Country Blues > Country Blues Licks and Lessons

Adventures in Cross Note

(1/11) > >>

uncle bud:
Hi All,

I was listening to Little Hat Jones tonight, having been led to that by the mention of Willie Reed and Dreaming Blues last week, which I intend on picking up again to work on. I was listening to the Yazoo disc (out of print I think) Don't Leave Me Here, featuring Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas blues, including Willie Reed and Little Hat, and this led me to revisit Little Hat's complete works on the Story of Blues CD Texas Blues Guitar 1929-35. Little Hat is just brilliant and it had been a long time since I'd listened to him. Will have to revisit my minidisc of Ari's Litte Hat class. But this in turn led me to listen more carefully for the first time to the rest of the disc which is made up of JT Funny Papa Smith tunes. I really enjoyed this, having not paid much attention to Smith in the past. While there's only 10 tunes from him on this disc, there's some really fun stuff.

Anyways I got hooked on Wiskeyhead Blues and decided I would figure it out. A very fun tune. It seemed at first to be in E, but I quickly decided he was using an open tuning, and then decided it wasn't open E but cross-note or open E minor tuning. 99% sure about this but welcome disagreement if you can prove it ;). It took a few spins of the tune to decide on cross-note, largely because it is a very major sounding tune. While I have hardly any experience in this tuning aside from some Skip James stuff, and JohnM covered Teddy Darby's Lawdy Lawdy Blues this year at PT, I'm definitely more used to the minor and modal sound of this tuning. But trying to figure it out in standard E quickly led me elsewhere. Too hard to play there; much simpler (not that I've got it down) in cross note. Not sure of the absolute pitch, I was capoing at the 3rd fret, but may have been tuned low as I often am down a half step - didn't check.

Anyway, I figured I'd start another sister thread to the Adventures in Spanish and Adventures in Vestapol threads. What are some cross-note tuned songs you play or are aware of? Skip James is the first one I think of in this tuning, obviously, some Henry Townsend, and Bukka White. What else?

Really enjoyed the Funny Papa stuff, BTW. I haven't heard much else from him but am inclined to order the Documents. Any Funny Papa fans who can say hell yes go for it?


Slack:
Hey UB, I'm a big JT Smith fan - so go for it!   :D  I don;t have the Document CD but I have two others (the ones on the Juke).  It is unclear from your message which (Little Hat or Funny Papa) Whiskeyhead Blues you are listening to?    I'll have to go back and listen - for some reason I cannot feature these guys using cross note tunings... but whut do I know.

Ari's Little Hat lessons are great - he reveals stuff that you would be hard pressed to hear from the recordings (at else for my ear)  - ah, so many tunes to work on and so little time..

cheers,

uncle bud:

--- Quote from: Slack on October 31, 2004, 06:41:43 PM ---Hey UB, I'm a big JT Smith fan - so go for it!??:D? I don;t have the Document CD but I have two others (the ones on the Juke).? It is unclear from your message which (Little Hat or Funny Papa) Whiskeyhead Blues you are listening to??
--- End quote ---

Sorry, the Little Hat business was just a tangent. Starting with a tangent obviously makes for confusion. :) I meant JT Smith. Thanks for the recommendation.


--- Quote ---? I'll have to go back and listen - for some reason I cannot feature these guys using cross note tunings... but whut do I know.
--- End quote ---

Little Hat played in standard tuning on all his tunes as far as I remember. Smith's Wiskeyhead Blues just doesn't work in standard IMO. Just trying to figure out the intro was enough to make me think, this is too hard in these positions, he's gotta be doing something else. At first I thought Vestapol but then that hammer-on on the G-string led me to cross note. I'm just starting to figure out the tune, but I'm pretty certain about the tuning.


--- Quote ---Ari's Little Hat lessons are great - he reveals stuff that you would be hard pressed to hear from the recordings (at else for my ear)? - ah, so many tunes to work on and so little time..
--- End quote ---


Indeed. I'm making some measure of progress on a lot of the stuff I'm working on these days, though!

Speaking of Little Hat (there I go again), too bad Dirty Red isn't around. Was reading some of his old posts from the weenie email list and enjoyed his insights.

GhostRider:
Howdy UB:

Funny Papa Smith, you bet! I think he's fantastic! I've been a fan for years and purchased the Document complete at PT.

To my mind the the best lyrics writer in CB. A terrific singer. A great, inventive player in may keys (E,A,D,C, and now Open Em ;). By the way Wiskeyhead Blues is in an absolute key of E on my copy

The other two tunes he recorded at the same session as Wiskeyhead Blues, (March 1931)
Forty-Five Blues and County Jail Blues are a great two part story, both in C but the latter using the Careless Love melody. The intro to Forty-Five Blues sounds very BL Jefferson-like to me.

Lots of great listening and lots of great guitar parts to learn. Stuff no one else plays.

Get that Document!

Where in the world I prowl,
Alex

Johnm:
Hi all,
An exciting thread to catch in progress.  As with many of the Country Blues players, I have not heard all of JT Smith's titles, and have missed "Whiskeyhead Blues" thus far.  I will try to track it down and hear it.  I agree with Alex, JT was a hell of a lyricist, and his bag of tricks in A standard was really huge.  Best news--"I'm making some measure of progress on a lot of the stuff I'm working on these days, though!".  Go, Andrew!
All best,
Johnm

Navigation

[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version