[Ads-l] "psychedelic" music (1964)

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Tue Apr 28 14:46:29 EDT 2020


Larry, do you know the regional distribution of the "or...or" construction?
While Steve Weber was the one who was "born in Pennsylvania," it's
Milwaukee-born Peter Stampfel who sings the "or...or" bit.


On Tue, Apr 28, 2020 at 2:04 PM Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>
wrote:

> Yes, theirs is an interesting take on Hesitation Blues, a traditional song
> with very unstable lyrics--no two versions seem exactly alike.  For
> example, besides the "psychedelic" bit (at 1:46), this couplet at the
> beginning is apparently unique to the HMR version:
>
> I was born in Pennsylvania, I was raised in France
> I'm a dirty old man and I wear silk pants.
>
> I was always struck by the HMR's "or...or" construction in the chorus (each
> time it returns):
>
> Tell me how long do I have to wait
> Or can I get you now, or must I hesitate
>
> No other version has that initial "Or"
>
> LH
>
>
>
> On Tue, Apr 28, 2020 at 12:23 PM Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > OED3's earliest citation for sense 2a of "psychedelic" ("designating a
> > style of popular music inspired or influenced by the effects of
> psychedelic
> > drugs") is from November 1965. On the self-titled debut album by The Holy
> > Modal Rounders (Peter Stampfel & Steve Weber), released in October 1964,
> > the song "Hesitation Blues" includes these lyrics:
> >
> > "Got my psychedelic feet in my psychedelic shoes
> > I believe, Lordy mama, I got the psychedelic blues."
> >
> > The song is an old blues standard, but these lines were added by Stampfel
> > as an intentional application of the word "psychedelic" to music.
> (Stampfel
> > discusses this in the 2006 documentary "The Holy Modal Rounders: Bound to
> > Lose.")
> >
> >

------------------------------------------------------------
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org


More information about the Ads-l mailing list