IPod Mystery

So, I was just listening to Nina Simone singing “See Line Woman”

and the very next song was Feist singing “Sealion”

Until this moment, I’d been under the impression that it was “C-line Woman.”

I get that a sea lion woman might be like a selkie, but with a love of caffeinated drinks, but I’m not sure at all what a see line woman is.

Any ideas?

10 thoughts on “IPod Mystery

  1. The Professor just emailed me this, in which it is explained that this song came out of some field recordings in Mississippi. That should surprise no one.

    Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.

  2. The trouble with “C-Line Woman” is that everybody says “C Train” (cf. “Take the A Train”).

  3. I just spent some time on Mudcat mucking through their discussion of it and their belief seems to boil down to it either being a mishearing of “She Lying” like one person would say “She lying woman, she dressed in red” and the other person would respond with “She lying” and then take the lead in the next verse, and perhaps an incorporation of a mishearing of Selah, from folks who were used to hearing it at the ends of lines of Psalms.

    I would guess that, if it is indeed based on a children’s game, the first is probably the more likely.

  4. Here’s a recording Lomax did in Alabama (here or if that doesn’t work, here.) They’re clearly saying “Sea Lion.” So, whenever it switched from She Lyin’ to Sea Lion, assuming it did, that had to be before 1939.

    Weirdly enough, Halpert recorded his version in May of 1939 in Mississippi and Lomax recorded this in May 1939 in Alabama. Was it on a list of songs they were hunting for? Was it popular at the time?

    Sadly for the woman at Mudcat, if Halpert and Lomax are both recording it in the same month in two different states, the Shipp women (girls at the time) obviously didn’t write it.


  5. Which then makes you wonder, if selkies are Irish and you have so many Scots-Irish here in the South, if this might not be a bit of an old Irish tune turned into a song.

  6. Do you know “Henry”? It’s an American version of “Lord Randall” and contains the immortal line “Them eels was snakes, Henry.”

  7. I went looking for an MP3 for you but couldn’t find one. Lyrics and sheet music are <a href=”http://sniff.numachi.com/pages/tiEELHENRY;ttEELHENRY.html”.here. While poking around on the web I did learn that “Henry” descends from a British variant of “Lord Randall” called “King Henry.”

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