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Author: Subject: Kon killy killy kon kon

Sublime Peach





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  posted on 8/22/2009 at 04:43 AM
What does Kon killy killy kon kon MEAN???

Kon killy killy kon kon
Walk on guilded splinters
Kon killy killy kon kon
Walk on guilded splinters

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I have other questions about the song's meaning and use of language but for now the first question answered would be a good start.


Some people think they jive me
But I know they must be crazy
Don't see dey misfortune
Guess they just too lazy

J'suis le Grand Zombie
My yellow belt of choison
Ain't afraid of no tom cat
Fill my brains with poison

Walk thru the fire
Fly thru the smoke
See my enemy
At the end of dey rope

Walk on pins and needles
See what they can do
Walk on guilded splinters
With the King of the Zulu

Kon killy killy kon kon
Walk on guilded splinters

'Ti Alberta ('ti Alberta) ('ti Alberta) ('ti Alberta)

I rolled out my coffin
Drink poison in my chalice
Pride begins to fade
And y'all feel my malice

Put gris-gris on your doorstep
Soon you'll be in the gutter
Melt your heart like butter
A-a-and I can make you stutter

Kon killy killy kon kon
Walk on guilded splinters
Kon killy killy kon kon
Walk on guilded splinters

'Ti Alberta ('ti Alberta) ('ti Alberta) ('ti Alberta)

Kon killy killy kon kon
Walk on guilded splinters
(repeat for most of the rest of the song)

Coco Robichaux
Come on down to my soiree
Bring your parain, your Marie, your Mamie, your Dondi, your cousin
and the whole family
No fine de cose bonne?
La jovial la chandelle?
Se la fais la carabas?
Coco Robichaux
Coco Robichaux
Padre diablo?
Gran come the bride?

With your Coco Robichaux
With your Coco Robichaux

'Ti Alberta ('ti Alberta) ('ti Alberta) ('ti Alberta)

'Ti Alberta ('ti Alberta) ('ti Alberta) ('ti Alberta)

Kon killy killy kon kon
Walk on guilded splinters
Kon killy killy kon kon
Walk on guilded splinters

Coco Robichaux
Dine at the soiree on the bayou....
(goes on in this vein for the rest of the song)


 

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World Class Peach



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  posted on 8/22/2009 at 04:50 AM
wang dang doodle ?



[Edited on 8/22/2009 by Capn]

 

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Extreme Peach



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  posted on 8/22/2009 at 09:12 AM
from the blog of Al Barger:

In the late '60's, veteran New Orleans session musician and A&R man Mac Rebennack wanted more self-expression and some narcisstic fulfillment. To this end he created his character "Dr. John Creaux, the night tripper." He took the idea of a wholesale fictional artistic identity from Bob Zimmerman, and the drugs and mysticism from the Beatles, and it all got translated into New Orleans variants. Dr. John was basically a powerful Creole voodoo man with a vengeful nature.

"I Walk on Guilded Splinters," the climactic 8 minute finale of his first album, is a kind of seance to summon forth voodoo vengeance. The song is built on a slow, intense trance groove, backed by women apparently chanting invocations of Creole curses. The whole song works, and the conceit works because the groove really is hypnotic. Walking on guilded splinters seems to be a metaphor for the price he's willing to pay to fulfill his expressed desire to see his enemies at the end of a rope. "Roll out my coffin, drink poison in my chalice/ Pride begins to fade, soon you all will feel my malice." I rather suspect that the specific poison in his chalice was actually LSD. In any case, he's quite a bad daddy.

And this track sounds bad as hell blasting out of your car when you're cruising the city at 3 am and you've had, er, some poison in your chalice.



[Edited on 8/23/2009 by aiq]

 

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  posted on 8/22/2009 at 10:13 AM
Love both The Dr. John & Humble Pie versions...was really happy to see the bros doing it !!

 

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Sublime Peach



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  posted on 8/22/2009 at 10:22 AM
I am still looking for a literal translation.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Walking on guilded splinters seems to be a metaphor for the price he's willing to pay to fulfill his expressed desire to see his enemies at the end of a rope. "Roll out my coffin, drink poison in my chalice/ Pride begins to fade, soon you all will feel my malice." I rather suspect that the specific poison in his chalice was actually LSD. In any case, he's quite a bad daddy.

Yeah he's a bad daddy, a bad man walking.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I think walking on guilded splinters is a little like the story of the 40,000 Headman or Midnight Rider.

But I need a literal creole translation of the phrase to know for sure.

Ok, when you are doing drugs, you start to think people are against you. So yeah I can see throwing out a hex back. But still, I need a literal translation.

 

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  posted on 8/22/2009 at 10:25 AM
Ok, since I'm into the NAwlins thing and Dr. Creaux I have spent too much time on this, but...appartently (found on a producer's blog and credited to Dr. John):


"‘Tell Alberta’ had been used as a private signal to shout between cell levels of the New Orleans jail he [Dr. John] had been thrown into for youthful drug transgressions, suggesting the haunting relay between voices in his original version..."


Also found this academic paper which may or may not be of interest. I'm now leaving this topic and going to cook some eggs.


From Sarah G's Myspace blog:

Narrative, Representation and the popular song

Q.2 Analyse any two songs that exemplify contrasting representations of one salient theme, subject or issue. Your analysis should consider lyrics, music and social/ cultural context. What does your analysis tell us about the way songs convey meaning.


Chosen songs:

1. Voodoo Child (Slight Return) by The Jimi Hendrix Experience, from the album, Electric Ladyland.

2. 'I Walk On Guilded Splinters' by Dr. John/ Mac Rebennack, from the album Gris Gris.

In analysing the way songs convey meaning I shall be focusing on Jimi Hendrix's 'Voodoo Chile/ Voodoo Child (Slight Return) from the 1968 album, Electric Lady Land and on Dr. John/ Mac Rebennack's 'I Walk On Guilded Splinters', also written in 1968 from the album, Gris Gris. The benefit of analysing these songs, written in the time of the late 1960's counter-culture movement, is that I can fully explore the interaction of musical elements, social, cultural and ideological connotations within this movement. Although the songs are primarily about the same salient subject, the Afro-Caribbean religion, 'Voodoo', they exemplify contrasting representations of the religion in the use of lyrics, music, performance styles, star persona images, and in all the other paratextual and extra-musical information that convey to us as listeners, the meanings found in the songs. My main argument is that, although there has been a long fascination with Voodoo (Vodou) in popular culture, Hendrix's and Dr. John's songs shifted the perceptions of the negative discourse that dominated. "Ask anyone from the United States what comes to mind when they hear the word "voodoo" and the responses will range from the creepy to the comical" (Manuel 1995: 124). The songs play on these negative ideologies to create the drama of the narratives, but in a non- racially offensive way. However, it is debatable on how perceptible the semantic significance of the words actually is to the audience. Meaning can function in many different ways and it is important to highlight the subjectivity of interpretation of such an abstract concept as music. By determining the way in which the songs relate to their socio-cultural contexts, an analysis of the way meaning is conveyed can be more successfully illustrated. I am aware of the dichotomies in interpretation of 'objective' and 'subjective' approaches and shall therefore aim to exemplify interpretations of both. In referring to the Hendrix song, 'Voodoo Chile/ Voodoo Child (Slight Return)', I will be referring to both versions (live and studio versions on the album) but for convenience, will use the collective title of, "Voodoo Child".

It should be noted that 'Guilded Splinters' does not in fact use the word 'Voodoo' in the lyrics and it is the paratextual information on Dr. John, 'the night tripper', as a media created persona and information on Voodoo ceremonies that creates the evidence that the song about Voodoo vengeance. In video performances by Dr. John of 'Guilded Splinters' he dresses with bones around his neck, colourful African robes and masks made of grass. His backing singer, Kalinda often came out on stage with snakes around her neck and did the limbo under a burning stick. To pin point Mac Rebennack's intentions for representation, he indicates how he came up with the persona of the medicine man 'Dr. John',

…it was when I read a piece by the nineteenth-century writer Lafcadio Hearn that my head really got turned seriously around. In Hearn's story, I found that Dr. John and one Pauline Rebennack were busted in the 1840s for having a voodoo operation and possibly a whorehouse. I don't know for sure, but there's a strong chance that Pauline Rebennack was one of my relatives…(Rebennack 1994: 141).

In the album sleeve of Gris Gris Dr. John's image is the colour red, as if he is on fire or is next to a fire. On the back is a description in Dr. John's colourful vernacular of the musicians involved, (most of them also 'Doctors' too) the concepts he wants to get across in the album and his knowledge of the myths and legends from the rich ethnic diversity of New Orleans culture, "May the gilded splinters of Auntie Aundre spew forth in your path to light and guide you way through the bayous of life on your pirouge of heartaches and good times.."(See Gris Gris album sleeve). The Hatitian Voodoo religion "blends several West African traditions with Roman Catholicism.."(Manuel 1995: 122). New Orleans is a Catholic colony and as Rebennack notes in his autobiography, contains much undercurrents of Voodoo practice. This would explain the uses of the French lyrics like, "Juis suis un grand zombie" and perhaps the lyrics I am unable to decipher are forms of the Hatian Creole dialect, "a mixture of several different languages, including French, which makes up most of the languages' vocabulary; various African languages; Spanish; some Portuguese; and more recently, English" (Manuel 1995: 121).

It can thus be seen that even before focusing on the lyrics and music, meaning is conveyed through these paratextual mediums reinforcing the notion of a narrative and the fictional character, the protagonist of the song's narrative. This reflects Kivy's view of contrasting what we 'see in' a visual image and what we 'hear in' music, "'Seeing in' is usually unaided. "Hearing in" probably never is" (Kivy 2002: 189). I would agree with this view in terms that, the album art-work and the musicians' appearances on stage support the 'Voodoo' subject. Extra-musical information can arguably be seen as being just as important as the lyrics and music in representing the song narrative, "..the best narrative interpretations of music succeed only because they are ultimately concerned with texted music (and therefore, by implication, find narrative elements in the music through association with the texts it sets) (Nicholls 2007: 300) However, I believe that even without these aids, the stylistic codes evident in the music itself portray Voodoo imagery, in the fact that as members of society we are exposed to cultural musical codes in films and advertising, making us unconsciously recognize representations in 'unaided' music (See Tagg's writings on semiotics and Firth's writings on songs and film music).

The character, 'Dr. John', on one level underlines the fact that he is in essence 'fictional' but ironically so, on another level creates realism in the perception of the character. From a philosophical point of view, this raises questions of the ontological existence of the performance persona. Lamarque's observations reflect this notion, 'The star persona is perhaps, like a fictional character, of an abstract ontology, bearing a true existence only in the individual minds of the audience' (See Lamarque 2003: 33 –51).

Similarly realism combined with fiction is created in 'Voodoo Child' in the significance of Hendrix's wild, sexually symbolic guitar playing ability and performance persona. It is necessary to depict the notion of 'the desire gaze' in calling into question the real identity of a performer, "the self is (mis) –perceived as the idealized other" (Taylor and Laing 2000: 71). This is how rock musician personas are used as a device in attracting audiences for mass consumption. The audience can build an intimacy with their rock idles and can imagine them to be anything that they want them to be – a hermeneutic perspective. It is known about Hendrix, from interviews conducted with his band members, that in real life he was a reserved, yet 'jovial character' (See Electric Lady Land documentary), not this crazy, dangerous character of his media image. Like 'Dr. John', 'Jimi Hendrix', is a name created for stage. Hendrix's experimentation with LSD however is well known, though it should be noted that many popular artists were exposed to this drug in the1960s, including Mac Rebennack. Nevertheless, drug abuse eventually led to Hendrix's death in the early 1970s. Hendrix's persona can be seen as key to a reorganization of rock hegemony; 'Hendrix offered the possibility of radical change against racism in the music industry' (See Toynbee 2002: 154), 'In Hendrix, cowboy and dandy, black and white, English and American, electric and voice – all these familiar differences or oppositions – are trampled, reconstituted, blurred, crossed over' (Meisel, quoted in Toynbee 2002: 154). Hendrix was one of the first black popular musicians that appealed to a largely 'white' audience and this enabled a 'colour-blind universality', "Hendrix becomes an object of desire for the boys as well as the girls, an object 'maybe just a little bit scary' in his ability to cross over both race and gender lines in his appeal" (Waksman 2006: 69). Hendrix's star persona gave birth to all the egocentric and wild antics that became the conventions of being a rock star. Even the outrageous clothes he wore- circus/ gypsy like costumes and loud colours- works in signifying this wild man image. His image is essential in conveying the meaning of 'Voodoo Child's'-anti-Christian and rebellious ideas of being endowed with super-human, God –like powers. This 'reorganization of rock hegemony' also provides an explanation to the mainstream success of Rebennack, who was of Irish origin from New Orleans, yet greatly influenced by the Black musical idiom, "In all branches, though, musicians were white, and with very few exceptions, turned their backs on contemporary black music" (Toynbee: 2002: 154). The irony here is that Rebennack acquired most of his knowledge of black music from his grandfather who used to perform in minstrel shows (See Rebennack 1994: 145).

In the purest forms of blues from the Mississippi Delta, Voodoo themes and concepts are quite familiar. "So far, the African background of the oral literature dimension of the blues has been studied mainly in one specific area – "magic" and "Voodoo"…(Kubik 1999: 21). The dual effect of Western Christianity and African literal origins created the stigma around Blues music and musicians of the music being evil or associated with the devil in some way. Robert Johnson's pact with the devil, for example is a widely known myth, "His (Johnson's) mention of God and the Devil in his lyrics represents a coming to terms with Western dualistic religious thought" (Kubik 1999: 25). The lyrics, sung in the first person by the protagonist in 'Voodoo Child' can be seen as a concept, to its extremes of this dualism in the socio-cultural ideology of African American music. On the one hand the character possesses great powers, but on the other hand, there is a devil like underlining theme. Consider, for instance lyrics like, "Well the night I was born, I swear the moon turned a fire red" and "Well I stand up next to a mountain, and I chop it down with the edge of my hand". Such lyrics work, not only in making the Hendrix character believable as a 'Voodoo Child', but also in energizing the ego of a listener themselves into believing they have powers.

The derivation of blues like motives as a basis to the structure is certainly evident in 'Voodoo Child' and especially in the vocal phrasing. 'When asked by Albert Goldman "What is the difference between the old blues and the new?" Hendrix replied, "Electricity"' (See Waksman 2006: 65), this therefore confirming the origins of Hendrix's style. However, in determining the intentions of Hendrix, one must also consider the psychedelic connotations that can be represented in both the lyrics and the music working collectively as the song text. It would be unjustified to say that Hendrix conceived all his songs under the influence of LSD but the lyrics of 'Voodoo Child' could be interpreted as representing the mind-expanding concepts associated with the drug. For example, "Say, I make to you in your sleep, and lord knows you felt no pain, "Cause I'm a million miles away, and at the same time, I'm right here in your picture frame" or "I float in liquid gardens and Arizona new red sand", certainly, however internalised the meanings in psychedelic coding, represent the bizarre illusions in perceptions of the self in relation to the world, space and time that a person under the influence of LSD may experience.

Mac Rebennack's lyrics represent similar themes and concepts, but from a different view point and in essence paint a different picture of the song diegesis. The first person narrator, Dr. John, is a Voodoo medicine man singing about how powerful he is, "Walk through the fire", and how he will curse his enemies, "See my enemy at the end of a rope". The female backing vocalists that enter at the choruses are also characters. It seems that they represent the voices of the Gods, enticing Dr. John to walk on the guilded splinters or simply the women involved in the ritual. Rebennack's lyrics indicate a greater knowledge than Hendrix of actual, 'Voodoo' rituals in his use of African- American vernacular words like "Gris Gris" (herb) or "your papa, your maman" (the high priest and priestess of Voodoo – See Okara 2007: 1). Rebennack indicates that it was simply a co-incidence that the music they were making found an audience in the psychedelic, love and peace movement, "It turned out that Gris-Gris, without any hand-hustle on our part, fell into the hippie groove of the moment, and became a kind of underground hit" (Rebennack 1994: 144).

In terms of the musical elements in 'Guilded Splinters', the constant repetitions of the four bar phrases and the frequent return of the choruses, "Walk to me, get it come, come, Walk on guilded splinters", creates the trance like effect associated with tribal cultures. The melody line has a creepy effect but can be seen as a signifying code, found in the consciousness of the cultural psyche (See Ex. 1). Firstly, the syncopated rhythm of the vocal has stylistic origins or similarities to schoolboy like chant, as does the use of the 'minor third interval' on the words 'get it' and 'splinters' where the interval is micro-tonally flattened, with a slight descending glissando (See Van Der Merwe 1989: 121). This is why this vocal line is so haunting because of its similarity to the innocent games of the playground, creating a paradox of innocence and horror of the Voodoo incantations. However the frequent use of minor third intervals in the vocals and the falling minor third at the ends of the phrases in the saxophone part (See Ex. 2) also generally reflect Rebennack's, and the musicians involved, absorption of the blues style. Palmer describes the significance of 'blues notes', "Usually falling pitches raise the emotional temperature of a performance" (Palmer 1981: 34). The falling third interval of the saxophone is also greatly emphasised by the saxophonist's lyrical pitch wavering of the note 'F', common in blues singing and this creates imagery of someone sighing. Also, the legato style of the saxophone's 'connective phrase represents the relaxed and sensual effect of the song' (See Van Leeuwen 1999: 109 – 110). The saxophone interjections at the choruses are played in unison with the bass guitar and combined with the rhythmical, repetitive percussion, lead me to believe that 'Guilded Splinters' represents a style, more 'Afro – Arabic in origin' (See Van Der Merwe 1989: 134 –139).

The nasal and vibrato style that the women in the echoing of "Till I burn up" (See Ex. 3) at the bridges between choruses and verses, represent 'tension as nasal tones pervade many of the sounds of pain, deprivation and sorrow' (See Van Leeuwen 1999: 129). I feel that there is something more to the sonic quality of the backing vocals- that they are imitating sounds of wildlife in the jungle. The melodic chromaticism and the heavy application of reverb of the two note phrase -C to B- as well as imitating the saxophone line, also emphasises the similarity to the echoes of noise in a jungle as well as word painting on "burn" with slight flattening of the notes. The reverb also could represent the dreamy, dizzy emotional codes of the character's state of intoxication on hallucinogenic drugs. There are thus, in terms of shapes of the melodies, examples of 'structural representation', appropriate to the text, "…it (music) can structurally represent almost anything mentioned or implied in a text as long as what it mentions or implies can be structurally reflected in the music" (Kivy 2002: 198).

Although not necessarily evident of psychedelic coding, (although critics have put it into the 'psychedelic' category) hallucinogenic imagery is represented in 'Guilded Splinters' mainly in the repetition of the phrases in a way that creates an aesthetic similar to the aesthetic value of minimalist and post-minimalist music, "What we should be thinking about are the pleasures, practices, and aesthetic value of repetition and formal simplicity, as well as the ways in which these elements function for us as musicians and as listeners" (Negus 2007: 75). The constant repetition of the four- bar bass line phrase for instance, (See Ex. 4), creates the drone of the root note, 'D', and the syncopated rhythm of the three note line, also adds to the representation of a tribal style. The Caribbean influence of the percussion is also evident. The emphasis on the up beats of the clicks and guitar (very much more subtly used than Hendrix's guitar) and the big drum beats on the down beat, add to the Voodoo ceremonial imagery.

The choruses of 'Guilded Splinters' reinforce the song narrative through the repetition and this has the effect of energizing and hypnotising the listener with the repetition, much in the same way that Indian Mantras repeat phrases to help to psychologically prepare for a task. The protagonist is calling to the Gods to possess him with the psychological power to walk on the guilded splinters. Another paradox is the effect of repetition, "central to our understanding of time- it is only as things recur that there can be said to be movement in time" (Frith 1996: 151) and the illusion the repetition creates in lose of internalised perception of time. Unlike 'Voodoo Child', which exemplifies a linear, diegetic time structure, (for example beginning with the night the Voodoo Child was born) time in the 'Guilded Splinters' ritual is static and more evident of being 'in the moment'. This works in creating intimacy for the listener, as if one is participating in the song. The protagonist is reflecting on the things he will do once he gets his powers. 'Guilded Splinters' is a lengthy track, at 7.57 minutes long. At the fade out, the way the singers use vocal timbral effects at the end –child like whisperings, 'blowing of raspberries', whistling – as well as adding to the creepy effect, also creates representation of the 'continuous present' (See Frith 196: 148). Perhaps a more conventional approach to the song would have been for the voices to become louder but the fact that this is the reverse, adds to the 'counter-culture' aesthetic. This lack of development is in direct contrast with 'Voodoo Child'. The lack of instrumental development, sparse textures and simple repetition in 'Guilded Splinters', reflect the so called 'primitive' notion of Voodoo and 'Voodoo Child' has a more progressive, futuristic approach to the representation.

'Voodoo Child' contrasts most notably, from 'Guilded Splinters' in the loud level of the electrified amplification of the instruments and also, textually in the richness in harmony of Hendrix's guitar chords, and also that of Winwood'sHammond organ chords. Rebennack notes the effect the loudness had on Hendrix, "He'd come off his set in pain, his ears ringing, his head hurting" (Rebennack 1994: 148). Whitely indicates how Hendrix's use of "the sheer volume of noise" works as representing psychedelic coding in, "drowning of personal consciousness" and in provoking, "mass sexual ecstasy often associated with his concerts which moved towards a corporeal sense of tribal unity" (See Whitely 2002: 243 –252). 'Psychedelic coding', an internalised notion, bears full meaning only to those that have experienced hallucinogenic drugs. However, Whitely indicates her awareness of the conventionalisation of psychedelic coding, "as Middleton and Muncie (1981: 87) point out:

psychedelic elements in musical style are typically interpreted as such by reference to a sub-culture of drug usage; in other words they are defined in this way primarily because hippies said they should be (See Whitley 2002: 237).

There are many ways in which the meanings represented in 'Voodoo Child' convey "a musical equivalent of the hallucinogenic experience" (Whiteley 2002: 236). For instance, the structure of the lengthy 14.18 minute live version can be seen as exemplifying dramatic codes of the build up to the peak of ecstasy of a 'trip' or also as the build up to orgasm, to use a sexual analogy. In this version, Hendrix's guitar is tuned down a whole step to D (In the studio version it is tuned down to E flat), setting up a deep major/ minor ambiguity of the blues riff, also played on the Hammond. The pulse begins slow and steady, in 12/8 time. The use of compound quadruple time in this version represents the larger than life imagery of the supernatural world of the song diegesis. We know that Hendrix had intentions in his music of representing what it would be like in space (See Electric Lady Land documentary). The types of resonance, and vibrations created by the 12/8 pulse and the low register in the live performance can be representational of being in space. Cassidy's bass drone keeps the steady pulse by playing regularly on the main beats and with a blues like use of the minor third (See Ex. 5) unlike the studio version where the bass is more busy, using rhythmic diminution, creating a more pounding and mechanical accompaniment (See Ex. 6). In the live version, intensity and ecstatic 'trembling' are represented by the addition of the full Hammond organ chords that have a lot of vibrato effect. Van Leeuwen indicates that vibrato is not unlike the trembling of the emotion, 'love', and to use the psychedelic analogy, would reflect the anxiety and uncertainty of 'is it a good trip or bad trip?' (See Van Leeuwen 1999: 134). In the instrumental sections between verses, it is clear that this version is more a duet of call and response phrases between the organ and guitar. The musicians use these sections between the lyrics as a means to explore improvisatory dialogue in a way, similar to Miles Davis' lengthy improvisations. The silences between these sections and the riff of the verses work, as in cinematic coding or full stops in language, in breaking up the dialogue and the drama of the jamming frenzies. It is the irregularity of the jams (not even the performers were fully aware how long they were going to be -they were instinctively played) that works at the 'being in the moment' effect or the perception of internal time lose, making the silences all the more relieving. The final section of 'Voodoo Child', after all the lyrics have been sung, is the point that can represent the peak of the trip, orgasm and the most intense of the musical emotion. It is really chaotic with the drums beating the symbols on every single quaver beat along with the chromatic, distorted melody of the guitar, Hendrix shouting and screaming, all performers aggressively making a wall of sound noise on their instruments to create the climax. The effects of fuzz, distortion and pitch bending on the guitar, in particular sounds like a low 'growling'.

It is the collective interplay of lyrics and musical devices that represents the 'song text' and also the subconscious signifiers of meaning. Hendrix's vocal phrases in the verses of both versions form a melodic arch shape of rising and falling tendencies that are often repeated, the second time more intensely by rising by a perfect 5th (See Ex. 7). Van Leeuwen has examined how rising and falling melodies can represent emotionalism. "Rising pitch can energize, rally listeners together for the sake of some joint activity or cause. Falling pitch can relax and soothe listeners, make them turn inward and focus on their thoughts and feelings" (Van Leeuwen 1999: 103). The choruses, "'Cause I'm a voodoo child, lord knows, I'm a voodoo child, baby", have a particular emotional energy as they create a 'ladder of thirds' (See Van Der Merwe 1989: 124 –125) resulting in a horizontal, rising diminished chord (See Ex. 8) of C sharp, E, G, B flat. This dissonance then resolves to the tonic by the falling minor 3rd and then a 5th (G to E to B). Hendrix uses guitar melodies to word paint the words he sings. In fact, in reverse, from video footage of Hendrix's performances he often mimes vocalisations when he isn't even singing anything, and the illusion is that the guitar lines are coming out of his mouth. Word painting in the live version on "pain" is represented by the guitar's weeping like, descending phrase. His use of feedback, usually considered as 'ugly' in aesthetic, is a positive device to the narrative, for example to word paint on "I have a humming bird and it hums so loud". But there is also the possibility that in this particular case, the feedback may have been an accident, as Hendrix's intention in this circumstance is not crystal clear.
There are also frequent moments where Hendrix sings in unison with his guitar phrases, for instance at "Well I float in liquid gardens". Here the guitar resembles a backing female singer as it is played an octave higher than he sings the line.

Dr. John's vocal performance of the lyrics reinforces the semantic meanings represented in the song. It is in 'the grain of his voice' (See Barthes 1985: 267 –277) where arguably more meaning is produced. "Personal belief and lyrical content are in contradiction only if you assume that songs communicate via the semantic meaning of the words alone.." (Negus 2007: 79). The greatest evidence of this in 'Guilded Splinters' is the fact that often Dr. John's vocals are incomprehensible, yet they add to the narrative of the Voodoo ceremony. He is playing with the suspicious and frightening ideology of Voodoo to, in essence, "Freak us out " (to use the popular 'hippie' colloquialism). This is why I have presented a combination of two transcriptions of the lyrics (with a lot of ???s) because of the inaudibility of semantic and my lack of understanding of Creole dialect. Dr. John's rough and bass vocal quality represents the intimacy of the song in relation to the listener. In fact his speaking voice, with his southern accent and, raspy quality is not unlike his singing voice. Van Leeuwen indicates how rough voices enable us to hear " other things except the voice itself". This aesthetic lies in the Afro-American tradition, "Sermons preached in this type of voice appear to create special emotional tension" (See Van Leeuwen 1999: 131- 132). Similarly, Hendrix's screams, sniffs and vocal noises of enthusiasm, also reflect meanings not, simply in the semantics of the words alone. These noises create the intimacy and energy of the performance. Surely there are non English speaking fans of Hendrix and Dr. John in the world who understand the semantic and emotional dimensions of the songs.

It can thus be acknowledged that songs convey meaning on many different levels, some exemplified and some un-exemplified, hidden in the cultural sub-consciousness of coding and signifiers. The songs have originated from diverse origins and thus meanings can be detected from this relation. 'Voodoo Chile' and 'Guilded Splinters' do not only work in changing discourse of the Voodoo religion, they also play on the fears of the audience, in the anti-Christian context.. People often find things that are unknown frightening, especially when it concerns the issue of religion. This also enables 'Voodoo' to be linked in with the rebellious associations of counter-culture and rock music To fully understand the extent of representation found in Hendrix's and Rebennack's songs would be to breech the confines of this essay. Hopefully this analysis has raised insight into the aesthetic of popular music. Interpretation is a philosophical argument, due to its subjectivity and a musicologist's tendency to add value judgement to works of art. Yet without the views of individuals how can discussion and critic ever be established? Staying objective about an abstract concept like music and in using language to analyse popular music will always be difficult, especially in justifying a formalist analysis. Discussion of popular music will always raise philosophical issues because of the dichotomies of scholarly analysis and the understanding in the internalized minds of the musicians themselves. Musicology needs to strive to decipher and consider all the ways in which music can represent meanings.


Bibliography

Primary Sources

Hendrix, Jimi, Voodoo Child (Slight Return), ed. Music Sales Ltd, in 'Transcribed Scores -The Best of Jimi Hendrix', (1968)

Hendrix, Jimi, 'Voodoo Chile' transcribed lyrics, www.seeklyrics.com/lyrics/Jimi-Hendrix/Voodoo-Chile.html. 20 September 2007

Pickering, Matt, 2007: 'I Walk On Guilded Splinters' transcribed lyrics,www.everydaycompanion.com/lyrics/songs/guilded_splinters.asp. , 16 September 2007</P>

Serafin, Peter, 'I Walk on Guilded Splinters' transcription in CD sleeve to: Gris Gris by Dr. John, the night tripper, 1968.

Secondary Sources

Barthes, Roland, 1982, The Responsibility of Forms, ed. Editions du Seul, trans, Richard Howard (Oxford: Basil Blackwell).

Bracket, David, 2002: '(In search of) musical meaning: genres, categories and crossover' in Popular Music Studies. ed. David Hesmondhalgh and Keith Negus (London: Oxford University Press). pp. 65 -83

Frith, Simon, 1996, Performing Rites –evaluating popular music (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

Hall, Stuart, 1997: 'The Work of Representation' in Representation, Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices.Ed. Stuart Hall (London: Sage).

Kivy, Peter, 2002: Introduction to A Philosophy of Music (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

Kubik, Gerhard, 1999: Africa and the Blues (USA: University Press of Mississippi).

Lamarque, Peter, 2003: 'How to Create a Fictional Character', in The Creation Of Art – New essays in philosophical aesthetics, ed. Berys Gaut and Paisley Livingston (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) pp. 33-51

Manuel, Peter, 1995 Carribean Currents – Carribean Music, From Rumba to Regaee (USA: Temple University Press).

Okara, Obi, 2007: 'The Origins of Voodoo', (Re) The Afrocentric Experience, www.swagga.com/voodoo.htm 27 September 2007

Nicholls, David, 2007, 'Narrative Theory As An Analytical Tool In The Study Of Popular Music Texts', in Music and Letters, Vol. 88, No.2, pp.297- 315.

Negus, Keith, 2007, 'Living Breathing Songs: Singing Along With Bob Dylan'Oral Traditions, 22, 1, pp71 -83. (http://journal.oraltradition.org/issues/22i/negus).

Palmer, Robert, 1981, Deep Blues (USA: Viking Penguin Inc.).

Rebennack, Mac (with Jack Rummel), 1994, Dr. John – Under A Hoodoo Moon (New York: St Martin's Griffen).

Taylor, Jenny and Laing, Dave, 2000: 'On the Expression of Sexuality', in Music, Culture, and Society –reader, ed. Derek B Scott (Oxford: Oxford University Press). pp. 71 –76.

Toynbee, Jason, 2002: 'Mainstreaming, from hegemonic centre to global networks' in Popular Music Studies. ed. David Hesmondhalgh and Keith Negus (London: Oxford University Press). pp. 149- 163.

Van der Merwe, Peter, 1989, Origins of the Popular Style (USA: Oxford University Press).

Van Leeuwen, Theo, 1999, Speech, Music, Sound (London: Macmillan Press Ltd.)

Waksman, Steve, 2006: 'Black Sound, Black Body – Jimi Hendrix, the electric guitar, and the meanings of blackness' inThe Popular Music Studies Reader, ed. Andy Bennett, Barry Shank and Jason Toynbee (London: Routledge).

Whiteley, Sheila, 2002: 'Progressive Rock and Psychedelic Coding in the Work of Jimi Hendrix' in Reading Pop, ed. Richard Middleton (Oxford).

Discography

Jimi Hendrix, 'Voodoo Chile' and 'Voodoo Child (Slight Return)', Electric Lady Land – The Jimi Hendrix Experience (MCA Records Inc. 1968).

Dr. John, 'I Walk On Guilded Splinters', Gris Gris (Acto Records 1968).

Video Documentaries

Dr. John, 'The South Bank Show', produced and directed by Archie Powell, London Weekend TV, 2001, VHS: 12098

Classic albums: Electric Ladyland, directed by Roger Pomphrey, Isis Productions/ Daniel Televsion/ BBC etc., 1997, VHS: 7529








[Edited on 8/22/2009 by aiq]

 

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  posted on 8/22/2009 at 11:07 AM
The mystery deepens.



quote:
I'm not even sure those are the right lyrics, Ang... I've seen it written a dozen different ways (my band covers it so I had to look it up a while back):

Kon kon, the kiddy kon kon
Walk on gilded splinters

or

Walk to me, get it, come, come
Walk on guilded splinters

etc.

 

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  posted on 8/22/2009 at 11:08 AM
AIQ, I need some coffee before I read that, but I think I need another hour of sleep first. Be back soon. It looks interesting.

 

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  posted on 8/22/2009 at 12:07 PM
kon is creole for "like" as in "Like a kiddy"

the lyric as I understand it goes

Kon Kon the kiddy kon kon


So it is a taunting curse in broken creole and english which loosely translates to

you are just a child - (one with no voodoo power. )

Unlike Dr John who has great voodoo power.





 

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  posted on 8/22/2009 at 12:12 PM
quote:
kon is creole for "like" as in "Like a kiddy"

the lyric as I understand it goes

Kon Kon the kiddy kon kon


So it is a taunting curse in broken creole and english which loosely translates to

you are just a child - (one with no voodoo power. )

Unlike Dr John who has great voodoo power.








...and thats the story. Cool to know this.

Next, InA G Da Da Vida and O Blah Di O Blah Do and Wamp Babba Luba Da Bomp Bam Boom.

 

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  posted on 8/22/2009 at 12:40 PM
quote:
quote:
kon is creole for "like" as in "Like a kiddy"

the lyric as I understand it goes

Kon Kon the kiddy kon kon

So it is a taunting curse in broken creole and english which loosely translates to
you are just a child - (one with no voodoo power. )

Unlike Dr John who has great voodoo power.
...and thats the story. Cool to know this.
Very cool!
quote:
Next, InA G Da Da Vida and O Blah Di O Blah Do and Wamp Babba Luba Da Bomp Bam Boom.
LMAO!!!

 

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  posted on 8/22/2009 at 12:42 PM
quote:
quote:
quote:
kon is creole for "like" as in "Like a kiddy"

the lyric as I understand it goes

Kon Kon the kiddy kon kon

So it is a taunting curse in broken creole and english which loosely translates to
you are just a child - (one with no voodoo power. )

Unlike Dr John who has great voodoo power.
...and thats the story. Cool to know this.
Very cool!
quote:
Next, InA G Da Da Vida and O Blah Di O Blah Do and Wamp Babba Luba Da Bomp Bam Boom.
LMAO!!!


It took me 48 years to decode Mares Eat Oats and Does Eat Oats But Little Lambs Eat Ivy A Twiddley Ditey Do Wouldn't You.

 

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  posted on 8/22/2009 at 12:53 PM
Ohhh. I will have to think on this a bit.

But first impression is that it is similar to the GD lyric -

My little boy see your little boy
Gonna fix your chicken wire

http://www3.clearlight.com/~acsa/intro.htm


But yet there is more of an active curse out to whom ever is trying to step on his voodoo. I still have to think about this some more.


quote:
kon is creole for "like" as in "Like a kiddy"

the lyric as I understand it goes

Kon Kon the kiddy kon kon


So it is a taunting curse in broken creole and english which loosely translates to

you are just a child - (one with no voodoo power. )

Unlike Dr John who has great voodoo power.






 

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  posted on 8/22/2009 at 12:54 PM
Funny but the lyrics I posted, and the citation for the GD lyrics for Iko Iko are a common reference to Dr John's song. Interesting.

Coco Robichaux
Come on down to my soiree
Bring your parain, your Marie, your Mamie, your Dondi, your cousin
and the whole family
No fine de cose bonne?
La jovial la chandelle?
Se la fais la carabas?
Coco Robichaux
Coco Robichaux
Padre diablo?
Gran come the bride?

With your Coco Robichaux
With your Coco Robichaux



It's the part the ABB does not do.

[Edited on 8/22/2009 by Angelemerald]

 

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  posted on 8/22/2009 at 01:07 PM
AIQ - I'm getting excited about what you posted as I am half way through. Since I never saw or heard the Dr John cd, the description of it is filling me in on details i need to figure out the meaning of this song. Or at least my understanding of the meaning.

I wish you had included the hyperlinks to the citations you posted though. If you can, please do so.


Oh I can just google them, no worries.


Very very interesting composition.

[Edited on 8/22/2009 by Angelemerald]

 

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  posted on 8/22/2009 at 01:14 PM
quote:
quote:
kon is creole for "like" as in "Like a kiddy"

the lyric as I understand it goes

Kon Kon the kiddy kon kon


So it is a taunting curse in broken creole and english which loosely translates to

you are just a child - (one with no voodoo power. )

Unlike Dr John who has great voodoo power.








...and thats the story. Cool to know this.

Next, InA G Da Da Vida and O Blah Di O Blah Do and Wamp Babba Luba Da Bomp Bam Boom.




ROFLMAOOL

 

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  posted on 8/22/2009 at 01:53 PM
quote:
Ohhh. I will have to think on this a bit.

But first impression is that it is similar to the GD lyric -

My little boy see your little boy
Gonna fix your chicken wire

http://www3.clearlight.com/~acsa/intro.htm


But yet there is more of an active curse out to whom ever is trying to step on his voodoo. I still have to think about this some more.


quote:
kon is creole for "like" as in "Like a kiddy"

the lyric as I understand it goes

Kon Kon the kiddy kon kon


So it is a taunting curse in broken creole and english which loosely translates to

you are just a child - (one with no voodoo power. )

Unlike Dr John who has great voodoo power.









Are you confusing with Aiko Aiko ?

that's the one about Spyboys

 

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  posted on 8/22/2009 at 04:16 PM
Outstanding stuff. Thanks for solving that mystery, spacemonkey.

 

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  posted on 8/22/2009 at 07:09 PM
I echo Marley, cool interpretation.

"I gots mad skills, yo!" Voodoo ninja!

Hope all is well on monkey hill...

 

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  posted on 8/22/2009 at 07:13 PM
ya'll see why I got so pissed after Katrina?

NOLA is the San Francisco of the south.

 

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  posted on 8/22/2009 at 07:17 PM
Angelemerald,

This is my favorite line from the paper (among many).

quote:
It can thus be acknowledged that songs convey meaning on many different levels, some exemplified and some un-exemplified, hidden in the cultural sub-consciousness of coding and signifiers.


the sub atomic vibrations...unified theory.

 

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  posted on 8/22/2009 at 07:22 PM
quote:
I am still looking for a literal translation.



ideology is the death of art...leave all the doors (and windows) open.

[Edited on 8/23/2009 by aiq]

 

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  posted on 8/23/2009 at 06:08 AM
Great thread, thanks all for the insights.

 

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  posted on 8/23/2009 at 07:07 AM
Very cool!!

 

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  posted on 8/23/2009 at 11:09 AM
No not confusing them, but imagine my surprise when I took a look at Iko Iko for the quote and there was a reference directly to Dr John's song Guilded Splinters.

quote:
quote:
Ohhh. I will have to think on this a bit.

But first impression is that it is similar to the GD lyric -

My little boy see your little boy
Gonna fix your chicken wire

http://www3.clearlight.com/~acsa/intro.htm


But yet there is more of an active curse out to whom ever is trying to step on his voodoo. I still have to think about this some more.


quote:
kon is creole for "like" as in "Like a kiddy"

the lyric as I understand it goes

Kon Kon the kiddy kon kon


So it is a taunting curse in broken creole and english which loosely translates to

you are just a child - (one with no voodoo power. )

Unlike Dr John who has great voodoo power.









Are you confusing with Aiko Aiko ?

that's the one about Spyboys


 

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http://angelemeraldsrockmusicblog.blogspot.com/ />



 
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