Pokey LaFarge & the South City Three

Pokey LaFarge & the South City Three

 St. Louis, Missouri, USA
BandAmericanaBlues

An alluring duality of modern creativity and a tradition-bearing sound of old-timey Americana recordings that feature original songwriting, explosive, awe-inspiring vocals, and a big, big swingin’ beat; all at the crossroads where Milton Brown, Jimmie Rodgers, and Blind Boy Fuller intersect.

Biography

Of the many roots musicians traveling the world, spreading the early American music tradition, St. Louis musician and singer Pokey LaFarge is the next in line to make a significant impact on music enthusiasts everywhere. His creative mix of early jazz, string ragtime, country blues and western swing rings true and fine, making him one of the most innovative of all the purists performing American roots music today. It’s wonderfully infectious, and all laid down in front of a big, big swingin’ beat. A lot of performers are content to play old material, reworking the tunes to give them new life or to stamp them with personal style. But LaFarge both achieves timelessness with his original songs and honors the legendary songwriters and musicians of songs he covers. He uses his booming voice as an instrument with an incredible range; above his parlor guitar one moment he shouts a line and the next he croons. And while his music may be a fitting soundtrack to R. Crumb's comics, don't dare to call it “old-timey.” Whether performing solo or with his crew of painstakingly hand-picked supporting musicians, LaFarge’s extraordinary blend of raw talent and refined, idiosyncratic charm turns reviewers into poets as they attempt to label his one-of-a-kind sound.

Born in the heartland of America and now just 26 years old, Pokey LaFarge has been hitching through the countryside and whisking off to faraway lands ever since he was a teenager. He is a neo-hobo, constantly in motion and drawing musical inspiration from the heroes and misfits of yesterday; the long lost troubadours of country, the kings of swamp-drenched ragtime, and all the legendary bluesmen of the Cotton Kingdom. Sharing that inspiration has been a mission of sorts for LaFarge, making sure that people remember that there’s more to music than just the sounds that manufactured pop stars are making today. LaFarge is out to help listeners and live audiences rediscover an earlier time in America by bringing forth his special mix of music, featuring such acoustic instruments as parlor guitar, guitjo, double bass, kazoo, and harmonica. His sounds are truly original and modern, yet LaFarge’s influences are apparent, as tinges of Blind Boy Fuller, Bob Wills, and Jimmie Rodgers are easily recognizable.

LaFarge has swiftly gained a large legion of fans ever since he self-released his debut album Marmalade back in 2007. Shortly after the album came out, he landed a main stage slot at top annual roots music bash Pickathon in Portland, Oregon, where he was widely regarded as one of the standout acts of the event. In 2008, LaFarge released his follow-up solo album, Beat, Move & Shake, on St. Louis-based label Big Muddy Records. In 2009, LaFarge began working with The South City Three, a trio made up of fellow St. Louis musicians Joey Glynn, Adam Hoskins, Ryan Koenig. With Glynn swinging and walking the upright bass, Hoskins displaying great versatility on his archtop guitar, and Koenig getting down on harmonica, washboard, and snare drum, LaFarge & The South City Three found a sweet spot. In 2009 Pokey and his crew hit the road and began to tour at a mind-spinning pace, quickly winning over crowds throughout America and Europe, making waves at such high profile festivals such as the Big Chill Festival (UK), the Tonder Festival (Denmark), and most notably the 2010 Newport Folk Music Festival (USA), where Spin Magazine called Pokey LaFarge & the South City Three “Best Discovery” and Bob Boilen of NPR called their performance “simply charming.” In 2010, LaFarge joined with the South City Three on his 3rd release, Riverboat Soul, on Takoma Park, Maryland based label Free Dirt Records. The recording quickly took the American roots music scene by storm, reaching the top 5 in the Freeform American Roots Chart (FAR), the top 10 in the Americana UK chart, and receiving critical acclaim by a host of influential music journalists. Terry Nolan of No Depression may have described LaFarge and his album best, as he mused that the songster “could be the birth of the next Bill Monroe creating such a fine mix of ragtime, jugband, blues, folk and country, he has found his own genre. For now, he’s solidly in the contemporary Americana genre, only because the music is hard to categorize. And I think Pokey LaFarge prefers it that way. Catch him on record and live before he leaves us all in his dust.”

LaFarge has no plans of stopping his mission of spreading the joy of early American music to the masses. With him and The South City Three already scheming their next studio recording and planning their jam-packed 2011 performance schedule that will certainly have them playing even more high profile venues and events worldwide, look for Pokey to continue his rise as a premier tradition-bearer, musician, songwriter, and entertainer.

Lyrics

La La Blues

Written By: Pokey LaFarge

I know that you've heard
this old song sung before,
but you ain't heard it
while I was walking out the door

It's goodbye baby,
honey your time has come,
I've turned the tables
and now you're the one on the bum

chorus:
It's La La La,
I'm singing La La La
I'm so happy I'm singing La La

If I was a catfish
in the river down in St. Louie,
i'd be the biggest fish, honey
anyone had ever seen

You know I'd never get caught
cause I never bite the hook and line,
all the women try and catch me
as I go swimming by

chorus

I'm wet and I'm wild,
honey, I'm short and thin
so I can squeeze out of any position
you try and put me in

I've got this old thing
called the laughing hearts disease,
I'm gonna laugh my way to
any old place I please

Chorus

Claude Jones

Written By: Pokey LaFarge/Adam Hoskins

Back in southern Virginia
lived a legend of a man,
he took to runnin corn whiskey
all across this land

His name was Claude Jones,
made of nothing but skin and bones,
but he had a hair triggered temper,
it could change as quick as weather

Claude Jones, Claude Jones,
don't leave your family alone

chorus:
When you're born a free born man,
apart from Uncle Sam,
you'll take that money any way you can

Wake up, get up and go!
drink up, put on a show!
before they bury you in the sand

You'll be standing just singing in the sun
when other bootleggers lives are one and done
so think about your family when you're dead and gone
and may they be worthy to grace this land you walked upon

Claude Jones, Claude Jones
so that you may live on

Chorus

Won't Make Love at All

Written By: Pokey LaFarge

On Monday you say that you're too tired
from workin' all day long
On Tuesday you turn on the TV
just to see what is on

On Wednesday and Thursday
you say man won't you leave it alone
On Friday and Saturday you get so drunk
that you pass out when you get home

Chorus:
So, if i can't make love all the time
then I won't make love at all
I ain't gonna sit by the telephone
and wait for you to call

I ain't gonna beg, i ain't gonna plead
just cause you don't know what you need
if I, can't make love all the time
then I won't make love at all

Hard Times Come and Go

Written By: Pokey LaFarge

We were brothers just like Kane and Abel
Hard times come and go so we're told!
You took my money, left the pennies on the table
Hard times come and go so we're told!

chorus:
they are a snake in the grass,
an owl in the trees,
and they'll be swoop down upon you
and bring you down to your knees

I recall these words I was told
Hard times come, Hard times go!
but they're harder then they've ever been before
I don't know if I can take them anymore

We were partners, just like Bonnie and Clyde
Hard times come and go so we're told!
Till I turned around and you were not by my side
Hard times come and go so we're told!

Two-Faced Tom

Written By: Pokey LaFarge

Who's that man walking down the alley
Oh, Two Faced Tom!
Arm and arm with my gal Sally
Oh, Two Faced Tom!
If that's the man that I call my friend
Oh, Two Faced Tom!
I'm gonna bring that man's life to an end
Oh, Two Faced Tom!

Chorus:
I've got a plan, I've got a plan
I'm gonna kill that woman
and her brand new man
they call Two-Faced Tom

He ain't got no soul but he's got good looks
Oh, Two Faced Tom!
He ain't got no charm but a fat pocket book
Oh, Two Faced Tom!
What's the reason that you don't want me
Oh, Two Faced Tom!
To hell with you it wasn't meant to be
Oh, Two Faced Tom!

Chorus

You can lock me up in the county jail
Oh, Two Faced Tom!
One life sentence, no chance for bail
Oh, Two Faced Tom!
But I'll be happy, no I won't get down
Oh, Two Faced Tom!
Just knowing his bones are rotting in the ground
Oh, Two Faced Tom!

Chorus
Solo

Listen up fellas and listen up true
Oh, Two Faced Tom!
If your woman is cheating and you don't know what to do
Oh, Two Faced Tom!
There's only one way to make it right
Oh, Two Faced Tom!
And that's to take a gun and end his life
Oh, Two Faced Tom!

Chorus

Jesus, can you hear me from up on high?
Oh, Two Faced Tom!
Said I want to go to heaven now when I die
Oh, Two Faced Tom!
But if you can't let me in your door
Oh, Two Faced Tom!
I better see that woman and her man down below
Oh, Two Faced Tom!

You Don't Want Me

Written By: Pokey LaFarge

One thing I'll never understand,
a good woman loving a no good man
but you don't want me even though you know I treat you right

why is it that the more you know
the more you wonder what it's all for
said you don't want me even though you know I treat you right

Chorus:
Maybe I can quit it now
once I can admit how
but I just can't face it
I'm just no good at love

someday you will surely see
that you are better off with me
but you don't want me even though you know I treat you right

Solo

I wash your dishes and I bake your bread,
rub your back and scratch your head
but you don't want me even though you know I treat you right

Hello, blues, my old pal
you're the only one that can help me now
said you don't want me even though you know I treat you right

Chorus:
Maybe I can quit it now
once I can admit how
but I just can't face it
I'm just no good at love

Put on the water for tea for two
but you went out with you know who
said you don't want me even though you know I treat you right

Solo

Chorus:
Maybe I can quit it now
once I can admit how
but I just can't face it
I'm just no good at love

someday you will surely see
that you are better off with me
but you don't want me even though you know I treat you right

Bag of Bones

Written By: Pokey LaFarge

April showers have melted my soul
but the rain must come to an end
for there are better days ahead this I know
I see the sun rising around the bend,
I see the sun rising around the bend

When the kudzu vines start to grow down in dixie
and the sunflowered gardens explode
my bags are packed and I'm a fixin
to spend my life on the road,
to spend my life on the road

Chorus:
my heart is in this little bag of bones
your face is the one I see when I am alone
and I thank you for the love that you've shown
yes, it's the one thing that will carry me on

solo

though I love you and I always will
I'll take this chance on goodbye
well, i'm sorry i didn't stick around to say it
but I could not stand to see you cry

Migranes & Heartpains

Written By: Pokey LaFarge

i write a song when i get high
hope to make a little money to get by
microwave dinner for something to eat
play my songs out on the street

and this kind of life is a treat you see
compared to the way that you treat poor me
I got migraines and heartpains
living in and out of love

I had a girl and her name was Sue
took her on a date to the zoo
when we got to the lion's den
I said, "whoops", and i pushed her in

people asked what I did that for
I said, "man, I just couldn't take it no more"
I got migraines and heartpains
living in and out of love

Chorus:
well, it's up one day and down the next
you're always jerkin my heart around
you trip me to see how hard I fall
and then you kick me when I'm down

but If I want a life with you
there's only one thing I can do
take one day at a time
living in and out of love

Daffodil Blues

Written By: Pokey LaFarge/Chris Baricevic

your love is like a daffodil in spring
your love babe is like a daffodil in spring
it grows strong for a minute
then you forget about me

I wanna feed off you baby just like a busy working bee
I wanna feed off you baby just like a busy working bee
well i can be your king honey
won't you be my queen

I'm gonna put you in my window
so I can stand and watch you shine
I'm gonna put you in my window
so I can stand and watch you shine
because the seasons are a changing
and you know that we don't have much time

solo

goodbye Daffodil you have gone away from me
goodbye Daffodil you have gone away from me
and you just very well may gone forever baby
but I'll always cherish your memory

yes, I'll cherish memory for all the little joys you did bring
yes, I'll cherish memory for all the little joys you did bring
you may be gone for the season but I'll be seein you next spring

Discography

Pokey LaFarge & the South City Three- Middle of Everywhere (Free Dirt Records, coming July 2011)
Pokey LaFarge & the South City Three- Pack It Up 7" Vinyl Single (Third Man Records, March 2011)
Pokey LaFarge & the South City Three- Riverboat Soul (Free Dirt Records, 2010)
Pokey LaFarge- Beat, Move, and Shake (Big Muddy Records, 2008)
Pokey LaFarge- Marmalade (Self Released, 2007)

Set List

Pokey LaFarge & the South City Three don't create setlists before their gigs... every show is spontaneous, and their extensive repertoire allows them to include both original and classic American songs and tunes in their performance.