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When I was a little bitty baby (Cotton Fields)

13 Aug 08 - 05:45 PM (#2412906)
Subject: When I was a little bitty baby
From: Dave the Gnome

My Momma dun rock me in my cradle

Discuss.


:D


13 Aug 08 - 05:47 PM (#2412910)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby
From: Georgiansilver

Was it "In dem old cottonfields back home" den?


13 Aug 08 - 05:50 PM (#2412915)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby
From: Dave the Gnome

Nah - That could be construed as stereotyping. Or Passe in the n'th degree. I was hoping for better, Mike :-D


13 Aug 08 - 06:15 PM (#2412949)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby
From: frogprince

I've still got bruises from the *^%# rocks...


13 Aug 08 - 06:26 PM (#2412958)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby
From: Bobert

Good southern rockabilly song that really deals with the realities of workin' on an ol' plantation...

Rocks out purdy good, too...

B~


13 Aug 08 - 08:56 PM (#2413050)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby
From: quokka

Cradle? Cradle? You lucky, lucky bastards!


13 Aug 08 - 09:09 PM (#2413058)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby
From: Leadfingers

Bobert - IF you make it to The Getaway can we Jam CottonFields ?


13 Aug 08 - 09:32 PM (#2413074)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby
From: SINSULL

Rotten cotton balls make great jam.


14 Aug 08 - 12:40 AM (#2413177)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

variant- itty bitty baby


14 Aug 08 - 02:56 AM (#2413238)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby
From: Dave Hanson

No one did it better than Leadbelly, but Harry Dean Stanton did a pretty good version in the film ' Cool Hand Luke '

eric


14 Aug 08 - 03:46 AM (#2413265)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby
From: open mike

just about a mile from texarkana....


14 Aug 08 - 10:50 AM (#2413546)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby
From: Nigel Parsons

It was down in Louisiana ...


14 Aug 08 - 11:01 AM (#2413556)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby
From: Barry Finn

By Buck Owens

Barry


14 Aug 08 - 11:59 AM (#2413621)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby
From: Jacob B

Then there's the version I learned years ago from a Scandinavian-American novelty album:

"... my momma used to rock me in that rowboat
In them old cold wet fjords back home
It was down in Copenhagen, just about a mile from an old hay wagen..."

(Second time through: "It was down in old Helsink, just about a mile from the skating rinki ...")


14 Aug 08 - 12:02 PM (#2413628)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby
From: GUEST,Volgadon

Discuss what, obnoxious imperatives?


14 Aug 08 - 01:38 PM (#2413784)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

A great song.
Belafonte sang it in 1959, and everybody else put it on records, from Porter Wagoner to Johnny Cash to Odetta to Lawrence Whelk.
Most who sang and recorded it, credited it to Huddie Ledbetter-Lead Belly.

Some say it is based on trad. I think it was one of the Texas country songwriters (not Buck Owens).
Information please!


14 Aug 08 - 01:43 PM (#2413787)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby
From: Jayto

I have heard a version recorded by Leadbelly. At least that is who I was told it was. It sounded like him but it was on a blank cassette no writing or any reference whatsoever to who it was or where it originated. Just a copy of a copy of a copy you know how it goes.I have always heard it credited to Leadbelly. I am glad you asked this I am curious myself.


14 Aug 08 - 01:52 PM (#2413804)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby
From: Dave the Gnome

We'll have less of them imperitive obnoxions if you don't mind...

:-P


14 Aug 08 - 02:20 PM (#2413839)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby
From: PoppaGator

Wow, I haven't heard or thought of that great old song for quite a while. One of the most rhythmically interesting lyrics in the whole canon.

Gotta take a nice deep breath before spouting out that first line!


14 Aug 08 - 02:24 PM (#2413844)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby
From: Jayto

Like a tiny bit lesss or alot less Dave :) just kidding man


14 Aug 08 - 03:08 PM (#2413889)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby
From: GUEST,leeneia

I thought it goes

When I was JUST a little bitty baby...

Hmm What part of speech is 'just' in that phrase?


14 Aug 08 - 03:18 PM (#2413901)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Went through my boxes of Lead Belly. Found "Pick a Bale of Cotton," (Pick a bale a day,) from 1939-40. Wrong song.

He recorded "Cotton Fields" in in New York, and it is on the Smithsonian Folkways cd, Legacy vol. 1, "Where did you sleep last night," which I don't have (yet).


14 Aug 08 - 03:26 PM (#2413909)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby
From: Little Robyn

Never did like the rotton cotton one - much preferred the pick a bale a day stuff.
Robyn


14 Aug 08 - 03:29 PM (#2413913)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Listened to lead Belly's sound clip. Sounds like "When I was a lil bitty baby..."
"When I was a little baby"- in second line.

Nice. With his 12-string.


14 Aug 08 - 04:41 PM (#2413971)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby
From: PoppaGator

In the phrase "when I was just a little bitty baby," the word "just" functions as an adverb, modifying the verb "was."

I think....


14 Aug 08 - 04:44 PM (#2413976)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby
From: irishenglish

Creedence did a version of it as well.


14 Aug 08 - 04:52 PM (#2413983)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego

I had a professor in college in the early 1960's who once did research and collecting with the Lomax crew and claimed to have heard "Leadbelly" sing that song. This is who I was told had first publicly performed the song, long before Belafonte and others co-opted and modified it.


14 Aug 08 - 05:01 PM (#2414006)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Who put in that 'just'? Always someone trying to stir up the grammarians.
Not in Lead Belly. Not in Cash. One uv them furrin covers?


14 Aug 08 - 07:09 PM (#2414117)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby
From: GUEST,leeneia

I dunno who it was, Q. I remember he was loud and kind of hoarse and was being played on the radio. That ought to narrow it down.


14 Aug 08 - 07:30 PM (#2414129)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby
From: GUEST,crazy little woman

Little Robyn says she didn't like the rotten cotton song, and I have to admit it's hardly and appetizing verse. How about

Oh, when that cotton crop gets boughten
you can sell oodles of cotton
in them old cotton fields back home...


There, I've given the world a splendid new verse. Now somebody else come along and use 'gotten' and 'forgotten.' Always remembering that Americans tend to retain archaic language forms such as the -en in gotten more than other dialect groups do.

I remember my little nephew (age 4) going though a period when he spoke of 'cutten-down trees.' If we can have broken-down cars and well-spoken people, why not cutten-down trees? And of course, boughten cotton.


15 Aug 08 - 08:28 AM (#2414470)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby
From: SINSULL

An adverb


15 Aug 08 - 11:06 AM (#2414614)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby
From: GUEST,leeneia

Yeah, I think it's an adverb, but it modifies 'little,' rather than 'was.' I mean, how do you modify 'was'? There's nothing there to modify.

It occurs to me that even though 'bitty' looks like a word, that we never us it alone. At least, I have never heard anybody use it. I believe that to be proper, the adjective should be 'littlebitty'.

What was the cradle doing in the cotton fields? Discuss.


15 Aug 08 - 11:26 AM (#2414631)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby
From: PoppaGator

Good point about the quasi-word "bitty," leeneia. "Little-bitty" indeed seems to represent a sngle concept and thus to function as a single word. You could say it was a two-word phrase, consisting of an adverb modifying an adjective, but which would be which?

I'd argue over whether "just," which we agree is an adverb here, modifies the verb "was" or the adjectvive "little," but I'd probably lose.

I was about to expand on my point, but since I can't seem to find the words for what I was thinking ~ what was I thinking, anyway? ~ I'll concede. You're right.

I'm old enough, and Catholic enough, to have been drilled in the now-long-forgotten art of diagramming sentences throughout elementary schools. I was good at it then, and still retain most of what I learned. But there are always sentences, like this one, that are hardser to parse than others, and the more colloquial the form of expression, the more ambiguous the grammar and syntax.

I'd also observe that "bitty" is an integral part of this song, but the interjection of "just" is apocryphal, a latter-day corruption of the original. ;^)


15 Aug 08 - 12:04 PM (#2414665)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby
From: M.Ted

It's colloquial, which means that you can't diagram it using standard grammaticall rules. You need to use transformational grammar--you need to find the deep structure--surely you know how to find the deep structure;-)


15 Aug 08 - 01:12 PM (#2414749)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby
From: GUEST,beachcomber

Hold it, I think I feel another obnoxious imperative coming on !


15 Aug 08 - 01:16 PM (#2414754)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby
From: PoppaGator

Hope you're within trotting range of the bathroom!


15 Aug 08 - 06:48 PM (#2415016)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby
From: GUEST,matyas1230

che gracias soy uruguayo gracias a ustedes
encontre una cancion q busco hace dos aƱos
jaja chau nos vemos


26 Dec 11 - 08:38 PM (#3280352)
Subject: Lyr. Add: COTTON FIELDS (Lead Belly)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Lyr. Add: COTTON FIELDS
Attrib. to Huddie Ledbetter- Lead Belly

When I was a little bitty baby
My mama would rock me in my cradle (*my mother rocked me...)
In them old cotton fields back home.

It was down in Louisiana
About a mile from Texarkana
In them old cotton fields back home.

It may sound a little funny
But you didn't make much money
In them old cotton fields back home
(repeat verse)

Chorus-
Oh when those cotton balls get rotten
You can't pick very much cotton
In them old cotton fields back home

It was down in Louisiana
Just a mile from Texarkana
In them old cotton fields back home.

I was over in Arkansas
People ask me what you come here for
In them old cotton fields back home.
(repeat verse)

Sony/ATV Music Pub.

First recorded by Lead Belly in 1940, and much covered in the 1950s. I haven't seen the original lyrics to the 1940 recording. Lead Belly seems to have varied it a bit in his concerts. If anyone has that recording, please correct.

I couldn't find correct lyrics in the DT; they may be in one of the threads on Lead Belly.


26 Dec 11 - 09:00 PM (#3280362)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby (Cotton Fields)
From: GUEST,leeneia

Nobody has mentioned one of the most important things about this song - namely that it's great fun to sing. Some songs just feel good in your mouth, and this is one of them.

So thanks for the words, Q. Now I can sing it longer.

By the way, I think 'bitty' is an adverb. It modifies the adjective 'little' so it must be.

Poppagator, I diagrammed sentences too, and I wasn't even Catholic.


27 Dec 11 - 12:18 PM (#3280572)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby (Cotton Fields)
From: GUEST,999

http://www.websters-online-dictionary.org/definitions/bitty?cx=partner-pub-0939450753529744%3Av0qd01-tdlq&cof=FORID%3A9&ie=UTF-8


27 Dec 11 - 06:21 PM (#3280749)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby (Cotton Fields)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

"itty bitty baby" heard in Texas (that was back in 1950s, no idea what they are called nowadays).

Like Leeneia, I diagrammed sentences in junior high (7-9), forget which one. Also not in a Catholic school. We were sent to the 'board, eight or so at a time, and given a sentence to diagram. The one to complete the diagrammation first ended the heat. After the heats, the winners squared off (I kid you not!).
No way I could do it now.


28 Dec 11 - 12:40 AM (#3280866)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby (Cotton Fields)
From: Gene

Actually according to GOOGLE:

The verse should read:

It was down in louisiana
Thirty Four miles from Texarkana
In them old cotton fields back home.

Gene


28 Dec 11 - 11:50 AM (#3281046)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby (Cotton Fields)
From: GUEST,leeneia

You are correct, Gene. I studied the atlas and noticed that it is a good 30 - 35 miles from Texarcana to the Louisiana border.

This song could use some more verses. I'm no good with rhyme, so I'm listing some local names in hopes that they will inspire somebody. Just don't ask me how to pronounce 'Eylau.'

Eylau
Bivens
Nash
Wamba
Boston
Old Boston
Stamps
Waldo
Daingerfield
Hooks


28 Dec 11 - 01:46 PM (#3281107)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby (Cotton Fields)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Eylau is a suburb, named after a Napoleonic battle. Wamba is a little to the NW.
To reach LA from Texarkana, take Hwy 71 south and Ida is the first town of any consequence.

Not that any of this matters to the song.


29 Dec 11 - 10:17 AM (#3281461)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby (Cotton Fields)
From: GUEST,crazy little woman

When we worked the fields in Bivens,
Sun was hot, but that's a given,
in them old cotton fields back home...


29 Dec 11 - 11:35 AM (#3281502)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby (Cotton Fields)
From: Bobert

Sorry, leadfingers... Missed your invitation... Yeah, we can rock out on this song at the Getaway... I've played it going back 40 years and love the song...

B~


29 Dec 11 - 11:47 AM (#3281506)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby (Cotton Fields)
From: babypix

My two cents--

Unless this has become a jingle for Kimberly-Clark or Q-Tips, the song does NOT refer to cotton "BALLS", but rather "BOLLS", as in "BOLL WEEVIL", one of our favorite folk music bugs.

Best,

Deborah Robins


29 Dec 11 - 12:26 PM (#3281525)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby (Cotton Fields)
From: GUEST,crazy little woman

Right you are!


29 Dec 11 - 01:40 PM (#3281567)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby (Cotton Fields)
From: Bobert

Yup... It's cotton bolls, fir sure


29 Dec 11 - 04:15 PM (#3281638)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby (Cotton Fields)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Yep, and My wife's father was a cotton farmer in Georgia, so please don't tell her I writ that !

This sent me to google, and lyrics , just for the fun of it- a stupid time-waster, but nothing else to do till dinner.

bolls
Lyricsfreak, Credence...
Lyricsfreak, Cash
poemhunter, Credence...
justsomelyrics, Pride
artists.letssingit, Credence...
allthelyrics
classic-country..., Buck Owens
elyrics, Monroe

balls
stlyrics
cowboylyrics, Ledbetter and Asch (Groves Inside Outside Band)
mp3lyrics, Cash
sing365, Beach Boys (Don't care if them cotton balls get rotten,
   when I got you baby, who needs cotton !)
lyricsmode, Leadbelly

bowls
lyricsmania, Cash

rotten fields
lyrics007, Leadbelly
lyricstime, Leadbelly

skip verse
kovideo, 1st verse- Can't need very much cotton

tired of looking- all those ringtones to delete.


29 Dec 11 - 04:17 PM (#3281641)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby (Cotton Fields)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Did Leadbelly ever sing "rotten fields"?