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Charley Patton
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All lyrics on this site are for private study, scholarship, or research purposes only. Read the copyright notice before printing/copying anything from this page.

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Ruler

Table Of Content (24 songs, 23 soundclips)

You are now in page 2

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

'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

High Sheriff Blues

soundclip


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

Get in trouble at Belzoni, there ain't no use a-screamin' and cryin'
Get in trouble in Belzoni, there ain't no use a-screamin' and cryin'
Mr. Will will take you, back to Belzoni jailhouse flyin'

Le' me tell you folksies, how he treated me
Le' me tell you folksies, how he treated me
An' he put me in a cellar, just as dark as it could be

There I laid one evenin', Mr. Purvis was standin' 'round
There I laid one evenin', Mr. Purvis was standin' 'round
Mr. Purvis told Mr. Will to, let poor Charley down

It takes booze and blues, Lord, to carry me through
Takes booze and blues, Lord, to carry me through
But it did seem like years, in a jailhouse where there is no boo'

I got up one mornin', feelin' awe, hmm
I got up one mornin', feelin' mighty bad, hmm
An' it might not a-been them Belzoni jail I had
(spoken: Blues I had, boys)

While I was in trouble, ain't no use a-screamin'
When I was in prison, it ain't no use a-screamin and cryin'
Mr. Purvis the onliest man could, ease that pain of mine

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Ruler

High Water Everywhere (Part 1)

soundclip


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

Well, backwater done rose all around Sumner now,
drove me down the line
Backwater done rose at Sumner,
drove poor Charley down the line
Lord, I'll tell the world the water,
done crept through this town

Lord, the whole round country,
Lord, river has overflowed
Lord, the whole round country,
man, is overflowed
You know I can't stay here,
I'll go where it's high, boy
I would goto the hilly country,
but, they got me barred

Now, look-a here now at Leland,
river was risin' high
Look-a here boys around Leland tell me,
river was raisin' high
Boy, it's risin' over there, yeah
I'm gonna move to Greenville,
fore I leave, goodbye

Look-a here the water now, Lordy,
Levee1 broke, rose most everywhere
The water at Greenville and Leland,
Lord, it done rose everywhere
Boy, you can't never stay here
I would go down to Rosedale,
but, they tell me there's water there

Now, the water now, mama,
done took Charley's town
Well, they tell me the water,
done took Charley's town
Boy, I'm goin' to Vicksburg
Well, I'm goin' to Vicksburg,
for that high of mine

I am goin' up that water,
where lands don't never flow
Well, I'm goin' over the hill where,
water, oh don't ever flow
Boy, hit Sharkey County and everything was down in Stovall
But, that whole county was leavin',
over that Tallahatchie shore
Boy, went to Tallahatchie and got it over there

Lord, the water done rushed all over,
down old Jackson road
Lord, the water done raised,
over the Jackson road
Boy, it starched my clothes
I'm goin' back to the hilly country,
won't be worried no more

__________
Note: this song tells the story of the great Mississippi flood of 1927. The two-part song is long, it covers both sides of a 78 rpm. The music of part one is very similar to Willie Brown's "Future Blues" and Son House's "Jinx Blues";
Note 1: origin: from the old French word levée, act of raising, from lever to raise. An embankment for preventing flooding, or a river landing place, also, a continuous dike or ridge (as of earth) for confining the irrigation areas of land to be flooded. A levee camp therefore is a work camp for building or improving dikes to prevent rivers from flooding the land, primarily in the Mississippi Delta area.

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Ruler

High Water Everywhere (Part 2)

soundclip


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

Backwater at Blytheville, backed up all around
Backwater at Blytheville, done took Joiner town
It was fifty families and children come to sink and drown

The water was risin' up at my friend's door
The water was risin' up at my friend's door
The man said to his women folk, "Lord, we'd better go"

The water was risin', got up in my bed
Lord, the water was rollin', got up to my bed
I thought I would take a trip, Lord, out on the big ice sled

Oh, I can hear, Lord, Lord, water upon my door,
you know what I mean, look-a here
I hear the ice, Lord, Lord, was sinkin' down,
I couldn't get no boats there, Marion City gone down

So high the water was risin' our men sinkin' down
Man, the water was risin' at places all around,
boy, they's all around
It was fifty men and children come to sink and drown

Oh, Lordy, women and grown men drown
Oh, women and children sinkin' down
Lord, have mercy
I couldn't see nobody's home and wasn't no one to be found

__________
Note: see note for part 1

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Ruler

Mississippi Bo Weavil1 Blues

soundclip


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

Sees a little boll weevil2 keeps movin' in the, Lordie!
You can plant your cotton and you won't get a half a bale, Lordie
Bo weevil, bo weevil, where's your native home? Lordie
"A-Louisiana raised in Texas, least is where I was bred and born", Lordie
Well, I saw the bo weevil, Lord, a-circle, Lord, in the air, Lordie
The next time I seed him, Lord, he had his family there, Lordie
Bo weevil left Texas, Lord, he bid me "fare ye well", Lordie
(spoken: Where you goin' now?)
I'm goin' down the Mississippi, gonna give Louisiana hell, Lordie
(spoken: How is that, boy?)
Suck all the blossoms and he leave your hedges square, Lordie
The next time I seed you, you know you had your family there, Lordie
Bo weevil meet his wife, "We can sit down on the hill", Lordie
Bo weevil told his wife, "Let's trade this forty3 in", Lordie
Bo weevil told his wife, says, "I believe I may go North", Lordie
(spoken: Hold on, I'm gonna tell all about that)
"Let's leave Louisiana, we can go to Arkansas", Lordie
Well, I saw the bo weevil, Lord a-circle, Lord, in the air, Lordie
Next time I seed him, Lord, he had his family there, Lordie
Bo weevil told the farmer that "I 'tain't got ticket fare", Lordie
Sucks all the blossom and leave your hedges square, Lordie
Bo weevil, bo weevil, where your native home? Lordie
"Most anywhere they raise cotton and corn", Lordie
Bo weevil, bo weevil, "Outta treat me fair", Lordie
The next time I did you had your family there, Lordie

__________
Note 1: weevil was wrongly spelled "weavil" on the original issue of this song by Paramount Records;
Note 2: bo or boll weevil, a grayish weevil, super-family of beetles, that infests the cotton plant and feeds on the squares and bolls. See illustration;
Note 3: forty acres of land

"When I was a kid we had a depression prior to this 1929-1930-1931 stuff. I imagine that it must have been around 1907 or 1909. People couldn't hardly get five dollars for a bale of cotton. It started from all those boll weevil plagues that would eat up most of the crops."

-- Skip James --

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Ruler

Moon Goin' Down

soundclip


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

Aw, that moon has gone down, baby, North Star 'bout to shine
Aw, the moon goin' down, baby, North Star 'bout to shine
Rosetta Henry told me, "Lord, I don't want you hangin' 'round"

Oh well, where were you now, baby, Clarksdale mill burned down1?
Oh well, where were you now, babe, Clarksdale mill burned down?
(spoken: Boy, you know where I were)
"I were way down Sunflower2 with my face all full-a frowns"

They's a house over yonder, painted all over green
They's a house over yonder, painted all over green
(spoken: Boy, you know I know it's over there!)
Some of the finest young women, Lord, a man most ever seen

Lord, I think I heard the Helena whistle3, Helena whistle, Helena whistle blow
Lord, I think I heard the Helena whistle blow
(spoken: Well, I hear it blowin' now)
Lord, I ain't gonna stop walkin' till I get in my rider's door

__________
Note 1: the upper Mississippi Delta town of Clarksdale suffered a serious fire in 1899;
Note 2: whether Patton means the river, the town or the county of Sunflower is unclear;
Note 3: probably a steamboat or a train named after the city of Helena

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Ruler

Pea Vine Blues

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

I think I heard the Pea Vine1 when it blowed
I think I heard the Pea Vine when it blowed
It blow just like my rider gettin' on board

Well, the levee sinkin', you know I, baby...
(spoken: Baby, you know I can't stay!)
The levee is sinkin', Lord, you know I cannot...
I'm goin' up the country, mama, in a few more days

Yes, you know it, she know it, she know you done done me wrong
Yes, you know it, you know it, you know you done done me wrong
Yes, you know it, you know it, you know you done done me wrong

Yes, I cried last night and I ain't gonna cry anymore
I cried last night an' I, I ain't gonna cry anymore
'Cause the good book tells us you've got to reap just what you sow

Stop your way o' livin' an' you won't...
(spoken: You won't have to cry no more, baby!)
Stop your way o' livin' an' you won't have to cry anymore
Stop your way o' livin' an' you won't have to cry anymore

I think I heard the Pea Vine when it blowed
I think I heard Pea Vine when it blowed
She blowed just like she wasn't gonna blow no more

__________
Note 1: the Pea Vine was the name of a Mississippi Delta train on the famous "Dog" (Y&MV) railroad line

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Ruler

Pony Blues

soundclip


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

Baby, saddle my pony, saddle up my black mare
Baby, saddle my pony, saddle up my black mare
I'm gonna find a rider, baby, in the world somewhere

"Hello central, the matter with your line?"
"Hello central, matter, Lord, with your line?"
"Come a storm last night an' tore the wire down"

Got a brand new Shetland, man, already trained
Brand new Shetland, baby, already trained
Just get in the saddle, tighten up on your reins

And a brownskin woman like somethin' fit to eat
Brownskin woman like somethin' fit to eat
But a jet black woman, don't put your hands on me

Took my baby, to meet the mornin' train
Took baby, meet that mornin' train
An' the blues come down, baby, like showers of rain

I got somethin' to tell you when I gets a chance
Somethin' to tell you when I get a chance
I don't wanna marry, just wanna be your man

__________
Note: Patton recorded two versions of this song. The first was entitled "Pony Blues" while the second changed to "Stoney Pony Blues"

This is one of Patton's most popular pieces. Most Delta musicians had a version of "Pony Blues" in their repertoire, Son House recorded a "Pony Blues" in his 1942 Library of Congress recordings. Tommy Johnson's "Bye Bye Blues" and Willie Brown's "M&O Blues" are both derivatives from the same source. As to which came first has never been clearly established.

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Ruler

Poor Me

soundclip


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

Yes on me, it's poor me, you must take pity on poor me
I ain't got nobody, take pity on poor me
You may go, you may stay, but she'll come back some sweet day
By and by, sweet mama, by and by

Don't the moon look pretty shinin' down through the tree?
Oh, I can see Bertha Lee1, Lord, but she can't see me
You may go, you may stay, but she'll come back some sweet day
By and by, sweet mama, baby won't you, by and by

You may go, you may stay, but she'll come back some sweet day
By and by, sweet mama, by and by
Yes on me, it's poor me, you must have pity on poor me
I ain't got nobody, take pity on poor me

Don't the moon look pretty shinin' down through the tree?
Oh, I can see Bertha Lee, but she can't see me
You may go, you may stay, but she'll come back some sweet day
By and by, sweet mama, oh baby, won't you, by and by

__________
Note 1: Bertha Lee was Patton's girl friend and recording partner in the early 1930's

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Ruler

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


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