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Rural musicians were very frequently no more than frustrated vaudevillians - Tony Russell, Blacks Whites and Blues, p.14

Author Topic: Version of "Bull Doze Blues"  (Read 710 times)

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Offline LeftyStrat

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Version of "Bull Doze Blues"
« on: November 19, 2019, 05:41:39 PM »
Good evening, all...

I ran across this while listening to audio from Youtube videos at work the other day:



As you'll see, It's a slowed down version (compared to the recording on CDs) of Henry Thomas' "Bull Doze Blues."  I know that some Youtubers will slow down audio on vids like this to avoid copyright strikes, but....

In the description, the uploader claims that this recording is from a 78 he owns.

Can anyone confirm or deny this claim?   The recording sounds interesting and I'm used to the CD, but it would be cool to know if this video is actually how the song is supposed to sound 
Stop by and give a listen! :)

http://www.facebook.com/leftystratblues

Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: Version of "Bull Doze Blues"
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2019, 03:49:47 AM »
Sounds to me like the original slowed down.
"I ain't good looking, teeth don't shine like pearls,
So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
Barbecue Bob

Offline jtbrown

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Re: Version of "Bull Doze Blues"
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2019, 08:51:16 AM »
It seems that either Shanachie's turntable was spinning faster than 78 rpm when they transferred this for the "Texas Worried Blues" album or RagtimeDorianHenry's turntable was running a bit slow when he recorded his copy for YouTube. I believe 3:45 is really pushing (if not exceeding) the limits for a 10" 78-rpm record, so I'd guess RagtimeDorianHenry's turntable was running slow.

Of course, even if that's the case, it doesn't necessarily mean that the Shanachie version is how the song is "supposed to sound," in the sense of reflecting the exact tempo and pitch of Henry Thomas's actual performance. That's because it's possible that the disc cutter that made the original wax master disc wasn't running at exactly 78 rpm.

Todd Brown
« Last Edit: November 20, 2019, 08:54:37 AM by jtbrown »

Offline Stuart

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Re: Version of "Bull Doze Blues"
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2019, 09:26:10 AM »
Without knowing the specific details (the steps between the original 78 recording and the YT upload), it's hard to say why it comes in at 3:45 instead of a little under 3:30 for the actual music. The track from the Blues Images Vol. 11 CD is 3:31, although the actual music is a few seconds less. My assumption is that John Tefteller accurately recorded it from his 78, although there are other possibilities. The music on the track on the American Epic remaster also clocks in at a few seconds under 3:32 (the track length on the CD). The remastering was done by Nicholas Bergh at Endpoint Audio.

If 78 RPM is the standard that it was recorded at, then what we are hearing on the YT upload is it being played at ~71-72 RPM. Dorian Henry has been at this for a while, so you could contact him directly and ask him about it.

Like Todd, I think the playback on YT is slower than the original record being spun at 78 RPM.

Back in the day (and maybe in the current day as well) the people at the reissue labels shared tape recordings of the best known copy of a 78 for various reisssue albums. It was a small world things were different. It wasn't necessarily the case that every label has its own collection of original 78s to draw from.

Offline eric

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Re: Version of "Bull Doze Blues"
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2019, 06:19:55 AM »
I'd be surprised if Vocalion wasn't recording this at 78 rpm in 1928.  Not sure if this is the right place to post this, but since we're here, our friend John Miller has a lovely version of this on his CD Deceiving Blues, on which he plays Henry Thomas' quill solo on guitar.

http://johnmillerguitar.com/audio/bulldoze.mp3



--
Eric

Offline Stuart

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Re: Version of "Bull Doze Blues"
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2019, 08:23:54 AM »
John's version is excellent. I've seen John perform it live several times and it's always a pleasure to be in the presence of a master playing a song we all love so well.

Disclaimer: I know John, so I've had to tone down the level of praise in the interest of objectivity.

Re: The recording speed of the original--Vocalion would have to had to record it faster than 78 RPM in order for the playback at 78 RPM to sound slower and be longer than the original song as sung by Henry Thomas at the recording session. Why John Tefteller, Rich Nevins, Nick Bergh and others would not have picked up on this and made adjustments during the remastering process is another question.

If the quills were accurate to a standard pitch--and that's a big "if," their pitch might yield a clue, --but that assumes that they were at a standard pitch.


Offline banjochris

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Re: Version of "Bull Doze Blues"
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2019, 12:06:13 PM »
RagtimeDorianHenry routinely slows songs down on YouTube; I don't know why, but most of the stuff he posts is 10%-20% slow.
Chris

Offline Johnm

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Re: Version of "Bull Doze Blues"
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2019, 12:16:17 PM »
As per Chris's comment, RagtimeDorianHenry also routinely adds reverb to the historic performances he posts.  It's one reason why I almost never post his videos here unless no other versions are available on youtube.

Offline Stuart

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Re: Version of "Bull Doze Blues"
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2019, 02:37:32 PM »
I guess the follow up question is why not post a YT recording of ones own copy of a 78 at 78 RPM without sound modifications, even if it was in addition to the slowed down, modified one? It seems that would be the reasonable first step, except in the case where significantly better copies were already available on YT.

Offline banjochris

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Re: Version of "Bull Doze Blues"
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2019, 03:07:45 PM »
It might be an attempt to prevent his posts from being tagged by YouTube's copyright system, I just don't know.

Offline catyron

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Re: Version of "Bull Doze Blues"
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2019, 07:10:08 PM »
Thanks, folks, for bring forth these comments on RagtimeDorianHenry. I have never heard a hiss, pop, or crackle on his uploads, and in my opinion, despite his claims that he is posting copies of 78s that he owns, his uploads always sound like slowed-down iterations of well-known cleaned-up CDs, with added reverb. I have stopped listening to his his YouTube channel.

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