Don’t Ease Me In

The wind cut into his skin and grey skies pressed down on the rotting town, but at least he was home.  The guy had been “all night long coming home”, so he probably did a lot of drinking with his friends and even though he is back home now, he is not ready to end the party.  On September 28, 1939, legendary jazz pianist and composer Jelly Roll Morton played ‘Don’t You Leave Me Here’ for Alan Lomax, which is very similar to the Texas Ragtime song ‘Don’t Leave Me Here (Don’t Ease Me In)’ that was recorded by Henry Thomas in 1928.  On several songs, Thomas accompanied himself on guitar and on quills, a folk instrument fabricated from cane reeds.  The instrument is similar in sound to the zampoña, used by musicians in Peru and Bolivia.  His legacy is sustained by four songs. ‘Fishin’ Blues’ which was covered by Taj Mahal and The Lovin’ Spoonful.  ‘Bull Doze Blues’ which was recorded by Canned Heat with new lyrics, and retitled ‘Goin’ Up The Country’ and ‘Honey Won’t You Allow Me One More Chance’ which was covered by Bob Dylan as ‘Honey Just Allow Me One More Chance’.  His song ‘Don’t Ease Me In’ was covered by the Grateful Dead.  Henry Thomas made a series of recordings from 1927 to 1929, before he decided to retire from music.

Tracing the origins of old songs can get confusing and lead to chaos, as in the chorus of the Henry Thomas song, he sings “I’m Alabama bound”, which can be traced back to a 1910 instrumental single by Prince’s Orchestra that was written by John J. Puderer and Robert Hoffman.  Adding to the confusion, Trixie Smith recorded ‘Railroad Blues’ in 1925 and that song contains the lyrics “I’m Alabama bound”.  The song ‘Alabama Bound’ was a hit for Papa Charlie Jackson in the mid 20s, & in different forms found its way into the repertoire of such diverse artists as Jelly Roll Morton & Leadbelly.  In an interview with Alan Lomax, Jelly Roll Morton claimed to have written the song ‘Alabama Bound’ in 1905 which he recorded in 1939 as ‘Don’t You Leave Me Here’ claiming that he made the song up when he was in the Alabama barrel house circuit.  A bar where whiskey is served straight from the barrel is called a barrelhouse.  Add a piano and you’ve got yourself a party.  The barrelhouses of the rural South were rough wooden shacks where the African American laborer community gathered to drink and dance at the edge of small towns and levee camps.  I can’t dance.  No really, I can’t.  Please stop asking.  I am glad we got that settled.

What is this song about, do the lyrics have any significance?  To ease is to make milder or less severe, to relieve or assuage one’s grief or pain.  He “was standing at the corner Talking to Miss Brown” and when he “turned around, She was way cross town”, but she was probably not up to any type of treachery or involved in any conspiracy, she just knew how to jet away.  He is out with a dollar in his hand “looking for a woman”, even though he has one at home that is “sweet and true”.  Some people just can’t be trusted, as when you turn your back and they steal pickles and maybe this guy was the pickle thief from La La Land.  His girl brings him coffee and tea which are both wet and probably quenched his thirst after a long night of drinking.  I am sure that she would have given him a beet, if he asked for that, as they are packed with essential vitamins, minerals and plant compounds, some of which have medicinal properties, but maybe he did not like beets, thinking that they taste like tar.

Don’t ease, don’t ease
Don’t ease me in
I’ve been all night long coming home
Don’t ease me in
I was standing at the corner
Talking to Miss Brown
Well I turned around, sweet moma
She was way cross town
So I’m walking down the street
With a dollar in my hand
I’ve been looking for a woman, sweet moma
Ain’t got no man
The girl I love
She’s sweet and true
You know the dress she wears, sweet moma
It’s pink and blue
She brings me coffee
You know she brings me tea
She brings ‘bout every damn thing
But the jailhouse key

Written for Sheryl’s Daily Word Prompt – Assuage, for Roger Shipp’s Daily Addictions prompt – Beet, for Normal Happenings Daily Inkling prompt – I Can’t Dance. No Really, I Can’t. Please Stop Asking, for the Daily Spur prompt – Significance, for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie First Line Friday hosted by Dylan, for FOWC with Fandango – Conspiracy, for Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt – La La Land, for Linda G. Hill’s ‘Life in progress’ JusJoJan January prompt – Chaos, for January Writing Prompts – The pickle thief, for Ragtag Community – Retire, for Di’s Three Things Challenge prompt words – Wet Tar Jet and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Community.

15 thoughts on “Don’t Ease Me In

    1. Thanks Li. I am in the middle of writing two different posts right now, one for Love Is In The Blog where I am going with the Billie Holiday song I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm. I am also writing about the Grateful Dead song Help On The Way for Song Lyric Sunday.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That was one of the most interesting tours I’ve seen…short…very short but a good idea with the right marketing. They were great in this film.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I was glad to find tar was a prompt, as I love beets and think they taste more like candy than tar. Another very informative well researched post. But then again, I am not surprised as I have come to expect that here.

    Liked by 1 person

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