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Origins: Diamond Joe--'diamond studded jaw?'

Scoville 21 Sep 06 - 11:46 AM
Scoville 21 Sep 06 - 12:24 PM
GUEST,Songster Bob 21 Sep 06 - 12:30 PM
Scoville 21 Sep 06 - 12:46 PM
Midchuck 21 Sep 06 - 12:48 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 21 Sep 06 - 04:09 PM
Scoville 21 Sep 06 - 04:18 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 21 Sep 06 - 05:11 PM
Scoville 21 Sep 06 - 05:16 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 21 Sep 06 - 06:24 PM
Rapparee 21 Sep 06 - 07:30 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 21 Sep 06 - 07:55 PM
GUEST,Rowan 21 Sep 06 - 11:12 PM
Barry Finn 21 Sep 06 - 11:26 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 22 Sep 06 - 12:00 AM
GUEST,Art Thieme 22 Sep 06 - 12:47 AM
Barry Finn 22 Sep 06 - 02:41 PM
Scoville 22 Sep 06 - 04:27 PM
lamarca 22 Sep 06 - 04:41 PM
Rapparee 22 Sep 06 - 06:55 PM
Bob Coltman 27 Sep 06 - 07:03 PM
Bob Coltman 27 Sep 06 - 07:07 PM
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Subject: Origins: Diamond Joe--'diamond studded jaw?'
From: Scoville
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 11:46 AM

Well, not really origins so much as interpretation. A friend and I are in the process of using this as the basis of a parody, and this has been bugging me for awhile.


My friend had been singing it "jar" and thinking it was a really dumb line. I knew it was "jaw" but still don't think it makes sense, so there must be something about the reference that I just don't understand.

Little help?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Diamond Joe--'diamond studded jaw?'
From: Scoville
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 12:24 PM

Aack--it seems to be my week to butcher hyperlinks:

Diamond Joe 2.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Diamond Joe--'diamond studded jaw?'
From: GUEST,Songster Bob
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 12:30 PM

The phrase comes from the practice of insetting diamonds into the front of teeth. Jelly Roll Morton, the self-claimed "inventory of jazz," had at least one diamond-studded tooth.

Why a ranch owner might take on this affectation, I don't know. I always connected it to people in "flash company" -- gamblers, pimps, and whorehouse piano players (see Jelly Roll Morton, above) -- instead of businessmen.

Bob


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Subject: RE: Origins: Diamond Joe--'diamond studded jaw?'
From: Scoville
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 12:46 PM

Ah, that makes sense. Well, the first part does--sort of like the "grille" that's in today with some athletes and rappers--but I agree that it seems sort of out of character for a rancher. That's interesting. I wonder if the lyrics are later than we usually think of cowboy-type songs. Maybe an "imitation" cowboy song from the 1920's when Western movies were big? Especially since the tune is a freestanding one ("Old Arkansas"), that could have existed beforehand.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Diamond Joe--'diamond studded jaw?'
From: Midchuck
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 12:48 PM

My understanding was that it was a way of keeping one's personal wealth in a way that would minimize the likelihood of it being stolen or lost.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Diamond Joe--'diamond studded jaw?'
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 04:09 PM

"Diamond Joe," the song about a Texas cattleman, was communicated to the Lomax collection in 1935 by J. B. Dillingham, a railroad conductor, and first printed in 1938, "Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads," reprinted in "Our Singing Country," 1941.

The collected song has no reference to diamonds in the jaw or in a jar. These were silly embellishments added by singers who thought that they could 'improve' on the Lomax version and added something improbable. The only mention of diamond in the song is in the name "Diamond Joe.

Dillingham told Lomax that Joe wore big diamonds on his vest, and that is the only reference to diamonds in relation to this song.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Diamond Joe--'diamond studded jaw?'
From: Scoville
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 04:18 PM

Know offhand where to find the collected lyrics?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Diamond Joe--'diamond studded jaw?'
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 05:11 PM

Keith and Rusty McNeil sing a fine version of "Diamond Joe," without the jaw nonsense. (Cowboy Frank's website; Cowboy Songs and History, the McNeils- 3 hours of good stuff!). http://cowboyfrank.net/CowboyMusic.htm

Bob Dylan is apparently responsible for the 'diamond-studded jar' lines (verse 2- "And he carries all his money in a diamond-studded jar. He never took much trouble with the process of the law." (1992, Special Rider Music). His version is almost 'a whole nother song', pretty far removed from the Dillingham version.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Diamond Joe--'diamond studded jaw?'
From: Scoville
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 05:16 PM

I think the version I have is Ramblin' Jack Elliott, but since the words are the same one I found in Mudcat, it's probably about the same as the Dylan one. I like the Elliott version, I just didn't get the jaw/jar part.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Diamond Joe--'diamond studded jaw?'
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 06:24 PM

No matter, it's a fine image of a guy who believes 'If ya got it, flaunt it!' I like it and sang it that way for 35 years. Good tune too with nice emotional changes and minor chords. A rather perfect little gem, (no pun in-ten-did, of course)...

And I'll always hope to find proof for my feelings that Charlie Butler's Parchman Farm 1937 collected "Diamond Jo/Joe" was being sung to a STEAMBOAT. Diamond Jo Reynolds owned his Diamond Jo Steamboat Line and built those vessels out of Dubuque, Iowa. His main boat was actually called THE DIAMOND JO ---- and each of his boats sported a painted-on diamond with the letters JO right in the middle.---------- There's a line in that song that actually says, "Diamond Jo, where's yer fireman?"---at least that's how I hear it. What's more natural than for a prisoner to want the boat to haul him away from there...

Art


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Subject: RE: Origins: Diamond Joe--'diamond studded jaw?'
From: Rapparee
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 07:30 PM

And the diamond Jo line was well known on both the Mississippi and the Ohio (can't say about the Missouri). I remember my Grandparents talking about the boats and the Diamond Jo's were among the lines mentioned. (I grew up on the Upper River.)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Diamond Joe--'diamond studded jaw?'
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 07:55 PM

There are two songs with the name "Diamond Joe" in the DT, and a second version of one.
"Diamond Joe 3" is a party song, Diamond Joe 2 is the silly reworking of the song collected by Lomax, and "Diamond Joe" is the original song as collected by Lomax.

As Art Thieme says, there is the third song collected at Parchman Farms about the steamboat "Diamond Jo." Thread 59040 has notes on this one (Thieme and Stewie both posted in that thread). Richie commented in thread 54404.
Seems to me there should be a fuller version somewhere.

59040: Diamond Jo
54404: Steamboat Coonjine Songs


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Subject: RE: Origins: Diamond Joe--'diamond studded jaw?'
From: GUEST,Rowan
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 11:12 PM

Art Thieme's comment "it's a fine image of a guy who believes 'If ya got it, flaunt it!'" reminds me of an expression, common in Australia, with similar intent but pejorative overtones;
Flash as a rat with a gold tooth! I don't know of any song containing or even inspired by this expression though.

CHeers, Rowan.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Diamond Joe--'diamond studded jaw?'
From: Barry Finn
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 11:26 PM

Years ago I read something about that line & can't quite recall what was said but nothing here sounds familiar so I'll keep digging. In the meantime I went searching other diamond Joe's here's a version that's doesn't seems to be in the DT but I posted it years ago.

Barry


Subject: Lyr Add: DIAMOND JOE
From: Barry Finn - PM
Date: 23 Apr 02 - 11:14 PM

John Lomax recorded a version of this from Charlie Butler in 1937, at Parchman (SP?) State Farm, Miss. I used to sing this a long time ago, so I can't say for certain how accurate I'll be but I don't think I'll be to far off base. I can't believe I can still read my notes (probably at least 20 yrs here too) on this but can hardly make out any the words.

Went up on a mountain give my horn a blow
Thought I heard Miss Maybelle say
You gonna come or go


CH Diamond Joe come to get me(3x)
Diamond Joe


Ain't gonna work this country
Don't need no part of this farm
I'm gonna sit till my Maybelle come
And she keep on calling me home


CH Diamond Joe come to get me(3x)
Diamond Joe


Ain't gonna tell no stories
Neither word nor lies
When I hear my maybelle singing
...............??????


CH Diamond Joe come to get me(3x)
Diamond Joe


Diamond Joe where'd you find him (3X)
Diamond Joe

CH Diamond Joe come to get me(3x)
Diamond Joe


Hope it helps. Still have the tune but I don't know how to post it. I cound sing it into a phone message machine if needed. Good Luck, Barry


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Subject: RE: Origins: Diamond Joe--'diamond studded jaw?'
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 Sep 06 - 12:00 AM

That put me to looking at the Field Notes of the John and Ruby Lomax 1939 Southern Recording Trip. This may fill in a bit more to the Barry Finn post.

Diamond Joe- field Holler - by "Big Charlie" Butler- Texts of two recordings combined.
Refrain: Diamond Joe, come and git me,
Diamond Joe, come and git me,
Diamond Joe come and git me,
Diamond Joe.

Ain't goin' work in de country, (nor) neither on Forest's Farm
I'm gonna stay till Maybelle comes, an' she gonna call-a me home.

Went up on de (Blieve I'll go on de) mountin to give my horn a blow,
Thought I heard Miss Maybelle say, Yonder comes-a my beau.

Diamond Joe, where'd you find him, etc.

De woman I'm lovin' took de train an' gone
(Oh, my heart is lovin')
I jes' can't help it, Cap'n, can't stand it long,
I can't be contented, pardner, my doney done gone.

A recording also may be available at American Memory, but I can't look for it tonight. The Field Notes, if one listens to the recordings, sometimes are wrong. In some cases, they supplement what is heard on the recording.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Diamond Joe--'diamond studded jaw?'
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 22 Sep 06 - 12:47 AM

I've been in touch with Stephen Wade, an old Chicago friend. Stephen put together that great CD of his favorites from the old Library Of Congress LPs of traditional collected examples. Of course, Charlie Butler's "Diamond Joe/Jo is on that CD. He feels my idea about the song being possibly addressed to a Diamond Jo steamboat is pure wishful thinking mainly because D.J.Reynolds made his boats for the Upper Mississippi trade.
True, I love the romantic idea of the river/steamboat connection. It's just fun thinking about it. But Stephen doesn't want my idea to get around because them things have a way of taking on an aire of actual fact. Well, that's folklore for ya!!! Often truth don't have much to do with it. Tall tales always have been, pretty much, lies told on purpose! The fun comes in when the greenhorn guy stays out in woods all night long holding the bag and freezing his butt off.

Art


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Subject: RE: Origins: Diamond Joe--'diamond studded jaw?'
From: Barry Finn
Date: 22 Sep 06 - 02:41 PM

I can't get with "Diamond studded jaw" there's something I read long ago that keeps telling me that there's some else here but damn it if I can put a finger to it but it had to do with his vest. Anyway
here's a bit on a few folks that were rolling in the dough.

In "Our Singing Country" there's a different cowboy version of Diamond Joe. Lomax says "Diamond Joe was a Texas cattleman", the story goes, so rich that he was said to wear diamonds for vest buttons. "I learned this song years ago" says JB Dillingham, for 50 years a conductor on Huston & Texas Central trains running out of Austin. 1935

"Diamond" Jim Brady. His vest buttons also were precious stones, and I think that when remonstrated with for his excessive display of gems, Mr. Brady remarked, "Them as has 'em wears 'em."

Thomas II. Rice
RICE, Thomas II., actor, born in New York city, 20 May, 1808; died there, 19 September, 1860. He was first apprenticed to a wood-carver in his native place, and received his early theatrical training as a supernumerary. Later he became a stock-actor at several western play-houses. About 1832 he began his career in negro minstrelsy at the Pittsburg and Louisville theatres with success, repeating his performances in the eastern cities for several years to crowded houses. In 1836 Rice went to "England, where he made his debut at the Surrey theatre in London. This was followed by prolonged engagements in the British capital and other large cities of the United Kingdom. On 18 June, 1837, he married, in London, Miss Gladstone, and soon afterward returned to his native land. He was for a long time the recipient of a large income, which was squandered in eccentric extravagance. In the days of his prosperity he wore a dress-coat with guineas for buttons, and his vest-buttons were studded with diamonds.

Thanks Q for your post on the "other" Diamond Joe.

Barry


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Subject: RE: Origins: Diamond Joe--'diamond studded jaw?'
From: Scoville
Date: 22 Sep 06 - 04:27 PM

Yuppies in the Sky!

Sorry, but that's hilarious.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Diamond Joe--'diamond studded jaw?'
From: lamarca
Date: 22 Sep 06 - 04:41 PM

Art, Andy Wallace sings a version of "The Glendy Burke" that substitutes "The Diamond Joe", and also messes around with the chorus timing, etc. He got it from the Utah folklorist, Hal Cannon (Deseret String Band, Bunkhouse Orchestra, Elko Cowboy Poetry Gathering, etc). I don't know if Hal collected it or not, but it certainly refers to your Diamond Joe steamboat line!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Diamond Joe--'diamond studded jaw?'
From: Rapparee
Date: 22 Sep 06 - 06:55 PM

The "Diamond Jo" was also a steamboat, the second of the Diamond Jo Line.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Diamond Joe--'diamond studded jaw?'
From: Bob Coltman
Date: 27 Sep 06 - 07:03 PM

That "Diamond Jo" steamboat might help explain the "Diamond Joe come and get me" in lyrics sung by The Georgia Crackers (AKA the Cofer Bros.) on Okeh back in the 1920s. It's a different song from the Lomax one, a hoedown mostly related to "Skillet Good and Greasy".

DIAMOND JOE

Cho:
Diamond Joe, come and get me, my wife died and quit me,
Diamond Joe, you better come get me, Diamond Joe.

I'm gonna buy me a sack of flour, cook you a hoecake every hour,
Diamond Joe, you better come get me, Diamond Joe.

I'm gonna buy me a piece of meat, cook you a slice, once a week,
Diamond Joe, etc. as above

I'm gonna buy me a peck of meal, take me a hoecake to the field...

I'm gonna buy me a jug of whisky, gonna make my baby frisky...

I'm gonna buy me a jug of rum, gonna give my Ida some...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Diamond Joe--'diamond studded jaw?'
From: Bob Coltman
Date: 27 Sep 06 - 07:07 PM

P.S. Which is an earlyish version of "Diamond Joe 3" in the DT, I should have mentioned.


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