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Friday, March 1, 2013

A White & A Black Version of The Song "Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown"

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post is Part II of a two part series on two versions of song that are known as "Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown". Part II features the lyrics of and sound files of these two songs.

Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2013/03/a-textual-analysis-of-two-versions-of.html for Part I of this series. Part I presents my textual analysis of the original 1905 lyrics of "What You Goin' Do When the Rent Comes 'Round?" (Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown) and the 1969 Rufus Thomas version of "Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown".

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

All copyrights remain with their owners.

FEATURED SOUND FILE AND LYRICS
"Rufus Rastas Johnson Brown" (Von Tilzer) Ragtime song by Arthur Collins Victor 4432 C 1905



EMGColone, Published on Jun 3, 2012

"What you going to do when the Rent comes 'Round " Ragtime Song sung by Arthur Collins Victor 4432 [song starts at .31]
-snip-
LYRICS:

What You Goin' To Do When the Rent Comes 'Round? (Rufus Rastas Johnson Brown)
music by Harry von Tilzer; words by Andrew B. Sterling

First verse:
Who dat a knockin' at the door below,
Who dat a shivrin' in the hail and snow,
I can hear you grumblin' Mister Rufus Brown,
Just keep on a knockin' babe, I won't come down,
I wants to tell you that you can't get in,
Have you been a gamblin'
Honey, did you win?
what's that you tell me,
coon you lost your breath?
I hopes you freezes to death

(Chorus)

Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown,
what you goin' to do when the rent comes ‘round,
What you goin' to say,
how you goin' to pay,
You'll never have a bit of sense till judgement day;
You know, I know, rent means dough,
Landlord's goin' to put us out in the snow,
Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown,
what you goin' to do when the rent comes ‘round.

Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown,
what you goin' to do when the rent comes ‘round,
What you goin' to say,
how you goin' to pay,
You'll never have a bit of sense till judgement day;
You know, I know, rent means dough,
Landlord's goin' to put us out in the snow,
Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown,
what you goin’ to do when the rent comes ‘round.

Second verse:
Keep on a bangin’ on the old front door,
In just a minute babe you’ll hear me snore,
If I goes to bed without a bite or sup,
You will be an icicle when I wakes up,
Where’s all the money that you said you’d bring,
Melted all away just like the snow last Spring,
Rufus I loves you, but this serves you right,
Guess that’s sufficient, “goodnight.”

(Chorus)

Disclaimer:
The derogatory terms, images, and ideas that appear in some of this sheet music are not condoned by the University of Mississippi. They do represent the attitudes of a number of Americans at the times the songs were published. As such, it is hoped that the sheet music in this collection can aid students of music, history, and other disciplines to better understand popular American music and racial stereotypes from the 19th- and early 20th-centuries.
http://clio.lib.olemiss.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/sharris/id/1645/rec/6
item date 1905
-snip-
Click http://levysheetmusic.mse.jhu.edu/levy-cgi/display.cgi?id=150a.018.000;pages=4;range=0-3 for a larger image of this song's cover. The cover shows a drawing of an urban, middle age Black couple standing outside a house. The couple are wearing what I would call "dress up" clothes. Both the man & the woman are drawn with large, red lips, and the man has a cigar in his mouth.

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Rufus Thomas -- Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown



HoYeahcorp, Published on Oct 13, 2012

"Do The Funky Chicken"Album.
1969.
-snip-
LYRICS: RUFUS RASTUS JOHNSON BROWN
(Rufus Thomas)

Background singers -Oh! Rastas! [with additional words ???]
Lead Singer: Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown,
what you goin' to do when the rent come around,
Second Male voice: “I don’t know. I don’t know”.
Ain’t got no money, you can’t pay.
Ain’t gonna have no money till judgement day.
Second male voice: I’m broke. I’m broke.
Lead:Way down yonder about a mile and a half
I can see ole Rastus comin down the path.
He’s runnin, and skippin, and a-jumpin, and a yellin.
He got a pot full of chitlins and they are smellin.
Background singers – Pot!

Lead: Oh, Rufus!
What you been doin ole Rufus
Oh, Rufus,
What in the world do you want from me.

Lead Singer & background singers
Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown,
what you goin' to do when the rent come around,
Ain’t got no money, you can’t pay.
Ain’t gonna have no money till judgment day.

Lead: Oh, Rufus!
Oh, Rufus!
Oh, Rufus,
What in the world do you want from me?

Lead Singer & background singers
Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown,
what you goin' to do when the rent come around,
Ain’t got no money, you can’t pay.
Ain’t gonna have no money till judgment day.

Lead singer,
Oh, baby!
I gotta get a movin
Oh, baby!
I gotta get a movin

Rufus Rastus
Johnson Brown,
Rufus Rastus
Johnson Brown

[The Lead singer begins to scat while the background singers continue to sing the words “Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown”]
-snip-
Transcription by Azizi Powell from the sound file. The words in brackets with question marks mean that I was unable to decipher what was sung. The words in italics mean that I'm not sure about what I transcribed. Additions & corrections are very welcome.

ADDENDUM
I want to be clear that these two versions of "Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown" aren't the only two versions of that song that exists. Some people are very familiar with versions of "Rufus Rastus etc" that ends with a portion of a song called "C. H. I. C. K. E. N." Here's a comment from the Mudcat Cafe discussion thread on "Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown" about those versions:
In case anyone is still confused about why some versions of RUFUS RASTUS… have verses about chickens and some don't—it's because two different Tin-Pan-Alley songs somehow got blended together by the folk process. The songs are:

DAT'S DE WAY TO SPELL CHICKEN by Sidney L. Perrin and Bob Slater, 1902;

and

WHAT YOU GOIN' TO DO WHEN THE RENT COMES 'ROUND? by Andrew B. Sterling and Harry Von Tilzer, 1905

http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=50037#1451385 Origins: C-H-I-C-K-E-N. [Mudcat: Rufus Rastus; Jim Dixon, Date: 04 Apr 05 - 12:15 AM]

-snip-
That comment & both the Mudcat threads cited contain examples of the 1902 song "C-H-I-C-K-E-N".

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT AND THANKS
Thanks to the transcriber who is quoted in this post. Thanks also to the uploaders of these sound files.

Thank you for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.

1 comment:

  1. Although a lot of people started doing covers of songs the over of Shawn Mendes will remain one of my favorites!

    ReplyDelete