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The Traditional Delta and Country Blues

Kansas City Papa by Leadbelly

Kansas City Papa - Leadbelly,
24 January 1935 NYC,
ARC 16697-2 unissued.
Transcribed from Leadbelly King of the 12-String Guitar, Columbia Roots 'N' Blues 467893,
12 string in standard down three whole steps to B flat and played in E position so actual pitch is B flat.

[Intro, two instrumental lines]
...Kansas City, ain't it a pity
Kansas City, b'lieve 'm 'bout to low' my line [1]

When I get to Kansas City I'm gonna blow my line [2]
I get to Kansas City I'll be hard to find
In Kansas City, ain't it a pity
Kansas City, believe 'm bout to low' my line

[spoken] Two women was jivin' with one another one day:

"You keep on talkin' til you make me think
Your daddy was a bulldog and your mammy was a man"
In Kansas City, wadn't it a pity
Kansas City, b'lieve 'm 'bout to low' my line

"You keep on talkin' til you make me mad
I tell you 'bout the puppies that your sister had"
In Kansas City, wadn't that a pity
Kansas City, b'lieve 'm 'bout to low' my line

[Instrumental verse]

Women in Tennessee Lord, doin' the Turkey Trot
The women in Louisiana doing the Eagle Rock
In Kansas City, wadn't it a pity
Kansas City, b'lieve 'm bout to low' my line

The funniest thing that I ever seen
A tom cat stitchin' on a sewin' machine[3]
In Kansas City, wadn't it a pity
Kansas City, b'lieve 'm bout to low' my line

The funniest thing that I ever did see
S'a polecat climbin' up a 'simmon tree
In Kansas City, wadn't it a pity
Kansas City, b'lieve 'm 'bout to low' my line

[Instrumental verse]

[Instrumental verse outro]

Notes:
1. Clearly he says "low" which we believe is a contraction of "lower" and a fishing reference, he's casting his line out for the Kansas City women
2. At variance with the tag lines, he clearly says "blow my line". Cab Calloway reports "line" means money in the Hepster's Dictionary
3. See also Kokomo Arnold's The Twelves: Says I went out yonder New Orleans // The wildcat jumped on the sewing machine // The sewing machine sewed so fast // Sewed ninety-nine stitches up his yas yas yas