maandag 7 juli 2014

Can I Do It For You (1930) / Don't Tear My Clothes (1935) / Mama Let Me Lay It On You (1936) / Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand (1957) / Chevrolet (1959) / Baby Let Me Follow You Down (1962) / Baby Let Me Take You Home (1964) / Hey Gip (1965)


The Originals © by Arnold Rypens

This topic is about a song with a melody, that goes back at least 80 years.

When Bob Dylan recorded "Baby Let Me Follow You Down" for his debut-album, he wasn't fully aware of the complete history of the song.

In the introduction to this song on his first album Bob says:
"I first heard this from Ric von Schmidt. He lives in Cambridge. Ric's a blues guitar player. I met him one day in the... green pastures of Harvard University..."
Dylan came to Von Schmidt's home one evening in 1960 to jam, when Eric performed for him a version of "Baby Let Me Lay It On You", which he thought was "a Blind Boy Fuller song that I had learned from another white guy, Geno Foreman"

Eric Von Schmidt:
Geno [Foreman] could fingerpick like a mother. We'd play all day. We knew different stuff and we'd show each other. He had learned "Baby, Let Me Lay It On You" off a Blind Boy Fuller '78 record and he taught me that....

"Baby, Let Me Follow You Down" (learned from Eric Von Schmidt) is in fact a rewrite of "Mama Let Me Lay It On You" (recorded by Blind Boy Fuller, New York, NY, Apr 29, 1936), which Reverend Gary Davis claimed to have written. In the mid 1930's Blind Boy Fuller had met and recorded with Gary Davis and learned several songs from him.

But there are several recordings, that predate Blind Boy Fuller's version.
All with the same tune, but different titles. The lyrics deal all about a man, who will buy his woman anything, from a Cadillac to a Chevrolet, or to get laid.
This theme was picked up in the 1960's in songs like "Chevrolet" and "Hey Gip"



  • Walter Coleman  (1936)  
  • State Street Boys  (1935)
  • Kansas Joe and Memphis Minnie  (1930)



  • The Originals © by Arnold Rypens

    Reverend Gary Davis' claim of authorship is therefore disputable and the song is most likely traditional.


    Here's the oldest version of this songcluster I could find:

    Kansas Joe and Memphis Minnie (1930)  (as "Can I Do It For You? part 1 and part 2")
    Recorded February 21, 1930 in Memphis, TN.
    Released on Vocalion 1523

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    Listen here to part 1:



    In "Can I Do It For You? part 2" Kansas Joe will buy Memphis Minnie a Chevrolet, which she refuses, but a Sedan Ford is alright for her.

    http://www.oldielyrics.com/lyrics/memphis_minnie/can_i_do_it_for_you_part_2.html

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    Listen here to part 2:





    The song here below has different lyrics, but the tune is the same.

    (c) State Street Boys (1935)  (as "Don't Tear My Clothes")
    Carl Martin: vocals / Big Bill Broonzy: guitar / Black Bob: piano / Zeb Wright: violin
    Recorded January 10, 1935
    Released on Okeh 8962 and Vocalion 03002

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    Listen here:





    (c) Walter Coleman (1936) (as "Mama Let Me Lay It On You")
    Recorded February 8, 1936 in Chicago
    Released on Decca 7157

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    Listen here:



    Walter Coleman's "Mama Let Me Let Me Lay It On You" (here above) is the earliest recorded version with that title. He wants to buy her just a diamond ring and a NEW BED.
    2 months later Blind Boy Fuller recorded a version (here below) in which he promises his "mama" a Cadillac Car.

    http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=408.10;wap2



    (c) Blind Boy Fuller (1936)  (as "Mama Let Me Lay It On You")
    Recorded April 29, 1936 in New York City.
    First ad in Melotone flyer August 1936.
    Released on Melotone 6-08-54, Perfect 6-08-54 and Oriole 6-08-54.

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    http://www.bluesworld.com/ARC.pdf

    Reissued on Vocalion 03071 and Conqueror 8756

    Listen here:






    In 1957 Professor Longhair used the melody of "Can I Do It For You?" / "Mama Let Me Lay It On You", but he does not need to get laid at once, he just wants to "Hold Her Hand".

    (c) Professor Longhair (1957)  (as "Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand")
    Recorded at Cosimo Matassa’s studio in the French Quarter on Governor Nicholls Street.
    Charles ‘Hungry’ Williams (drums), Frank Fields (bass), Justin Adams (guitar),  Lee Allen (tenor-sax) and Alvin ‘Red’ Tyler (baritone-sax).
    Released in November 1957 on Ebb 121.
    Ebb label owned by Mrs. Lee Rupe (ex-wife of Art Rupe - founder of Specialty Records, Los Angeles)

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    Listen here:

    http://hotgblog.hipcast.com/download/c29ce194-1856-7521-899d-22c5c695cfcf.mp3



    (c) Lonnie & Ed Young (1959)  (as "Chevrolet")
    On September 21, 1959 Alan Lomax was in Como, Mississippi to record the Young Brothers.
    They sang a very authentic version of "Chevrolet", which could have been the inspiration for the Donovan song "Hey Gyp (Dig The Slowness)" (SEE BELOW)

    http://www.discogs.com/Various-Roots-Of-The-Blues/master/616227

    http://clio.lib.olemiss.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/lomax/id/2018/rec/16

    Listen here:





    (c) Bob Dylan (1962)  (as "Baby Let Me Follow You Down")
    Released in March 1962 on his debut-album.

    www.discogs.com/Bob-Dylan-Bob-Dylan/release/4921091

    As I said above Dylan had learned this song from Ric Von Schmidt, who had learned it from Geno Foreman, who had learned it from Blind Boy Fuller.

    On the version on his debut-album Bob will do anything if she lets him follow her down

    "Yes I'll do anything in this godalmighty world
    If you just let me follow you down"

    Baby, Let Me Follow You Down

    Listen here:



    In the 1962 Witmark demo there are some additional verses:

    "I'll buy you a diamond ring, I'll buy you a wedding gown
    Yes I'll do anything in this godalmighty world
    If you just let me follow you down"

    Listen here:



    And in a live 1966 version there are some more additional verses:

    "I'll buy you a diamond ring, I'll buy you a wedding gown
    Well I'll do anything in this godalmighty world
    If you just let me follow you down

    I'll buy you a broken twine, honey, just for you to climb
    I'll do anything in this godalmighty world
    if you just once drive me out of my mind

    I'll buy you a serpent skirt,
    I'll buy you a velvet shirt
    I'll do anything in this godalmighty world
    if you just don't make me hurt"

    Listen here:



    http://dylanchords.info/01_bobdylan/baby_let_me_follow_you_down.htm



    (c) Dave Van Ronk (1964)  (as "Baby Let Me Lay It On You")
    Released in 1964 on the album "Just Dave Van Ronk"

    Dave Van Ronk’s version possibly also influenced Dylan.
    Dave Van Ronk was a close friend of Bob Dylan at the time.
    It was probably the arrangement of 2 songs ("House Of The Rising Sun" and "Baby Let Me Lay It On You") that was developed by Dave Van Ronk, that Bob Dylan used on his 1962 debut album.
    Van Ronk discusses this in Martin Scorsese's documentary No Direction Home. In the interview, Van Ronk said that he was intending to record it at that time, and that Dylan copied his version of the song.



    (c) Hoagy Lands (1964) (as "Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand")
    Released in January 1964 on Atlantic 2217

    http://www.45cat.com/record/452217

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    Listen here:




    http://www.originals.be/en/originals.php?id=11234

    Maybe Hoagy Lands' version was inspired by Professor Longhair's version (SEE ABOVE)



    (c) The Animals' "Baby Let Me Take You Home" (1964), is another adaptation, closely following the Hoagy Lands version of earlier that year.
    On the first release of the Animals-version (March 1964) writing credits are listed as Price, Burdon, Valentine, Chandler, Steel. (SEE LABEL BELOW)

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic


    The Mustangs version here below was released just after the Animals-version  (May 1964) as a sort of answer-record, just to remind the Animals who "wrote" the song.
    On subsequent releases of the Animals' version of "Baby Let Me Take You Home" credits therefore go to Bert Berns and Wes Farrell ??!! (SEE LABEL BELOW)

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    Listen here:





    (c) Mustangs (1964)  (as "Baby Let Me Take You Home")
    Released in May 1964
    The Mustangs were none other than the two songwriters themselves, Bert Berns and his buddy Wes Farrell.
    On the same backing track as the Hoagy Lands version above, both were produced by Bert Berns.

    http://www.bertberns.com/jukebox/keetch_records.html

    http://www.45cat.com/record/nc978564us

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    Listen here:





    (c) Donovan (1965)  (as "Hey Gyp (Dig The Slowness)".
    Recorded October 1965 in London.
    Although Donovan is often credited as this song's author, it dates back to "Can I Do It For You" by Kansas Joe and Memphis Minnie. Donovan has said that he didn't know who wrote it so he got the credit. He retitled it "Hey Gyp" because his road buddy's name was Gypsy Dave (now sculptor Gyp Mills). It is sung as a boy-girl exchange.
    Released on the B-side of "Turquoise".

    http://www.45cat.com/record/7n15984

    http://www.discogs.com/Donovan-Turquoise/release/4342463

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hey_Gyp_(Dig_the_Slowness)

    Listen here:





    (c) Animals (1966)  (as "Hey Gyp")
    Released in 1966 on their album Animalism.

    Listen here:



    After the reformed band Eric Burdon & The Animals performed it on their live shows, it was released as a single under the name of the new band





    (c) Them (1967)  (as "Hey Gyp (Dig The Slowness)".

    http://www.discogs.com/Them-Belfast-Gypsies-Them-Belfast-Gypsies/master/240569

    Listen here:





    (c) Jim Kweslin and the Jug Band (1966)  (as "Chevrolet")  (credited to Ed & Lonnie Young)

    http://www.discogs.com/viewimages?release=2833956

    Listen here:





    (c) Taj Mahal (1971) (as "Chevrolet") (credited to Ed & Lonnie Young)

    http://www.discogs.com/viewimages?release=5597411

    Listen here:





    (c) Robben Ford and the Blue Line (1995)  (as "Chevrolet")

    http://www.discogs.com/Robben-Ford-And-The-Blue-Line-Handful-Of-Blues/release/2455257

    Listen here:




    The song was also used in a 2007 Super Bowl commercial with the opening line "I'll buy you a Chevrolet" sung by May J Blige.



    http://www.splendad.com/ads/show/458-Chevrolet-Singers




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