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Author Topic: Jack of Diamonds/Drunken Hiccups--Song of When the Spirit Moves You  (Read 1234 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Hi all,
I've been thinking about this song a lot lately, since being asked to transcribe and do a lesson on John Lee Hooker's version of the song. The song is one that has flourished in both the black and white traditions, with a great deal of crossover in lyrics and melodic ideas. That having been said, it may be worth noting that the versions recorded by black blues musicians are usually in four, and the versions recorded by white old-time or country musicians seem most often to be in waltz time, and to combine "Jack of Diamonds" lyrics with those of songs known variously as "Rye Whiskey", "Drunken Hiccups" or "Drunkard's Hiccups". I'll post a few versions and hope others of you will post versions you like or have dug up, too.

One of the earliest recorded versions is from Blind Lemon Jefferson, and it has the distinction of being his only slide guitar recording.



This early version by Jules Allen, "The Singing Cowboy" whom I know nothing about, came up in my youtube feed yesterday or the day before. His version combines elements of "Jack of Diamonds", "Rye Whiskey", and "Wagoner's Lad".



Henry Townsend's version, "Jack of Diamonds/Georgia Rub", played in cross-note tuning, gets in lines from "Mama Don't Allow", too.



Here's a version by the great old-time fiddler Tommy Jarrell. At other times, he would call the same song "Drunken Hiccups".



Here's an uptown version by Jesse Thomas, recorded in 1951.



And here is John Lee Hooker's version from 1949, played in Spanish tuning and capoed up.



INTRO CHORUS AND VERSE, INSTRUMENTAL

CHORUS: Jack of diamonds, Jack o' diamonds
Jack o' diamonds is a hard card to play

Put your jack against the queen, it will turn your money green
Jack o' diamonds is a hard card to play

SOLO

CHORUS: Jack of diamonds, Jack of diamonds
Jack o' diamonds is a hard card to play

Jack of diamonds make you moan, jack of diamonds make you cry
Jack of diamonds is a hard card to play

GUITAR INTERLUDE

CHORUS: Jack of diamonds, Jack o' diamonds
Jack o' diamonds is a hard card to play

Yes, it caused my dear old father just to lose his happy home
Jack of diamonds is a hard card to play

CHORUS: Jack of diamonds
Jack o' diamonds is a hard card to play

Jack of diamonds made a-many, yes, they lose thei' happy home
Jack of diamonds is a hard card to play

CODA

Here is a version by Thomas Shaw.



Any favorites I missed? Post them here.
All best,
Johnm

   
« Last Edit: March 07, 2022, 09:57:31 PM by Johnm »

Offline Norfolk Slim

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Re: Jack of Diamonds/Drunken Hiccups--Song of When the Spirit Moves You
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2022, 01:46:39 AM »
This is a great version, in the mould of the old time fiddler stuff rather than the BLJ branch of the tune.



Offline Old Man Ned

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Re: Jack of Diamonds/Drunken Hiccups--Song of When the Spirit Moves You
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2022, 08:18:23 AM »
Adding Mance Lipscomb version



Offline Johnm

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Re: Jack of Diamonds/Drunken Hiccups--Song of When the Spirit Moves You
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2022, 06:37:45 AM »
Here's a present-day version by Bruce Molsky:



All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: Jack of Diamonds/Drunken Hiccups--Song of When the Spirit Moves You
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2022, 10:49:44 AM »
Hi all,
A couple more "Jack of Diamonds" versions. First, Jim Bunkley, an East Coast player from the George Mitchell collection playing it without a slide in Spanish tuning:



And Texan Pete Harris, recorded for the Library of Congress, playing it in Vestapol with a slide:



All best,
Johnm

Offline TenBrook

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Re: Jack of Diamonds/Drunken Hiccups--Song of When the Spirit Moves You
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2022, 11:13:07 AM »
Thanks for putting this together John. The version of 'Drunken Hiccups' recorded in 1928 by J.W. Day (aka Jilson Setters) titled 'Way Up on Clinch Mountain' has been a favorite of mine since I first heard it.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Jack of Diamonds/Drunken Hiccups--Song of When the Spirit Moves You
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2022, 11:26:19 AM »
Thanks so much for posting that, TenBrook, I can see why that is a favorite of yours--it's a beauty!

Offline Johnm

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Re: Jack of Diamonds/Drunken Hiccups--Song of When the Spirit Moves You
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2022, 04:25:14 PM »
Hi all,
I found a couple of more versions of "Jack of Diamonds". The first is a blues version by Lum Guffin, recorded by Bengt Olsson:



And here is an Old-Time version by fiddler Owen "Snake" Chapman that is really nice and is in 4 rather than 3/4, so a bit unusual in that respect.



All best,
John

Offline eric

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Re: Jack of Diamonds/Drunken Hiccups--Song of When the Spirit Moves You
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2022, 07:56:14 AM »
Rounder put out a bunch of CDs of Kentucky fiddlers and I think maybe a couple of southern Ohio players. Great stuff.
--
Eric

Offline ThatGuyWithThe12Stringer

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Re: Jack of Diamonds/Drunken Hiccups--Song of When the Spirit Moves You
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2022, 11:26:49 PM »
One of my favorite Old-Time tunes. Surprisingly, BLJ's recording isn't my favorite - that title belong to Tex Ritter's slightly humorous recording in the "Hillybilly" style, complete with hiccoughs.



It does also sound good played this way Ala Leadbelly - on a low-tuned 12 strings with more bass runs. It's already in a similar bass-strum-bass-strum (boom-chic-boom-chic?) style to many of HLB's folk songs. I'm really surprised I haven't seen or head of a recording of it from him, considering he lived in the right place at the right time and was friends with someone who did, at least later on know it.
Whatever you're doing, go on and do it right!

Offline btasoundsradio

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Re: Jack of Diamonds/Drunken Hiccups--Song of When the Spirit Moves You
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2023, 09:29:08 AM »
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