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Charley Patton
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Ruler

Table Of Content (24 songs, 23 soundclips)

You are now in page 1

Page 1

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'34 Blues
Banty Rooster Blues
Bird Nest Bound
Down The Dirt Road Blues (1)
Down The Dirt Road Blues (2)
Dry Well Blues
Green River Blues
Hammer Blues

High Sheriff Blues
High Water Everywhere (Part 1)
High Water Everywhere (Part 2)
Mississippi Bo Weavil Blues
Moon Goin' Down
Pea Vine Blues
Pony Blues
Poor Me

Revenue Man Blues (1)
Revenue Man Blues (2)
Screamin' And Hollerin' The Blues
Shake It And Break It
Spoonful Blues
Stoney Pony Blues
Tom Rushen Blues
When Your Way Gets Dark

Ruler

'34 Blues

soundclip


by Charley Patton
recording of 1929-1934
from
Charley Patton: Founder Of The Delta Blues (Yazoo L-1020),
copyright notice

I ain't gonna tell nobody, '34 have done for me
I ain't gonna tell nobody what, '34 have done for me
Took my roller1, I was broke as I could be

They run me from Will Dockery's2, Willie Brown, I want your job
They run me from Will Dockery's, Willie Brown, I want your job
(spoken: Buddy, what's the matter?)
I went out and told papa Charley,
"I don't want you hangin' round on my job no more"

Fella, down in the country, it almost make you cry
Fella, down in the country, it almost make you cry
(spoken: My God, children!)
Women and children flaggin' freight trains for rides

Carmen got a little six Buick, big six Chevrolet car
Carmen got a little six Buick, little six Chevrolet car
(spoken: My God, what solid power!)
And it don't do nothin' but, follow behind Holloway's farmer's plow

And it may bring sorrow, Lord, it may bring tears
It may bring sorrow, Lord, and it may bring tears
Oh, Lord, oh, Lord, let me see your brand new year

__________
Note 1: roller, according to Chris Schell "I believe Mississippi slang for a car being used to transport a woman is "do<ney>roller or biscuit roller. Roller meaning car would seem to me to make more sense in terms of this song which involves a woman leaving and in terms of the title which may refer to the year of the car." Thanks To Chris Schell;
Note 2: the farm of Will Dockery, in Patton's native town Dockery, a Delta plantation town;
This is another familiar Delta piece. Robert Johnson used the same melody in "If I had Possession Over Judgment Day" and "Traveling Riverside Blues". It has also been recorded under the title "Roll And Tumble Blues". Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf have issued versions of this as well.

 

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Ruler

Banty Rooster Blues

soundclip


by Charley Patton
recording of 1929-1934
from
Charley Patton: Founder Of The Delta Blues (Yazoo L-1020),
copyright notice

I'm gonna buy me a banty, put him at my backdoor
I'm gonna buy me a banty, put him at my backdoor
So when he see a stranger a-comin', he'll flap his wings and crow

What you want with a rooster, he won't crow 'fore day?
What you want with a rooster, he won't crow 'fore day?
What you want with a man, when he won't do nothin' he say?

What you want with a hen won't, cackle when she lays?
What you want with a hen won't, cackle when she lays?
What you want with a woman, when she won't do nothin' I say?

Ah, take my picture, hang it up in Jackson wall1
Ah, take my picture, hang it up in Jackson wall
Anybody asks you "What about it", tell 'em "That's all I saw"

My hook's in the water, and my cork's on top
My hook's in the water, and my cork's on top
How can I lose, Lord, with the help I got

I know my dog anywhere I hear him bark
I know my dog anywhere I hear him bark
I can tell my rider, if I feel her in the dark

__________
Note 1: Jackson wall is presumably a barrelhouse. It has been reported that Mississippi barrelhouses of the twenties often featured pictures of local blues attractions

 

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Ruler

Bird Nest Bound

soundclip


by Charley Patton / Willie Brown
recording of 1929-1934
from
Charley Patton: Founder Of The Delta Blues (Yazoo L-1020),
copyright notice

Come on, mama, go to the edge of town
Come on, mama, go to the edge of town
I know where there's a bird nest, built down on the ground

If I was a bird, mama,
if I was a bird, mama, I would find a nest in the heart of town
(spoken: Lord, you know I'd build it in the heart of town)
So when the town get lonesome, I'd be bird nest bound

Hard luck is at your front door, blues are in your room
Hard luck is at your front door, blues are in your room
Callin' at your back door, "What's gonna become of you?"

Sometimes I say I need you, then again I don't
Sometimes I say I need you, then again I don't
(spoken: You know it's the truth, baby)
Sometime I think I'll quit you, then again I won't

Oh, I remember one mornin' stand in my baby's door,
(spoken: Sure, boy, I was standin' there)
Oh, I remember one mornin' stand in my baby's door,
(spoken: Boy, you know what she told me?)
"Look-a here papa Charley, I don't want you no more"

Take me home sweet home, baby, to that shiny star
Take me home now to, that shiny star
(spoken: Lord, you know I'm just stayin' there)
You don't need no tellin', mama, take you in my car

 

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Ruler

Down The Dirt Road Blues (Version 1)

soundclip


by Charley Patton
recording of 1929-1934
from
Charley Patton: Founder Of The Delta Blues (Yazoo L-1020),
copyright notice

I'm goin' away, to a world unknown
I'm goin' away, to a world unknown
I'm worried now, but I won't be worried long

My rider got somethin', she's tryin'a keep it hid
My rider got somethin', she's tryin'a keep it hid
Lord, I got somethin' to find that somethin' with


I feel like choppin', chips flyin' everywhere
I feel like choppin', chips flyin' everywhere
I been to the Nation1, oh Lord, but I couldn't stay there

Some people say them oversea blues ain't bad
(spoken: Why, of course they are)
Some people say them oversea blues ain't bad
(spoken: What was a-matter with 'em?!)
It must not a-been them oversea blues I had

Every day seem like murder here
(spoken: My God, I'm no sheriff)
Every day seem like murder here
I'm gonna leave tomorrow, I know you don't bid my care

Can't go down any dirt road by myself
Can't go down any dirt road by myself
(spoken: My Lord, who ya gonna carry?)
I don't carry my2, gonna carry me someone else

__________
Note 1: Nation, the "Indian Nation" now Oklahoma, a nineteenth century term
Note 2: "my" most likely refers to "my rider"

 

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Ruler

Down The Dirt Road Blues (Version 2)

soundclip


by Charley Patton
recording of 1929-1934
from probably
Complete Recorded Works Vol. 1 (Document DOCD-5009),
copyright notice

I'm goin' away, to a world unknown
I'm goin' away, to a world unknown
I'm worried now, but I won't be worried long

Her heart hurts so bad, she try to keep it hid
Her heart hurts so bad, she try to keep it hid
Ah, Lord, I got some, hmm, finer love somewhere


I feel like choppin' it, chips flyin' everywhere
I feel like choppin' it, chips flyin' everywhere
I'm glad, but I'm leavin', Lord, but I couldn't stay there

Some people say them overseas blues ain't bad
(spoken: Why, of course they are)
Some people say them overseas blues ain't bad
(spoken: What was the matter with 'em?)
It must not been them overseas blues I had

Everyday seems like murder here
(spoken: My Lord, of course they are)
Everyday seems like murder here
I'm gone leave tomorrow, I know you don't a bit more care

I can't go down a dark road by myself
I can't go down a dark road by myself
(spoken: My Lord, who ya gonna carry?)
I don't carry my heart, gonna carry me someone's else

__________
Note: haven't been able to verify this version so far, found it on the net. Version 1 however is verified from the Yazoo L-1020 CD

 

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Ruler

Dry Well Blues

soundclip


by Charley Patton
recording of 1929-1934
from
Charley Patton: Founder Of The Delta Blues (Yazoo L-1020),
copyright notice

Way down in Lula1, hard livin' has done hit
Way down in Lula, hard livin' has done hit
Lord, your drought come an' caught us, an' parched up all the tree

Aw, she stays over in Lula, bid that ol' town goodbye
Stays in Lula, bidding you the town goodbye
'Fore I would come to know the day, oh, the Lula well was gone dry

Lord, there're citizens around Lula, aw, was doin' very well
Citizens around Lula, aw, was doin' very well
Now they're in hard luck together, 'cause rain don't pour nowhere

I ain't got no money and I sure ain't got no hope
I ain't got no money and I sure ain't got no hope
2...come in, furnished all the cotton and crops

Boy, they tell me the country, Lord, it'll make you cry
Lord, country, Lord, it'll make you cry
Most anybody, Lord, hasn't any water in the bayou3

Lord, the Lula womens, Lord, puttin' Lula young mens down
Lula men, oh, puttin' Lula men down
Lord, you outta been there, Lord, the womens all leavin' town

__________
Note 1: at the time he recorded this song, Patton lived in Lula, Mississippi;
Note 2: this part of the song is so garbled that even an attempt at a phonetic transcription is doomed to fail, the poor sound quality of the recording doesn't help either;
Note 3: if "bayou" is indeed the rhyme word of this verse, it's pronounced as "by"

 

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Ruler

Green River Blues

soundclip


by Charley Patton
recording of 1929-1934
from
Charley Patton: Founder Of The Delta Blues (Yazoo L-1020),
copyright notice

I see a river rollin' like a log
I wade up Green River, rollin' like a log
I wade up Green River, Lord, rollin' like a log

Think I heard the Marion1 whistle blow
I dreamed I heard the Marion whistle blow,
and it blew just like my baby gettin' on board

I'm goin' where the Southern cross the Dog2
I'm goin' where the Southern cross the Dog
I'm goin' where the Southern cross the Dog

Some people say the Green River blues ain't bad
Some people say the Green River blues ain't bad
Then it must-a not been the Green River blues I had

It was late one night, everything was still
It was late one night, baby, everything was still
I could see my baby up on a lonesome hill

How long evenin' train been gone?
How long, baby, that evenin' train been gone?
You know I'm worried now but I won't be worried long

I'm goin' away, but may get lonesome here
I'm goin' away, baby, you may get lonesome here
Yes, I'm goin' away, baby, it may get lonesome here

__________
Note 1: the Marion, probably a steamboat named after the town of Marion, Arkansas
Note 2: the junction of the Southern and the Dog (Yazoo & Mississippi Valley - Y&MV) railroad lines

W.C. Handy the "Father of the Blues" wasn't an ordinary Delta bluesman. Handy studied music as a youth, playing the cornet and traveling the South with dance bands playing minstrel and tent shows. Later in life he became a songwriter, bandleader and publisher.

Legend is that while waiting for an overdue train in Tutwiler, Mississippi, in 1903 that he heard an itinerant bluesman playing slide guitar and singing about "goin' where the Southern cross the Dog", referring to the junction of the Southern and Yazoo & Mississippi Valley railroads farther south near Moorhead. Handy called it "the weirdest music I had ever heard".

 

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Ruler

Hammer Blues

soundclip


by Charley Patton
recording of 1929-1934
from
Charley Patton: Founder Of The Delta Blues (Yazoo L-1020),
copyright notice

Gonna buy me a hammock1, carry it underneath through the tree
Gonna buy myself a hammock, carry it underneath through the tree
So when the wind blow, the leaves may fall on me

Go on, baby, you can have your way
Ball on, baby, you can have your way
Sister, every dog sure must have his day

Got me shackled, I'm wearin' a ball and...
They've got me shackled, I'm wearin' my ball and chain
An' they got me ready for that Parchman2 train

I went to the depot, I looked up at the board
I went to the depot, I looked up at the board
If this train has left, well, it's tearin' off up the road

Clothes I buy, baby, honey you gonna 'pre, ...
You're gonna appreciate, honey, all clothes I'll buy
I will give you all my lovin', baby, till the day I die

I went way up Red River, crawlin' on the...
I went up Red River, crawlin', on a log
I think I heard the Bob Lee3 boat when she moaned

__________
Note 1: as the first verse indicates, this song was mis-titled when it was issued by Paramount Records, it should have been titled "Hammock Blues";
Note 2: the state prison in Parchman, Mississippi, whose escapees often wandered into Patton's native Dockery, a Delta plantation town. Parchman was a complex of 15 labor camps covering a large area in Mississippi, a closed society of black men who were offered as "contract" labor to farms, railroads and industries of many sorts, passed around to do labor for the financial benefit of both the contractor and the state who sold them;
Note 3: Bob Lee was the name of one of the steamships operated by the Lee Line of Memphis

 

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Ruler

Created by:
Bluesman Harry
Page last updated on:
May 28 2000


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