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I got the blues for my baby, and my baby got the blues for me 'cause she went and caught that Big Four, she beat it back to Tennessee - Charley Jordan, Big Four Blues

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1
Country Blues Licks and Lessons / Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Last post by Johnm on Yesterday at 08:39:43 PM »
Hi all,
The Spark Plug Smith and Arthur Pettis puzzlers have been up for a good while, so I"ll post the answers. I think these are both trickier identification puzzlers than most that have been posted in this thread, and the Pettis track I think is particularly a tough ID.

For Spark Plug Smith's "Motherless Boy":
   * His playing position was A position in standard tuning. The give-away comes at :26 of his rendition, where, while playing in his I chord he alternates between the root of the I chord on the fifth string, and a low V note om the sixth string. Such an alternation would not be possible if he were playing in G position in standard tuning, since the lowest available note for G position in standard tuning would be the open sixth string, E, which is a VI note relative to G.
   * In the tenth bar of each verse, I believe he moves a closed E7 position, 2-1-3 on the fourth, third and second strings up two frets intact for a momentary F#7 chord. This move is much as Chris described it.

For Arthur Pettis's "Quarrelin' Mama":
   * His playing position was G position in standard tuning. The very beginning of the tune makes A position implausible, for he is hitting a sustaining V note in the bass while sliding into a D shape on the first three strings up the neck. In G position, that V note would be the open fourth string, which requires no fingering and makes the slid D position at the seventh fret no problem at all. Were he playing in A position, he'd have to hold down the seventh fret of the fifth string, E, while sliding into that D position on the first three strings at the ninth fret--highly unlikely. He could still be plausibly playing in Spanish tuning at this point, though.
At :06 he crosses strings from the minor third to the major third and resolves down to the root. In G position, that's third fret of the third string to the open second string, resolving to the open third string. In A position, everything would be moved up two frets, a pretty reachy and awkward proposition. Immediately after that, he's going back and forth between a V note on the second string and a bVII on the first string, while alternating between the third and fifth in the bass. in G position, you have that covered simply by fretting, X-2-0-0-3-1. At :25, he slides up from a VI note to a major VII note resolving into the I note on the next higher string. In G position, that's going from the second to the fourth fret of the fourth string and resolving into the open third string. The resolution into the open third string is what makes the lick plausible--in A, it would be a slide from the fourth fret of the fourth string to the sixth fret, resolving into the second fret of the third string, which would be a tough move in any event, but really rugged at the speed at which he plays the lick. Banjochris made many of these same points in his post on the song.

Particularly in the third verse accompaniment, there is a lot of stuff being played in the bass that sounds like Spanish or possibly DGDGBE tuning. but I believe that the piano is hitting those occasional low V notes in the bass over the I chord. Pettis also has a couple of fills that really sound like Clifford Gibson playing in Spanish in the treble. I think this was a really tough identification. I do believe that Pettis was playing in G position in standard tuning, primarily on the basis of what he does in the treble, which lays out beautifully in G position in standard tuning (though it would be the same there in DGDGBE tuning). In listening to this cut, I definitely found myself wishing it had been a solo track. The piano is under-recorded and has just enough volume to confuse things, and the tuning of the harmonica to the guitar and piano is pretty dire.

Arthur Pettis was criminally under-recorded, I think. I don't at all feel like the extant recordings of him give a complete picture of what he did and could do. He's unusual, too, in his ability to be an absolute android at playing like Bill Broonzy--that is so rare in this music.

Thanks to all who participated, and I hope that you enjoyed the songs.

all best,
Johnm   
   
2
Discographies / Re: Ransom Knowling
« Last post by Blues Vintage on August 09, 2022, 05:16:58 AM »
Awesome, the type of stuff you won't learn at Berklee.
3
Discographies / Re: Ransom Knowling
« Last post by MarkC on August 08, 2022, 05:45:00 PM »
Rodrigo Mantovani playing bass in Ransom Knowling's style along with Tampa Red's "Cool Operator"


Excellent bass player and a nice guy. He was at PT Blues Week.
4
Discographies / Re: Ransom Knowling
« Last post by daddystovepipe on August 08, 2022, 02:41:14 PM »
Rodrigo Mantovani playing bass in Ransom Knowling's style along with Tampa Red's "Cool Operator"
5
Country Blues Lyrics / Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
« Last post by Johnm on August 08, 2022, 06:47:48 AM »
Thanks for the help, Blues Vintage. I re-listened and agree with all of your suggestions, so I have made the changes.
6
Country Blues Lyrics / Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
« Last post by Blues Vintage on August 08, 2022, 06:37:49 AM »
Some suggestions,


2.7 She get hell on her mind, and go wild about somebody else

3.4 You know I loved my woman, better than I did myself

I hear a quick "with my woman". Sounds like he wanted to sing "I'm in love with my woman".


Those last spoken bits sound like;

Play it low and lonesome now, boy

It's hard work boy, but it's fair

7
Country Blues Lyrics / Re: Blind Willie McTell lyrics
« Last post by Johnm on August 08, 2022, 06:00:25 AM »
Hi all,
Blind Willie McTell's "Blues Around Midnight" also appears on the "Atlanta Twelve-String" album. He played the song out of C position in standard tuning. It is a formal one-off, or at least I've never encountered another song that shares its form. Here is "Blues Around Midnight":



INTRO

I get the blues, 'round about midnight, early with the rising sun
Begin to think about my little angel, and all the good the poor girl done
You know my heart beats like a hammer, and my eyes get overloaded with tears
Only been gone twenty-four hours although it seem like a thousand years
Shoulda loved her more, but realize I didn't treat her right
You know I shoulda loved her more, but realize I didn't treat her right
You take a woman like that, she need lovin' every day and night (Spoken: Yeah)

So now the blues bearin' down on me, brought 'em all on myself
When I should've been lovin' my baby, I was out lovin' somebody else
So it's mighty hard pill to swallow, want all you boys to know
While we better mind what we are sowin', 'cause we got to reap what we sow
Don't never dog your woman when you know you're doin' wrong yourself
Don't you never dog your woman when you know you're doin' wrong yourself
She get hell on her mind, and go wild about somebody else

River runs into the ocean, ocean runs into the sea
If I don't find that little angel, well, somebody got to bury me
'Cause I swear I did love her, better than I did myself
You know I loved with my woman, better than I did myself
Now it's breakin' my heart, to know she got somebody else (Spoken: Play it low and lonesome now, boy!)

SOLO (Spoken: It's hard, boy, but it's fair)

Edited 7/8 to pick up corrections from Blues Vintage

All best,
Johnm
   
8
Down the Dirt Road / Re: Other Musical Interests on YouTube
« Last post by Johnm on August 07, 2022, 04:47:03 PM »
Thanks for posting that explanatory video, Wax. That is fascinating!
all best,
Johnm
9
Down the Dirt Road / Re: Other Musical Interests on YouTube
« Last post by waxwing on August 07, 2022, 12:51:31 PM »
Hi all,
This came up in my youtube feed, and I thought it was beautiful. Tuning one of these must really be painstaking.
All best,
Johnm



More in depth info on the Glass Armonica, interview and demo by the same player as above.



Wax
10
Weenie Campbell Main Forum / Re: RIP Pete Lowery
« Last post by dj on August 06, 2022, 01:48:52 PM »
Wow, I'm really sorry to hear of Peter's death.  I never met him, though we were both in New Paltz NY at around the same time.  But we corresponded a lot back when he was active on Weenie Campbell, and he was kind enough to send me the occasional CD of odds and ends.  I've been wondering what ever happened to him.  I'll miss you, Peter.
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