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Lyr Add: Berta, Berta

DigiTrad:
ALBERTA
ALBERTA (2)


Related threads:
Lyr Add: Old Dollar Mamie (prison song) (12)
Lyr Req: Alberta (Doc Watson)^^^ (3)
Lyr/Chords Req: Alberta Alberta (from Eric Clapton (5)
Lyr Req: Berta (from August Wilson's 'Piano Lesson (16)


Matt_R 18 Feb 01 - 09:36 PM
Barry Finn 19 Feb 01 - 01:47 PM
GUEST,mina98 27 Jan 09 - 12:26 AM
Matt_R 27 Jan 09 - 12:30 AM
Barry Finn 27 Jan 09 - 02:25 PM
Joe Offer 28 Jan 09 - 05:34 PM
Barry Finn 28 Jan 09 - 06:28 PM
GUEST,Aurora 29 Mar 09 - 03:58 AM
Barry Finn 31 Mar 09 - 11:40 AM
GUEST,Aurora 05 Apr 09 - 09:58 AM
Fred McCormick 05 Apr 09 - 10:46 AM
GUEST,Aurora 06 Apr 09 - 09:09 AM
GUEST 17 Mar 12 - 03:35 PM
Azizi 14 Jun 12 - 09:33 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 14 Jun 12 - 01:13 PM
Azizi 14 Jun 12 - 02:47 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 14 Jun 12 - 05:35 PM
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Subject: ADD: Berta, Berta
From: Matt_R
Date: 18 Feb 01 - 09:36 PM

BERTA, BERTA

O Lord Berta Berta O Lord gal oh-ah
O Lord Berta Berta O Lord gal well

Go 'head marry don't you wait on me oh-ah
Go 'head marry don't you wait on me well now
Might not want you when I go free oh-ah
Might not want you when I go free well now

O Lord Berta Berta O Lord gal oh-ah
O Lord Berta Berta O Lord gal well now

Raise them up higher, let them drop on down oh-ah
Raise them up higher, let them drop on down well now
Don't know the difference when the sun go down oh-ah
Don't know the difference when the sun go down well now

Berta in Meridian and she living at ease oh-ah
Berta in Meridian and she living at ease well now
I'm on old Parchman, got to work or leave oh-ah
I'm on old Parchman, got to work or leave well now

O Lord Berta Berta O Lord gal oh-ah
O Lord Berta Berta O Lord gal well now

When you marry, don't marry no farming man oh-ah
When you marry, don't marry no farming man well now
Everyday Monday, hoe handle in your hand oh-ah
Everyday Monday, hoe handle in your hand well now

When you marry, marry a railroad man oh-ah
When you marry, marry a railroad man well now
Everyday Sunday, dollar in your hand oh-ah
Everyday Sunday, dollar in your hand well now

O Lord Berta Berta O Lord gal oh-ah
O Lord Berta Berta O Lord gal well



Taken from the play The Piano Lesson by August Wilson, as written in the text and as sung in the Hallmark Hall of Fame by Charles S. Dutton, Courtney B. Vance, Carl Gordon and Lou Myers.

--Matt


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Berta, Berta
From: Barry Finn
Date: 19 Feb 01 - 01:47 PM

some other verses:

Old Dollar Mamie told old Dollar Bob
Dress that she wanted cost a dollar a yard

Sit on the cooler let my feet hang down
All she got on is her morning gown

There are more just can't think of them now, I think they're buried back in an old thread, great song Matt. Barry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Berta, Berta
From: GUEST,mina98
Date: 27 Jan 09 - 12:26 AM

im learning this in music class.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Berta, Berta
From: Matt_R
Date: 27 Jan 09 - 12:30 AM

Man, it's almost been eight years since I posted this.

Still a killer song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Berta, Berta
From: Barry Finn
Date: 27 Jan 09 - 02:25 PM

"Raise 'um up higher, let it drop on down, oh-ha
Raise 'um up higher, let it drop on down, well now
I'm on old Parchman, got-ya work on lead, oh-ha
I'm on old Parchman, got-ya work on lead"

"O Lord Berta Berta O Lord gal oh-ah
O Lord Berta Berta O Lord gal well"

Barry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Berta, Berta
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Jan 09 - 05:34 PM

Looks like another title of this song could be "Rise Up, Dead Man." Haven't found any other versions of the song worth posting, though - but this one (click) might be worth some research.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Berta, Berta
From: Barry Finn
Date: 28 Jan 09 - 06:28 PM

Hi Joe, that verison's called "Old Dollar Mamie" also known as "Raise "Em Up Higher". "Alberta" is another version of "Berta"
The "Old Dollar Mamie" version Ken Schatz & I did in one of the sign up concerts at the last Getaway, I don't know if you caught that? It's as good a version as Berta IMHO. Both are flatweeding (using hoes) songs.

Barry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Berta, Berta
From: GUEST,Aurora
Date: 29 Mar 09 - 03:58 AM

Hi Barry, I am Aurora from China. Now I am doing some research on the plays of August Wilson and i got the above Berta song. I just wonder it is a song already exist or Wilson wrote it for the play. Could you help me?
Aurora


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Berta, Berta
From: Barry Finn
Date: 31 Mar 09 - 11:40 AM

Hi Aurora
If it's the same "Berta" it was collected before August Wilson was born. He couldn't have written it but he may well been familiar with the song

Barry


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Subject: thanks Barry
From: GUEST,Aurora
Date: 05 Apr 09 - 09:58 AM

Hi Barry,
Thanks so much for your concern. I guess that Wilson just used the song to help articulate some of his ideas. Thanks again.
Aurora


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Berta, Berta
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 05 Apr 09 - 10:46 AM

Barry Finn, "If it's the same "Berta" it was collected before August Wilson was born. He couldn't have written it but he may well been familiar with the song"

Up to where the text posted above ends, it's an almost exact transcription of Berta, Berta, which Alan Lomax and Shirley Collins collected on 18.09.59 at Parchman Farm Penitentiary, Mississippi, from Leroy Miller and work gang. You can find it on Southern Journey Vol 3: 61 Highway Missisippi. Rounder CD 1703. The CD version has several more verses which appear after where the play's transcription ends.

August Wilson would have been about 15 at the time at the time it was recorded, but he probably knew the song via the original Prestige LP issues of Southern Journey which were released in the early 1960s.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Berta, Berta
From: GUEST,Aurora
Date: 06 Apr 09 - 09:09 AM

Hi Fred,
Thanks for your detailed information about the song. I'm really appreciate it. I've been doing some research about the plays of August Wilson, especially the blues in his plays. However, it's a little bit hard for me to find the origina of the blues songs he used in his plays. Your reply helps a lot. Thanks again.

Aurora


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Berta, Berta
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Mar 12 - 03:35 PM

I absolutely love this song, and the waay it is sung in the play, so moving and so real.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Berta, Berta
From: Azizi
Date: 14 Jun 12 - 09:33 AM

The Blues (work song) "O Berta" found in the YouTube sound file http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qtj-o_BVmiM is quite different from the prison work song "Berta Berta".

Because I couldn't find any lyrics for this song online, I attempted a transcription. Your additions and corrections are very much welcome.

LYRICS: O BERTA
(Parchman Farm Prison, Mississippi)

O Berta
Well, Lord gal.
Lord, Berta
Well Lord gal, well.

Ain't that Berta comin, down that road, well.
She walk like Berta but she, want you so, well.
She want you so baby, she want you so, well.
She walk like Berta but, she want you so, well.

O Lord Berta, well.
Lord gal.
Lord Berta.
Lord, gal, well.

I been called Berta but, the whole day long, well
And how can she hear me when she,
She ain't at home, well.
She ain't at home, Berta
She ain't at home, well.
And how can she hear me when she,
she ain't at home well.

Well, O Berta.
Lord, gal.
(Hum, hum, hum it!)
Lord Berta.
Lord gal, well.

Saturday when you marry, marry to the railroad man, well.
well Saturday when you marry, marry to the railroad man, well.
Saturday when you marry marry to the railroad man, well.
'Cause he gonna find you a dollar, to lay your hand, well.
To lay your hand, baby, to lay your hand well.
'Cause he gonna find you a dollar
To lay your hand well.

Saturday when you marry, don't marry no farmin man, well.
Saturday when you marry, don't marry no farmin man, well.
'Cause Saturday when you marry don't no farmin men well.
'Cause he never gonna did find yoou any how*
To lay your hand baby, lay your hand, well.
Lay your hand baby, lay your hand well.
'Cause he'll never gonna find you a dollar
To lay your hand well.

Well O, Berta.
Lord gal.
Lord, Berta.
Lord gal, well.

????
????
cause I'm gonna find somebody
To roll'em down, baby.
To roll' em down, well.
Mama won't let nobody
To roll'em down well

Lord Berta, well.
Lord gal.
Lord Berta.
Lord gal, well.

???? ???
To hang around, well.
????
When I'm down baby
????
When I'm down, well
When I'm down, baby
When I'm down, well

Well O Berta.
Lord gal.
Lord, Berta.
Lord gal.

-snip-

Except for the lyrics in parenthesis, this transcription doesn't include any of the overlapping, echoed words that are sung throughout this song.

*unsure about the word or words
? unable to transcribe these words

Except for a change in names, "O Berta" has the same chorus as the African American Blues (prison song) "Rosie", and the "every Sunday dollar in your hand" line in "Rosie" is similar to the "lay dollar in your hand" lines in "O Berta". The tunes used for these two songs are also similar.

Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2012/06/o-berta-prison-blues.html "O Berta (Prison Blues Video & Lyrics)"


Thanks in advance for help with this transcription.

Azizi Powell


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Berta, Berta
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 14 Jun 12 - 01:13 PM

Azizi

I think the Parchman farm version may well be this version: Cultural Equity - O 'Berta sung by Hollie Dew and others at Parchman Farm, 1947. I don't have time to check it properly at the moment, but it starts off the same as your transcription.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Berta, Berta
From: Azizi
Date: 14 Jun 12 - 02:47 PM

Thanks Mick!

That's a good find! I added that information to my blog post along with a hyperlink to that site and a hat tip to you.

Best wishes!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Berta, Berta
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 14 Jun 12 - 05:35 PM

Hat tip not neccessary Azizi - I'm only doing what lots of people here are doing. Thank you anyway.

Mick


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