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Lyr Req: Looky, Looky, Yonder (Leadbelly)

DigiTrad:
ALABAMA BOUND
BILL MARTIN AND ELLA SPEED
BRING ME LITTLE WATER, SYLVIE
COTTON FIELDS BACK HOME
DUNCAN AND BRADY
DUNCAN AND BRADY (2)
GOOD NIGHT IRENE
JUMPIN' JUDY
KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF HER
KISSES SWEETER THAN WINE
LININ' TRACK
MIDNIGHT SPECIAL
ROCK ME ON THE WATER
SKEWBALL
SO LONG IT'S BEEN GOOD TO KNOW YUH
SONG TO WOODY
TAKE THIS HAMMER
THE GRAY GOOSE
THE ROCK ISLAND LINE (is a mighty fine line)
WE SHALL WALK THROUGH THE VALLEY
WHOA BACK BUCK
YOU DON'T KNOW ME


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folktheatre 05 Feb 06 - 07:45 AM
Joe Offer 05 Feb 06 - 10:05 AM
folktheatre 06 Feb 06 - 01:21 PM
folktheatre 06 Feb 06 - 01:24 PM
GUEST,WAvery 30 May 06 - 12:07 AM
GUEST,Fortua26 30 May 06 - 01:50 AM
greg stephens 30 May 06 - 03:07 AM
GUEST,WAvery 30 May 06 - 08:25 AM
GUEST,WAvery 30 May 06 - 11:16 PM
Azizi 31 May 06 - 12:00 AM
Azizi 31 May 06 - 12:12 AM
Azizi 31 May 06 - 12:34 AM
Joe Offer 31 May 06 - 01:56 AM
GUEST,Gerry 31 May 06 - 02:19 AM
GUEST,WAvery 31 May 06 - 04:26 AM
Joe Offer 31 May 06 - 04:35 AM
Azizi 31 May 06 - 07:35 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 31 May 06 - 04:28 PM
GUEST,WAvery 31 May 06 - 06:21 PM
Azizi 31 May 06 - 06:25 PM
GUEST,WAvery 31 May 06 - 06:27 PM
Azizi 31 May 06 - 06:29 PM
Azizi 31 May 06 - 06:31 PM
GUEST,wavery 31 May 06 - 06:50 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 31 May 06 - 09:57 PM
Wavery 01 Jun 06 - 03:45 PM
Azizi 01 Jun 06 - 04:45 PM
folktheatre 19 Sep 06 - 04:26 AM
GUEST,headtrip 07 Dec 08 - 07:33 PM
GUEST,Just some fella 09 Aug 10 - 07:53 PM
maple_leaf_boy 09 Aug 10 - 08:55 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Looky Looky Yonder (Leadbelly)
From: folktheatre
Date: 05 Feb 06 - 07:45 AM

No one seems to have all the lyrics for this so i thought I'd try. Here are some posted on a thread for Woah Buck lyrics.

Looky looky yonder (x3)
Where the sun done gone.

The captain can't hold em (x3)
The way I do

Ada got a gold mine (x3)
Way above her knee.


Has anyone got the remaining lyrics or have a clue what he might be saying? It might be easier for some of you american folk to get than me!

Miker.


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Subject: ADD: Looky Looky Yonder (Leadbelly)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 05 Feb 06 - 10:05 AM

Hi, Mike - Here's what's in The Leadbelly Songbook (Oak Publications, 1962):

Looky Looky Yonder
(Leadbelly)

CHORUS
Looky looky yonder (x3)
Where the sun done gone.

Well I can't hold em (x3)
Lord, the way I do
CHORUS

Ada got a gold mine (x3)
Way above her knee.
CHORUS

Old Aunt Dinah (x3)
She can't say a word
CHORUS

I'm gonna leave you (x3)
And I don't care what you say
CHORUS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looky Looky Yonder (Leadbelly)
From: folktheatre
Date: 06 Feb 06 - 01:21 PM

Fantastic!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looky Looky Yonder (Leadbelly)
From: folktheatre
Date: 06 Feb 06 - 01:24 PM

There seems to be verses that go:

(......Ada's?) been walking x 2
All day long

She's been talking x 2
Babe all day long

CHORUS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looky Looky Yonder (Leadbelly)
From: GUEST,WAvery
Date: 30 May 06 - 12:07 AM

To the best of my ability, these are the lyric's to Leadbelly's 1939 a capella version of "Looky, Looky, Yonder/Black Betty/Yellow Woman's Doorbell" medley.

But I could use some help. First, words in parentheses "( )" are there to clarify the true word from it's - sometimes very different - phonetic use in the song.

Second, words in brackets "[ ]" are those words I'm not sure are right. If anyone can fill in these blanks, that would be fantastic.

Also, if I screwed up the lyrics anywhere else, I'd love to hear about it.

Leadbelly is an amazing historical musical legend, and this song practically possessed me to put together the lyrics. But I've searched all over the web and this thread is the best (free) source I've found.

Please be kind to all copyrights, etc.

?

Looky looky yonder
Looky looky yonder
Looky looky yonder
Where the sun done gone.

The cap'in' (captain) can't hold 'em
Cap'in' can't hold 'em
Cap'in' can't hold 'em
The way I do.

Yes Addie gotta gold mine
Addie gotta gold mine
Addie gotta gold mine
Way above her knee.

Looky looky yonder
Looky looky yonder
Looky looky yonder
Where the sun done gone.

[I's just] walking
[I's just] walking
[I's just] walking
All day long.

[She's] been talking
[She's] been talking
[She's] been talking
Babe, all day long.

Looky looky yonder
Looky looky yonder
Looky looky yonder
Where the sun done gone.

Oh Black Betty, Bam da lam
Oh Black Betty, Bam da lam

Black Betty had a baby, Bam da lam
Black Betty had a baby, Bam da lam

Damn thing gone crazy, Bam da lam
Damn thing gone crazy, Bam da lam

Oh Black Betty, Bam da lam
Oh Black Betty, Bam da lam

Oh baby Black Betty, Bam da lam
Oh baby Black Betty, Bam da lam

Black Betty had a baby, Bam da lam
Black Betty had a baby, Bam da lam

Damn thing gone crazy, Bam da lam
Damn thing gone crazy, Bam da lam

Baby wasn't none of mine, Bam da lam
Baby wasn't none of mine, Bam da lam

Damn thing gone blind, Bam da lam
Damn thing gone blind, Bam da lam

Yeah Black Betty, Bam da lam
Whoa Black Betty, Bam da lam

Black Betty, Black Betty, Bam da lam
Black Betty, Black Betty, Bam da lam

Looky here, Black Betty, Bam da lam
Looky here, Black Betty, Bam da lam

Jump steady, Black Betty, Bam da lam
Jump steady, Black Betty, Bam da lam

Last Monday, baby I was arrested
        [Lawd (Lord), lawd, lawd]

On Tuesday, I was locked up in jail
        [Lawd, lawd, lawd]

On Wednesday, my child was attested
        [Lawd, lawd]

On Thursday, [nobody's gonna call my bail,] here's some mo'

Almost done, here's some mo'
Almost done, here's some mo'
Almost done, [Lawd, lawd]

And I ain't gonna, ain't done, [ya'll don't gimme no bail]
        [Lawd, lawd, lawd, lawd]

Last Monday, baby I went a'walking
        [Lawd, lawd]

On Tuesday, I shot me a'dog
        [Lawd, lawd, lawd]

On Wednesday, we was sittin' down a'talking
        [Lawd, lawd]

On Thursday, she pawned all of my clothes
        [Lawd, lawd, lawd]


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Correction-Leadbelly- Looky Looky Yonder
From: GUEST,Fortua26
Date: 30 May 06 - 01:50 AM

Wow! I've never seen these lyrics. Nice.

But ok, I heard a couple of things different. NOT big things but...

On line "On Wednesday, my child was attested"- I think he saying "detested" not "attested." It does sound like "attested" but that doesn't make sense.

On the line "On Thursday, [nobody's gonna call my bail]..." I don't think it sounds exactly right. I think "gonna call" might be something else. But I donot know what it is.

Line "And I ain't gonna, ain't done [ya'll dong''t gimme no bail]" It sounds to me like he's saying "And I ain't gone, ain't done..."

Line "On Tuesday I shot me a'dog" sounds to me like "I snuck me out doors." And after that, he says "Lawd" 4 times, not three.

I am only totally sure about the last part with the extra "Lawd." Not sure about rest. Cool stuff!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Correction-Leadbelly- Looky Looky Yo
From: greg stephens
Date: 30 May 06 - 03:07 AM

I suggest it's
On Wednesday my trial was a-tested
and
On Tursday nobody's gonna go my bail
(havent heard this particular version, but what I have put here is what I recall him singing on the recording I have of "On a Monday".


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Correction-Leadbelly- Looky Looky Yonder
From: GUEST,WAvery
Date: 30 May 06 - 08:25 AM

Thanks Fortua! Thanks Greg!

I don't suppose either of you can weigh in as to whether the other guesses are right or wrong?

I'd love to feel like we have the complete correct form so I hope anyone who can will help.


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Subject: Lyr Add: LOOKY LOOKY YONDER (Leadbelly)
From: GUEST,WAvery
Date: 30 May 06 - 11:16 PM

Thanks everyone for the input. Some of the corrections seem so obvious, after being pointed out. Here are the modified lyrics to Leadbelly's 1939 a capella version of "Looky, Looky, Yonder/Black Betty/Yellow Woman's Doorbell" medley, complete with what seem to be the most accurate suggestions (so far).

Still, brackets "[ ]" mean the words may not be right. Parentheses "( )" are used to clarify words that are spelled much differently then they sound phonetically in the song.

Please note, I'm NOT clarifying correct English spelling to insult Leadbally or anyone else. Rather, I'm doing it because at least one of the lyric requests comes from someone who speaks English as a second language. So I'm not sure if phonetic (sounds-like) spellings would always be understood. Another reason to clarify these words is that phonetic spelling messes up any translation program.

For the same reasons, I might as well point out that "ain't" is improper English. It's a contraction of "are not, is not, am not, has not," or "have not." Even though it is improper, "ain't" is commonly used and understood in English speaking countries, but generally is associated with less-educated native speakers.   Further, someone speaking English as a second language may sound affected or strange if he or she used "ain't" in regular conversation (but not as part of a song, of course!).

"I's" (if this is the correct word used in the song) is more improper English, literally: "I is," rather than the proper "I am." Although "I's" can be understood by most in the U.S.A., it is much less common or accepted. In fact, it could be associated, negatively, as an outdated and stereotypical depiction of language used by black Americans. Other word combinations, such as "done gone," are similarly incorrect and possibly offensive as stereotyping black Americans. But here again the meaning is still understood (the improper "done gone" is understood as the proper "is gone" or "has gone"). And, again, as part of a song- particularly part of a song by a legend like Leadbelly- all of these words are ? perfect!

In this version, the other words that aren't proper English are phonetic spellings rather than incorrect English. In other words, Leadbellly wasn't using improper English just because I chose to use a phonetic spelling. His dialect is distinct enough that some phonetic spellings are arguably more useful than the correct spelling when trying to follow the lyrics.

I hope I don't have to point out to anyone, no matter what their native language, that "Bam da lam" doesn't mean anything in English (or any other language I've ever heard).

Has anyone guessed that I've taught English for a living?

Finally, for the sake of accuracy, it should be pointed out that Leadbelly almost certainly did not originate any of these three songs or lyrics. They were passed to him from much earlier sources.   But he provided one of the earliest recordings of it with this version, which was made in part for the U.S. Library of Congress as an important historical record.

Anyone interested in more history about this medley or Leadbelly in general?   This site is great! Probably, most Leadbelly info is already here. I "ain't no" expert. Just a fan.

Looky Looky Yonder/Black Betty/Yellow Woman's Doorbell
Version recorded a capella by Leadbelly- 1939

Looky looky yonder
Looky looky yonder
Looky looky yonder
Where the sun done gone.

The cap'in' (captain) can't hold 'em ("him" or "them")
Cap'in' can't hold 'em
Cap'in' can't hold 'em
The way I do.

Yes Addie gotta (got a) gold mine
Addie gotta gold mine
Addie gotta gold mine
Way above her knee.

Looky looky yonder
Looky looky yonder
Looky looky yonder
Where the sun done gone.

[I's just] walking
[I's just] walking
[I's just] walking
All day long.

[She's been] talking
[She's been] talking
[She's been] talking
Babe, all day long.

Looky looky yonder
Looky looky yonder
Looky looky yonder
Where the sun done gone.

Oh Black Betty, Bam da lam
Oh Black Betty, Bam da lam

Black Betty had a baby, Bam da lam
Black Betty had a baby, Bam da lam

Damn thing gone crazy, Bam da lam
Damn thing gone crazy, Bam da lam


Oh Black Betty, Bam da lam
Oh Black Betty, Bam da lam

Oh baby Black Betty, Bam da lam
Oh baby Black Betty, Bam da lam

Black Betty had a baby, Bam da lam
Black Betty had a baby, Bam da lam

Damn thing gone crazy, Bam da lam
Damn thing gone crazy, Bam da lam

Baby wasn't none of mine, Bam da lam
Baby wasn't none of mine, Bam da lam

Damn thing gone blind, Bam da lam
Damn thing gone blind, Bam da lam

Yeah Black Betty, Bam da lam
Whoa Black Betty, Bam da lam

Black Betty, Black Betty, Bam da lam
Black Betty, Black Betty, Bam da lam

Looky here, Black Betty, Bam da lam
Looky here, Black Betty, Bam da lam

Jump steady, Black Betty, Bam da lam
Jump steady, Black Betty, Bam da lam

Last Monday, baby I was arrested
        Lawd (Lord), lawd, lawd

On Tuesday, I was locked up in jail
        Lawd, lawd, lawd

On Wednesday, my trial was attested
        Lawd, lawd

On Thursday, nobody's gonna (going to) go my bail, here's some mo' (more)

Almost done, here's some mo'
Almost done, here's some mo'
Almost done, lawd, lawd

And I ain't gone, ain't done, ya'll don't hand me no bail
        Lawd, lawd, lawd, lawd

Last Monday, baby I went a'walking
        Lawd, lawd

On Tuesday, I shot me a'dog
        Lawd, lawd, lawd, lawd

On Wednesday, we was sittin' down a'talking
        Lawd, lawd

On Thursday, she pawned all of my clothes
        Lawd, lawd, lawd


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Leadbellty Lyrics- Looky, Looky, Yonder
From: Azizi
Date: 31 May 06 - 12:00 AM

Hello Guest WAvery,

Thanks for that information and lyrics.
But I've got a question for you- what does "lawd" mean?




Just jokin!


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Subject: Lyr Add: ANOTHER MAN DONE GONE
From: Azizi
Date: 31 May 06 - 12:12 AM

By the way, the phrase "done gone" conjures up this song:

Another Man Done Gone
(Traditional Alabama chain gang song)

Verse 1:
                F#m
Another man done gone
                E
Another man done gone
                F#m
Another man done gone
                B
From the country farm
                F#m
Another man done gone.

Verse 2:
He had a long chain on
He had a long chain on
He had a long chain on
From the country farm
Another man done gone.

Verse 3:
I didn't know his name
I didn't know his name
I didn't know his name
They did him just the same
Another man done gone.

Verse 4:
He killed another man
He killed another man
He killed another man
From the country farm
Another man done gone.

Verse 5:
Another man done gone
Another man done gone
Another man done gone
From the country farm
Another man done gone.

JB adds:
They sick the dogs on him
They sick the dogs on him
They sick the dogs on him
Torn limb from limb
Another man done gone.

Everyday Companion: Another Man Done Gone

I'm not sure who's "JB"; maybe R&B singer James Brown?... Naw {?}

****

Here's Harry Belafonte's slightly different version:
Another man done gone
Another man done gone
Another man done gone
Anīunaccounted for
Another man done gone
I didn't know his name
I didn't know his name
I didn't know his name
I didn't know his name
I didn't know his name
He had a long chain on
He had a long chain on
He had a long chain on
He had a long chain on
He had a long chain on
De captīn donīt know where
De captīn donīt know where
De captīn donīt know where
Another man done gone

http://www.lyricsdownload.com/harry-belafone-another-man-done-gone-lyrics.html


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Leadbellty Lyrics- Looky, Looky, Yonder
From: Azizi
Date: 31 May 06 - 12:34 AM

And also, again somewhat off the subject, looky, looky looky! What have we here? Why, there's Alice Randall's 2001 controversial book "The Wind Done Gone" which proports to be "Gone with the Wind" from the perspective of the enslaved Black people.

http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/nge/Article.jsp?id=h-776

All this to say, I agree with the fact that you qualified your comment about whether [I suppose you meant] non-Black people saying "done gone" would be offensive to Black people. In my not at all humble opinion, as one Black person, whether "done gone" and other such phrases are offensive to Black Americans depends on context, context, context.

And as to whether we use it...well sometimes we put on the old school phrasing just because we wanna.

And sometimes not.

And who says Black folks are the only ones who use {or used} "done gone" to mean "fully left as opposed to being in the process of leaving"}. True, it may be an Africanism since traditional African languages have words that give a more detailed description of concepts of time. But isn't the general language-vocabulary and grammatical usages, and perhaps to a lesser extent pronunciation of poor & working class Southern African Americans, for instance, is very much the same as poor & working class Southern European Americans?

[That is not a rhetorical question. I truly am interested in your opinion on this].

Thanks. And btw, welcome to Mudcat!

Azizi



And sometimes not


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Leadbelly Lyrics- Looky, Looky, Yonde
From: Joe Offer
Date: 31 May 06 - 01:56 AM

Hi, WAvery - it's interesting to see the difference between the version you transcribed from the 1939 recording, and the version I got from The Leadbelly Songbook (up top). Makes me think I shouldn't be so quick to trust the songs I find in the Oak Publications songbooks (although I think the songbook version IS a legitimate Leadbelly version).

You've kept me busy combining threads, since you've started at least three threads on this song. As much as possible, we try to keep all the information on one song in one thread. You can find old threads by using our Filter for Looky and setting the age back.

Thanks for the great information on this song.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Leadbelly Lyrics- Looky, Looky, Yonder
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 31 May 06 - 02:19 AM

I asked about the words to On A Monday on the Usenet newsgroup rec.music.folk, and got some interesting replies, which you can find in the Google archives here.

If that link doesn't work, search Google groups for the thread, On a Monday: lyrics? origin?

One response gave the lyrics from The Leadbelly Songbook. In another response, Sam Hinton gave his recollection of the way Josh White sang it in the 1940s.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Leadbelly Lyrics- Looky, Looky, Yonder
From: GUEST,WAvery
Date: 31 May 06 - 04:26 AM

Hey all. Sorry for starting so many threads. I'm glad you could sort 'em out Joe.

And Aziz, thanks for the comments. But do you assume I'm not black also?

Regarding "Done Gone": The book "The Wind Done Gone" is absolutely fantastic as a contrast to "Gone with the Wind." I bought it before the lawsuit.

Gerry, the Google link is very cool. But it refers to different lyrics than those here. There are several variations of these songs. This melody is, maybe, unique. It is a recording you can find online.

But regarding the Lomax brothers, they were the ones who got Leadbelly and others to record for the first time. So their influence can't be understated.

Leadbelly didn't write these songs, by his own admission. They are adaptations of (most likely) slave work songs, that became black American prison work songs, that became folk songs. And they might have been lost forever if not for the few who saw value in recording them.   

Regarding the potential offensive nature of particular words, Aziz, I think you're right. I doubt that many "Americanisms", whether by black Americans or others, are truly native. Most of these probably adapted from people in the old countries. Which, in this case, would be a combination of Africans, slave populations in the US South- antebellum, English as it was mangled by everyone inhabiting the New Indies prior to 1860, and the once greater Great Britain (meaning everyone influencing the States from G.B. and the Commonwealth).

I still hope for confirmation of the missing lyrics. The 1960's songbook is NOT correct. At best, it "cleaned up" the lyrics. But I think it actually goes further, providing a totally different lyrical view. Leadbelly may have approved. But it isn't what he sang in 1939.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Leadbelly Lyrics- Looky, Looky, Yonde
From: Joe Offer
Date: 31 May 06 - 04:35 AM

Hi, WAvery -
John was father of Alan Lomax. Bess Lomax Hawes was a song collector, too - she was Alan's sister.
No Lomax brothers that I know of.
I'm listening to the Tradition CD by Leadbelly, In the Shadow of the Gallows Pole. I can't figure from the liner notes when this was recorded, but it seems to be the same as what you transcribed - a medley of "Looky Looky Yonder, Black Betty, and Yellow Women's Doorbells" (which I know as "On a Monday"). Looking again at the Oak Publications Leadbelly Songbook, I think it's a pretty good transcription of "Looky Looky" - it just doesn't include the other two songs from the medley. -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Leadbelly Lyrics- Looky, Looky, Yonder
From: Azizi
Date: 31 May 06 - 07:35 AM

Guest WAvery,

I note that you agreed with my comment about context determining whether a particular grammatical usage is or is not offensive to Black folk.

But whether you are Black or non-Black is not pertinent to the points that I made-or attempted to make- in my 31 May 06 - 12:34 AM post.

And WAvery, in your 31 May 06 - 04:26 AM post you also wrote that "...I doubt that many "Americanisms", whether by black Americans or others, are truly native. Most of these probably adapted from people in the old countries".

I'm not sure if we are correctly understanding each other's comments as I also don't think that your response really addresses the non-rhetorical question that I asked you in that post {Do non-Blacks from the American South also use the phrase 'done gone'?}.

Perhaps it depends on what the term "Americanisms" means to you.
I think that a good number of colloquial expressions and slang terms {maybe they're the same thing and maybe not] were 'born & bred in the good ole U.S. of A.'

Be that as it may [or may not be], I recognize the fact that this discussion is somewhat off topic. That is especially so if your intention in this thread was to seek different versions of that 'Looky Looky Yonder' song. Perhaps you did not expect a discussion of the origins & meanings of certain words. But you did open up the door to a look-see about the meanings and uses of specific words from that song in your initial post to this thread.

I'm neither a musician nor a vocalist. If I had to place myself in any category, I'd say that I am an amateur folklorist. My primary interest is in African American folk music {including children's rhymes}. Given my interests, I admit that I tend to try to broaden some Mudcat conversations by asking about such things as word origins & meanings and the presence of specific floating verses that are in examples of African American as well as non-African American folk music. And of course, I recognize that there are also differences of opinion about what "African American folk music" and non-African American folk music" mean.

I'd love to talk with you further about these subjects, but I won't continue to muddy up this thread.

Now if you were a member, I could private message you.

Mudcat membership is free and easy-hint hint.

Best wishes,

Azizi


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Leadbelly Lyrics- Looky, Looky, Yonder
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 31 May 06 - 04:28 PM

Perhaps it should be pointed out to Waverly that colloquialisms and slang are quickly picked up by ESL speakers, and used on the job and in everyday speech. They learn that 'book English' singles them out from fellow workers if they hope to get along in jobs below professional level.

Ain't has been used in common speech for over 300 years, and will continue to be used, despite complaints by those who insist on proper English, whatever that is.
Certainly 'correct' English should never be invoked in judgement on folk song.

The remarks of H. L. Mencken in his classic, "The American Language, are as applicable today, if not more so, than they were when he wrote them in the 1930's.

"For many years the indefatigable schoolmarm has been trying to put down the American vulgate, but with very little success. At great pains she teaches her pupils the rules of what she conceives to be correct English, but the moment they get beyond reach of her constabulary ear they revert to the looser and more natural speech-habits of home and work-place."..........
Speaking of professional students of American English, Mencken says "In particular, they have failed to make an adequate investigation of the folk-speech she tries to combat ......"

The language is constantly changing through slang that, as Mencken said, "appears from nowhere, has its brief day, and then vanishes."
Some remains within a group, some spreads to a larger segment of the public. Many of us, for example, are lost when faced with the speech of urban African-American children, although those interested in the evolution of popular music may pick up a bare bones understanding of it.

Bam da lam may have had meaning for Lead Belly and his 'associates'.
Bam by itself has several meanings, depending on the group and context.
BAM, broad-assed Marine, Marine Corps slang, as an appellation for female marines, but has spread to the military as a whole.
Bam for pills (medication or drugs) is not uncommon. I have heard it here in Canada.
In the 19th c. bam was commonly used for to mislead, or to hoax, appearing in literature (Halliburton, "The Clockmaker," 1838). This definition is uncommon now.
See Lighter, "Historical Dictionary of American Slang."

Maybe some day schoolmarm will be able to sing "I seen the light and the truth is mine, Ya ain't welcome here." And the songs with 'done gone' in the title are many.

I haven't read it myself, but I wonder if Azizi knows the book by Alice Randall (Af-Am), "The Wind Done Gone Home," Houghton-Mifflin?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Leadbelly Lyrics- Looky, Looky, Yonder
From: GUEST,WAvery
Date: 31 May 06 - 06:21 PM

Hello again. And thanks for the cool feedback.

Aziz, I probably didn't pay close enough attention to your post and misunderstood you. Sorry about that. There's a lot we could discuss regarding language. My comments regarding "Americanisms" were intended as tongue-in-cheek. (While we're on the subject- I wonder where the heck that expression came from).

I'm sure that "done gone" is used by all types of folks and isn't limited to any group.

I agree that language use, as it pertains to music or historical context, generally shouldn't be considered offensive. However, I'm a bleeding-heart (another "where the heck?" term!) when it comes to freedom of expression in art. Anyone care to dance on the flag?

My post this morning was done fast, so I'm sorry if I misunderstood anyone. I was excited to see so much response and wanted to write back before I went to work.

I think you're right, Q, that ESL folk pick up a lot of the great slang in the language, once they're fluent enough. Nonetheless, I speak from experience regarding the use of "ain't". It's only my opinion, of course. I worked with a very smart and well-spoken person from Poland. His English was fluent and excellent, but he spoke with a clear accent (as one might expect). It was all I could do not to laugh when he tried to use "ain't." It just ... didn't sound right. But any ESL that doesn't move past book-English will, I agree, miss out on much the language has to offer.

I have absolutely nothing against "ain't." And I agree that "proper" English is pretty much an arbitrary set of rules. The only reason to codify it may be to make it more teachable, with which I have some experience. In fact, one reason I love the English language is that it is so quick to adopt new words, or take words from any other language. I think language snobbery is stupid, in any language (parle vous?). Thank heavens there's no government office I know of that tries to force a particular form of English down anyone's throat. Ultimately, unless we're talking about air traffic control, I don't care what type of English one uses.

I'm going to get in trouble for that one, huh? I'm not Canadian, or from Europe. So I probably have no business weighing in on the issue. But what the heck.

"Ain't" is a very old and well established word that, maybe, should just be accepted as correct. Until then, I encourage it to be used with some care for persons who speak ESL. But (again) I think ANYONE ought to use it when singing this song.

Joe, you're terrific! Thanks for the correction regarding the Lomax family. I have no idea how I got it in my head that they were brothers.
   
I've looked again at the Google link. Although I still feel certain that Leadbelly (or whoever is responsible) provided different lyrics for the 1960's songbook, I also think that some of the lyrics are more correct than my earlier posts. Particularly the portion of "Yellow woman's door bell." Without these corrections, the song title doesn't even appear in my earlier version!

So here are the corrections I made. But this time I'm only including the portion that changed, which is in the last section of the medley.

..................

On Thursday, nobody's gonna (going to) go my bail, here's some mo' (more)

Almost done, here's some mo'
Almost done, here's some mo'
Almost done, lawd, lawd

And I ain't gonna ring the yallow (yellow) woman's door bell
        Lawd, lawd, lawd, lawd

Last Monday, baby n'I went a'walking
        Lawd, lawd

On Tuesday, she shoved me out (the) door
        Lawd, lawd, lawd, lawd

On Wednesday, we was sittin' down a'talking
        Lawd, lawd

On Thursday, she pawned all of my clothes
        Lawd, lawd, lawd

.............

At this rate we'll have all the words correct in no time. So if anyone else can recommend corrections, I'd love to know. I can't say how many times I've listened to this version of the song now- trying to sort all this out. But I still love listening to it every time!

Thanks again.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Leadbelly Lyrics- Looky, Looky, Yonder
From: Azizi
Date: 31 May 06 - 06:25 PM

Yep, Q.

I briefly referred to Randell's The Wind Done Gone" in my 31 May 06 - 12:34 AM post. But I've not read it yet.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Leadbelly Lyrics- Looky, Looky, Yonder
From: GUEST,WAvery
Date: 31 May 06 - 06:27 PM

ps- I had no idea how much historical meaning each word of "bam da lam" actaully has! I love it!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Leadbelly Lyrics- Looky, Looky, Yonder
From: Azizi
Date: 31 May 06 - 06:29 PM

Re: the word "Bam":

I very much agree with Q that the meaning of this word depends on the context. I believe that 'bam" is an onomapoetic word which is often [?] just the imitation of a sharp, percussive sound [maybe initially it was the sound made by an axe as found in laying track railroad or in chain gang songs?].

Btw,"'Bama" is a whole 'nother word. "Bama" could be an abbreviation for someone who lives in or is from the US state of Alabama. Or it could be part of a nonsense phrase as per the following Little Richard song:

Bama Lama Bama Loo (Richard Penniman)

Bama lama bama loo
Got a girl named Lucinder, we call her the great pretender,
Got a girl named Lucinder, we call her the great pretender,
And when she talks, she says bama lama loo.

Bama lama, bama loo, bama lama, bama loo,
Bama lama, bama loo, bama lama, bama loo,
Now I dig her style, she's like a drive me wild with
Bama lama, bama loo.

I asked my baby for kiss, she shook her head like this,
I asked my little girl for kiss, she shook her head around like this,
She said woooo-oh, yeah.

Bama lama, bama loo, ...
Now I dig that style, its drivin' me wild with
Bama lama, bama loo.

I asked my baby for kiss, ...

Bama lama, bama loo, ...
Now I dig that style, now I'm drivin' her wild with
Bama lama, bama loo.

-snip-
http://www.kolumbus.fi/timrei/lyrics/blbl.html

{I know you guys and gals already knew this. But that gave me an excuse to add that Little Richard song :o)

In the 1960s, I think that "Bang" was the onomapoetic word to beat.
[For example I have fond memories in the 1960s of an uptempo, Latin dance song called "Beep Beep, Bang Bang". But I can't remember who recorded that song-Anybody know?]

But if there were a contest between onomopoetic words that begin with 'b' {such as "Bam"; "Bang"; "Beep", and "Boom", in my opinion, since at least the early 1980s the bass sounding "Boom" would win hands down. Think about "boom boxes", those large portable radio/tape players that were a must-have for teens and young adults if not some older folks. For those radio/tape players "Boom" might have meant that the sound was being loudly projected to folks who really didn't wanna hear it. But I think that in many contemporary R&B, Rap, and Dancehall Reggae songs, the word "boom" often is an approximation of powerful gun fire.

And that's sad and that's scary.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Leadbelly Lyrics- Looky, Looky, Yonder
From: Azizi
Date: 31 May 06 - 06:31 PM

Hi! Waverly. We crossed posted. I guess we were on the same frequency.

"Spooky", hun?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Leadbelly Lyrics- Looky, Looky, Yonder
From: GUEST,wavery
Date: 31 May 06 - 06:50 PM

lol! Guess so Azizi. I love the Little Richard segway! And I'm joining the group per your advice.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Leadbelly Lyrics- Looky, Looky, Yonder
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 31 May 06 - 09:57 PM

That out d'door' or 'out t'door' has caused pause in more than one Mudcat thread on song 'translation'. It comes close to being a glottal stop in some cases, not being pronounced as a letter.

Digression-
tongue-in-cheek- The OED has a 1798 quotation from the novel, "Woman of Honor," "by winking with one eye... and tonguing out his cheek."
Smollett, 1748- "I signified my contempt of him by thrusting my tongue in my cheek." (Giving cheek- to be insolent- any relation?)
These quotations suggest the phrase already was in common use in the 18th c.; no idea of the age or origin.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Leadbelly Lyrics- Looky, Looky, Yonder
From: Wavery
Date: 01 Jun 06 - 03:45 PM

Dang Q! I can't believe you managed to find the potential source for "tongue-in-cheek." Interesting stuff.

The 1748 reference seems to have a different meaning (showing contempt) rather than the way I interpret it today (joking, or not being totally serious).

The 1798 novel quotation is interesting but here we have no statement of context (joking, insincerity, or even contempt). So I'd have to know what came before "by winking..." to see what the actions are trying to convey.

Regarding "d'door" or "t'door" - thanks for the info. I'm glad I'm not alone having difficulty with this. I've listed to just that portion of the song a thousand times now. I couldn't detect anything before "door," so I put "the" in parenthesis to indicate, obviously, that I imagine "the" ought to be there but wasn't articulated in this version of the song.

PS- Notice I'm no longer "Guest, Wavery." =)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Leadbelly Lyrics- Looky, Looky, Yonder
From: Azizi
Date: 01 Jun 06 - 04:45 PM

Welcome, Wavery!

I'm glad you've joined Mudcat.

Azizi


PS: I sent you a pm.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looky, Looky, Yonder (Leadbelly)
From: folktheatre
Date: 19 Sep 06 - 04:26 AM

Wow. Never realised what I started! Fantastic.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looky, Looky, Yonder (Leadbelly)
From: GUEST,headtrip
Date: 07 Dec 08 - 07:33 PM

this is great. I know this convo happened years ago but it just helped me out a lot. I like the linguistic talk too. "glottal stop"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looky, Looky, Yonder (Leadbelly)
From: GUEST,Just some fella
Date: 09 Aug 10 - 07:53 PM

Hello all, I know that this thread goes back quite a while but here's a few changes to the lyrics, as I hear them...

On Thursday, nobody couldn't call my bail Yes I'm all Almost done, Yes I'm all Almost done, Yes I'm all Almost done, (Lord, Lord) And I 'aint gonna ring the yellow womens doorbells

Last Monday...etc On Tuesday, I snuck me out doors...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Looky, Looky, Yonder (Leadbelly)
From: maple_leaf_boy
Date: 09 Aug 10 - 08:55 PM

"But I think that in many contemporary R&B, Rap, and Dancehall Reggae songs, the word "boom" often is an approximation of powerful gun fire."

That's what I figured myself, "bam" could mean gunfire.

I know enough English to get by, but I pick up on regional slang
pretty easily, if I'm in a new area where the lingo is different.

My aunt teaches English, so I try to use proper grammar when I'm at
a family gathering.


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