Man Smart (Woman Smarter)

Lyrics: Norman Span
Music: Norman Span

Bob Weir introduced this song to the Grateful Dead in 1981, and played it regularly from then on.

Let us put men and women together
See which one is smarter
Some say men, but I say no
The women got the men like a puppet show

Believe me, it's the people that say
That the men are leading the women astray
But I say that the women today
Are smarter than the men in every way

Chorus
That's right, the women are smarter
That's right, the women are smarter
That's right, the women are smarter
The women are smarter than the men today

Little boy sit on the corner and cry
Big man come and he ask him why
Says I can't do what the big boys do
Man sat down and he cried too

It ain't me, but the people who say
That the men are leading the women astray
But I say that the women today
Are smarter than the men in every way

[chorus]

Ever since the world began
Women been imitating the ways of men
But listen cause I've got a plan
Give it up, just don't try to understand

[chorus]

Grateful Dead recordings
     Date Album
      5 Apr 1982 Road Trips Volume 4, Number 4
      7 Aug 1982 Dick's Picks Vol 32
      2 Oct 1987 All The Year's Combine (DVD bonus disc)
      2 Apr 1989 Download Series Vol 9
      4 Jul 1989 Truckin' Up To Buffalo (DVD & CD soundtrack) (note 1)
     16 Mar 1990 Spring 1990
     21 Mar 1990 Weir Here: The Best Of Bob Weir
     26 Mar 1990 Spring 1990

Recordings from dead.net Tapers Section

Furthur Digital Downloads and CDs

Ratdoglive CDs and downloads
Notes
(1) also on the compilation Weir Here: The Best Of Bob Weir (in a heavily edited version - thanks to Olav Årskog for pointing this out)

Origins
The liner notes for the "Calypso At Midnight" CD (from a concert in 1946 hosted by Alan Lomax, with three New York based calypso singers, the Duke of Iron, Macbeth the Great, and Lord Invader) say this about "Man Smart":
"The song is one of several important calypsos composed and first performed in Trinidad Carnival tents by King Radio (One-Eye Norman Span). He recorded the piece in New York for Decca (17287) on April 6, 1936. In 1945, Macbeth the Great cut a version for Guild (115). In the late 1950s, the song was a big hit for the West Indian-American singer Harry Belafonte."
Thanks to Dick Rosemont, this is King Radio's version, backed by Gerald Clark and his Caribbean Serenaders (though Dick gives the date of this recording as 9 April 1939):
Let us put men and women together
To find out which one is smarter
Some say men, but I say no
The women got the men like [lavabo]

Chorus
Not me, it's the people who say
That the men are leading the women astray
But I say, oh Lord, that the women of today
Smarter than men in every way

Ever since the world began
Women was always fooling man
And if you listen to this Radio attentively
I'm gonna show you how the women [are] smarter than we

[chorus]

Samson was the strongest man, long ago
No one could have beat him, as we all know
And when he clashed with a woman on top the bed
She found out that his strength was in the hair of his head

[chorus]

I was treating a girl up at [separee]
And listen how she use up she brains on me
I was giving her my money all the time
And she was giving me shots with a friend of mine

[chorus]

If you capture a girl with a pretty dance
By taking her home you feel you get the chance
And when you reach her home, she tell you [she] lives alone
When she open the door she meets the next man home

[chorus]

Now listen how the woman does use us too
When they know they get everything from you
They mean to tie up their hair, that is [all their faith]
And wait until you're coming to cry out headache

[chorus]

I was supporting a woman independently
And she promised me to make a child for me
But when the baby born, and I went to see
The hair was straight, it was a Portuguee

[chorus]
I have a 1945 recording by Macbeth that is very similar, but the 1946 version at the Alan Lomax concert differs after the "Samson" verse:
Listen what happened to a friend of mine
His girlfriend leave him on a serious grind
He used to support her in luxury
But then the whole thing change up entirely

Well, look, I had a little girl, I used to treat her fine
She had me going down on the line
I was giving her my money all the time
And she was giving me shots with a friend of mine

Well, look I had a little girl in New York City
And she promised to make a baby for me
But when the baby born, and I went to see
The eyes was blue, it was a Portuguee
Harry Belafonte's versions are the best known. He seems to have recorded several different versions, the first in 1952 (and added the "That's right" chorus). One version I have is:
I say let us put man and woman together
To find out which one is smarter
Some say men, but I say no
The women got the men [in case] you know

Chorus
Not me, but the people they say
That the men are leading the women astray
But I say that the women of today
Smarter than the man in every way

Chorus 2
That's right, the woman is smarter
That's right, the woman is smarter
That's right, the woman is smarter
That's right, that's right

Ever since the world began
Woman was always teaching man
And if you listen to my [bit] attentively
Ican tell you how she is smarter than me

[chorus]

Samson was the strongest man, long ago
No one could have beat him, as we all know
Until he clashed with Delilah on top the bed
She told him all his strength was in the hair of his head

[chorus]
[chorus 2]

You meet a girl at a pretty dance
Thinking that you would stand a chance
You take her home, thinking she's alone
Open the door, you find her husband home

[chorus]
[chorus 2]

I was treating a girl independently
She was making baby for me
But when the baby born, and I went to see
Eyes was blue, it was not by me

[chorus]
Yes smarter
Other verses that I've seen listed as ones Belafonte sang include:
I was friendly with a girl named Caroline
She called me honey-boy all the time
Just when everything was going fine
She was dealing me short with a friend of mine

In the Garden of Eden Adam built a home
As soon as he finished Eve start to roam
Many a night Adam spent in pain
As soon as Eve was able she was raising cain

The Garden of Eden was very nice
Adam didn't have to work in paradise
Eve meets snake, paradise gone
She made Adam work from that day on

Methuselah spent all his life in tears
He hadn't met a woman in nine hundred years
One night he decided to have some fun
The poor man never lived to see nine hundred and one
Some sources (eg DeadBase) list the first recording as by the Brute Force Steel Band of Antigua on the album "Music To Awaken The Ballroom Beast." This is a later, instrumental, recording from 1957.


Futher Information
For an online discussion of the lyrics to this song see the deadsongs.vue conference on The Well.
For more information on recordings see Matt Schofield's Grateful Dead Family Discography
For online chords and TAB see www.rukind.com

 


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