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Origins: Hesitation Blues

DigiTrad:
IF THE RIVER WAS WHISKEY


Related threads:
I ain't no ethnofolkmusicoligist (20)
(origins) Origin: Hesitation Blues / Hesitating Blues (20)
Lyr Req: Hesitation Blues + Spike Driver's Blues (27)
Lyr/Chords Req: Hesitation Blues (6)


Rob-IL 04 May 00 - 10:30 AM
GUEST,Steve Latimer 04 May 00 - 10:37 AM
GMT 04 May 00 - 10:50 AM
Rob-IL 04 May 00 - 11:01 AM
Amos 04 May 00 - 11:25 AM
marshman 04 May 00 - 12:23 PM
Easy Rider 04 May 00 - 01:05 PM
GUEST,Steve Latimer 04 May 00 - 01:16 PM
GUEST,DWDitty 04 May 00 - 04:04 PM
Melbert 04 May 00 - 04:43 PM
GUEST,art 04 May 00 - 07:03 PM
ddw 04 May 00 - 11:55 PM
GMT 05 May 00 - 03:31 AM
GUEST,Mrr 05 May 00 - 01:01 PM
Stewie 05 May 00 - 10:04 PM
Rick Fielding 06 May 00 - 01:01 AM
simon-pierre 06 May 00 - 01:14 AM
Dale Rose 06 May 00 - 02:09 AM
GUEST,Steve Latimer 06 May 00 - 05:15 PM
Rusty Dobro 17 Apr 11 - 08:01 AM
GUEST,Mike Yates 17 Apr 11 - 08:47 AM
Joe_F 17 Apr 11 - 06:03 PM
Joe Offer 19 Oct 14 - 04:13 AM
Big Al Whittle 19 Oct 14 - 05:46 AM
Will Fly 19 Oct 14 - 06:14 AM
Will Fly 19 Oct 14 - 06:17 AM
Lighter 19 Oct 14 - 10:29 AM
Will Fly 19 Oct 14 - 10:38 AM
Betsy 19 Oct 14 - 08:20 PM
Joe Offer 19 Oct 14 - 10:05 PM
GUEST,Rahere 20 Oct 14 - 09:09 AM
Mark-o 20 Oct 14 - 04:51 PM
Jim Dixon 10 Nov 15 - 03:07 PM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 15 Dec 15 - 01:02 PM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 14 Jul 16 - 12:19 AM
Jim Dixon 19 May 17 - 06:54 PM
Stanron 19 May 17 - 07:40 PM
GUEST 20 May 17 - 12:14 PM
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Subject: do I have to hesitate..
From: Rob-IL
Date: 04 May 00 - 10:30 AM

I am looking for the name, chords etc... of this song with the chorus:

Baby how long do I have to wait, Can I get you now, Or must I hesitate

any help would be greatly appreciated.. thanks Rob


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: do I have to hesitate..
From: GUEST,Steve Latimer
Date: 04 May 00 - 10:37 AM

The song is Hesitation Blues, It's a Reverend Gary Davis song, I think I alos heard that Dave Van Ronk did it.

I can't help you with the lyrics or chords, hopefully this helps your search though.


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Subject: Lyr Add: HESITATION BLUES
From: GMT
Date: 04 May 00 - 10:50 AM

Hesitation Blues ?

A nickel is a nickel and a dime is a dime
I need a new gal she won't mind, tell me --
How long do I have to wait?
Can I get you now, Lord, must I hesitate

Well, the eagle on the dollar says "in God we trust"
You say you want a man, I wanna see that dollar first,
tell me--
(Chorus)
If the river was whiskey, and I was a duck,
You know I'd swim to the bottom, Lord, an' never come up, tell me--
(Chorus)
Rocks in the ocean, baby, fish in the sea
knows you mean the world to me, tell me--
(Chorus)
Well, the hesitatin' stalker's got them hesitatin' shoes
Lord, I got them Hesitatin' Blues, tell me--
How long do I have to wait?
Can I get you now, Lord, must I hestitate
Said, can I get you now, how long must I hesitate?

Rob-IL, I have a tab version of this (with chords) as a word .doc. Send me a private message with your email addy and I'll send it to you as an attachment.

Cheers Gary


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: do I have to hesitate..
From: Rob-IL
Date: 04 May 00 - 11:01 AM

Thanks..


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: do I have to hesitate..
From: Amos
Date: 04 May 00 - 11:25 AM

The Holy Modal Rounders did it as well. Hilarious jugband version. Or was it the Fugs?


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: do I have to hesitate..
From: marshman
Date: 04 May 00 - 12:23 PM

My favorite version is by Jessie Colin Young, from the "Song for Julie" album. He calls it "Miss Hesitation" and has some fun with the lyrics.


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: do I have to hesitate..
From: Easy Rider
Date: 04 May 00 - 01:05 PM

I think Dave Van Ronk sings:

"A nickel is a nickel a dime is a dime. Got a house full of children, not one of them mine. Tell me how long do I have to wait? Well can I get you now, or must I hesitate?

Well, the eagle on the dollar says "in God we trust" Woman says she loves you, wants to see a dollar first. Tell me ...

(Chorus)"

Does anybody have TAB for this great song? Either the RGD or DVR version will do.

( [=O=)===={:::}


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Subject: Lyr Add: HESITATION BLUES (Reverend Gary Davis)
From: GUEST,Steve Latimer
Date: 04 May 00 - 01:16 PM

The Reverend Gary version that I have has as much innuendo as any song I've ever heard. It's 11 minutes long, so I don't remember all of the verses, but some are:

I ain't no wine presser, no wine pressers son,
but I can press out a little juice, before your wine presser comes,
Can I get you now, or do I have to hesitate?

I ain't no chauffeur, no chauffer' son,
but I can do a little driving, before your chauffeur comes,
Can I get you now...

I ain't no backbreaker, no backbrekers son,
but I can stretch out your back a little bit, before your backbreaker comes.
Can I get now...

Ah, all this from a man of the cloth.

Another great innuendo song is Mississippi John Hurt's Candy Man


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Subject: Lyr Add: HESITATION BLUES (Roy Book Binder)
From: GUEST,DWDitty
Date: 04 May 00 - 04:04 PM

More:

I ain't no baker, ain't no baker man's son,
but I'll keep your biscuits warm til you baker man comes.

I ain't no doctor, ain't no doctor's son,
but I'll be on you case til your doctor man comes.

or (My Dad was an architect)

I ain't no architect, but I'm an architect's son.
Got a design on you baby that'll make Frank Lloyd Wright run.

I got hesitation shoes and hesitation stockings,
I got a hesitation mama does my hesitation rocking.

and on and on and on...

I learned this song off a Roy Book Binder video (Homespuntapes.com). Roy started taking lessons from the Reverend in the 60's and then became his driver. A lot of the story is on his CD "Don't start me talkin'"
DW


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: do I have to hesitate..
From: Melbert
Date: 04 May 00 - 04:43 PM

Ralph McTell's also recorded this.... it's on a number of his albums


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: do I have to hesitate..
From: GUEST,art
Date: 04 May 00 - 07:03 PM

can recomend Bo carter or search hokum blues


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: do I have to hesitate..
From: ddw
Date: 04 May 00 - 11:55 PM

Hot Tuna (Jorma Kokounan — SP?) also did a version of this with some great guitar work. Chords are fairly simple — Am, E, Am, E, Am, C7, F, C, G, C, C7, C and repeat for each verse. Sorry, I don't know how to do Tab on this thing. The only tricky part is going from the third Am to the C7. It requires a run up the first string (E, F, F#, G), then C# and B on the B string (2nd) and an A# on the G string as you fall into the C7 position. Has to be done in one fluid motion for it to sound right. Haven't quite mastered it myself, but it's coming along.

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: do I have to hesitate..
From: GMT
Date: 05 May 00 - 03:31 AM

Easy Rider,

I have a tabbed version (not done by me) in word format.
Private message me your email and I'll send it as an attachment.

Gary


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: do I have to hesitate..
From: GUEST,Mrr
Date: 05 May 00 - 01:01 PM

Charlie Poole and the North Carolina Ramblers did a great version too, but don't trust me to get you the lyrics, I'm the one who thought they were singing Far Far when it was really Fire Fire...


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: do I have to hesitate..
From: Stewie
Date: 05 May 00 - 10:04 PM

The Charlie Poole version went under the title 'If the river was whiskey'. Arkansas oldtime group Reaves White County Ramblers recorded a version under the 'Hesitation Blues' title with the delightful couplet:

I went down to the river to jump in an' drown
I thought of my honey and I couldn't go down

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: do I have to hesitate..
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 06 May 00 - 01:01 AM

"Ain't never bin to Heaven, but I bin told,

Elvis taught the Angels how to do the rock and roll".

My fav non-trad verse.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: do I have to hesitate..
From: simon-pierre
Date: 06 May 00 - 01:14 AM

haha! Good one Rick! I'll always sing it... like all other verses here; so it will last about twenty minutes... the hesitating saga...
SP


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: do I have to hesitate..
From: Dale Rose
Date: 06 May 00 - 02:09 AM

Oh, but Charlie WAS singing FAR, FAR! How else would you say it?

It is amazing and encouraging to me that regional dialects are still surviving in this day of plain vanilla television and radio homogenization of language. Even here in North Central Arkansas, one cannot hear the language of the people on television, except in the home made commercials, but step out into the streets and schools, and the language is little changed from what it was before the outside influences began to encroach. What they are talking ABOUT may have changed, but the way they say the words and the localisms are still hanging on. Just this evening (last evening, now) I was discussing this very subject with a couple of high school(pronounce that hahh school)students. One of the students was, as the locals say, from off, meaning they spoke the language differently where they had lived before. That meant, of course, that some local expressions would not be immediately clear to them. I realize that I am getting off topic here, but I think that somewhere down the line we really ought to explore this subject more fully. Transcribing lyrics is made all the more difficult when a person from one area tries to figure out what someone from another area is saying. It may as well be a foreign language sometimes. (pronounce that one sometahms) I know that Stewie and I have talked about this very thing, while discussing lyrics of the Carter Family.

One last thing ~~ up in Illinois, where I lived before, a student would likely respond to a favor by a school secretary with a "Thanks, Donna." whereas here the phrase is almost invariably, "Thenk yeeouu, Miss Donna." regardless of whether Donna is married or not. (note that you is never pronounced as a single syllable, it's more like three or four ~~ trying to describe it is virtually impossible, but you'd know it if you heard it)


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: do I have to hesitate..
From: GUEST,Steve Latimer
Date: 06 May 00 - 05:15 PM

Rick,

Who did the Elvis verse?

In the Rev. Gary version that I have he sings

Never been to Heaven, but I been told St. Peter taught the angels how to Jelly Roll


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Hesitation Blues
From: Rusty Dobro
Date: 17 Apr 11 - 08:01 AM

Doc Cox sings (carefully):

I'm not a pheasant plucker, I'm a pheasant plucker's son,
And I'm only plucking pheasants till the pheasant plucker comes.


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Subject: Lyr Add: HESITATION BLUES (Cas Wallin)
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 17 Apr 11 - 08:47 AM

The late Cas Wallin of Madison County, NC, gave me the following verses. He was somewhat reluctant to sing them to me at first, possibly because of the "Shuck my corn" verse, one that I have never come across elsewhere.

HESITATION BLUES

I went down to the river
Had a notion to drown,
Spied a red-headed woman
And I couldn't go down.

CHORUS:
Tell me how long?
Can I get you now?
Must I hesitate?
Will I have to wait?

It's rocks in the mountain
And the fish in the sea.
Well, woman if you love me
Throw your arms around me.

There ain't one thing
That I cain't understand,
Why a bow-legged woman
Likes a pigeon-toed man.

Well, I was born in Cincinnati,
In a rattlesnake's den.
My daily occupation,
Taking women away from men.

Well, if you don't believe
I will shuck your corn,
Slip to my house
When my man's gone.

Now there's another thing
That I cain't understand,
Why the world's full of women
And none of them mine.


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Subject: Lyr Add: HESITATION BLUES (Mitch Greenwood)
From: Joe_F
Date: 17 Apr 11 - 06:03 PM

The Coffee House Songbook (collected by Jay Edwards, Oak Publ., 1966; OOP, like many good things) has the following, attributed to one Mitch Greenman (the dashes are in the book):


HESITATION BLUES

Well, standing on the corner with a dollar in my hand,
Lookin' for a woman who's looking for a man,
   Tell me how long, do I have to wait,
   Can I get you now, or must I hesitate?

Well, the eagle on the dollar say, "In God we trust,"
Woman wants a man, she wants to see a dollar first,
   Tell me...

Well, pussy ain't nothin' but meat on the bone,
You can ---- it you can ---- it you can leave it alone,
   Tell me...

Well, you hesitate by one, and you hesitate by two,
Angels up in heaven singing hesitatin' blues,
   Tell me...


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Subject: Origins: Hesitation Blues
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Oct 14 - 04:13 AM

Looks like there's a whole lot more to learn about this song, although I don't know that we'll beat the lyrics Mike Yates posted above from Cas Wallin. For a start, here's the entry from the Traditional Ballad Index:

    Hesitation Blues

    DESCRIPTION: "Well, standing on the corner with a dollar in my hand, Lookin' for a woman who's lookin' for a man, Tell me, how long do I have to wait...?" The women want to see the money before they become friendly. The singer grumbles about sex
    AUTHOR: unknown
    EARLIEST DATE: 1923 (recording, Esther Bigeou)
    KEYWORDS: sex whore money
    FOUND IN: US(SE)
    REFERENCES (3 citations):
    BrownIII 507, "I Got de Hezotation Stockings and de Hezotation Shoes" (1 short text, with a verse and chorus from "Hesitation Blues" and a verse from "Wanderin'")
    Scarborough-NegroFS, pp. 276-277, (no title) (1 text, beginning "Ships in de ocean, rocks in de sea, Blond-headed woman Mak a fool out of me" but with chorus "Tell me how long I'll have to wait! Oh, tell me, honey, don't hesitate!")
    Silber-FSWB, p. 75, "Hesitation Blues" (1 text)

    Roud #11765
    RECORDINGS:
    Allen Brothers, "Can I Get You Now" (Vocalion 02890, 1935)
    Jesse Ashlock w. Bill Boyd & his Cowboy Ramblers, "Must I Hesitate?" (Bluebird B-6351, 1936)
    Esther Bigeou, "Hesitating Blues" (OKeh 8065, 1923)
    Milton Brown & his Musical Brownies, "The Hesitation Blues" (Decca 5266, 1936)
    (Columbia 15240-D, 1928; Velvet Tone 2496-V/Clarion 5436-C [both as Clayton & Parker], 1932; rec. 1927; on KMM)
    Sam Collins, "Hesitation Blues" (Gennett 6379, 1927; Champion 15472, 1928; Bell 1173/Supertone 350/Silvertone 5181?, all n.d.; rec. 1927)
    Walter "Buddy Boy" Hawkins, "Voice Throwing Blues" (Paramount 12802, 1929; on TimesAint01)
    Jim Jackson, "Hesitation Blues (Oh! Baby, Must I Hesitate?)" (Vocalion 1477, 1930)
    Sara Martin (& Eva Taylor), "Hesitation Blues" (OKeh 8082, 1923)
    Wingy Manone & his orchestra, "Hesitation Blues (Oh! Baby Must I Hesitate)" (Bluebird B-6394, 1936)
    Reaves White County Ramblers, "Hesitation Blues" (Vocalion 5217, 1928)
    Arthur Smith Trio, "Hesitating Blues" (Bluebird B-8101, 1939)
    cf. Charlie Poole and the North Carolina Ramblers, "If the River Was Whiskey" (with verses from this song and "Rye Whiskey"; Columbia 15545-D, 1930; on CPoole02)

    NOTES: W. C. Handy produced a song, "The Hesitating Blues" (copyright 1915; see Handy/Silverman-Blues, pp. 100-103) which uses this key line, but it is much more elaborate and with a different plot; I suspect they are separate songs, with one inspiring the other. Though the Brown text shows how mutable such blues can be. - RBW
    The Esther Bigeou recording gives the writing credit to Handy; the Sara Martin (note the different title) attributes the song to Billy Smythe & Scott Middletonn. Is it the same song? Are they variants? We need to hear the actual records to sort all this out. - PJS
    Last updated in version 3.6
    File: FSWB075

    Go to the Ballad Search form
    Go to the Ballad Index Song List

    Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
    Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

    The Ballad Index Copyright 2016 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Hesitation Blues
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Oct 14 - 05:46 AM

a version of this song is sung in the Jimmy Cagney 1930 film Public Enemy.

a saloon singer called Putty Nose sings it. he was the man who corrupted Cagney.

during his final rendition of the song, Cagney shhots him.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Hesitation Blues
From: Will Fly
Date: 19 Oct 14 - 06:14 AM

From the Library of Congress's "National Jukebox" database:

Recording Title: Hesitation blues
Musical group: Victor Military Band
Composer: Billy Smythe
Conductor: Edward T. King
Genre(s): Ragtime, jazz, and more, Blues
Category: Instrumental
Description: Band
Label Name/Number: Victor 18163
Matrix Number/Take Number: B-18339/3
Recording Date: 1916-09-15
Place of Recording: Camden, New Jersey
Size: 10"
Duration: 03:02
Notes: Victor ledgers note: 15 extra men.

I've played the recording and the main theme is very clearly the original of the "Hesitation Blues" song. It seems to me that this composition is the original tune and, like others before it, it's passed into blues folklore. The Victor Military Band was composed of black musicians, which may or may not have been a factor in the tune being adopted by the early blues men.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Hesitation Blues
From: Will Fly
Date: 19 Oct 14 - 06:17 AM

A footnote. It's possible, I suppose, that composer Billy Smythe took his theme from an even earlier folk or blues tunes...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Hesitation Blues
From: Lighter
Date: 19 Oct 14 - 10:29 AM

Parodies existed in the U.S. army in 1917-19.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Hesitation Blues
From: Will Fly
Date: 19 Oct 14 - 10:38 AM

Parodies existed in the U.S. army in 1917-19.

That would tie in with the date of the release of the Victor recording. Interestingly, this recording has been included in a recent CD of 100 songs popular during the 1914-1918 war.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Hesitation Blues
From: Betsy
Date: 19 Oct 14 - 08:20 PM

Couple of oldtime buskers in Amsterdam used to sing ......
I've never been so scared in all of my life since ******* nearly caught me ......his wife


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Subject: ADD Version: Hesitation Blues (Van Ronk)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Oct 14 - 10:05 PM

Here's the full Dave Van Ronk version, which is the recording I first heard this song on.

HESITATION BLUES

Lord, I'm standing on the corner with a dollar in my hand, I'm
Lookin' for a woman who's looking for a man,
     Tell me how long, do I have to wait,
     Can I get you now, or must I hesitate?

Well, the eagle on the dollar says, "In God we trust,"
Woman says she wants a man, but wants to see a dollar first,
     Tell me…

Ain't never been to heaven, but I've been told
St. Peter taught the angels how to jelly roll,
     Tell me....

Well, a nickel is a nickel & a dime is a dime,
I got a house full of children, not one of them mine,
     Tell me....

Lord, I'm standing on the corner with a dollar in my hand, I'm
Lookin' for a woman who's looking for a man,
     Tell me...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Hesitation Blues
From: GUEST,Rahere
Date: 20 Oct 14 - 09:09 AM

Rusty Dobro Date: 17 Apr 11 - 08:01 AM

Let's get that one right

I'm not a pheasant plucker, I'm a pheasant plucker's mate
And I'm only plucking pheasants 'Cos the pheasant plucker's late...

The mouth shape makes that one tougher to get right. No prizes for why.

As supplied by my cousin who was a game factor in Arlesford/Romsey...we have pleasant phuckers in the family...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Hesitation Blues
From: Mark-o
Date: 20 Oct 14 - 04:51 PM

There's a bit more to this song than meets the eye, or ear.

Here's what the ever-evolving Wikipedia has to say:

"Hesitation Blues" is a popular song adapted from a traditional tune. One version was published by Billy Smythe, Scott Middleton, and Art Gillham. Another was published by W.C. Handy as "Hesitating Blues". Because the tune is traditional, many artists have taken credit as writer, frequently adapting the lyrics of one of the two published versions."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hesitation_Blues

And there is a terrific post over at Weenie Campbell with lyrics, sample sheet music and links to recordings: http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10228.0

Lastly, Jesse Fuller sings an interesting version on the video from his final concert in 1971:

https://diva.sfsu.edu/collections/sfbatv/bundles/191357

Onward!


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Subject: Lyr Add: CURLY HEADED WOMAN (Burnett & Rutherford)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 10 Nov 15 - 03:07 PM

CURLY HEADED WOMAN
As recorded by [Richard] Burnett & [Leonard] Rutherford, 1927.

1. Raise up high your window and open wide your door.
I've got another feller; I don't want you no more.

CHORUS: Tell me how long will I have to wait?
Can I get you now, [or] must I hesitate?

2. There are rocks in the mountains; there are fish in the sea.
That curly-headed woman made a fool out o' me.

3. Hesitatin' stockin's and a-hesitatin' shoes,
I'm a-lookin' for the woman got the hesitatin' blues.

4. They put me in the jail with my face towards the wall.
That curly-headed woman was the cause of it all.

5. Borned in Virginny in a rattlesnake den,
My daily occupation: takin' women 'way from men.

6. I would rather be in Cuby a-settin' on a log
Than to be over in France and be treated like a dog.


Also recorded by The Red State Ramblers on "Commonwealth" (2008) and The Little Brothers on "Walked All the Way Back Home" (2010).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Hesitation Blues
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 15 Dec 15 - 01:02 PM

Handy told Abbe Niles that his version -- as was so common with Handy -- was based on a number he'd heard someone else do. The same was likely the case with Smythe's version. Lynn Abbott and Doug Seroff have pointed out that the "How Long Must I Wait" that George and Nana Coleman were performing in 1913 may have been a version of the same song.

The structure of the lyrics, with all those syllables crammed into the first line, is apparently more consistent with blues generally as of about 1913 than blues generally as of about 1910. And also apparently more consistent with pro blues than with folk blues (suggesting that perhaps the Colemans' claim that they wrote "How Long Must I Wait," whatever it was exactly, was true).


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Subject: Ashes to ashes and dust to dust...
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 14 Jul 16 - 12:19 AM

Art Gillham was a friend of Billy Smythe (William Peter Schmitt) and J. Scott Middleton's who helped them make up the lyrics for the "Hesitation Blues" that Smythe and Middleton published under their own names in 1915. The three friends were passing time in a train at the time, that day in about 1914. (They were using as a starting point a song that was going around that W.C. Handy, he admitted, also had heard somewhere, and also published his own, somewhat different version of in 1915.) Gillham's role was eventually officially acknowledged with his name added to the credits by about 1925.

Interestingly, Gillham told a friend of his, George Blau, that the following lyrics were not from folk tradition, Art made them up himself that day:

"If the river was whiskey and I was a duck, I'd swim to the bottom and never come up"

"Ashes to ashes and dust to dust, show me a woman/man a man/woman can trust"


    Joseph, I think this message is better here, rather than off by itself in a thread of its own. Hope you don't mind that I moved it.
    -Joe Offer, Mudcat Music Editor-


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Subject: Lyr Add: HESITATION BLUES (Rev. Gary Davis)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 19 May 17 - 06:54 PM

There is a lot of patter in this 11.4-minute recording which I have omitted. Also, Davis varies the chorus a lot, mainly by omitting some sung words and inserting spoken patter. Davis made other recordings,


HESITATION BLUES
As recorded by Rev. Gary Davis on "Blues & Ragtime" (Shanachie, 2005)

You know, I woke up this mornin' just about a half-past four.
Hesitatin' blues was knockin' on my door.

CHORUS: Tell me how long do I have to wait?
Can I get you now, honey? Do I have to hesitate?

Ain't no use in me workin' so hard.
I got me two good women workin' in the rich folks' yard.

I ain't your good man, neither your good man's son,
But I can get in the place o' your good man till your good man come.

Well, I ain't no miller, ain't no miller's son,
But I can grind a little corn for you till the miller come.

Well, I ain't no wine-presser, neither no wine-presser's son,
But I can press out a little juice for you till the wine-presser come.

I ain't no grocer-man, you know, grocer-man's son,
But I can buy you a little grocery till the grocery-man come.

Well, I ain't to cradle-rocker; neither no cradle-rocker's son,
But I can do a little rockin' for you till your cradle man comes.

Well, I ain't no doctor, ain't no doctor's son,
But I can cure a few cases....

Eagle on the dollar say: "In God We Trust."
Woman swear she wants a man but I 'clare she wants a dollar first.

I ain't no bookeeper, neither no bookkeeper's son,
But I can keep the … books for you till the bookkeeper comes.

Well, I ain't no milkman, neither no milkman's son,
But I can keep you supplied till your milkman comes.

Well, he said, I ain't no chauffeur, neither no chauffeur's son,
But I can do a little drivin' till your chauffeur comes.

Well, I ain't no back-breaker, you know, back-breaker's son,
But I can stretch out my back for you till your back-breaker comes.

Said, I ain't got no woman and I ain't got no kids.
I ain't got nobody's daughter to be bothered with.

Well, I ain't no rent-payer, neither no rent-payer's son.
I can scrape a few rents for you till your payer comes.

Well, I ain't been to heaven, but I've been told,
They said Saint Peter learnt the angels how to do the jelly roll.

Me an' my buddy and two-three mo',
We get good women anywhere we go.

Well, I hitched up the mule and the mule wouldn't pull.
Took the harness off the mule and put the harness on the bull.

Blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice.
I'd be a fool if I quit the woman I got 'cause it ain't no use.

Well, I got a hesitatin' stockin', hesitatin' shoes.
I got a hestitatin' woman singin' me the hesitatin' blues.

If my good gal quit me, I ain't gonna wear no black.
I always got somthin' to make her come a-runnin' back.

Men in the country hollerin' "Wha-haw-gee!"(?)
Women in the city flyin' aroun' askin' the question: "Who wants me?"

Ashes to ashes and dust to dust.
Just show me a woman that a man can trust.

You know, my mama tol' me when I was just six years ol':
"You gonna be a good woman-getter, son, God bless your soul."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Hesitation Blues
From: Stanron
Date: 19 May 17 - 07:40 PM

Then there's this one

Medication Blues

Doctor told me, hope it's a lie
You'll never get better till the day you die.

CHORUS Tell me how long do I have to wait?
Should I rattle them pills (Am I all right now) or should I medicate?

I pop two in the morning, Three at night,
Another calms me down in case I don't get it right,

A capsule is a capsule, a pill is a pill
If complacency don't get me then anxiety will

I don't like the red ones, I don't like the blue (Double take at the audience)
I'm not so sure I like the look of you

I'm standing on the corner, I'm just not sure,
Am I looking for a lover, a dealer or a cure?

Friends come round, so they say
Just wanna get high on my Nitro spray

The Altzeimer verse (apologies for any offense)

Standing in the kitchen (Parlour, Rest room, Diner, stair well, bar room, etc) looking at the floor,
Just can't remember what I came here for.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Hesitation Blues
From: GUEST
Date: 20 May 17 - 12:14 PM

I've been doing a pre-1923 arrangement of Handy's "Hesitating Blues" (published 1915) for a public domain/original material only gig. The band recorded in 1918 included King Oliver and a young Louis Armstrong. (Might be one of Kid Ory's bands; I need to do better at documentation.)

Am finding I actually like the old approach better than the Rev Gary Davis & Hot Tuna versions I learned on guitar in my teens. The dynamic & the structure are very similar except the pivotal chords at the beginning of each verse are Cdim to C insteada Am to E7; that classic riff that climbs up from the 3rd note of the scale (in this case E) and down to the 7 (Bb) is note-for-note exactly what Jorma played circa 1969-70. But in the 1918 version a few horns get together to pop that riff out front during each verse. For the lyrics I did a mix of verses drawn from Handy's* version and the Smythe/Middleton/Gillham version, also published in 1915.

*Handy openly shared that he got the kernel of Hesitating Blues from an older traditional song.


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