Country Blues > SOTM - Song Of The Month

SOTM _ Mean ol' Frisco , its antecedents and decendants

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This is one of the most exciting and propulsive song families in the genre. Arthur Big Boy Crudup?s great Mean ol? Friscohas become a deeply ingrained part of the language and many players have done some variation of it. Crudup, as much or more than Robert Nighthawk, Elmore James or Muddy Waters was the link between country Blues and what came after, though in some ways he retained the originality of rural Blues more completely than the others mentioned. He was a superb singer, unique sounding, subtle and endlessly emotive and expressive. I suspect Mean ol' Frisco had precedents in terms of basic structure. Perhaps some of you can dig them up. I seem to recall a Patton tune or two that may have been the model.

Frankie swears that Crudup ONLY played in Crossnote which could account for the dark sounding tonality lurking in much of Crudup?s music.

My favorite version is Locomotive Blues by Smokey Babe. His propulsive drive aided by an off key harmonica just drives.

Joe Savage

Lightnin? weighs in:

Little Walter

Sonny & Brownie 1946

Snooks Eaglin

The Mighty Chuck

Clarence Edwards, Cornelius Edwards And Butch Cage - Mean Old Frisco


Here?s my own version replete with self inflicted overdubbs of slide, Harp and Washboard

Prof Scratchy:
Great song, and some great versions there, including the O'Muck Gesamtkunstwerk! Snooks and BB both have interesting takes on the lyric! I think Arthur Crudup always played in crossnote tuning. It remains my favourite version, having been the first one I heard.

John Lee Hooker's "I Don't Be Welcome Here," circa 1950 (originally unissued):

Yes I knew Hooker had one, but the name being different it didn't come up in the searches. He kills it! Whoo!

Great topic Mr. O'Muck.

Larry Johnson has a nice version on Blues For Harlem. Here is a live version on YouTube.

Dave Van Ronk has a cover in the Down In Washington Square compilation:

Loved the Chuck Berry. Here are some other electric versions:

Muddy Waters:

Derek and the Dominoes:

And the song is still alive and well. Joe Bonamassa performed it at his concert in Seattle a few months ago. Here he is at Red Rocks on 8/31/14:



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