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Big Road Blues Discussion Forums 2011-03-27T07:38:50+00:00 http://www.bigroadblues.com/forum/feed.php?f=15&t=1397 2011-03-27T07:38:50+00:00 http://www.bigroadblues.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1397&p=109965#p109965 <![CDATA[Re: Fattening frogs for snakes]]>
I've spent hours listening to and comparing the seven songs
predating Sonny Boy Williamson's 1957 "Fattening frogs for snakes" that has
the "frogs and snakes" metaphore in its title or lyrics (there might be
more of the later ilk that I don't know of, of course).

The oldest I find is Virginia Liston's "I'm sick of fattening frogs for
snakes" (3 June 1925):

I dressed him all up, though he was no good,
he played with all the girl's in the neighborhood.
So now I'm tired of fattening frogs for snakes.

This is a rather trite performance, not helped by the reed-organ
accompaniment. (It has one couplet of some merit, though: "The gals around
here are just like leeches, / they [tarry?] in your orchard and steal your
peeches.") In spite of the title, she sings "tired of" throughout.

Rosetta Crawford's "I'm tired of fattenin' frogs for snakes" (1 Feb
1939) is another (and better) version of this song.

The song that both Carrie Edwards and Clara Smith recorded in 1932
("Fattening frogs for snakes", 17 Feb, CS: "(I'm tired of) Fattening' frogs
for snakes", 25 March) is a different song with the refrain:

I done got tired, I mean real tired,
of fattening frogs for snakes.

Apart from the title phrase, I can't see this song relating to either the
earlier or any of the later "Frogs for snakes" songs.

Now we're getting warmer as we come to Bumble Bee Slim's "Fattenin' frogs
for snakes" (11 July 1935):

You got your breakfast in the morning, your dinner on time.
I let you spend my dollar, just like you spend my dime.
I'm gettin' tired, baby, fattening frogs for snakes.
All these many years, baby, I'm just now seen my mistake.

The Mobile Strugglers' "Fattenin' frogs" (July 1949) is a take on this;
less coherent, with fewer verses (three, Bumble Bee's had five) and with a
lyrical change, "Spent my last dollar like you spent my last dime" that is
interesting (see below).

Memphis Slim's "I see my great mistake" (30 Oct 1940) is obviously based on
the Bumble Bee Slim song, using a variation of the refrain:

You know I'm tired of fattening frogs for snakes.
After all these long many years, baby, I just see my great mistake.

All verses, however, are new.

And so we arrive at Sonny Boy Williamson's "Fattening frogs for snakes" (8
Feb 1957), which belongs in the same "reworking" category as Memphis Slim's
song:

It took me a long time to find out my mistake. (2)
(Sp.: It sure did, man.)
But I bet you my bottom dollar,
I'm not fattening no more frogs for snakes.

I found out my downfall back in 1930.
(Sp.: I started checkin'!)
I found out my downfall from 1930.
I'm tellin' all of my friends,
I'm not etc.

Here it is 1957, I've got to correct all of my mistakes.
Oh man, 1957, I've got etc.
I'm tellin' my friends, including my wife, and everybody else, not
fattening etc.

The refrain as well as "mistake" is found in both Bumble Bee Slim's, the
Mobile Strugglers', and Memphis Slim's recordings. As the "dollar"
reference is wanting from Memphis Slim's song, it, IMO, is less likely to
be Sonny Boy's source of inspiration.

Now then, which of the others was his source? Hard to say really; Bumble
Bee Slim was an immensely popular singer during the 1930s, whose records
were targeted at an African-American audicence, whereas Mobile Strugglers
was recorded by American Music, a label for New Orleans jazz fans targeting
at their likes. That would make Bumble Bee Slim the most likely candidate.
But then there's the temption correspondence between "last dollar"

(Mobile Strugglers) and "bottom dollar" (Sonny Boy Williamson) ...
I'll doubt that we'll ever know.

Statistics: Posted by Ben Covington — Sun Mar 27, 2011 7:38 am


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2011-03-26T15:02:30+00:00 http://www.bigroadblues.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1397&p=109940#p109940 <![CDATA[Re: Fattening frogs for snakes]]>

You do all the work and somebody steals it--usually a girl

Statistics: Posted by goldbrick — Sat Mar 26, 2011 3:02 pm


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2011-03-25T20:34:24+00:00 http://www.bigroadblues.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1397&p=109931#p109931 <![CDATA[Re: Fattening frogs for snakes]]> Wakin up this thread.

Heard the song for 1st time the other day on itunes radio blues 30-70's. Great station.

This song really caught my ear. Does anyone know who was accompanying him?
Who else covered the song?
Is this the original?

My take on the meaning is he's tired of worrying.
His mistakes were his worries.

78 version
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPD7qksi ... re=related

Thanks

Statistics: Posted by catman — Fri Mar 25, 2011 8:34 pm


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2009-06-24T21:48:52+00:00 http://www.bigroadblues.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1397&p=96173#p96173 <![CDATA[Re: Fattening frogs for snakes]]> Statistics: Posted by NEONMOONY — Wed Jun 24, 2009 9:48 pm


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2009-06-24T16:57:23+00:00 http://www.bigroadblues.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1397&p=96166#p96166 <![CDATA[Re: Fattening frogs for snakes]]> Statistics: Posted by allanlummox — Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:57 pm


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2009-06-24T16:48:40+00:00 http://www.bigroadblues.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1397&p=96165#p96165 <![CDATA[Re: RE: Fattening frogs for snakes]]>
lorilu wrote:
The last thing that was shared with me was "I refuse to lower my standards to raise your self esteem."

Now THERE's a blues line if there ever was one!

Statistics: Posted by ricochet — Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:48 pm


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2006-05-08T17:33:26+00:00 http://www.bigroadblues.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1397&p=14514#p14514 <![CDATA[RE: Fattening frogs for snakes]]> >"FLATTENING frogs for snakes"! As an ex-snake owner i
>couldn't figure out why anyone would need to flatten the
>frogs before feeding them to their snakes!
>
>ww

thin crust

Statistics: Posted by houndog — Mon May 08, 2006 5:33 pm


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2006-05-08T14:52:59+00:00 http://www.bigroadblues.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1397&p=14513#p14513 <![CDATA[RE: Fattening frogs for snakes]]>
In the mid eighties, I started seeing this CUTE little girl who was in her first year at PCA - where I had also studied. About 8 years previously. After a tiny bit of time, I moved her in to my apartment - and I wouldn't hear of my struggling little student paying a dime towards the rent - I told her to do as well as she could at her classes and I'd take care of her. (Yes, she was that cute)

Now, I was just working at a bookstore and playing music - all I was doing was keeping a roof over her head and food in her flat, yoga - sculpted tummy.

But that was pretty good for her, for 3 years. Then she got sharked out from under me by someone with much more money. See?

But I never did anything like that again - I'd learned from my mistake.

You can bet your last dollar, I won't fatten anymore frogs for snakes.

Statistics: Posted by allanlummox — Mon May 08, 2006 2:52 pm


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2006-05-08T14:37:56+00:00 http://www.bigroadblues.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1397&p=14512#p14512 <![CDATA[RE: Fattening frogs for snakes]]>
The song "might" be talking about doing a good woman wrong and being too blind to see "who's makin'luv to your ole lady, while you was out making luv". Ahh-huh, It's about lending the keys to the kingdom
somebody else and finding out, they have changed the lock.

And oh-yeah, women gets to sing the blues too, equal opportunity thing, sure as sh-t! So what goes around....!
Ain't no use of crying, after you leave yo baby, all by himself.
He done got another woman and now you're a-lone up on the shelf!

So the frog is a good women or man who's love is being taken for granted, this leaves the frog alone in the pond, "jus a lil too long!"

Anyway the snake is just a "snake", and he or she's just looking for a tender morsel, jus a "lil sumthin" to claim as it's own, maybe just for a little while to help get through the "chill" of winter or maybe the snake just learned something when the tables got turned on him and is the one singing the song.

This is about the blues, and singing the blues, so get the story straight, because drunks in the audience carry straight razors and they ain't afraid to knock a little bark of your a..!

Statistics: Posted by santo — Mon May 08, 2006 2:37 pm


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2006-03-03T16:09:10+00:00 http://www.bigroadblues.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1397&p=14511#p14511 <![CDATA[RE: Fattening frogs for snakes]]> Statistics: Posted by lorilu — Fri Mar 03, 2006 4:09 pm


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