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Lyr Req: Coal Man Blues (Peg Leg Howell)

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EVERGREEN BAR
HANDFUL OF SONGS
LIVING ON THE RIVER
MONTANA
OLD BLUE SUIT
TEN-POUND RADIO
UNTIL MORNING


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Lyr Req: Coal Man Blues (Peg Leg Howell) (6)


murray@mpce.mq.edu.au 16 Jan 99 - 07:57 PM
Sandy Paton 16 Jan 99 - 08:33 PM
Sandy Paton 16 Jan 99 - 08:53 PM
Barbara 16 Jan 99 - 10:43 PM
Sandy Paton 17 Jan 99 - 12:08 AM
murray@mpce.mq.edu.au 17 Jan 99 - 07:11 PM
rick fielding 17 Jan 99 - 08:10 PM
Sandy Paton 17 Jan 99 - 11:06 PM
murray@mpce.mq.edu.au 17 Jan 99 - 11:22 PM
Sandy Paton 18 Jan 99 - 12:30 AM
Joe Offer 20 Jan 99 - 03:51 PM
murray@mpce.mq.edu.au 20 Jan 99 - 10:15 PM
Sandy Paton 21 Jan 99 - 10:36 PM
Joe Offer 16 Nov 02 - 01:19 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 16 Nov 02 - 02:24 PM
Stewie 16 Nov 02 - 08:41 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 16 Nov 02 - 11:13 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 17 Nov 02 - 12:02 AM
Jim Dixon 09 Nov 07 - 08:16 AM
12-stringer 09 Nov 07 - 01:54 PM
Jim Dixon 10 Nov 07 - 10:22 PM
GUEST,Jake 19 Aug 14 - 10:32 AM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 26 Jun 16 - 08:27 PM
Jim Dixon 02 Jul 16 - 08:16 AM
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Subject: Looking for Lyrics and performer
From: murray@mpce.mq.edu.au
Date: 16 Jan 99 - 07:57 PM

I actually posted this request last year; but I can't find the thread with Forum search.

Anyways there are a lot more people participating since then, so I will try again.

There is a song that starts with:

Woke up this Mornin' 'bout five o'clock
Got me some eggs an' a nice pork chop
Cheap cigar an' a magazine
Had to go run an' catch the four-fifteen.

The chorus goes something like:

Hard coal and the stovewood man (2X)
I ain't got but a little bit left
If you don't come use it, gonna burn it myself

I would like the rest of the lyrics and the performer. I think it was just one man with a guitar; but I am not sure.

Thanks

Murray


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Subject: Lyr Add: COAL MAN BLUES (Peg Leg Howell)
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 16 Jan 99 - 08:33 PM

Jerry Rasmussen recorded this song on his second Folk-Legacy album, The Secret Life of Jerry Rasmussen (C-101), now available as a cassette with booklet. Solo voice and guitar, yes, but the differences between this text and the one you quote suggests that it may not have been the version you heard. Jerry describes it a "an old Peg Leg Howell blues, distorted beyond recognition by the passing of years and a faulty memory." Here are the words as Jerry sings 'em:

Coal Man Blues

Woke up this mornin' 'bout five o'clock,
Cooked me some eggs and a nice porkchop,
Drank a cup of coffee, read a magazine,
I had to run pretty fast to catch the 5:15.
Chorus:
He's the hard coal and the stove wood man,
He's the hard coal and the stove wood man,
He's the hard coal and the stove wood man,
You better run and get your bucket just as fast as you can.
Well, let me tell you something that I seen:
Coal man got run over by the 5:15.
Cracked his head and it bust his ribs.
Say, did the coal man die? No, the coal man lived.

Chorus:

Well, let me tell you something that I know:
Coal man got run over by the 4:44.
Cracked his ribs and it bust his head.
Say, did the coal man live? No, the coal man's dead.

Chorus.

Well, he sells it to the rich and he sells it to the poor,
Sells it to the rich and he sells it to the poor,
Sells it to the rich and he sells it to the poor,
And he sells it to the nice brown (high brown?) that lives next door.

Chorus.

We may even have a few of these albums left as LPs. Check out web site's list of our "vinyl dinosaurs" for further information. Folk-Legacy Hope that link works for you.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Looking for Lyrics and performer
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 16 Jan 99 - 08:53 PM

Darn it! Hey Joe! Can you use your magic button to move that "chorus" from the end of verse 2 to its proper place between the verses? I did this one with a "copy" and "paste" method, and was so sure I'd noticed all of the necessary brackets. Well, as they say: "Win a few; lose a whole bunch!"

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Looking for Lyrics and performer
From: Barbara
Date: 16 Jan 99 - 10:43 PM

Say, Sandy, I b'lieve Joe's off line for the weekend. Did you notice?


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Subject: RE: Looking for Lyrics and performer
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 17 Jan 99 - 12:08 AM

I should have known! I only sent that message ONCE! I'm developing the Mudcat Stutter, IIII GGGUUEESSSSSSS.


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Subject: RE: Looking for Lyrics and performer
From: murray@mpce.mq.edu.au
Date: 17 Jan 99 - 07:11 PM

Thanks Sandy. The lyrics you supply will, I think, along with my memoory, allow me to construct the song as I remember it.

Now comes the embarassing part. I have never heard of Jerry Rasmussen or of Peg Leg Howell.

I assume you can tell me something about the former. I think I will start a thread about the latter.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Looking for Lyrics and performer
From: rick fielding
Date: 17 Jan 99 - 08:10 PM

Hi Murray. Before Sandy waxes eloquently about Jerry, let me do a bit of waxing myself. Sandy has recorded him several times and may be a bit modest in his appraisal. Jerry is simply to me, one of the great folk surprises of the nineties. I discovered his music through hearing Sandy sing a piece called "Handful of Songs" which I subsequently (mis)learned and recorded. I love that song! Then I started hearing others of Jerry's. The man can flat out write. He has sent me a couple of tapes chock full of his material, and my guess is that he's written a couple of hundred since then. I'm sure Sandy will let you know how to get his recordings, I'm just here to say: do it. You won't be disappointed.

Peg Leg Howell "and his gang" recorded a lot in the 20s, 30s, and a very exploitive recording in the 60s. He shouldn't be hard to find in blues anthologies. I believe he spent most of his days in Atlanta.


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Subject: RE: Looking for Lyrics and performer
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 17 Jan 99 - 11:06 PM

Okay, this may help a bit. Dwayne Thorpe recorded a self-modified version of this song on his Minstrel LP (JD-209) titled Come and Keep Me Company. He accompanies himself with guitar, but is backed by an unobtrusive banjo played by Jeff Davis. His note to the song credits jerry Rasmussen for introducing him to traditional music, but adds that he first heard the song on one of Sam Charters' collections. "To include as many songs as possible, Charters had represented each song with a couple of verses, rather than giving the whole piece. Out of frustration, I added a couple of my own verses, and somehow that evolved into adding a chorus as well."

I haven't transcribed Dwayne's text, but he does have the cheap cigar in the first one, and uses "Little piece of wood layin' on the shelf. If you don't come and get it, gonna burn it myself." This corresponds more closely to the words you remember.

Of course, someone may have been playing the Charters collection, but unless what you heard sounded like a transcription from a 1920s/30s 78rpm record, you may have heard Dwayne's recording. If you're interested, Folk-Legacy is now helping Minstrel clear out their remaining LPs (as we are doing, too), so you can find the Minstrel recording listed among our remaindered vinyl dinosaurs.

I'll drop a quick note into the Peg Leg Howell thread, too, steering you to this info.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Looking for Lyrics and performer
From: murray@mpce.mq.edu.au
Date: 17 Jan 99 - 11:22 PM

The frustrating thing, Sandy, is that when my LP changer broke down, I never replaced it. I lost most of my vinyls when I came to Australia anyway.

By the way, I heard this in the 60s on the radio. It must have made an impression on me. I don't recall if it sounded like a repress of a 78 record. The singer sounded black as I recall.

Did Thorpe and/or Rasmussen make their LPs in the mid-late 60s?

Rick brings up the other possibility that it could have been in an Anthology.

Independently of all that, I will certainly look into Jerry Rasmussen!

Murray


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Subject: RE: Looking for Lyrics and performer
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 18 Jan 99 - 12:30 AM

Thorpe makes a genuine effort to reflect the accent and vocal style of his source singer, almost to a fault, so he could have fooled you. However, his record wasn't released until 1980, so that lets him out. With the textual differences between what you remember and Jerry's words, I have to conclude that you were hearing the original Peg Leg Howell recording. Must have been a very good transcription. More common to hear good ones now than it was in the 60s. Compare the Yazoo CD of Washington Phillips with the older German LP of much of the same material. They may have had better originals, but the restoration techniques have obviously improved as well. Maybe we ought to start a thread about Washington Phillips. My wife and I are super-fans!

Good turntables are still available, you know. We'd be lost without access to our vinyl records. Ask Rick!

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Looking for Lyrics and performer
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Jan 99 - 03:51 PM

Hey, Sandy, what's the title of the song you posted above? I hope I fixed it the way you wanted it.
-Joe Offer, back from a snowshoe trip-


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Subject: RE: Looking for Lyrics and performer
From: murray@mpce.mq.edu.au
Date: 20 Jan 99 - 10:15 PM

Sandy; I am enjoying browsing around the link to folk legacy that you posted.

The reason I didn't buy a new changer is because I don't own very many vinyls anymore. I think that CDs that were analogue recorded, but digitally redone are very good. I am very impressed with the Smithsonian/Folkways "Anthology". They really bring Blind Lemon's playing to life.

I have been disappointed with digitally recorded CDs though; especially with delicate things like solo lute, solo guitar and harpsichord.

Do start a thread about Washington Phillips. Start by describing who he is and what he plays ;). I really find threads about individual old-time performers and groups (and sometimes new-time ones) very interesting. They really bring out the collective knowledge we have here at Mudcat.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Looking for Lyrics and performer
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 21 Jan 99 - 10:36 PM

Jerry calls it "Coal Man Blues," Joe. I guess that's what Peg Leg Howell called it, too, although I don't have his recording in my own collection. Apparently both jerry Rasmussen and Dwayne Thorpe have altered the original quite a bit. Jerry says his alterations were inadvertent, Dwayne says he wrote his verses out of frustration at not having enough words to keep a neat song going for a satisfying length of time. I can understand that!

I'll start a thread about Washington Phillips after I've re-read what little I've seen about him. Basically: he was recorded in Texas during the 20s, singing religious material, playing the "dulceola" or "Dolceola," an instrument made by the Toledo Symphony Company. It was like a large zither with a keyboard built on a sort of super-structure over the lower part of the strings. Strung with chords on the left, melody strings on the right. Andy Cohen (charter member of the Washington Phillips Fan Club) plays one very well. Caroline and I have one which turned up in a Michigan antique shop, but it needs some TLC to become truly playable.

Phillips apparently died young, some say in a mental hospital, and never recorded more than the cuts put down in that 1920s session, all of which are now available on a great Yazoo CD. But let me tell you this: no one ever sang with more conviction! When he says "I was born to preach the Gospel, and I sure do love my job!" you know he means it with all his heart. Truth to tell, I'm a confirmed skeptic, but this man's music could almost bring me around.

Think that's worth a thread? I'm afraid I don't know enough about him to feel capable of getting it started properly. Perhaps someone else does.

Sandy


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Subject: ADD: Milwaukee/St Paul (Jerry Rasmussen)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Nov 02 - 01:19 PM

Also see the thread called hard coal and the stovewood man. I included these threads in the Jerry Rasmussen links because Jerry recorded it and made it his own.

Here's a Jerry Rasmussen song that I couldn't crosslink to him, so I thought I'd include it here.
-Joe Offer-


Thread #20196   Message #578431

Posted By: Jerry Rasmussen

23-Oct-01 - 09:08 PM

Thread Name: Train Songs

Subject: Lyr Add: MILWAUKEE/ST. PAUL (Jerry Rasmussen)


Milwaukee/St. Paul
(Jerry Rasmussen)

   Walking down the tracks on a dusty day
   With the long steel rails so shiny
   Now they tore the railroad depot down
   And the tracks have all gone rusty

   Fishing off the edge of a railroad bridge
   You canf feel those steel rails humming
   Better put your bait and your bucket down
   'cause the train will soon be coming

   All you got to do is to walk those ties
   And they're bound to lead you to the country
   Lie on your back in the tall, sweet grass
   Or you can take your dog and go hunting

   I could sit and watch those trains all day
   And the cars just keep on coming
   Chicago Northwestern, Milwaukee St. Paul
   And the steel rails keep on humming

Words and music by Jerry Rasmussen


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Subject: RE: Looking for Lyrics and performer (Coal Man Blues)
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 16 Nov 02 - 02:24 PM

This thread has been around awhile, I see... before I was even a minnow in the pond here. For whatever interest it is, Duane and I were roommates at Columbia University and both learned this song off the same record... the Sam Charters album that didn't include full recordings. This is a good example of what the folk process can do.
Our guitar arrangements are very different, too.

Reading this thread, I figure that it was posted by Murray Adelman. If so, he did hear my version because he contacted me a little over a year ago, and I sent him a tape of that song, and some of my other music. He was gracious enough to find a copy of Australia Felix for me... a book that I love, and had lost. It's no longer in print, but he found a used copy and sent it to me... I tried to find a full recording of this song, and wasn't successful... maybe this will spur me to look for it again. I'm just glad that I was able to send Murray the version that I recorded.... a very fine man, he was..


Jerry


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Subject: RE: Looking for Lyrics and performer (Coal Man Blues)
From: Stewie
Date: 16 Nov 02 - 08:41 PM

Jerry,

If you are keen to find one [it would be a bit expensive for one track], Peg Leg Howell's recording has been reissued on a 3CD set of southern blues. I have an old Matchbox LP set of Howell's recordings, but unfortunately it begins with his 1928 recordings.

Click Here

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Looking for Lyrics and performer (Coal Man Blues)
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 16 Nov 02 - 11:13 PM

Thanks, Stewie... it's a good collection for the price... I have most of the stuff already, so maybe I'll go back and check around to see if I can get a Peg Leg Howell CD with it on it. It's been awhile since I looked... from what I remember, I found a CD, but with no track listings... if I find one, I'll post it here.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Looking for Lyrics and performer (Coal Man Blues)
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 17 Nov 02 - 12:02 AM

You can get an Import CD titled Coal Man Blues for $40 plus on Amazon.com. The three CD collection looks like the better buy..

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Coal Man Blues (Peg Leg Howell)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 09 Nov 07 - 08:16 AM

I have listened to several sound samples of Peg Leg Howell singing COAL MAN BLUES, and I have pieced together the following lyrics, which are incomplete:

…Got me some eggs and a nice porkchop,
Cheap cigar and a magazine,
Had to run pretty fast to catch the 5:15.

Let me tell you something that I seen:
Coal man got run over by the 5:15.
Cut off his arms and it crashed his ribs.
Did the poor man die? No, the poor man lived.

Let me tell you something that I know:
Coal man got run over by the 5...


Call the coal, the stove-wood man.
Call the coal and the stove-wood man.
I ain't got but a little bit left.
If you don't come get it, gonna burn it myself.

Get the wood in the stove and the match in your hand,
Wood in the stove and the match in your hand,
Wood in the stove and the match in your hand,
You run to the door and stop the jelly (?) coal man.

Sell it to the rich and I sell it to the poor,
Sell it to the rich and I sell it to the poor,
Sell it to the rich and I sell it to the poor…


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Coal Man Blues (Peg Leg Howell)
From: 12-stringer
Date: 09 Nov 07 - 01:54 PM

Weenie Campbell has a Howell thread, with collective decipherment of many of his lyrics, including "Coal Man Bls" (first hit off the bat, initiated by John Miller). Also much info on Howell's keys and guitar tunings, for those who want to replicate style as well as songs. This site is a MUST for anybody interested in country blues lyrics and licks, not to mention general BSing about the subject.

http://weeniecampbell.com/mambo/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=74&topic=1459.0


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Subject: Lyr Add: COAL MAN BLUES (Peg Leg Howell)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 10 Nov 07 - 10:22 PM

Copied from the web site for which 12-stringer posted the link above:

COAL MAN BLUES

Woke up this morning 'bout five o'clock,
Got me some eggs and a nice pork chop,
Cheap cigar and a magazine,
Had to run pretty fast to catch the 5:15.

Let me tell you something that I seen:
Coal man got run over by the 5:15.
Cut off his arms and it crushed his ribs.
Did the poor man die? No, the poor man lived.

Let me tell you something that I know:
Coal man got run over by the 5:44.
Cut off his arms and it crushed his head.
Did the poor man die? No, the poor man's dead.

Hard coal, stovewood, ma'am,
Hard coal and your stovewood, ma'am.
I ain't got but a little bit left.
If you don't come get it, gonna burn it myself.

Just the wood in the stove and the match in your hand,
Wood in the stove and the match in your hand,
Wood in the stove and the match in your hand,
You run to the door and stop to tell the coal man.

Sell it to the rich and I sell it to the poor.
Sell it to the rich and I sell it to the poor.
Sell it to the rich and I sell it to the poor.
I sell it to the nice brown a-standing in the door.

Furnish your wood, furnish your coal,
Furnish your wood and I furnish your coal,
Furnish your wood and I furnish your coal,
Make you love me, doggone your soul.

I've got your water, got your gas.
Got your water and got your gas.
Got your water and I've got your gas.
You cheat me, mama, says, "That's your last." (?)

Let me tell you, mama, what's the matter now.
Let me tell you, mama, what's the matter now.
Let me tell you, mama, what's the matter now.
You don't want me, take me anyhow.

Sweet mama, sweet mama, what's on your mind?
Mama, sweet mama, what's on your mind?
Mama, sweet mama, what's on your mind?
Says, "You can't quit me, no need of tryin'."

I'm goin' up the country. Don't you want to go?
Goin' up the country. Don't you want to go?
Goin' up the country. Don't you want to go?
Leaving here, ain't coming back no more.

Me and my rider and two or three more,
Me and my rider and two or three more,
Me and my rider and two or three more,
We're goin' up the country. Don't you want to go?

Went down the road, feelin' bad.
Went down the road, mama, feelin' bad.
Went down the road, mama, feelin' bad.
I feel so worried that I ever had.

Me and my [instrumental tag]
Me and my mama and two or three more,
Me and my brown, two or three more,
Goin' up the country. Don't you want to go?

Goin' away and it won't be long.
Goin' away and it won't be long.
Goin' away and it won't be long.
Don't believe I'm leavin', count the days I'm gone.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Coal Man Blues (Peg Leg Howell)
From: GUEST,Jake
Date: 19 Aug 14 - 10:32 AM

I believe the lyric in the last line of the fifth stanza should actually be, "You run to the door to stop the Jellico man." Jellico was the name of a prominent coal provider back in the day. The door-to-door guys were called the "Jellico man."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Coal Man Blues (Peg Leg Howell)
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 26 Jun 16 - 08:27 PM

Peg's "Coal Man Blues" is related to "Hobo Blues" by Sloppy Henry, which is related to "Kassie Jones" by Furry Lewis.

Peg starts with "Woke up this morning 'bout five o'clock," Furry starts with "I woke up this morning, four o'clock." Sloppy's song includes some of the same details as Furry's, such as the mention of being "Alabama bound" and the stanza about Alice Frye who ain't good looking but takes her time and has a rambling mind.


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Subject: Lyr Add: COAL MAN BLUES (James Hall, Jack Newman)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 02 Jul 16 - 08:16 AM

I found this on Spotify, on two albums: "Jack Newman (1938)," Document Records DOCD-5351, 1995; and "Coal Man Blues," Suncoast Music, 2015.


COAL MAN BLUES
As recorded by James Hall (vocal?) and Jack Newman (piano?), 1938.

I am a coal man, knocking at your door. (2x)
I can't credit you today until you pay for that you got before.

I furnish you coal, honey, just to cook your meals. (2x)
And when you don't pay me, how do you think I feel?

Now your coal box is empty; what d'you expect for me to do? (2x)
Spend my money for coal and credit it out for you?

Since you are a good little lady, I will treat you nice and kind. (2x)
I will credit you for coal if you haven't got a dime.

I believe I will put the coal bus'ness down. (2x)
When you ladies gets my coal, you tries to dog me aroun'.


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