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#74 - Buy a National guitar; learn to play it - Anon., from "The Life List 175 Things a Man Should Do Before He Dies", Esquire Magazine, December 1999

Author Topic: Rev. Edward W. Clayborn Lyrics  (Read 5021 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Rev. Edward W. Clayborn Lyrics
« on: March 02, 2016, 03:29:19 PM »
Hi all,
Rev. Edward W. Clayborn accompanied himself in Spanish tuning at Bb with a slide for his recording of "This Time Another Year You May Be Gone".  His slide playing in Spanish sounded like no other player in that tuning that I have heard.  He maintained an unusual alternation in the bass between the open fifth and third strings, occasionally interjecting a sixth string to third string alternation.  He is additionally unusual among slide players who utilized Spanish tuning in having almost no chordal content, choosing instead to phrase everything up and down the neck.  Most often, slide playing in Spanish is done across the neck, whereas slide playing in Vestapol is done up and down the neck.  Clayborn is the only slide player I can think of in Spanish who utilized the "up-and-down-the-neck" approach.  In any event, his slide playing was exceptionally clean, with a beautiful vibrato and great accuracy of pitch. 
I don't believe it is known from whence Clayborn hailed.  There's something slightly creepy to me about a lot of his material, mostly because he seemed to have little concept of religion and faith as a comfort, focusing instead on the possibility (or surety) of the prospect of retribution.  "This Time Another Year You May Be Gone" certainly conforms to that model.  Here is his performance of the song:



This time another year, I may be gone
To some lonesome graveyard, oh Lord, how long?

SOLO

Deacon, this time another year, you may be gone
To some lonesome graveyard, oh Lord, how long?

SOLO

Preacher, this time another year, you may be gone
To some lonesome graveyard, oh Lord, how long?

SOLO

Gambler, this time another year, you may be gone
To some lonesome graveyard, oh Lord, how long?

SOLO

Robber, this time another year, you may be gone
To some lonesome graveyard, oh Lord, how long?

SOLO

Murderer, this time another year, you may be gone
To some lonesome graveyard, oh Lord, how long?

SOLO

Liar, this time another year, you may be gone
To some lonesome graveyard, oh Lord, how long?

SOLO

Peace-breaker, this time another year, you may be gone
To some lonesome graveyard, oh Lord, how long?

SOLO

All best,
Johnm

 
« Last Edit: March 03, 2016, 02:44:05 PM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Rev. Edward W. Clayborn Lyrics
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2016, 03:48:19 PM »
Hi all,
Rev. Edward W. Clayborn was back in Spanish, this time at B, for his recording of "Men Don't Forget Your Wives For Your Sweetheart" (he recorded everything in Spanish), from a session on January 21, 1928.  Once again, his slide playing is impeccable, and he works some of Charlie Patton's "When Your Way Gets Dark" territory, in the sense that he is fretting notes with his slide well above the point at which the neck of his guitar meets the body, to the 17th fret at the very least.  This makes it likely that he played his slide lap-style.  Here is his rendition of the song:



Christians, while you live, write a clear report to God
Christians, while you live, write a clear report to God
'Cause after you are dead, there's nobody wants your remains, but some cold graveyard

SOLO

Sinner, while you live, what's between your soul and God?
Sinner, while you live, what's between your soul and God?
Because after you are dead, there's nobody wants your remains, but some cold graveyard

SOLO

Men, while you live, don't forsake your wives for your sweethearts
Men, while you live, don't forsake your wives for your sweethearts
Because after you are dead, there's nobody wants your remains, but some cold graveyard

SOLO

Women, while you live, don't let your husbands work for your sweethearts
Women, while you live, don't let your husbands work for your sweethearts
Because after you are dead, there's nobody wants your remains, but some cold graveyard

SOLO

All best,
Johnm


Offline Johnm

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Re: Rev. Edward W. Clayborn Lyrics
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2016, 08:07:33 PM »
Hi all,
Rev. Edward Clayborn seems to have gravitated towards long titles, as per "In times of Trouble Jesus Will Never Say Goodbye".  His slide playing is perfectly beautiful, as usual.  He really was adroit with the slide--he does lots of hammers with the bar, and it takes a good bit of finesse to do that cleanly.  He has an interesting concentration on the VI note of the scale in his accompaniment; he keeps returning to it under his singing, and it is especially prominent under his first chorus.  That note would most conveniently "live" at the second fret of the first string or the fifth fret of the second string in Spanish tuning.  This song has a more hopeful message than do many of his songs.  Here it is:



When you're traveling through this life,
Let your leader be Jesus Christ
He will never say goodbye

SOLO

REFRAIN: He will never say goodbye, He will never say goodbye
When you're having ups and downs, tribulation and trials
He will never say goodbye

SOLO

When you go before the lawyer, judge for trial
Employ him, Lawyer Jesus Christ
He will never say goodbye

REFRAIN: He will never say goodbye, He will never say goodbye
When you're having ups and downs, tribulations and trials
He will never say goodbye

SOLO

When a morning, doctor give you up to die
Employ Him, Doctor Jesus Christ
He will never say goodbye

REFRAIN: He will never say goodbye, He will never say goodbye
When you're having ups and downs, tribulations and trials
He will never say goodbye

SOLO

Three Hebrew boys were cast in the fire
Jesus appeared and preserved their lives
He will never say goodbye

REFRAIN: He will never say goodbye, He will never say goodbye
When you're having ups and downs, tribulations and trials
He will never say goodbye

SOLO

All best,
Johnm






« Last Edit: March 03, 2016, 05:05:33 AM by Johnm »

Offline alyoung

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Re: Rev. Edward W. Clayborn Lyrics
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2016, 01:23:38 AM »

I don't believe it is known from whence Clayborn hailed.  There's something slightly creepy to me about a lot of his material, mostly because he seemed to have little concept of religion and faith as a comfort, focusing instead on the possibility (or surety) of the prospect of retribution.  "This Time Another Year You May Be Gone" certainly conforms to that model.  Here is his performance of the song:

 

I think you're a bit tough on Clayborn, John. He did record quite a few morality pieces, but he also had more standard religious offerings -- such as There'll Be Glory When We Reach the Other Shore, I Heard the Angels Singing, I Have a Home In the Sky, When I Lay My Burden Down and others -- that reflect a more optimistic (and conventional) approach to religion. This Time Another Year is a gospel standard recorded many times by groups and soloists since the first recording, by the Rigoletto Quartet of Morris Brown University in August, 1926. I've long been fascinated by Clayborn's playing -- as you say, not once in any of his issued recordings does he make a chord -- just straight up and down the top string, which leads sometimes to some interesting clashes between bass and treble. But the fact that he had 15 78rpm records issued shows he had some popularity with record-buyers. Like you, I think he's playing overhand; the clarity and precision of his playing suggests it, and I think that staccato bass is easier to do overhand than in conventional guitar position. Here's another nice version of Before This Time... 

   

Offline Johnm

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Re: Rev. Edward W. Clayborn Lyrics
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2016, 08:37:26 AM »
Thanks for the different, and very funky version of "This Time . . . " and the additional information, Al.  I'm sure that you're right about me over-stating the character of Clayborn's approach, since as you note, he did record more optimistic material, too.  At the same time, I wouldn't characterize his sound, vocally especially, as "warm".  He sounds a little frosty to me.  So much of how we respond to what we hear comes from our own context and point of view, so I expect it's just me who hears him that way.  One thing I think we are in complete agreement about is the stellar quality of Edward Clayborn's musicianship.  I really think he had one of the cleanest and prettiest slide sounds of anybody, and the way he made his notes is just beautiful.  He had a very crisp right hand touch, too, as you noted.  I am quite enjoying getting to know his performances better.
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: March 03, 2016, 03:59:59 PM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Rev. Edward W. Clayborn Lyrics
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2016, 02:43:35 PM »
Hi all,
"You Never Will Know Who Is Your Friend" hews to Rev. Edward W. Clayborn's sound as he has established it thus far:  immaculate slide guitar in Spanish, treated as a one-chord song.  His playing here is spectacular, even by his very high standards.  He starts each statement of the melody with two hammers with the slide in relatively rapid succession, and he nails it every time . . . whew!  Rev. Clayborn's switching between "you" and "they" in the refrain is a bit confusing.  Here is his performance of the song:



SOLO

REFRAIN: You never will know who is your friend, 'til they get down sick on your bed
You never will know who is your friend until you get down sick on your bed

SOLO

You may have a special friend, comin' to see you 'most every day
Every time, to look in your sickbed,  they'll tellin' you you better pray

REFRAIN: You never will know who is your friend until you get down sick on your bed
You never will know who is your friend until they get down sick on your bed

SOLO X 2

You may have a special friend, for they will almost die
Just soon as they turn back on you, make you wring your hands and cry

REFRAIN: You never will know who is your friend until they get down sick on your bed
You never will know who is your friend until they get down sick on your bed

SOLO

REFRAIN: You never will know who is your friend until they get down sick on your bed
You never will know who is your friend until they get down sick on your bed

SOLO

REFRAIN: You never will know who is your friend until they get down sick on your bed
You never will know who is your friend until they get down sick on your bed

All best,
Johnm









Offline Johnm

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Re: Rev. Edward W. Clayborn Lyrics
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2016, 03:24:57 PM »
Hi all,
"A Letter From Father" treads much of the same territory, instrumentally, as Rev. Edward W. Clayborn's other recordings.  I think it would be fair to describe his expressive range as not very wide but very, very deep, something like that of Skip James' playing in cross-note tuning or Joseph Spence's playing in dropped-D tuning.  Rev. Clayborn gets into some unusual places with the text here--"and my kindred can't be sold" seems particularly significant.  Here is Edward Clayborn's performance of the song:



I have a letter from my Father in my hand, in my hand
Written by my elder brother, it is grand, it is grand
It was written over the sea, and was forwarded unto me
And I'm happy as can be, in this land

SOLO

Father wrote me in that letter, "Things are grand, things are grand."
I couldn't make myself no better in this land, in this land
Then I cried, "What shall I do?", for I had not read it through
And it made me all anew in this land, in this land

INTERLUDE

I'm a stranger to the nation in this land, in this land
They don't know my situation, it is grand, it is grand
Father's rich to behold, he has wealth that can be told
And my kindred never get sold, in this land, in this land

INTERLUDE

I am a new creature in this land, in this land
I am free from condemnation, it is grand, it is grand
I can sing, shout and pray, and be happy every day
But my soul can't hardly stay in this land

SOLO

I am not afraid of dying in this land, in this land
I have a shot at Jesus coming, it is grand, it is grand
All this world's are good nights, but my Father pays the price
And I'm walking in the light in this land

SOLO

All best,
Johnm

 

Offline Johnm

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Re: Rev. Edward W. Clayborn Lyrics
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2016, 08:34:53 AM »
Hi all,
Rev. Edward W. Clayborn used his characteristic approach for "The Wrong Way To Celebrate Christmas", a song you don't hear covered all that often.  Here is his performance:



REFRAIN: Some people use the wrong way, wrong way, wrong way
Some people use the wrong way to celebrate Christmas day

SOLO

On the twenty-fifth of December, nineteen twenty-eight
Is a national issue of Heaven to the world that is Jesus' birthday

REFRAIN: Some people use the wrong way, wrong way, wrong way
Some people use the wrong way to celebrate Christmas day

SOLO

Some people works every day, and draws good money every pay
And here's what the same people says, "I'm gonna spend my money and have my way."

REFRAIN: Some people use wrong way, wrong way, wrong way
Some people use the wrong way to celebrate Christmas day

SOLO

While the church is praying, on Christmas day
Other people are roamin' the streets and drinkin' their soul away

REFRAIN: Some people use wrong way, wrong way, wrong way
Some people use the wrong way to celebrate Christmas day

SOLO X 2

REFRAIN: Some people use the wrong way, wrong way, wrong way
Some people use wrong way to celebrate Christmas day

CODA

All best,
Johnm


 

Offline alyoung

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Re: Rev. Edward W. Clayborn Lyrics
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2016, 05:29:32 PM »
Rev. Clayborn's switching between "you" and "they" in the refrain is a bit confusing. 


I think he's anticipating by some decades the PC lexicon, in that "they" is being used to cover "he or she". The English language lacks a pronoun to cover "he" and "she", so the modern answer is to use "they" despite the singular/plural clash.   Sorry, all you smart modern grammarians ... Rev Clayburn was there first.
"You Will Never Know..." is a follow-up to his first recording, "Your Enemy Cannot Harm You (But Watch Your Close Friend)", which was his most successful recording.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Rev. Edward W. Clayborn Lyrics
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2016, 08:57:56 PM »
Hi all,
Rev. Edward W. Clayborn drove his guitar a bit harder than usual for his recording of "Jesus Is Sweeter Than Honey In The Comb", and it was all to the good, in terms of expression.  The song has an exceptionally pretty melody.  Each verse has a cadence halfway through that is a half-cadence, holding a V chord with a II note in the melody.  It's a little odd to hear the I chord alternation just continue, willy-nilly, underneath that melody note  Here is the song:



INTRO SOLO

Jesus is sweeter, sweeter, sweeter,
Sweeter than the honey in the comb
Jesus is sweeter, sweeter, sweeter,
Sweeter than the honey in the comb

SOLO

Preachers tell this wicked world, Jesus is sweeter
Sweeter than the honey in the comb
Preachers tell this wicked world, Jesus is sweeter
Sweeter than the honey in the comb

SOLO

Preachers tell the gambler, Jesus is sweeter
Sweeter than the honey in the comb
Preachers tell the gambler, Jesus is sweeter
Sweeter than the honey in the comb

SOLO

Father, tell your son, Jesus is sweeter
Sweeter than the honey in the comb
Father, tell your son, Jesus is sweeter
Sweeter than the honey in the comb

SOLO

Mother, tell you daughter, Jesus is sweeter
Sweeter than the honey in the comb
Mother, tell your daughter, Jesus is sweeter
Sweeter than the honey in the comb

SOLO

All best,
Johnm





Offline Johnm

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Re: Rev. Edward W. Clayborn Lyrics
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2016, 08:57:52 AM »
Hi all,
"Death Is Only A Dream" is a waltz, and an exceptionally pretty one, at that, with especially poetic lyrics.  Sometimes Rev. Clayborn elides words at the ends of lines, choosing to end the line with his slide.  Such places are indicated with dashes in the transcription.  Here is Rev. Clayborn's rendition of "Death Is Only A Dream":



REFRAIN:  Only a dream, only a dream
All glory, beyond the dark s--
How peaceful the slumber, how happy the waking
For death is only a dream

Mother, was dark, but the light came at last
And flooded my soul with its gleam
True, that this life is like clouds overcast
For death is only a dr--

REFRAIN:  Only a dream, only a dream
All glory, beyond the dark --
How peaceful the slumber, how happy the waking
For death is only a dream

Mother, I've often felt, during this life,
"How shall I cross the dark s--?"
For Jesus has given me gracious relief
For death is only a dream

REFRAIN:  Only a dream, only a dream
All glory, beyond the dark sea
How peaceful the slumber, how happy the waking
For death is only a dream

Mother, I've seen through the veil, clearly cross
To the banks of that beautiful stream
Where saints are repaired for earthly loss
For death is only a dream

REFRAIN:  Only a d--, only a dream
All glory, beyond the dark sea
How peaceful the slumber, how happy the waking
For death is only a dream

Mother, tell Father I've seen that bright host
That God gave his son to redeem
I know he will faithfully stand at his post,
For death is only a dream

REFRAIN:  Only a --, only --
(Remainder of chorus is an instrumental solo)

All best,
Johnm





« Last Edit: March 05, 2016, 10:11:42 AM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Rev. Edward W. Clayborn Lyrics
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2016, 04:51:20 PM »
Hi all,
One of Rev. Edward W. Clayborn's very strongest performances is the mis-titled "Let That Lie Alone" (it should be "Liar").  Edward Clayborn sounds passionate on this topic, and it makes for a compelling rendition.  There are a ton of lyrics here, and I think I have most of them right, but would very much appreciate help with the bent bracketed place and anywhere else that you think I have it wrong.  Here is Rev. Clayborn's performance of "Let That Lie Alone":



REFRAIN:  If you don't want to get in trouble
If you don't want to get in trouble
If you don't want to get in trouble
You better let that liar alone

SOLO

Just let me tell you how a liar will do
He's always coming with something new
Steal your heart with false pretense
Makin' out like he's your bosom friend
When he find out you believes what he say
Then that liar gonna have his way
Bring you news about women and men,
He'll make you fall out with your dearest friend

REFRAIN:  If you don't want to get in trouble
If you don't want to get in trouble
If you don't want to get in trouble
You better let that liar alone 

SOLO

When the liar takes a notion to fend and prove
He lay around the neighbors, get the news,
Nearly every day, you look out
You see that liar comin' to your house
Tell us bunch of lies, surprise your mind,
He'll mix a little truth to make it shine
When he gets his business fixed just right
Then that liar gonna cause a fight

REFRAIN:  If you don't want to get in trouble
If you don't want to get in trouble
If you don't want to get in trouble
You better let that liar alone

SOLO

When everything's in perfect peace
Then come the liar with his deceit,
He'll make pretense that he love you so well
Everything you hear, you must come and tell
Tell you, "My friend, if you just knew,
Certain someone told me 'bout you."
He has spread enough lie, he'll tell it so smooth
You'll think, undoubtedly, "That must be true."
He lured you out, to trust the lie
You'll have to go to jail and stand the trial

REFRAIN:  If you don't want to get in trouble
If you don't want to get in trouble
If you don't want to get in trouble
You better let that liar alone

SOLO

Edited 3/8 to pick up correction from banjochris

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: March 08, 2016, 08:12:19 AM by Johnm »

Offline banjochris

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Re: Rev. Edward W. Clayborn Lyrics
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2016, 09:32:56 PM »
I think the missing bit is "defend and prove." Clayborn and the Carter's sing it more like "to fend and prove." The Staples Singers sing "to defend and prove." Neither Rosetta Tharpe nor the Golden Gate Quartet sing that verse, and Clayborn is no clearer on the alternate take! If anyone has Emry Arthur's version it'd be interesting to hear what he sings, if he sings that verse.
Chris

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: Rev. Edward W. Clayborn Lyrics
« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2016, 04:16:57 AM »
I'm just catching up with this thread and have spent the morning listening to all these performances in turn. What a wonderful slide player Rev. Clayborn was, with a beautiful syrupy vibrato in the left hand, offset by that funky rhythm in the alternating bass. His singing great too. Thanks for all these posts!

Offline Johnm

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Re: Rev. Edward W. Clayborn Lyrics
« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2016, 08:18:35 AM »
Thanks very much for the help with the lyrics, Chris.  The sound is just as you describe it, and is pretty much what I was hearing, though I didn't get the sense of it.  Thanks!
I'm glad you're enjoying Rev. Clayborn's performances, Prof!  I think in the past I've been so smacked on Blind Willie Johnson that I sort of thought there was only the one exemplary religious slide player, which is just silly, of course.  Edward Clayborn's tone is beautiful, as you say, and he was awesomely adept with his slide--those places where he uses the slide to hammer an attack are perfect.  I've really come to like the seriousness of his singing, too.

 


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