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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Azizi Lyr Add: Berta, Berta (17) RE: Lyr Add: Berta, Berta 14 Jun 12


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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