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Origin: Alabama Bound & Don't You Leave Me Here

06 Jan 07 - 11:46 PM (#1928873)
Subject: origin and lyr: Alabama Bound
From: Richie

Hi,

I'm have trouble understanding the origin of Alabama Bound, and how it relates to other songs.

As I understand it Alabama Bound originated along with the other main other title, "Don't You Leave Me Here" in the early 1900's.

The Traditional Ballad index gives two separate entries. Are they wrong?

Richie


06 Jan 07 - 11:47 PM (#1928874)
Subject: RE: origin and lyr: Alabama Bound
From: Richie

Traditional Ballad entry:

Alabama Bound (II)

DESCRIPTION: "I'm Alabama bound, I'm Alabama bound/And if the train don't stop and turn around/I'm Alabama bound"; "Don't you leave me here... If you must go... leave me a dime for beer"; "Don't you be like me... You can drink... sherry wine and let the whiskey be."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1934 (Lomax), but elements at least were part of the 1925 Trixie Smith recording
KEYWORDS: nonballad floatingverses train travel drink abandonment
FOUND IN: US(So)
REFERENCES (9 citations):
Lomax-ABFS, pp. 206-209, "Alabama-Bound" (1 text, 1 tune, probably composite)
MWheeler, pp. 54-55, "I'm Alabama Bound" (1 text, 1 tune)
BrownIII 237, "If the Seaboard Train Wrecks I Got a Mule to Ride" (1 4-line text with lyrics seemingly from three different songs, but filed here because of the final line)
Scarborough-NegroFS, pp. 213-214, "Shine Reel" (1 fragment, 1 tune, mentioning being "Alabama Bound" but also mentioning some being on a boat that sank, so it might be part of "Shine and the Titanic")
Cohen-LSRail, pp. 450-451, "Railroad Blues (I)" (1 text, 1 tune, which Cohen apparently considers a separate song by Trixie Smith, but her song seems to have no independent circulation and shares enough lyrics with this piece that I file it here, particularly since the change in tune might be due to the jazz arrangement)
PSeeger-AFB, p. 44 "Alabama Bound" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-FSWB, p. 47, "Alabama Bound" (1 text)
DT, ALABOUND*
ADDITIONAL: Moses Asch and Alan Lomax, Editors, _The Leadbelly Songbook_, Oak, 1962, p. 75, "Alabama Bound" (1 text, 1 tune)

Roud #10017
RECORDINGS:
Pete Seeger, "Alabama Bound" (on PeteSeeger18) (on PeteSeeger22) (on PeteSeeger43)
Trixie Smith, "Railroad Blues" (Paramount 12262, 1925)

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Don't You Leave Me Here" (lyrics)
NOTES: This should not be confused with "Alabama Bound (I)." - PJS
Norm Cohen tells Paul Stamler that "Don't You Leave Me Here," a song sung by Jelly Roll Morton, not only shares lyrics with but is a version of this song. In the absence of a definitely traditional version of the latter, we leave the question open. - (PJS, RBW)
There is also a popular song, "Alabamy Bound," with words and music by Bud De Sylva, Bud Green, and Ray Henderson, published in 1925. As far as I can determine, it's not related to this song. - PJS
Last updated in version 3.1
File: PSAFB044

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The Ballad Index Copyright 2015 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


06 Jan 07 - 11:49 PM (#1928875)
Subject: RE: origin and lyr: Alabama Bound
From: Richie

2nd Traditional Ballad entry

Alabama Bound (I) (Waterbound II)

DESCRIPTION: "Oh, the boat's up the river And the tide's gone down; I believe to my soul She's (Alabama/water) bound." Lovers are reunited by boat and train, Alabama bound. The Arctic explorer Cook is also mentioned as being Alabama bound to escape the cold.
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1910 (sung by Tom Gregory, according to Coleman/Bregman)
KEYWORDS: home return love separation floatingverses
HISTORICAL REFERENCES:
1776-1779 - Third and last exploratory voyage of Captain Cook, which in 1778 explored the Arctic Ocean north of Siberia and Alaska
1908 - Dr. Frederick Cook claims to reach the North Pole
FOUND IN: US(SE)
REFERENCES (4 citations):
Botkin-MRFolklr, p. 598, "Alabama Bound" (1 text, 1 tune)
MWheeler, pp. 27-28, "I'm the Man That Kin Raise So Long" (1 text, 1 tune); p. 53, "Ferd Harold Blues" (1 text, 1 tune); pp. 113-114, "Big Boat's Up the Rivuh" (1 text, 1 tune)
Scarborough-NegroFS, p. 236, (no title) (1 text, which appears more a collection of blues stanzas than an actual song, but verses from songs such as "Boat's Up the River" and "I Got a Gal in de White Folks' Yard")
Coleman/Bregman, pp. 62-63, "ALabama Bound" (1 text, 1 tune)

RECORDINGS:
Arthur "Brother-in-Law" Armstrong, "The Boat's Up the River" (AFS 3979 B3, 1940)
Delmore Brothers, "I'm Alabama Bound" (Bluebird B-8264, 1939)
Roscoe Holcomb, "Boat's Up the River" (on Holcomb1, HolcombCD1)
Charlie Jackson, "I'm Alabama Bound" (Paramount 12289, 1925)

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Train That Carried My Girl from Town" (floating verses)
NOTES: Not to be confused with the Lead Belly song "Alabama Bound." - RBW
I assign the Holcomb recording to "Alabama Bound (I)" reluctantly, and for want of a better place to put it. He sings the same first verse (with "waterbound" rather than "Alabama bound"); the rest of the song is composed of floating blues verses. - PJS
That seems to be pretty typical, actually. This isn't so much a song as a first verse, a tune, and a bluesy feel. Wheeler's three assorted texts are examples of the same phenomenon, and Scarborough's has the one verse and four other unrelated blues verses. - RBW
There is also a popular song, "Alabamy Bound," with words and music by Bud De Sylva, Bud Green, and Ray Henderson, published in 1925. As far as I can determine, it's not related to this song. - PJS
There is an interesting problem here in figuring out who is meant by the reference to the Arctic explorer Cook. The Botkin text, from Coleman and Bregman, reads
Doctuh Cook's in town,
Doctuh Cook's in town,
He foun' de No'th Pole so doggone cole
He's Alabama boun'.
This version comes from a book copyright 1942.
But there are two Cooks who explored the Arctic. Admittedly only one was entitled to be called "Doctor," but in the time of the first Cook, the term was used rather more loosely.
Captain James Cook (1728-1779) explored the Labrador and Newfoundland areas in the 1760s, and the Alaskan and Siberian coasts on his last voyage (1776-1779) -- though of course never came anywhere near the North Pole; he only briefly made it above 70 degrees north. Still, his penetration of the Bering Strait in 1778 brought him north of the Arctic Circle and opened the way for exploration of Alaska's North Shore; it was the "Farthest North" in that part of the world for many years, and it would be half a century before anyone made it much north of that mark in any part of the world. Thus it is reasonable to refer to Cook as at leasts approaching the North Pole.
Cook had aslo explored the Antarctic on his previous voyage (1772-1775); that probably brought back more useful information than the third voyage. It wasn't the Arctic, of course, but it was at least as cold. And he lived through it.
On the other hand, Dr. Frederick Cook (who was in fact a medical doctor) made several visits to the Arctic, and in 1908 claimed that he and two Eskimos had reached the North Pole. His claim was subjected to much question (see the notes to "Hurrah for Baffin's Bay"), and is probably to be rejected. He nonetheless ended up as something of a nine day wonder; we have to guess whether his brief fame, or Captain Cook's enduring fame, is more likely to have inspired this song. This would obviously be easier if we had more and better texts of the relevant verse. - RBW
Last updated in version 3.2
File: BMRF598

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07 Jan 07 - 12:20 AM (#1928883)
Subject: RE: origin and lyr: Alabama Bound
From: Richie

Does anyone have a link or lyrics to: "Don't You Leave Me Here" by Jelly Roll Morton? I believe this was from c1901.

Papa Jackson's version is standard lyrics. It's probably where the "Preacher Got Drunk" versions come from. Traditional ballad has it under Alabama Bound (I) (Waterbound II) that can't be right.

What do you think? They don't even mention the "Preacher Got Drunk and Throwed His Bible Down."

Richie


07 Jan 07 - 01:01 AM (#1928893)
Subject: RE: origin and lyr: Alabama Bound
From: Peace

[PDF] Jelly Roll Morton Collection [finding aid]

Google the above and see page 9 regarding "Don't You Leave me Here."

I don't know how to copy/paste PDF stuff.


07 Jan 07 - 01:23 AM (#1928899)
Subject: RE: origin and lyr: Alabama Bound
From: Peace

You can hear JR sing it here. http://www.redhotjazz.com/jellyroll.html


07 Jan 07 - 01:25 AM (#1928901)
Subject: RE: origin and lyr: Alabama Bound
From: Peace

PS. That is a great site. If you like jazz, bookmark it for sure.


07 Jan 07 - 10:42 AM (#1929127)
Subject: Lyr Add: DON'T EASE ME IN (Henry Thomas)
From: Richie

Henry Thomas' 1928 recording is based loosely on Alabama Bound:

"Don't Ease Me in" 1928 Henry Thomas

Don't ease, don't you ease,
Ah, don't you ease me in.
It's all night long, Cunningham, don't you ease me in.

I got a gal she's little and short.
She leave here walkin', lovin' babe, talkin' true love talk.

Don't ease, don't you ease,
Ah, don't you ease me in.
It's all night long, **Cunningham, don't you ease me in.

I was standin' on the corner talkin' to my brown,
I turned, sweet mama, I was *workhouse bound.

*Similar to Alabama bound lyric and form.

** was one of the men who worked prison gangs in his sugar cane fields in Texas in the late 1800's along the Brazos River bottoms.

The blues term Cunningham is present as well as the "All night long" lyric present in many blues and old-time songs.


07 Jan 07 - 10:47 AM (#1929134)
Subject: RE: origin and lyr: Alabama Bound
From: Richie

In 1929 Thomas cut a variation of "Don't Ease Me In" with the Alabama bound lyric:

"Don't Leave Me Here" Henry Thomas 1929

Don't leave, oh don't leave,
Don't you leave me here.
It's all night long sweet Papa,
Don't leave me.

I'm going away and it won't be long,
Just ease your train, lovin' babe,
I'm Alabama Bound.


07 Jan 07 - 10:50 AM (#1929137)
Subject: RE: origin and lyr: Alabama Bound
From: Richie

Thanks Peace for the link. Unfortunately I can't listen to that site with my computer.

"In 1939 Jelly Roll Morton claimed to Alan Lomax to have made the song up himself in 1905 when he was in the Alabama barrell house circuit."

If anyone could transcribe it that would be helpful.

Richie


07 Jan 07 - 11:00 AM (#1929149)
Subject: Lyr Add: ALABAMA BOUND (Papa Charlie Jackson)
From: Richie

ALABAMA BOUND- Papa Charlie Jackson

Says the preacher in the pulpit,
Bible in his hand.
Sister's way back in the Amen corner
Hollerin' that's my man.

CHORUS: Alabama bound, Alabama bound,
If you want me to love you babe
Got to leave this town.

Now the boats up the river,
And it's rollin' down.
If you need to go South darlin' babe,
Alabama bound.

Elder Green's in town
And he turned around,
And he tell all the brothers and sisters he meets,
I'm Alabama Bound.

Don't you leave this town,
Don't you leave this town,
Jest before you and your partner get ready to go,
Leave a dime for beer.


Anyone have lyrics to: Elder Green's in Town? It's fairly obscure.

Here's a bit of my info: "In Texas W.H. Thomas of College Station included "Don't You Leave me Here" in some current folk songs which he presented as a paper in 1912 to the Texas Folk Lore Society."

"Some years later Gates Thomas published his own, fuller version that included Alabama Boun' with Elder Green verses, which he dated at 1908."

It's unlikely that Jelly Roll Morton made the song up himself in 1905 as he claimed. He probably knew it then and arranged it from folk sources.


07 Jan 07 - 11:16 AM (#1929163)
Subject: RE: origin and lyr: Alabama Bound
From: Richie

According to a quote from Morton he was told to change the title from Alabama Bound to "Don't You Leave Me Here."

Morton: "but I am getting Alabama Bound in (in the session with Bluebird) and the title must be changed to- Don't You Leave Me Here."

Richie


07 Jan 07 - 11:35 AM (#1929190)
Subject: RE: origin and lyr: Alabama Bound
From: Richie

Apparently the forst copyright on Alabama Bound was in 1909 by New Orleans comper Robert Hoffman. Anyone find the lyrics?

Here's a version of Elder Green's in Town from Lomax's 1939 Southern Recording Trip Fieldnotes; Section 15: State Farm, Camp #9, near Arkansas City, Arkansas; May 22

Ella Green- sung by Alf "Dad" Valentine

   Ella Green's in town
   My sister and them caught her singin'
   Alabama Bound

   Don't you leave her here, don't you leave her here
   If you miss de train an' de steamboat
   She's got a mule to ride, she's got a mule to ride
   If she miss de train she got a mule to ride
   Ella Green's in town, turnin' round an' round.


You can listen here: http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?lomaxbib:1:./temp/~ammem_ll6C::@@@mdb=mcc,gottscho,detr,nfor,wpa,aap,cwar,bbpix,cowellbib,


07 Jan 07 - 12:45 PM (#1929264)
Subject: Lyr Add: PREACHER GOT DRUNK ...(Tennessee Ramblers
From: Richie

PREACHER GOT DRUNK

You can listen here:http://www.juneberry78s.com/otmsampler/otmsampta.html
Scroll down to: Preacher Got Drunk; Last two lines of 2nd Chorus are wrong

The Preacher Got Drunk And Throwed His Bible Down- Tennessee Ramblers
1928 recording

(Fiddle solo; banjo strummed)

Oh the preacher got drunk
He throwed his Bible down
Told his congregation that he's
Alabama bound.

CHORUS: Alabama bound,
Alabama bound
If that train breaks down
I've got a mule to ride. (Hee-haw hee-haw)

I went to the levee,
There I learned to skin.
Well I made good money,
But I throwed it in.

CHORUS: Alabama bound,
Alabama bound
If that train breaks down
I've got a mule to ride. (Hee-haw hee-haw)

(Fiddle solo; banjo strummed)

If your woman leaves you,
Don't you wear no black.
One of these cold frosty mornings,
She'll come hobblin' back.

CHORUS: Alabama bound,
Alabama bound.
If that train breaks down
I've got a mule to ride.
Got a mule to ride,
Got a mule to ride.
*And I don't ask nothing
For a mule to ride.

Well I've had a good time,
That I'll agree.
But you see what booze,
Has done for me.

CHORUS: Alabama bound,
Alabama bound
If that train breaks down
I've got a mule to ride. (Hee-haw hee-haw)

*Lyrics unclear last two lines.


07 Jan 07 - 09:13 PM (#1929816)
Subject: RE: origin and lyr: Alabama Bound
From: Richie

"Though it was described as a dance, a song with the title Alabama Bound was published as early as 1910 by Ed Rogers and Saul Aaronson which shows a clear link to the chorus of the folk song." Paul Oliver

Anyone know anything more about this Ed Rogers and Saul Aaronson publication?


07 Jan 07 - 10:33 PM (#1929852)
Subject: Lyr Add: ELDER GREEN'S IN TOWN
From: Richie

I went ahead and corrected the lyrics from the MP3:

ELDER GREEN'S IN TOWN
Lomax's 1939 Southern Recording Trip Fieldnotes; Section 15: State Farm, Camp #9, near Arkansas City, Arkansas; May 22; sung by Alf "Dad" Valentine

Elder Green's in town, Elder Green's in town
My sister and them caught her singin'
Alabama Bound.

Don't you leave her here, don't you leave her here
If you miss de train an' de steamboat too
She's got a mule to ride.

Got a mule to ride, Got a mule to ride
If she miss train an' de steamboat too,
She got a mule to ride.

Elder Green's in town, turnin' round an' round.
My sister and them caught her singin'
Alabama Bound.


08 Jan 07 - 09:35 AM (#1930167)
Subject: RE: origin and lyr: Alabama Bound
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman

Hi Richie,

Just a word of praise to you for working this vein. The Alabama Bound/ Elder Green etc. song cluster is one of the big mysteries.

I agree in suspecting that Jelly Roll, despite his claim, wasn't the originator, that the song goes back further, either in the "Elder Green" or the "Alabama Bound" version. Or, perhaps, the "Big Boat's Up the River" strain may be the original -- an origin in stevedore work chant makes sense, especially given the echo format. Big boat's up the river -- (big boat's up the river) ... etc. A work gang could really wail on that one.

But sound information about any previous version has been hard to find. In a hasty search I find nothing in Talley's Negro Folk Rhymes, which produced precursors to so many other early African-American lyrics.

Also I've never been sure of the meaning of "don't ease me in." If directed to the labor boss, Cunningham, could it mean that he spoke in terms like "I'm going to ease you in onto that ditch digging crew" or something of the kind? As far as I know nothing has ever been learned for sure about Henry Thomas' life except that it's speculated he may have been an entertainer on a passenger train. Whether he was also part of a labor gang, who knows.

Keep up the good work. I'm rooting for discovery of any early lyric that definitively goes back before about 1910, and better yet, before 1908 (Gates Thomas) and especially 1905 (Morton date).

Best of luck, Bob


08 Jan 07 - 10:05 AM (#1930194)
Subject: RE: origin and lyr: Alabama Bound
From: GUEST

No luck so far in finding the Ed Rogers-Saul Aaronson "Alabama Bound," but still looking.

The DeSylva-Green-Henderson "Alabamy Bound" is a riff off the traditional piece, but is a different song, distinct in melody and lyrics. Not sure this is a complete version, but here it is from The Ultimate Fake Book:

ALABAMY BOUND   

Words by B.G. DeSylva and Bud Green, Music by Ray Henderson, c. 1925, 1954 Shapiro, Bernstein & Co. New York

I'm Alabamy bound,
There'll be no "Heebie Jeebies" hangin' around,
Just gave the meanest ticket man on earth
All I'm worth
To put my tootsies in an upper berth,
Just hear that choo-choo sound,
I know that soon we're goin' to cover ground,
And then I'll holler so the world will know, here I go,
I'm Alabamy bound.

I'm Alabamy bound,
There'll be no "Heebie Jeebies" hangin' around,
Just gave the meanest ticket man on earth
All I'm worth
To put my tootsies in an upper berth,
I'm just a lucky hound,
To have someone to put my arms around,
That's why I'm shoutin' for the world to know, here I go,
I'm Alabamy bound.


08 Jan 07 - 01:47 PM (#1930415)
Subject: RE: origin and lyr: Alabama Bound
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

"Alabama Bound," a song with many floaters, was collected in several versions from Alabama in 1915-1916 by N. I. White, 1928, "American Negro Folk-Songs," section General and Misc. Labor, no. 46-52; there also are versions with the line including 'Alabama Bound' attached to other songs.

No. 47
I'm Alabama bound,
I'm Alabama bound,
Ef de train don't run,
I got a mule to ride,
For I'm Alabama bound.

De boat's up de ribber,
An' she won't come down.
I b'lieve to ma soul
She's Alabama bound.

(The second verse (floater) has appeared in another thread, attached to a riverboat song. A common form is:
The boat's up the river
and she won't come down;
I believe to my soul
She must be water bound.

The boat's up the river
And she won't come down;
One-long-lonesome blow
And she's Alabama bound.
The first verse seems to belong to an old steamboat song of which only fragments have been collected.

White remarks (p. 306) that 'I'm Alabama bound' is extremely common as a refrain.
Also been found combined with this verse:
(White, section Recent Events, no. 14:
Don't yo' leave me here,
Don' yo' leave me here,
But if yo' has ter leave me, sweet baby,
Leave a dime for beer.

Also collected by Odum and others.

More "Alabama Bound":
No. 48 from White-

I'm Alabama bound,
If de train don't run, I am got a mule to ride;
My home ain't yere,
It's further down de road.
If you catch me getting sober,
Make me drunk again;
I'm a winding ball, and
Don't deny my name.
("Sung in cotton fields around a railroad, AL)

50
She is a long tall yallow gal,
She wears a Mary Jane,
She wears a Mary Jane.
If dat train don't leave dat rail
I am Alabama bound.
(The line Alabama Bound floated into various songs)


08 Jan 07 - 02:06 PM (#1930446)
Subject: RE: origin and lyr: Alabama Bound
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Preacher in the pulpit-
Fragments collected in Alabama and New Orleans, 1915-1916, in White, General and Misc. Labor, no. 51 and 52.
51
Preacher in a pulpit,
Jumping up and down,
Negroes in the cornfield,
Shouting, "I'm Alabama bound."
52
De preacher in de pulpit put his bible down,
And all the niggers in the cotton field shouted,
"I'm Alabama bound."

White remarks "The first line comes from the common type of songs about women, in which a good-looking woman, a blondy woman, a brunette woman, etc., "make a preacher lay his Bible down."

In the section Songs About Women, White gives several exzmples:
8
It takes a dark-skinned baby
To make a preacher throw his bible down.

It takes a long, lean, lanky gal
To make a rabbit fight a hound.

10
It takes a long, tall yaller gal to make a preacher lay his Bible down.
It takes a long, tall yaller gal to make a bulldog break his chain.

etc. etc. More of these in other collections made 1900-1920.


08 Jan 07 - 05:22 PM (#1930666)
Subject: RE: origin and lyr: Alabama Bound
From: Goose Gander

Hope this helps . . . .

"Another historical landmark of blues in sheet music is 'I'm Alabama Bound,' claimed by Alabama-born, New Orleans-based mainstream theatre pianist Robert Hoffman. It was originally published in 1909 by Robert Ebberman, a clerk at the D. H. Holmes Department store on Canal Street. The cover of the original Ebberman edition notes that, although Hoffman adapted it as a'ragtime two-step,' 'I'm Alabama Bound' was also known as the 'The Alabama Blues.' The implication is that by 1909 the term blues was known to describe a distinctive folk-musical genre from which Hoffman extracted his melody.

"Paul Oliver has noted that 'Alabama Bound' was one of a song cluster which included 'Don't Leave Me Here' and 'Elder Green's in Town.' Oliver cites exemplary race recordings of it by Papa Charlie Jackson, Harvey Hull, Charlie Patton, and Henry Thomas, and there are others as well. Jelly Roll Morton claimed to have originated the tune when he 'hit Mobile in 1905,' and the relationship of Hoffman's composition to the blues Morton later recorded as 'Don't You Leave Me Here' is obvious.

"'I'm Alabama Bound' was also published in 1909 by the legendary African American concert pianist Blind Boone as one of three melodies constituting 'Boone's Rag Melody No. 2 – Strains From Flat Branch.' Robert Hoffman's version appears to have enjoyed the better measure of commercial success. Shortly after that version's initial publication, the copyright was transferred to the Music Shop, another Canal Street operation, which put out a new edition with a garish coon-song-style cover illustration. At the end of 1909 Prince's Band made a commercial recording of it, and in 1910 a vocal edition appeared with lyrics attributed to the Music Shop's proprietor, John J. Puderer. The lyrics include such blues-ready couplets as:

I'm Alabama bound, I'm Alabama bound,
I've tried to you out, I've got to turn you down.

I done told you, nigger, for to be like me
Just drink good whisky, let your cocaine be.

"According to the cover of the vocal edition, Hoffman's 'I'm Alabama Bound' was being 'sung with great success' in mainstream vaudeville by the white Rag Trio. By 1910, the title was turning up in newspaper reports from African American entertainers.    On a bill with Ma Rainey at the Belmont Street Theater in Pensacola, Florida, in February 1910, "Watkins and Watkins' were 'featuring a new act written by themselves entitled 'I'm Alabama Bound.'" A couple of months later a member of Richard and Pringle's Minstrel Band complained: 'We would like to know what to do when a band of fifteen pieces under the leadership of able Fred Simpson renders standard overtures from 'Il Trovatore,' William Tell,' etc., and some admirer of classic music shouts, 'play us Alabama Bound.' Well, it must be the way of the world."

SOURCE:
Lynn Abbott, Doug Seroff, "It Cert'ly Sound Good to Me": Sheet Music, Southern Vaudeville, and the Commercial Ascendancy of the Blues," American Music Vol. 14, No. 4 (Winter 1996), p406-408


08 Jan 07 - 10:36 PM (#1931006)
Subject: RE: origin and lyr: Alabama Bound
From: Richie

The blues standard "Baby, Please Don't Go" is based on the Alabama Bound form and was originally called Don't Leave Me Here until the lyrics were changed. Here's some info:

"Baby Please Don't Go (Origins of a Blues)" by Max Haymes
http://www.earlyblues.com/BabyPleaseDont.htm


"Baby, Please Don't Go" is often associated with Poor/Big Joe Williams (in 1963,Paul Oliver credited him with composing it) who recorded several post-war versions of the song. But both he and "Baby Doo" Caston drew on a group of earlier blues songs: "Alabama Bound"/Elder Greene's In Town"/ "Don't Leave Me Here". Oliver reports that a Texas collector "published.. . an "Alabama Boun'" with Elder Green verses, which he dated from 1908." (5).

As Oliver notes, in 1925, banjoist Papa Charlie Jackson's "I'm Alabama Bound" showed the links between all three titles. "Elder Greene" would be featured on later recordings by Blind Lemon Jefferson Charlie Patton(1920s) and in 1958 by Mississippi singer/guitarist "Cat-Iron". "Alabama Bound" was recorded by Leadbelly in 1935 and 1940 and cropped up c.1956 by Lonnie Donegan during the British skiffle craze! Whilst "Don't Leave Me Here" was first recorded in 1927 by a Mississippi group who were sometimes billed as "Sunny Boy And His Pals" or "Long Cleve Reed" and "Little Harvey Hull". Tampa Red and Georgia Tom backed each other's vocals on "Mama Don't Leave Me Here" (1931) and "Don't Leave Me Here"(1932), respectively; but are 2 versions of an unrelated blues.

Washboard Sam recorded "Don't Leave Me Here" in 1938 again unheard by me but is probably an urbanised version of the Long Cleve Reed title or of "Baby Please Don't Go". The melody from this group of songs was utilised and speeded up with a more aggressive approach to the vocal. Indeed, Big Joe William's first post­war version of "Baby Please Don't Go" was titled "Don't You Leave Me Here", made in 1947. Though the string bass of Ransom Knowling and the drums of Judge Riley have been added to Sonny Boy's harp, giving a 'Chicago blues' feel to the song Joe himself, curiously, harks back to many of the lines of his 1935 recording with fiddle and washboard. These include the reference to "his long chain on" and "my baby's done lyin'.' Joe substitutes the phrase 'don't you leave me here' for 'baby please don't go' and changes the Southern locale of New Orleans for the more relevant one of Chicago, where he cut this track.


08 Jan 07 - 10:45 PM (#1931014)
Subject: RE: origin and lyr: Alabama Bound
From: Richie

Alabama Bound verse from Lomax:

Ef dey don't nab me 'for de sun goes down,
I swear to my Almighty God
I'm Alabama bound.
I'm Alabama bound.
Great Godalmighty babe,
Don'tcha leave me here.

The sentiment of the Alabama Bound song lyrics seem to come from the Minstrel stage. One possible source is "I Hab Leff Alabama" by Marshall S. Pike published in 1849:


Alabama agen, Alabama agen
And if I ever lib 'till the sunrise tomorrow,
I's a-goin' back to Alabama agen.

Not many changes are needed to make it a version of Alabama Bound:

(Alabama bound, Alabama bound,
And if I ever lib 'till the sunrise tomorrow
I's Alabama bound)


08 Jan 07 - 10:57 PM (#1931017)
Subject: Lyr Add: DON'T YOU LEAVE ME HERE (Hull, Reed)
From: Richie

This may also shed some light on teh origin of the Stagolee/Stagger Lee/ Stackerlee, Stack O'Lee, Stack-a-Lee titles.

"In several versions the singer will get to his destination come what may: If the train don't come, I've got a mule to ride, I'm Alabama bound. This is reflected in a version by Papa Harvey Hull and Long Cleve Reed songsters who sang of a riverboat of the Lee Line out of Memphis. The phrase "and the Stack don't drown", referred to the famous captain of one of these boats, 'Stack' Lee."

DON'T YOU LEAVE ME HERE
Papa Harvey Hull and Long Cleve Reed; First recorded version 1927

Alabama bound, Alabama bound
If the boat don't sink and the Stack don't drown
I'm Alabama Bound.

Boats up the river running side by side,
When you got my lovin' kind sweet babe,
You'll be satisfied.

Don't you leave me here, Don't you leave me here,
Well I don't mind you goin', kind sweet babe,
Leave a dollar for beer. (hey, hey let's go boys)

Katy Adams got ways, just like a man,
When she steals a woman sweet lovin' babe,
Everywhere she lands.


08 Jan 07 - 11:35 PM (#1931031)
Subject: Lyr Add: DON'T YOU LEAVE ME HERE (JellyRoll Morton
From: Richie

DON'T YOU LEAVE ME HERE
Version of Alabama Bound- Jelly Roll Morton vocals

(Jazz intro with horns; piano vamps chords on the beat)

Don't you leave me here,
Don't you leave me here.
If you just must go sweet mama,
Leave a dime for beer.

If the rooster crows
And the hen ran around.
She said "If you want my fricassee
You got to runs me down."

(Jazz solos with horns to the end)


09 Jan 07 - 12:07 AM (#1931058)
Subject: Lyr Add: DON'T YOU LEAVE ME HERE (Laura Smith)
From: Richie

Dont You Leave Me Here- Laura Smith

Little is known about the life of Blues singer Laura Smith. She is thought to have come from Indianapolis, Indiana and is known to have toured the TOBA vaudeville circuit in the early 1920s. Her recording career began in 1924 on the Okeh label and ended in 1927 on Victor. Smith's 1927 version of Jelly Roll Morton's "Don't You Leave Me Here" is quite good and features lyrics that differ from Morton's classic 1939 solo version of the song.

The first lyric section is more of an intro, it has a different melody and rhythm from Morton's version. The next five verses are the simialr to the standard blues/jazz versions. The third line of each verse has some unusual vocal phrasing.

DONT YOU LEAVE ME HERE-Laura Smith

[Horns w/ piano]

Longshoreman Johnny and his lady friend had an argument,
He told her he, was leaving town today.
She got real sad and Johnny he got real mad,
And he packed his grip
She said if you must go,
To take his little tip:

Don't you leave me here,
(For) a good gal out there
If you ain't comin' back sweetheart,
Leave a dime for beer.

You can dog me 'round,
Beat me I don't care.
But here's a thing I've got to say,
"Just quit me if you dare."

The boat's up the river,
And it ain't comin' down.
But I believe to my soul my man,
Is Alabama bound.

[horn solo]

When you buy your ticket,
Papa you'd better buy two
Cause if you try to leave me here
The grave will sure get you.

So if you got a bad man,
And he wants to fight.
Take a chance and break it over his doggone head,
And walk the streets all night.


09 Jan 07 - 02:08 PM (#1931603)
Subject: RE: origin and lyr: Alabama Bound
From: Goose Gander

A little more about 'Alabama Bound' and Blind Boone . . . .

"Some rag-time historians think that the 'Alabama Bound' chorus of 'Rag Medley, No. 2' may be the first publication of boogie-woogie. (Berlin 1980, 155)"

Cited by Ann Sears, "John William 'Blind' Boone, Piano-Composer: 'Merit, Not Sympathy Wins,'" Black Music Research Journal, Vol. 9, No. 2 (Autumn 1989) p. 238


09 Jan 07 - 02:57 PM (#1931645)
Subject: RE: origin and lyr: Alabama Bound
From: Goose Gander

"Deputy told Kassie you must leave town
Believe to my soul I'm Alabama Bound."

"Kassie Jones" by Furry Lewis (Victor 21664, 1928)


09 Jan 07 - 10:13 PM (#1931954)
Subject: RE: origin and lyr: Alabama Bound
From: Richie

Thanks everyone for your contributions.

Alabama Bound is one of the important early blues songs. The tag has been used and is still being used. The song Big Daddy by John Loudermilk, which was recorded by various country artists, uses the "Alabama bound" tag. There's even a variant by Lynyrd Skynyrd entitled "The Mississippi Kid" which uses the lyric tag.

THE MISSISSIPPI KID- Lynyrd Skynyrd

I've got my pistols in my pockets boys,
I'm alabama bound.
I've got my pistols in my pockets boys,
I'm alabama bound.
Well, I'm not looking for no trouble
But nobody dogs me round.


10 Jan 07 - 04:59 PM (#1932671)
Subject: RE: origin and lyr: Alabama Bound
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

The 'Stacker Lee' steamboat was a Lee Line boat from 1902 (1906?)-1916, when it was wrecked or dismantled.
The Lee Line consolidated in 1924 with the Delta Line, becoming Valley Line Steamers under Capt. Peters Lee, Mgr., and Captain Jeff Hicks, President.
Stacker Lee, a Captain in 1882 of the first 'James Lee,' which was in operation 1879-1894(?), seems to have been a son of the first James Lee, founder of the Line, along with James Lee Jr. A grandson was Robert E. Lee.
Oliver Lee's scrambled 'history' and his fanciful attempt to relate 'Stagolee' the badman to the Lee Company is purely speculative.

This coonjine song seems to relate to the steamboat 'Stacker Lee,' thus must be dated to 1902 at the earliest. The other boat mentioned, Sal Teller, is the 'City of Saltillo,' in service ca. 1905 and later.

Sal Teller leave St. Looey
Wid her lights tu'n down
And you'll know by dat
She's Alabama bound.

Alabama bound!
She's Alabama bound!
You'll know by dat
She's Alabama bound!

Doan you leave me here!
Doan you leave me here!
Ef you's gwine away and ain comin' back
Leave a dime for beer!
Leave a dime for beer!
Brother if yu gwine away
Leave a dime fer beer!

I ask de mate
Ter sell me some gin;
Says, I pay you, mister,
When de Stack comes in
When de Stack comes in
When de Stack comes in.
Says, I pay you mister,
When de Stack comes in.

Another little gem from this Manuscript-

Reason I likes the Lee Line trade,
Sleep all night wid de chambermaid,
She gimmie some pie and she gimmie some cake,
An' I gi' her all de money dat I ever make.

American Memory. "Coonjine in Manhattan" (1939?), Federal Writers Project. Some of this, I think, posted in thread 41618.

Some of the information on the Lee Line from RiverboatDave's and the Wooldridge list but also some sources I can't remember.
http://www.riverboatdaves.com/addresses.html
Boats


22 Nov 07 - 11:38 PM (#2200429)
Subject: RE: origin and lyr: Alabama Bound
From: Goose Gander

Alabama Bound by Alf "Dad" Valentine, State Farm, Camp #9, near Arkansas City, Arkansas; May 22

Source:
Southern Mosaic


11 May 11 - 01:04 PM (#3152191)
Subject: RE: Origin: Alabama Bound & Don't You Leave Me Here
From: GUEST,Richie

John Wesley Work collected a version of the song called "Ol' Elder Brown's" which was published in "American Negro Songs And Spirituals" (Bonanza, 1940 p.241):

Ol' Elder Brown's in town
Ol' Elder Brown's in town
Ol' Elder Brown's in town
A-with his long coat on

Ol' Elder Brown tol' Griffin
"Don't you think I'll win?"
Goin' back to Shreveport Town
Goin' build my church ag'in

Ol' Elder Brown started his church
An' de storm blowed it down
den Elder sang this song
"I'm all out an' down"

He's on de road somewhere
He's on de road somewhere
A long tall brownskin man
He's on de road somewhere

Does anyone know when he collected this? Any other versions of "Elder Brown"?

Richie


12 May 11 - 12:07 PM (#3152781)
Subject: RE: Origin: Alabama Bound & Don't You Leave Me Here
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle

I'm pretty sure this song was on The Blues Project album on Elektra sang by the late Dave Van Ronk. He made a pretty good job of it, as I remember.


25 Nov 12 - 12:03 PM (#3442011)
Subject: RE: Origin: Alabama Bound & Don't You Leave Me Here
From: GUEST,hg

great thread


11 Jul 20 - 12:46 AM (#4063731)
Subject: RE: Origin: Alabama Bound & Don't You Leave Me Here
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott

John Talmadge of Athens, Georgia, born in 1899, remembered that while Cook and Perry were squabbling over who had set foot on the North Pole first, children in Athens sang "Captain Cook's in town, turn the damper down." "In town" possibly relates to Frederick Cook's lucrative lecture tours.

"Alabama Bound" often has a chord progression of close to I-I-IV-IV-V-V-I-I. That or similar with 9 or 10 bars is common in related songs that were popular roughly 1905-1908 such as "Take A One On Me." Those songs may have arisen largely from the "Hop Joint"-like songs of roughly 1902, which were very similar in turn from "Frankie" and the like but switched to first person, and (perhaps somewhat counterintuitively, chronologically) had closer to what we think of as a blues progression, more often with closer to 12 bars. The only moderately distant relationship between "Alabama Bound" and blues, in the scope of all folk music of the era, may account for Robert Hoffman using the alternative title "Alabama Blues" in 1909 for a version of "Alabama Bound." (I don't think Hoffman "extracted his melody" from a blues song.) Similarly with Henry Thomas's use of "... all night long...," typically found in the third-line refrain in 12-bar blues, in a version of "Alabama Bound"; there was a lot of blurring of fairly similar categories in about 1907 before "blues music" was seen as a distinct "thing" yet.

Progressions in blues also could run straight from IV to V (e.g. a strain in "Royal Garden Blues" has that) but that was far less common in blues than in the extended "Take A One On Me" family.

Favorite stanzas were swapped between "Alabama Bound" and 12-bar blues. E.g. the "and she won't come down"-type stuff, which is at least as old as 1904, turns up in both.

Jelly Roll Morton knew he was lying about his age by 5 years to exaggerate his primacy (time and again you can hear him pausing and mentally adjusting years to account for that while talking to A. Lomax), so we should often add several years to whatever his claim was about anything before about 1920. His tales were taller some days than others and I don't think his claim that it was he who wrote "Alabama Bound" was true.

In general, Gates Thomas's recollected years weren't as consistent or plausible as we'd like.

I don't think the connection between Hutchison's "Train That Carried My Girl From Town" -- a song that is typical of a _very_ popular theme in 1910s folk blues, she left on that train, cf. e.g. "219 Blues" -- and "Alabama Bound" is significant. Hutchison learned that song from an older black musician, Bill Hunt, who had moved to West Virginia.

For all practical purposes if it has AAB lyrics (as opposed to e.g. AABC or AABA lyrics) it's not "Alabama Bound," no matter what lyrics floated into it. I've never heard a song with "... Elder Green..." lyrics that wasn't a version of "Alabama Bound."

The such-and-such gal will "make a preacher lay his Bible down..."-type songs were common and were very often not "Alabama Bound," as opposed to the "got drunk" wording, which was very often in "Alabama Bound."

Easing someone into the dozens meant gradually implying an insult towards someone in particular while people were playfully insulting each other. So "Don't you ease me in" implied that you were not someone to be messed with. It floated into lots of stuff; boasting was part of sitting on a curb playing a guitar.

Alf Valentine claimed "Alabama Bound" dated to the 1890s, but if so it seems to have lain low until exploding to popularity more like 1908.

Songs with "Stack don't drown..." and the like are about the steamboat the Stack Lee and are similar to other songs that identified steamboats by name, and that stuff would have arisen independently of and wasn't very similar to the song about "Stag" Lee Shelton.

Mary Wheeler is underrated on perspective on stuff of this era; she tended to concentrate on people born in about the 1870s. Talley (who was Uncle Dave Macon's age) was very interested in songs of the 1880s, which is why stuff from 1898 or 1908 can turn up blank in his book.


11 Jul 20 - 08:47 PM (#4063798)
Subject: RE: Origin: Alabama Bound & Don't You Leave Me Here
From: cnd

Joseph, excellent write up! Very informative and thorough