Originally appeared on Clear Spot
Those little golden birdies look at them
And the mystic Egypt tossle dangling down
Old sleeper-man shish, don’t wake him
Up one hand broom star was an obi-man
revered throughout the bone-knob land
His magic black purse slit creeped open,
Let go flocks of them
Shish sookie singabus
Snored like a red merry-go-round horse
And an acid gold bar swirled up and down,
Up and down, in back of the singabus
And the panataloon duck white goose neck quacked
Originally made available at Justin Sherill’s Home Page Replica.
The last two words of Golden Birdies are actually, “Webcor, Webcor”. Webcor was a brand name of the Webster Chicago Corporation, who made Don’s tape recorder (or was it Frank’s?)
In the mystic Egypt,
tassel dangling down,
old sleeper man,
shoosh, don’t wake him!
Up wand hand
broom star was an obi man,
the bone knob land.
(Broom star is a very old Chinese astronomy description of a comet, which looks like a star with a tail.)
(An obi man is a sort of shaman or sorcerer in the Caribbean, of West African origin. Derived or synonymous with Obeah, an indigenous religious practice. The use of wand-like sticks for magical purposes, say held up in the air, pointing at a passing comet, which would likely have had important spiritual significance to a obi man.)
(A “fez” is a hat worn in North Africa by practitioners of Islam. It has a tassel which dangles down, pinned to the top, at the vertex.)
“Shoosh sookie sigabus” is a very interesting line. In this case, “sookie” undoubtably refers to a “sookie jump,” which Leadbelly talks about during at least one his recordings. It is a very energetic dance done say at a juke joint by African Americans, most likely to live music. Don would have surely known about this.
When you listen to Don’s lyrics, be aware that he was a very careful poetic lyricist, which is formatted to be rythmic, playful and meaningful at the same time, like so many well thought out blues lyrics. He uses strings of associations, tied together by the sounds of words and poetic meter.
So, the last stanza should read:
“And the paddling duck,
white goose neck
quacked, “Webcor, Webcor.”
Think goose neck microphone, the webbed feet of ducks and geese, and the last words after a musical performance calling for an encore. And Webcor was a popular tape recorder at that time. I had one.