Mudcat Café message #3869027 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #24463   Message #3869027
Posted By: Joe Offer
29-Jul-17 - 10:53 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: If it Wasn't for Dicky (Lead Belly)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: If it Wasn't for Dicky (Lead Belly)
Offline Rivers
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Posts: 6468
Hmmm...

Re: Leadbelly- If It Wasn't For Dicky
Reply #126 on: July 21, 2012, 05:23:26 PM
I think I must have a different version, the one I have is from The Essential Leadbelly on Classic Blues. Beautiful song, very unusual.

The lines of dashes I haven't gotten yet. Wish I knew what the tagline, at the end of each verse, starting 'Oh, -----', was.


Oh, -------------

And that everyone but Dicky I would change you right now
But this old man he had but one cow
He would send her to the field to be fed
And the way they beat old Jemma dropped dead
Oh, -------------

When the old man heard that his cow she was dead
Over hedges and ditches and fields he had fled
Over hedges and ditches and fields that were ploughed
----- visit to the wife til they came to his cow
Oh, -----------------------

When he first saw Jemma she was in the green grass
No --------------------- Jemma so fast
She gave her milk freely without any bill
But the blood of her life spilled out of her pail
Oh, -----------------------

So now I sit down and eat my dry meal
But I have no butter to put in my tea
I have no milk to sup with my bread
--------------------------
Oh, ----------------------

If it wasn't for Dicky I would change you right now
But this old man he had but one cow
He would send her to the field to be fed
And the way they beat old Jemma dropped dead
Oh, ----------------------




Re: Leadbelly- If It Wasn't For Dicky
Reply #129 on: July 22, 2012, 02:51:32 AM
This is Leadbelly's version of an old Irish song known as Drimmin down, so the cow's name is meant to be Drimmer, not Gemma. As to the rest, I'm sure I've seen a transcription somewhere, maybe in the Leadbelly Songbook.

Here's a more Irish version of the song, for the curious :-

Drimindown / Drimmin Down ( Traditional Irish Ballad )





Re: Leadbelly lyrics
Reply #130 on: March 21, 2013, 09:17:09 PM
The refrain goes like this: "Ooohhhh, oohhhh, switches beated him down".
It may make no sense for a cow to be beaten with its own tail, but this was a song that was originally something of an Irish blazon, meaning it was all a national metaphor. Leadbelly didn't like the Sam Kennedy version, it didn't have enough rhythm. The switches weren't beating hard enough, I guess. :P

Second verse:
Had a visit to his wife til he came to his cow

Third verse:
The ol' carter-man passed that Jemma so fast
(meaning he passed right by her, didn't notice her)

4th verse:
But the way they beat ol' Jemma dropped dead

Source: http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=4318.120


Another Web page worth exploring: https://secondhandsongs.com/work/76034/all. How is Ses baisers me grisaient related to which song in the ancestry of "Kisses Sweeter than Wine"?

-Joe-