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Origins: Deep Elem Blues / Deep Ellum / Deep Elm

DigiTrad:
DEEP ELEM BLUES
DOWN IN BLACK BOTTOM


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Down in Black Bottom (14)
Lyr Req: Just Because You're in Deep Elem (16)
Lyr Req: Deep Bottom Blues (6)
Lyr Req: Deep Elm Blues (13)
Lyr Req: Deep Elem Blues (9)
Lyr Req: Deep Elm? Blues (6)
Lyr Req: Deep Elum (4)


In Mudcat MIDIs:
Deep Elem Blues (see also Down in Black Bottom)


Jackie 05 Jan 99 - 06:59 PM
Allan S. 05 Jan 99 - 07:30 PM
Allan S. 05 Jan 99 - 07:39 PM
Mike Billo 05 Jan 99 - 07:58 PM
Joe 05 Jan 99 - 08:13 PM
Gene 05 Jan 99 - 08:24 PM
Zorro 06 Jan 99 - 12:49 AM
Rasta 06 Jan 99 - 03:37 AM
bob jr 17 Jan 03 - 09:16 PM
banjomad (inactive) 17 Jan 03 - 09:37 PM
open mike 17 Jan 03 - 09:46 PM
Sorcha 17 Jan 03 - 10:46 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 17 Jan 03 - 10:47 PM
Jim Krause 17 Jan 03 - 11:11 PM
Mark Clark 18 Jan 03 - 02:25 AM
GUEST,Frank Hamilton 18 Jan 03 - 01:15 PM
Jim Dixon 12 Feb 03 - 09:17 AM
GUEST,marcel waters 10 Oct 03 - 10:12 AM
GUEST,pdq 10 Oct 03 - 12:49 PM
Kudzuman 10 Oct 03 - 01:36 PM
GUEST 02 Aug 06 - 03:13 PM
GUEST,Brian Peters 02 Aug 06 - 03:41 PM
Scoville 02 Aug 06 - 03:51 PM
Stewie 02 Aug 06 - 09:03 PM
GUEST,rawkchick 22 Jun 07 - 04:38 AM
GUEST,Vo0d0o 23 Sep 07 - 02:13 PM
12-stringer 23 Sep 07 - 07:12 PM
12-stringer 09 Oct 07 - 12:53 AM
GUEST 05 Jan 08 - 05:16 PM
GUEST 28 Sep 08 - 09:52 PM
GUEST,Patrick Wall 26 Nov 09 - 04:22 PM
GUEST,tony the song scholar 11 Dec 09 - 10:25 AM
Joe Offer 18 Oct 14 - 01:16 AM
MGM·Lion 18 Oct 14 - 01:31 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 18 Oct 14 - 06:05 AM
GUEST,Ralph Edwards 03 Apr 15 - 07:39 AM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 10 Aug 16 - 03:15 PM
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Subject: Deep Elem Blues (?)
From: Jackie
Date: 05 Jan 99 - 06:59 PM

Does anybody have the lyrics for an old- maybe Memphis- blues song from at least 35 years ago called something like- The Deep Elem (or Ellum) Blues? Even the correct name would sure help! "Oh, sweet Mama, your Daddy's got them deep Ellem blues-" Great site, just found you- Jackie


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Subject: RE: Deep Elem Blues (?)
From: Allan S.
Date: 05 Jan 99 - 07:30 PM

Tom Paley and or John Cohen used to sing that years ago Check and see if it is on any of the releases by The New Lost City Ramblers. Some how I think it is there.


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Subject: RE: Deep Elem Blues (?)
From: Allan S.
Date: 05 Jan 99 - 07:39 PM

Yes it was Tom Paley He did it at a concert in New York in 1969. If you really need it I would have to see if I can find the tape and write it down


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Subject: Lyr Add: DEEP ELEM BLUES
From: Mike Billo
Date: 05 Jan 99 - 07:58 PM

Deep Elem was the red light district in Dallas during the '30's and the song was first recorded by Patsy Montana's back-up band the Prairie Ramblers, who usually used the name "The Blue Violet Boys" when recording off-color material when Patsy wasn't around. A good recent version is by the Asylum Street Spankers, and the Allan Bros. did a fine record too.

DEEP ELEM BLUES

If you go down to Deep Elem, keep your money in your pants,
'Cause the redheads in Deep Elem won't give a man a chance.

CHORUS:
Oh, sweet mama, daddy's got those Deep Elem blues.
Oh, sweet mama, daddy's got those Deep Elem blues.

I used to know a preacher read his bible through and through.
Then he went down to Deep Elem. Now his preachin' days are through.
CHORUS

I used to have a sweetie just as sweet as she could be.
Since she went down to Deep Elem, she ain't the gal for me.
CHORUS

If your Deep Elem sweetie asks you to spend the night,
You better wear a diving suit and keep it on tight.
CHORUS

If you go down to Deep Elem, keep your money in your hand,
'Cause the redheads in Deep Elem can treat you like a man.
CHORUS


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Subject: RE: Deep Elem Blues (?)
From: Joe
Date: 05 Jan 99 - 08:13 PM

What about......... If you're ever in Deep Elem, put your money in your shoes, 'cause when you're in Deep Elem you'll get them Deep Elem blues


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Subject: RE: Deep Elem Blues (?)
From: Gene
Date: 05 Jan 99 - 08:24 PM

Check this ... * PREVIOUS POST *


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Subject: RE: Deep Elem Blues (?)
From: Zorro
Date: 06 Jan 99 - 12:49 AM

I recall a country wester singer doing "Deep Elm" blues when I was a kid, someone like Webb Pierce, about that era. Elm street is in Dallas Texas and was where the blues folk hung 30-40-50 years ago and today. The blacks of that era had difficulty with Elm and pronounced it Elem. It's still a place tourists like to go, but the music is a bit wilder, as are the folk from deep Elm. This info is courtesy of my daughter who lives in the Dallas area and educated me about Deep Elm. Being a blues freak I was glad to find out about it. Growing up, I identified Deep Elm as a town, "Deepellm.." We learn more from our children that we ever teach them and that's the way it should be.. Z


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Subject: RE: Deep Elem Blues (?)
From: Rasta
Date: 06 Jan 99 - 03:37 AM

I believe Frank Wakefield or (Wake Frankfield) also cut deep elem blues as a solo albulm and also with Dave Nelson some years ago. Both nice versions.


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Subject: RE: Deep Elem Blues (?)
From: bob jr
Date: 17 Jan 03 - 09:16 PM

the greatful dead did this song all the time


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Subject: RE: Deep Elem Blues (?)
From: banjomad (inactive)
Date: 17 Jan 03 - 09:37 PM

This was one of the late great Hamish Imlach's favourite songs.


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Subject: RE: Deep Elem Blues (?)
From: open mike
Date: 17 Jan 03 - 09:46 PM

i always thought it was Bellum as in the Anti-Bellum south...


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Subject: RE: Deep Elem Blues (?)
From: Sorcha
Date: 17 Jan 03 - 10:46 PM

Didn't Doc Watson do this as Deep Ulm Blues? Can't remember for sure.


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Subject: Lyr Add: DEEP ELM BLUES / ...ELEM... / ...ELLUM...
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 17 Jan 03 - 10:47 PM

From the Grateful Dead Lyric and Song Finder:

The first recording of this song is normally credited to the Shelton Brothers in the early 1930s. They started as the Attlesey Brothers, and recorded "Deep Elm Blues" under the name "Lone Star Cowboys" in 1933. They then changed their name to the Shelton Brothers (after their mother's maiden name) and recorded several further versions under the title "Deep Elem Blues." It was subsequently covered by a variety of other artists, including the Prairie Ramblers in 1935, Jerry Lee Lewis in the 1950s, and Frank Wakefield in the early 1960s. I'm not sure whose version Jerry Garcia learnt the song from.

The title "Deep Elem" originates from Elm Street, which was the red-light district in Dallas. The song is known variously as "Deep Elm Blues", "Deep Elem Blues" and "Deep Ellum" blues.

Several early blues luminaries spent time in and around Deep Ellum. Blind Lemon Jefferson moved there as a street musician around 1917, and met and played with Leadbelly there. Lightning Hopkins also played with Blind Lemon there. But it doesn't seem that any of them had a hand in writing this song (even though Blind Lemon Jefferson is sometimes cited as the author).

The recording by the Shelton Brothers shows how this was the origin of most of the verses Jerry sang:


DEEP ELEM BLUES

When you go in Deep Elem, to have a little fun
You better have your fifteen dollars when that policeman comes
Oh sweet mama, daddy's got them Deep Elem blues

Once I had a sweetheart, who meant the world to me
But she hung around Deep Elem, now she ain't what she used to be
Oh sweet mama, daddy's got them Deep Elem blues
Oh sweet mama, daddy's got them Deep Elem blues

When you go down in Deep Elem, keep your money in your shoes
'Cause the women in Deep Elem's got the Deep Elem blues
Oh sweet mama, daddy's got them Deep Elem blues

When you go down in Deep Elem, keep your money in your pants
'Cause the redheads in Deep Elem never give a man a chance
Oh sweet mama, daddy's got them Deep Elem blues
Oh sweet mama, daddy's got them Deep Elem blues

Once I knew a preacher, preached the bible through and through
But he went down in Deep Elem, now his preaching days are through
Oh sweet mama, daddy's got them Deep Elem blues

When you go down in Deep Elem, keep your money in your socks
'Cause the women in Deep Elem will throw you on the rocks
Oh sweet mama, daddy's got them Deep Elem blues
Oh sweet mama, daddy's got them Deep Elem blues


The closest antecedent appears to be "Georgia Black Bottom" recorded by the Georgia Crackers (including the Cofer Brothers) in 1927. The tune is the same, and several of the verses are the same (apart from the change from "Black Bottom" to "Deep Elem"):

GEORGIA BLACK BOTTOM

If you go down in Black Bottom, put your money in your shoe
The women in Black Bottom got them Black Bottom blues
Oh good mama, daddy's got them Black Bottom blues

If you go down in Black Bottom, let my [hog] ride along
Don't begin to [?] take you to that [driver's home]
Oh good mama, daddy's got them Black Bottom blues

If you go down in Black Bottom, just to have a little fun
Have sixteen dollars ready when that police wagon come
Oh good mama, daddy's got them Black Bottom blues

Once I had a good little woman, and I taken her to the fair
She would have won that premium but she had bad hair
Oh good mama, daddy's got them Black Bottom blues

The billy goat drown in Black Bottom just to get a drink of booze
But now he's in the [jang-jang] wearing broken shoes
Oh good mama, daddy's got them Black Bottom blues

The [cooper] goes down in Black Bottom, just to get a drink of booze
But now he's in the [jang-jang] wearing them broken shoes
Oh good mama, daddy's got them Black Bottom blues

If you got a good little woman, better keep her by your side
'Cause that old cooper's gonna take your baby for a ride
Oh good mama, daddy's got them Black Bottom blues


There are several songs with similar or related titles. These include "Elm Street (Woman) Blues" by Ida Mae Mack, and "Deep Elm (You Tell 'em I'm Blue)", recorded in 1925 by Willard Robison. These seem to be unrelated to the song Jerry sang. Similarly, there are a number of "Black Bottom Blues" that are unrelated to this song.

"Deep Elem Blues" is sometimes linked to "Deep River Blues". But although the chorus "Lord, Lord, I got them Deep River blues" is somewhat similar, the rest is very different in both music and lyrics. It is possible (not yet checked) that the music for "Deep Elem Blues" is related to the fiddle tune "Coal Tipple Blues."


Bruce


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Subject: RE: Deep Elem Blues (?)
From: Jim Krause
Date: 17 Jan 03 - 11:11 PM

I have an old Jay Ungar lp where he recorded the verse:
If you go down to Deep Ellum
Keep your watch in your pocket
'Cause the girls in Deep Ellum
Will take it, and hock it
Oh sweet mama, Daddy's got them Deep Ellum Blues
Oh sweet mama, Daddy's got them Deep Ellum Blues.

Jim


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Subject: RE: Deep Elem Blues (?)
From: Mark Clark
Date: 18 Jan 03 - 02:25 AM

One terrific version of “Deep Elm Blues” was recorded by Josh (Buck) Graves and Kenny Backer on a Puritan release called Bucktime; I think it was produced by Dave Samuelson.

I used to have to travel to Dallas on business and one of the places I'd go was Deep Elm. Today it's like a Soho area; an odd mix of head shops, great restaurants, jazz, tatoo parlors and art galleries.

In Dallas, it's written Elm but pronounced Elum.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Deep Elem Blues (?)
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 18 Jan 03 - 01:15 PM

Anyone see any similarity to "Hello operator, give me Memphis, Tennessee"?

Frank


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Deep Elem Blues (?)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 09:17 AM

Frank: I assume you meant "Long distance information, give me Memphis, Tennessee." That would be MEMPHIS TENNESSEE by Chuck Berry. I see a little similarity in the tune but not much else.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Deep Elem Blues (?)
From: GUEST,marcel waters
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 10:12 AM

this is a great song performed by the grateful dead, or other various jerry garcia side projects. the best version i have heard appears on the jerry garcia acoustic band album entititled "almost acoustic" check it out


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Deep Elem Blues (?)
From: GUEST,pdq
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 12:49 PM

Much of the traditional material done by the Grateful Dead was from Jerry Garcia. He spent the early sixties hanging out with David Grisman, Peter Rowan and other Bluegrass fans. His approach to this song is more Frank Wakefield than Doc Watson. Wakefield is one of the most origional and brilliant mandolin players ever, and has done at least three CDs in the last few years. Wakefield credits John Hurt and Bukka White as his sources, both of whom claimed to be familiar with this district in Dallas.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Deep Elem Blues (?)
From: Kudzuman
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 01:36 PM

Doug Rorrer of Flying Cloud Records recorded a great version of it about 2 years back. Excellent CD all around.

Kudzuman


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Subject: RE: deep ellum blues
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Aug 06 - 03:13 PM

Deep Ellum


"[August 8, 1944] Elm St Resurfacing; looking west ... along Elm Street," V81.9.76.

During the 1920s and 1930s, Dallas was known as "one of the hottest cities in the South." That is, in terms of the music that was playing. Deep Ellum, located just east of downtown, became "the" place to hear the great blues and jazz musicians of the time. Such notable artists as Blind Lemon Jefferson, Huddie "Leadbelly" Ledbetter, Texas Bill Day, Lonnie Johnson, Little Hat Jones, Emma Wright, Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, and Benny Moten were regular entertainers in the area. According to pianist Sam Price, Deep Ellum was "a breeding ground, a place where musicians started out, and when they were good enough they left, went on to Kansas City and New York. In Deep Ellum there were more blues singers than just about anywhere else."

A popular song of the time, "Deep Ellum Blues" by Texas Bill Day, illustrated the night life of Deep Ellum.

Ellum Street's paved in brass,
Main Street's paved in gold. (repeat)
I've got a good girl lives on East Commerce
I wouldn't mistreat to save nobody's Soul.
These Ellum Street women, Billiken,
Do not mean you no good. (repeat)
If you want to make a good women,
Have to get on Haskell Avenue.

By the end of the 1930s and into the 1940s, Deep Ellum became increasingly dangerous and rough. The railroad that ran through on Elm and Central was torn up, making room for the Central Expressway. These changes contributed to the decline of the area and the change of the musical atmosphere.


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Subject: RE: deep ellum blues
From: GUEST,Brian Peters
Date: 02 Aug 06 - 03:41 PM

The version I sang in the pub last night, beer-fuelled and approximate though it may have been, was based loosely on the performance by Richard O. Hamilton, recorded by Frank and Anne Warner and available on Appleseed 1035 "Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still". I daresay my session repertoire is of little relevance to this thread, but it's a good excuse to plug this great source recording, and Hamilton's version of "Deep Ellum" is a good variant of those mentioned in the other threads.


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Subject: RE: deep ellum blues
From: Scoville
Date: 02 Aug 06 - 03:51 PM

If you drive through Dallas on I-45, it's painted on . . . I think the water tower (maybe one of the buildings? I've seen it but it's been a few years). You can see it from the freeway.


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Subject: RE: deep ellum blues
From: Stewie
Date: 02 Aug 06 - 09:03 PM

A few months ago, a friend lent me a copy of 'Deep Ellum and Central Track: Where the Black and White Worlds of Dallas Converged' by Alan B. Govenar and Jay F. Brakefield. It is definitely worth reading. Info on the book may be found here: CLICK.

--Stewie.


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Subject: Lyr Add: DEEP ELLUM BLUES (Texas Bill Day)
From: GUEST,rawkchick
Date: 22 Jun 07 - 04:38 AM

Guys, it's Deep Ellum and it's pronounced Ellum, just like it looks. I am from Dallas and can tell you some other history (from the Dallas Historical Society web page):

During the 1920s and 1930s, Dallas was known as "one of the hottest cities in the South." That is, in terms of the music that was playing. Deep Ellum, located just east of downtown, became "the" place to hear the great blues and jazz musicians of the time. Such notable artists as Blind Lemon Jefferson, Huddie "Leadbelly" Ledbetter, Texas Bill Day, Lonnie Johnson, Little Hat Jones, Emma Wright, Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, and Benny Moten were regular entertainers in the area. According to pianist Sam Price, Deep Ellum was "a breeding ground, a place where musicians started out, and when they were good enough they left, went on to Kansas City and New York. In Deep Ellum there were more blues singers than just about anywhere else."

A popular song of the time, "Deep Ellum Blues" by Texas Bill Day, illustrated the night life of Deep Ellum.

    Ellum Street's paved in brass,
    Main Street's paved in gold. (repeat)
    I've got a good girl lives on East Commerce
    I wouldn't mistreat to save nobody's Soul.
    These Ellum Street women, Billiken,
    Do not mean you no good. (repeat)
    If you want to make a good women,
    Have to get on Haskell Avenue.

By the end of the 1930s and into the 1940s, Deep Ellum became increasingly dangerous and rough. The railroad that ran through on Elm and Central was torn up, making room for the Central Expressway. These changes contributed to the decline of the area and the change of the musical atmosphere.

And here are some other lyrics I found, where it is spelled the way we spell it here in Dallas:

DEEP ELLUM BLUES (DEEP ELM)
(Shelton Brothers)
HANK THOMPSON (CAPITOL, 1958)

You go down in Deep Ellum
Just to have a little fun
Better have your fifteen dollars
When that policeman comes
Oh, sweet mama
Papa's got them deep ellum blues
Oh, sweet mama
Papa's got them deep ellum blues

Now, once I knew a preacher
Preached the bible through and through
He went down in Deep Ellum
Now his preachin' days are through
Oh, sweet mama
Papa's got them deep ellum blues
Oh, sweet mama
Papa's got them deep ellum blues

You go down in Deep Ellum
Keep your money in your pants
Them red heads in Deep Ellum
They don't give a man a chance
Oh, sweet mama
Papa's got them deep ellum blues
Oh, sweet mama
Papa's got them deep ellum blues

You go down in Deep Ellum
Keep your money in your shoes
Them gals down in Deep Ellum
Got them Deep Ellum blues
Oh, sweet mama
Papa's got them deep ellum blues
Oh, sweet mama
Papa's got them deep ellum blues


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Deep Elem Blues (?)
From: GUEST,Vo0d0o
Date: 23 Sep 07 - 02:13 PM

One of the better versions of this song was done by Garcia with John Kahn on bass. It was just the two of them playing acoustic guitars (Kahn might have been on an electric) for the inmates of Oregon state penn on may 5 1982. The album is called Lonesome Prison Blues and it's an excellent show.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Deep Elem Blues (?)
From: 12-stringer
Date: 23 Sep 07 - 07:12 PM

Aside from those mentioned, Sam McGee set "Chevrolet Car" (1928) to the same melody. The Allen Bros used it for "Chattanooga Mama" and for "Tipple Blues," one of their bigger hits. The Kentucky Ramblers did a cover of "Tipple" under the title "Ginseng Blues."

Jimmie Davis, accompanied by the Musical Brownies, cut it for Decca in 1937 as "Honky Tonk Blues." This is just a slightly modified version of "Deep Elem," substituting "honky tonk" for the place name.

The pieces recorded by Joe Evans (1931) and Black Bottom McPhail (1932) as "Down in Black Bottom" are related lyrically but not melodically.

Tipple Blues
as sung by the Allen Brothers, Victor V-40003 (1928)

Ain't gonna work on no tipple, ain't gonna load no coal,
Put my head out the window, watch my drive wheels roll, sweet mama,
You can't read my mind,
When you think I'm lovin' you, mama,
I'll be quittin' you all the time.

My home ain't here, it's down in Caroline
Got some children down in Georgia but they sure ain't mine, sweet mama,
You can't read my mind
When you think I'm lovin' you, mama,
I'll be quittin' you all the time.

Ain't gonna marry, ain't gwine-a settle down,
Stay right here, my mama, run these married women down, sweet mama,
You can't read my mind
When you think I'm lovin' you, mama,
I'll be quittin' you all the time.

Chattanooga Mama
as sung by the Allen Brothers, Victor 23567 (1931)

Going down to Chattanooga, give you my hand,
Have a Chattanooga mama, kill a Chattanooga man,
Chattanooga mama, your daddy's coming to town
Gonna have you, sweet mama, if I have to run you down.

Now all my other women, I've put them on the shelf
My Chattanooga mama's tired of sleeping by herself,
Chattanooga mama, your daddy's coming to town
Gonna have you, sweet mama, if I have to run you down.

When I walked into your parlor, put my hat upon the rack,
You can telephone your husband, ain't no use him coming back,
Chattanooga mama, your daddy's coming to town,
Gonna have you, sweet mama, if I have to run you down.

Take you in my arms, sweet mama, I'll be nice and treat you right,
Then we'll fall asleep together, tell the whole darn world goodnight,
Chattanooga mama, your daddy's coming to town
Gonna have you, sweet mama, if I have to run you down.

If you want me to, sweet mama, tell you what I'll do,
String this old guitar and play these mean old blues for you,
Chattanooga mama, your daddy's coming to town,
Gonna have you, sweet mama, if I have to run you down.

Ginseng Blues
as sung by Kentucky Ramblers, Broadway 8271 (1930)

Ain't gonna dig no ginseng, ain't gonna hunt no squirrels,
Ain't gonna do a doggone thing but love a gypsy mama,
You can't read my mind
When you think I'm lovin' you, mama,
I'll be quittin' you all the time.

(yodel)

My home ain't here, it's down in Caroline,
Got three children down in Georgia, but they sure ain't mine, sweet mama
(chorus and yodel)

I got a girl in Georgia, one in Dixie, too,
If you treat me mean, sweet mama, turn my back on you, good baby
(chorus and yodel)

We ain't gonna work on tipple, we ain't gonna load no coal,
Put my head out the window, watch the drivers roll, sweet mama
(chorus and yodel)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Deep Elem Blues / Deep Ellum / Deep Elm
From: 12-stringer
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 12:53 AM

Honky Tonk Blues
as sung by Jimmie Davis, accompanied by the Musical Brownies, Decca 5400

If you go down in the Bottom, better watch the way you act
If you fool around them honkies, you will never make it back,
Get into trouble, best you can do is lose,
For them honky tonky mamas will give you the honky blues.

I went down to the Bottom, just a week ago today,
Met a honky tonky baby and I couldn't get away.
Lost all my money, brand new hat and shoes,
For them honky tonky mamas really had the honky blues.

Drank a half a pint of liquor and a half a pint of gin,
Saw my honky tonky mama foolin' round some other men.
Really felt mistreated, my baby about to lose,
Got jealous of my baby, I had them ol' honky blues.

She's a honky tonky baby, got them honky tonky ways,
She got me in trouble and now I'm servin' days.
Big policeman got me, he would not turn me loose.
Took me down to the station, locked me in the calaboose.

(Spoken: "Good mornin', judge!")

When I go back to the Bottom gonna watch my P's and Q's,
For them honky tonky babies will be giving me the blues.
Gonna have protection, I think I have paid my dues.
I'll find my honky mama, give her the honky tonky blues.

Here's another western swing knockoff of the song, this time relocated to OK City.

Small Town Mama #2
as sung by Buddy Jones on Decca 5613 (1938)

She's just a small town mama, and when you take her out
She drinks your beer and whiskey and then begins to shout,
Small town mama, there's nothing she won't do
She's got them big city idees, she's sure to satisfy you.

She's got a rattlesnakin' daddy and a bear-cat papa too,
But that small town mama really outshines the crew,
Small town mama, there's nothing she won't do
She's got them big city idees, she's sure to satisfy you.

Down in Oklahoma City, on Deep Reno Street,
Is where my small town mama really turns on the heat
Small town mama, there's nothing she won't do
She's got them big city idees, she's sure to satisfy you.

You've heard them sing Corinna, won't you please hurry home,
But my small town mama, I'll never let her roam
Small town mama, there's nothing she won't do
She's got them big city idees, she's sure to satisfy you.

Jones did an earlier "Small Town Mama" for Decca in 1937; I haven't heard it but suppose it was also after the same pattern. Flip of this 78 is another classic, which might as well be lyricized here as anywhere else, though it's not remotely related to Black Bottom Strut/Deep Elem Blues. It's set to an A7-D7-G7-C progression, with Buster Jones playing some jaggy steel guitar a la Bob Dunn.

She's Selling What She Used to Give Away
as sung by Buddy Jones on Decca 5613 (1938)

A redheaded gal lived down on the farm
She messed around but didn't mean no harm.
She worked in the fields but didn't make no dough
Still held on to her hi-de-ho,
And now she's selling, what she used to give away

She went to the city with a dollar or two
Soon found out that jobs were few
Her money gave out and her spirits went low
But she still held on to her hi-de-ho,
And now she's selling, what she used to give away.

Well, things got better, then she wanted some more,
She opened up a honky tonk right next door
Whiskey went up and beer went low,
But she still held on to her hi-de-ho,
And now she's selling, what she used to give away.

She started making money, selling gin and ale,
The place was raided and she went to jail,
She got out and was ready to go,
Hangin' right on to her hi-de-ho,
And now she's selling, what she used to give away,
I mean, she's selling, what she used to give away.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Deep Elem Blues / Deep Ellum / Deep E
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Jan 08 - 05:16 PM

The song is called Deep Ellum blues, referring to an arts and entertainment district near downtown in east Dallas. The nickname comes from a corruption of Deep Elm Street.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Deep Elem Blues / Deep Ellum / Deep E
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Sep 08 - 09:52 PM

I think they say "now he's in the chain gang with them brogan blues


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Deep Elem Blues / Deep Ellum / Deep Elm
From: GUEST,Patrick Wall
Date: 26 Nov 09 - 04:22 PM

This is definitely an old blues song from the Texas/Louisiana area and then went into Western swing. The Shelton Brothers (the backing band for Moon Mullican and Jimmie Davis in the early 1940s) recorded many varsions of it in the 1930s. Slim Harbert did a sequel to it called "What's the matter with Deep Elem" in 1941 with Moon Mullican on piano (at the same session as Mullican's "Pipeliner blues" and "Lay me down beside my darling"). Harbert's song was cowritten by himself and Moon Mullican and all of the songs from this session were issued as by the Sunshine Boys regardless of who sang them (Moon, Slim and others). The Sunshine Boys would later become a gospel group and its members would go on to back Red Foley, Elvis Presley and - once again - Moon Mullican in later years.

"Deep Elem blues" was a standard in the 1930s and early 1940s but it then went away for a while. However, such 1940s records as Moon Mullican's "Triflin' woman blues" and Arthur Crudup's "My baby left me" and "That's alright Mama" were very close in melody and style to it.

"Deep Elem blues" could as much as any other song be called an early rock 'n' roll record. Rock 'n' roll came from blues and country hybrids and this is the perfect one. Plus, it was in Jerry Lee Lewis' early repertoire and his record collection. He recorded 2 great versions in 1956/57, the rarer one (on the CD "Rare and Rocking") is in my opinion the greatest ever version (and if released JLL's greatest hit of the era). Elvis Presley of course was reviving the 2 Arthur Crudup songs mentioned above in the mid 1950s and "That's alright Mama" is often spoken of as the first rock record. I do a medley of "Deep Elem" (Jerry Lee version) with "Triflin' woman" (Moon), and the two Crudup songs Elvis made famous.

"Deep Elem blues" has gone on to become a bluegrass standard along with "Sitting on top of the world", another blues the Sheltons introduced to country music. The Grateful Dead did both songs so they must have known the Sheltons.


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Subject: offcolor notes
From: GUEST,tony the song scholar
Date: 11 Dec 09 - 10:25 AM

nice website here--finally found the lyrics to "deep ellum blues," which i had mistakenly thought was "deep vellum blues" (seemingly pronounced that way on a smithsonsian recording i have).

what i learned in folklore grad school (there actually are a couple left around the country, although the one i went to at UCLA is pretty much defunct) is that there was a whole offcolor vocabulary from the early 20th century, originating in the black communities, where there was a lot more honesty about such things, and then picked up by the whites, to titillate (don't you love that word?) themselves, then becoming completely "innocentized". here are some interesting ones:

daddy and mamma--these appear commonly in white pop music in the 30s, 40s and 50s. it refers to a casual sexual relationship--no children involved at all. "deep ellum blues" uses it quite obviously. "sugar daddy" derives from it.

seafood--fasten your seatbelts, here comes the explicit. "seafood" refers to cunnilingus. (hey, i used the latin/medical term, okay?) i love listening to the andrews sisters singing to the white folks, "hold tight! i want some seafood, mamma ..." as if we're all heading for the oyster bar.

salty dog--this is related. it refers to the male member after withdrawal, implying full consummation. "if i can't be your salty dog, then i won't be your man at all ..."

my source? the late professor d.k. wilgus, perhaps the foremost authority on anglo-american ballad traditions. i wish he had lived longer and i could have studied with him more. he seemed to know everyone--we had the likes of willie dixon and lou gottlieb as guest speakers in his classes.
    Tony, I hope you don't mind that I moved you from the FAQ to this thread, where it seems to fit better.
    -Joe Offer, Forum Moderator-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Deep Elem Blues / Deep Ellum / Deep Elm
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Oct 14 - 01:16 AM

I was surprised that the Traditional Ballad Index didn't have more. Here's what they have:

    Deep Elem Blues

    DESCRIPTION: The listener is advised to be prepared when going to (Deep Elem): "If you go down to Deep Elem just to have a little fun, You'd better have your fifteen dollars when the policeman comes." The singer details his experiences with the women there
    AUTHOR: unknown
    EARLIEST DATE: 1927 (recording, Cofer Brothers)
    KEYWORDS: whore money police theft trick sex warning crime humorous clergy
    FOUND IN: US
    REFERENCES (3 citations):
    BrownIII 501, "Went Down Town"; 502, "Standin' on de Street Doin' No Harm" (2 fragments, consisting of little more than a declaration of innocence and a statement "along came the police and grabbed me by the arm," also found in some versions of this song)
    Cohen-AFS2, pp. 529-530, "Deep Elem Blues" (1 text)
    DT, DEEPELM BLCKBTTM

    RECORDINGS:
    The Cofer Brothers, "The Georgia Black Bottom (Black Bottom Blues)" (Okeh 45111, 1927)
    Richard O. Hamilton, "Deep Elm Blues" [excerpt] (on USWarnerColl01)
    Lone Star Cowboys, "Deep Elm Blues" (Victor 23846, 1933)
    Prairie Ramblers, "Deep Elem Blues" (Perfect 5-11-51, 1935)
    The Shelton Brothers, "Deep Elem Blues" (Decca 5099, 1935; Decca 46008, 1946)

    SAME TUNE:
    Shelton Brothers, "Deep Elem Blues - No. 2" (Decca 5198, 1936)
    Shelton Brothers, "Deep Elem Blues - No. 3" (Decca 5422, 1937)
    NOTES: "Deep Elem," according to Michael Cooney, refers to Elm Street, the red light district in Dallas, Texas (for the reputation of this area, see also, e.g., "Take a Whiff On Me"). It's not clear whether the Cofer Brothers' "Black Bottom Blues" or the Shelton Brothers' "Deep Elem Blues" is the older form; the latter seems to have inspired more recordings. - RBW
    Last updated in version 2.7
    File: DTdeepel

    Go to the Ballad Search form
    Go to the Ballad Index Song List

    Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
    Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

    The Ballad Index Copyright 2014 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Deep Elem Blues / Deep Ellum / Deep Elm
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 18 Oct 14 - 01:31 AM

Tom Paley, on one of his records for Argo {'Poor Cow', I think}, has the verse [which doesn't seem to be in any of versions given above - unless I missed it]

Oh my daddy's a policeman and my mammy walks the street
My daddy met my mammy when they both were on the beat
   Oh sweet mamma...

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Origins: Deep Elem Blues / Deep Ellum / Deep Elm
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 18 Oct 14 - 06:05 AM

I have heard him do that verse on odd occasions at the Sunday night picking session that he regularly attends.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Deep Elem Blues / Deep Ellum / Deep Elm
From: GUEST,Ralph Edwards
Date: 03 Apr 15 - 07:39 AM

I've had 'Deep Elem Blues' in my repertoire for quite a time playing it sort of Bluegrass style. For a friend to join in on button accordeon, I slowed it down and changed my picking & vocal phrasing. It came out kind of Cajun.
I've just played 'Bouret Blues' by that great Cajun musician Nathan Abshire, low and behold, the tune is 'Deep Elem Blues'. I must have known that tune longer than I realised.
Has anybody got the words to 'Bouret Blues' and a translation to English for interest's sake?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Deep Elem Blues / Deep Ellum / Deep Elm
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 10 Aug 16 - 03:15 PM

"This is definitely an old blues song from the Texas/Louisiana area" Once it had lyrics about Dallas added by some, it had lyrics about Dallas added by some.

The Georgia Crackers (i.e. the Cofer brothers and a third guy, "if you go down in Black Bottom," 1927) were from Georgia, the Allen Brothers were from Tennessee, Sam McGee was from Tennessee, Joe Evans (who reportedly influenced the Allen Brothers in person) was from Tennessee, Frank Hutchison ("The Miner's Blues," "ain't a-gonna work on no tipple... sweet mama...") was from West Virginia, Silas Rogers ("The Tipple Blues") was from Kentucky...


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