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Lyr Req: two Frank Stokes Songs

murray@mpce.mq.edu.au 25 Nov 98 - 03:23 AM
Earl 25 Nov 98 - 10:52 AM
murray@mpce.mq.edu.au 25 Nov 98 - 09:05 PM
murray@mpce.mq.edu.au 28 Nov 98 - 12:39 AM
Earl 28 Nov 98 - 02:59 PM
murray@mpce.mq.edu.au 28 Nov 98 - 08:37 PM
GUEST,Gene 16 Mar 02 - 11:47 AM
GLoux 12 Sep 04 - 03:42 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 13 Sep 04 - 04:40 AM
GUEST 13 Sep 04 - 02:23 PM
GUEST,GLoux 13 Sep 04 - 04:25 PM
GLoux 15 Sep 04 - 08:15 AM
GLoux 17 Sep 04 - 09:35 AM
GUEST,Phil 24 Sep 04 - 09:57 AM
Jim Dixon 22 Jul 10 - 10:58 PM
Jim Dixon 25 Jul 10 - 11:54 PM
GUEST,chicken? 25 Aug 11 - 11:16 PM
Jim Dixon 07 Apr 17 - 07:22 PM
GUEST,Frank Scott 08 Apr 17 - 03:58 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: CHICKEN, YOU CAN ROOST BEHIND THE MOON^^
From: murray@mpce.mq.edu.au
Date: 25 Nov 98 - 03:23 AM

I am trying to figure out the lyrics for two Frank Stokes Songs. The first is called "Chicken You Can Roost Behind the Moon". It goes something like:

(Says)Boy, did you ever do anything like steal a chicken?

CHORUS
Now chicken, chicken, oh, chicken
You may go up in a balloon
Chicken, chicken, you may hide behind the moon, dogonya
Now chicken, oh never let a farmer be
Ten thousand dollar xxxxxxxxxx on earth
You done roost too high for me

I got to thinkin' about chicken late last night
Man, I couldn't hardly rest
I got out of bed, put on my old shoes
Though of where some chicken was at
I grabbed xxxxxxx
Some I never let fall
I don't think a xxxxxx
Till I get xxxxx chicken an' all

CHORUS

(Half speaking) Oh, that chicken made me awful mad the other night, man
That's sompin I don't like to see
I grabbed my little xxxx and down came xxxxx
Grabbed the chicken right by the neck
Then I turned around, quick as I could
xxxxxx
xxxxx steal a chicken from anywhere

CHO

Now the Police arrest me last Friday night
You couldn't think of what its about
I'm goin' down tha alley where I lived at
xxxxx chicken xx in my house
Hey you may carry me to xxxx
I'm gonna work out my time
xxxxx
I have chickens on my mind

CH0

The other one is called "Thou Shall". I can't make enough out of it to give a skeleton like the last one.

I would like to hear any corrections to the lyrics I have and see the xxxx's filled in

Thanks,

Murray


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Subject: Lyr Add: YOU SHALL^^
From: Earl
Date: 25 Nov 98 - 10:52 AM

Murray, I am a big Frank Stokes fan. "Chicken You Can Roost Behind the Moon" is a great song but it is hard to make out what he is saying. I have also been tying to ge the words. Here it is the way I hear it. Still some blanks though.

(Says)Boy, did you ever do anything like steal a chicken?

CHORUS
Now chicken, chicken, oh, chicken
You may go up in a baloon
Chicken, chicken, you may hide behind the moon, dogonya
Now chicken, I never let a fowl be
Ten thousand dollar worth, best fowl on earth
He don't roost too high for me

I got to thinkin' about chicken late the other night
Man, I couldn't hardly rest
I got out of bed, put on my old shoes
Thought of where some chicken was at
I grabbed xxxxxxx
Some I never let fall
I don't think I robbed your hen house
Till I get the roost, poor chicken an' all

CHORUS

(Half speaking) Oh, that chicken made me awful mad the other night, man
That's sompin I didn't like to take
I grabbed my little haversack down across my back
Grabbed the chicken right by the neck
Then I turned around, quick as I could
A chicken all way up there
I once stole a xxxxx I'll steal a chicken from anywhere

CHO

Now the Police arrest me last Friday night
You couldn't think of what its about
I'm goin' down tha alley where I lived at
I lot of chickens tied in my house
Hey you may carry me to xxxx
I'm gonna work out my time
Xxxxx
I have chickens on my mind

CH0

I had better luck with "Thou Shall" (called "You Shall" on the recording I have.)

You Shall

Well its our father who art in heaven
The preacher owed me ten dollars he paid me seven
Thy kingdom come thy will be done
If I hadn't took the seven Lord I wouldn't a got none
Had a fight about it
What he owed me
My money

Now well some folks said that a preacher wouldn't steal
I caught about eleven in the watermelon field
Just a cutin and a slicin got to tearin up fine
They's eatin and talking most all the time
They was hungry
Save the rind brother, you yeah
Save my vine
Don't rob me, you yeah
My melons, yeah

Well see that preacher layin behind a log
His hand on the trigger and his eye around a hog
The hogs said mm the gun said bip
Jump on the hog with all his grip
Had pork chops, you yeah
Had backbone
Had spare ribs, you yeah
Now when the good Lord sets me free

When I bust loose in Memphis, Tennessee
Crazy 'bout the preachers as I could be
I went Out on my front porch walking about
Invite the preacher over to my house
He washed his face he combed his head
Next think he wanted to do was slip in my bed
I caught him by the head man kicked him out the door
I don't 'low no preacher at my house no more
I don't like em
They'll rob you
Steal your daughter
Take your wife from you,yeah
Eat your chickens
Spend your money, you yeah
They'll rob you
xxxxxx on you, yeah

Hey Mona
In the mornin
Eatin spare ribs
Let me tell you
When the good Lord sets me free


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Subject: RE: Lyrics for two Frank Stokes Songs
From: murray@mpce.mq.edu.au
Date: 25 Nov 98 - 09:05 PM

Thanks Earl.

I think Stokes is a real sleeper. I can see the influences in John Hurt's playing and (don't laugh) Chubby Checker's "Lets Twist Again Like We Did Last Summer".

You have given me a good start. Your interpretation is much better than mine. I will listen again with that in mind and see if I can get anymore.

By the way. Has anyone made transcriptions of his guitar accompaniment? I know Stefan Grossman has one for "It Won't Be Long Now", because I have a copy.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Lyrics for two Frank Stokes Songs
From: murray@mpce.mq.edu.au
Date: 28 Nov 98 - 12:39 AM

Earl, I might have filled in a few blanks. In the first verse below I just filled in a few words after "I once stole". The next one I think is now complete.

Let me know what you think

(Half speaking) Oh, that chicken made me awful mad the other night, man
That's sompin I didn't like to take
I grabbed my little haversack down across my back
Grabbed the chicken right by the neck
Then I turned around, quick as I could
A chicken all way up there
I once stole meat right out of xxx
I'll steal a chicken from anywhere.

Now the Police arrest me last Friday night
You couldn't think of what its about
I'm goin' down the alley where I lived at
A lot of chickens tied in my house
Hey you may carry me to penitentiary wall
I'm gonna work out my time
As quick as you put me on the L&N line
I'll have chickens on my mind

Murray


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Subject: RE: Lyrics for two Frank Stokes Songs
From: Earl
Date: 28 Nov 98 - 02:59 PM

Murray, I think you have the last verse perfect. I have been listening too and I can add a little bit. Here is some more of line 5 of the first verse:

"I grabbed a big xxxx stuck'em under my arm"

Another idea for the second verse, line 7 is:

"I won't steal meat and bread from out of xxxx"

Still some missing nouns but not enough to keep me from singing the song. It may be time to apply the folk process.


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Subject: RE: Lyrics for two Frank Stokes Songs
From: murray@mpce.mq.edu.au
Date: 28 Nov 98 - 08:37 PM

I will pick a little nit, Earl. I think the phrase in the last verse should be "L&N track" rather than "L&N line".

Also in the earlier verse the line:
"A Chicken all the way up there"
might be
A chicken hawk way up there

Murray


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Subject: RE: Lyrics for two Frank Stokes Songs
From: GUEST,Gene
Date: 16 Mar 02 - 11:47 AM

Have a recording of that by Grandpa Jones, if anybody wants to hear it...

PM GENE for MP3 or RealAudio---


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Subject: RE: Lyrics for two Frank Stokes Songs
From: GLoux
Date: 12 Sep 04 - 03:42 PM

Grandpa Jones' Chicken Don't Roost Too High is not the same song as Frank Stokes' song. Has anyone else tried to decipher the words to the Frank Stokes' song? If so, please post 'em. What is above in this thread is good but those XXXXXXX's are hard to get through...

-Greg


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Subject: RE: Lyrics for two Frank Stokes Songs
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 13 Sep 04 - 04:40 AM

Once again away from home and relying on my memory. I believe that Bill Williams of Greenup, Kentucky recorded a version of this on one of his two albums on the Blue Goose label. Diction and recording quality might be easier there but of course there's the old folk process which probably means the words are not identical anyway. Bill was another fingerstyle picker worth listening to if you are not already familiar with him.


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Subject: RE: Lyrics for two Frank Stokes Songs
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Sep 04 - 02:23 PM

I'm not familiar with Bill Williams, but will keep on the lookout for him, thanks.

I have a recent recording of the song by a group from Virginia, Faster Than Walking. The CD is entitled Eighth of January. The recording project was to capture the essence of Gary Hawk's singing and playing with his string band friends after he was diagnosed with some life threatening disease (not specified). He has since passed away and the CD was released one year after the last time they all played together, the Eighth of January 2002.

The first cut on the CD is "The Chicken Song" which is a upbeat, fun version of the Frank Stokes Chicken... song, and the words are not easy to decipher and I want to learn them. They are loosely based on the Frank Stokes' original, but there are lots of changes, and a whole new verse, so maybe the Bill Williams is quite relevant!!!

I have asked Joe Mead, the fiddler of the group whom I see each year at Clifftop, if he could provide the words that Gary sang, and he said that he would try, but since then, I've found this wonderful thread, and the best help I've found yet. It sure would be nice to find an MP3 of the Bill Williams version...

Thanks,
-Greg


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Subject: RE: Lyrics for two Frank Stokes Songs
From: GUEST,GLoux
Date: 13 Sep 04 - 04:25 PM

That last post was me...I must recookify myself...

-Greg


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Subject: RE: Lyrics for two Frank Stokes Songs
From: GLoux
Date: 15 Sep 04 - 08:15 AM

I googled and found a site with Bill William's version of the Chicken Roost song . He changed a lot of the words, and unfortunately it's no help in deciphering the Faster Than Walking version.

I appreciate the pointer, though.

-Greg


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Subject: RE: Lyrics for two Frank Stokes Songs
From: GLoux
Date: 17 Sep 04 - 09:35 AM

A non-Mudcat friend told me that she thinks the Red Mountain White Trash recorded a version of the Chicken Song.

-Greg


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Subject: RE: Lyrics for two Frank Stokes Songs
From: GUEST,Phil
Date: 24 Sep 04 - 09:57 AM

Gary was great at filling in the gaps--no point in looking for his version of the words, they were his own. He was great.

The Red Mountain White Trash tune is different. It is called They Don't Roost too High For Me (sometimes called "Chickens don't...)
It is a fiddle tune from a 1920s 78 by Earl Johnson and His Dixie Entertainers--an unrelated tune. I have not heard the RMWT recording, but I know the Johnson Tune and I suspect that is what it is.

Phil


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: two Frank Stokes Songs
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 22 Jul 10 - 10:58 PM

You can hear Frank Stokes' recording of CHICKEN YOU CAN ROOST BEHIND THE MOON by going to this page and clicking on the song title. (It doesn't look like a link.)


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Subject: Lyr Add: CHICKEN YOU CAN ROOST BEHIND THE MOON
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 25 Jul 10 - 11:54 PM

I have listened to the recording several times, and read the previous comments, and this is my best attempt at a transcription. There are still several questionable words—see my notes at the end. In the chorus, the words in brackets are the ones he inserts sometimes, and omits sometimes.


CHICKEN YOU CAN ROOST BEHIND THE MOON
Frank Stokes/Beale Street Sheiks

Boy, d'you ever do anything like stealin' chickens?

CHORUS: Now [it's] chicken, chicken, oh, chicken,
You may go up in a balloon. [Doggone ya!]
Chicken, [chicken,] you may hide behind the moon. [Doggone ya!/Confound ya!]
[Now] chicken, I never let a fowl be.
Ten thousand dollar 'ward for the [or "furthest"?] fowl on earth,
He don't roost too high for me.

1. I got to thinkin' 'bout chicken late the other night.
Man, I couldn't hardly rest.
I jumped out o' bed, grabbed up my own shoes,
Thought o' where some chicken was at.
I grabbed big -------, stuck 'im under my arm,
Some'n' I never let fall.
I don't think I robbed your hen house
Till I get the roost', poor chicken an' all. CHORUS

2. Oh, that chicken made me awful mad the other night, man.
That's some'n' I didn't like to take.
I grabbed my little haversack down 'cross my back,
Grabbed the chicken right by the neck.
Said, I turned around, quick as I could,
A chicken all way up there.
I won't steal meat right out of confinement(?)
I'll steal a chicken from anywhere. CHORUS

3. That police 'rest me last Friday night.
You couldn't think of what 'twas about.
I'm goin' down the alley where I lived at,
A lot o' chicken tied in my house.
Say, you may carr' me to pen'tent'ry wall.
I'd go to work out my time.
Just as quick as you put me on the L&N track,
I'll have chickens on my mind. CHORUS

* * *
Chorus line 5: I think the word is "'ward" meaning "reward"

Verse 1 line 5: I think he's referring to some kind of equipment he uses for stealing chickens, maybe something he would personify by giving it a nickname, as a man might call his gun "Old Bertha." But he wouldn't take a gun, would he?

Verse 2 line 7: "Confinement" is just a guess; I still don't think it's right.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: two Frank Stokes Songs
From: GUEST,chicken?
Date: 25 Aug 11 - 11:16 PM

did anyone ever figure out the lyrics completely?


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Subject: Lyr Add: CHICKEN DON'T ROOST TOO HIGH (Jones)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 07 Apr 17 - 07:22 PM

Here's the Grandpa Jones version. He recorded it at least twice, one of them in 1950. Of the two I listened to on Spotify, I'm not sure which is older, but it hardly matters; the lyrics are nearly identical. I enclosed in brackets the words that are omitted in one or the other recording.


CHICKEN DON'T ROOST TOO HIGH
As recorded by Grandpa Jones, 1950+?

1. [Well, I] done a little somethin' the other night that I never have done before.
[I'm] gonna do it again tonight and the people they'll be sore.
With a great big knapsack on my back, I'm a-goin' out to make a steal [or "kill"].
I'll get that sack full o' dandy chicks and you know just how I'll feel.

CHORUS: [Oh,] chicken, [oh,] chicken, you [can] go up in a balloon.
Chicken, oh, chicken, [well,] you roost behind the moon.
Chicken, oh, chicken, I will never let you be.
A hundred-dollar bill for the chicken that will roost too high for me.

2. Chicken, you call me a stealin' man; [well,] you know I don't like that.
Pick up a stick an' knock him over, well, he wasn't very fat.
Now he's got a older brother, one o' them old shanghais.
I'll meet him on the chicken roost tomorrow night, case he don't roost too high.

3. [Now,] chicken, it won't do you no good to go up in a aeroplane,
[And] sail around by the light o' the moon with your head tucked in your wing.
You might as well stay on the ground, ['cause] I'll get you by and by.
I'll have you in my sack by dawn if you're big enough to fry.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: two Frank Stokes Songs
From: GUEST,Frank Scott
Date: 08 Apr 17 - 03:58 PM

According to Bob McLeod's book of blues lyrics of songs from Yazoo 1021 through 1083 the lyric is as follows. I haven't checked it against the record myself but McLeod's books were compiled with the assistance of leading blues researchers so is probably pretty close.

(Wise guys don't do anythin' like stealin' chickens . )

And now chicken, chicken, oh, chicken, you may go up in a balloon.
But chicken, chlcken, you may hide behind the moon, doggone you ,
Now chicken, I never let a fowl be.
Ten thousand dollars reward for the fowl on earth,
He don't roost too high for me

I got to thlnkln' about chicken late the other night,
Man, I couldn't hardly rest.
I jumped out of bed, grabbed up my old shoes
Goln' to where those chickens was at.
I grabbed the bird, boys, stuck him under my arm,
Somethin' I'd never let fall,
I don't think I'll rob your henhouse,
Till I get your roost full of chicken and all

But now It's chicken, oh, chlcken, oh, you may go up in a balloon, doggone you,
Chicken, oh, you may hide behind the moon, doggone you now,
Chicken, I never let a fowl be.
Ten thousand dollars reward forp the fowl on earth,
He don't roost too high for me

Why, that chlcken made me awful mad the other ntght, man,
That's somethln' I didn't like to take.
I grabbed my litt1e haversack, hung down 'cross my back,
Grabbed' the chicken rlght by the neck.
Sald I turned around, quick as I could,
A chicken hauled away, do declare,
I won't steal meat and bread out a coon's front door,
Steal a chicken from anywhere

And now It's chicken, now, chicken, go up In a balloon, doggone you,
Chicken, Oh, you may hide behind the moon.
Chicken, I never let a fowl be
A ten thousand dollar reward for the fowl on earth,
He don't roost too high for me.

Ah, that pollce arrest me last Friday nlght,
You couldn't think of what's it all about.,
I 'm goln' down the alley where I lived at,
A lot of chickens tied in my house.
Say you may carry me to the penitentiary wall,
I'll go to work out my time.
And just as qulck as you put me on the L & N track,
I'll have chickens on my mind.

Now It's chicken, says, chicken, oh, chicken, you may go up In a balloon, doggone you,
Chlcken, you may hide behind the moon.
Now, chicken, I never let a fowl be.
Ten thousand dollars reward for the fowl on earth,
He don't roost too high for me.


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