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RAGGED & DIRTY

(trad./Willie Brown; "Words and Music by Bob Dylan")


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Studio recording by Bob Dylan, Malibu, CA, May 1993, released on "World Gone Wrong", Oct 1993; performed live at Supper Club, New York, NY, shows, Nov 16-17, 1993.


JOHN WAY:
As Dylan says, "one of the Willie Browns did this". Actually it was the obscure William Brown od Sadie Beck's Plantation, Arkansas, who recorded Ragged And Dirty plus two other songs ["Mississippi Blues" and "East St. Louis Blues"] under his own name for the Library of Congress on July 16, 1942 [released on Library of Congress AFS L59]....

The song is much older than William Brown's version... It has often appeared on record under the title of Broke And Hungry or similar.... Blind Lemon Jefferson recorded Broke And Hungry in Chicago around November 1926, and John Estes... cut his own version, Broken Hearted, Ragged And Dirty Too, in Memphis, September 26, 1929.

John Way, World Gone Wrong -- More About the Songs, Telegraph 47, Winter 1993, pp. 42-43.


ORIGINAL WILLIAM BROWN LYRICS
as reprinted by Alan Lomax, The Land Where the Blues Began, New York, 1993, pp. 9-10.

ALAN LOMAX: "Well, I ain't got no voice, but I'll give you the words of an old Memphis song." William Brown began to sing in his sweet true country voice, poking in delicate passages at every pause, like the guitar was a second voice commenting with feeling on the ironic words of the blues....

This was the real blues.... The blues in print give you the skeleton only. If you've never heard the blues, get yourself a record and listen and then come back and join us.... William Brown's song can last until the morning....

Alan Lomax, The Land Where the Blues Began, New York, 1993, p. 9


Now I'm broke and I'm hungry, ragged and dirty, too.
What I want to know, baby, kin I stay all night with you.

Well, I peeped in my window, but I couldn't see through the blinds,
Heard the bedstrings poppin' and heard my baby cryin'.

If I can't come in, baby, I won't be back no mo.
When I leave this time, you can hang your crepe on your door.

I saw your hair ain't curly and your doggone eyes ain't blue,
And if you don't want me, what in the world I want with you.


DYLAN LYRICS FROM "HIGHWAY 61 INTERACTIVE" CD ROM
© 1993 Special Rider Music


Lord, I'm broke, I'm hungry, ragged and dirty too,
Broke and hungry, ragged and dirty too.
If I clean up, sweet momma, can I stay all night with you?

Lord, I went to my window, babe, I couldn't see through my blinds,
Went to my window, babe, I couldn't see through my blinds.
Heard my best friend a-comin' and I thought I heard my baby cry.

Lord, if I can't come in here, baby, then just let me sit down in your door,
If I can't come in here, baby, then just let me sit down in your door.
And I would leave so soon that your man won't never know.

How can I live here, baby, Lord, and feel at ease?
How can I live here, baby, Lord, and feel at ease?
Well, that woman I got, man, she does just what she feels.

Lord, you shouldn't mistreat me, baby, because I'm young and wild,
Shouldn't mistreat me, baby, because I'm young and wild.
You must always remember, baby, you was once a child.

'Cause I'm leaving in the morning, if I have to ride the blinds,
Leaving in the morning, if I have to ride the blinds.
Well, I been mistreated and I swear I don't mind dyin'.


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