Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tuesday tea tunes: This tea is your tea

Happy 99th birthday, Woody Guthrie!

The famed American balladeer would have turned that ripe old age this Thursday. I used to attend the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival each year in Okemah, Okla. — it happens this week, it's wonderful, you should go — and now I'm stuck in Chicago each summer covering a different festival that always falls on the same weekend.

But in celebration of ol' Woody's near-centennial (and, hey, let's also point out a fantastic new book about him, Woody Guthrie: American Radical), here are the lyrics to a song I found in the Woody Guthrie Archives many years back, dated Feb. 5, 1948, and I'll leave the interpretation entirely up to you ...

"Tea Bag Blues"
by Woody Guthrie

Well, it's awful cold outside
And I'm cold at home tonight
Walkin up an' down my my poor self
God you now this just ain't right

I'm gonna boil myself a tea bag
I'm gonna boil myself a tea bag
If you'll moze over my way
I'll boil you off a tea bag, too

I've come up from Oklahoma
Where that dust and gravel blows
I've got gals with boozeleg rotgut
But I never did learn to know

Just how to boil me off a tea bag
How to simmer up a tea bag
If you'll ease over my way
I will boil you off a tea bag, too

I rode the trains and the buses
Rode the rods and rode the blinds
Hit every kind of bag and satchel
Used every bait that I could find

I never did think about no tea bag
I never did even see no tea bag
But if you'll ooze over closer
Yes, I'll boil you off a tea bag, too

I've used beer, and wine, and coffee
Buttermilk, sodie and rum
And I've rolled them every color
Seen them go before they come

I'm learnin' how to use a tea bag
Learning how to dip a tea bag
Babe, if you'll sneak over my way
I'll strain your little tea bag, too

I'm learnin' how to dip my tea bag
Learnin' how to soak my tea bag
I'm up north in New York City
Singin' my lonesome tea bag blues

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