“Weed Smoker’s Dream” — Harlem Hamfats (1936) — with lyric, transcribed

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Harlem Hamfats Vol. 1-Hamfats Swing-1a1936 Weed Smokers Dream-Harlem Hamfats-Vocalion V.1005

Weed Smoker’s Dream (Kansas Joe McCoy, Herb Morand)

The Harlem Hamfats — issued in 1936 on the single Vocalion V.1005, c/w “Let Your Linen Hang Low”* — The label gives the full title of the song as “Weed Smoker’s Dream (Why don’t you do now),” and credits the songwriting to “McCoy, Morand,” which would be Harlem Hamfats members Kansas Joe McCoy and Herb Morand.

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Sitting on a million, sitting on it everyday
Can’t make no money giving your stuff away
Why don’t you do now, like the millionaires do?
Put your stuff on the market and make a million too

Fay’s a betting women, she bets on every hand
She’s a tricking mother for you, everywhere she land
Why don’t you do now, like the millionaires do?
Put your stuff on the market and make a million too

May’s a good-looking frail, she lives down by the jail
On her back door she got hot stuff for sale
Why don’t you do now, like the millionaires do?
Put your stuff on the market and make a million too

transcription by musicdoc1 (“doc”) on 29 December 2015

Our page on the song “Why Don’t You Do Right,” which is a later version of “Weed Smoker’s Dream” credited solely to Kansas Joe McCoy, contains selected recordings of both songs.

Notes:
1. The second line in the third section, “On her back door she got hot stuff for sale,” is given incorrectly, in my opinion, in all other transcriptions that I’ve seen. One of the most common transcriptions has this line as “On her back though she got hot stuff for sale.” The word “though” in this instance is an adverb which means the same as “however,” or “nevertheless.” It implies contrast with something that was said previously. But we have no contrast here. There would be no reason for the songwriter to put the word “though” in this place. I believe the correct word is “door.” On her “back door,” she has a sign, in actuality or figuratively, advertising “Hot stuff for sale!”

The confusion in this case probably stems from the pronunciation of door as do’ (which sounds like “doe”), a common sociolectal or dialectal variation in American English. Similarly, store and floor may be pronounced as sto’ and flo’ (“stow” and “flow”). The variant do’ is in this case misheard as, or misinterpreted as representing, though.

2. In the line transcribed as “She’s a tricking mother for you, everywhere she land,” I’ve placed the comma where I believe a pause would conventionally appear if the line were read, even though in the above recording the pause appears in a different place: “She’s a tricking mother for you every-, where she land.”

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* On Vocalion V.1005, the flip-side of “Weed Smoker’s Dream” is “Let Your Linen Hang Low,” which is credited on the label to Rosetta Howard & Hamfoot Ham (vocals), with the Harlem Hamfats. The Wikipedia page on Kansas Joe McCoy says, under Pseudonyms:

McCoy also performed and recorded under the names Bill Wither, Georgia Pine Boy, Hallelujah Joe, Big Joe McCoy and His Washboard Band, and the Mississippi Mudder.[5] He also used the names Hamfoot Ham, Hillbilly Plowboy, and Mud Dauber Joe.[1]

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