Edited by Azizi Powell
This is Part III of a five part series that showcases three African American songs and one Caribbean song that have a "that's life" theme. By "that's life themes" I mean songs which reflect and promote the value that some Black people and some non-Black people have of being stoic when bad things happen to them.
This post showcases Joe Simon's 1974 record "It Be's That Way Sometimes".
Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2014/07/nina-simone-it-bes-that-way-sometimes.html for Part I of this series. That post showcases Nina Simone's 1967 record "It Be's That Way" and includes a listing of and comments about "That's life" sayings.
Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2014/07/jimmy-cliff-thats-way-life-goes-example.html for Part II of this series. Part II showcases Jimmy Cliff's 1969 record "That’s The Way Life Goes."
Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2014/07/the-real-meanings-of-breaks-in-kurtis.html for Part IV of this series. Part IV showcases Kurtis Blow's 1980's record "The Breaks" and provides explanations for the various meanings of "the breaks" and other lines including the word "break" that are found in this rap.
Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2014/07/denise-lasalle-it-bes-that-way.html for Part V of this series. Part V showcases Denise LaSalle's 1985 record "It Be's That Way Sometimes".
Those showcased songs are only a sampling of what I call "that's life" songs.
The content of this post is presented for cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.
All copyrights remain with their owners.
Thank to the composer of this featured song and thanks to Joe Simon for his musical legacy. Thanks also to also to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to the publisher of this example on YouTube.
INFORMATION ABOUT JOE SIMON
"Joe Simon (born September 2, 1943) is an American chart-topping, Grammy Award winning, soul and R&B musician. Amongst other chart singles, Simon secured three number one hits on the US Billboard R&B chart between 1969 and 1975...
In 1999 Simon was inducted as a Pioneer Award honoree by the Rhythm and Blues Foundation."
SHOWCASE EXAMPLE: Joe Simon - It be's that way sometimes
Rpjuvi, Uploaded on Sep 14, 2010
Joe Simon - Get down 1974
The YouTube uploader of another sound file of this same song provided the following information: "Joe Simon - It Be's That Way Sometimes
(P. Mitchell); Produced by J.Simon and R.Gerald"
Here are two comments from that example's discussion thread which document that instead of the person who is experiencing something bad consoling himself or herself that "such is life", a person who has experienced something good can say "it be's that way sometimes" in a playful way to someone who has experienced something bad- in this case, while playing cards:
Linda Oliver, 2014
"We used to say it all the time in the 70's, especially when we won a card game in the union building at JSC in Jackson, MS."
makini t.tate, 2014
"U are so-o dead on, this was one of black folk's favorite lines back in the day. slap that card on the table and declare"IT BE'S THAT WAY!!"
“so dead on” = so right [correct]
LYRICS: IT BE'S THAT WAY SOMETIMES*
(sung by Joe Simon)
I been abused and I been misused.
And I’m mad as hell.
In other words I’m stone mad.
You know, I took a young lady out to dinner
And after dinner she said “I’m gonna have to leave you now”.
I said “Do you mean to tell me
I done spent $15.00 or $16.00 on your dinner
and you gonna leave me and ain’t gonna do nothing.?
Do you know what that dirty… woman said?
[She] put her hand or her hips and looked at me and said:
“I knew all the time what you had in mind.
But, Joe Simon, it bes that way sometime.”
Have you ever
that you just couldn’t have.
And have you ever heard
It was so funny,
but you just couldn’t laugh.
Tell me, have you ever been some place,
you was havin a good time
Oh! And you just didn’t wanna leave.
Oh-o, it bes that way sometimes. [male back-up singers sings “it bes that way sometime” along with soloist]
Let me say it again,
It bes that way, and yes it bes that way sometimes.
If you don’t mind hearin the truth,
have you ever, have you ever loved somebody
that didn’t love you.
It’s hard, it’s hard.
And that somebody, that somebody you love
Loves someone else, too.
And that pain is so hard to bare.
Have you ever been down and out,
felt just like you was about to lose your mind.
Oh-o, it bes that way sometimes. [male back up singers sings along with the soloist]
Oh, hey, it bes that way sometimes.
I wanna know do y’all know what I’m talkin about.
You see, life is a funny thing, children.
Life ain’t always in your favor.
Have you ever, have you ever met somebody
that you really did like.
Listen to me good now.
And that somebody, that somebody you like,
that dirty dog, turned around and stabbed you in the back.
You took them to be your friend.
You see a true friend
these days Oh!
its kinda hard to find.
Believe what Joe Simmon tells you
It bes that way sometimes [male back up singers sing “It bes that way some times” after most of the lines in this section]
I just wanna say one more time
It bes that way sometimes
It really bes that way sometimes
Oh, it bes that way sometimes
It really bes that way sometimes
It bes that way sometimes
When you done all about you can do
And like your friend don’t give a damn about you
I tell you it bes that way some time
You give him the clothes off your back
and he turns around and stab you in the back
Oh, you know it really bes that way sometimes
It bes that way some times.
Oh believe me when I tell ya
It really bes that way some times.
*transcription by Azizi Powell from the recording. Additions and corrections are welcome.
"The word "stone" in the third line of this song is an intensifier. It serves the same purpose as the word "very". Another example of the use of the word "stone" this way in R&B/Pop is the 1968 song "Stone Soul Picnic" by The 5th Dimension.
This ends Part III of this series.
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