Mudcat Café message #3517751 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #150868   Message #3517751
Posted By: Joe Offer
21-May-13 - 05:39 PM
Thread Name: Origins: 'Talkin' Songs (Bob Dylan, PP&M and...)
Subject: ADD: Oh, Mourner
PHJim, I'd never heard of Chris Bouchillon (August 21, 1893 September 18, 1968), so I went to Spotify and found a treasure trove of very entertaining songs. Thank you very much for the tip.

We have a couple of songs in the Digital Tradition that are very close to Bouchillon's talking blues. One is Original Talking Blues as recorded by John Greenway. Another is Talking Blues, attributed in the DT to Woody Guthrie - but I haven't been able to find a Woody recording of this particular version to verify the lyrics or the attribution.

The Chris Bouchillon song draws its lyrics from earlier sources. Take a look at Richard Matteson's Bluegrass Messengers page for a sample of related songs.

Also take a look at Oh, Mourner in the Journal of American Folklore's article on "Songs and Rhymes from the South" (Volume XXVIII, No. 108, 1915 & 1916)- page 135:

VII. SONGS OF THE PLANTATION

I. OH, MOURNER
    (From Mississippi; negroes; MS. of F. R. Rubel; 1909.)

Some folks say that a nigro (sic) won't steal;
I caught two in my corn feild (sic).
One had a shovel and the other had a hoe;
If that ain't stealing, I don't know.
Some folks say that a nigro won't rouse;
I caught two in my smoke house.
One had a middling, and the other had a ham;
If that ain't stealing, I'll don't know.

I went to a chicken coop on my knees;
I thought I heard a chicken sneeze.

Way down yonder on Punkin Creek
Where those nigros grow leben feet,
Heels stick out so far behind
Chickens roost there most all the time.

I had a wife and I fed her on grease;
Every time I knocked her down she hollowed "police!"

Ain't no use in me workin' so hard;
I got a gal in the white folks yard.
She fetch me meat and she fetch me lard.
Ain't a bit of use in me workin' so hard.

Yonder come Melinda. How do I know?
Know her by her walk; I seen her walk before.

Kill the chicken; save me the wing;
Think I'm workin'; ain't doing a thing.

Kill the turkey; save me the bones;
Drink the beer; save me the foam.

Kill the chickens; save me the breast;
Think I'm workin', but I'm taking my rest.

I like my coffee, I likes it strong;
When I git to eatin', bring the corn-dodger along.

I likes my lasses good and strong;
When I git to eatin', bring the butter along.

I likes my wife, I likes my baby;
I likes my flap-jacks floating in gravy.

Gimme chicken; gimme pie;
Gimme some of everything the white folks buy.

Some folks say that a nigro won't steal;
I caught two in my water-melon feild,
Preaching and praying all the time,
And pulling the melons off the vine.

I wouldn't marry a yaller gal;
I'll tell you the reason why:
She's all the time sitting in another man's lap
And telling her husband lies.

I wouldn't marry a black gal;
I'll tell you the reason why:
Her nose is always snotty,
And her lips is never dry.

Nigro was a sitting on the log;
One eye on the trigger, the other on the hog.

The gun said, "Boom!" the hog fell bip!
The nigro jumped on him with all his grip.
[Spoken] Gitting the chiddlings!

I will dive in that pige pen a-fighting;
I ought [to] been that hog-jaw bighting.
With a hog head in my hand.

Yonder come my uncle; axe heavy with lead,
Throwed across my shoulder to kill that barrow dead.

Spare ribs is rottening; back-bones ain't but a few;
Run and git the carvin' knife, and we'll have a barber cewe.

I wouldn't marry a widow,
For all the money in the land;
It takes six men to feed her,
Workin' with both hands.

When you come home from work at night,
It's "Hello! my pretty old gal!"
And then she whispers softly,
"There ain't no meal in the barrel."

I went down to Malinda's house;
Malinda she was gone;
I sat down in Malinda's chair
And rocked till she come home.

She sat me in the parlor;
She cooled me with her fan;
She whispered in her mother's ear,
"I'm fooling with a gambling man."


-Joe-