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Your hair is so short, swear to God I can smell your brains - Kid Stormy Weather (Edmund Joseph), Short Hair Blues

Author Topic: Male/Female Duets  (Read 8371 times)

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Offline Papa John

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Male/Female Duets
« on: January 02, 2009, 07:48:07 AM »
Hello all,

I'm working with a female vocalist and am looking for some duets to do.  I've been racking my brain and record collection but thought I might get some good suggestions here.  So far I've come up with:

Rough Alley Blues - Blind Willie McTell & Mary Willis
I'm Goin' Back Home - Memphis Minnie & Joe McCoy
Gas Man Blues - Mae Glover & John Byrd
State of Tennessee Blues - Memphis Jug Band (Jennie Clayton & Will Shade)

Any help would be much appreciated.

Thanks
John

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Male/Female Duets
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2009, 08:21:22 AM »
What's the Matter with the Mill
is one of my faves
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

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Offline uncle bud

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Re: Male/Female Duets
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2009, 08:26:23 AM »
I'm assuming you mean duets with both a female and male vocal. A number of Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe cuts could fit the bill. What's the Matter With the Mill? is a good one (edit: I see O'Muck beat me to it). How about You Stole My Cake (not really a vocal from Joe, just quasi-comic asides, but a fun tune)?

Tell It to the Judge (Part 1 & 2) - Funny Papa Smith and Dessa Foster.

Your Dice Won't Pass - Sally Dotson and Smoky Babe. Fabulous groove and attitude.

I'm sure there are lots of vocal duets of the vaudeville blues variety that I'm not thinking of and others may come up with titles and artists.

Offline Rivers

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Re: Male/Female Duets
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2009, 08:43:26 AM »
John The Revelator, Blind Willie Johnson w/Willie B. Richardson. Others with Willie B., all gospel I think.

Funny Papa Smith had some good m/f duets,
Tell It To The Judge, parts 1 and 2, (Dessa Foster) [edit: Unle Bud got there first] &
Mama's Quittin' & Leavin' (Magnolia Harris, could be Victoria Spivey)

Tampa Red's If You Want Me To Love You works really well as a duet; Austin band The Asylum Street Spankers have a version, Christina Marrs and Guy Forsyth trade off outrageous verses re. the m/f relationship thing.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2009, 08:49:00 AM by Rivers »

Offline waxwing

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Re: Male/Female Duets
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2009, 10:52:13 AM »
Well, there's a song that I've heard Del and Suzy do. They always make a joke about who is singing the male part. Might be called How Can You Have the Blues. The way they do it has a great overlapping vocals part. Sorry, can't remember more, but maybe Cleoma will post.

McTell does This Is Not the Stove to Brown Your Bread with one of his women, if you can handle the strong suggested violence. ("I'm gonna cut off both your legs just below your knees" etc.) Also His Searchin' the Desert For the Blues has spoken asides by a woman. Also the one about a Teasin' Brown ("ouisie's right") Not sure about the title there.

All for now.
John C.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2009, 10:55:47 AM by waxwing »
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Offline uncle bud

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Re: Male/Female Duets
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2009, 11:27:55 AM »
To clarify, those McTell tunes feature Harris & Harris on vocals with McTell providing guitar backup.

But that reminds me of the recently discovered McTell cut "Talkin' to You Wimmen About the Blues", which at least starts out as a duet with Mary Willis, until she takes it over completely.

Offline Stuart

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Re: Male/Female Duets
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2009, 01:24:55 PM »
Not really singing duets, but Big Bill, Georgia Tom & Jane Lucas do a few--Hokum Stomp, Hip Shakin' Strut, etc.

Offline Cleoma

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Re: Male/Female Duets
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2009, 01:29:00 PM »
And speaking of Georgia Tom and Jane Lucas, that is the source for "How Can You Have the Blues" which I sing with Del, but she's also recorded it a couple of other times as a duet, once with Orville Johnson (part of that is a trio, I'm singing too) and once with Steve James.  I love "Terrible Operation Blues" which is another one of theirs.  Georgia Tom has lots of duets with Kansas City Kitty/Jane Lucas and I think there are some other psedonyms too. 

Happy New Year everybody!
Suzy

Offline Mike Brosnan

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Re: Male/Female Duets
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2009, 04:53:27 PM »
Versey and William Smith

Bertha Lee and Charley Patton  "Troubled 'Bout My Mother"

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Male/Female Duets
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2009, 05:38:01 PM »
Ooh, yes. Reminding me of one of my favorite Patton duets, "Oh Death".

Offline Rivers

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Re: Male/Female Duets
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2009, 07:00:24 PM »
Papa Harvey Hull & Long Cleve Reed's duets might work in that format. Good harmony opportunities on Hey Lawdy Mama / France Blues, for example.

I've always thought Charley Poole's Leaving Home would make a great duet, excellent lead-in to a classic tongue twister of a chorus. It just cries out for a harmony vocal I think.

Also, click on the tag I added at the bottom for more leads.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2009, 07:10:36 PM by Rivers »

Offline Slack

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Re: Male/Female Duets
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2009, 07:10:11 AM »
Papa John,

I wouldn't limit myself to Male/Female duets.  One of my favorite duets/suet songs is Roosevelt Graves and his brother doing "Woke This Morning (With My Mind On Jesus)" - which even us heathen can really appreciate.  ;)

Offline CF

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Re: Male/Female Duets
« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2009, 07:11:29 AM »
Victoria Spivey & Lonnie Johnson's 'New Black Snake Blues NO.1' is a good one. They sing & play solo/duet with each backing off almost entirely on the others' parts. You can hear it at Red Hot Jazz

http://www.redhotjazz.com/spivey.html
Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Male/Female Duets
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2009, 12:06:13 PM »
To clarify, those McTell tunes feature Harris & Harris on vocals with McTell providing guitar backup.

And to clarify the clarification, I was referring to "This Is Not the Stove to Brown Your Bread" and "Teasin' Brown". I missed the reference to "Searching the Desert" in the same post somehow, which is, of course, McTell.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Male/Female Duets
« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2009, 09:03:23 PM »
Hi all,
I think the advice not to confine oneself to male/female duets in selecting songs for a male/female duet is a good one.  Guitar Slim (Alec Seward) and Jelly Belly (Louis Hayes), have a great CD on Arhoolie, reviewed here at:  http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?amp;Itemid=60&topic=454.0, that would provide a wealth of great duets possibilities, many with terrific attitude and banter, back-and-forth.  To say that this material is obscure and under-performed would be a drastic understatement.  NOBODY does this stuff, and it is really strong.
All best,
Johnm

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