Country Blues => Weenie Campbell Main Forum => Topic started by: Roscoe on January 27, 2008, 08:54:08 AM

Title: Clarence Greene
Post by: Roscoe on January 27, 2008, 08:54:08 AM
hi guys. i have tunes by two clarence greens. a texas r and b guy and a guy on a cd called white country blues. i wondered if anybody knows anything about the latter. the tune on the white country blues cd is called johnson city blues. btw if you havnt heard this cd its a good un.
Title: Re: Clarence Green
Post by: uncle bud on January 27, 2008, 09:31:37 AM
Hiya Roscoe,

There's some information in Clarence Green in this thread http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?amp;Itemid=114&topic=157.0.

The Green info starts a few posts down. There's not a lot known about him. If I could find my Tony Russell book Black, Whites and Blues, I'd see what he has to say, but it's buried somewhere, no doubt under paper, files etc. I do love Johnson City Blues.
Title: Re: Clarence Green
Post by: Bunker Hill on January 27, 2008, 09:45:48 AM
Just for information there were two Texas Blues/R&B Clarence Green's. The guitarist mentioned (1934-1997) who recorded between 1958 and 1992 and Clarence 'Candy' Green (1929-1988) who was a pianist who recorded for Peacock in 1951 as well as a few small labels. Unsurprisingly searching the internet produces results that confuse the two.  ;D
Title: Re: Clarence Green
Post by: Bunker Hill on January 27, 2008, 09:50:24 AM
If I could find my Tony Russell book Black, Whites and Blues, I'd see what he has to say, but it's buried somewhere, no doubt under paper, files etc.
Great minds and all that, I've already been down that route and no index entry!
Title: Re: Clarence Green
Post by: Roscoe on January 28, 2008, 08:26:03 AM
thanks again guys. now i know a little more about mr green.
Title: Re: Clarence Green
Post by: Lignite on November 11, 2008, 10:44:30 PM
Clarence Green played mainly with The Blue Ridge Entertainers an old time string band where he played fiddle with Clarence "Tom" Ashley on guitar, Gwen Foster guitar and harmonica and Will Abernathy on Autoharp and harmonica. They had a good run of releases in 1931. He also played fiddle with Byrd Moore prior to that in 1930 with the records released as Moore and Green or as Byrd Moore's Hot Shots. His solo releases were earlier than both these configurations in 1927 and 1928. I own a 78 of On The Banks Of The Ohio and Fond Affection and it seems to be in the style of E.V. Stoneman who was very popular in the old-time field at the time featuring plain vocals and guitar backed by a harmonica and autoharp, actually rather lackluster. From the discography it looks like his other releases were in a similiar vein except for Johnson City Blues and 99 Years In Jail (haven't heard that one yet,is it blues too?). Johnson City Blues is some exciting white mountain blues but seems to be the only recorded piece that he played in this style. His son also named Clarence Green lives in western North Carolina and is an old time and bluegrass guitarist and instrument collector and owns all of his Dad's 78s and played guitar in the group backing famous fiddler Art Shumate the last time I met him several years ago.
Title: Re: Clarence Green
Post by: Rivers on November 12, 2008, 06:58:31 AM
Hi Lignite,

Glad you revived this thread and provided that interesting info.

Clarence Green's Johnson City Blues is a big favorite. On a previous version of the website several weenies spent a load of time transcribing the lyrics. I don't know if the final transcription we arrived at made it over to here. I hope so, there are some intriguing lyrics buried in there, one line in particular we couldn't nail.

Did anyone involved in that transcription effort capture the work?

Title: Re: Clarence Green
Post by: uncle bud on November 12, 2008, 10:06:50 AM
Here's the result from the old listserv, with a few amendments from me. The mystery line is still a mystery, so any fresh ears appreciated.

Johnson City Blues

by Clarence Green (g. and v.)
Recorded 15 October, 1928 in Johnson City TN for Columbia
Alternate take on "White Country Blues" (Columbia Legacy C2K 47466)

Went up on the Lookout Mountain
As far as I could see
I was looking for the woman made a monkey outta me
I come down to the depot in time to catch a cannonball
Got the blues, Chattanooga
I won't be back 'till late next fall.

Down in Memphis
On East Main Street
I was watching everybody that I chanced to meet
I saw my sweet Daddy, coming 'round the flat
He was dressed in a tailor-made suit
And a John B. Stetson hat.

Daddy, sweet Daddy
I know you're gonna quit me now
But I don't need no Daddy no-how
Oh it's trouble, trouble, is all I ever find
Going back to Johnson City
Goin' to worry you off my mind

Down in Nicaragua*
As far as I could go
Was the darndest bunch of soldiers that you ever saw
On the Tennessee River down below the lock and dam
I was looking for my good gal
Thinkin' she might be ??** brown

Down in Johnson City
For hospitality
Are the finest bunch of people in the State of Tennessee
I'm tired of roamin' this way
Goin' back to Johnson City
I'll go back and stay some day.

* corruption of Chickamauga, from recordings by Ida Cox and by the Allen Brothers, "Chattanooga Blues"
** various desperate theories for this line that people came up with included "thinking she might be my purty Miss Brown", "thinking she might believe I was drowned", "might be pandemus brown" (There's an academic paper in there somewhere -  "My Pandemus Brown: Classical Allusions in White Country Blues").
Title: Re: Clarence Green
Post by: banjochris on November 12, 2008, 02:52:38 PM
How about:
Thinkin' she's my petite Miss Brown.
Title: Re: Clarence Green
Post by: Rivers on November 12, 2008, 04:38:47 PM
Good one. Funny thing is, there's a beer ad in Spanish stuck to the fridge in my local convenience store with a word very like 'padimas' in it, I must write it down next time I step out for a case of Shiner Bock. That recording is a time machine, you can hear the street noises from outside, takes you right back there. Might make a good topic, ambient noises on 78 recordings.
Title: Re: Clarence Green
Post by: Rivers on November 12, 2008, 06:29:51 PM
Thanks Uncle Bud, I dropped the lyrics into Weeiepedia. We need to make a Clarence Green page.
Title: Re: Clarence Green(e)
Post by: Henry54 on November 20, 2008, 12:11:55 PM
I ran across this thread and really am enjoying the forum.  Over the past year I have been researching the 1928 and 1929 Columbia Recording sessions in Johnson City, TN that featured Charlie Bowman, Tom Ashley, and numerous other pioneers of country music.  We were really thrown off track trying to research Clarence Green.  It turns out the man that recorded Johnson City Blues was actually named Clarence Greene and for some reason his name was mis-reported by Columbia.  A son (also named Clarence) lives in Western North Carolina,  inherited his dad's musical ability and has sent me quite a bit of information including photos of his father. 


There is also a chapter on Greene in this recently published book by music historian Bob L. Cox:


I think the fact that his name was mixed up by Columbia - who cared about the details in 1929 anyway -  caused the man to remain such a mystery.  It was a fluke that Asheville music historian Wayne Erbsen knew the son and we were able to track him down.  Frank Walker of Columbia knew what he was doing as those recordings are exceptional for their time. 
Title: Re: Clarence Green
Post by: Rivers on November 20, 2008, 04:49:53 PM
Welcome to Weenie Campbell Henry, great work on researching Clarence Green(e).

We need to put up a Clarence Greene artist page on weeniepedia, let me know if you'd like to kick it off, I can't think of anyone more qualified!
Title: Re: Clarence Green
Post by: Rivers on December 21, 2015, 01:34:44 PM
Interesting that a Spanish political party currently in the news has a name very close to the mystery word in Johnson City Blues. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/12063001/Political-uprising-in-Spain-shatters-illusion-of-eurozone-recovery.html

Spanish for, very loosely, "yes we can".
Title: Re: Clarence Greene
Post by: Johnm on January 25, 2016, 01:15:34 PM
Hi all,
I was wondering if anyone had ever heard Clarence Greene's song, "Ninety-Nine Years In Jail".  It was recorded at the same session as "Johnson City Blues", and seems like it might be another blues.  It is not up on youtube.
All best,
Title: Re: Clarence Greene
Post by: Lignite on January 25, 2016, 04:18:18 PM
It's a hillbilly tune in 3/4 time. It's from the same source as I've Still Got 99 by the Monroe Brothers, Cold Penitentiary Blues by B.F, Shelton or Poor Boy by Woody Guthrie.
Title: Re: Clarence Greene
Post by: Johnm on January 25, 2016, 04:45:53 PM
Thanks very much for that information, Lightnin'.  From the way you describe it, I'm sure I would like it, because I like all of the other songs that you cite that are from the same family.  Thanks!
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