'Alibi-ing Papa' sheet music
“Alibi-ing Papa” is about a woman who is fed up with her husband’s nights spent away from the family and the lies he tells to cover up his nocturnal adventures. The narrative takes place in Mobile, Alabama where alibing Sam always tells his wife he has a lodge meeting when she wants him to do things like, “come and go with her and the kiddies to a movie show”. This nameless wife threatens to, “get a pistol, I don’t care what it costs” to keep in the house. But she knows he prefers being, “ out with the women trying to be a sheik” in what may be a reference to the French-Italian American actor Rudolph Valetino’s famous movie character the Sheik. In the 1920s the term Sheik became slang for a womanizer, which according to his wife fit Sam’s character.
“Alibi-ing Papa” was composed by Effie Tyus and Charles Tyus who also wrote the music and lyrics of “Omaha Blues” 1924 and “I’m Free, Single, Disengaged, Looking For Someone to Love” 1919. Janice Cleary who owns this amazing collection believes Effie and Charles Tyus were entertainers. The song has a 1927 copyright held by W. C. Handy Music Publisher, of 1547 Broadway, New York, New York. The sheet music does not indicate any Omaha address like the other compositions by the Tyus team. Unlike “I’m Free, Single, Disengaged, Looking For Someone to Love” this publication does not have any artwork on its cover or additional promotions of the artists’ other work.For interviews and oral histories of this and other items please visit the History Harvest YouTube Channel.