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Monday, October 14, 2013

Grayson and Whitter - Shout Lula (example, lyrics, comments)

Edited by Azizi Powell

COMMENT FROM MISS LULA
(C)2013 Azizi Powell

I don't mean to brag but there’s LOTs of Lula songs. Some of them call me Lula, some call me Lulu and some call me Lucy. Lulu’s just a nickname for Lula and “Lucy’s” just a ladylike way of saying both those names.

Some say I got the name “Lula” because I was born in Lula, Mississippi.* That sounds about right to me. And it could be that folks changed my name to “Lulu” because of that girl in those comic papers.** Or maybe those songs callin me Lulu instead of Lula gave them the idea to name that girl in the comics “Lulu”. I don’t remember which one came first.

You know those “Miss Lucy Had A Baby” songs? Well first of all that rhyme came from those songs about me -Lula Gal. As for “Miss”, well that’s just a title that shows respect for me as a young lady.

Here’s another thing, I hear tell that some folks are talkin bad about me saying that “Miss Lucy Had A Baby” song is talkin ‘bout me havin a baby and not being married.*** Who said I wasn’t married when I had my baby? That’s nothing but lies!

And I know you know at least one “Miss Susie Had A Steamboat" song. I can’t help it if some folks decided to change my name to "Susie” or “Molly” and some other girl’s name. When it comes right down to it, those songs are all about me – “Lula Gal”.

I’m PROUD of most of my Lula songs, even those “Bang Bang Lulu” ones ‘cause they’re about me too, even if they are kinda dirty. All I’m gonna say is that folks oughta be careful what they are and who they’re around when they sing those songs. If you ask me, my favorite Lula songs are those old time, clean... well mostly clean ones that are still fun to sing , though you don’t hear much of them nowadays. If I had to choose my favorite Lula song it would be "Shout Lula".

*Click http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=53820 "Lyr Req: Hook and Line (and related songs)" for a discussion about "Shout Lula" and other old time Lula songs.
In 2002 Richie, an active participant in that discussion wrote:
"Since "Shout Lula" seems to related to blues and work "hollers" perhaps the "Lula" originally refers to Lula, Mississippi or the Lula women from that town."
-snip-
Note: A transcription from that discussion thread is found below.
WARNING: Some comments & some lyrics that are found in that very informative discussion include the fully spelled out "n word".

**Click http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Lulu for information about the comic strip "Little Lulu" which began in 1935.

***Click http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miss_Lucy_had_a_baby for a Wikepedia page about the playground rhyme "Miss Lucy Had A Baby". I very much disagree with the opinions that are presented as fact on that page, including the view that the woman who had a baby in that rhyme had to a single mother because the title "Miss" prefaces her name. My position is that the title "Miss" was used out of respect to & for young women. I'll add more comments about "Miss Lucy Had A Baby" and about that Wikipedia page in an upcoming pancocojams post about that rhyme.

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SHOWCASE VIDEO
Grayson & Whitter-Shout Lula

.

BBYMRLCCOTN, Uploaded on May 10, 2010
-snip-
From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G._B._Grayson
"Gilliam Banmon Grayson (November 11, 1887 – August 16, 1930) was a [White]* American Old-time fiddle player and singer. Mostly blind from infancy, Grayson is chiefly remembered for a series of sides recorded with [White American]* guitarist Henry Whitter between 1927 and 1930 that would later influence numerous country, bluegrass, and rock musicians. Grayson wrote much of his own material, but was also instrumental in adapting several traditional Appalachian ballads to fiddle and guitar formats. His music has been recorded or performed by musicians such as Bob Dylan, Doc Watson, Mick Jagger, the Kingston Trio, and dozens of bluegrass artists, including the Stanley Brothers and Mac Wiseman."
-snip-
*Given the focus of this blog on music from African Americans & other Black people throughout the world, I added the racial referents to clarify for readers that these men were White. I've showcased this video because the song "Shout Lula" probably is of African American origin.

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LYRICS: SHOUT LULA
(as sung by G.B. Grayson)

From this comment posted by Stewie in http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=53820 "Lyr Req: Hook and Line (and related songs)"

Subject: Add: Shout Lula
From:Stewie
Date: 21 Nov 02 - 03:18 AM

Here is my transcription of Grayson and Whitter's recording. I recall reading somewhere that many of the lyrics for 'Shout Lula' were quite risque and it was a favourite of kids for that reason. There is a hint of that in this dance version. There is a spirited banjo rendition by Mrs Louise Foreacre on Mike Seeger's collection 'Close To Home' [Smithsonian/Folkways SF CD40097] that shares some of the G&W lyrics. Does anyone have any scurrilous verses?

The bits in square brackets in the following transcription are spoken or yelled.

SHOUT LULA

Shout, Little Lula, shout, shout
Tell me what you're shoutin' about

[Swing, Wilbur, swing. Whoa]

How many nickels will it take
To see Little Lula's body shake
It takes a nickel, it takes a dime
To see Little Lula's body shine

[Shout Lula! Yee-haw! Shake that thing! Swing that girl, Henry! Wow!]

Shout, Little Lula, shout, shout
Tell me what you're shoutin' about

Shout, Little Lula, shout and sing
Your old grandmother's gone to swing

[Whoop that fiddle!]

Shout, Little Lula, shout your best
Your old grandmother's gone to rest

[Come on, Lula, swing! On my way somewheres. First couple out! Swing!]

Shout, Little Lula, shout, shout
Tell me what you're shoutin' about

[Whooo! Swing, Lula, swing! Shout Lula! Yee-haw! Say, Henry when you gonna pass that bottle?]
['Bout ten minutes.]
['Bout time.]

[Shake that thing!]

Shout, Little Lula, shout, shout
Tell me what you're shoutin' about

[Whooo! Come on, Lula, shout, Lula, shout]

Shout, Little Lula, shout and sing
Your old grandmother's gone to swing

Source: transcription of G.B. Grayson & Henry Whitter 'Shout Lula' recorded on 10 October 1928 in NYC and issued as Gnt 6373 in March 1929. Reissued on Grayson & Whitter 'Complete Recorded Works Vol I' Document DOCD-8054.

--Stewie.

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EDITORIAL COMMENT
Like other Old Time tunes & songs, "Shout Lula" was known in Black American & non-Black American communities. This song almost certainly originated among African Americans, given the call & response pattern of some examples of "Shout Lula", its two line rhyming pattern, the inclusion of certain Black vernacular terms, and the floating verses that are also found in other African American originating old time songs.

Here's a comment posted by Richie; Date: 20 Nov 02 - 09:55 PM
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=53820
"From Ceolas: A Fiddler's Companion
SHOUT LULU. AKA - "Shout Lula," "Shout Lou," "Shout Old Lulu." AKA and see "Hook and Line." Old-Time, Breakdown. USA; east Tenn., southwestern Va., north Georgia, north Carolina, Ohio. G Major. GDAD. AABB. Art Rosenbaum (1989) says "this song is much more current in the tradition than its absence from printed collections would suggest." A banjo piece and dance tune, it was the repertoires of Dock Boggs and John Dykes (of the Dykes Magic City Trio) under the title "Hook and Line." Rufus Crisp, Woody Wachtel, Roscoe Holcomb, Pete Steele, Ralph Stanley, and Fiddlin' Cowan Powers 1877-1952? (Russell County, southwest Va.) played it as well as Uncle John Patterson (Carroll County, Ga.), a sometimes Skillet Lickers hanger-on who learned to pick the tune on the banjo "on his mother's {champion banjoist Bessie Patterson} lap when he was three years old" (Rosenbaum)"

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Here's a comment about the Grayson/Whittier recording of "Shout Lula" from https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/rec.music.country.old-time/ATTT1UtigL8 "rec.music.country.old-time › Ralph Stanley and Old-Time Music"

posted by Oldtime1 (Joe Wilson) 5/29/97
"Little Lula/Lulu/Lulie

"Paul asked if there are two Lulu songs. Yes. The "Bang Away Lulu" lyric he quoted is not at all like "Shout Lulu.

When I interviewed G. B. Grayson's oldest daughter, Lilly Grayson Sturdivant, in 1972 near Rising Sun, MD (with Ken Irwin and Marian Leighton), she told about his compositions. She said he did not write "Shout Lulu" and that she thought it was "an old song." If it was old when Grayson recorded it in the late 1920s, it may be from minstrelsy. It certainly has the feel and rhythm of a minstrel song:
"Takes a nickle, takes a dime, To see Little Luly, cut a shine." Has anyone checked minstrel texts?"

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EDITORIAL COMMENT
It's very difficult to determine which came first-White minstrel versions of many "minstrel" songs or Black plantation lyrics & tunes for those songs. Like other Old Time tunes & songs, "Shout Lula" was known in Black American & non-Black American communities. This song almost certainly originated among African Americans, given the call & response pattern of some examples of "Shout Lula", its two line rhyming pattern, the inclusion of certain Black vernacular terms, and the floating verses that are also found in other African American originating old time songs.

Also, once a song was sung by Black faced minstrels [both White and Black minstrel performers, that song experienced the folk process of [additional] cross pollination from Black and from White populations.

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WHAT "SHOUT" MAY MEAN IN THE SONG "SHOUT LULA"
Here's an explanation about the word "shout"
Subject: RE: Lyr. Req: Hook and Line
From:kytrad*
Date: 23 Nov 02 - 05:15 PM

This may be relevant...Bessie Jones and I used to share stages together, from early sixties into seventies, and we used to do play-party games- she'd sing hers and I'd sing one from our family that matched it. She had many "shout" songs, and always explained that the word, "shout" in a game or song meant, "dance." Younger members of her family and community would sometimes be with her, and as she sang they'd sing with her, clap hands and dance or "shout."
-snip-
*"kytrad" is the screen name for White American folk music singer, songwriter, and Appalachian dulcimer player Jean Ritchie (ngwriter, and Appalachian dulcimer player. Click http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Ritchie for more information about Jean Ritchie.

Bessie Jones (February 8, 1902 - July 17, 1984) was an African American singer who is best known for forming & performing as soloist for the Georgia Sea Isle Singers, a group whose repertoire consists of Black old time secular & religious songs. Along with Bess Lomax Hawes, Bessie Jones co-authored a collection of Georgia Sea Isle children's recreational songs & rhymes entitled Step It Down. Click http://www.allmusic.com/artist/bessie-jones-mn0000051492/biography for more information about Bessie Jones.

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INFORMATION ABOUT OLD TIME MUSIC
From http://www.folkways.si.edu/classic-old-time-music-from-folkways/american-folk/album/smithsonian: "Old-time music features playing styles that pre-date bluegrass, emerging from the string band tradition stretching back to the early years of United States history. Both African-American and Anglo-American ingredients are at its core, the banjo having African origins, the fiddle European."

**
From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old-time_music
"With its origins in traditional music of Europe and Africa, old-time music represents perhaps the oldest form of North American traditional music other than Native American music, and thus the term "old-time" is an appropriate one. As a label, however, it dates back only to 1923."

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RELATED LINKS
Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2013/10/reeltime-travelers-shout-lula-example.html for another example of "Shout Lula".

Upcoming pancocojams posts will showcase other Old Time music examples of "Lula/Lulu" songs as well as examples of "Miss Lucy Had A Baby", "Bang Bang Lulu", and "Miss Susie Had A Steamboat" whose sources can be partly traced to "Lula Gal" songs.

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My thanks to Gilliam Banmon Grayson & Henry Whitter for their musical legacy. Thanks also to the unknown composers of "Shout Lula" as well as the past and present performers of this song.

Thanks also to those who are quoted in this post.

Thank you for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.

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