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Sunday, June 3, 2012

"It's Tight Like That" (Videos & Lyrics) Part II: Clara Smith & Leadbelly

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part II of a two part post on versions of the 1928 Blues song "It's Tight Like That". 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).

Part I of this post features a rendition of the 1928 Blues song "It's Tight Like That" as sung by the song's composers Thomas A. Dorsey (Georgia Tom) & Hudson "Tampa Red" Whittaker, and a rendition of that song as sung by Tampa Red alone. Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2012/06/its-tight-like-that-videos-lyrics-part.html for that 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: Clara Smith - It's Tight Like That [1929]



Uploaded by novonine on Nov 22, 2010

Released in 1929 on Columbia 14398D

LYRICS: IT'S TIGHT LIKE THAT
(Thomas A. "Georgia Tom" Dorsey / Hudson "Tampa Red" Whittaker)
As sung by Clara Smith, Columbia 14398d, Jan. 26, 1929.

Listen here, folks. I'm gonna sing a little song,
But you mustn't get mad. I don't mean no wrong.
There's an old maid name is Liza Beck(?)
Always singin' the blues when she tumbles in bed.
Oh, it's tight like that.
Oh, it's tight like that.
Hear me talkin' to you.
I mean it's tight like that.

I know a hotel that's called the Cumberland(?) Patch,
Got a million bedbugs just to make you scratch.
Monkey woke up a quarter to three,
And he said to the flea, "Quit your pickin' on me."
Oh, it's tight like that.
Oh, it's tight like that.
Ah, hear me talkin' to you.
I mean, it's tight like that.

Mandy Lee Jones got to rappin'(?) at night,
And she never gets home till it's comin' daylight.
Old Uncle Bill came 'bout half-past ten,
Put the key in the hole, but he couldn't get in.
He says: "It's tight like that.
What's the matter with it, gettin' tight like that?
Oh, hear me call you, coonyins(?).
I mean it's tight like that."

If you see my man, tell him to hurry home.
I ain't had no bread since he's been gone.
I love a man slender and slim.
When he struts his stuff, why, it's too bad, Jim.
Oh, it's tight like that.
Oh, it's tight like that.
Ah, hear me talkin' to you.
I mean it's tight like that.

Oh, the little red rooster said to the hen:
"You ain't laid a egg in I can't tell when."
The little red hen said to the roosta:
"You don't come around as often as you used ta.
Now it's tight like that. A long delay
Makes it tight like that. Hear what I say.
Hear me talkin' to you.
I mean it's tight like that."

[Hat tip to Jim Dixon who transcribe these lyrics from a recording at The Red Hot Jazz Archive and posted these lyrics on http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=11866.]

Note: Hat tip to swl43swl@netdoor.com for sending in a comment with possible transcriptions of words in this song that the transcriber Jim Dixon was unsure of. That comment is found below.
-snip-
"Coonyins" is probably the word "coon" with a "yin" suffix, giving it the meaning "you coons". This informal referent for Black people is politically (socially) incorrect [unacceptable] nowadays.

****
Sound File #2: Leadbelly - Tight like that [1948]



hancock2, Published on Sep 27, 2012
-SNIP-
This summary statement and these lyrics are from a sound file that is no longer available.

"Tight like that" Blues song as performed by Leadbelly (Huddie William Ledbetter January 1888 - December 6, 1949)

LYRICS: "It's Tight Like That"
[Leadbelly]

Guitar intro

Oh it's tight like that Whoo!, tight like that Whoo!
In sum deed , oh it's tight like that

Guitar break

Oh it's tight like that Whoo! tight like that Whoo!
In some deed* oh it's tight like that

You take Sal and I'll take Jane
They both good lookin', but they ain't the same
It’s tight like that Whoo! tight like that Whoo!
In some deed oh it's tight like that

If you wanna to see a preacher laugh
Change a dollar and give him a half
Oh he’s tight like that Whoo! He’s tight like that Whoo!
In some deed oh it's tight like that

Some folks said that a preacher won't steal
But I caught two in my corn-field
It's tight like that Whoo! tight like that Whoo!
In some deed oh it's tight like that

One had a bag, and one had a sack
Gone to cornfield catch a lot of rats
It's tight like that Whoo! tight like that Whoo!
In some deed oh tight like that

Some folks said that a preacher won't steal
I caught two in my chicken-roost
It's tight like that Whoo! tight like that Whoo!
In some deed oh it's tight like that

A rooster and a hound and didn't have ah stoop
trying to catch a rooster to make rooster soup
It's tight like that Whoo! tight like that Whoo!
In some deed oh it's tight like that

Preacher and rooster had a terrible fight,
Preacher knocked the rooster clean out of sight
He’s tight like that Whoo! tight like that whoo!
In some deed, oh it's tight like that

Preacher told the rooster, "That will be all right.
Meet you at the hen house 'morrow night
It's tight like that whoo! be tight like that Whoo!
In some deed, oh it's tight like that

Yeah!
Guitar break

Oh it's tight like that whoo!, tight like that whoo!
some a talkin, oh it's tight like that

The ole frog jumped in the bottom of the well
oh by God he's jumped into hell
He’s tight like that whoo!, tight like that whoo!
In some deed, oh it's tight like that

Funniest thing I ever seen
tomcat sitting on a sewing machine
He's tight like that whoo!, he tight like that whoo!
In some deed, oh it's tight like that

Guitar break

Oh it's tight like that whoo! tight like that whoo!
In some deed , oh it's tight like that

SpoKen: "Tight like that". That’s an old time, a long time number 2 back down home. I used to go back to dances and I’d play and sing that you know. Gals would start to jumpin.

[Transcribed from the sound file given above by Azizi Powell 6/3/2012. Corrections to this transcription are welcome. *"In some deed" may be "Yes indeed", and probably has the same meaning as that phrase.]

In contrast to the other versions of "It's Tight Like That", Leadbelly's version isn't sexualized. Instead, his verses are made up of floating folk verses that have been documented by various collectors as being sung by African Americans in the South as early as the mid 19th century. For example, the "preacher won't steal/found two in my cornfield" verse and "if you want to make a preacher laugh" verse are found in Thomas W. Talley's now classic 1922 collection Negro Folk Rhymes: Wise And Otherwise.

The lack of sexualized verses in Leadbelly's version is probably because Leadbelly was directed by his manager, folklorist Alan Lomax to emphasize old time Black folk roots rather than Blues idioms.
-snip-
Leadbelly's "It's Tight Like That" contain floating verses from a several 19th century African American dance songs (for instance, the preacher verses, and the "you take Sal"... verses).

Also, "the frog jumped in the well" verse is part of a large very old family of such songs from the UK and the USA.

Furthermore, the "preacher & a rooster had a fight" verses are also probably floating verses. In 1949 Louis Jordan used those verses in his hit Jump Blues song "Beans & Cornbread".

****
RELATED LINKS
Click http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clara_Smith for information about Blues singer Clara Smith.

Click http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead_Bellyfor information about Blues, and Folk singer Leadbelly.

Click http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=126852 for additional transcriptions of the Leadbelly version of this song.

****
Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Viewer comments are welcome.

2 comments:

  1. swl43swl@netdoor.comJuly 16, 2012 at 12:08 AM

    Response to questions in Tight Like That:
    Liza Fled?
    Tumble-in or Tumbling Patch
    Mandy Lee Jones does her vampin' at night
    Oh hear me call you sweetie?

    ReplyDelete
  2. swl43swl@netdoor.com, I apologize for taking so long to thank your for sharing your ideas about the words that were transcribed and posted in Sound file #1 above.

    I just read your comment :o(

    Since it's not my transcription, I've left the lyrics as is but added a note referring readers to your possible transcriptions of the words/phrases that the transcriber was unsure of.

    Thanks again!

    ReplyDelete