Monday, June 22, 2015

James Alley Blues

I love you, but you
Treat me poorly. Sometimes I
Wish you would drop dead.

Bob Dylan performed a reasonable version of the "James Alley Blues" in April 1963 at the home of Eve and Mac McKenzie, and it eventually appeared on the hard-to-find "50th Anniversary Collection 1963," which was released in November 2013. The recording that he took it from, by Richard "Rabbit" Brown, is one of the strangest and most amazing blues songs I've ever heard, due in no small part to Brown's oddball voice. Dylan used the "sugar for sugar/salt for salt/Well if you can't get along with me, then it's your own fault" line, amended, in the song "Crash on the Leveee," also known as "Down in the Flood," several years later.

Times right now ain't nothin' like they used to be 
Well times right now ain't nothin' like they used to be 
You know I'll tell you all the truth, won't you take my word from me

Well I seen better days, but I ain't puttin' up with these 
Well I've seen better days, but I ain't puttin' up with these 
I had a lot better time with those women down in New Orleans 

Well I was born in the country so she thinks I'm easy to lose 
Well I was born in the country so she thinks I'm easy to lose 
She wants to hitch me to a wagon and drive me like a mule 

I bought her a gold ring and I pay the rent 
I bought her a gold ring and I pay the rent 
She tried to get me to wash her clothes but I got good common sense 

Well if you don't want me then why don't you just tell me so? 
Well if you don't want me then why don't you just tell me so? 
It ain't like I'm a man that ain't got nowhere else to go

I give you sugar for sugar, but all you want is salt for salt 
I give you sugar for sugar, but all you want is salt for salt 
Well if you can't get along with me, then it's your own fault 

Well, you want me to love you, but then you just treat me mean 
Yea, you want me to love you, but then you just treat me mean 
You're my daily thought and you're my nightly dream 

Well, sometimes I think that you're just too sweet to die 
Ah, sometimes I think that you're just too sweet to die 
And other times I think that you ought to be buried alive



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