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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Barbecue Bob - Chocolate to the Bone (Sound File, Lyrics, Comments)

Edited by Azizi Powell

[revised August 26, 2016]

This post showcases a sound file of & lyrics to the 1928 Blues song "Chocolate To The Bone" by Barbecue Bob.

Comments about this songs is also included in this post.

The content of this post is presented for folkloric, historical, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

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FEATURED SOUND FILE
Barbecue Bob - Chocolate to the Bone



PreWarMusic, Uploaded on Nov 23, 2008

A song recorded by Barbecue Bob, the most successful musician who played in the Atlanta Blues style who's recording career was cut short by his premature death in 1931.

LYRICS: CHOCOLATE TO THE BONE
(as recorded by Barbecue Bob)
Chorus:
Love that I’m brownskin, Love that I’m brownskin.
Chocolate to the bone.
Love that I’m brownskin, chocolate to the bone.
And I've got what it takes
to make a monkey man leave his home.

Verse 1
Black man is evil. Yellow is so lowdown
Black man is evil. Yellow man is so lowdown
I walk into these houses
just to see these black men frown

Verse #2
I'm just like Miss Lilliam, like Miss Lilliam
I mean Miss Lynn you see.
I'm just like Miss Lilliam I mean Miss Lynn you see.
She said ah brown skin man is just all right with me.

Chorus
So glad I’m brownskin, chocolate to the bone
Love that I’m brownskin, chocolate to the bone
I've got what it takes
to make a monkey man leave his home

Verse #3
Yellow man won't quit. Black man just won't hey
Yellow man won't quit. And ah black man just won't hey
But a pigmeat mama crazy about ah brownskin baby ways

Verse #4
I got a yellow mama, got ah yellow mama
She always got a pleasant smile
I got a yellow mama, got ah yellow mama
She always got a pleasant smile
But that brownskin gal with her coal‑black dreamy eyes

Chorus
Love that I’m brownskin, Love that I’m brownskin
I’m chocolate to the bone
Love that I’m brownskin, chocolate to the bone
and I got what it takes
to make a monkey man leave his home

Last verse
mmm mmm mmm
Lawd Lawd Lawd Lawd
and I got what it takes
to make a monkeyman leave his home.
-snip-
Transcription by Azizi Powell from the sound file on 12/3/2012; A similar transcription can be found at http://www.blueslyrics.com.ar/Barbecue-Bob/Chocolate.html

Additions or corrections are welcome.

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WHAT "CHOCOLATE TO THE BONE" MEANS
The contemporary (1970s on) meaning of "chocolate to the bone" is that the person saying that is proud to be Black. In contemporary contexts, people who describe themselves as "chocolate to the bone" are saying that they are proud of being of Black (African) descent, whether or not their ancestry is "pure" Black or they are of known or unknown mixed racial identity. This meaning is informed by the United States' social definition of race which indicated/indicates that a person with one drop of "black blood" is Black (a member of the Black race). This acceptance of and love of being Black is no small feat in a racist society in which people are socialized to despite dark skin color and love white skin color Although the extended form of this phrase isn't used, "chocolate to the bones" means "chocolate down to my bones".

That said, that 1928 song includes multiple examples of colorism among Black Americans. In that song, "brownskin" may refer to Black people in general, and/or it may refer to "brown skin" Black people over "yellow" (light skinned Black people) and over darker skinned Black (who, in part of the song are referred to as "monkey men".) That said, in the chorus of the song "monkey men" may be a referent for all Black men regardless of their skin color.

It's now usually considered to be politically (socially) incorrect to publicly refer to a Black person's skin complexion. And it is definitely offensive to light skinned Black people as "Yellow". Furthermore, "monkey man" is without a doubt a pejorative referent now and it probably was also considered a pejorative referent among some Black people when this song was recorded in 1928.

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COMMENTS ABOUT THE LYRICS TO "CHOCOLATE TO THE BONE"
[Pancocojams Editor's Note: Although the a male, Barbecue Bob, sings this song, I believe that the chorus and all the verses except Verse #4 are meant to be sung by a female.]

Chorus:
"And I've got what it takes to make a monkey man leave his home"

I think that a female singer is saying that she has what it takes to make any Black man (or alternatively, a dark skinned Black man) leave the woman he is with to instead be with her.

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Verse #1
"Black man is evil. Yellow is so lowdown"

- I believe that "black man" here refers to dark skinned Black men (i. e. those Black men who aren't light skinned and/or those Black men who aren't light skinned or brown skinned].

"I walk into these houses just to see these black men frown"

This line may refer to the segregation in Black American social clubs band based on skin color [light skinned Black people were members of or frequented certain clubs and other Black people frequented other clubs. The singer [who I believe was a woman] indicates that she went to whichever club she wanted to even if she was met with frowns.

Verse #2
I'm just like Miss Lilliam,...I mean Miss Lynn you see." - I'm not sure who the singer is referring to, but this woman [someone famous?] liked (preferred) a man with brown skin.

In the line "She said ah brown skin man is just all right with me", "brown skin man" may refer to Black men whose skin tone is brown or alternatively to any Black men.

In the line "is just all right with me" the words "just all right" means "very acceptable" and not "just barely acceptable."

Verse #3
"Yellow man won't quit. Black man just won't hey"

- I believe this line refers to the men's sexual staying power. I think that the singer means that the Black man [the dark brown skin man] has more staying power than the light skinned man, but I'm not sure if that's what this line means. Even though that's not how he sung those line, I wonder if the words are supposed to be "Black man just won't [ever get tired; just won't stop] Hey"

Verse #4
"But that brownskin gal with her coal‑black dreamy eyes" - I believe the end of this line that isn't given would have been an assertion that although the light skinned [yellow woman] has a pleasant smile the brown skinned woman is favored over her because of her "coal black dreamy eyes".

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OTHER COMMENTS ABOUT THE "CHOCOLATE TO THE BONE" PHRASE & SIMILAR PHRASES
The phrase "chocolate to the bone" -and not the song- may be relatively familiar to a portion of African Americans, particular those who are over forty years of age. Another, probably more familiar folk saying that implies pride in one's dark skin color is "the blacker the berry/the sweeter the juice". That saying is found in African American Thomas W. Talley's now classic 1922 collection Negro Folk Rhymes, Wise & Otherwise (rhyme title: "You Love Your Gal")

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Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2012/12/examples-of-rhymesong-shes-my-one-black.html for examples of the children's rhyme/song "She's My One Black, Two Black". I believe that Barbecue Bob's 1928 song :Chocolate To The Bone" is the primary source of that rhyme/song.

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"Trini to the bone" [Trinidadian to the bone" is a Caribbean form of the phrase "chocolate to the bone". That patriotic phrase affirms one's love of being from Trinidad (or from Trinidad & Tobago). The use of the colloquial referent "Trini" marks this form of that phrase as being of somewhat recent origin. That phrase may have been used prior to David Ruffin's 2003 Soca song "Trini to de bone". However, that song certainly popularized that phrase. Click http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VCYlLG8VR8 for a sound file of that Soca song.

The saying "Trini to the bone" is mirrored in other such phrases ["Bajan to the bone" (from Barbados) and "Antiguan to the bone (from Antigua). My guess is that the African American colloquial expression "chocolate to the bone" was the source of these Caribbean colloquial expression.

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RELATED LINK
Click http://www.cduniverse.com/productinfo.asp?pid=1018631&style=music&fulldesc=T for information about Barbecue Bob.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT AND THANKS
Thanks to the legacy of Bluesmen Barbecue Bob. Thanks also to the uploader of this sound file.

Thank you for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.

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