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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Frank in the swamps Lyr Req: Yellow Dog Blues (W. C. Handy) (26) Lyr Add: YELLOW DOG BLUES (W. C. Handy) 09 Apr 99


(Verse) E'er since Miss Susan Johnson lost her Jockey, Lee,
There has been much excitement, more to be.
You can hear her moaning night and morn,
"Wonder where my Easy Rider's gone?"
Cablegrams come of sympathy.
Telegrams go of inquiry.
Letters come from down in 'Bam,
And every where that Uncle Sam
Has even a rural delivery.
All day the phone rings, but it's not for me.
At last, good tidings fill our hearts with glee.
This message comes from Tennessee.

(Chorus) Dear Sue: Your Easy Rider struck this burg today,
On a southbound rattler side-door Pullman car.
Seen him here an' he was on the hog.
Easy Rider's got a stay away,
So he had to vamp it, but the hike ain't far.
He's gone where the Southern cross' the Yellow Dog.

(Verse) I know the Yellow Dog District like a book.
Indeed, I know the route that Rider took,
Ev'ry cross-tie, bayou, burg and bog,
Way down where the Southern cross' the Dog.
Money don't 'zactly grow on trees.
On cotton stalks, it grows with ease.
No racehorse, race track, no grandstand,
Is like Old Beck an' Buckshot land,
Down where the Southern cross' the Dog.
Every kitchen there is a cabaret,
Down there the boll-weevil works while the farmers play
This Yellow Dog Blues, the livelong day.

(Chorus) Dear Sue: Your Easy Rider...

I hope that came out all right, now I have to take up the cudgel and make sure jofield and I see eye to eye...

W. C. Handy lifted the blues out of oblivion when it was just a current style amongst unknown and generally uneducated Black Americans. How strictly defined that style was is, to my knowledge, pretty much unknown, but it wasn't just the standard twelve-bar format that has become the norm today. I personally feel that the contemporary definition of blues is both narrow and "dumbed down," melodic & metric invention is nowadays severely constrained. Classic blues from Bessie Smith, 'Sippie Wallace, Ma Rainey and W. C. Handy were core material for early Jazz, and I think the two bleed into one another. I'm not comfortable handing out titles, but if anyone should be known as "Father of the Blues" then W. C. gets my vote, and a blow from my cudgel to all the nay-sayers!

Frank i.t.s.


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