 08 - 07:18 AM
Leadbelly 26 Apr 08 - 03:52 PM
GUEST,Hot5and7 05 Aug 09 - 09:49 AM
Stewart 09 Dec 10 - 10:25 PM
Charley Noble 10 Dec 10 - 08:17 AM
GUEST,PC Anderson 13 Dec 15 - 05:06 PM
FreddyHeadey 13 Dec 15 - 07:45 PM
FreddyHeadey 13 Dec 15 - 07:53 PM
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Subject: nobody knows you when you're down and out
From: Will.Bakker@inter.nl.net
Date: 24 Jan 99 - 02:40 PM

I'm looking for the chords of Nobody knows you when you're down and out. Who can help?


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Subject: chords: nobody knows you when you're down and out
From: Mike Billo
Date: 24 Jan 99 - 03:16 PM

C, E7, A Dmin,A,Dmin., F, F#dim,C,A7,D, G, then repeat, with the D and G at the end being double in length.


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Subject: RE: nobody knows you when you're down and out
From: Will Bakker
Date: 24 Jan 99 - 04:11 PM

Thanks Mike, the F#dim did it! Great! It is the first time I tried this forum and it works real fast. Thanks again.


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Subject: origins: nobody knows you...
From: GUEST,Lakeman
Date: 29 Nov 04 - 06:30 PM

Anyone know WHO wrote "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out", and when/why? The recording I have just says, "popularised by Jimmy Cox" - and is the spoken section from the original?


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Subject: RE: origins: nobody knows you...
From: GUEST,MCP
Date: 29 Nov 04 - 07:06 PM

Seems to be words and music by Jimmy Cox, 1923.

I don't know what spoken section you have in your recording, I don't think I've ever heard a spoken part.

Mick


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Subject: RE: origins: nobody knows you...
From: GUEST,Lakeman
Date: 30 Nov 04 - 06:06 PM

Mick,
There is a spoken part on the Louis Jordan version. Here tis:-
(Sung against melody instrumental)
"You know folks, I once lived in a big mansion high up on top of a hill Where I used to give caviar and champagne parties just for the thrill.
But the wrong folks moved into town and things went down in a spin
And now I can't even rustle up enough to buy a nip o' gin..."
(sings) "But as soon as I...etc

I change my version to ..."And things got way outta hand and then I ended up playing in... (name the band you hate the most, eg the Seeker's backing band.)

Thanks for the info about Jimmy Cox. I thought it was later than 1923 because it is known as a Depression Era song.

Lakeman


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Subject: RE: origins: nobody knows you...
From: Peace
Date: 30 Nov 04 - 06:29 PM

All but one site I went to showed 1923 as the date.


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Subject: RE: origins: nobody knows you...
From: GUEST,MCP
Date: 30 Nov 04 - 06:39 PM

You might associate it with the Depression Era as Bessie Smith had some success with it in 1929, and I think Ida Cox recorded it in the same year.

I've not heard the spoken intro before, so it might be Louis Jordan's own invention, or it might be like the verses to so many standards and noone bothered with it. (I just listened to the Bessie Smith 1929 version and she kicks straight in with Once I lived...).

(I've also got another source giving 1922 as the song date, so if you're really keen you might check the exact copyright date).

Mick


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Subject: RE: origins: nobody knows you when you're down and out
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Nov 04 - 09:05 PM

If it's 1923, it's public domain, right?
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: origins: nobody knows you when you're down and out
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Dec 04 - 04:55 AM

I guess so. In England, depends when the writer died - 60 years after his death is my understanding. My mind may be playing tricks but I see to remember a Scottish name on the credits of the bessie Smith recording. I suppose the PRS payments could still be buying somebody's haggis this hogmannay.


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Subject: RE: origins: nobody knows you when you're down and out
From: RWilhelm
Date: 01 Dec 04 - 09:12 AM

Speaking of the spoken part, I heard a street singer in the 70's do it like this:

Friends, I used to live the life of a millionaire        
Spent all my money, I know it was inflationary, but I didn't care
Took my friends out for a mighty good ride
Chevis Regal, Maui-wowie, Thunderbird wine
Then things began to fall so low
I had no money I had no place to go
I swear if I get my hands on a dollar again
I'm gonna hold on to it until Susan B. Anthony lights up a Virginia Slim


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Subject: Lyr Add: NOBODY KNOWS YOU WHEN YOU'RE DOWN AND OUT
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 08 Dec 04 - 09:14 AM

Bessie Smith recorded this May 15, 1929. You can hear her version at The Red Hot Jazz Archive. There are some significant differences in wording between it and the one in the DT, so I think it's worth posting here:

NOBODY KNOWS YOU WHEN YOU'RE DOWN AND OUT
(Jimmy Cox) (as sung by Bessie Smith)

Once I lived the life of a millionaire.
Spendin' my money, I didn't care.
I carried my friends out for a good time,
Buyin' bootleg liquor, champagne, and wine.
When I begin to fall so low,
I didn't have a friend, and no place to go;
So if I ever get my hands on a dollar again,
I'm gonna hold onto it till them eagles grin.

Nobody knows you when you down and out.
In my pocket, not one penny,
And my friends, I haven't any.
But if I ever get on my feet again,
Then I'll meet my long-lost friends.
It's mighty strange, without a doubt.
Nobody knows you when you down and out,
I mean, when you down and out.

M-m-m-m, when you down and out.
M-m-m-m, not one penny,
And my friends, I haven't any.
M-m-m-m, I done fell so low,
Nobody wants me 'round their door.
M-m-m-m, without a doubt,
No man can use you when you down and out,
I mean, when you down and out.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 08 Dec 04 - 09:18 AM

Jim's (ie Bessie's!) is the version I murder, tho' I do tend to transpose "cheap Greek brandy" for "bootleg liquor" when in Greece!
I was listening to Bessie's version only yesterday!
RtS


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Subject: RE: Origins: Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out
From: Mr Happy
Date: 24 Apr 08 - 02:45 AM

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwNoworUBvI


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Subject: RE: Origins: Nobody Knows You When You're Down and
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 24 Apr 08 - 06:49 AM

The chords for "Nobody knows you…" given by Mike Billo above are:

"C, E7, A Dmin, A, Dmin., F, F#dim,C,A7,D, G, then repeat, with the D and G at the end being double in length."

They certainly work. However, the version I learned (about 45 years ago, can't remember where from) is slightly different.

Where MB has his first A chord (over the word "millionaire" in line 1) my version has an A minor chord. For his second A chord (over the word "money" in line 2)I have an A7. And although it's OK to end every verse on an unresolved G (or G7) chord, I prefer to come home to a C chord at the finish of the last verse.

One more tip. That F# dim chord can sound really nice if you make it by holding down the F# note on the 6th (low E) string with your 2nd finger while barring 4th and 2nd strings at 1st fret with the 1st finger, stopping the 3rd string at 2nd fret with your 3rd finger, and damping out the 5th & 1st strings with adjacent fingers.

This diminished shape can be used anywhere on the fingerboard. In many jazz and blues songs it's a useful alternative to the "one up – one down - one up- one down" diminished chord played on the first four strings, which many introductory chord books give as the standard.

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out
From: Nick
Date: 24 Apr 08 - 08:50 AM

Same effect but I've always played it with F - D7/F# - C/G - E/G# - A as I like the rising chromatic bass line - (the D7/F# is just an F#dim with no D# so sounds pretty much identical)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Nobody Knows You When You're Down and
From: Leadbelly
Date: 24 Apr 08 - 01:37 PM

Online sources aren't clear about the composer. Either Jimmy Cox, or Ida Cox (not married to Jimmy) together with B. Feldman.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Nobody Knows You When You're Down and
From: pdq
Date: 24 Apr 08 - 01:53 PM

The song "Buddy, Can You Spare A Dime" dates from 1932 and is associated with the Great Depression. Perhaps a few people were thinking about that song since it has similar sentiments.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Nobody Knows You When You're Down and
From: Leadbelly
Date: 24 Apr 08 - 02:04 PM

In addition to the lyrics above it should be mentioned that by research of some sources line no. 8 at least 4 times were interpretated diffently as follows:

I'm goin' to hold on to it, till the eagle wins.

I'm gonna hold on to it till them eagle's green

I'm gonna squeeze it, squeeze it till the eagle grins

I'm gonna hold onto it till them eagles grin.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 24 Apr 08 - 03:34 PM

Being a Canadian, my dad used to sing, "I'll hold onto it till Queen Elizabeth grins." He passed away before the "loonie" (dollar coin with a loon on the tail side) came into being or he may have sung,"I'll hold onto it till the loonie grins."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 24 Apr 08 - 06:46 PM

I've doing this song since the late 1950's with slight variations. It was often presented as from the Depression era, but it appears to date back before that timel. It's a pretty good tale of someone with a bit of "black" humor, looking up from the down side of life after being on top. Many can relate. I found a weird corollary to this piece in something Shel Silverstein wrote years ago, called "Beans, They Taste Fine." The chorus sort of sums up the tale with:

"After You've been eatin' steak for a long time,
Beans, they taste fine.
After you've been drinking that champagne and brandy,
You want to settle for - settle for wine.
Life is funny and people are strange,
And man is a creature of constant change.
After you've been eatin' steak for a long time,
Beans, beans taste fine."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out
From: GUEST,Dave MacKenzie
Date: 24 Apr 08 - 06:50 PM

I originally got it from a Jerry Silverman book back in the 60s, transcribed in D. A few years later I picked up a version by Scrapper Blackwell on EP, which was in C and works better on guitar,at least in standard tuning. Scrapper also sings a second verse, as does Billie Pierce, which goes something like this ( I don't have transcriptions handy, and I'm not certain which one this is, - probably Billie's)

I met one of my friends the other day.
This is what my friend had to say:
"Look a-here buddy, don't I know you?
Give me one of your dimes so I can buy some stew".
I told it to my friend just like this:
"I give you one more dime you gotta be in this fix -
You're blind in both eyes and you cannot see,
Both your legs are cut off above the knee
You got malaria and the Asian flu.
Lie upon your back, babe, that's what you do,
You gotta receive a telegram that your Grandmammie's dyin'
Before I get a notion to let you have a dime, let you have a dime.

Must be Billie's - the tune resolves.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out
From: MissouriMud
Date: 25 Apr 08 - 12:28 PM

Some other chordal variations: In the second line I've used a 2nd fret barred B chord (instead of the F#dim)after the F, occasionally then then moving it up a fret to a barred C and then walking the chord back down to the A7. I'll be interested in trying that F# diminished though - not all that familiar with all the diminished chords but they sure sound good when used in the right place.   Also between the D and G - on the word champagne - I have thrown in a G#7 for effect - there is probably a diminished or some other jazzy chord that fits that spot better but I dont know it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out
From: M.Ted
Date: 25 Apr 08 - 08:23 PM

I haven't much to contribute--the chords are pretty much the ones I use, with or without the variations--except to say that Mike of Northumbria's diminished chord is an absolute "must know", because the "F F#dim/ C-B7-Bb&-A7/D7 D7/ business is used as the bridge for a huge number of jazz/pop standards.

This is a great song to play, and it passes for blues, jazz, folk, pop, and whatever, so you can use it wherever you go to good effect. Not many songs are that flexible.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Nobody Knows You When You're Down and
From: Mooh
Date: 25 Apr 08 - 09:40 PM

Not the best version, but it appears on Eric Clapton's Unplugged album, the sheet music for which is still available. Nice changes over which to improvise one's jazz/blues solo aspirations.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Nobody Knows You When You're Down and
From: Flash Company
Date: 26 Apr 08 - 07:18 AM

Leadbelly sang:-

.....Taking my friends out for a good time,
Buying Ken Corn liquor and Sneaky Pete wine.

He said 'They call it Sneaky Pete 'cos you can drink so much and then it sneaks up an' hits you!'

FC


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Subject: RE: Origins: Nobody Knows You When You're Down and
From: Leadbelly
Date: 26 Apr 08 - 03:52 PM

Sounds typically of my dear gone hero.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out
From: GUEST,Hot5and7
Date: 05 Aug 09 - 09:49 AM

Wow! What a load of fascinating info about this song. I only came looking for the writer's name so that I could pass it onto a local singer/guitarist who has got it from the Eric Clapton version but would like to know its origin.
According to filigreeshadow.blogspot.com Jimmy Cox was a black vaudeville comedian likened to a black Charlie Chaplin.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out
From: Stewart
Date: 09 Dec 10 - 10:25 PM

Here's a version from the late Walt Robertson singing this song at an informal session on a Sunday morning at the breakfast table of a home on the Hood Canal, WA, 1983. From the audio archives of Bob (Deckman) Nelson

Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out - sung by Walt Robertson

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Origins: Nobody Knows You When You're Down and
From: Charley Noble
Date: 10 Dec 10 - 08:17 AM

Stewart-

Nice to hear this song sung in a party environment.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Origins: Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out
From: GUEST,PC Anderson
Date: 13 Dec 15 - 05:06 PM

Speaking of Scrapper Blackwell... His version tracks well until the second verse. I've listened many times this is what I get. It wakes no sense to me. What does he really say?

Lord the other day I asked the man for my rent(?)
He told me boy the money he had spent

But I tried my best to try one or two
I say everything that I could do

Lord nobody let me have one lousy dime
I now get worried not all the time
But I'm ...(?)
Lord without a doubt
Nobody want you when you're down and out
Nobody want you when you're down and out


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Subject: RE: Origins: Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 13 Dec 15 - 07:45 PM

This looks right for what I hear.
I don't understand why it's
".… knows me when you're down" ?

http://weeniecampbell.com/wiki/index.php?title=Nobody_Knows_You_When_You%27re_Do

Once I lived the life of a millionaire
Spending my money and I did not care
Carryin' my friends out for the good time
Buyin' bootleg liquor, champagne and wine

Lord, but I got busted and I fell so low
Didn't have no money and nowhere to go
This is the truth, Lord, without a doubt
Nobody wants you when you're down
I mean, nobody wants you when you're down

Lord, the other day I asked the man for my rent
He told me, boy, the money he had spent
But I tried my best to try one or two
That's everything that I could do

Lord, nobody let me have one lousy dime
I'm out there worryin' now all the time
But I'm gonna tell you this is true, Lord, without a doubt
Nobody wants you when you're down
Nobody wants you when you're down

SOLO

Lord, if I could get my hands on a dollar again
I would hold it 'til that eagle grins
I would try him just for one little house
Nobody knows me when I'm down and out

Lord, I'll try for another day
To make my troubles in my own way
But I'm gon' tell you the truth, Lord, without a doubt
Nobody knows me when you're down
I mean nobody knows me when you're down


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Subject: RE: Origins: Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 13 Dec 15 - 07:53 PM

And I see on spotify there is also a

shorter version different lyrics... Scrapper Blackwell

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