Translate

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Danny Baker - "Tootie Ma Is A Big Fine Thing" (information & Preservation Jazz Band lyrics )



Danny Barker, Jan 9, 2016
-snip-
Click https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfGyIOUGkrM&ab_channel=PasteMagazine for a YouTube video of  Preservation Hall Jazz Band's version of  "Tootie Ma Is A Big Fine Thing".

****
Edited by Azizi Powell

Latest revisions including title change- June 14, 2021 

This pancocojams post presents an excerpt of a 2002 article by Thomas L. Morgan entitled "Mardi Gras Indians Influence on the music of New Orleans".

This post also showcases a YouTube sound file of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band with Tom Waits rendition of the the traditional Mardi Gras Indian song "Tootie Ma Is A Big Fine Thing".  

Lyrics for a traditonal version of this song are included in this post along with lyrics for the Preservation Hall Jazz Band version that were posted in that YouTube sound file's discussion thread.

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

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to Danny Baker for his musical legacy. Thanks also to the Preservation Jazz Band and others who have recorded the song "Tootie Ma Is A Big Fine Thing". Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to the publisher of this featured example on YouTube.
-snip-
Click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2021/02/three-youtube-examples-of-mardi-gras.html for the pancocojams posts entitled "Three YouTube Examples Of The Mardi Gras Indian Song "Iko Iko" (also known as "Jockomo").

Also, click 
http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2014/03/meet-de-boys-on-de-battlefront-mardi.html for a pancocojams post entitled "Wild Tchoupitoulas - Meet De Boys On De Battlefront (Mardi Gras Indian song examples, information, & lyrics)". That post includes some information about the Mardi Gras Indians.

****
ARTICLE EXCERPT: "Mardi Gras Indians Influence on the music of New Orleans"
Copyrighted 2002 - 2014 by Thomas L Morgan

https://tlmorgan.com/next/indian.html

...."Mardi Gras Indians have been a part of New Orleans' music and culture for more than 100 years according to some sources and much longer according to others. In many ways what makes Mardi Gras Indians unique is out of sight from most people. Even today there are limited interactions between the Indians and mainstream New Orleans culture. There may be weekly practices at neighborhood watering holes in the fall and winter leading up to Mardi Gras. Even on Mardi Gras Day the unveiling of the year's suit and other activities are limited to the local neighborhoods. Then there are mass appearances on the night of Saint Joseph's Day and Super Sundays and maybe even Jazz and Heritage Festival appearances where the Indians are probably seen by more people but at the same time are completely out of their element.


There are some specific examples in the 20th Century where the titles of the Indian songs inspired New Orleans music and later on more clear examples where their music and lyrics were obvious inspirations. The Creole patois found in the lyrics is rooted in oral tradition and is accompanied by percussion instruments. Most songs are chanted and make liberal use of the call and response tradition. The main song sung normally at the beginning and at the ending of Indian gatherings is "Indian Red," also known as the "Indian prayer." Other titles include "Shallow Water," "Handa Wanda," "Two-Way-Pocky-Way," as well as song reworked from their traditional roots such as "Shoo Fly" and "Little Liza Jane." New songs are added occasionally and older ones reworked to meet the situation.


The first known song to make use of an Indian phrase was Louis Dumaine's 1927 instrumental To-Wa-Bac-A-Way".  Sadly this version's only resemblance to Indian music is in the title. The song that became known as Two Way Pock Y Way started out with specific dance steps accompaning the beat and lyrics according to former Big Chief of the Yellow Pocahontas, Allison "Tootie" Montana.


Jelly Roll Morton's 1938 Library of Congress recordings gives some insight into what Mardi Gras Indian culture was like at the turn of the Twentieth Century. These recordings were never widely distributed nor even known by the general public, so they certainly did not contribute to spreading any influences of New Orleans Indian music. As to the recordings themselves, Morton reveals that he was once may have been a spyboy, though doesn't mention to which tribe he belonged. He does talk about the Spyboy's purpose in the tribe. He reveals that at that time in the city there were four or five tribes. He also gives examples of a couple of Indian chants and accompanying dances. The text from Allan Lomax's book MISTER JELLY ROLL reveals the Creole spelling as "T'ouwais, bas q'ouwais" and response "Ou tendais," though there have been other representations. One possible translation of the phrase is "I'll kill (tuez) you if you don't get out the way, " with the response "Entendez," or "I hear ya!"....

****

INFORMATION ABOUT "TOOTIE MA IS A BIG FINE THING" AND THREE OTHER SONGS RECORDED BY DANNY BAKER IN 1946 
From https://www.myneworleans.com/moulding-the-music/ Moulding the Music: Danny Barker in the here and now; 02/01/2016 Jason Berry
"In 1946, the balladeer Danny Barker played guitar and sang four tracks for a short-lived New York label that constitute the first songs of Mardi Gras Indians – a term of no media currency back then. “Indian Red,” has had many reincarnations since.

Barker also sang a paean to a Big Chief’s woman killed in a crossfire, “Corinne Died on the Battlefield,” which Willie T. and Bo Dollis refitted as “Corey Died on the Battlefield” for The Wild Magnolias in 1973.

Another tune, “Chocko Me Feendo Hey,” was popularized in 1954 as “Jockomo” by Sugar Boy and the Cane Cutters, and 10 years later as a refrain in “Iko Iko” by the Dixie Cups. Barker didn’t create the lines but was the first to use them in studio with a long reach back to streets of his youth.

The last song, “Tootie Ma Is A Big Fine Thing,” has a simple through-line, about a big fine woman “heading up the Ramp” – meaning Rampart Street – on Mardi Gras Day. The chorus, an up-tempo “who-na-nay,” is straight out of the Indian chants."....

****
LYRICS FOR "TOOTIE MA IS A BIG FINE THING"

[Preservation Hall Jazz Band]

Tootie Ma was a big fine thing
Ho Natay, swing that thing.
Tootie Ma was a big fine thing

Ho Natay, swing that thing

Tootie Ma says sure is fine
Ho Natay, swing that thing
Tootie Ma says sure is fine
Ho Natay, swing that thing

Finest gal you ever saw
Done some things against the law
Took my ma, broke my pa
I'm gonna knock on her door

Swing for me on my proud day
Ho Natay, swing that thing
Swing for me on my proud day
Ho Natay, swing that thing.

[Instrumental Bridge]
I'm gonna knock on her door

Swing for me on my proud day
Ho Natay, swing that thing
Swing for me on my proud day
Ho Natay, swing that thing

Tootie Ma says sure is fine
Ho Natay, swing that thing
Tootie Ma says sure is fine
Ho Natay, swing that thing

Tootie Ma can drink some wine
Ho Natay, swing that thing

Tootie Ma can drink some wine
Ho Natay, swing that thing

Tootie Ma went up the rail
Lookin' for some cat to veil
Police put her right in jail
I'm gonna get her out on bail

Swing for me on my proud day
Ho Natay, swing that thing
Swing for me on my proud day
Ho Natay, swing that thing

[Instrumental Outro]


https://genius.com/Preservation-hall-jazz-band-tootie-ma-is-a-big-fine-thing-lyrics

Here's some information that was included on that website:

"
Written sometime in the late 1940s, this traditional Mardi Gras song has elements of blues music mixed with a caribbean feel that perfectly fits the carnival atmosphere of Fat Tuesday."- George Plant, 2015


****
Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.


No comments:

Post a Comment