Heptune presents:

You Can't Do What My Last Man Did

    (Johnson - Moore)

Transcribed from vocals by Ethel Waters accompanied by James P. Johnson, recorded 6/1923.
From Ethel Waters 1923 - 1925, The Chronogical Classics, vol. 775.

Listen, daddy mine, what do you want of me?Photo of Ethel Waters
I've been just as good as can be;
Now the love I had for you has turned to hate;
You don't appreciate,
So, Daddy, there's the gate.

You can't do what my last man did.
Boss me 'round, and treat me like he did,
I'm wise to what you'd like to do,
So from now on, let me miss you,
I weep and pine all the time,
While you show off with friends of mine!

My last man tried to drag me down,
But he was one good man to have around;
But when the clock on the wall strikes half past three,
I want all the things you took from me,
'Cause you can't do what my last man did.

Early this morning, you wanted to fight,
'Cause you heard I cabareted last night,
Tried to take my money, and pawn my flat,
Now you've worn the welcome clean off my mat.

'Cause you can't do what my last man did:
Hold me tight, treat me right, every night;
I'd love you if you only did,
Every night, treat me right, hold me tight,
You're mighty old to be so bold,
And I can't stand a man that's cold,
Why you can't love me sufficiently,
To make me forget my used-to-be.

He could love like a lover should,
Always could, when he would, he was good,
You've lost your nest, go east or west, but go, just go
Now that last cruel papa, he blacked my eye,
Then left me alone to sigh and cry,
But you can't do what that last man did.



Transcribed from vocals by Alberta Hunter accompanied by Fats Waller, recorded 7/1923.
From Fats Waller 1922-1926; The Chronogical Classics, 664.

[***Note: This song was incorrectly attributed to Anna Jones in the liner notes of this CD.***]

Listen, daddy mine, what do you want of me?
I've been just as good as can be;
Now the love I had for you has turned to hate;
You don't appreciate,
So, Daddy, there's the gate.

You can't do what my last man did.
Boss me around, treat me like a kid,
I'm wise to what you'd like to do,
So from now on, let me miss you,
I weep and pine all the time,
While you show off with friends of mine!

My last man tried to drag me down,
But he was one good man to have hanging around;
When the clock on the wall strikes half past three,
I want every livin' thing you took from me,
'Cause you can't do what my last man did.

Daddy, you can't do what my last man did,
I'd love you if you were only good,
I feel right now, you must be told,
I can't stand a man that's cold,
Who can't love sufficiently,
To make me forget about my used-to-be.

My last man tried to drag me down,
But he was one good man to have hanging around;
Now the last cruel papa has blacked my eye,
The next man that does it, he's doomed to die,
'Cause you can't do what my last man did.



Transcribed from vocals by Ethel Waters and Slow Kid Thomas, recorded August 25, 1925.
From Ethel Waters 1925-1926, The Chronogical Classics, vol. 672.

Listen, daddy mine, what do you want of me?
I'm just as blue as can be;
All the love I had for you has turned to hate;
You don't appreciate,
So, baby, there's the gate.

[Mostly spoken, with Slow Kid Thomas]

You can't do what my last man did.
Why, what do you mean?
I mean dog me 'round, and start in cheatin' on me like he did,
But I don't understand you.
Well, I'm slowly waking up to you!
Yeah?
Yeah, and I'm wise to what you're tryin' to do!
So, from now on?
So, from now on let me miss you!
I work and pine all the time,
While you out here signifyin' and posin' with so-called friends of mine!
Get it straight, big shorty, that last man tried to drag me down,
So I heared!
Oh, you heared that!
But did you also hear he was a splendid man at times, at times, just to have around? Ha, ha, ha, ha!
Well I've got a very pressin' date, just about half past three!
So's you're old man, but before you meet that other one,
You're going to leave those things you took from moi!
Because you can't do, you just can't do what that last man did!
Come get me, Ethel Barrymore!

Now, early this morning, you woke up and wanted to start another fight,
Because you dreamed I lost my job last night,
But I'm gonna sue you for non support and have you held without bail,
But you can't get blood out of a turnip!
No, but you can keep old turnip in jail!
Because you never will be able to do what that last man did:
Hold me tight, treat me right, every night;
I wouldn't be so hard to get along with if you stand up here kiddin' on the level, if you halfway did
Every night, stop tryin' to be tight, treat me right,
You're gettin' too old to be so bold,
And what in the devil you think I want with a man that's cold?
You know, you sure ain't loved me sufficiently,
To make me forget my used-to-be, and he was seventy!
He could love; oh, he loved me like a lover should,
Always could, when he would, he was good,
So, you've lost your nest, go east or west, or back to jail, you know where I got you from,
Well, you know I got two good feet and I got two good hands!
Yes, but as it is, you so weak I'll find out you still need some monkey glands!
Now, you can't do what that last man did!


Return to the Jazz and Blues Lyrics Page.

Published 4/15/99.
Updated 3/3/00.

Ethel Waters starred in both the stage and film version of Cabin in the Sky. The movie also starred Lena Horne and Eddie "Rochester" Anderson. Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington had minor roles. Waters commented in her remarkable autobiography, His Eye is on the Sparrow, that she didn't enjoy making the movie -- too much behind-the-scenes back-biting.


 


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