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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Five Examples of Song Lyrics For "Li'l Liza Jane" (Little Liza Jane)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part I of a two part series on the song "Li'l Liza Jane"(also given as "Little Liza Jane"). This post provides information about "Li'l Liza Jane" and presents five text examples (lyrics)for that song.

Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2014/02/seven-videos-of-lil-liza-jane-little.html for Part II of this series. That post showcases seven YouTube videos of "Li'l Liza Jane".

These two posts showcase only a small sample of the renditions of this song as sung by and performed by African Americans since the huge family of "L'l Liza Jane" songs originated with African Americans.

There are numerous versions of "Li'l Liza Jane". New two lined rhyming verses for this song are improvised every day and/or floating verses from other old time songs are combined to make new renditions of "Little Liza Jane". Also, additional instrumental renditions of this song are performed and recorded daily.

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

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to the unknown original composers of this song, and thanks to those who collected examples of this song. Thanks also to all those who are quoted in this post.

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INFORMATION ABOUT THE SONG "LITTLE LIZA JANE"
From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Li'l_Liza_Jane
"Li'l Liza Jane", also known as "Little Liza Jane" and "Liza Jane", is a song dating back at least to the 1910s. It has become a perennial standard both as a song and an instrumental in traditional jazz, folk music, and bluegrass, and versions have repeatedly appeared in other genres including rock and roll. It is one of the standards of the New Orleans brass band tradition.

Origin
"Li'l Liza Jane" was first published in 1916 by Sherman, Clay & Co of San Francisco, California as a composition by Countess Ada de Lachau. It was described as a "Southern dialect song". The tune was featured in the 1916-1917 show "Come Out of the Kitchen".

The song's origins, however, seem to go back even earlier. The tune's similarity to the 1850 Stephen Foster standard "Camptown Races" has been observed.[citation needed] The name "Liza Jane" or "Eliza Jane" was a standard female character name in minstrel shows. A tune "Goodbye, Liza Jane" was published by Eddie Fox in 1871. Harry Von Tilzer published "Goodbye, Eliza Jane" in 1903, which has some similarity to the later "Li'l Liza Jane".

Natalie Curtis Burlin's book Negro Folk-Songs, published in 1918, documents a version said to be a Negro folk song with an associated dancing game. In the "Liza Jane" dance, couples would dance in a circle, with an extra man in the middle. The extra man would "steal partners" with one of the couples, and the odd man out would go into the center and do a solo dance, then in cut in on another couple and the process would repeat."

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From http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=152 Lyric Request: O Eliza, little Liza Jane"
From: PoppaGator ; Date: 10 May 07 - 02:47 PM
"This is a VERY popular song in the New Orleans Brass Band repertoire, played and sung at every social-and-pleasure-club second line parade, every jazz funeral, etc. It has survived for decades, through many evolving changes in musical trends. People just love it, and no other song inspires a comparable level of audience-participation sing-along-ing on the chorus.

"Liza Jane" generally serves as a vehicle for newly improvided* lyrics; you hear new two-line rhyming couplets every time you hear the song.

I was a little surprised to see the name "Eliza" in the title here. We generally pronounce it "L'il Liza," as in "HO! L'il Liza, L'il Liza Jane," with a very emphatic, percussive first-syllable "HO!"..."

*This is probably a typo for "improvised"

**
From: Q ; Date: 27 Nov 07 - 05:52 PM
"In http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=2777 Dale Rose said "The whole Liza Jane family of songs could probably make a good thesis.:
That thread has these posted lyrics:
Good Bye, Liza Jane, 1871, by Eddie Fox
Good Bye Eliza Jane, 1903, Andrew B. Sterling and Harry Von Tilzer
Good-by Liza Jane, Rutledge and Rogers Circus, in Sandburg 1927, "An American Songbag."
This thread has:
Li'l Liza Jane, 1916, Ada De Lachau...
Liza Jane, or Mountain Top, in Sandburg, 1927, "An American Songbag," two versions.
Sandburg says "There are as many Liza songs in the Appalachian Mountains as there are species of trees on the slopes of that range."

Al of the above have scores; I haven't compared them to see similarities or differences, but the choruses of the Fox, Von Tilzer and Ada De Lachau songs are quite different.

There are several other songs with Liza Jane in stanzas or combined in a title.
-snip-
"By" here means "collected by".
**
From: Q; Date: 27 Nov 07 - 08:37 PM
"...The Susan Jane songs belong on the same tree"...
-snip-
"Tree" here means "family of songs"

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FEATURED EXAMPLES
These examples are presented in chronological order based on their posting dates or the date of the recording with the oldest examples given first. When the posting date isn't given, the example is posted at the end of the featured examples in the order of their recording dates.

Since "Lil Liza Jane" is a folk song, there are no right or wrong lyrics, but there are earlier and later versions of that song. I'm posting multiple versions with their collection dates or their recording dates to show some of the different interpretations of this song over a period of time.

Example #1: From The Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music:

LI'L LIZA JANE: Southern Dialect Song
Composed by Countess Ada de Lachau
San Francisco: Sherman, Clay & Co., 1916.

1. I'se got a gal an' you got none, Li'l Liza Jane.
I'se got a gal an' you got none, Li'l Liza Jane.

CHORUS: Ohe Liza, Li'l Liza Jane.
Ohe Liza, Li'l Liza Jane.

2. Come, my love, an' live with me, Li'l Liza Jane.
I will take good care uv thee, Li'l Liza Jane.

3. Jimmy John is layin' low, Li'l Liza Jane.
Honey, take me for you beau, Li'l Liza Jane.

4. Gwine ter th'ow the dice away, Li'l Liza Jane.
When yo' name the happy day, Li'l Liza Jane.

5. Bumble bee he out for sips, Li'l Liza Jane.
Takes mah sweetmeats from yo' lips, Li'l Liza Jane.

6. Liza Jane done cum ter me, Li'l Liza Jane.
Bof as happy as can be, Li'l Liza Jane.

7. Ev'y mawnin' when I wakes, Li'l Liza Jane.
Smell de ham an buckwheat cakes, Li'l Liza Jane.

8. House an' lot in Baltimo', Li'l Liza Jane.
Lots of chilluns roun' de do', Li'l Liza Jane.

9. Nevermo' from you I'll roam, Li'l Liza Jane.
Bestest place is home sweet home, Li'l Liza Jane.

[Another edition--with the same author, publisher, date, and (I think) music, but a different cover and verses--can be found at Duke University's 'Historic American Sheet Music' collection. It bears the notation "used as incidental music in the three-act comedy 'Come Out of the Kitchen' ", and has only verses 1, 6, 2, and 8 of those shown above (in that order).]
-snip-
Source: http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=152 Subject: Lyr Add: LI'L LIZA JANE (Countess Ada de Lachau); From: Jim Dixon
Date: 10 May 07 - 04:00 AM

"bof"= both

Very little information is available about collector and song arranger named Countess Ada de Lachau. However, it appears from what is known that she was an African American woman. I think that she probable gave herself that title and a nobility sounding last name. (Similarly, the Jazz musicians Count Basie and Duke Ellington gave themselves or were given royalty titles as did many Calypso singers.)

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Example #2: Af-Am version, collected by Natalie Curtis-Burlin, published 1919.

Lyr. Add: 'LIZA-JANE
("Stealin' Partners," Dance-song game)

Come ma love an' go wid me,
L'il 'Liza Jane
Come ma love an' go wid me,
L'il 'Liza Jane.

Chorus
O Eliza (or O Miss 'Liza)
L'il 'Liza Jane
O Eliza
L'il 'Liza Jane.

I got a house in Baltimo',
L'il 'Liza Jane
Street-car runs right by ma do',
L'il 'Liza Jane

I got a house in Baltimo',
L'il 'Liza Jane
Brussels carpet on* de flo'
L'il 'Liza Jane

I got a house in Baltimo'
L'il Liza Jane
Silver door-plate on* de do'
L'il 'Liza Jane

"When a number of people are dancing, all join in the chorus, and sometimes "O Eliza" is shouted at the top of their lungs. As this is a dance-song, dynamics are all broad, and consist chiefly in vociferous rhythmic accentuation. "O, Miss 'Liza" is sometimes sung..."

on* pronounced 'ohn.'
The provenance is not stated, but it may have been a song of the Calhoun Industrial School, which in some respects was modeled on the Hampton Institute.

Natalie Curtis-Burlin, 1918-19, "Negro Folk-Songs, The Hampton Series, Book IV, Work and Play-songs, pp. 158-167, with score. Dover reprint, 2001.
-posted by Q http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=8346 Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Little Liza Jane (kids' version) ; 5 Dec 07 - 10:44 PM

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Example #3: Huey Piano Smith & The Clowns - Lil Liza Jane [1956]
Hey, little girl would you tell me your name?
(Little Liza Jane)
If I love you baby, would you feel the same?
(Little Liza Jane)

(Oh, Eliza, little Liza Jane)
(Oh, Eliza, little Liza Jane)

Take ya downtown, buy you ev'rything
(Little Liza Jane)
If you be my girl you can wear my ring
(Little Liza Jane)

(Oh, Eliza, little Liza Jane)
(Oh, Eliza, little Liza Jane)

Hey pretty baby can we go strollin'?
(Little Liza Jane)
Yes, you got me rockin'
When I ought to be rollin'
(Little Liza Jane)

(Oh, Eliza, little Liza Jane)
(Oh, Eliza, little Liza Jane)

Take ya downtown, buy you ev'rything
(Little Liza Jane)
If you be my girl you can wear my ring
(Little Liza Jane)

(Oh, Eliza, little Liza Jane)
(Oh, Eliza, little Liza Jane)

Look at that girl, can we go strollin'
(Little Liza Jane)
You got me rockin'
When I ought to be rollin'
(Little Liza Jane)

(Oh, Eliza, little Liza Jane)
(Oh, Eliza, little Liza Jane).

Source: http://www.rockol.com/uk/lyrics-3270865/huey-piano-smith-the-clowns-little-liza-jane
-snip-
This recording is featured on Part II of this pancocojams series.

"Can we go strollin'? = "Can we go for a stroll (a walk)

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Example #4: Nina Simone -Lil Liza Jane: 1960 album Nina Simone at Newport
[spoken]
Where is my tambourine wait a minute I'll get your tambourine
Got my tambourine get your thing baby
What's wrong with you what is it you want
Can't forget my tambourine boy want a minute
This is a folk tune and it's called little liza jane
We get some rhythm started here and see what happens

[song begins]
I got a beau you ain't got none little liza jane
I got a beau you ain't got none little liza jane
I got a beau you ain't got none little liza jane
I got a beau you ain't got none little liza jane
Oh little liza liza jane oh little liza liza jane
Oh little liza liza jane oh little liza liza jean

Come my love and live with me
I will take good care of thee little liza jean
Come my love and live with me
I will take good care of thee little liza jane
Oh little liza liza jane oh little liza liza jane
Oh little liza liza jane oh little liza liza jane

Hambone hammer where you've been
Down by the creek and makin gin
I know a man that's three feet tall
Drink his liquor and has a ball
Saw him just the other day
He had a horse and a ball of hay

Little lisa jane jane little liza
Little lisa jane jane little liza
Little lisa jane jane little liza
Little liza jane little liza jane
Little lisa jane jane little liza
Little lisa jane jane little liza
Little lisa jane jane little liza
Little liza jane little liza jane
Oh little liza liza jane oh little liza liza jane
Oh little liza liza jane oh little liza liza jane

He took me to this great big town
Lots of people standing around
They were listening to a great big band
The bestest music in the land
I tell you once and tell you twice
Enjoy yourself and live your life

Little lisa jane jane little liza
Little lisa jane jane little liza
Little lisa jane jane little liza
Little liza jean little liza jane
Little lisa jane jane little liza
Little lisa jane jane little liza
Little lisa jane jane little liza
Little liza jane little liza jane

Oh little liza liza jane oh little liza liza jane
Oh little liza liza jane oh little liza liza jane

Source: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/ninasimone/littlelizajane.html
[with slight corrections to the transcription]
-snip-
“beau” – lover ; romantic partner

This recording is featured on Part II of this pancocojams series.

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Example #5: Chuck Perkins - Lil Liza Jane; A Mardi Gras Indian version of "Li'l Liza Jane"
Chorus:
Ooh Lil Liza.
Little Eliza Jane.
Ooh Lil Liza.
Little Eliza Jane.

Ooh Lil Liza.
Little Eliza Jane.
Ooh Lil Liza.
Little Eliza Jane.

Tell you somethin that you don't know.
Lil Liza Jane
If you wanna be an Injun betta learn to sew.
Lil Liza Jane

They runnin and jumpin. They think they slick.
Lil Liza Jane
But we be the gang that makes them sick.
Lil Liza Jane

Chorus:
In the mornin
Ooh Lil Liza.
Little Eliza Jane.
In the evenin
Ooh Lil Liza
Little Eliza Jane.

[sing entire chorus two times]

Told my papa when I left home.
Lil Liza Jane
I'mma mass in the mornin and I won't go wrong.
Lil Liza Jane

He said if you meet the boys better treat them right.
Lil Liza Jane
They may got the gun but we got the knive.
Lil Liza Jane

Chorus:
In the mornin
Ooh Lil Liza.
Little Eliza Jane.
In the evenin
Ooh Lil Liza
Little Eliza Jane.

[sing entire chorus two times]

Early in the mornin when the sun comes up.
Lil Liza Jane
Said drink the fire water from the silver cup.
Lil Liza Jane

Honey honey come sing this song.
Lil Liza Jane
If you sing this song you won't go wrong.
Lil Liza Jane

Chorus:
In the mornin
Ooh Lil Liza.
Little Eliza Jane.
In the evenin
Ooh Lil Liza
Little Eliza Jane.

[sing entire chorus two times]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hx8yQL6o2mA&feature=related
This video is featured in Part II of this series.

[Partial transcription by Azizi Powell, January 12, 2011; Additions and corrections are welcome]
Ooh is elongated and rhymes with "so". It almost sounds to me like the word "Whoo!"

"mas" comes from the word "masquerade" and means put on the Indian regalia that you sewed

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