Lem Fowler / Down And Out Blues

Deland Robert deland_robert@MACMAIL1.CSG.MOT.COM
Tue Mar 1 09:52:45 EST 1994

Now that Vincent has a copy of the Boogie Woogie Blues CD, I'd like to share
the lyrics for the last cut, Lem Fowler's "Down and Out Blues".  This tune was
recorded on a 78 (by Clara Smith?) with Fowler accompanying.  I haven't heard
any of their recordings, but it sure would be interesting to compare them with
the piano rolls.

I always enjoy piano rolls better when I can read or sing the lyrics, and in
this case the lyrics really help get the mood across.  Note the humor in the
last two verses!  I include the lyrics on a sheet of paper when I recut piano
rolls.  The words are spaced strangely to help you keep them in sync with the
music on the roll.

I want to emphasize that this loose, "black" style of lyric with comments on
the original roll is VERY unusual for piano rolls; in fact I can think of no
other rolls which come this close to duplicating the "black" feel which is so
common on 78's from the same period.  This is to Fowler's credit; he must have
been a very interesting character.  BTW, almost nothing is known about Fowler.
Mike Montgomery found a few contracts and a publicity photo in the Fowler file
at QRS in the 1970's, and that's about it.  As I mentioned before it isn't too
common for us to actively participate in music reproduced in the home anymore,
but (Vincent) I strongly urge you to sing these lyrics as you listen to the
track on your CD.  Maybe a shot or two of whiskey will help loosen your tongue
first!  Remember, think __ornery__ (that shouldn't be difficult, should it?!!)

Down And Out Blues
((c)1928 o Lemuel Fowler)
played by the composer Lem Fowler
Original: QRS 4471 o December 1928
Recut: BluesTone 137187 o Summer 1992
Produced by Rob DeLand o Grayslake, IL  60030

(spoken over 12-bar intro.):
(at beginning):         Gonna put y'all in the alley now
(near middle):  Got yo' water on too
(at end):               Hear this mean vamp

(spoken over 4-bar vamp):
(near middle):  Just like in Chicago

Now the blues    done got me        the
Mean-    est kind    of blues,        the
Blues I got's    the meanest kind of blues.
Lawd,    Lawd,    Lawd,    Lawd,        I
Guess that's why    they're so darn hard to lose.

I'm down    and out        and
Broke    as I    can be,        I'm
Down and out,    and broke as I    can be,
Lawd,    Lawd,    Lawd,    Lawd,        been
Broke so long    bein' broke don't worry me, not much.

When I    had money
I    had lots    of friends        when
I had money I had lots of friends,
Lawd,    Lawd,    Lawd,    Lawd,        since
I been broke    my friends won't take me in.

(over "chime" chords):
They'll give me licker,        but they
Won't give me no food,        they'll
Give me licker, but won't give me no food,    #011#(hear them chimes)
Lawd,    Lawd,    Lawd,    Lawd,        I can
Tell by that    they don't mean me no good.        #011#(now put me in the alley)

(spoken over two 12-bar solo verses):
(near middle of 1st verse):     (Listen at them blues)
(near middle of 2nd verse):     (Just like in Chicago)

(melody in bass):
If I get lucky    and get some dough again,
If I get lucky    and get some dough again,
Lawd,    Lawd,    Lawd,    Lawd,        I'll
Hold on to it    'cause it's my only friend.

I got a gal    in town        but I'm
Scared    to call her name,        got a
Gal in town I'm    scared to call    her name,
Lawd,    Lawd,    Lawd,    Lawd,        she's a
Married gal     but she's my gal just the same.

When I    get so I        can't
Sing    these blues    no more, Lawd, Lawdy when I
Get so I    can't play these blues    no more,
Lawd,    Lawd,    Lawd,    Lawd,        I'm gonna
Write my name    on my sweet baby's door

spoken over "coda" (last five notes):
That's all

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