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Wen he gets (up) in de mornin' he feels bad, and wen (he) goes to bed at night he feels wusser. He tinks dat his body is made ob ice cream, all 'cept his heart, and dat - dat's a piece ob lead in de middle. All sorts ob sights are hubbering around, and red monkeys is buzzing about his ears... (D)em's what I calls de bloos - Sam Jonsing, in an 1839 New Orleans newspaper

Author Topic: "Shanty Blues"/"Bootlegger's Blues"/"Payday"/"Rabbit On A Log"--SoWtSMY  (Read 189 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Hi all,
I've been thinking about a set of songs that share a beautiful major pentatonic melody. The earliest recorded version of this melody that I can think of occurred in Henry Thomas's "Shanty Blues", the only song in his recorded repertoire for which he played slide, in Vestapol tuning. Here is "Shanty Blues":



Another song recorded using the same melody, and very close to some of the same lyrics is the Mississippi Sheiks' "Bootlegger's Blues". Here is "Bootlegger's Blues":



Yet another song using the same melody, and once again, some similar lyrics, is Mississippi John Hurt's "Payday", the title cut of his first Vanguard album. Here is "Payday", which he played in Vestapol tuning:



Most recently, Alabaman Lonzie Thomas was recorded by George Mitchell playing "Rabbit On A Log" in Vestapol, once again using the shared melody. Here is "Rabbit On A Log":



All of these songs share at least some verses, and I suppose you could make a case for them being one song with each version contributing some verses that the other versions lacked. Can anyone think of other recorded versions of this melody? I keep thinking there must be songs in the Old-Time tradition that use this melody, but nothing is coming to mind for me. I'd be very interested in any other recordings that used this melody, and I hope that if and when folks think of any they'll post them here.

All best,
Johnm

Offline dj

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Re: "Shanty Blues"/"Bootlegger's Blues"/"Payday"/"Rabbit On A Log"--SoWtSMY
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2021, 01:48:02 PM »
Hi, John,

I can't fine a YouTube video of it, but Willie Ford recorded a version of Pay Day for the Library of Congress in 1940.

In fact, you transcribed the lyrics here: https://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=11272.0

Offline Johnm

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Re: "Shanty Blues"/"Bootlegger's Blues"/"Payday"/"Rabbit On A Log"--SoWtSMY
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2021, 02:02:07 PM »
Hi dj,
Thanks for the reminder. I quite like that version, and for whatever reason, the youtube video of it was removed. I know a Weenie member, Larry, (frailer24) recorded a nice version of it which you can listen to at: https://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=11642.msg103325#msg103325.
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: February 21, 2021, 06:23:20 PM by Johnm »

Offline btasoundsradio

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Re: "Shanty Blues"/"Bootlegger's Blues"/"Payday"/"Rabbit On A Log"--SoWtSMY
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2021, 05:34:18 AM »
Charlie is the Father, Son is the Son, Willie is the Holy Ghost

Offline Lignite

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Re: "Shanty Blues"/"Bootlegger's Blues"/"Payday"/"Rabbit On A Log"--SoWtSMY
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2021, 05:50:30 AM »

Offline Johnm

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Re: "Shanty Blues"/"Bootlegger's Blues"/"Payday"/"Rabbit On A Log"--SoWtSMY
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2021, 05:51:44 AM »
Hi btasoundsradio,
I don't hear "Sugar Baby" as being the same melody at all. It doesn't sit in the same place in the scale. And it's not a major pentatonic melody. "Skillet Good And Greasy" for sure, thanks Lightnin', and like all the first ones cited it even shares some of the lyrics.
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: February 22, 2021, 05:53:14 AM by Johnm »

Offline dj

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Re: "Shanty Blues"/"Bootlegger's Blues"/"Payday"/"Rabbit On A Log"--SoWtSMY
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2021, 06:25:14 AM »
J.W. Warren's Rabbit On A Log is in this song family.


Offline RobBob

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Here's a North Carolina version.


 


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