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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Jimmie Strothers - Poontang Little, Poontang Small (with lyrics)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases a 1936 sound file of Jimmie Strothers singing the bawdy Blues song "Poontang Little, Poontage Small".

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

All copyrights remain with their owners.

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INFORMATION ABOUT JIMMIE STROTHERS
From http://www.allmusic.com/artist/jimmie-strothers-mn0000850010 by Steve Leggett
"Jimmie Strothers was a blind banjo and guitar player from Virginia who recorded 15 tracks for Alan Lomax and Harold Spivacke in 1936. Biographical details are sketchy, but Strothers was apparently a medicine show entertainer for a time before going to work in the mines, where an explosion took his eyesight, forcing him to earn a living as a street singer. Things changed even more drastically when he was convicted of murdering his wife with an axe and was sent to the state penitentiary in Lynn, VA, which was where Lomax and Spivacke, working on a field recording project for the Library of Congress, found him. Strothers recorded a total of 13 songs (plus alternate takes of "Jaybird" and "Poontang Little, Poontang Small") over the course of two days on June 13 and June 14, 1936, often with fellow inmate Joe Lee sharing vocal and guitar duties...Strothers delivered two takes of the bawdy "Poontang Little, Poontang Small," which earned a "Delta check" (the designation for erotic material) when it was entered into the Library of Congress archives."...

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FEATURED SOUND FILE

Jimmie Strothers Poontang Little, Poontang Small



Shaggin Blues,Published on Dec 26, 2012

Mitch Harb Videos, Jimmie Strothers - Poontang Little, Poontang Small, you can hear it on Mitch Harb's Beach Party at www.live365.com/stations/mharb

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NOTE ABOUT THIS TRANSCRIPTION
This transcription is the result of an informal group effort by eleven bloggers from August 20-24, 2009 on this Mudcat Cafe discussion thread http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=123037 Lyr Add: Poontang Little Poontang Small (Strothers)

As it turns out, this transcription thread ended without anyone posting any "final", "agreed upon" version of those lyrics. This is my attempt to post those lyrics that that group appears to have agreed upon, albeit almost four years later.

When asked we were participating in this transcription effort, here are some responses:

Mick Pearce (MCP)- "We document what is. What we do with it afterwards is another matter."

bobad - "Bob Coltman asked if we could give him a hand in figuring out the lyrics and that's what we are doing.

Azizi - "Besides, I think it's fun to try to figure out what the singer is saying, in a solve the puzzle kind of way."

Mick Pearce (MCP) - I agree with Azizi too, that there's an element of fun in this. I've been involved in a few of these collaborations (with Roberto especially), and generally a concensus can be reached for even the trickiest recordings. It's very satisfying!

It's also what the internet is good for. Having a bunch of people all over the world listening is so much better than the days I sat with my ear to a record player, replaying bits of a song to try and decipher it!. Digital electronics has also helped - I can remove noise and crackles, slow things down, try a bunch of different eq settings. Still no guarantee of success, but it helps. (Sometimes there may just not be enough information left in the recording to decide - 2nd line v5 here has very loud, emphatic guitar over the vocal and it's not clear if there's enough of the vocal left to make out what he's singing; still we try!).
-snip-
That said, I'm certain that I speak for all those who were involved in that group transcription by saying that additions and corrections to this transcription are still welcome here and/or on that thread.

Also, I encourage visitors to this post to also visit that Mudcat thread to observe that transcription process and to read other comments that were posted on that thread.

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LYRICS - POONTANG LITTLE, POONTANG SMALL
(as sung by Jimmy Strothers, 1936)

1.Poontang little an' poontang small,
Poontang stretches like a rubber ball

Chorus: Oh my babe, Oh my salty thing.

2.I’mma hung my poontang from the wire,
Rush come down to the hottest fire.

3.Gonna hang my poontang upon the fence,
Oh, the man come an' git it ain't got no sense,

4. 'Til I'm gone, I'm gonna do my best
"I'm gon' do a little something gonna bring me no rest"*

5.Got a humpback a-little that couldn’t a-little that couldn’t be beat*
[He?] put a stack up on the streetcar seat*

6.Oh, I b'lieve to my soul she had a lucky hand
'Cause the lady gave her thing to the sweet-car man,

7.Poontang little and a-poontang small,
Poontang twisted like a rubber ball,

[Spoken]: ...It's all on fire.

8.Oh wire, brier, limber, lock
How many geese is in our flock

9. Oh, one flew east and a-one flew west,
One flew over the cuckoo's nest,

10.Hung my poontang from the wire,
come down jes as hot as fire,

11.Put my dress above my knees,
I'm gonna give my poontang to who I please,

12.Oh poon I want, tang I crave,
Tang gonna carry to my lovin' grave,

13. My man has go on to "tell-me-once
I'm gonna dup my husband till my man come,
-snip-
"Poontang" means the vagina.

It seems to me-and other persons in that transcription "group" also mentioned it-that much of this song is sung from a woman's point of view, meaning that although a man is singing this song, most of the words are those which would be sung by a [heterosexual] woman. Exceptions to that statement may be the first verse and the chorus.

Note: "Oh my salty thing" - "salty man" was a term for a man that was "randy", a man who is always interested in sex and also is very good at sex. An equivalent term is "Candy man".

Therefore, you can guess what a "salty thing" referred to.

*Thanks to Jun Nakamura for these transcriptions noted by the asterisks.

I knew that transcription for the second line of #4 was wrong - I wrote "I'm gone tell a little something for the women out west". Jun and I had almost the same thing for the first line of #5 and I couldn't come up with anything for the second line #5.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT AND THANKS
Thanks to Jimmie Strothers for his musical legacy and thanks to those who collected this song and those who helped provide this transcription. Thanks also to the YouTube publisher of this sound file.

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.

3 comments:

  1. Love this song. These are my thoughts:

    4. 'Til I'm gone, I'm gonna do my best
    I'm gone tell a little something gonna bring me no rest

    5.Got a humpback a-little that couldn’t be beat
    [he?] put a stack up on the streetcar seat

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. meant to write:
      "I'm gon' do a little something gonna bring me no rest"

      Delete
    2. Thanks, Jun!

      I'm just reading your comments. I changed the lyrics for those lines and credited you above.

      Delete