Bessie Smith


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Pinchbacks - Take 'Em Away


by Bessie Smith / Irving Johns
recording of April 4 1923
The Complete Recordings, Vol. 1 (Columbia/Legacy C2K-47091), copyright notice

Girls, I wanna tell you about these sweet men
These men goin' around here tryin' to play cute
I'm hard on you boys, yes sir!

I fell in love with a sweet man once
He said he loved me too
He said if I'd run away with him
What nice things he would do
I'd travel around from town to town
How happy I would feel
But don't you know he would not work
Girls, take this tip from me

Get a working man when you marry
And let all these sweet men be
Child, it takes money to run a business
And with me I know you girls will agree
There's one thing about this married life
That these young girls have got to know
Say, if a sweet man enter your front gate
Turn out your light and lock your door

Yes, get a working man when you marry
Let all these pinchbacks1 be
Child, it takes money to run a business
And with me I know you girls will agree
And if this panic stays on much longer
I'll hear all these young girls say
That it's a long way to Oklahoma
But these little pinchbacks, take them away

Note 1: pinchbacks, pinchbecks in modern day spelling, an alloy of copper and zinc used especially to imitate gold in jewelry. Also, something counterfeit or spurious. In the context of the song it is used for men who give their lovers cheap fake gold jewelry.

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