Translate

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Vibrations - Ain't Not Greens In Harlem (lyrics & video)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part II of a two part series on the soul food dish "greens".

Part II showcases a sound file and my transcription of lyrics for the 1972 comic Rhythm & Blues/early Hip Hop song "Ain't No Greens In Harlem".

Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2016/02/1925-african-american-dance-song-greasy.html for Part I of this series. Part I provides information about "collard greens". Collard greens and kale are the vegetables that African Americans usually mean when we refer to "greens".

Part I also showcases the lyrics to the African American dance song "Greasy Greens" that is included in the 1925 book The Negro And His Songs A Study Of Typical Negro Songs In The South by Howard W. Odum & Guy B. Johnson.

In addition, Part I features an instructional video on how to cook collard greens, Southern soul food style - but with smoked turkey legs instead of pork.

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

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to the Vibrations for their musical legacy. Thanks to all those who are quoted in this psot, and thanks to the instructor and publisher of the featured video.

****
INFORMATION ABOUT COLLARD GREENS
Collard greens and kale are the vegetables that African Americans usually mean when we refer to "greens".

Here's an excerpt of the Wikipedia article on "Collard Greens".
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collard_greens
..."Collard greens are a staple vegetable of Southern U.S. cuisine. They are often prepared with other similar green leaf vegetables, such as kale, turnip greens, spinach, and mustard greens in "mixed greens".[5] They are generally eaten year-round in the South. Typical seasonings when cooking collards consist of smoked and salted meats (ham hocks, smoked turkey drumsticks, pork neckbones, fatback or other fatty meat), diced onions, vinegar, salt, and black, white, or crushed red, pepper, and some cooks add a small amount of sugar. Traditionally, collards are eaten on New Year's Day,[6] along with black-eyed peas or field peas and cornbread, to ensure wealth in the coming year,[7][8] as the leaves resemble folding money.[9][10] Cornbread is used to soak up the "pot liquor", a nutrient-rich collard broth."...

****
LYRICS*- AIN'T NO GREENS IN HARLEM
(as sung by The Vibrations)

Group- Ain’t no greens in Harlem
That’s it my man, understand.
Ain’t no greens in Harlem, y’all
That’s it my man, understand.

Lead singer rapping:
Had a taste inside me
For some good old fashioned greens.
Group - Yeah!
Didn’t want no yams.
Didn’t want no ham.
Didn’t want no butterbeans.
Group - What!
I shot down to the market.
And there I saw a sign.
Group - Yeah!
I must be goin crazy
Or else I’m goin blind.
Because the sign said:
Group - Ain’t no greens in Harlem.
Lead - I didn’t read that.
Group - That’s it my man, understand.
Lead - I think something’s wrong with my nose.
Group - Ain’t no greens in Harlem.
Lead - Something’s wrong.
Group - That’s it my man, understand.
Lead - He’s what?!
Group - Ain’t no greens in Harlem, y’all.
That’s it my man, understand.
He been gone
So long.
He ain’t comin back.
Lead -Y’all no where he went?
Group - Ain’t comin back.

Lead singer rapping:
I caught myself a subway.
I got off way ‘cross town.
Group - Yeah!
I’m gonna get myself some greens today
Or tear the damn door down.
Group - Oh yeah!
I finally found the window
And eased myself inside.
Group - Yeah!
But the rats got there before I did
So I left unsatisfied.

Group - Ain’t no greens in Harlem, y’all.
Lead - What you say?
That’s it my man, understand.
Lead - Can you believe this?!
Ain’t no greens in Harlem.
Lead - Oh, my goodness.
That’s it my man, understand.
Lead - I don’t know what I’mma do now.
Ain’t no greens in Harlem, y’all.
Lead - Anybody know where he went?
That’s it my man, understand.
He been gone
So long.
Ain’t comin back.
Lead - You mean NEVER?!
Group - Ain’t comin back.
Lead- Oh, my goodness.

[music]

Lead - I finally got myself together.
And ran the whole game down.
Group - Yeah!
There’s only one thing left to do
When there ain’t no greens around.
Group - Oh, yes.
I’ll have some greens another time
I’ll settle for some bird.
Group - Yeah!
But when I turned my radio on.
THIS is what I heard:
Recorded voice: Ah, there’s sad news tonight, ladies and gentlemen.
The poultry workers of America just went on strike.
There is NO chicken in Harlem or elsewhere.
Lead: WHAT?!
No chicken in Harlem?!
[Crying] Aah Ha Haa Haaa!
Group - Ain’t no chicken in Harlem.
Poultry mans on strike.
Lead - [Crying] Aah Ha Haa Haaa!
Group - Ain’t no chicken in Harlem, y’all.
Lead - [Crying] Aah Ha Haa Haaa!
Poultry man on strike.
Group - Ain’t no greens in Harlem, y’all.
Lead - Ah, no!
That’s it my man, understand.
Lead - Ah, no. Don’t tell me that.
Group- Ain’t no greens in Harlem.
Lead - Ah, Lawd, there ain’t no greens.
Group - That’s it my man, understand.
Lead- [Cryin] Ahh haa haa.
Group - Ain’t no greens in Harlem.
Lead - Give me some chicken, I don’t want a lot.
Group- Ain’t no greens in Harlem, y’all.
Lead- [crying] Ahh haa!
I didn’t want no yams.
I didn’t want no yams.
Group-Ain’t no greens in Harlem.
Lead- I didn’t want no butterbeans.
All I wanted was a little bit of greens.
or just a little bird.
Group Ain’t no greens in Harlem

[song fades out]
-snip-
This is my transcription from the sound file found below. Italics means that I'm unsure about my transcription of those words.
Additions and corrections are welcome.

Explanation of several terms:
"greens" = probably refers to "Collard greens"

"yams, ham, and butterbeans" = additional examples of "soul food" [Consider, for example the Old Time Music song "Cornbread & Butterbeans" by Carolina Chocolate Drops and other groups.]

"bird" = in the context of this song = fried chicken

"I shot down to the market." = I hurried down to the market.

"I finally got myself together." - I finally pulled myself together (in the context of this song, "made peace with the fact that I wouldn't get any greens.")

"And ran the whole game down." = And figured out what to do given the situation

****
FEATURED VIDEO: The Vibrations - Ain't No Greens In Harlem



Marty Spitfly, Uploaded on Aug 15, 2010
-snip-
Click http://www.uncamarvy.com/Jayhawks/jayhawks.html for information about the Vibrations vocal group.

****
Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.

No comments:

Post a Comment