Mance Lipscomb Guitar Keys and Positions

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compiled by Chris Berry

This is listed by title; playing position; and actual pitch -- if it says "+" or "-", it's less than a semitone off in that direction. I don't have the album with him, Lightning and Clifton Chenier so if someone wants to add those that would be great.
These are organized with CDs first, followed by tracks from the Arhoolie LPs that haven't been reissued and then some miscellaneous stuff. Corrections/criticism/comments are welcome; particularly on the tunes in A, sometimes it's a little difficult to tell if he's tuned in drop D or not. The A tunes where he doesn't retune tend to have either no IV chord or a very brief allusion to one.
I was surprised also how sharp he usually tunes, and I wonder if some of the more extreme pitches are problems with the original recording. There are a few instances where he's playing out of C but sounding in E and I've never seen a picture of him playing with a capo.

Texas Songster Vol 1 - Arhoolie CD 306

Track Title Position/tuning Pitch
1 Sugar Babe (It's All Over Now) E E-flat+
2 Going Down Slow A (Dropped D) B
3 Freddie E F+
4 Jack O'Diamonds Vestapol E-
5 Baby Please Don't Go E F#+
6 One Thin Dime E E+
7 Shake, Shake, Mama A (Dropped D) B
8 Ella Speed C D
9 Mama Don't Allow C D-
10 Ain't It Hard Am Bm
11 'Bout A Spoonful A (Dropped D) B-flat-
12 Take Me Back Babe C C#
13 Rag In G G/C G#/C#
14 Big Boss Man E F
15 You Gonna Quit Me C C#
16 Blues In G G G#+
17 Mama, Don't Dog Me A (Dropped D) B-flat
18 Willie Poor Boy spanish G#+
19 Tell Me Where You Stayed Last Night Dropped D E-flat-
20 Knocking Down Windows C C#+
21 Nobody's Fault But Mine Vestapol E-flat
22 Motherless Children Vestapol E-flat



Texas Songster Vol 2 - You Got to Reap Just What You Sow - Arhoolie CD 398

Track Title Position/tuning Pitch
1 Charlie James E F
2 Come Back Baby A B-flat
3 Spanish Flang Dang Spanish G#-
4 You Got To Reap What You Sow C C#
5 Cocaine Done Killed My Baby C C
6 Joe Turner Killed A Man Spanish A-flat+
7 Bumble Bee E E+
8 Boogie In "A" A (Dropped D) B-flat
9 Hattie Green A (Dropped D) B-flat+
10 Silver City C C+
11 The Titanic Vestapol E+
12 If I Miss the Train G A-flat+
13 Lord Thomas a cappella B-flat
14 Tom Moore Blues A B-flat
15 So Different Blues C C#
16 Tall Angel At The Bar E (maybe Vestapol) F+
17 Mama, Don't Dog Me A (Dropped D) B-flat
18 Long Way To Tipperary C C#+
19 Willie Poor Boy Spanish G#
20 You Rascal You C C#
21 I Looked Down The Road And I Wondered Vestapol F
22 Sentimental Blues G G#+
23 Police Station Blues A B-flat+
24 Missouri Waltz C C#+



Texas Songster Vol 3 - Texas Songster Vol 3 - Captain, Captain - Arhoolie CD 465

Track Title Position/tuning Pitch
1 Captain, Captain! A A+
2 Ain't You Sorry G G+
3 Night Time is the Right Time E E+
4 Mr. Tom's Rag (Guitar Solo) C C+
5 I Want To Do Something For You G G+
6 Long Tall Girl Got Stuck On Me A B-flat
7 Rag in "A" A A+
8 Going Up North to See My Pony Run E F
9 Santa Fe Blues C C+
10 Frankie and Albert C C+
11 Sentimental Piece in "G" (Guitar Solo) G G+
12 Farewell Blues E F
13 Shorty George C C+
14 Angel Child A (Dropped D) A+
15 Black Rat A (Dropped D) A+
16 Tom Moore's Farm Take 2 A A-flat+
17 Foggy Bottom Blues A B-flat-
18 Heel and Toe Polka G G#-
19 Going Back to Georgia E G
20 Easy Rider Blues G A-flat
21 Why Did You Leave Me? E F
22 Me and My Baby E F+
23 Mance's Talking Blues C C#



Texas Songster - Vol. 4 - Live! at The Cabale - Arhoolie CD 482

Track Title Position/tuning Pitch
1 Baby Don't You Lay It On Me A (Dropped D) B-flat
2 Meet Me In The Bottom A (Dropped D but retunes to standard -- extra cool move) B-flat
3 You Gonna Miss Me E E+
4 Keep On Truckin' C C+
5 Trouble In Mind C C#+
6 Tom Moore Blues A B-flat+
7 Mance's Short Haired Woman E E+
8 Tra-La-Ra-La Doodle All Day C C#+
9 Shine On Harvest Moon C C#+
10 Run Sinner Run Vestapol E
11 Key To The Highway E F
12 Rock Me Mama E F
13 Wonder Where Easy Rider Done Gone G G#+
14 Late Night Blues & Boogie Woogie E F#
15 Cocaine Done Killed My Baby C E+
16 I Wonder Why E F#
17 It Ain't Gonna Rain No More C E-flat
18 You Gonna Quit Me Baby C E-flat
19 When The Saints Go Marching In Vestapol E-flat+
20 Mother Had A Sick Child Vestapol E-flat+



Texas Songster Vol 5 - Texas Country Blues - Arhoolie CD 9026

Track Title Position/tuning Pitch
1 Texas Blues G F#
2 Black Gal A (Dropped D) A-flat
3 Oh, Baby! (You Don't Have To Go) E E-flat
4 Whiskey Blues G F#
5 Haunted House Blues G F#
6 Mance's Blues E F
7 Does She Ever Think Of Me E E+
8 I Just Hang Down My Head And I Cry G A-flat
9 Rag In F F F+
10 Wonder Where My Easy Rider Gone G A-flat-
11 Tell Me Where You Stayed Last Night E E+
12 Corrine, Corrina G A-flat+
13 Evil Blues E E
14 Mama, Let Me Lay It On You A (Dropped D) B-flat
15 Louise Dropped D E-flat
16 Sometimes I Feel Like Vestapol E
17 Blues In The Bottle A B-flat
18 Angel Child A (Dropped D) B-flat



Mance Lipscomb - Trouble In Mind Rhino CD RHM2 7829

Track Title Position/tuning Pitch
1 Captain, Captain A B-flat-
2 Careless Love C C#+
3 When Death Come Creeping in Your Room (Run, Sinner Run) Vestapol E-flat+
4 Alabama Bound G A-flat+
5 Buck Dance (Instrumental) C C#+
6 Night Time Is the Right Time E F+
7 Rocks and Gravel Makes a Solid Road E F+
8 Johnnie Take a One on Me C C#+
9 Motherless Children Vestapol E-flat+
10 Which-a-Way Do the Red River Run E F+
11 Trouble in Mind C C#
12 Ballad of the Boll Weevil C C+
13 Boogie in 'A' (Instrumental) A (Dropped D) B-flat+
14 Hattie Green A (Dropped D) B-flat-
15 Bumble Bee Blues E F+
16 Shine on Harvest Moon C C+
17 Cocaine Done Kill My Baby C C#
18 Hey Lawdy Mama A A+
19 Is You Gonna Quit Me Baby C C#
20 Frankie Was a Good Woman Spanish (tonic at 7th fret) E-flat
21 You Gonna Look Like a Monkey G A-flat+
22 Black Gal A (Dropped D) B-flat+
23 Casey Jones F F#+
24 After Hours (Instrumental) E F+
25 Angel Child A (Dropped D) A-



So Different Blues - Collectables CD COL-5289

Track Title Position/tuning Pitch
1 So Different Blues C B-flat+
2 See You Mama Every Night F E
3 Late Hours Blues E E-flat+
4 Nobody Cares For Me C B
5 Shorty George Cut Down C C
6 Corinna Corrina (12-string) G G
7 Rock Me Mama (12-string) E E
8 Shine On Harvest Moon (12-string) C C
9 Good As I Am To You (12-string) C C
10 Long Way To Tipparrary (12-string) C C
11 Getaway Blues G F
12 Trouble In Mind C B-flat+
13 Going Down Slow A (Dropped D) G+
14 Baby Please Don't Go E D+




LP: You'll Never Find Another Man Like Mance - Arhoolie 1077

Track Title Position/tuning Pitch
1 Meet Me in the Bottom* A (Dropped D but retunes) B-flat
2 Tom Moore's Farm* A B-flat
3 Keep on Trucking C C+
4 Joe Turner Killed a Man Spanish A-flat+
5 Alabama Bound G A-
6 You've Got to See Your Mama Every Night F G-
7 Out and Down E E+
8 Angel Child A (Dropped D) A+
9 You Rascal You D E-flat
10 Mance's St. Louis Blues C C#
11 Baby, Don't You Lay It on Me A (Dropped D) B-flat
12 Tall Angel at the Bar Vestapol E
13 Johnny Take a One on Me/Buck Dance C C

*same recording as on CD Vol. 4



LP: Texas Sharecropper and Songster Vol. 1 - Arhoolie LP F 1001

Track Title Position/tuning Pitch
1 Rock Me Mama All Night Long E F#
2 Ain't Gonna Rain No Mo' C C#-
3 Goin' to Louisiana (See See Rider) C C#-




LP: Texas Songster Volume 2 - Arhoolie F 1023

Track Title Position/tuning Pitch
1 Key to the Highway E F
2 Heel and Toe Polka G A-flat
3 Alabama Jubilee F F#+




LP: Texas Blues and 3 Other Songs Vol. 5 - Arhoolie 1049

Track Title Position/tuning Pitch
1 Long Way to Tipperary C B
2 Mother Had a Sick Child Vestapol D
3 Looking for My Jesus Vestapol D




LP: Mance Lipscomb Volume 6 - Arhoolie 1069

Track Title Position/tuning Pitch
1 When Death Comes Creeping in Your Room Vestapol E+




LP: Various Artists: Blues 'n Trouble - Arhoolie F 1006

Track Title Position/tuning Pitch
1 Back Water Blues A B-flat




Various Artists: Blues With a Feeling (Newport Folk Festival Classics) - Vanguard

Track Title Position/tuning Pitch
1 Freddie E E+
2 So Different Blues C C#+
3 God Moves on the Water (The Titanic)* Vestapol E-flat
  *also on Folk Music at Newport Part 1    



Various Artists: The Great Blues Men - Vanguard CD 25/26

Track Title Position/tuning Pitch
1 Blues in G G G+




LP: Blues Festival Concert & Dance - Arhoolie F 1030

Track Title Position/tuning
1 Stop-Time C
2 I Ain't Got Nobody C
3 Take Your Arms From Around My Neck, Sugar Babe E
4 When the Saints Go Marching In Vestapol

Video/Film

A Well-Spent Life

Track Title Position/tuning
1St. James InfirmaryAm



Out of the Blacks into the Blues/Good Morning Blues (I forget which volume and which tune is on which)

Track Title Position/tuning
1See See RiderC
2See See RiderE
3All Night LongG



Masters of Country Blues: Mance Lipscomb/Lightnin' Hopkins

Track Title Position/tuning
1Sugar BabeE
2Ella SpeedC
3Can I Do Something for YouG
4Baby Please Don't GoE
5Shine On Harvest MoonC
6You've Got to See Mama Every NightF
7Goin' Down SlowA (Dropped D)
8Night Time is the Right TimeE
9Jack of DiamondsVestapol



Mance Lipscomb in Concert - Vestapol DVD

Track Title Position/tuning
1 So Different Blues C
2 Take Me Back C
3 Going Down Slow A (Dropped D)
4 Keep On Trucking C
5 Alcohol Blues G
6 Angel Child A (Dropped D)
7 Silver City C
8 Night Time Is The Right Time E
9 Key To The Highway E
10 You Got To See Your Mama Every Night F
11 Mama Don't Allow C
12 Long Way To Tipperary C
13 Baby, You Don't Have To Go E
14 When The Saints Go Marching In Vestapol
15 Motherless Children Vestapol
16 I Want To Do Something For You G