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Sunday, June 3, 2012

"It's Tight Like That" (Videos & Lyrics) Part I: Georgia Tom & Tampa Red

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part I of a two part post on renditions of the 1928 Blues song "It's Tight Like That". Part I of this post features a sound file & lyrics of this song as sung by the song's composers Thomas A. Dorsey (Georgia Tom) & Hudson "Tampa Red" Whittaker. This post also includes a sound file and lyrics of the song as sung by Tampa Red alone.

Part II of this post includes sound files of and lyrics for this song as performed by Clara Smith and as performed by Huddie Ledbetter (Leadbelly). Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2012/06/its-tight-like-that-videos-lyrics-part_03.html for Part II of this post.

The content of this post is presented for historical, folkloric, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes. All copyrights remain with their owners.

My thanks to the composers and performers of this music. My thanks also to the producers of these sound files and uploaders of these featured videos

My thanks also to those whose transcription work I quoted in this post.

FEATURED SOUND FILES AND LYRICS

Sound File #1 -Tampa Red & Georgia Tom - It's Tight Like That - Vocal Piano Guitar RARE 78rpm record



Uploaded by xodusattack on Sep 9, 2010

LYRICS:

Listen here folk, wanna sing a little song
Don't get mad, we don't mean no harm

Chorus:
You know it's tight like that, beedle um bum
Boy it's tight like that, beedle um bum
Oh you hear me talking to ya,
I mean it's tight like that

There was a little black rooster met a little brown hen
Made a date at the barn about a half past ten

Chorus

I went to see my gal all across the hall
Found another mule kickin' in my stall

Chorus

Now the gal I love she's long and slim
When she whip it it's too bad, Jim

Chorus

Now the rooster crowed and then hen looked rind (?)
And bom bom billy got to carry me to time

Chorus

Mamma had a little dog his name was Ball
If you gave him a little taste he want it all

Chorus

Spoken: awww folks that's tight like that
What are we gonna sing this time (?) Red?
Red: come play it for me

Uncle Bud and aunt Jane went to chenkapane hun(???)
Aunt Jane fell down Uncle Bud's idea

Chorus

If you see my gal tell her to hurry home
I ain't had no bread since she's been gone

Chorus

I wear my britches up above my knees
Strut my jelly with who I please

Chorus

Uncle bill came home about a half past ten
Put the key in the hole but he couldn't get in

Chorus

Me and my brother was up in the law
We seen uncle bill when he broke it all
-snip-
[Added May 18, 2017]
With the exception of the chorus, the lyrics to this version of "It's Tight Like That" are two line "floating" verses (verses that are found in various early 20th century Southern African American folk songs, particularly the obscene "Uncle Bud" songs.

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Sound File #2: Tampa Red - (Honey) It's Tight Like That [1929]



Uploaded by DutchBluesfan on Jun 9, 2010

LYRICS: Tampa Red - (Honey) It's Tight Like That [1929]

I woke up this morning at the break of day
had my head on the pillow my baby’s leg
Oh it’s tight like that, reedipbeedo
It’s tight like that, reedipbeedo.
Baby but it’s good.
Honey and it’s tight like that.

Aunt Jane had a boy his name was Snow.
Broke all the locks off of the hen house door.
It’s tight like that.
it’s tight like that, reedipbeedo
It’s tight like that, reedipbeedo.
Baby but it’s good.
Honey and it’s tight like that.

Poor little spider goin' up the wall,
He's goin' up there to get his ashes hauled.
it’s tight like that, reedipbeedo
It’s tight like that, reedipbeedo.
Baby but it’s good.
Honey and it’s tight like that.

Momma and Papa down in the cell* [*cellar]
What she doin down there it awful hard to tell.
it’s tight like that, reedipbeedo
It’s tight like that, doo doo doo doo doo.
Baby but it’s good.
Honey and it’s tight like that.

Guitar break

The reason my grandma loves grandpa so
She shake up to him like she went before [?]
it’s tight like that, reedipbeedo
It’s tight like that, doo doo doo doo.
Baby but it’s good.
Honey and it’s tight like that.

Sam and ole Henry were two good pals
Till Sam caught Henry kissin his gal.
it’s tight like that, reedipbeedo
It’s tight like that, reedipbeedo.
Baby but it’s good.
Honey and it’s tight like that.

I looked at the clock. The clock struck one.
Looka here baby, let’s have some fun.
it’s tight like that, reedipbeedo
It’s tight like that, reedipbeedo.
Baby but it’s good.
Honey and it’s tight like that.
Say you got a dollar, I got a dime.
Let’s go down the alley and buy some wine.
it’s tight like that, reedipbeedo
Oh, doo doo doo doo
Baby but it’s good.
Honey and it’s tight like that.

[Transcription by Azizi Powell, 6/3/2012, from the sound file. The word followed by a question mark in brackets means that I'm unsure of that transcription. Corrections to this transcription are welcome]

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THE MEANING OF "IT'S TIGHT LIKE THAT" IN THESE RECORDS
The phrase "it's tight like that" in Thomas A. Dorsey's (Georgia Tom) & "Tampa Red" Whittaker's late 1920s song of that name and in other versions of that song have definite sexual connotations. However, there's plausible deniability that no sexualized meaning at all are intended by that title or those verses. For instance, "it's tight like that" could be said to mean something like "That's the way it is" ("It bes that way some time.). Or "It's tight like that" could be said to mean "Times are bad." (as in "Money is tight").

While the first "clean" meaning I suggested might be the meaning of some of the lyrics in versions of "It's Tight Like That", I'm not sure that the second "clean" meaning was ever intended in any of those song's verses. There's no a doubt in my mind that, with the exception of Leadbelly's version, most of the lyrics of the "It's Tight Like That" song are meant to be risque.

It bes that way sometime.

RELATED LINKS

Click http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hokum for information about Thomas A. Dorsey and Tampa Red Whittaker. Here's an excerpt from that page:

"The bottleneck guitarist Tampa Red was accompanied by Thomas A. Dorsey (performing as "Barrelhouse Tom" or "Georgia Tom") playing piano when the two recorded "It's Tight Like That" for the Vocalion label in 1928. The song went over so well that the two bluesmen teamed up and became known as The Hokum Boys. Both previously performed in the band of the Mother of the Blues Ma Rainey, who had traveled the vaudeville circuits with the Rabbit Foot Minstrels as a girl, later taking Bessie Smith under her wing. The Hokum Boys recorded over 60 bawdy blues songs by 1932, most of them penned by Dorsey, who later picked up his Bible and became the founding father of black gospel. Dorsey characterized his hokum legacy as "deep moanin', low-down blues, that's all I could say!" "
-snip-
Dorsey is best known for the gospel songs "Peace In The Valley" and "Take My Hand, Precious Lord".
**
Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2013/12/lead-belly-dig-hole-put-devil-in-its.html for a recording of Lead Belly singing "It's Tight Like That" in a 1940 recorded interview. In that interview Lead Belly indicated that this song was sung by enslaved African Americans.

**
Click http://www.heptune.com/lyrics/itstight.html for two additional transcriptions of "It's Tight Like That"

Lyrics of "It's Tight Like That" by Dorsey & Whittaker, transcribed from McKinney's Cotton Pickers, vocals by George Thomas and Dave Wilborn; recorded 11/23/1928 and Transcribed from vocals by Zack Whyte's Chocolate Beau Brummels, recorded February 26, 1929, From Richmond Rarities: Recorded in Richmond, Indiana, 1927-33; Jazz Oracle, BDW 8008.
For the most part, those transcriptions have very similar lyrics to those found above. Another verse given for that second transcription is:

"My baby says she likes her lovin' done
Early in the morning before the rising sun,
'Cause it's tight like that!
Yes, sir,
'Cause it's tight like that!
Yes, sir, mmmm,
'Cause it's tight like that!"

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2 comments:

  1. Thank you for researching and posting!

    ReplyDelete
  2. You're welcome, Pam Hammer.

    I appreciate your comment.

    ReplyDelete