Memphis Blues

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The Memphis Blues  (1912) 
by W. C. Handy (music) and George A. Norton (lyrics)
The first known recording of the song, recorded by Victor Military Band on 15 July 1914. (help | file info or download)
Sheet music cover

Folks I've just been down, down to Memphis town George A. Norton W. C. Handy MemphisBluesHoneyBoyEvansMinstrels.jpeg Victor Military Band-The Memphis Blues.ogg

[Verse]

Folks I've just been down, down to Memphis town
That's where the people smile, smile on you all the while
Hospitality, they were good to me
I couldn't spend a dime, and had the grandest time
I went out a-dancin' with a Tennessee dear
They had a fellow there named Handy with a band you should hear
And while the whi' folks gently swayed, all the darkies played real Harmony
I never will forget the tune that Handy called the Memphis Blues
Oh them Blues

[Chorus]

They've got a fiddler there that always slickens his hair
An' folks he sure do pull some bow
And when the big Bassoon seconds to the Trombones croon
It moans just like a sinner on Revival Day, on Revival Day
That melancholy strain, that ever haunting refrain
Is like a Darkies sorrow song
Here comes the very part that wraps a spell around my heart
It sets me wild to hear that lovin' tune again
The Memphis Blues

[Verse]

Oh that melody sure appealed to me
Just like a mountain stream rippling on it seemed
Then it slowly died, with a gentle sigh
Soft as the breeze that whines high in the summer pines
Hear me people, hear me people, hear I pray
I'm going to take a million lesson's 'til I learn how to play
Because I seem to hear it yet, simply can't forget that blue refrain
There's nothing like the Handy Band that play'd the Memphis Blues so grand
Oh play them Blues
(chorus)
This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1958, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 50 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.