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  • blechtram 10:32 pm am January 20, 2020 Permalink | Antworten
    Tags: 8.6/10, , , , Otis Redding, R&B, Soul, Southern Soul   

    Otis Redding: The Very Best of Otis Redding 

    Rating: 8.6/10
    Rated as
    : Anthology
    Compilation Status
    : Decent Overview
    Released: 2000
    Recorded: 1962–1967
    Specific Genre: Southern Soul
    Main Genre: Soul, R&B
    Undertones
    : Deep Soul, Rhythm&Blues
    Label: Atco

    1.1 Respect 1.2 Try a Little Tenderness 1.3 Love Man 1.4 Shake 1.5 Mr. Pitiful 1.6 I Can’t Turn You Loose 1.7 Pain in My Heart 1.8 You Left the Water Running 1.9 My Lover’s Prayer 1.10 Tramp 1.11 Chained and Bound 1.12 That’s How Strong My Love Is 1.13 My Girl 1.14 Cigarettes and Coffee 1.15 It’s Growing 1.16 The Match Game 1.17 Nobody Know You (When You’re Down and Out) 1.18 I’m a Changed Man 1.19 Your One and Only Man 1.20 (Sittin‘ On) The Dock of the Bay
    2.1 I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now) 2.2 These Arms of Mine 2.3 Hard to Handle 2.4 That’s What My Heart Needs 2.5 Security 2.6 Satisfaction 2.7 Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa (Sad Song) 2.8 The Happy Song (Dum Dum) 2.9 Come to Me 2.10 A Change is Gonna Come 2.11 Lovey Dovey 2.12 You Don’t Miss Your Water 2.13 I’ve Got Dreams to Remember 2.14 Down in the Valley 2.15 Just One More Day 2.16 You Made a Man Out of Me 2.17 Tell the Truth 2.18 For Your Precious Love 2.19 Free Me 2.20 I Love You More than Words Can Say

    You know what, Otis? You’re country! –That’s all right!

    Consumer Guide: This contains all 16 songs from The Very Best of Otis Redding (Rhino), shares 9 (of 16) with Rhino’s Volume 2 and gives you 15 songs that are present on neither release. It also features two songs, „Nobody Knows You (When You’re Down and Out“ and „You Made a Man Out of Me“, that are not present on the four-disc box set Otis! The Definitive Otis Redding – which in my view qualifies as a counter-argument against that „definitive“ in the title. These tracks are criminally overlooked on most other compilations claiming to be „essential“ or „definite“. While the former is a blues standard, the latter is a hypnotically upbeat and essential gem of Redding’s posthumous catalogue (otherwise available on The Immortal Otis Redding, 1968). This puts this double-disc in a weird place, having at least one song that was overlooked even on the box set. Of course it doesn’t compare to the box set or even The Original Album Series. Anyway – it is a better catch than other single or twofer discs, comparable to the slightly better Dreams to Remember: The Otis Redding Anthology, only to be outshone by box sets and album collections. Actually, the main lesson I learned by reviewing this is that the Otis! box set is only worthwhile for the three pre-fame tracks and the live disc – you’ll need to get his (official and posthumous) album output anyway not to miss a highlight. Well then.

    Otis Redding is about energy. Maybe you like your Otis full of soul, maybe you like him danceable and fun, maybe you’re looking for a bluesy, rocking or sexually charged Otis. It’s all here of course, and he’ll always give it the absolute fullest . The curious thing about Redding is that his voice totally dominates the music while it simultaneously mingles with the band’s instrumentation – especially with the impeccable and precise horn section, like another weird, articulate trombone. Especially in the end of the songs, when Redding has run out of lyrics and the fade-out starts, he regularly goes into a mode of soulful, passionate mumbling, continuing to spout the song’s taglines, thus keeping up the energy of the song and accompanying it to its end. With Otis, the song isn’t overuntil it’s been ran over by his own voice.

    I also like the fact that Redding’s voice doesn’t fit the mellifluous, full and silky tonality of soul prototypes at all: It is pretty hoarse for the fact he’s a singer totally accepted by mainstream, his technique relies on a phrasing that gives himjustenoughbreath (as opposed to the countless soul singers that use the music mainly to prove how long they can hold a note), he drops into a coarse whisper now and then, even sounds restrained, just to come back with a lot of pressure in the next line, and so on – but there’s just so much substance to his performance. Clearly Mick Jagger’s role model as a singer, instead of say, the later Motown scene. Redding did blues-based soul and rhythm&blues, but he steered towards rock&roll (without recording a single song that would classify as such – even the Stones‘ „Satisfaction“ is made into a redding-fied shuffle here).

    This twofer disc contains numerous classics. Don’t even bother with all the „My Girl“, all the „Tenderness“, the „Love Man“. Here we have the ultimate swag number „Hard to Handle“, which is the most concentrated dose of hyperbolic self-esteem boost containable in 140 seconds. Walking down the street listening to this, I have trouble not to stop in the middle of traffic shouting

    „PRETTYLITTLETHING

    LEMMELIGHTYO’CANDLE

    COZMAMMA

    I’MSHO’HARDTOHANDLENOW

    (yes-i-am)!“

    at pedestrians.

    Also, „You Made a Man Out of Me“, „Security“ and so on – a double disc of Otis might become a little overbearing, but this is single-oriented music anyway. Check out the hilarious „Tramp“, a duet where the woman accuses Otis of being exactly that, where Otis runs out of arguments constantly and simply going to the chorus everytime he runs out of things to say: „Ooooh, I’m a lover! – Papa was!“ („Matter of opinion!“ goes Carla Thomas. Otis, oblivious, responds: „Mama was, too.“). The only reason John Belushi rather used Sam & Dave as a cultural and musical reference as opposed to Otis is because Belushi knew that bringing up the comparison to Redding would make his own performance seem listless. While Sam & Dave are soul’s ultimate expressive gospel stylists, Redding is just too heavy-weight and deep in the blues for anyone to tackle. He is one of the artists whose prime output transcends any kind of genre-preferences.

    The track choice involves pickings from all his six studio albums as well as the from the four posthumous albums. It also contains all of the A-side of his US-singles during his lifetimes (and some more posthumous ones).

    Pain in My Heart (1964) 1.7, 2.2, 2.4, 2.5

    The Great Otis Redding Sings Soul Ballads (1965) 1.12, 1.11, 1.19, 2.18, 2.9, 1.5

    Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul (1965) 1.1, 2.10, 2.14, 2.1, 1.4, 1.13, 2.6, 2.12

    I Can’t Turn You Loose / Just One More Day (1965 single) 1.6

    The Soul Album (1966) 2.15, 1.15, 1.14, 1.17

    Complete & Unbelievable: The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul (1966) 2.7, 1.2, 1.9

    King & Queen (1967) 1.10, 2.11

    The Dock of the Bay (posth. 1968) 1.20, 2.20

     The Immortal Otis Redding (posth. 1968) 2.13, 2.16, 2.3, 2.8

    Love Man (posth. 1969) 1.3, 1.18, 2.19,

    Tell the Truth (posth. 1970) 1.16, 2.17,

    You Left the Water Running / The Otis Jam [by the Memphis Studio Band] (posth. 1976 single, rec. 1966) 1.8

     
  • blechtram 9:40 am am January 13, 2020 Permalink | Antworten
    Tags: Album covers, , Carmen Dell'Orefice, Dorian Leigh, Lonely Woman, Modern Jazz Quartet, Richard Heimann, Suzy Parker   

    Album covers: People in the foreground, people in the background 

    This is a „failed project“ entry, up to this point anyway. I wanted to pick up a new hobby here, which would consist in researching, identifying and collecting people on album covers that are not the musicians themselves. Now, I knew that this in some cases would be easy: Some covers use famous models which are known, like Jerry Hall on the cover of Roxy Music’s Siren.

    Other cases are more obscure, but some covers and bands are so famous that every detail about them is already researched, as is the case for Paul Cole, an American tourist who happened to be there on the right in the background when the Beatles took the Abbey Road cover. By his own account, he didn’t even know who the Beatles were at the time.

    So I started sorting through my record collection and the first interesting fact is simple but telling: For about the first decade of commercial vinyl-Lps, there were basically no models on album covers other than the musicians. Covers were either impersonal artworks or featured the musician(s). Now, this is from a small sample and probably genre-skewed – I own mostly blues and jazz records from that period, only some commercial pop and classical, so I don’t know exactly how the chips fall there. But the first album in my collection to properly sport a human being that isn’t playing on said record turned out to be Lonely Woman (1962) by the Modern Jazz Quartet.

    Now, how do you go about identifying that woman? The photographer is credited: Richard Heimann. Not a lot of information about him, but he seemed to be a glamorous guy in a glamorous world marrying and photographing glamorous models. The little information available really gives off this kind of Frank-Sinatra-movie-character.

    If Richard Heimann took that picture, who is the model? I don’t know and I didn’t find out. There was a possible clue: He was married to Carmen Dell’Orefice from 1958–1960, the „oldest working supermodel“ in the business, as I learned. Actually, most of the information you find about Heimann stems from this marriage or interviews with Dell’Orefice, because she became super-famous, he didn’t. So this was at least a clue, and I looked at some of Dell’Orefices portraits before 1962. Here’s one from 1956:

    Same style, but that’s just the general model look from that period. But it isn’t quite the same woman, is it? I tried to contact Dell’Orefice’s agency to confirm or at least deny that it is her on the album cover, but I couldn’t even get a proper contact address. At this point, the „research“ turned into random rummaging. Dell’Orefice was friends with another famous model from the time, a certain Suzy Parker. Now, Parker looks more like the woman on the cover, I think.

    But it’s still just a basic guess – hair style and make up lead to a pretty homogenic look of the period. And I couldn’t find a picture of Parker that really convinces me – the one I picked here is the closest one, and it hardly fits the purpose of comparison. And, looking at coloured photos, she seemed to have reddish instead of dark hair most of the time.

    Anyway, Suzy Parker was the sister of an even more famous model of the period, „the original supermodel“ Dorian Leigh (Parker). Let’s put some portraits next to the cover in question:

    Well, it’s anyone’s guess. I’m a bit amazed at the homogenic style which probably goes for any period, but I have no idea who the model on the album cover is. The exercise stops here, at least until I am in a mood to try to find out if there is something like a Richard-Heimann–archive, which I didn’t find through official channels. And this is probably also the start and finish of the whole project. Who could’ve known. Another story of shame and misery.

    And, well, feel free to contact me if you know anything about this.

     
  • blechtram 11:41 am am January 9, 2020 Permalink | Antworten
    Tags: , , Bob Dylan, , Carter Burwell, , Elvis Costello, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Ethan Coen, , Gipsy Kings, Henry Mancini, Joel Coen, Kenny Rogers, Meredith Monk, Moondog, , Nina Simone, , Piero Piccioni, , The Big Lebowski, The First Edition, Townes Van Zandt, , Yma Sumac   

    Various Artists: The Big Lebowski [Original Soundtrack] 

    Rating: 6.0/10
    Rated as
    : Compilation / Soundtrack
    Compilation Status
    : of Zeitgeist interest
    Released: 1998
    Recorded: 1959–1997
    Specific Genre: Soundtrack
    Main Genre: Soundtrack
    Undertones
    : Singer-Songwriter, Folk Rock, Experimental Rock, Pop Rock, Exotica, Big Band, Vocal Jazz, Third Stream, Experimental, Romanticism, Lounge, Latin Rock, Electronic
    Label: Mercury

    1 Bob Dylan – The Man in Me 2 Captain Beefheart – Her Eyes Are a Blue Million Miles 3 Elvis Costello – My Mood Swings 4 Yma Sumac – Ataypura 5 Piero Piccioni – Traffic Boom 6 Nina Simone – I Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good 7 Moondog – Stamping Ground 8 Kenny Rogers & The First Edition – I Just Dropped In (to See What Condition My Condition Was In) 9 Meredith Monk – Walking Song 10 Erich Wolfgang Korngold – Glück das mir verblieb 11 Henry Mancini – Lujon 12 Gipsy Kings – Hotel California 13 Carter Burwell – Wie glauben 14 Townes Van Zandt – Dead Flowers

    We believe in nussing

    An expectedly tasteful and quirky choice of songs by the Coen Brothers, but ultimately just that: Some songs and artists you might not get acquainted with otherwise set next to each other. Of course the film context adds a lot of consistency to the experience, but musically speaking, this playlist, say, on a mix tape would merit some respect for musical knowledge and eclectic boldness, but people would ask: Where’s the actual flow?

    Admittedly, some things go together nicely, at least conceptually: Exotica-diva Yma Sumac and Mancini’s death-by-tropic-lounge „Lujon“ on the same album is a good idea, as well is one of Dylan’s greatest underrated tunes next to Costello’s very good „My Mood Swings“, surprisingly recorded for this soundtrack. Kenny Rogers and The First Edition add the nowadays monumental „Condition“, which is the best psychedelic country-rock number that I know this side of „Eight Miles High“ (even as pastiche), so this is also a good buy if you’re looking for just that (as it isn’t really representative of how Rogers would develop).

    The ultimate avantgarde obscurity Moondog makes an appearance and this is the one song that sounds as if was made for the movie in a kind of prophetic move by Moondog a few decades earlier), and kudos to the Coens for picking „Her Eyes Are a Blue Million Miles“, whose inclusion here I’m sure introduced legions of teens to Captain Beefheart. That’s worth a lot.

    So, while I see many good things about this as a cultural artefact, and I admire the boldness of putting a bunch of avantgarde artists next to Mancini and a piece of Austrian classical Opera (in German, nonetheless), this is hardly something you’ll listen through over and over as a musical document. It’s more like an educational effort: „Look, teenagers, you liked our movie about a stoner. Your subconscience noticed it being accompanied perfectly by the song picks. Now, learn and listen to what you’ve actually listened“, hopefully prompting further research. And why not?

    Oh, and all the Creedence tracks are missing – for copyright and run-time reasons, I assume, but it’s kind of a great in-joke between soundtrack and film.

     
  • blechtram 9:08 am am January 9, 2020 Permalink | Antworten
    Tags: , , Mary Stafford   

    Complete Blues Bio-Discographies Update: Mary Stafford 

    Another update for the Complete Blues Bio-Discographies:

    Mary Stafford

    Lived ca. 1895–ca. 1938, recorded 1921–1926.

    Stafford recorded 14 sides, all of which are here (plus some other obscure singers from the era):

    Female Blues Singers Volume 13: R/S (1921–1931) (DOCD-5517)

    You can also get them here:

    Ain’t Gonna Settle Down: The Pioneering Blues of Mary Stafford and Edith Wilson.
    This double-CD also features all of →Edith Wilson’s works, but I would not recommend it – Wilson’s work has been issued on three Document-CDs which give you a lot more additional material (for example all sides of → Lena Wilson and → John Dunn’s orchestra) – see „Edith Wilson“ for that.

    Mary Stafford’s complete recordings

     
  • blechtram 6:29 pm am January 7, 2020 Permalink | Antworten
    Tags: Clarence Williams, ,   

    Complete Blues Bio-Discographies Update: Clarence Williams 

    Another update for the Complete Blues Bio-Discographies:

    Clarence Williams

    Lived 1893 or 1898–1965, recorded 1921–1947

    This one is a bit more detailed. I usually don’t track sideman-work for these entries, but with Williams, things are different. He was so important as a composer, leader, sideman and co-credited artist/performer that the available discographies AND compilations collect his work that was credited to another recording artist. I mostly used this discography as a reference: http://www.harlem-fuss.com…s_clarence.pdf
    I found some inconsistencies, but don’t be alarmed: If anything, there’s more stuff on the list below, not less.

    Also, if you focus only on the entire Williams-„Chronogical Classics Series“, you won’t have every little bit, but the overwhelming part of his issued recordings. But since that series is about to become a bit elusive itself, it is probably not a more viable strategy than anything else.

    First, you need to get the complete recordings of the following other blues/jazz artists. I’m not going to point out whether Williams plays on one, two or four tracks etc. on these. I mean, you could just get the compilations only collecting Williams stuff, but come on:

    Daisy Martin: Daisy Martin & Ozie McPherson: Complete Recorded Works (1921-1926) in Chronological Order (DOCD-5522)  (Williams is suspected to play on some tracks)
    Eva Taylor aka Irene Gibbons: In Chronological Order Volume 1 (c. September 1922 to c. 5 September 1923) (DOCD-5408), In Chronological Order Vol.2 (1923-1927) (DOCD-5409), In Chronological Order Vol.3 (1928-1932) (DOCD-5410), Edison Laterals 4 (album credited to Eva Taylor (Edison Lateral 4)
    Bessie Smith: The Complete Recordings Vol. 1, The Complete Recordings Vol. 4 (C2K 52838)
    Sara Martin: In Chronological Order, vol. 1 (1922-1923) (DOCD-5395) (Williams plays on some tracks), In Chronological Order, Volume 2 (1923-1924) (DOCD-5396), In Chronological Order, Volume 3 (1924-1925) (DOCD 5397), In Chronological Order, Volume 4 (1925-1928) (DOCD-5398)
    Mamie Smith: Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 3: 1922-1923 (DOCD-5359)
    Margaret Johnson: Complete Recorded Works (1923-27) (DOCD-5436)
    Virginia Liston: Complete Recorded Works in Chronogical Order, Volume 1: 1923-1924 (DOCD 5446) (possibly on two tracks), Virginia Liston Volume 2 (1924 – 1926) (DOCD-5447)
    Sippie Wallace: Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 1 (1923-1925) (DOCD-5399), Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 2 (1925-1945) (DOCD-5400)
    Laura Smith: Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order, Volume 1 (1924-1927) (DOCD-5429)
    Butterbeans and Susie: Volume 1 1924-1925 (DOCD-5544)
    Lucille Hegamin: Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 3 (1923-1932) (DOCD-5421)
    James P. Johnson: 1928-1938 (Chronogical Classics 671) but this is already on Frog DGF 17 (see below) which you need anyway.
    Victoria Spivey: Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order: Volume 2 (DOCD-5317)
    Lizzie Miles: Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 3 (1928-39) (DOCD-5460)
    King Oliver: for example 1926 – 1928 (Chronogical Classics 618), but preferably „Farewell Blues“ – King Oliver – Vocalion & Brunswick Recordings, Volume 2 (Frog DGF 35) (4 tracks with Clarence Williams)
    Fats Waller: The Complete Recorded Works Volume 1: 1922-1929 – Messin‘ Around With the Blues (JSP CD 927) (1 additional alternate take)

    Then, you need to do some clean-up and collect scattered tracks:
    Document Records, clean up compilations:
    Female Blues, The Remaining Titles (1921–1928) (2 tracks by Laura Smith) (DOCD-1005)
    Clarence Williams & The Blues Singers Vol 1 1923–1928 (DOCD-5375)
    Clarence Williams & The Blues Singers Vol 2 1927 – 1932 (DOCD-5376)
    Original Bessie Brown / Liza Brown 1925–1929 (DOCD-5456)
    Vocal Duets 1924 – 1931 (DOCD-5526, tracks by Charles & Effie Tyus)
    „Too Late, Too Late“ More Newly Discovered Titles, Alternate Takes & Supplements, Volume 9 (1922-1945) (track by Charles & Effie Tyus, credited to Horace George) (DOCD-5590)
    Classic Blues Jazz & Vaudeville Singers Vol 4 1921 – 1928 (DOCD-5627)

    And here starts the list of Williams as a band leader:
    Chronogical Classics Series, necessary issues (and yes, they spell it „chronogical“):
    The Chronogical Classics: Clarence Williams 1921 – 1924 (Chronogical Classics 679)
    The Chronogical Classics: Clarence Williams 1924 – 1926 (Chronogical Classics 695)
    The Chronogical Classics: Clarence Williams 1926 – 1927 (Chronological Classics 718)
    The Chronogical Classics: Clarence Williams 1927 (Chronogical Classics 736)
    The Chronogical Classics: Clarence Williams 1927 – 1928 (Chronogical Classics 752)
    The Chronogical Classics: Clarence Williams 1928 – 1929 (Chronogical Classics 771)
    The Chronogical Classics: Clarence Williams 1929 – 1930 (Chronogical Classics 810)
    The Chronogical Classics: Clarence Williams 1930 – 1931 (Chronogical Classics 832)
    The Chronogical Classics: Clarence Williams 1937 – 1941 (Chronogical Classics 953)

    Frog Series, necessary issues:
    „Whoop It Up“ – Clarence Williams, The Columbia Recordings, Volume 2 (Frog DGF 17)
    „Shake ‚Em Up“ – Clarence Williams 1927–1929, The Vocalion, Brunswick, Victor, Paramount & Grey Gull Recordings (Frog DGF 37)
    Clarence Williams‘ QRS Recordings, Volume 1 (Frog DGF 48)
    Clarence Williams‘ QRS Recordings, Volume 2 (Frog DGF 49)
    „Thriller Blues“ – Clarence Williams 1930–1941 (Frog DGF 57)
    Washboard Bands 1926-1929: „Gimme Blues“ (Frog DGF 75)
    Rare & Hot Black Bands 1923-1930: Stop & Listen! (Frog DGF 79)

    Collector’s Classics Series, necessary issue:
    The Clarence Williams Collection Vol. 1, 1927-28 (Collector’s Classics COCD-19)
    The Clarence Williams Collection, Volume 3, 1929-1930 (Collector’s Classics COCD-29) (just two additional alternate takes, but hey)

    Timeless Series
    Clarence Williams And His Orchestra ‎– Vol. 1, 1933-1934 (Timeless CBC 1-056)
    Clarence Williams And His Orchestra ‎– Vol. 2 1933-1937 (Timeless CBC 1-057)

    AND:
    Get On Board, Li’l Chillun (1937, Circle CCD-4)

    LP-Abbreviations I couldn’t identify:
    JU 49 (4 tracks from 1947)
    Ed ZM-473202 (LP) (1 alternate take „Moanin‘ Low“ from 1929)

    Epilogue
    If you got all the stuff, these nice collections collecting Williams as leader/sideman in one place are now superfluous to you. All their stuff is on Chronogical Classics 679, 695 and 718, which you need anyway to fill other gaps:
    „Dreaming the Hours Away“ – Clarence Williams, The Columbia Recordings (Frog DGF 14)
    Clarence Williams – „Senegalese Stomp“  (Frog DGF 81)
    The 1923-1931 Recordings – The Complete Sidney Bechet & Louis Armstrong Sessions (EPM 982112) (only covers 1923–1926)

    Clarence Williams’ complete recordings

     
  • blechtram 10:03 am am January 3, 2020 Permalink | Antworten
    Tags: , , , Lucille Hegamin   

    Complete Blues Bio-Discographies Update: Lucille Hegamin 

    The Complete Blues Discographies were updated with Lucille Hegamin as a second entry.

    Lucille Hegamin

    Lived 1894–1970, recorded 1920–1932, 1961–62.

    Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order: Vol. 1 (1920-1922) (Document DOCD-5419)
    Complete Recorded Works, Vol.2 (1922-1923) (Document DOCD-5420)
    Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 3 (1923-1932) (Document DOCD-5421)
    Lucille Hegamin Volume 4: Alternative Takes & Remaining Titles (1920-1926) (Document DOCD-1011)

    For her rare 1960s appearances, check the respective albums, one under ALBERTA HUNTER and one under VICTORIA SPIVEY

    Lucille Hegamin’s complete recordings

     
  • blechtram 8:21 pm am January 1, 2020 Permalink | Antworten
    Tags: , , , Mamie Smith   

    Complete Blues Bio-Discographies: Mamie Smith 

    Started to transfer my „Complete Blues Discographies“-project from RateYourMusic to this site. We start with Mamie Smith. I’ll update the site slowly and will post updated entries on the blog.

    Mamie Smith

    Lived 1883–1946, recorded 1920–1942.

    „The earliest surviving commercial recordings of black roots music were made by Okeh Records supervisor Fred Hagar (sometimes spelled Hager) and Ralph Peer, his assistant at the time, who recorded Mamie Smith in 1920. Smith was neither a blues specialist nor a southerner. She was a stage singer from Ohio, and the impetus to record her came from black songwriter Perry Bradford, who believed a female vocalist could sell records – and Bradford tunes – to both northern blacks and southern whites.“

    (Epperson, Bruce: More Important Than the Music. A History of Jazz Discography. Chicago, London: University of Chicago Press 2013, 91)

    Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 1: 1920-1921 (Document DOCD-5357)
    Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 2: 1921-1922 (Document DOCD-5358)
    Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 3: 1922-1923 (Document DOCD-5359)
    Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 4: 1923-1942 (Document DOCD-5360)

    Mamie Smith’s complete recordings

     
  • blechtram 12:54 pm am December 22, 2019 Permalink | Antworten
    Tags: acetate discs, Alan Lomax, , John A. Lomax, , , , Presto, recording discs   

    Some «Irene»-Trivia: What is the recording length of aluminum lacquer discs, aka «acetate discs»? 

    Source: Library of Congress

    Having busied myself with some «Irene»-trivia lately, more questions arose. For example, you’ll notice that the «Irene»-version 44-A is almost five minutes long while the maximum play length of a commercial shellac 78 was around three minutes. The «Irene»-version 44-B, then, lasts only about 2 minutes and features only one additional verse – verse 7 if you reconstruct 44-A and 44-B-1 as a supposedly continuous version. This is almost the same verse-structure (with seven verses total) that shows up if you reconstruct the «Irene»-versions 124-A-2 and 124-B-1 as a continuous version, compare my harmonization of «Irene»-versions.

    Anyway, how do the field recordings by John and Alan Lomax account for the longer running time of tracks than a commercial 78 could hold?

    The recording device and recording discs

    It is true for commercial shellac 78rpms (10-inch) meant for replayat home that they only held about 3 minutes of music. Different discs were used for field recordings. John and Alan Lomax were supplied by the Library of Congress with a state of the art recording device, a «Presto» – this was a big machine that made electrically enhanced direct-to-disc recordings on aluminum discs and ,later, aluminum discs with a lacquer coating. These are called «aluminum discs» and «lacquer discs» usually, the latter most often referred to as «acetate discs» – which is materially speaking wrong, they were not made of acetate. While different explanations exist, it remains unclear how this factually wrong manner of naming them developed, but «acetate disc» is the most common name in popular contexts nowadays.

    These recording «lacquer discs» were 12-inch-discs, not 10-inch (cf. Wolfe/Lornell 1992, 113), that could hold 5 minutes of music, and even more with some trickery: I read Alan Lomax could bring the recording time of those discs up to seven, some sources say even ten minutes – the most common technique to lengthen the record time apparently was to leave a narrower space between the grooves which in turn worsened the recorded quality. But this was a trade-off the Lomaxes often made for field recordings as these were not meant for commercial use.

    Although John Lomax had used one of the only «portable» recording devices on his trips (starting 1907) before – recording on «Edison Dictaphone» wax cylinders which were fragile (cf. Morton 2000, 147) –, and although John and Alan Lomax even started out the 1933-trip with this «Ediphone» (cf. Kahn 2003, 1) and picked up the superior disc-cutting machine in Baton Rouge in mid-July (cf. Szwed 2010, 43), the Presto disc-cutting device was still immensely chunky. With a reported weight of 300 to 350 pounds (plus the discs, so some sources drive this number up to 500 pounds, cf. Ferris 2013, 15), installed in the back of the Lomaxes car.

    The cylinder machine made only scratchy and squeaky sounds, but their new disc-cutting machine was the best portable machine on the market. These were long before the days of magnetic recording tape, transistors, and digital sound. Their new behemoth weighed a hefty 315 pounds. Alan recalls that the machine consisted of one large amplifier, a cutting turntable, two Edison batteries […], a loud-speaker, and the discs themselves. The latter were twelve inches in diameter, and were of annealed aluminum […].

    (Wolfe/Lornell 1992, 113)

    The fact the received the disc-cutting recording device just a couple of days before they first recorded Lead Belly in Angola Prison brings to attention that they had virtually no experience running that machine at that time. You can get a glimpse of such a device as well as of the 12-inch-discs in the film documentary Lomax the Songhunter (the device shown in that clip is not the one used for the Lead Belly-session of 1933 in Angola Prison, it’s a newer one). You can probably see that older Presto in action for a about two seconds in a completely staged «prison» scene recorded for the March of Time newsreel, with John Lomax and Lead Belly here, around the 15-second mark. (By the way, this film with its horrific script was reportedly despised by all involved: «There was something in the film to upset everyone», Szwed 2010, 73).

    We have to imagine the process something like this: the 4+ minutes version 44-A was one continuous recording on one of those 12-inch-discs – the side was then labeled 44-A. Since the song wasn’t finished with all verses, Lomax then asked Lead Belly to finish the song for the archive, Lead Belly probably «restarted» the ending part which Lomax recorded on the flip side: 44-B. This explains the wildly different lengths of those recordings.

    You can check how this worked if you consider three other examples.

    1) Check the «Ella Speed»-version (125-B) on the essential compilation The Midnight Special: Library of Congress Vol. 1 (Rounder-1044) (also on SFW 40201), it is from Angola Prison, 1934. That recording runs a bit over six minutes and then gets a scrambled ending with the song unfinished. This is probably the maximum Lomax could stretch these discs out which he clearly didn’t like to do since examples of this length are rare. I guess that is where the assumption of a «seven minute»-limit comes from. Compare this to Lead Belly’s first recordings with commercial intent (the ones on Leadbelly – King of the 12-String Guitar, CK 46776) by the American Record Corporation (ARC) – they all punch in at around 3 minutes, as was necessary for shellac-78s playable at home.

    2) Then, take a look at and listen to the first session by Lead Belly in Angola Prison, July 16–20, 1933, on DOCD-5579. You’ll notice that this session features the call numbers «119-B-1» to «119-B-6» and «120-A-1» to «120-A-7» (plus «120-B-5»). These are 45 to 90-second-snippets of different songs – DOCD-5579 doesn’t even bother to split the songs apart, they are one track on the CD: All songs labeled «119-B» were recorded on one side of a lacquer disc, as were the songs labeled «120». Wolfe/Lornell note about these recordings: «These [songs] took up one side of disc number 119-B, and a second, labeled 120, was started.» (Wolfe/Lornell 1992, 114). Lomax recorded for a short while, stopped the disc. Then restarted to record another song. And so on, until the side was full. The combined time of these song snippets is 4 to 5 minutes, that’s what a 12-inch-disc could hold on a side.

    3) One last example: If you take a look at Alan Lomax’s Library of Congress-recordings of Jelly Roll Morton, it becomes clear just by looking at the track times what Lomax’s preferred manner of recording was in a controlled setting – maximum length of continuous recording without sacrificing too much quality. The entirety of the Library of Congress-Morton-recordings runs over eight hours – but each song and each interview cuts out very consistently at about 4:30 minutes. You can hear how Morton is interrupted after 4:30 minutes and then picks up the story where he was interrupted when Lomax puts on the next recording disc.

    Well here we are, this was predominantly an entry to consolidate the scattered sources I found available online. There’s some more books I referenced and that I’ll make a note of here:

    Further Reading and Sources:

    Cohen, Ronald D. (Ed.): Alan Lomax. Assistant in Charge. The Library of Congress Letters, 1935–1945. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi 2010.

    Doctor Jazz: Library of Congress: Jelly Roll and Alan Lomax Narrative Recordings and   Discography. URL: http://www.doctorjazz.co.uk/page22.html

    Ferris, William R.: Alan Lomax: The Long Journey. In: Piazza, Tom (ed.): The Southern Journey of Alan Lomax. Words, Photographs, and Music. New York: Library of Congress 2013, 10–21.

    Kahn, Ed: Part I. 1934–1950: The Early Collecting Years. In: Lomax, Alan: Selected Writings 1934–1997. Ed. By Ronald D. Cohen. New York: Routledge 2003, 1–8.

    Library of Congress: Southern Mosaic. The John and Ruby Lomax 1939 Southern States Recording Trip. URL: https://www.loc.gov/loc/lcib/9908/lomax.html

    Ma Platine: History of the Record. URL: https://www.maplatine.com/en/content/64-history-of-the-record

    Morton, David: Off the Record. The Technology and Culture of Sound Recording in America. New Brunswick et al.: Rutgers 2000.

    Preservation Self-Assessment Program: Aluminum Disc. URL: https://psap.library.illinois.edu/collection-id-guide/phonodisc#aluminumdisc

    Preservation Self-Assessment Program: Lacquer Disc. URL: https://psap.library.illinois.edu/collection-id-guide/phonodisc#lacquerdisc

    Public Broadcasting Service: Lomax the Songhunter. URL: http://archive.pov.org/lomax/background/

    Szwed, John: The Man Who Recorded the World. A Biography of Alan Lomax. London: Heinemann 2010.

    Wikipedia: Acetate disc. URL: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acetate_disc

    Wolfe, Charles and Kip Lornell: The Life & Legend of Leadbelly. New York: Harper Collins 1992.

    Yale University Library: The history of 78 RPM recordings. URL: https://web.library.yale.edu/cataloging/music/historyof78rpms

     
  • blechtram 11:28 am am December 16, 2019 Permalink | Antworten
    Tags: , , , ,   

    Lead Belly Discography: Updates 

    The single features take „SC-261“, not take „SC-261-1“

    There have been some updates to my Lead Belly Discography. Some inconsistencies were found concerning the «Irene»-versions from the session from July or August 1943, with the call numbers «SC-261-1» and «SC-261» (both found on DOCD-5227) and an alleged «Irene»-version from the session «ca. February 1947», on DOCD-5568.

    I thank Tim Dickinson for pointing out the irregularities.

    The new and rectified situation is this: The «Irene»-version «SC-261-1» (with Sonny Terry on harp who is not «SC-261») is found on DOCD-5227, DOCD-5568 and SFW 40201. All discographical information points to this take being from the «July or August 1943» session. Confusion arises because DOCD-5568 claims February 1947 as a recording date for a lot of takes that are in fact from 1941 or 1943, respectively. These informations seem largely false, criticized by professional discographers. There is no «Irene»-version from February 1947 (as DOCD-5568 claims).

    Although being the identical take, the «Irene»-version on DOCD-5227 is longer than the tracks on DOCD-5568 and SFW 40201 – this is because the latter are being faded out while the track on DOCD-5227 has a doctored, artificially enlengthend ending.

    This detail raises are larger point: It will be necessary to go through all of the tracks on DOCD-5568, because the information there seems incorrect to a degree that we’ll have to identify each track aurally, through comparative close listening. These mistakes have been known for years, judging by Fancourt/McGrath’s discography The Blues Discography 1943–1970 (2006), but the Document Records-website still touts this as an «undiscovered session» from 1947. I’m also interested to know why DOCD-5227 includes a doctored version of otherwise available takes. The Document Records label usually didn’t operate like this.

    Along with these changes, I made several other minor corrections that are part of the process; I won’t line them out here.

     
  • blechtram 12:51 pm am December 4, 2019 Permalink | Antworten
    Tags: Bob Ledbetter, , , , Goodnight, , , , , , , , Ry Cooder, The Weavers, Tom Waits   

    Lead Belly’s "Irene" and its lyrical variants of the chorus: Kissing, getting, guessing and seeing. 

    Ramsey, Frederic Jr.: Liner notes for Leadbelly’s Early Recordings, Legacy Volume 3 (Folkways FA 2024, 1951).

    Let’s talk about Lead Belly and his song «Irene, Goodnight», alternatively called «Goodnight, Irene». I’ll just refer to it as «Irene» here.

    The question that interests us here is simple: What exactly does Lead Belly sing in the chorus’s last line? Is it: «I get you in my dreams»? «I guess you’re in my dreams»? «I kiss you in my dreams»?

    It is really hard to make out in some takes and online ressources don’t seem to have a great consensus. There are different recordings with different plausible outcomes, we’ll take a look at that and some prominent cover versions below.

    For those with little time, the «too long, didn’t read»-summary is this: Lead Belly mostly used «I get you in my dreams» for the early recordings (up until 1943), other times most likely an «I kiss(ed) you in my dreams». For later records (from 1944), he opted for something like «I guessed you in my dreams», which can be seen as a cleaned-up version of «I get» or «I kissed». Cover versions mostly use «I’ll see you in my dreams» (from the Weavers’s hit version) or, more in line with Lead Belly, «I get you in my dreams». For the fun details, read below.

    As for the song: This is nowadays a classic of folk americana, a weird waltz that doesn’t quite fit into Lead Belly’s repertoire of blues, field hollers or folk songs, but does fit very well into his habit of soaking up whatever good song he could find and modify to make it his own. There is a cute family story about its origins – he supposedly made it up on the spot as a lullaby for his little baby niece. But this story is debunked – first, by his own uncle, Bob Ledbetter, who is known to have it sung before Lead Belly (and who says he learned it from his brother Terrell – you can hear this statement and Bob’s 1940 version on Document Records DOCD-5579), and secondly by Wolfe/Lornell who trace the song back even further to a 19th century popular song – but there is no written record. Wolfe/Lornell note:

    There is evidence, nonetheless, that the chorus, at least, was circulating among other folksingers besides the Ledbetters. In November 1936 […], a Library of Congress field recording unit came upon Gilbert Fike in Little Rock, Arkansas. Fike was originally from Louisiana and sang a song called «The Girls Won’t Do to Trust,» [sic] which used a set of unusual misogynistic verses to set up a familiar chorus:

    The girls will chew tobacco, but she will raise a fuss
    The girls will dring good whiskey, boys, but they
    Won’t do to trust

    Irene, goodnight, Irene,
    Irene, goodnight, my life,
    I’ll kiss you in my dreams.

    While it is possible that Fike had heard Huddie sing a version of the song […], it is probable that both Fike and Leadbelly heard the song as it circualted among rural singers in Texas and Louisiana.

    (Wolfe/Lornell 1992, 53)

    Well, the story goes on (there’s even earlier textual evidence), but so far this is pretty standard fair as far as the creation and development of folk songs go (for this, see also Ek 2014, and for a short summary online, see Lornell 2003). Let’s turn to the lyrics. What does Lead Belly do in his dream? «Get» Irene? «Kiss» Irene? «Guess»? The problem is that – especially on the early field recordings – it is really hard to make out what Lead Belly sings – and even in later versions, he uses a dialectal phrasing that sounds a lot like «giss» (hard g), like a mixture of «get» and «kiss». I think this is where the «guess» version comes from, which, spoiler, will turn out to be the least plausible one in my view.

    Before we turn to the audio analysis, let’s get some clear textual evidence. As noted above, Wolfe/Lornell transcribe the songs origins as using the line «I kiss you in my dreams», and if you listen to Bob Ledbetter’s 1940-version, there is no doubt about it. This in itself stakes a strong claim for «kiss» instead of «get» or «guess» as an initial variant. Also, in the liner notes of the Folkways-LP Leadbelly’s Early Recordings, Legacy Volume 3 (Folkways FA 2024, 1951), Frederic Ramsey makes quite astute poetic observations about Lead Belly’s lyrical craft:

    There is one quality of Leadbelly’s song that is only partially touched on in the Lomax book, how ever, but if we piece together bits of the Lomax story and combine them with the text and mood of Leadbelly’s songs, it can be sensed. There is in certain of the songs a mood of sleeplessness; in others, of dream, and trance. […] Where no escape is provided through sleep or dream, it is through alcolhol as in Roberta. The sleeplessness complements the dream, for it is a waking dream. It is a state where real and unreal are mixed, seen and unseen come together.

    Ramsey 1951.

    Ramsey then goes on to quote several other songs that reference this escape or wish fulfillment through (day dreams) and, on the occasion, transcribes the bit from «Irene» as:

    «Irene, good night, Irene good night,
    Good night Irene, good night Irene,
    I kiss you in my dreams …» (Irene, FP 4)

    Ramsey 1951.

    Since Ramsey mentions Folkways FP 4 as the source, it is clear that he refers to the versions «SC-261» or «SC-261-1» from 1943, both on FP 4 (cf. my bio-discography of Lead Belly for such session-details). Now, Ramsey isn’t just anybody – he met and recorded Lead Belly in his late sessions. But apart from this supposed authority on the subject matter, I find his lyrical assembly of quotes about dreamy wish fulfillment persuasive: This again makes a stronger claim that Lead Belly dream-wishes that he «gets» or «kisses» Irene, rather than the line not fitting in this logic: «I guess you’re in my dreams».

    But Wolfe/Lornell go on to say this:

    The first time he recorded the song on disc, in 1933, he sang only two verses and two choruses, including the slightly ominous refrain «I’ll get you in my dreams». A year later he recorded it with four verses and four refrains.

    Wolfe/Lornell 1992, 56.

    I agree with their assessment that it sounds most like «get» in the 1933-chorus (version 120-A-1) which is the only complete chorus from that year that includes the line. Very generally, it coud be heard as «kiss» with a mumbled «s» in the end. But «get» is what they decide on, so let’s take that as corroborating evidence.

    Now, if we turn to what is audible on Lead Belly’s own recordings, there is little doubt about one thing: On several occasions, he clearly sings «I get you in my dreams». If you compare my harmonisation below, you see that I think there is no doubt about him singing this line on the versions 124-A-2 (1934) – starting with the second chorus, as the first is unclear to me –, 124-B-1 (1934) and SC-261-1 (1943). As opposed to SC-261-1, version SC-261 (1943) gives you this weird «get/kiss»-mixture, so that must have been the one Ramsey refers to in his transcription above.

    If we now take a close listen to his other versions, we most of the time end up with a word that sound like «giss» or even «gass». At one point I though this might be a dialectal version of «catch» (as in «I catss you in my dreams»), and it also occured to me that it could simply be a dialectal «I gets you» – because Lead Belly pretty systematically uses this conjugation on all other verbs in the song, «I lives», «I loves», «I haves», but I don’t know enough about the nature of Lead Belly’s idiom to know if this is even remotely plausible from a linguistic perspective. American dialectologists, please let me know if «I gets» was a plausible form.

    Anyway, if you are primed by textual knowledge about the «kiss»-version, most of these can pretty reliably sound like «kiss». The version where I’m really struggling to hear a difference between «kiss you» and «guess you’re» is version 44-A (1935).

    Two last points on the «I guess you’re in my dreams»-variant: First, I must say I can hear «guess(ed)» on some occasions, but I have to force myself to hear «you’re in my dreams», it is usually a clear «you in my dreams» to me. Also, in later versions (from 1944 onwards), it becomes a more clearly pronounced «I guessed you’re in my dreams». The past tense makes even less poetic sense to me – it seems like a bowlderized versions of «kissed» to me.

    This is also why I don’t quote more of Lead Belly’s numerous later Irene-versions because even though he clearly gravitated to what sounds like «I guess you in my dreams», the problems fundamentally remain the same: Even with better and clearer recording (and Lead Belly having adapted his singing for white audiences), it is hard to know whether we’re dealing with a dialectal «kiss», «gets» or «guess» (compare especially version 413-3A, 1944). But more importantly: Folk lyrics change. At this point of Lead Belly’s career, we’re dealing with lyrical adaptation by Lead Belly for the audiences he played for. In the version FC 7533 (1945), I hear a clear «I guessed you in my dreams», but at that point he had also changed the lyrics of «take morphine and die» to «run away and fly». As in the Weavers’ version (see below), «getting» and «kissing» maybe wasn’t deemed suitable for mainstream (and children) audiences, so «guessing» might have become a valid option from 1944 onwards.

    Taken all of this together, I’d say we end up with the following for the versions up until 1943:

    1. There is clear textual evidence for «I kiss you in my dreams», clear auditive evidence for it in Bob Ledbetter’s version and plausible auditive evidence in Lead Belly’s versions
    2. There is clear auditive evidence for the variant «I get you in my dreams». Some of Lead Belly’s versions leave no doubt.
    3. There is clear «poetic» evidence for both these variants, that is to say: they simply make sense, even in a larger thematic context of Lead Belly’s lyrical motifs
    4. There is some auditive, little poetic and no textual evidence for «I guess(ed) you(’re) in my dreams»

    As corroborated evidence goes, I’d say Lead Belly sings a dialectal «I kiss» on some, and «I get» on other versions. Having said that, none of this disproves the «I guess you’re in my dreams»-version which remains plausible, why not? But it remains the least supported version by corroboration. As a last resort, I’d propose a dialectal «I gets», until an expert tells me that this form didn’t exist in the idioms spoken then.

    Cover versions

    The story could but doesn’t have to end here. How did prominent cover versions handle this textual unclarity? To spoil the harmonisation of lyrics I made below: There is a strong preference to use the completely different line «I’ll see you in my dreams» – this is easily explained as this stems from the cleaned-up version by the Weavers which was a 1950-hit that made the song as famous as it is nowadays in the first place. No kissing or «getting» in this mainstream folk context (cf. Ek 2014)! Even Mississippi John Hurt uses this line in his 1966-version – he announces it as «Lead Belly’s song» in the spoken intro, says that he «learned it off the record» and then continues to sing a song that structurally uses the lyrics from the Weavers’, not Lead Belly’s, version. So hilariously and wonderfully for folk authenticity and pop history, Mississippi John Hurt most likely learned this song from the Weavers’ hit record. Eric Clapton’s 2013 also shares this approach of using the song in the form it first entered the mass audience’s mind: as the Weavers-version.

    Then, more reconstructionist artists like Ry Cooder (1976) and Tom Waits (2006) both opt for lyrical structures the pretty much exactly resemble one of Lead Belly’s version. Ry Cooder clearly goes with «I’ll get you in my dreams» in the chorus, while Tom Waits, in typical fashion, sort of recreates Lead Belly’s «kiss/get» mixture as «giss». Waits gives no lyrics in the liner notes for this song.

    As an example of continued oral folk permutation, Dr. John’s version from 1992 just uses general musical and lyrical elements of the earlier version to come up with something very different. He turns the music into a big-bandish boogie and the song is not about yearning, scrounging, suicide and loss (with a dream as escape), but about desire, sex and partying, balling down the river while screaming «I wanna get you into my dream!» Of course, Dr. John pays his dues as a reconstructionist as well, at one point introducing a female choir which sings the exact lyrics of the Weavers’ chorus.

    Well, that was fun, wasn’t it. For what I’ve exactly heard, uncertainties included, compare below harmonisation of the different versions I mentioned. Sources are below.

     Lead Belly 120-A-1Lead Belly 120-A-6Lead Belly 120-A-7Lead Belly 124-A-2 (1934)Lead Belly 124-B-1 (1934)Lead Belly 44-A (1935)Lead Belly 44-B-1 (1935)Irene SC-261-1 (1943)Irene (SC-261) (1943)Bob Ledbetter (1940)Weavers (1950)Mississippi John Hurt (1966)Ry Cooder (1976)Dr. John (1992)Tom Waits (2006)Eric Clapton (2013)
    INTRO / CHORUSIrene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I’ll get/kiss (?) you in my dreams
    ø Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I’ll get/kiss (?) you in my dreams
     Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I kiss you in my dreams + Spoken Intro
     Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I get you in my dreams
    øIrene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Irene goodnight, goodnight Irene
    I kiss you in my dreams
    Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I’ll see you in my dreams
    Spoken Intro + Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I will see you in my dream
    øøIrene goodnight, Irene, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I kiss you in my dreams
    ø
    VERSE 1One day, one day, one day
    Irene was a-walkin’ along
    Last word that I heard her say
    «I want you to sing one song»
    I asked your mother for you
    She told me that you was too young
    I wish dear Lord that I’d never seen your face
    I’m sorry  you ever was born
     Quit ramblin‘ and quit gamblin‘
    Quit staying out late at night
    Come home to your wife and your family
    Sit down by the fireside bright
     I asked your mother for you
    She told me you was too young
    I wish dear Lord that I’d never seen your face
    I’m sorry you ever was born
     Sometimes I lives in the country
    Sometimes I live in town
    Sometimes I have the great notion
    Jumpin‘ in, into the river and drown
    I asked your mother for you
    She told me that you was too young
    I wish dear Lord,that  I’d never seen your face
    I’m sorry you ever was born
    Last Saturday night I’ve got married
    Me and my wife settled down
    Me and my wife is parted now
    I’m goin‘ take a stroll uptown
    Last Saturday night I got married
    Me and my wife settled down
    Now me and my wife are parted
    I’m gonna take another stroll down town
    Sometimes I live in the country
    Sometimes I lives in town
    Sometime I take great notion
    Jump in the river and drown
    I asked your mother for you
    She told me that you was too young
    I wish dear Lord never have seen your face
    And I’m sorry that you ever been born
    Last night as I laid in my bed a-sleepin’
    Last night as I laid down across my bed
    Last night I had myself a nightmare
    I had a dream, I had a dream
    My little Irene was dead
    Last Saturday night I got married
    Me and my wife settled down
    Now me and my wife are parted
    I’m gonna take me a little stroll uptown
    Last Saturday night I got married
    Me and my wife settled down
    Now me and my wife are parted
    Gonna take another stroll down town
    CHORUS Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    (scrambled)
    (possible continuation of 120-A-6, scrambled)… in my dreamsIrene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I’ll get you in my dreams
     Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I kiss you / guess you’re (?) in my dreams + Spoken Interlude
     Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I get you in my dreams
    Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I kiss (?) you in my dreams
    Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Irene goodnight, goodnight Irene
    I kiss you in my dreams
    Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I’ll see you in my dreams
    Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I will see you in my dream
    Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I’ll get you in my dreams
    I had to say now:
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I wanna get you, I wanna get you
    Wanna get you into my dream
    Irene goodnight, Irene, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I kiss you in my dreams
    Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I’ll see you in my dreams
    VERSE 2  Stop ramblin‘ and stop gamblin‘
    Quit staying out late at night
    Come home to your wife and your family
    Sit down by the fireside bright
    Last Friday night, I got married
    Me and my wife settled down
    Now me and my wife have parted
    Gonna take me a stroll uptown
     Sometimes I lives in the country
    Sometimes I lives in town
    Sometimes I have the great notion
    Jumpin‘ into the river and drown
     Stop ramblin‘ and stop gamblin‘
    quit stayin‘ out late at night
    Go home to your wife and your family
    Sit down by the fireside bright
    Sometimes I lives in the country
    Sometimes I lives in town
    Sometimes I haves the great notion
    Jumpin‘ in, into the river and drown
    Quit ramblin‘, quit gamblin‘
    Quit staying out late at home(– at night!)
    Come home to your wife and  family
    Sit down by the fire[?]side bright
    Sometimes I live in the country
    Sometimes I live in town
    Sometimes I take a great notion
    To jump into the river and drown
    Stop ramblin‘, stop gamblin‘
    stop stayin‘ out late at night
    Go home to your wife and family
    And stay by the fireside bright
    Sometimes I live in the country
    Sometimes I lives in town
    Sometimes I have a great notion
    To jump into the river and drown
    Last Saturday night we got married
    Last Saturday night we sho’ got down
    Last Saturday night we went sailin’ down the river
    We swung that little boat
    And we almost drowned
    Sometimes I live in the country
    Sometimes I live in town
    Sometimes I take a great notion
    To jump in the river and drown
    Stop ramblin‘, stop your gamblin‘
    stop stayin‘ out late at night
    Come home to your wife and your family
    And sit by the fire so bright
    CHORUS  Irene goodnight, Irene (scrambled fade-out)Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I’ll get you in my dreams
     Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I kiss you / guess you’re (?) in my dreams + Spoken Interlude
     Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I get you in my dreams (Fade out)
    Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I kiss (?) you in my dreams
    Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Irene goodnight, goodnight Irene
    I kiss you in my dreams
    Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I’ll see you in my dreams
    Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I will see you in my dream
    Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I’ll get you in my dreams (+ instrumental chorus)
    I had to say now:
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I wanna get you, I wanna get you
    Get you into my dreams
    Irene goodnight, Irene, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I kiss you in my dreams
    Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I’ll see you in my dreams
    VERSE 3   I asked your mother for you
    She told me that you was too young
    I wish dear Lord that I’d never seen your face
     I’m sorry you ever was born
     You cause me to weep and you cause me to moan
    You cause me to leave my home
    The last words I heard her said
    „I want you to sing this song“
      Stop ramblin‘ and stop gamblin‘
    quit stayin‘ out late at night
    Go home to your wife and your family
    Sit down by the fireside bright
     Stop ramblin‘, stop your gamblin‘
    stop stayin‘ out late at night
    Go home to your wife and your family
    Stay there by your fireside bright
    øI loves Irene, God knows I do
    Loves her till the sea runs dry
    If Irene turns her back on me
    I’m gonna take morphine and die
    øI loves Irene, God knows I do
    Loves her till the sea runs dry
    If she ever loves another
    I’m gonna take morphine and die
    I loves Irene, God knows I do
    Loves her till the rivers run dry
    If Irene should ever turn her back on me
    Gonna take morphine and die
    CHORUS   Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I’ll get you in my dreams
     Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I kiss you / guess you’re (?) in my dreams + Spoken Interlude
      Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I kiss (?) you in my dreams
     Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I’ll see you in my dreams (Repeat + Fade-Out)
    Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I will see you in my dream
    ø(Female choir:) Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnigt Irene, goodnight Irene
    I will see you in my dream
    Irene goodnight, Irene, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I kiss you in my dreams
    Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I’ll see you in my dreams
    VERSE 4   One day, one day, one day
    Irene was a-walkin‘ along
    Last words that I heard her say
    „I want you to sing this song“
     Last Friday night, I got married
    Me and my wife settled down
    Now me and my wife have parted
    Gonna take me a stroll uptown
      I loves Irene, God knows I do
    Love her ‚til the sea run dry
    If Irene turns her back on me
    I’m gonna take morphine and die
       Stop ramblin‘ and stop gamblin‘
    Quit stayin‘ out late at night
    Come home into your wife and your family
    Sit down by the fireside bright
    Sometime I wanna drink
    Sometime I wanna gamble
    Sometime I wanna stay out all night long
    Lord, but when I’m lovin’ my little Irene
    I wanna love the girl
    Love her on and on and on and on…
    Stop your ramblin‘, stop your gamblin‘
    Stop stayin‘ out late at night
    Go home to your wife and your family
    Sit down by the firelight
    ø
    CHORUS    ø (possible continuation of 124-A-2)Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I kiss you / guess you’re (?) in my dreams
          Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I’ll get you in my dreams
    Yeah yeah
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I wanna get you, I wanna get you
    Get you into my dream
    (Everybody!) Irene goodnight, Irene, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I kiss you in my dreams (Repetition + Fade-Out)
    Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I’ll see you in my dreams
    VERSE 5    …And she caused me to moan
    She caused me to leave my home
    Last words that I heared her say
    „I’m sorry you ever was known“
     ø         
    CHORUS    Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I’ll get you in my dreams
     (possible continuation / re-start of 44-A) Spoken Intro         
    VERSE 7    I love Irene, God knows I do
    Love her ‚til the sea runs dry
    If Irene turns her back on me
    I’m gonna take morphine and die
     I love Irene, God knows I do
    Love her ‚til the sea run dry
    If Irene turn her back on me
    I’m gonna take morphine and die
             
    CHORUS    Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I’ll get you in my dreams
     Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
    Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
    I get you in my dreams + Spoken Interlude
             
           ø         
           Spoken Interlude + Hummed Chorus Ending         

    Sources:

    • Ek, Kirstin: «A Precipice Between Deadly Perils»: American Folk Music and the Mass Media, 1933–1959. Dissertation University of Virginia 2014.
    • Lornell, Christopher «Kip»: «Goodnight, Irene»–Leadbelly (1933). Added to the National Registry: 2003. Essay by Christopher Lornell (guest post). Library of Congress. URL: http://www.loc.gov/static/programs/national-recording-preservation-board/documents/GoodnightIrene.pdf
    • Wolfe, Charles and Kip Lornell: The Life & Legend of Leadbelly. New York: Harper Collins 1992.
    • Ramsey, Frederic Jr.: Liner notes for Leadbelly’s Early Recordings, Legacy Volume 3 (Folkways FA 2024, 1951).
     
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