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Too choppy is a contradiction in terms - Nick Perls on guitar-playing

Author Topic: Jimmy Murphy's "We Live A Long Long Time" as performed by Mike Seeger  (Read 3024 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Hi all,
Mike Seeger recorded this song on a solo album he did for Vanguard in 1964 called simply "Mike Seeger".  It is a terrific record with a great variety of Blues and Old-Time material, including a beautiful version of Henry Thomas's "Fishing Blues" with perfect harmonica playing off a rack, "Oh Molly Dear" from Kentucky banjo player B.F Shelton, "Wild Bill Jones", and Frank Hutchison's "Old Rachel".  In the course of the program, Mike expertly plays guitar, banjo, fiddle, harmonica, dulcimer, and sings like a champ.
The song in question was written by the Knoxville, Tennessee country singer/songwriter Jimmy Murphy, who I believe also wrote "Electricity", that Roy Book Binder has performed and recorded.  I have never heard Murphy's own version of "We Live A Long Long Time", but Mike's is played in Vastapol at a terrific clip, very bluesy, and would probably remind those of you who heard him of the late Carl Rutherford, who I believe played everything he did in Vastapol.  The song has an unusual progression for its solo:

   |      I      |      I      |      I      |      I      |

   |      I      |      I      |      I      |      I      |

   |      I      |      I      |  flatVI    |   flat VI  |

   |      I      |      I      |      I      |      I      |

The flat VI chord is played by barring all the way across the neck at the 8th fret.  Progressions for the verses and chorus of the song are as follows.

   |      I      |      I      |     IV      |      I      |

   |      I      |      I      |     II       |     V7     |

   |      I      |      I      |     IV      |      I      |

   |     IV     |      I      |     V7      |      I      |

Chorus:

   |      I      |      I      |      I       |      I      |

   |      I      |      I      |     V7      |     V7     |

   |      I      |      I      |  IV/VI      |  flatVI    |

   |      I      |     V7     |      I       |      I      |

The most striking feature of the song is the lyrics.  I remember being shocked as a teen-ager by the cold-blooded humor of them and the pitiless look they take at the prospect of the ever-approaching "Golden Years".  Not to put too fine a point on it, but they're tough!  Here is Mike Seeger's's rendition of "We Live A Long, Long Time To Get Old", starting at 8:52. 



   When you get old and feeble and you can't hardly get around
   You'll have to get two walking sticks to hobble up to town
   You can hear your kinfolks talking, they'll be whispering all around,
   "Old Grandpa'd be better off if he's six feet under the ground."

   CHORUS:  We live a long, long time to get old
   We live a long, long time to get old
   So there ain't no need to cry, poor Grandpa's got to die
   We live a long, long time to get old

   When you get old and feeble and this world has turned you down
   Remember back when you were the best-dressed man in town
   You ain't got long to stay here and you're waiting for the day
   When you can throw your false teeth and walking cane away

   CHORUS

   When you went to high school, you used to jump and hop
   Now each time you move around you start to crack and pop
   You talk about the good old days when you were in your prime
   How y'earned all that money but you didn't save a dime

   CHORUS

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: July 02, 2020, 05:26:18 PM by Johnm »

Muddyroads

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Re: Jimmy Murphy's "We Live A Long Long Time" as performed by Mike Seeger
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2006, 05:56:08 AM »
John,

Sugar Hill  records released an LP of Jimmy Murphy with this song and Electricity on it.  It was quite a good recording. If memory serves me it was reissued on CD.  Well worth hearing.  It comes to mind that Jimmy played 12 string on some of the material.

There are two CD listings for Jimmy Murphy at countrysales.com

CD: JIMMY MURPHY "Southern Roots" ACE-714-CD  (older sides)
CD: JIMMY MURPHY "Electricity" SH-3890-CD (the recording mentioned above)

He was a grand guitarist and song writer.  A lot of his material was gospel but he also played good blues and early rock-a-billy.

Mud

Offline Cambio

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Re: Jimmy Murphy's "We Live A Long Long Time" as performed by Mike Seeger
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2006, 06:27:50 AM »
I second that!  Jimmy Murphy is spectacular and well worth checking out.  He's a great player, singer and songwriter with a fairly old timey sound.  Probably the reason that he's been ignored, except by people like Mike Seeger.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Jimmy Murphy's "We Live A Long Long Time" as performed by Mike Seeger
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2006, 07:02:22 AM »

There are two CD listings for Jimmy Murphy at countrysales.com

I imagine Mud meant www.countysales.com because countrysales.com is trying to sell me farm equipment.  ;D

Offline Johnm

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Re: Jimmy Murphy's "We Live A Long Long Time" as performed by Mike Seeger
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2006, 09:00:00 AM »
Thanks, Muddyroads, for the updated information on Jimmy Murphy.  I had no idea he had recorded anything that recently.  I will have to check those recordings out.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Cambio

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Re: Jimmy Murphy's "We Live A Long Long Time" as performed by Mike Seeger
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2006, 11:04:03 AM »
I have the Starday/REM recording and have to say that the song "I Feel Jesus My, My, My", which is sung by a woman, is one of the most ethereal recordings that I have ever heard.
"Ooooooooo, My, My My.
I feel Jesus shoot up in my Bones!"

That's heavy stuff!

Offline Pan

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Re: Jimmy Murphy's "We Live A Long Long Time" as performed by Mike Seeger
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2012, 03:19:50 PM »
I'm exhausted. I think I'll need to lie down.





Cheers

Pan  :P

 


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