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I'm Thinkin' about the year of 19 and 29 - Happy New Year Blues, Lemon Jefferson

Author Topic: Question about Gus Cannon's "Poor Boy Long way From home"  (Read 2600 times)

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Offline Ron Mack

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Question about Gus Cannon's "Poor Boy Long way From home"
« on: August 30, 2010, 07:09:43 PM »
Hey Everyone,
Can someone confirm that Gus Cannon played banjo with a slide on the recording "Poor Boy Long way From home" and If so, how common was banjo slide playing back in those days?

I have the tab which is in Woody Manns "Bottleneck Blues Guitar Book" and it just seems odd that a banjo tune would be in a bottleneck blues guitar book.

Also, Is the banjo tuned the same as the guitar with the exception of the low D string?

I'm just discovering Gus Cannon and find his music  fascinating (what little I heard), Thanks.

R.M.

Offline banjochris

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Re: Question about Gus Cannon's "Poor Boy Long way From home"
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2010, 07:15:34 PM »
He did (might have been a knife or bottleneck, though). It wasn't -- the only other recording on 78 I can think of is Dock Walsh's "Go Bathe in That Beautiful Pool." The banjo is tuned to regular open G as far as I know; the guitar is in standard tuning key of G, but they're tuned down below concert pitch. Also, based on Cannon's voice, that record was put out at slightly the wrong speed.
Chris

Offline Ron Mack

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Re: Question about Gus Cannon's "Poor Boy Long way From home"
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2010, 07:37:15 PM »
He did (might have been a knife or bottleneck, though). It wasn't -- the only other recording on 78 I can think of is Dock Walsh's "Go Bathe in That Beautiful Pool." The banjo is tuned to regular open G as far as I know; the guitar is in standard tuning key of G, but they're tuned down below concert pitch. Also, based on Cannon's voice, that record was put out at slightly the wrong speed.
Chris

Thanks for your reply banjochris. I just downloaded the Dock Walsh song, interesting.
I did notice that Gus Cannon voice sounds completely different on "feather bed" than It does on "Poor Boy..."  Slide banjo, you learn something new every day.

Thanks,
R.M.












« Last Edit: August 30, 2010, 07:39:04 PM by Ron Mack »

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Question about Gus Cannon's "Poor Boy Long way From home"
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2010, 09:08:39 PM »
I love that Dock Walsh song. Going from memory, but wasn't there a story about him putting coins under the bridge or something to do that tune?

Offline banjochris

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Re: Question about Gus Cannon's "Poor Boy Long way From home"
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2010, 10:05:57 PM »
Yeah, UB, he apparently put pennies under the bridge to raise it up. According to the liner notes of the Carolina Tar Heels Folk-Legacy LP, which I was too lazy to clear off the top of the turntable to listen to, he plays "Ain't Gonna Be Treated This A-Way" in his "knife" style on that album from the '60s.
Chris

Offline Stuart

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Re: Question about Gus Cannon's "Poor Boy Long way From home"
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2010, 10:57:47 PM »
...Slide banjo, you learn something new every day...

From an earlier post:

...decades ago Martin Mull did a parody tune where he played a uke slide style with a baby bottle. In the seventies, I saw Ken Bloom do a slide version of "Sittin' On Top of the World" on an autoharp.

MM on youtube:


Offline Witty Username

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Re: Question about Gus Cannon's "Poor Boy Long way From home"
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2010, 04:49:49 AM »
Yeah, UB, he apparently put pennies under the bridge to raise it up. According to the liner notes of the Carolina Tar Heels Folk-Legacy LP, which I was too lazy to clear off the top of the turntable to listen to, he plays "Ain't Gonna Be Treated This A-Way" in his "knife" style on that album from the '60s.
Chris

Just listening to it now, also, Walsh made a few prewar recordings of slide banjo: "A precious sweetheart from me is gone", "Bathe in that beautiful pool", and a couple more; unfortunately I haven't Russell's discography handy right now, but there were more.

Offline Lyle Lofgren

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Re: Question about Gus Cannon's "Poor Boy Long way From home"
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2010, 07:26:46 AM »
Just in case you don't know what the "banjo open G" tuning is, it's gDGBD, where the capital letters are the 4 fretted strings, from low to high tone. The "g" is the fifth (drone) string, tuned one octave above the 3rd string "G". You could probably get a similar effect with a guitar tuned to an open G: DGDGBD (low to high as you read from left to right).

Lyle

Offline Ron Mack

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Re: Question about Gus Cannon's "Poor Boy Long way From home"
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2010, 07:45:37 AM »
Just in case you don't know what the "banjo open G" tuning is, it's gDGBD, where the capital letters are the 4 fretted strings, from low to high tone. The "g" is the fifth (drone) string, tuned one octave above the 3rd string "G". You could probably get a similar effect with a guitar tuned to an open G: DGDGBD (low to high as you read from left to right).

Lyle

Hi Lyle,
No, I didn't know the bango tuning. I see that It's spanish tuning without the low D, thanks. Thanks to everyone.

Offline DanceGypsy

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Re: Question about Gus Cannon's "Poor Boy Long way From home"
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2010, 03:05:04 PM »
It may have been uncommon in the past, but you sure can't beat it for novelty.  I play Robert Johnson's 32-20 Blues with a slide on a 5-string banjo tuned to G that I have set up with high action, and it always invites comment.  I am about to start playing Uncle Dave Macon's Keep My Skillet Good & Greasy in D with a slide, based on a recorded version I got from Frank Lee of the Freight Hoppers where he plays it as a slide tune on a 30's National guitar in D.  Turns it into a real bluesy number, sliding up to the "time-time-time" refrain.  I think my band is about to shoot an actual music video inside a train boxcar, and this tune is on the short list.  Though I will play it in on guitar for this project, since my wife wants to play banjo...

 


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