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Country Blues => Country Blues Licks and Lessons => Topic started by: Johnm on May 15, 2014, 03:19:12 PM

Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on May 15, 2014, 03:19:12 PM
Miller's Breakdown
What Is this Musician Doing? -An Ongoing Quiz.

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Hi all,

I have a sort of different idea for a new thread here.  I'm in the practice of pretty much always saying what tuning or position a musician played a tune out of, and while that information can be really helpful in figuring out how to play a piece on a recording, my always supplying it doesn't exactly help those of you who would like to build your own skills in doing that.  So, I thought it might be interesting to have a thread in which a performance is posted and then specific questions are asked to the Weenie community at large about how the song is being played.  I would have two requests for how to make participation in the process work better for everybody:

   * Please don't use transcription software of any type in figuring out what is being done.  Try to do it just using your own ears and listening.  If you'd like to do it with an instrument in your hands or handy nearby where you can try out things on it, by all means, use your instrument to help you figure things out.
   * Please don't post any responses or suggested answers to the questions about how the song is being played before Monday, May 19th.  This will allow more folks to work on the song and see if they can figure out the answers to the questions before any responses to the questions are posted.

The song I'd like you all to listen to if you care to is one recorded by a musician named Andrew Dunham, from Detroit, in the late 1940s or early 1950s.  Professor Scratchy first posted this song on the "Country Blues-Related Tunes on YouTube" thread a couple of years ago.  Since first hearing it, the sound of "Sweet Lucy Woman" has really stuck with me.  I think it is an amazing sound and Andrew Dunham really had a Country sound, despite recording in an urban environment.  The two questions I have about the tune are:

   * What tuning and playing position did Andrew Dunham play "Sweet Lucy Woman" out of?, and
   * Where on the neck is the lick fingered in the intro from :05 to :06 to :07, that moves up from :05 to :06 and back down from :06 to :07?

That's it.  I hope you enjoy this and think it is a worthwhile endeavor, and please remember not to post any responses to the questions until Monday, so that a lot of folks can try to work out the answers.  Thanks!

Andrew Dunham -- Sweet Lucy (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98_ZJO9i6CA#)

All best,
Johnm   
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Gumbo on May 15, 2014, 04:51:03 PM
Excellent idea, John. One of the most frustrating things about trying to figure out playing positions is not knowing how to spot different tunings, so even though I play mostly in standard I look forward to following the discussions here, and it'll be worth trying to work out positions knowing there will be discussion after a few days of bent-mind syndrome.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on May 16, 2014, 01:42:52 AM
Great idea for a thread!

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Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on May 19, 2014, 05:32:55 AM
Right - it's Monday afternoon, so I'll venture a guess: DADGBE tuning a half step up. The second question is harder, but I'll say second string 9th fret and third string 10th fret. Am I close?
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on May 19, 2014, 07:09:30 AM
A great thread! I certainly hope to improve my poor skills with open tunings with this.

Here's my theory: I suggest that the tuning is Spanish in A flat, and that the triplet chords are fingered something like X-X-X-0-2-5, and X-X-X-0-0-3. The flat 5th note on the 2nd string of the 1st chord is striking to my ear.

I seem to hear the E flat (the 5th) being the lowest note on the bass lick that follows, which makes me think of Spanish.

Of course, I could be completely wrong!  ;D

Looking forward to hear the verdict!  :)

Cheers

Pan
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: harvey on May 19, 2014, 12:08:47 PM
I really like the idea of this thread it forced me to focus on one song rather than a few half heartedly.

I don't think I got very far just ran out of time. I had Spanish like Pan however I thought that the top two strings were barred at the 3rd and 5th frets........then the kids inturupted.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: ScottN on May 19, 2014, 01:27:23 PM
I'll put in another vote for Spanish up about a half step. Playing with some of the bass licks seemed to fit a fingering better with the 6th and 5th string intervals a fourth apart (D to G) as opposed to a fifth apart like Drop D (D to A).  As for the lick, I think the 1st string is at frets 3 and 5 but at this point in listening I'm not hearing how to spell the rest of the chord. Anyway, that's my guess at this point. 

Thanks,
             Scott
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: jrn on May 19, 2014, 01:42:21 PM
It sounded like spanish to me too.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: dunplaying on May 19, 2014, 02:41:46 PM
I only looked in to find any comments on the Hopkins JSP Box set and was sidetracked.
I will say open G capo 1st fret and for the lick slide up xxxx65 down to a barre xxxx33.



But I was not blessed with a WC ear......not even the standard issue.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: frankie on May 19, 2014, 06:23:13 PM
   * What tuning and playing position did Andrew Dunham play "Sweet Lucy Woman" out of?

To my ear, everybody here is half right! Andrew Dunham sounds to me like a roughed up Lil Son Jackson, and I think he's playing in half-spanish, tuned to about A-flat.

   * Where on the neck is the lick fingered in the intro from :05 to :06 to :07, that moves up from :05 to :06 and back down from :06 to :07?

That being said, simplest move to get that sound would be a little parallel motion on the first two strings: open 2nd string against the 1st fret, 1st string and the 2nd fret, 2nd string against the 3rd fret, 1st string.

Could easily be spanish, though...  the general "chordlessness" of the song makes it tricky.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on May 19, 2014, 10:30:44 PM
Hi all,
Thanks to everybody who participated and took an interest.  I should say that making the identification was trickier than I thought it was originally or intended it to be.  I was just hooked on that lick Andrew Dunham plays near the beginning of the song and keeps returning to.
It turns out that the position he played "Sweet Lucy Woman" out of was A position in standard tuning, tuned a half-step low, so it sounded in Ab, but you have to listen to almost the entire rendition to get enough information to make that determination with any degree of certainty.  Both Pan and Frank figured out the fingering for the signature lick spot on for the tunings they selected.  And Scott noted that the interval between the sixth and fifth strings was a fourth as it would be in Spanish, half-Spanish or G6 tuning and in standard tuning.  Frank's observation that the "chordlessness" of the song makes a positive ID tough captured it in a nutshell.

Andrew Dunham starts out playing with a rough touch, but basically clean, hitting just the strings he wants to hit, and he's never hitting more than two notes at once in the treble--no full chords, just little two note figures like the signature lick or single note runs.  As the rendition goes along, he starts to play his runs rougher and less precisely.  If you listen in the 1:22--1:23 area of the song, or around 2:02--2:06, or 2:52, he plays runs in which he hits the bVII note of the scale on the first string while free-handing, and brushes the open second and third strings while he's doing it.  In both Spanish and half-Spanish tunings, if you fret the bVII of the key on the first string and brush the second and third strings open, you end up with a I7 chord.  In Spanish, it would be fingered 0-0-3 on the first three strings and would be voiced R-3-bVII.  In half-Spanish, it would be fingered 0-0-1, and would similarly be voiced R-3-bVII.  In A, standard tuning, though, if you play the bVII note on the first string and brush the second and third strings open, you wind up with this fingering (same as Spanish) 0-0-3, but this voicing:  bVII-9-bVII.  And that's the sound Andrew Dunham plays at those times cited above--it barely sounds like a chord, more like a melody note played over semi-unrelated open strings, which is exactly what it is.  His signature lick ends up being fingered on the top two strings: 2-3 to 4-5 back to 2-3.  It's like playing the top of an A7 chord going to the top of a B7 chord and then going back to an A7 chord, but in an A blues!  That fourth fret of the second string is what gives it that eerie sound.  He starts most of his verses by going from 5-5 to 2-3 to 4-5 back to 2-3 in the treble.
I think one reason I love this song is that it proves you don't have to do something technically challenging to get a really arresting sound that catches your ear.  I'd venture to say that if you put your guitars in standard tuning a half-step low and start fooling around playing along with the cut out of A position, you'll have it pretty quickly.  This isn't to say that the tuning/position identification was an easy one to make, though, that's for sure.  You pretty much have to listen to the whole track to figure it out for sure, and that's rare.  And you could get the main aspects of the song's sound in Spanish, half-Spanish or A position, so there you go.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on May 20, 2014, 01:21:38 AM
Amazing! Off to try that now! Thanks for a great puzzle. Next one soon please!

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Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on May 20, 2014, 03:07:02 AM
Ha! The solution, as usual, was simple and elegant!
I should have known, that trying to figure out weird fingerings in an open tuning, is a clear sign that I'm on the wrong track!  :)

While I have the chance to pick your brains and learn, could you guys explain what is the difference between half-Spanish and the G6 tunings? I searched the forum and if I'm not mistaken, the half-Spanish in G would spell out D-G-D-G-B-E, which could also be seen as a G6 chord?

Thanks, and I too would like to see another puzzle when time permits!

Cheers

Pan

Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: dunplaying on May 20, 2014, 03:54:51 AM
Thank you Johnm .
I too am stumped by half Spanish .
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on May 20, 2014, 06:24:31 AM
Hi guys,
Half-Spanish and G6 tuning are the same thing.  I think I usually just call it DGDGBE tuning.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on May 20, 2014, 06:48:56 AM
Thanks for the clarification John!

Cheers

Pan
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on May 20, 2014, 12:31:15 PM
Hi all,
Well, if folks enjoyed listening to and working on Andrew Dunham's "Sweet Lucy Woman", here's another one to try and work out aurally.  It is Jaydee Short's recording of "My Rare Dog", from the 1960s, recorded by Samuel Charters. 

https://youtu.be/VDfU3xalHCY

Oh, early this mornin', I heard my rare dog bark
Oh, early this mornin', I heard my rare dog bark
Well, my love has gone away, she drifted somewhere in the dark

Well, call your wife, know my baby's near around
Well, call your wife, know my baby near around
You can't hide from me, baby, 'cause I ain't gonna let you put me down

Come on home soon in the mornin', 'cause you stayed away all last night
Come home soon in the mornin', 'you stayed away all last night
I want to know from you, baby, you call that treatin' me right

Well, in the wee, wee hours, don't want to keep my company
Well, in the wee, wee hours, don't want to keep my company
Well, I've got the blues about my baby, I'm blue as any man can be

Hold my hand, I'm really in love with you
Hold my hand, I'm really in love with you
Well, you do things to me, baby, that I would never do to you

Well, I'm just settin' down wonderin', tryin' to drive away my blues
Well, I'm just settin' down wonderin', tryin' to drive away my blues
Well, I've got the blues 'bout my baby, and no one else but you

Well, this mornin' 'bout dawn, you come walkin' in
Well, this mornin' 'bout dawn, hooo, you come walkin' in
Well you been out playin' at love, with my old-time friend

SOLO

I'm gonna forgive you, baby, if you don't do that again
I'm gonna forgive you, baby, if you don't do that again
Well, you remember now, baby, I always have been your friend

The questions for "My Rare Dog" would be:
   * What playing position/tuning is Jaydee Short playing the song out of?, and
   * Where on the neck does he start his accompaniment for each verse?

Once again, if you bypass any transcription software, and just work from what you can hear and find by experimenting on your guitar, you'll build skills and be working on an equal footing with everybody else.  And please don't post any answers to the questions above until Thursday, May 22.  Thanks for participating, and I hope you have fun with it.  Boy, could Jaydee Short sing!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on May 22, 2014, 11:55:33 AM
Hi all,
Any takers for Jaydee Short's "My Rare Dog"?  What's he doing?
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on May 22, 2014, 12:25:36 PM
Is it Thursday already? Well, we have a quiz programmer here called QI. If anyone answers a question with the absolutely obvious answer (which is also wrong) a klaxon goes off and they are awarded minus 50 points. So, for my minus 50 points I'm going to say: regular tuning, key of D, and he starts each verse by bending a D shape at the fifth fret!

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Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Gumbo on May 22, 2014, 12:36:19 PM
Phew! I'm not completely mad then :)
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: harvey on May 22, 2014, 01:04:03 PM
I don't have much time during the week but had a quick go last night.

I had a partial D shape at the 5th fret 1st string 6th fret second string. Not sure what was going on in the base though, either standard or drop D

In the key of D standard I will take a guess at

Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: ScottN on May 22, 2014, 01:08:12 PM
I'll use my minus 50 points to back The Professor.  Sounds like a D shape up 3 frets for the first bars of the I chord then back down 3 frets to normal D position for bars 7 and 8.  I had a lot of trouble distinguishing the bass notes but what I did hear over the I chord I couldn't really place on the low strings 6 or 5 well - gotta say that I got sidetracked trying to make St Louis E with the 4th string raised to E work and the bass on I living on the 4th string but then my meds kicked in...

Thanks,
              Scott
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on May 22, 2014, 01:12:52 PM
I'd gone for open G on the Andrew Dunham piece but forgot to post.  Agreeing with other folk with D and off around the 5th fret at start of the verse with a fair amount of distortion going on.  He sounds amplified or is he just really close up to the mic?
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on May 22, 2014, 01:22:47 PM
Standard tuning D position for me as well. I think I'm hearing the standard D and A chords played in the open position. There are not many altered bass notes played, which was making things a little hard to hear at first. No 6th string notes played at all, as far as I can hear, so dropped D is out.
The verses start with a double stop played at the 5fh fret on the 1st string, and the 6th fret at the 2nd string, the 2nd string is slightly bent for a blue note. This is then followed by the open 5th and 4th strings.
The IV or G chord was also a little elusive, since the common bass notes are not heard, and the chord is played by only 4 top strings.

Cheers

Pan
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Laura on May 22, 2014, 02:40:50 PM
I only just saw this post now and am not going to have a go but I wanted to say what a great idea, John.  Thanks for starting the thread!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Norfolk Slim on May 22, 2014, 02:51:13 PM
Agree with Laura- fun idea.

But Ive not had time to give it any serious consideration.  Maybe next time!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: mr mando on May 22, 2014, 04:20:19 PM
I'm not sure about the D-Position in Standard because of the way the single note fill sounds. Maybe he's in EAEGBE down one step, so the beginning of the verse lick would be a D-shape chord up at the 7th/8th fret, back to a D shaped E at frets 4/5/4. In this position I can make the single note fill sound closer to the recording, the second note being fretted instead of open which would be the case in D position std. tuning.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on May 22, 2014, 10:17:44 PM
Hi all,
Jaydee Short did play "My Rare Dog" out of D position in standard tuning, so well done for all of you who chose that as the playing position.  He starts every verse up at the fifth fret of the first string and bending the 6th fret of the second string.  I can't say with certainty as to whether he took the entire D shape up three frets, but I never hear him play the note at the fifth fret of the third string when he's up there, so I think he's just fretting the first two strings up there.
Some really good points were made about his bass disqualifying dropped-D tuning.  One thing I hadn't noticed before listening really carefully to the song was how unusually he plays the bass for his G chord.  For the most part, he just hits the open fourth string, as Pan noted, and it is a chord tone, but a few times, he also hits the open fifth string under the G chord.  He never hits either the G note on the sixth string or the B note at the second fret of the fifth once in the course of the song.  So everything that makes it sound like a G chord is played in the treble.
Way to listen, folks, and identify what you were hearing. Well done!  I remember hearing this song for the first time and feeling like Jaydee was sort of working Tommy McClennan's territory.

I"ll try to come up with another tune in the next couple of days.  Thanks for participating.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: frankie on May 23, 2014, 03:08:03 AM
I remember hearing this song for the first time and feeling like Jaydee was sort of working Tommy McClennan's territory.

Exactly!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on May 23, 2014, 10:17:18 AM
Hi all,
Here is Sammy Hill's "Needin' My Woman Blues", from 1929.  It is a guitar duet.  Here are the questions:
   *  Both guitarists, the one handling the treble and the one handling the bass, are playing out of what position/tuning?
   *  Right around 1:27, the guitarist handling the bass starts playing a little three-note lick over and over.  Where is he fretting that lick?  In the same verse, when it goes to the IV chord, where are the three notes that that guitarist moves to?  What is the guitarist who plays the treble playing over the IV chord?

Once again, please just use your ears and your instrument to answer the questions.  And if you could hold off posting your answers until Sunday, May 25, that will give folks a chance to listen to the song and work out their answers.  Thanks!

Sammy Hill Needin' My Woman Blues (1929) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fj8YvrlTils#)

My baby's gone, three long weeks today
My baby's gone, three long weeks today
I'm sorry I wasn't at home, mama, here's what my babe had to say

When I went back, home vacant, stood in my back kitchen door
When I went back home, stood in my back kitchen door
I just wanted to see my mama, I wouldn't see my babe any more

Then I went out, mama, honey, I begin to pray and mourn
I went out, pretty mama, baby and I begin to pray and mourn
I wants the good Lord, Lord, send me my babe back home

Mmm-mmm, mmm-mmm
Mmm-mmm, mmm-mmm
Lord, Lord, send me my babe back home

Once I heard her knockin' on my back kitchen door
Once I heard her knockin' on my back kitchen door
It's knockin' like my sweet mama, boy, she's been here before

SOLO (Spoken: Lord, Lord!)

Babe, honey, what am I to do?
Baby, what am your daddy to do?
Don't you want your sweet man, mama, honey, lie down and die for you?

But I feel so sad, baby, honey, and I'm lonesome, too
Baby, I feel so sad, mama, Lord, I was lonesome, too
Ain't nothin' in this world, boys, Lord, for your black man to do

EDITED TO ADD, 6/21:  The second guitarist on this track and deliverer of the spoken "Lord, Lord!" coming out of the solo is Keno Pipes, courtesy of Eric Hubbard.

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: David Kaatz on May 25, 2014, 09:30:40 AM
My take:
Both guitars playing out of standard tuning, 1st position G, although guitars are almost a half step flat.

Backup player is fretting the lick @ 1:27 on 5th string, 1st fret, 2nd fret, and open 4th string.
Then, when it moves to the 4 chord, he plays 5th string 3rd fret, 4th string 2nd fret, and open 3rd string,
then moves to 5th string 4th fret to catch a C#, still playing 4th string 2nd fret and open 3rd.

Treble guitarist is playing over the 4 chord: tremelo on 1st string, 3rd fret.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on May 25, 2014, 10:06:24 AM
Hi all.

I agree with davek, except I was thinking the bass lick is the same pattern for the IV chord, but a perfect 4th up; so the fingering is the same,  1 -2- 0, but the strings played are the 4th and 3rd strings.

I could be wrong, though, it's a little tough to hear.

Cheers

Pan
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on May 25, 2014, 10:22:54 AM
Yes, Dave, agree about the tuning and the licks - but here's another possibility for the bass lick: the notes in regular tuning would be D, Bb, B I think. Maybe he's getting those at  5th string 5th fret, 6th string frets 6 and 7? For the treble bit, I was hearing a tremolo of open 1st string and second string fret 5 played together. But then my hearing aid lives in the kitchen drawer!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: David Kaatz on May 25, 2014, 03:35:35 PM
Pan, I tried the same lick up a fourth. That seemed the obvious choice, but it doesn't work when moving to the C# I felt. And I definitely hear that C#.


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Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: mr mando on May 26, 2014, 03:32:47 AM
I agree about G position in standard tuning for the lead guitar. The second guitar is most probably also in standard tuning although it could be open G as well as I mainly hear the open 4th, 3rd and 2nd strings in the rare instances when it plays chords.

I agree with Pan and davek about the bass lick being played on the (fretted) fifth and (open) fourth string (1-2-0 in Standard or 3-4-0 in open G). I hear a C# frequently in this tune in bar 6, but not in the chorus that starts at 1:27. I guess I hear the bass over the IV chord as 1-2-0 in the bar 5 and 0-1-0 in bar 6 on the (fretted) fourth and (open) third string. The lead guitar tremoloes on the 2nd string, 5th fret and open 1st through both bars.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: David Kaatz on May 26, 2014, 10:18:09 AM
I hear a C# frequently in this tune in bar 6, but not in the chorus that starts at 1:27. I guess I hear the bass over the IV chord as 1-2-0 in the bar 5 and 0-1-0 in bar 6 on the (fretted) fourth and (open) third string. The lead guitar tremoloes on the 2nd string, 5th fret and open 1st through both bars.
I agree with you now on the bass guitar. I listened to the second break too much, where there is a C# played.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on May 26, 2014, 10:28:34 AM
Hi all,
Sorry to be a little slow getting back to this.  I'm definitely hearing both guitars working out of G position in standard tuning, as Dave identified it in the first post.  If you listen to what the guitarist playing the bass lines plays under most of the verses it is all stuff that is right under the hand in standard tuning, but that in some instances would be awkward and non-idiomatic in Spanish (in particular the chromatic bass line moving from C to C#, which in Spanish would involve going from the fifth to the sixth fret of the fifth string).

In the verse beginning around 1:27, I hear the guitarist doing the bass part moving from the first fret of the A string to the second fret of the A string to the open D string over the I chord.  When it goes to the IV chord, I never hear it going to the C# in the bass in the sixth bar that it does in the second and fourth verses.  I just hear, as did Pan, the movement of the same bass figure one string towards the treble, going from the first fret of the D string to the second fret of the D string followed by the open G string.  The guitarist handling the bass returns to the earlier figure when the progression goes back to the I chord in the seventh bar.

Over the IV chord, I hear the treble part guitarist tremoloing a double stop of the fifth fret of the B string and the third fret of the high E string, just as Prof. Scratchy and mr mando had it.

I'm going to review what the bass part does over the IV chord again and will edit this post if I hear anything differently.

It seems to me everybody was very much in the same ball park on "Needin' My Woman Blues", and would be able to re-construct both parts, if you wished, to play with a friend without very much trouble.  And that's pretty cool!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on May 27, 2014, 01:49:16 PM
Hi all,
I've got another tune for anyone who is interested.  I just found it on YouTube, and know nothing about the artist who recorded it except that he was recorded for the Library of Congress.  He's identified as Little Brother and the song is "Blues (Up and Down Buildin' the KC Line)".  Despite what the attached video suggests, this Little Brother is not the Willie Lane who recorded "Howling' Wolf Blues".   Here is the track:

https://youtu.be/Dzujf-ZsUvY

Ever been down Mobile & KC line?
Ever been down Mobile & KC line?
Sunny man, stole my gal of mine

Oh, it's you light-weight skinners, you better learn to skin
Mmm-mm-mm-mm, you better learn to skin
'Cause Mr. Bud Russell, I tell you, he wants a thousand men

Oh, my mama she called me, I'm gonna answer, "Ma'am"
Mmm-mm-mm-mm, I'm gonna answer, "Ma-am"
Lord, and get down to rollin', for this big-hat man

She's got nine gold teeth, long black curly hair
Mmm-mm-mm-mm, long black curly hair
Lord, if you get on the Santa Fe, find your baby there

I been prayin', "Our Father, Lord, thy Kingdom come"
Mmm-mm-mm-mm, "Lord, thy Kingdom come"
Lord, I been prayin', "Our Father, let your will be done."

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight nine
Mmm-mm-mm-mm, five, six, seven, eight, nine
I'm gonna count these blues, she's got on her mind

'Cause my baby done caught Rock Island train and gone
Mmm-mm-mm-mm, Rock Island train and gone
I don't mind her leavin' me, buddy, but she stays so doggone long

Your job, Mr. Phelps, should you choose to accept it, is to:
   * Identify the tuning/position he is playing the song out of and the key in which it is sounding;
   * Describe how he is phrasing the first line of each of his verses--what is his length there?
   * Tell where he is fretting the fill he plays after his IV chord.  He first plays it at about the :20 mark

Please don't feel like you have to be able to answer all three questions to participate.  Participate to whatever extent you wish.  No transcription software please, and please hold off on posting any answers until Friday, May 30.  If you've been participating regularly in these, it might be nice to hold off posting for a little bit to give some first-timers a chance to get their licks in.  Have fun with it.

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on May 30, 2014, 08:56:17 AM
Here's my stab at this.  Only managed to spend the time it takes to cook my pizza (10-12mins 200C) but here goes:
Standard tuning, playing in A and going between the major and minor chord up at the ninth fret.  Similar to Blind Lemon's Matchbox blues, I think (all my records are in box's at the minute as I'm between house moves, so can't be sure but I've heard something similar to this before).  The wee lick around the 20 sec mark is played out of a sort of Dmin 11th going into a A? playing around with the 2nd string 3rd fret, open first & 3rd fret first then into the A (2nd string 2nd fret, 3rd string 2nd fret).  Sorry, this probably isn't explained too well and may not make much sense.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: waxwing on May 30, 2014, 11:01:50 AM
Once again, didn't really have time to work on this, and without the ability to stop and start and loop easily, and yes, my old ears need a little slow down, it's just too frustrating. But I'd say his big brother might have been Clifford Gibson.

Wax
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on May 30, 2014, 01:12:13 PM
Hi all,
Anyone else want to give the song a shot?  Throwing it wide open, come one come all!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on May 30, 2014, 01:20:13 PM
I'm with Old Man Ned!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: uncle bud on May 30, 2014, 02:43:04 PM
I agree, standard tuning, A position, is my bet. The phrasing on the first line of the verses is short, 3 1/2 bars, to a nice effect IMO. That riff after the IV chord is played on the top 3 strings. 3rd fret 2nd string (bent), open 1st string, 3rd fret 1st string, open 1st string, 3rd fret then 2nd fret 2nd string, 2nd fret 3rd string.

Cool tune I had forgotten about completely.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: waxwing on May 30, 2014, 07:45:18 PM
Well, I tried the EAEGBE tuning that I hinted at above, capo 5, which doesn't change the D - Dm shapes at all and the lick turns out to be a nifty bend at the 2nd fret 3rd string (plain, of course), open 2nd, 3rd fret 2nd, 2nd fret 3rd string pull-off to open, open 4th string. I didn't really check anything to rule out Standard, capo 5, but like I said, sounds so much like Gibson...

Wax
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: waxwing on May 30, 2014, 08:21:09 PM
I would also add that this really sounds like it is played with a non-opposing right hand, as Gordon (Joe Paul) demonstrates so well on his take on Gibson's Drayman Blues on the Back Porch. The non-opposing style lends itself nicely to the slightly swung feel that Gibson and many other players achieved. According to B&GR, Gibson recorded in '29 and '31, and Little Brother was recorded in '34, in the State Penn in Huntsville Texas, a ways, but not that far from St. Louis, where Gibson lived. Seems to me like there somehow must have been a connection.

Wax
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on May 30, 2014, 10:51:50 PM
Hi all,
Thanks to all who participated.  I really like this song and Little Brother's performance--it's a shame that it concludes with him still singing and playing.
Everybody got the key at which the piece sounds correct, it is sounding in A.  He played it out of E position in standard tuning, capoed up to sound at A; more on that in a little bit.  Uncle bud figured out the length of the first vocal phrase perfectly.  Little Brother phrased it like this, assuming four beats per bar unless otherwise indicated:

|    I    |  Idim7   |    I + 2 beats  |

So it is that for the first phrase only, Little Brother's instrumental response is six beats long rather than 8 beats, or two full measures of four beats each, which is the way he concludes the second and third vocal phrases.
The fill that he plays following the IV chord in the seventh bar of the form starts on beat two of that measure and works as follows:
       1    +    2       +        3       +           4 (triplet)     
    |             3rd   open    3rd    open      2nd       open    2nd   |
                 fret,    2nd    fret     2nd       fret        3rd      fret
                  3rd  string    2nd   string     3rd       string    4th
               string            string              string                 string
              (little bend)                         

The only thing that makes a positive ID of the playing position as being E in standard tuning as opposed to EAEGBE tuning is the sound of his V chord in several places in the course of the song.  At the :03 point in his rendition, you can hear Little Brother drag his thumb from the root of the V chord, fretted at the second fret of his fifth string, to a minor third of that root, played on the open fourth string.  He does the same thing at :23--:24 and at the end of his rendition.  The fact that he hits that minor third above the root of the V chord eliminates the possibility of the tuning being EAEGBE, because no minor third above the root of the V chord can be articulated that way in that tuning.  In E position in standard tuning, it's a relatively common move which you can make just by fingering a Bm7 chord, X-2-0-2-0 and doing the thumb roll from the fifth to the fourth string.  Geeshie Wiley used the same Bm7 chord in "Last Kind Words Blues".
A couple of other neat touches Little Brother utilizes during the course of his rendition:
   * On the + of the sixth beat of that long fill measure at the end of the first vocal phrase, he does an ascending slide on his sixth string, probably fretting it with his thumb and ending up hitting the open fifth string on the downbeat of the second vocal phrase.  He really nails the timing on it, and lands it so beautifully.
   * In the first two bars of his first vocal phrase he fingers his I chord in the first bar just like a D chord moved up two frets, relative to his capo placement, 4-5-4 on the top three strings.  For his I dim7 chord in the second bar he uses a really pretty and unusual voicing, 3-5-3 on the top three strings.  He then returns to his I chord and walks it down two frets before resolving to his IV chord.

Everything in the song with the exception of the drag-through move into the Bm7 chord could be played in EAEGBE tuning where Waxwing had it, and in fact everything apart from that move would live in the same place as it does in E position, standard tuning (with the exception of the fourth string).

I really think Little Brother's playing on this song is exceptionally strong, inventive and well-played.  It's good to be reminded some times that there were really terrific players who never ended up recording commercially, but who were just as strong a musician or stronger than lots of people who did record.

Thanks for participating, folks, and I hope this is fun and interesting for you all. 

All best,
Johnm

Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on May 31, 2014, 04:15:09 AM
Well, that was a tricky one! These are great learning tools and much fun! Next please....
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: uncle bud on May 31, 2014, 08:37:39 AM
Yes, a good one. Lesson learned: take yer time!  :D

Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on May 31, 2014, 01:05:46 PM
Yes, definitely lesson learned.  I'll put something in the oven that takes longer to cook next time ;) Would just like to say though that I'm learning so much from this.  Ranging from: I can't expect to get it spot on first time, to my ears aren't as rubbish as I thought they were.  Much appreciate the posts John.  Thanks.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on May 31, 2014, 01:51:33 PM
Excellent choices for study!
I too, would have thought of A-position in standard tuning! The absence of the low E, or in fact, any note below the root A, should have been a clear warning sign, even if I didn't catch the voicing on the V chord.
I strongly recommend these puzzles for everyone who wishes to improve on his or her transcribing skills.

Cheers

Pan
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on June 01, 2014, 04:52:43 PM
Hi all,
I'm glad that those of you who've been participating in the thread have been enjoying it.  I've got another tune picked out.  It is Otto Virgial's "Seven Year Itch".  Please identify as many of the following as you care to:
   *The playing position/tuning Virgial used for "Seven Year Itch" and the key in which it sounds;
   *Where his signature lick that he keeps returning to in the third bar is fretted.  Choose the one that he plays most often; and
   *What commonly played chord for the position he's playing in is notable for Virgial's not playing it in the course of "Seven Year Itch"?.

Here is the song:

Otto Virgial - Seven year itch (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZwOIEUOWIE#ws)

I woke up this mornin', clock was striking four
I woke up this mornin', clock was striking four
I was itchin' so bad, had to pack my things and go

I run and said, "Hear this, babe, I'm goin' cross-town to crash."
Said, "Hear this, babe, I'm goin' cross-town to crash.
Now, if I don't quit itchin, babe, I won't be back."

I'm gwine up on the mountain, I'm gonna root just like a hog
Gwine up on the mountain, root just like a hog
I'm gonna drink muddy water, sleep in a hollow log

Mmm-mm-mm-hmm,
Mmm-mm-mm-hmm
I'm gonna drink muddy water, sleep in a hollow log

SOLO

I'm goin' to the river, sits right on the ground
I'm goin' to the river, sits right on the ground
If I start itchin' too bad, jump overboard and drown

Once again, no transcription software, please, and please don't post any responses until Tuesday, June 3.  Thanks for participating.

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Gumbo on June 03, 2014, 02:42:42 AM
OK. I'll have a go. It sounds in B and is played out of long A position at the 4th fret in standard. Probably capoed at 2? (I don't here the low E string)
The signature lick is in that long A played on the 1st and 2nd strings at the 7th fret, and the 2nd and 3rd at the A position.
He doesn't play an E position chord

edited to correct string numbers  :P
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: mr mando on June 03, 2014, 02:50:34 AM
Thanks for reminding me of this tune. I listened to the "Worried All The Time" LP on Whoopee 104 a lot some years ago and this is one of two Otto Virgial tracks on that LP.

Again, I've got no guitar at Hand, but from listeneing I would guess as follows:
*Standard Tuning /A positon, capoed up a couple of frets, can't tell how many without a guitar, so don't know key.
*signature lick comes out of a long A: 5-5-4-0 on the first string , 5(b)-2 on the 3rd string (relative to capo position)
*There's only A(7) and D7 (fingered 2-0-0-2-1-x low to high, the second string open for melody notes) chords played, no E7 common to this Position in A.

So obviously, besides  "one-chord-blues" and "three-chord-blues", there are also "two-chord-blues" in existence!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: mr mando on June 03, 2014, 02:55:47 AM
Oops, Gumbo posted, while I was typing. I hear thumb rolls from the low E (6th) into the 5th (A) strings. Gumbo, I think you might have the string numbering upside down.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Gumbo on June 03, 2014, 03:05:48 AM
Oops, Gumbo posted, while I was typing. I hear thumb rolls from the low E (6th) into the 5th (A) strings. Gumbo, I think you might have the string numbering upside down.
That is quite likely  - the numbering always confused me ! :)

PS I edited my first post - thanks Mr Mando :)
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: David Kaatz on June 03, 2014, 08:49:38 AM
I've got it quite different. But I never really tried to replicate this in standard tuning.

Key of B approximately - it is a sharp B or a very flat C.
Open G tuning, or open A tuning (G tuned up a step) capoed up.
I thought the lick John was referring to was over the 4 chord, so:
The lick over the 4 chord is a hammer on the open 6th string: hammer to 2nd fret, then hammer to 3rd fret.
Then the higher part of the lick is on the 3rd string: open, second fret, open, third fret.
Each is individually picked.

I'm not hearing a 5 chord.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on June 03, 2014, 10:20:36 AM
I'm going to go for A capoed at the second fret, no E7 chord, and the lick being something like (String/Fret) 2/7; 1/5; 1/7; 1/6; 2/7; 3/7; 3/5 - with a slight string bend on the 3/7.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: waxwing on June 03, 2014, 11:07:15 AM
Totally guessing, but to me it seems to fit nicely in G capo 4. The 3rd measure lick I'm hearing most is the one that starts low and goes something like 3rd str. 3rd fret (bent), 2nd str. 3rd fret, 1st str. 3rd fret (accomplished neatly by bending then laying the finger down in a mini barre), 1st str. 1st fret, 2nd str. 3rd fret, 3rd str. 3rd fret (bent), 3rd str. open. I can't really hear the bass licks at speed but it kinda sounds like he is rolling hammer-ons up from the E to the G but then thumbing from the G to the C in the IV chord?? I don't know. Agree, no V chord.

Wax
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: banjochris on June 03, 2014, 11:50:28 AM
I agree with the folks who've said A position and no E chord; I haven't checked the pitch. It sounds to me like his D7 chord lick starts with a thumb roll from the sixth string to the fifth while he's playing a quick slide from open to the 2nd fret of the sixth string and then hitting the open fifth, then the rest is just based around an open D7 chord with no F# on the top.

Whole thing sounds like Garflield Akers!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on June 03, 2014, 12:50:18 PM
Yeah, Garfield Akers...it had been bugging me who this sounded like.  I too am going for playing out of the A position capo at the 2nd fret.  Also looking for the E7 chord but the more I listen the more it's not there.  Not sure about the signature lick, could be played out of a long A or an A at the 5th fret, can't decide........I find myself over listening after a while and hearing all sorts!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: David Kaatz on June 03, 2014, 02:08:46 PM
I think that when in doubt about positions and tunings, going with the easiest, least stretchy, and most open strings is probably what most original country blues players were doing.

Dave
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Norfolk Slim on June 03, 2014, 02:19:07 PM
Sounds and feels like a long A shape capoed at the 3rd fret to me.  Which makes it sound in C (assuming my guitar is in tune!) Never goes to the E chord.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: mr mando on June 03, 2014, 04:15:50 PM
Now that I tried to play along, I have to revise my previous statement. I now think that it's in half spanish (D-G-D-G-B-E) tuning capoed at the 4th fret. No V chord, and the IV chord is only hinted at: quick hammer on from open 6th to 2nd fret/6th string, then open 5th droning away under neath the boogie line on the 3rd string (open, second fret, open, 3rd fret, open, 2nd fret). The signature lick over the I chord starts with a thumb roll from open 6th to open 5th string, then moves to the first string 3rd fret, 1st fret and open, then bent note on 3/3 and open 3rd string.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on June 03, 2014, 04:28:17 PM
I don't have much to add, others have pretty much said what I believe I'm hearing; that is A-position, capoed to sound at around B.
The signature lick could be played up from the 5th position, I believe, but since the "long A" thing is very much happening, I assume the lick is also played out of the 2nd position as well.
And no V chord, although the melody occasionally goes down to the V note, on the B part of the AAB blues form, while the accompaniment just repeats the IV - I chord. changes heard before.
Nevertheless, a great tune, whether I'm right or wrong!  :)

Cheers

Pan
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: waxwing on June 03, 2014, 06:33:31 PM
It seems like there was some confusion over what Johnm meant by "Where his signature lick that he keeps returning to in the third bar is fretted.  Choose the one that he plays most often;" To me it sounded like, at least in the sung verses, the first line was sung over two bars and there was a lick that followed quickly in the 3rd bar that didn't appear anywhere else in the form. Those occurred at 0:22*, 0:42*, 1:03, 1:26, 2:03*, 2:34* and 2:56. Those with an * sound pretty similar and the one at 1:03 is pretty close. The other two, one the hummed verse and the other the final verse, he doesn't play the lick at all. Is this the one you meant, Johnm, or was it the decending lick that he plays much more frequently but never in the 3rd bar?

Wax
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on June 03, 2014, 11:45:21 PM
Hi all,
Thanks to you all for participating.  It's great to see so many responses.  Otto Virgial did play "Seven Year Itch" out of A position in standard tuning, sounding in the neighborhood of B to C.  It's probably worth pointing out that in terms of identifying the playing position/tuning that a song is played out of, the pitch at which the piece ends up sounding is not usually that much of a help in determining the playing position.
It was good to see everybody noting that Otto Virgial never plays a V chord in his rendition.  This sort of "V chord avoidance" is not as rare as you might think.  It's one of the things that makes him sound as much like Garfield Akers as he does, since Akers avoided the V chord, too.  Other players who are notable for avoiding the V chord include Dr. Ross, Sam Collins on his slide material, and Rev. Pearly Brown.
I'm sorry that the way I described the lick I wanted the fretting for was so imprecise and open to interpretation.  I should have related it to specific times in the rendition.  In any event, the lick I was thinking of occurs most often, I realized, in the third bar of the second and third phrases, not the first phrase, and is a descending phrase.  The lick I'm thinking of happens at :18, :30, :36, :50, :58, 1:12 and many other times in the course of the rendition.  It happens in the first bar back in the I chord after Virgial returns from the IV chord.  It is fretted at, and sits relative to the pulse like so:

|        1             +               2 (triplet)                       3               +              4              +              |
                     fifth            fifth      third    second     fifth          second       
                     fret             fret       fret        fret       fret            fret
                     first            first       first       first       third          third
                    string         string     string    string     string        string
                                                                             (bent)

The keys to differentiating the sound in A position in standard tuning as it occurs in this song versus Spanish, G6 tuning or G position in standard tuning are as follows:
   *  G position in standard tuning would not work because as a number of you noted, Virgial does a hammer on the sixth string into the third of the IV chord, then rolls his thumb up to the fifth string, where he hits the root of the I chord for the song.  In G position in standard tuning, the open sixth string is the third of the IV chord so a hammer into that pitch is not available. 
   *  If you look at what notes Virgial hits in the treble over the IV7 chord, they are located as follows: second fret of the third string, open second string and first fret of the second string, while the thumb is wrapped, fretting the second fret of the sixth string and the first string is open.  It's the same position that Robert Johnson used for all of his tunes played out of A position like, "Me and the Devil", "Kind Hearted Woman", "Little Queen of Spades" and the rest.  If you analyze what those notes in the treble are relative to the IV7 chord they happen over, D7, the second fret of the third string is the fifth of the D7, the open second string is the sixth of D7 and the first fret of the second string is the seventh of the D7 chord.  Because the notes are phrased on two different strings, you can flow from the note on the third string into the notes on the second string, continuing to let the note on the third string sustain as you play the notes on the second string.  That same sound of the line flowing from the fifth of the IV7 chord up to its sixth and then its seventh is not available in the same way in either Spanish tuning or G6 tuning because in both of those tunings, all three notes would be played on the same string, with each note in the ascending line effectively erasing the note that preceded it as it is played.  Those three notes, the fifth, sixth and seventh of the IV7 chord would be found at the open third string, the second fret of the third string and the third fret of the third string in both Spanish and G6 tuning.  So it is, that in those two positions it would be impossible to have the first note of the ascending line sustain against the next two, and the line would have a choppier sound, with all three notes played on the same string.
What you end up with, then, is a situation where the line has much more flow, sustain and ease of execution in A position standard tuning than it would have in Spanish or G6 tuning.  It also sits so easily and gratefully for the left hand in that little thumb-wrapped D7 with the open first string--it's a real rocking chair kind of move, the position just gives it to you. 
In the treble in his long A chord, 0-0-2-2-2-5, Otto Virgial may have been adopting a strategy of assigning a finger to a fret in the left hand, across the neck, so that his little finger fretted the fifth fret of the first three strings, his index fretted everything at the second fret on the top four strings, and probably his second finger fretted the third fret of the first string, though some folks prefer to use the third finger there.  Assigning a finger to a fret this way makes for a very quiet left hand, practically still.  Without having seen Virgial play the song, though, it can't be said for sure how he fingered  the long A phrases.

I hope my descriptions above are clear.  I've been enjoying finding these songs and listening to them and hearing people's responses.  At various different times in figuring out this music I've had to remember that the players were not trying to camouflage the sound of the playing position/tuning they were working in--rather they were going for the very heart of the sound of whatever position they were working in, looking for the stuff that sounded the best and was the easiest to play, the stuff that the position "gives" you.  Things that sounded good and were easy enough to play dependably while singing at the same time were what everyone was looking for.

All best,
Johnm     
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on June 06, 2014, 12:16:19 PM
Hi all,
I've got another performance to work out, if anyone is interested.  It is Eddie Kirkland's "Going To the River, See Can I Look Across".  The questions would be:
   * What tuning/position is he playing the song out of?
   * Where is he fretting his V7 chord at 1:38 and his IV7 chord at 1:41?
   * Where is he fretting the voicing he is playing for his I chord at 1:50--1:56?
Here is the song:

Eddie Kirkland - Going To The River, See Can I Look Across (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TithLjaJ2pE#ws)

I'm goin' down to the river, and I'm gonna look across
I'm goin' down to the river, Lord, and see, can I look across
Oh, can I see the end of my trouble, Lord, I b'lieve my luck is lost

I woke up early this mornin', 'bout the break of day
I looked down in my bed where my baby used to lay
I'm goin' down to the river, Lord, to see, can I look across
Oh, I know my luck is lost, baby, I know my luck is lost

SOLO

Oh, baby, do you ever think of me?
Oh, baby, do you ever think of me?
Oh, when you lovin' your other man, do the feelin' come across me?

SOLO

All my friends look at me and tell me what a fool I am
All my friend look at me and tell me what a friend, a fool I am
All my love has been for you, oh baby, I just don't know what I'm gonna do

SOLO

I'm goin' down to the river, oh Lord, and see, can I look across
I'm goin' down to the river, oh Lord, and see, can I look across
I'm tryin' to find my luck, Lord, I know my luck is lost

OUTRO

Once again, please don't use transcription software, just your ears and your guitars, to answer the questions and please don't post any answers prior to Sunday, June 8.  And I promise not to be too gabby when I post the answers.  I hope you have fun with it, and answer as much or as little as you wish.
All best,
Johnm   
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: waxwing on June 06, 2014, 03:47:05 PM
I, for one, would hope that you don't succumb to the "anything but a sound byte is to(o) much" mentality that is prevalent on the web and continue posting your highly informative and inspiring posts, Johnm. Otherwise this thread will lose much of it's educational value, I'm afraid. I've clearly proven that I don't have the chops to compete, if that is all that is intended, but am at least encouraged when shown why I am in error.

Thanks for explaining.

Wax
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on June 07, 2014, 09:44:29 AM
Thanks for the feedback, waxwing.  It's helpful, and I appreciate it.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on June 08, 2014, 02:37:26 PM
For the Eddie Kirkland  one I'm going to say (erroneously) DGDGBE tuning a half step up, with the IV chord being a regular tuning C shape, the V chord being that shape moved up two frets , and the chord at 1.50 being third fret strings one and two. Klaxon denotes abject failure...
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: waxwing on June 08, 2014, 03:14:06 PM
Again, I can't hear much of the bass except the dead thumb on the tonic, which I took to be the 5th string, leading me to think he is in standard tuned down Ĺ step and playing in A giving the same Ab pitch as Scratchy suggests. I don't ever really hear anything on the 6th string. I agree about the C7 form chords, but in A that would put the V reaching up to the E on the 7th fret of the 5th string and the IV7 reaching up to the D at the 5th fret, 5th string. But I'm not sure 'cause something sounds a bit out in the bass of that IV7 chord. Possibly that has to do with him fretting or damping the 6th string and pulling strings out of pitch. At 1:50-1:56 I think maybe he brings a 4 string F chord up to the 5th fret A (or maybe XX5655 A7) and then goes on to play around with licks reaching to the 8th fret.

Wax
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: waxwing on June 08, 2014, 03:24:24 PM
It also occurred to me that later in the song he goes all the way up to the high Eb with a B on the second string, which I have fretted at the 12th and 13th frets. If he were in DGDGBE up one fret these would be at the 14th and 15th frets. Since it sounds like he is playing a resonator, I'm remembering that Peter L. (oddenda) often loaned a resonator for players to use. I just can't remember if it was an early 12 fretter or a later 14 fretter. But I'm sure there is something about the licks down at the nut which someone will show can rule out one or the other? I just can't hear it.

[Edit] I see I have this reasoning backwards and it would be fretted lower in DGDGBE up one fret, at frets 10 and 11. Nevermind.

Wax
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on June 08, 2014, 03:48:28 PM
Any other takers for the Eddie Kirkland song?  Come one, come all!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Gumbo on June 08, 2014, 05:03:43 PM
I'm fairly sure it's not in standard ...

is it open G a little sharp?
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on June 08, 2014, 05:10:01 PM
Well, it seems that we are going to have a nice dispersion of opinions here!

I started out hearing this being played in standard tuning, G position, pitched somewhere between G and A flat.
But having tried it out a little more, I think I'm going with Spanish. I do think that most of what I hear could be played in standard tuning, but it seems that Spanish gives you easier and more natural fingerings.

I hear the V and IV chords as having the minor 7ths on their bass. You could play them in standard tuning with the moving fingering x-3-4-5-3-x, and x-1-2-3-1-x, but in Spanish you could play them with what we normally associate as the "C7" fingering; x-5-4-5-3-x, and x-3-2-3-1-x. Since in Spanish, the 5th string is tuned down a whole step, that would give you the minor 7th on the bass, while playing the common C7 fingering. Playing a chord shape form from another tuning, and finding new interesting voicings seems more like a country blues musician thing, rather than trying to figure out difficult new fingerings. On top of that, I think I'm hearing the 5th of the IV chord being played in the bass, an eighth note early, before the chord is played. In Spanish this would be the open 5th string, a much easier note to play in between changing the chords, than in standard tuning, where it would be on the 3rd fret of the 6th string.

The I chord seems to have the perfect 5th, the minor 7th, and the root stacked on top of each other, as far as I can hear. Again, you could play this in standard tuning with x-x-x-7-6-3, but in Spanish this becomes x-x-x.7-6-5, which is much easier, especially since I think I'm hearing the chord being slid in.

I must add, however, that if the song is played in Spanish tuning, I can't hear a single note being played on the 6th string, so I can't be sure whether it is tuned down a whole step from standard, or not.

And, of course, I could be completely wrong with all this! :)

Cheers

Pan

Edited to add: I see Gumbo posted just before me, and seems to agree with open G / Spanish.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Gumbo on June 08, 2014, 06:29:44 PM
Now I guess i could try to put into words why I feel it's not standard. That seems to be the point of the thread? To begin to describe what we actually hear? pan has come up with chord voicings and tomorrow I may even retune but tonight it's as much as I can do to just describe my thought process (minimal as it is)

Ok the I chord is fairly easy to find with an E shape at the 3rd fret but the other chord soundings are awkward and the fills don't flow (in standard). The open strings don't help. I haven't tried retuning but open G seems to be a possibility- it sounds familiar

that's all I got.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: ScottN on June 08, 2014, 07:46:40 PM
A vote for Spanish but haven't worked out much beyond that - great tune though - just need more hours in the day.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: dunplaying on June 09, 2014, 03:59:43 AM
Perhaps G6 up half a tone.

Jolly good idea Johnm.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on June 09, 2014, 04:31:28 AM
Hi all

To add to the conversation, what also originally made me think of standard tuning, G-position, is that around at 0:38, I believe that Kirkland is playing a brief bVII chord (F) before the IV chord with the 3rd in bass (C7/E). They could be fingered x-x-3-2-1-x, and x-x-2-3-1-x in standard tuning. However the strings 4,3, and 2 are not changed from the standard, when tuning to Spanish, so the same chords could be played with the exact same fingerings in Spanish as well.

Later on at around 3:48 he's playing an descending chromatic figure on the 4th string, from the 3rd fret to the 2nd, 1st, and open string, with the 3rd and 2nd string ringing open on top of the bass notes. Again this could be played with the same fingering in either standard tuning or Spanish.

I'm still sticking with Spanish, though!

Keep the conversation going folks!

Cheers

Pan
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on June 09, 2014, 10:23:49 AM
Hi all,
Thanks for your responses on the Eddie Kirkland song.  It's good to see that all of the tunings/positions proposed are very close to each other in sound.  Here are the answers to the questions that were posed, with explanations to follow:
   *  Eddie Kirkland's playing position/tuning was Spanish at Aflat, with a follow-up;
   *  The voicings he used for his V7 chord at 1:38 and 1:41 were  X-5-4-5-3-0 for the V7 chord and X-3-2-3-1-0 for the IV7 chord;
   *  The position he played behind his I chord at 1:50--1:56, and at the beginning of the tune was fretted at 7-6-5 on the top three strings, from third string to first string.
Congratulations to Pan for having figured these all out spot on, and for reasoning out his choices so well, too.  Well done, Pan!

Going to the V7 and IV7 chord fingerings first, these are both fingered just as Pan said, exactly like a C7 fingering you would play at the base of the neck in standard tuning.  Because in Spanish tuning you have not altered the the second, third and fourth strings in the tuning, but you have lowered the fifth string one whole step, when you finger this position in Spanish where you would normally play a C7 in standard tuning, you still get a C7 chord, but with its seventh voiced on the fifth string, where you would normally have a root in that shape.  So on those interior four strings in Spanish that chord ends up being voiced bVII-3-bVII-R.  The same effect is achieved relative to the V7 chord when you move the shape up two frets.  I've always associated the sound of that IV7 chord in Spanish with Fred McDowell.  Here he is playing "Kokomo Blues".  Listen from :20--:25, and that's when he first hits that chord.  It has such a distinctive sound that I think if you put your own guitar in Spanish and finger it a bit, along with the V7 chord two frets higher, you'll recognize that sound when you hear it from now on.

Mississippi Fred McDowell - Kokomo Me Baby.wmv (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nMpZ_kpjIc#)

The position that Eddie Kirkland used for his I7 chord at 1:50--1:56 is a sound that I've always associated with Lightnin' Hopkins playing one of his E blues.  If you play a blues in E position, standard tuning, and brush the top three strings with the first string open while sliding into the fourth fret of the third string and the third fret of the second string, you'll get the exact sound that Eddie Kirkland gets in his song, where he's transferred that sound to Spanish tuning.  In E, Lightnin' is voicing those top three strings V-bVII-R, and Eddie Kirkland has transferred that very voicing to Spanish when he fingers it 7-6-5 on his top three strings. 
The same position could be played in G6 tuning, but it would be a much more reachy 7-6-3, and what would make it next to impossible to duplicate Eddie Kirkland's sound is that he's holding the first string still but sliding into the third and second strings.  In Spanish, you can fret the first string fifth fret with your index finger, and use your second and third fingers to slide up to the sixth fret of the second string and the seventh fret of the third string, respectively.

As far as additional places in the song that might help you identify the tuning as Spanish, at 2:54-2:55 and at 5:16-5:17, Eddie Kirkland slides up on the first three string into a major chord voiced R-3-5 on the top three strings, pretty high.  When he does this, he is essentially playing slide without a slide, for he is sliding on the top three strings into the twelfth fret just like you would do with a slide.

One peculiarity of the sound of the song that I sort of semi-registered when first listening to it but didn't remark on strongly until listening more carefully has to do with his never hitting the low V note normally available in Spanish on the open sixth string.  What I discovered listening more closely is that at various times in his rendition, 1:08-1:09, 1:59, 2:09-2:11, 3:51-3:52, 4:10, you can hear him hitting two strings in unison at the pitch of his open fifth string.  How was he doing that?  Either he was fretting the sixth string at the fifth fret while brushing it and the open fifth string together, or he actually had the sixth string tuned up, to a unison with his fifth string, G-G-D-G-B-D and was brushing the two strings open.  The second option is what he did, because the first option would require him to hold down that fifth fret of the sixth string while doing a lot of free-handing activity in the treble--not plausible.  Having the two lowest strings tuned to a unison low I note explains both how he could sound that pitch relatively easily on two strings at once and why he never goes to the low V note that is normally available in Spanish tuning.

I had no idea Eddie Kirkland was using the customized Spanish tuning when I selected the song.  The only person I had heard using the G-G-D-G-B-D tuning with the fifth and sixth strings in unison prior to Eddie Kirkland was Roscoe Holcomb, (and people copying Roscoe) who used it routinely.  Another Spanish tuning off-shoot that I've only heard the Louisiana musician Herman E. Johnson (or people copying him) use, is G-G-D-G-B-D, but with the sixth string tuned an octave below the fifth string.  It's an amazing sound, and you can hear him use that tuning on "She Had Been Drinking". 

She Had Been Drinking- Herman E. Johnson (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9zcq8cXb-4#ws)

Thanks, folks, for participating.  I can't tell you how valuable I think doing this kind of close listening is--I think you learn so much when you really get into it.  Hearing these different sounds also provides lots of ideas for utilizing different licks, chordal positions and tunings in places we've never considered using them before.  Please don't feel like the discussion of this particular tune has to stop at this point either, if you have further questions or points you'd like to make.

All best,
Johnm 

   
   
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on June 09, 2014, 12:23:17 PM
Hi all,
Apropos of the last post, here is a tune where Roscoe Holcomb played in his G-G-D-G-B-D tuning, with his fifth and sixth strings tuned to a unison.

Roscoe Holcomb - Fair Miss In The Garden (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nl9FwsyWpuM#)

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on June 09, 2014, 01:03:12 PM
This may be of interest, especially the bit from 8.25 where he retunes his guitar. He certainly had a few tricks  up his sleeve:
http://youtu.be/FPxoZ3wVZfg (http://youtu.be/FPxoZ3wVZfg)
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on June 09, 2014, 05:58:54 PM
Thanks for that, Prof.  He really did have some tricks up his sleeve.  That last tuning is altogether new to me.  And it doesn't help all that much to see someone's hands when he's playing in a tuning that is so alien that you're not equipped to make any sense of what he's doing!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on June 10, 2014, 10:26:55 PM
Hi all,
I've got a couple of tunes with only one questions apiece.  The first is a field recording by "Big Boy" called simply "Blues".  I discovered it today and can't stop listening to it.

https://youtu.be/4S5iSLBwhiw

SPOKEN:  I was travelin' South, see, I was goin' a hobo trip.  Home flyin' freight come up through the yard, see, they always tone a bell in the yard.

GUITAR TONES BELL

Gettin' near the crossing, I mean she always give four blows on the whistle, which is two long, two short.

GUITAR BLOWS WHISTLE

When she gets clear of the crossing, I thought I'd catch this freight.  I caught this freight when she stopped.  Detective came over, a-runnin.  Cast my eyes at his, at which he was suspicious, then here's the song I sing for him.
SUNG:  Nearer, my God, to Thee
Nearer to Thee
Nearer, my God, to Thee
Nearer to Thee

Nearer my song shall be
Nearer, my God, to Thee
Nearer, my God, to Thee
Nearer to Thee

SPOKEN:  He passed me up.  The brakeman come along, the brakeman says I am accusin' him.  Quite naturally, when you get a long way from home you take the blues, and here's the blues I played for the brakeman.

SUNG:  Ever been down, you know 'bout how'd I feel
You ever been down, know 'bout how'd I feel
Like a soldier laid me on some battlefield

---------------, had it all my days
Trouble, trouble, had it all my days
Yes, trouble, trouble, had it all my days
Lord, I b'lieve to my soul trouble follow me to my grave

-----------, baby, explain this lonesome song
Won't you run here, baby, explain this lonesome song
Won't you run here, baby, explain this lonesome song
'Cause I'm worried and troubled, I don't know what to do

Lord, I'm standin' here wonderin' would a matchbox hold my clothes
Lord, standin' here wonderin' would a matchbox hold my clothes
Lord, I'm standin' here wonderin' would a matchbox hold my clothes
For I haven't got many, got so far to go

I'm Georgia-raised, but b'lieve Alabama bound, Lord knows
I'm Georgia-raised, b'lieve I'm 'Bama bound
Georgia-raised, b'lieve that I'm 'Bama bound
'T'ain't no need of talkin', that's no way to do

Edited 11/19 to pick up corrections from Waxwing
Edited 11/20 to pick up correction from dj
 

The second is David (Honeyboy) Edwards doing "I Love My Jelly Roll".

https://youtu.be/uUzsaffs8Zs

Jelly roll, jelly roll, you can hang it on a mind
You hypnotized my Daddy just to run my Mama blind
I love my jelly, I love my jelly roll

Jelly roll, jelly roll be layin' on my mind
Gon' hypnotize my Mama just to run my Daddy blind
Jelly roll, people, hangin' on my mind
I might hypnotize my Mama just to run my Daddy blind

Mama's got the rub-board, sister's got the tub
Sister's got the rub-board and brother's got the jug
Jelly roll keep hangin' on my mind
I'm gonna hypnotize my Daddy just to run my Mama blind

SOLO

Look here, Mama, can't you see?
Shakin' that thing never killin' poor me
I love my jelly, I love my jelly roll
I'm gonna hypnotize my Daddy just to run my Mama blind

Look here, Mama, why don't you look at sis?
She's standin' 'round the corner doin' the dirty dirty twist
Jelly roll, keep hangin' on my mind
I'm gonna hypnotize my Daddy just to run my Mama blind

SOLO X 2


The question for each of these tunes is:  What tuning/position is it played out of?

Please don't post any answers until Thursday, June 12, and just try to figure them out by ear.  Thanks!

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: mr mando on June 12, 2014, 04:26:59 AM
Too bad I missed the Eddie Kirkland tune challenge by being out of town and away from the internet. The 5-6-7 G7 chord voicing is something I would have recognised because of the Robert Johnson association this sound has for me.

Anyway, here's how I would answer the current question:

Big Bo - Blues: Vestapol tuning (don't know the key as I don't have a guitar to check). The V chord at 0:25 sounds like the V chord in Blind Blake's "Police Dog Blues", so it has to be Vestapol.

Honeyboy Edwards - I Love My Jelly Roll: Standard Tuning - C Position. Sounds like he borrowed from Blind Lemon's (and maybe even Blind Blake's) playing in C.

Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: harvey on June 12, 2014, 05:00:21 AM
Completely agree with Mr Mando

Vestapol for Blues

... and really like the Honeyboy Edwards song. Agreed it sounds like a strong Blind Lemon influence. The turnaround was the key for me on the 1st and 2nd strings down from the 3rd and 5th fret. back to the C
 
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on June 12, 2014, 05:10:54 AM
Agree with standard C for the Honeyboy, but I'm going with cross note for the other one, on the basis that I haven't been right on any of these yet, and I don't want to spoil my record.

Sent from my HUAWEI MT1-U06 using Tapatalk

Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: mr mando on June 12, 2014, 05:35:22 AM
.... I haven't been right on any of these yet, and I don't want to spoil my record.

Hey, I know exactly what you're talking about! A couple of pages back, I have even changed my (correct) opinion about a tune cause I was too sure I was right.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Norfolk Slim on June 12, 2014, 06:03:23 AM
I'm cheating a little because I've only listened now- having already seen others' comments.  I'm also listening on a rotten telephone headset in the office...

But fwiw, I would have leaped straight for vastapol on the first one.  I've strained to hear something odd in case its a trick question but haven't managed to hear anything so far.

Second one more tricky, but there are some distinctly blakeish motifs to my ear which shout C.

So I'm basically agreeing with what others have said.  But would have gone for those anyway (honest!)
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: dunplaying on June 12, 2014, 06:18:01 AM
My guess for the Big Boy was Vestapol pitched at E b because I think I hear some Robert Wilkins licks  from "No Way To Get Along".
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: harriet on June 12, 2014, 06:29:50 AM
I'm with dunplaying vestapol Eb for Big Boy.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on June 12, 2014, 11:06:02 AM
I thought the Big Boy tune was in Cross note at first hearing but on a couple more listens last night I've convinced myself it's Vestapol.  The Honeyboy tune sounds like it's played out of C position but it sounds a couple of frets up to me putting it in D.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on June 12, 2014, 06:15:52 PM
Hi all

Agreed on Vestapol in Eb, and standard tuning, C-position, pitched at around D (capo II?).

On a side note, is it just me, or is the Honeboy Edwards tune a remake of "Hesitation Blues"? I've been on a Hesitation Blues trip lately, so I might be just imagining things. :)

Cheers

Pan
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on June 12, 2014, 10:51:53 PM
Hi all,
Thanks for participating, folks, and it's neat to see some first-time identifiers posting.  "Big Boy" did play his "Blues" out of Vestapol.  Two places that point towards the tuning being Vestapol rather than cross-note are at :18-:19 and at :23-:24, where he plays an arpeggio at the twelfth fret from the first string to the second, third, and fourth strings while holding his slide still; he gets a major chord doing that, so that pretty much puts him in Vestapol.  I really think Big Boy's playing on the piece and singing are sensational.  His time was so powerful, and he had a really nice deep singing voice.  This performance is right up there with my all-time favorites in Vestapol, like Jimmy Lee Williams' "Have You Ever Seen Peaches".  Big Boy's time and touch remind me a lot of Smith Casey.  I think I'll try to transcribe the lyrics, though a lot of the spoken passages are kind of tough to hear.

Honeyboy Edwards' "I Love My Jelly Roll" was played in C position in standard tuning, where everybody put it, I think.  C position seems a clearer identification to make than some of the other tunings/positions, and it may be that a raggy progression like the one in this song assists in making the identification.  I had much the same reaction to the tune that Pan did upon hearing it for the first time--it just seemed like "Hesitation Blues" with a different set of lyrics to me.  I wonder if Honeyboy's playing here shows some Hacksaw Harney influence?  He does a couple of things that remind me of Hacksaw's playing.

Someone who has been participating and following this thread suggested to me today that it might be fun if people found any of the songs in the thread interesting or challenging enough, to start  separate threads devoted to a group effort to figure out one or more of the songs in a more thorough way.  That has been done in the past here, though it has been a while since anybody did it.  I remember years ago a number of people collaborating to try and figure out Willie Trice's "Good Time Boogie".  I think that thread can be found towards the tail end of this board probably.  In any event, if any of you would like to start a separate thread to figure out any of the tunes we've looked at so far, go for it!  I think I'll probably just stick here trying to scout out interesting and challenging songs for this thread that haven't been already transcribed  or publicly identified as being in a particular tuning/position.  There's so much of the music for which all of the tunings/positions have already been identified--if you don't believe me, just check in Weeniepedia!  It's been great having a reason to scout out songs and performances I've never heard before.  I'll find another performance to post for identification here very soon.
All best,
Johnm

 
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on June 13, 2014, 10:17:46 PM
Hi all,
The song I found is "My Pore Mother Keeps On Praying For Me", performed by Wallace Chains, who was recorded in Texas while a prison inmate in the period 1933--1958.  The song can be found on the Document CD, "Field Recordings: Vol. 6: Texas (1933-1958)", DOCD-5580.
Chains was quite an inventive and accomplished player, and original, too.  He does a lot of things on this cut that I've not heard other players do when playing in the same position.  Here is his performance:

https://youtu.be/ttI4uyX-dUw

My poor mother keeps on praying for me, ooo-well-well
My poor mother keeps on praying for me
Say, "God bless my son, wherever he may be."

Worked all the summer long, didn't save no railroad fare, ooo-well-well
All the summer long, didn't save no railroad fare
Now my money's all gone, and my friends, they don't even care

When I'd work in the summer, when the days were long, ooo-ooo-ooo
I worked in the summer, babe, when the days were long
Now I ain't got no money, all my friends is gone

Well, I would go beggin' but I don't like playing blind, ooo-ooo
Well, I would go beggin' but I don't like playing blind
And the woman she's gone, took all [recording defective here] of mine

You people see my condition, won't let me have my fun, ooo-ooo
You people see my condition, won't let me have my fun
And my money's all gone, and my friend won't give me none

The identification questions are:
   * What position/tuning is playing the song out of?;
   * What chords is he playing at :07-:09 and :10-:12, and where is he fingering them?;
   * Where is he fretting the walk-down he does at 1:30-1:34?

As always, please work it out just by listening and trying what you hear out on your guitar, and please don't post any answers until Sunday, June 15.  Please feel free to answer as many questions as you wish.  This tune really rewards repeat listening, because Wallace Chains plays a tremendous number of variations.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: frankie on June 14, 2014, 10:57:56 PM
I apologize for jumping the gun on this a bit, but it's 15-June in my time zone, and I happen t be up!  :)

The playing on this song is just wickedly sophisticated, it seems to me - like Jesse and Willard Thomas rolled into one guy!

The identification questions are:
   * What position/tuning is playing the song out of?;

Standard tuning, key of G - tuned low, maybe down about three half steps.

   * What chords is he playing at :07-:09 and :10-:12, and where is he fingering them?;

B - B7 and C - C7, relative to the position, both with a little run from the tonic on the first string down to the b7, fingered thusly:

B - xx4447
B7 - xx4445
C - xx5558
C7 - xx5556
 
   * Where is he fretting the walk-down he does at 1:30-1:34?

Such a great lick. All in first position, I think of these as four double-stops, thumb leads, followed by the index. First two double stops are on the 1st and 3rd strings, last two are on the 4th and 2nd strings:

DS1: xxx2x1
DS2: xxx0x0
DS3: xx3x3x
DS4: xx0x0x

Kinda hard for me to hear, but he repeats this twice - the second time around, DS4 resolves to C, I think:

DS1: xxx2x1
DS2: xxx0x0
DS3: xx3x3x
DS4: xx2x1x

The lower string of each DS is played first with the thumb, followed by index on the higher string. Slick!

There is a LOT going on in this one.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on June 15, 2014, 03:11:15 AM
You're right to jump the gun Frankie. We Euroweenies have an unfair  time zone advantage! This is a wonderful performance with some of the best playing I've heard for a while. I love the vocals on this too. I think you're right in your analysis. I'd been battling away with regular tuning key of F, with the chords at 07 and 09 as long A/A7 and long B/B7. That's as far as I'd got. Fortunately as it turns out, as I'll now have a go in tuned down G! The doublestops on the walk down often appear over the G7 chord in Scrapper Blackwell's playing in D. Anyway, another fine puzzle!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: dunplaying on June 15, 2014, 03:48:09 AM
I was with you Prof as I thought it was in F and the first chord I had as xxx023 .
A knockout track.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on June 15, 2014, 10:30:43 AM
Hi all,
Other thoughts on the cut?  Come one, come all!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on June 15, 2014, 07:35:43 PM
Hi all,
Since no one appears to be eager to add to the identifications of Wallace Chains' recording of "My Pore Mother Keeps On Praying For Me", I'll post the answers.  As it turns out, Frank nailed the identifications in the first post, with:
   * The song being played out of G position in standard tuning (though tuned a step to a step-and-a-half low)
   * The chords being a B derived from the "long A" shape walking down chromatically on the first string to a B7, followed by a C voiced the same way and walking down to a C7 the same way.
   * A walk-down in sixths, with the thumb in the right hand leading the index finger, just the way Frank described it.
Great job on the identifications, Frank!  Your detailed descriptions of how Chains made his moves greatly simplified my job of describing what he did. 

A couple of additional points might be worth mentioning.  Prof Scratchy and dunplaying both said they had been working on F position in standard tuning, but at the stage they had gotten with the tune, they had both identified the first chord change correctly relative to the position they were working out of. 

The more tunes we work through in this thread, the more apparent it becomes to me that in terms of determining how a musician on a recording played what he/she did, the most crucial factor is making the identification of the playing position/tuning that the musician used for the song correctly, because the answers to all of the other questions depend on that determination having been made correctly.  Two factors in the sound of Chains' rendition that may have helped identify his playing position as G position in standard tuning are:
  * Chains at the very start rocks from his I chord to a V7 played out of a C7 shape, which has a pretty distinctive sound.  Unfortunately, the C7 shape could be used in either the F position or the G position as a V7 chord, so that alone won't swing the identification, though it makes G position a possibility.
   * At :16-:17, Chains does a walk-down from his I chord to his VI7 chord in the bass.  That move eliminates F position in standard tuning as a possibility, because the lowest scale degree you have access to in the bass when playing out of the F position in standard tuning is the major VII note, E.  At that point G position becomes a much stronger choice as Chains' playing position.

The point Frank made about chains sounding like a combination of Jesse and Willard (Ramblin') Thomas was really well taken, and thinking about it, I realized that I thought that at least a couple of moves in the Wallace Chains song duplicated ones that Ramblin' had played.  I'm attaching an .mp3 of Ramblin' Thomas's recording of "Lock And Key Blues".  Compare, if you wish, Thomas's harmonized walk-down from his I chord to his VI7 chord (G to E7) at :01--:03 of "Lock and Key" to Chains' walk-down at :16--:17 of "My Pore Mother Keeps On Praying For Me".  Compare also the nifty descending lick Thomas plays at 1:10--1:12 of "Lock and Key" to what Chains plays at 1:57--1:59.  They really sound like they knew each other.  Ramblin' Thomas's sound in G position, standard tuning was so unusual that the tendency is to assume Chains copped his ideas from Ramblin' Thomas, but it could have been the other way around, for all we know.  I admit to finding the Chains piece more satisfying to my tastes, and he has so much other neat stuff in his rendition that Thomas did not play, too.  And I agree with Prof. Scratchy that not only is Chains' playing terrific, I really like his singing, too.  What a terrific piece!

I'll try another song soon.  Any other comments or questions on "My Pore Mother Keeps On Praying For Me"?

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: wild irish rose on June 15, 2014, 09:53:42 PM
Wallace Chains sounds like a seasoned performer and a lot of the notes he hits on this track give me goosebumps. Fantastic song and definitely grabs your ear throughout. Now I just hope to work out an arrangement of my own to perform.

This thread (and just the forum in general really) has introduced me to a lot of new recordings and reading everyone's breakdowns really inspires! Hopefully some day soon I can have a go at it just to better train my ear.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on June 16, 2014, 07:15:18 AM
What a fantastic performance! I agree with everyone, he's a very sophisticated player. Thanks again for a great song for an example, John!

Cheers

Pan
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on June 16, 2014, 04:44:06 PM
Hi all,
I've got another tune picked out--it's called simply "Blues" by Eddie Bowles, who was recorded by Art Rosenbaum in Iowa, I believe.  I think Eddie's time has a beautiful relaxed quality, and like Wallace Chains, he had a lot of sophisticated sounds and harmonic ideas I've not heard other players utilize.  I have a slightly different idea for the identifications this time.  Let's do it in two stages.  In the first stage, we'll just try to answer:
   * What playing position/tuning did Eddie Bowles play "Blues" in?
Please wait until Tuesday, June 17 to post your identification of Eddie Bowles' playing position/tuning.  On Wednesday that determination will be made, and at that point we'll go on to questions of the "How did he play the lick at X point of the rendition?" type.  As always, please use only your ears and your guitar to make your assessment of what playing position/tuning he was working out of.  I hope you enjoy Eddie Bowles' "Blues" as much as I have.

https://youtu.be/Tlhwt0Z7Tio

I woke up this morning, nothing on my mind
I woke up this morning, nothing on my mind
And I looked out the window, saw my baby cryin'

I wondered in my mind what the reason is my woman's out there cryin'
And I asked her, "Baby, why are you cryin' today?"
Say, "I got the blues, sweet daddy, feel like goin' away."

I told her, "Sweet baby, I ain't got a dime to my name."
I said, "Sweet mama, I haven't got a dime to my name.
So you see, sweet mama, I have no money for your carfare or the train."

She looked at me, this what she said to me,
"You don't need no money where I intend to go.
I think I'm goin' to the river and jump over and drown."

Well, she started to the river, she stopped and turned 'round and 'round
I was sittin' there, baby, with my head hung down 'most to the ground
When she turned to start walkin' back to me, baby, I could go through the ground

I taken her by the hand, walked away from where she was
And I taken her by the hand, "Mama, don't get them kind of blues no more."
Ever since that, baby, we never had no blues no more

All best,
Johnm
   
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: mr mando on June 17, 2014, 03:02:32 AM
That's C position in standard tuning capoed up to where I can easily sing the low five note (which I can hardly do without a capo), probably 2 or 3 frets, no giutar at hand to check. Great tune I've never heard before. Nice II7 chord and Count-Basie-like turnaround ideas.

This whole thread, I have to say, is so much fun. Too bad I missed the Wallace Chains tune, because I usually stay away from computers on weekends. I don't really want to change my habits in this respect, so would it be possible to use Mondays as start for our guesses for the weekend challenges??
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Laura on June 17, 2014, 03:36:06 AM
This is a really great track, love it!  I'll take a guess at the tuning only because it sounds similar to something I've been playing around with and kind of works with this - Is it in Drop-D? or at least D position.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on June 17, 2014, 09:56:21 AM
I'm going to venture that he had the guitar tuned a way low (maybe D for E), then capoed at 4 and played in C position.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: dunplaying on June 17, 2014, 10:35:05 AM
Maybe in D,capoed at the second fret .  I think I can hear "Misty" and "The Glory Of Love" in there.
Another smashing track.
EDIT I mean played with C position to sound D.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: ScottN on June 17, 2014, 12:59:23 PM
A vote for C position capoed at the second.  The way some of the baselines are played that resolve to the I chord seems to fit under the hand better.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: harvey on June 17, 2014, 02:45:03 PM
C capo 2 as well for me. I have been trying all night to replicate the pitch and that is the closest I get. Interesting what The Prof has suggested as the strings sound quite slack however I am not sure how I anyone would no for sure ?
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on June 17, 2014, 02:50:53 PM
Hi all

C position, sounding at D for me as well. What a great song again, some very pretty chord voicings there as well.

Cheers

Pan
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on June 18, 2014, 09:59:18 AM
Hi all,
Eddie Bowles played his "Blues" out of C position in standard tuning as a good number of you had it.  He may well have been tuned low and then capoed, for his fifth and sixth strings sound a little slack on a couple of the licks he plays.  Like Wallace Chains, he had so many interesting sounds and ideas in his rendition that you could study it for a long time.  Given that he was playing in C position, please answer as many of the following questions as you wish.
   * Where is he fretting the rocking motion at :07--:11?  What strings are being fretted in the two positions and where are they being fretted?
   * Where is he fretting the chord he plays at :23--:25 and where does he fret the chord he resolves that chord into, at :26--:29?
   * Where is he fretting the chord he plays at 1:10--1:12?
Please don't feel you should be able to figure these answers out without trying things out on your guitars.  Listening and guitars would be a good way to go in figuring out your answers.  No transcription software, please.  Please don't post any answers until Thursday, June 19, and I'll post again on Friday in the PM.  Thanks for participating.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: dunplaying on June 19, 2014, 12:37:54 AM
Perhaps the rocking is between xxx023 and xxx025. A7 to A.

Maybe an upstroke xx3000 which leads to x23000 and resolves to C.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on June 19, 2014, 11:50:50 AM
For the rocking bit at 07-11 is he simply playing a first position C chord with the pinkie on the 1st string 3rd fret, then moving this whole position up a couple of frets so he sounds the melody on the first string 5th fret, then back again to the C chord (with G)?
For the .23 to.25 bit, is he playing a D9 partial (x5455x) resolving to a G7/6 (323000)?
Is the chord at 1.10 to 1.12 a first position Fm7?

These are the speculations from Scratchy Towers where I have been overcome by the unseasonable Edinburgh heat and am not quite myself. (Which may mean that I might be closer to right for once)! (Or most likely not).
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: mr mando on June 19, 2014, 03:22:55 PM
With guitar in hand:

0:07 to 0:11:  C (x32013) to Gm9 (xx5335)
0:23 to 0:29: D9 (xx4210) to G13 (3x3000)
1:10 to 1:12: Fm7 (x31111)
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on June 19, 2014, 06:43:10 PM
Hi all

Here are my guesstimations:

Quote
* Where is he fretting the rocking motion at :07--:11?  What strings are being fretted in the two positions and where are they being fretted?
- I believe he's playing the rocking motion between a C9 and a C13 chord, fingered x-3-2-3-3-3, and x-3-2-3-3-5.  This is a fairly modern sound to my ear, something you might encounter in the playing of T-Bone Walker, or phrased a little differently, in the playing of the rhythm guitar players of the rhythm & blues/ funk star James Brown.

Quote
* Where is he fretting the chord he plays at :23--:25 and where does he fret the chord he resolves that chord into, at :26--:29?
- Here I agree with Mr. Mando. I think the sound of the II9 chord with the 3rd in bass is very distinctive, and I associate this chord progression with William Moore's "Ragtime Millionaire", where he plays a little similar chord voicings in the intro (although he doesn't play the open E string on top of the D chord, and he voices the G13 chord a little differently).  I also associate these kind of chord voicings with the classical piano ragtime players' right hand voicings, take for example Scott Joplin's "The Entertainer", which has very similar passages. The brief target I chord sounds like a 1st position C chord to me.

Quote
* Where is he fretting the chord he plays at 1:10--1:12?
- This sounds to me like a bVI6 chord (relative to the IVm7), so I would guess the fingering could be something like 4-x-1-1-1-1.

Looking forward to hear the verdict again!

Cheers

Pan
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: mr mando on June 20, 2014, 12:22:37 AM
With rested ears now, I think that Pan's suggestion for the 0:07 to 0:11 part is closer to what's actually going on than my attempt from after midnight. For the 1:10 to 1:12 part, I'm sticking with my first guess, as I still seem to hear a x3x1xx double stop followed by a xxx111 frail, so the mIII of the Fm(7) chord is above the V note (or the tonic above the 3rd, if you're thinking Ab6).

BTW, one thing that amazes me is how differently I seem to hear things depending on which time of the day I'm listening. I should probably start to do my transcriptions before noon instead of late at night.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on June 20, 2014, 11:58:35 AM
Hi all,
I thought I would get a head start on what Eddie Bowles was doing at the various places during the course of his "Blues", just because I have a little free time now.
   * At the :07-:011 point, his lower position is as Prof. Scratchy had it, X-X-2-3-1-3, a C7 with its third in the bass.  The higher chord that he rocks to is a little surprising, because it is a bit reachy.  It is similarly voiced on the top four strings and differs from the earlier chord only on the first string:  X-X-2-3-1-5.  It's a C13, or C6/7, with the sixth/thirteenth on top, and it is darn pretty.  It does require some activity with the little finger of the left hand, though.  Just voicing the top four strings definitely makes it easier to do than it would otherwise be.
   * At the :23-:29 point, he does resolve from a rootless D9, X-X-4-2-1-0, to a G13, voiced 3-X-3-0-0-0, both as described by mr mando and Pan.  Prof's D9 was the right chord, just voiced a little differently.
   * At the 1:10--1:12 point, he is playing an Fm7, or Ab6, as Pan had it, voicing just the top four strings, X-X-1-1-1-1.  My own choice for naming the chord would probably be Fm7, mostly because a rocking motion to the IV chord in the second bar of a 12-bar blues is a fairly common "uptown" move, and rocking to a IVm7 chord sort of goes that uptown move one better.

I feel like you all were hearing this song really well.  One thing neat about Eddie Bowles' approach is his use of so many rootless chord voicings, or ones in which the root is buried in the middle or top of the voicing, rather than sounding in the bass.  He reminds me of the contention of the great Jazz pianist Bill Evans, who especially favored rootless voicings because he felt like our ears fill in the root when it is not played.  Eddie Bowles' playing bears out Bill Evans' idea in this regard, at least for me.

I will post another song to work on later today, with first answers not to be posted until Monday, in response to mr mando's request.  I've been trying to go back to songs we discussed earlier in this thread and transcribe the lyrics, and have done that with several of the songs, if anyone is interested in working the songs out.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on June 20, 2014, 04:24:44 PM
Hi all,
The next song is "Alabama Prison Blues" by Jesse Wadley, on a field recording that was done at the Bellwood Prison Camp in Atlanta, where he was also recorded singing in the vocal quartet that I posted yesterday to the "Country Blues clips on YouTube" thread.  The identification questions for the song are:
   * What position/tuning is the song played out of?
   * Where is the movement in the treble at :01--:02 and :03--:04 fretted?
   * Where is the bass run at :08--:10 fretted?
   * Where is the harmonized passage at :31--:32 fretted?
   * Where are the lines from 2:15--2:17 fretted?
Here is Jesse Wadley's performance of "Alabama Prison Blues":

https://youtu.be/XevTRUts4PM

--come and see me, when I had so long
You wouldn't come to see me, babe, when I had so long
Lord, you won't come to see me, please count the days I'm gone

Judge read my verdict, rocked in his easy chair
Judge read my verdict, rocked in his easy chair
Says, "I'm sorry, Jesse Wadley, you can't have no mercy here."

Mr. Whitman come got me, Pat Campbell carried me down for trial
Mr. Whitman come got me, Pat Campbell carried me down for trial
Holly hung her head and cried like a baby child

Rocks is my pillow, cold ground is my bed
Rocks is my pillow, cold ground is my bed
Says, I want little Holly to hold my worried head

Holly Mae got a bed, and it shine like the morning star
Holly Mae got a bed, and it shine like the morning star
And when I get in, it rides like a trolley car

It's a low-down fireman, dirty engineer
It's a low-down fireman, dirty engineer
That will take my woman and leave me campin' here

I prays to God that train would have a wreck
I prayed to God that train would have a wreck
Don't hurt my baby, but break that engineer's neck

Please don't post any answers to the questions above until Monday, June 23, and just use your ears and guitar to arrive at your answers.  I hope you have fun with it.  I really love this song, both the singing and the playing.  And if there are any questions or comments about any of the previous tunes, please don't hesitate to post them.

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on June 23, 2014, 09:02:21 AM
Hi all,
Are there any takers for Jesse Wadley's "Alabama Prison Blues"?  Answer as few or as many of the questions as you wish.  It's a beauty.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on June 23, 2014, 09:37:01 AM
OK, so let me kick start this and see where it goes:
Tuning, I'm getting G tuning (E and A strings tuned to D and G respectively.  Playing out of a the G at the 3rd fret.  Though not sure, as first I thought it was in G played out of dropped D but the bass run (G A A# B G E D G) is easier to play out of G tuning.

The movement in the treble at :01--:02 and :03--:04 is fretted at the 3rd fret, moving from b on 3rd string, d on 2nd to b on 3rd, e on 2nd back to d Then e on 2nd,  g on first to a on first and back.  Sort of moving between G and C chords.

The harmonized passage at :31--:32 is something like the open 3rd and 2nd string then fret the 3rd str 3rd fret, 2nd str 2nd fret, move up a fret, open strings then move from first fret, to 2nd to 3rd (fingering as before) and back to open 2nd and 3 strings.  If that makes sense!

Ran out of time for the last bit (Where are the lines from 2:15--2:17 fretted) but it's a sort of wee boogie pattern g, b, d, e, f.

Apologies if all this sounds gobbledegook but I thought I knew what I was talking about when I started :-)
Hopefully, others will be a bit more enlightening.
All the best

 
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on June 23, 2014, 12:08:00 PM
I'm going to say regular tuning, key of G. The movement at 01 to 04 is achieved by playing a second position G6 chord at the third fret, rocking to a C partial at 3xxx53. The bass run is from 6th string 3rd fret to 5th string 1st fret to 5th string 2nd fret. The harmonised run is achieved with the partial G chord at 2nd string third fret and third string 4th fret being taken down two frets to the first , then strings  2 and 3 open, then the partial G shape ascending back to land at the third and fourth frets. the lines from 2.15 to 2.17 are a boogie based around a regular G chord, as Leadbelly might have played it, 6th string 3rd fret, 5th string 2nd fret, 4th str open, 4th str 2nd and 3rd frets, then back down on the 4th string, fret 2, then open.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: mr mando on June 23, 2014, 12:33:33 PM
Sounds like plain Spanish (D-G-D-G-B-D) to me. Thus, the parts would be as follows:

0:01 to 0:04 :  x-o-x-4-3-x to x-o-x-4-5-x and back and x-o-x-x-5-5 to x-o-x-x-5-7 and back sliding into the lower melody notes
0:08 to 0:10 : on the fifth string 0 - 2 - 3 - 0 - 2 - 3 - 2 - 0
0:31 to 0:32 : x-x-x-o-o-x, x-x-x-2-1-x, x-x-x-x-o-o, x-x-x-o-o-x, x-x-x-2-1-x, x-x-x-x-o-o, x-x-x-2-1-x, x-x-x-o-o-x
2:15 to 2:17 : 5th/open, 5th/fret4, 4th/open, 4th/fret2, 4th/fret3, 4th/fret2,  4th/open, 5th/fret4.


Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on June 23, 2014, 05:34:46 PM
Hi all

Here are my thoughts.

Quote
* What position/tuning is the song played out of?

At first, when I listened to the song, I was fairly sure that it's in standard tuning in G position. In fact, most of the specific licks JohnM asks for, could well be played out of standard tuning, if I'm not badly mistaken.

However, when I had time to listen to the song some more, I began to hear things that made me doubt my initial assumption. First and foremost, I think I'm hearing a low D note on the bass, altering with the root G, for the I chord. Secondly, especially the V chord in the tune doesn't sound like your usual open position D7th chord, but something a little different. Since I believe I've figured out how to play the enquired licks in Spanish in G, without too much difficulties, I now believe this is the tuning/position the song is played in.

Quote
* Where is the movement in the treble at :01--:02 and :03--:04 fretted?

This was tricky, since the song starts so abruptly, and with some surface noise. I believe the lick could be played with something like a slide on the 4th fret of the 3rd string, followed by the open 2nd and 1st strings, then the same strings fretted at the 2nd string, going back to the previous open strings, and then down to the open 3rd and 2nd strings. This is followed in a sequence for the IV chord, with again a slid note on the 5th fret on the 2nd string, then the 2nd and 1st strings played at the 5th fret, followed by the same strings on 6th and 7th frets, then back to the 5th fret with the same strings, then 5th fret with strings 3 and 2, before going back to the open G chord on top 3 strings. What stroke my ears was the C# note on the 2nd fret of the 2nd string, against the G chord. Since C# is a #IV note and doesn't belong in the key of G major, it has a "bite" to my ear, especially, since the vocal melody in the song goes back and forth between B and C (natural) in the similar parts of the song, later on.

Quote
* Where is the bass run at :08--:10 fretted?

My best guess is on the 5th string, on frets: 0-2-3-0-2-3-0-2, followed by the IV chord. The lick could be played at the 6th string, on frets 5-7-8-5-7-8-5-7 too, but perhaps the low G sounds more like an open string.

Quote
* Where is the harmonized passage at :31--:32 fretted?

I believe the lick is played on strings 3 and 2; starting with open strings, then 2nd and 1st frets, followed by 4th and 3rd frets, then all this repeated, then followed by 2nd and 1st frets, to open strings. All this from low to high notes, on the interval of thirds.

Quote
* Where are the lines from 2:15--2:17 fretted?

Open 3rd string, followed by the top open strings for the I chord, then a bass lick starting with the open 4th string, walking up the string to the 2nd and 3rd fret, then back down to the 2nd and open string, followed by the 4th fret on the 5th string. All this, while brushing the top opens strings as well.

Looking forward again, to see if I'm anywhere near the ballpark. :)

Cheers

Pan


Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: David Kaatz on June 23, 2014, 08:21:56 PM
Here is my take.

Standard tuning, key of G. I didn't hear a low D, I don't think. I thought I heard a F# in the bass, common for the V chord in this key.

Movement 1: Slide into 2nd string 3rd fret together with 3rd string 4th fret, then play 2nd string and 3rd string 5th fret.
Release the 5th fret notes to play the 2nd string 3rd fret, 3rd string 4th fret again, then release to play open 2nd and open 3rd strings.
xxx43x
xxx55x
xxx43x
xxx00x

Movement 2:
slide into 1st string 3rd fret and 2nd string 5th fret, also holding 3rd string 5th fret. Only play the 1st and 2nd strings
Then play 1st string 5th fret and 2nd sting 5th fret together. Then the original two notes together, then 2nd and 3rd strings together, 5th fret.
xxx(5)53
xxx(5)55
xxx(5)53
xxx55x

Bass run:
6th string 3rd fret, 5th string open, 5th string 2nd fret, 6th string 3rd fret, 5th open, 5th str second fret, 5th str open, 6th string 3rd fret.
3xxxxx
x0xxxx
x2xxxx
3xxxxx
x0xxxx
x2xxxx
x0xxxx
3xxxxx
(This could be as several posters said, ending on A or B note, I found it very hard to hear)

Harmonized passage:
3rd string open with 2nd string open, 3rd string 2nd fret with 2nd string 1st fret, 3rd string 4th fret with 2nd string 3rd fret,
repeat, then end with 3rd string 2nd fret with 2nd string 1st fret, then open 3rd and 2nd strings. This is the same as the bass lick before but up an octave and harmonized.

lines at 2:15:
open 4th string with the thumb throughout, 2nd string 3rd fret, 2nd string 3rd fret with 1st string open, 2nd string 3rd fret with 1st string 1st fret, 2nd string 3rd fret with 1st string open, 2nd string 3rd fret, 3rd string open.
xx0x3x
xx0x30
xx0x31
xx0x30
xx0x3x
xx00xx
This is the lick I felt really sealed the deal as standard tuning. I am hearing the open E 1st string ring during this movement.

Dave
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: mr mando on June 24, 2014, 05:49:56 AM
What stroke my ears was the C# note on the 2nd fret of the 2nd string, against the G chord.

I hadn't paid attention to that C# before you mentioned it, but now I that I listened again, you're right and I think there's also an F# over the IV chord, so 0:01 to 0:04 would be  x-o-x-4-o-o to x-o-x-x-2-2 and back and x-o-x-x-5-5 to x-o-x-x-7-7  and back again.
Anyway this makes an even stronger case for Spanish tuning.
I first thought of standard tuning, A position tuned down because of the low V note I clearly hear at 0:15 and many other instances and because of the V chord's two top voices, where I heard the familiar second interval (VII-I), like in an E7 with the pinky at the 3rd fret 2nd string. But then I realized the chord lacks ist third, which convinced me it was Spanish.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on June 24, 2014, 09:53:29 AM
Hi all,
Thanks for your responses.  It's good to see everybody pretty close to each other with regard to where they hear "Alabama Prison Blues" being played: G6 tuning, G position in standard tuning, and Spanish tuning.  Here are the answers to the questions that were posed:
   * Jesse Wadley did play the piece out of Spanish tuning;
   * The passages at :01--:02 and :03--:04 were fretted much as Pan had the :01--:02 phrase and mister mando put the :03---:04  passage in his most recent post.  The striking thing about the passage is the #IV note the Pan mentioned, and in both instances it falls on the second string.  In the :01--:02 phrase it is the #IV of the I chord.  In the :03--:04 passage it is the #IV of the IV chord, because in Spanish, you can get your IV chord by barring at the fifth fret.  In the :01--:02 passage, Wadley does a slide to the fourth fret of the third string as a pick-up, picks the first string open, then the first two fretted at the second fret, returns to pick them both open, and hits them once more open before jumping up to the :03--:04 phrase.  For the :03--:04 phrase, he slides into the fifth fret of the first two strings, picking them simultaneously, re-picks them there, picks them both fretted at the seventh fret and returns them both to the fifth fret, then picking the second and third strings at the fifth fret, resolving to the first two string open.
   * The bass run at :08--:10 is all played on the fifth string, and is started on the downbeat of a measure, falling rhythmically as 1 + 2 + 3+ 4+ , and fretted at 0-2-3-0-2-3-0-2.  The last note in the run he may sometimes re-play as an open fifth string in the course of his rendition.
   * The harmonized passage at :31--:32 was described correctly by several of you, both those who chose Spanish and those who chose G position in standard tuning, and it does sit in exactly the same place in both tunings/positions.  While the third string plays 0-2-4-0-2-4-2-0, probably using the second finger to fret that, the second string plays 0-1-3-0-1-3-1-0, probably fretted with the index finger.
   * The lines from 2:15--2:17 were one of the most telling places in the rendition for establishing Spanish tuning. Jesse Wadley at that place in the song walks a line up and down in octaves between the first and fourth strings,  going  0-2-3-2-0 on those two strings, probably fretting the fourth string with his second finger and the first string with his third finger.  That movement in octaves is a sound I associate with Spanish tuning a lot, and can be found in tunes like Charlie Patton's "Pea Vine Blues", Skip James' "Special Rider", and Marshall Owens' "Try Me One More Time", as well as several Buddy Boy Hawkins tunes.
Apart from where all of these licks were played, what were other sound characteristics that would help to identify the piece as being played in Spanish?
   *  When Wadley moves to the IV chord in his verses and is playing a simple boom-chang back-up under his singing, it really sounds like he took his chordal sound at the base of the neck and just moved it up the neck intact.  That sound is relatively easy to do with a barre straight across the neck at the fifth fret, as in Spanish tuning, but is less easy to do in standard tuning.  And Wadley never hits a IV chord with the low third that you would have, playing a C chord at the base of the neck in standard tuning, at the second fret of the fourth string.
   * Likewise, Wadley's V7 chord has the same pitch on top, the fifth of the key, as does his I chord.  In Spanish, that ends up being the open first string.  And Wadley never voices the third of his V7 chord on the first string.  In standard tuning it is easily accessible at the second fret, but in Spanish, it lies more awkwardly at the fourth fret of the first string.
"Alabama Prison Blues" has such a pretty melody.  It seems related to Ma Rainey's "Booze and Blues", or Charlie Patton's "High Sheriff Blues".  I kind of wonder if someone else was accompanying Wadley; the beginning of the song is so odd, where the singer comes in relative to the accompaniment.  It's hard to imagine someone accompanying himself being surprised by where the accompaniment starts, but it's certainly not impossible.  On second thought, Wadley may have intended to play a longer instrumental intro, but started singing on a visual cue from the person recording him that he should get going with the song. 
All best,
Johnm 
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on June 24, 2014, 10:48:00 AM
Doh! :'(
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on June 24, 2014, 01:09:57 PM
Hi all,
I have a stretch coming up where I expect to have either no access or very limited access to the internet, so I thought I'd just put up a couple of tunes for identification, just the tuning/position in which they're played.
The first is Kid Prince Moore's "Bug Juice Blues.  Vocally, he sounds so much like Teddy Darby to me here.  What tuning/position does he play "Bug Juice Blues" out of?

(Kid) Prince Moore - Bug Juice Blues (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZspt_78sNc#)

SOLO

Love my bug juice, just as crazy 'bout it as I can be
Love my bug juice, just as crazy 'bout it as I can be
My late bug juice vein, Lord, I'm 'fraid it's gonna poison me

Took one drink last night and it made me go stone blind
Took one drink last night and it made me go stone blind
Tried to run away, but I had to take my time

SOLO

Sometime a drink make me act just like a doggone fool
Sometime a drink make me act just like a doggone fool
Two, three drinks make me kick like a doggone mule

Good man when I'm sober, hey-hey when I'm drunk
Good man when I'm sober, hey-hey when I'm drunk
See me reelin', mama, gon' hide in your trunk

SOLO

The next is a field recording, performed by Unknown.  I wish I knew who had done it, because it is really nice.  It's called "Nobody Knows My Name".  It's a little hard to hear (especially the vocals), but the tuning/position sound is very distinctive.  What do you think it is?

Unknown - Nobody Knows My Name (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dC3oSeO0VPk#ws)

The third is Gabriel Brown doing "What Did the Doodle-Bug Say to the Mole".  What tuning/position is Gabriel Brown using for the song?

Gabriel Brown, John & Rochelle French- What Did The Doodle-Bug Say To The Mole? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PY7tGSoUYL0#ws)

REFRAIN: Oh it feels so good, oh, it feels so good
Feels pretty fussinin' 'cause it feels so good

Thanks for participating.  Please wait until tomorrow, Wednesday, June 25 to answer the questions.  Thanks!

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: dunplaying on June 25, 2014, 09:39:29 AM
I'll have a stab at "Big Juice Blues" being in DADFAD .
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: mr mando on June 25, 2014, 01:58:00 PM
Pretty tricky stuff!! Here are my guesses:

Bug Juice Blues: Standard Tuning (whole step down) E Position because of the hammer ons in the bass run (0:16 to 0:19)

Nobody Knows My Name: Standard Tuning (a little flat), F Position (didn't try to find a detail to prove it, just the whole bass run stuff sounds like it)

What Did the Doodle-Bug Say to the Mole: Vestapol at Eflat because of that distinct bIII/III dissonance on the middle strings


Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on June 25, 2014, 11:19:25 PM
Hi all,
The tunings/position for "Bug Juice Blues" is E position in standard tuning.  DADFAD would fret out exactly the same on the first three strings, but the hammers on the fourth string second fret and fifth string second fret that mr mando cited at :16 to :19 would be possible in E position but not DADFAD because in DADFAD those open strings are at the pitches that are hammered to.
"Nobody Knows My Name" is played out of F position in standard tuning.  I know it is not exactly a technical musical term, but F position always sounds kind of "thumpy" to me, perhaps because it is an altogether closed position for the I chord.  That C7 V chord in F really kind of stands out, too.
"What Did the Doodle-Bug Say to the Mole" is played in Vestapol, and the place in the song that mr mando cited in which the bIII located at the third fret of the fourth string is played simultaneous with the major III on the open third string is a good identifier for Vestapol when it happens.
You got them all spot on, mr mando, well done!
Working through a number of songs in succession in this thread has really brought home to me the extent to which the pitch at which a song sounds, or the key in which it sounds, is virtually irrelevant in making the determination of the tuning/position in which the song is being played.  In fact, for Country Blues, at least, I've come to think of the key in which a song sounds as "the key that the musician sang the song in", as distinct and separate from "the position/tuning the musician played the song in".  This is because the sound characteristics of the different tunings and positions operate independent of the pitch at which they sound.  Next time you're trying to figure out the tuning/position that a musician played a song out of, don't even bother to figure out the key in which the piece sounds, and see if not knowing that makes any difference in your determination of the position/tuning the musician used.
All best,
Johnm 
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: dunplaying on June 26, 2014, 01:58:45 AM
Thanks johnm for the tips. I will try and find the b111/111 today.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: mr mando on June 26, 2014, 04:25:36 AM
I really find this thread extremely instructive and would like to thank johnm for starting it and chosing such great study pieces. Only the minority of the recordings I'd heard before, and especially some of the field recordings were completely new to me. Tunes I'd heard before,  like "Bug Juice Blues", showed me that earlier I had not paid a lot of attention to the intricacies of the accompaniment, e.g. when I started to search for the tuning/position, I started with DADFAD before dunplaying posted.

So far, this thread certainly showed me what I'm able to do as long as I pay attention to the details and ornaments (hammmer ons, pull Offs, slides, ringing strings) during repeated listening.

More importantly, I also learned what exactly I could improve when trying to find out tunings/positions, e.g. paying more attention to middle voices in harmonized/chordal passages or considering the possibility of octaves being played.

In this respect, I think johnm's explanations of what's really happening are more than generous and a real benefit for me, so thanks again johnm for your time and effort and hopefully this thread will continue.

I'd also like to encourage everybody who frequents this forum to participate more actively in this here thread and to not be afraid of guessing differently. I was quite off on some of the previous examples, but that didn't hurt at all and just made me want to try harder.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on June 26, 2014, 05:25:15 AM
As someone who's been totally consistent in my wrongness, can I echo what Mr mando says and thank Johnm for a great thread!

Sent from my HUAWEI MT1-U06 using Tapatalk

Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on June 26, 2014, 04:42:17 PM
What they said!

And congratulations to Mr. Mando for the excellent detective work!
I didn't get to post in time, but I would have gotten only one out of three right, this time!

Which brings us to JohnM's excellent advice: don't look up too much for the absolute key a song seems to be sounding in, when figuring out the guitar part.

Cheers

Pan
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: dunplaying on June 29, 2014, 09:22:09 AM
I agree with you chaps . A difficult exercise but well worth the effort. Let 's hope the thread continues.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on July 11, 2014, 01:05:18 PM
Hi all,
I'm glad that folks who have participated have been enjoying this thread.  I'm not home long enough right now to post a new puzzler, but I will be in about a week.
All best,
johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on July 20, 2014, 12:39:36 PM
Hi all,
I've been away so much that I haven't had time to post a new song to this thread for almost a month, but I have a little window now and time to post a new puzzler.  The song here is "Trouble", performed by Reese Crenshaw, who also recorded a version of "John Henry" that I put up in the John Henry thread.  I know nothing about Crenshaw in the biographical sense, but wonder if he was recorded at the Fort Valley Folk Festival, since he appears on the same album with Sonny Chestain, who was recorded at that festival.  In any event, here is Reese Crenshaw's recording of "Trouble":     


Reese Crenshaw, Trouble (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fT7giv1OVPc#ws)

I have most of Reese Crenshaw's lyrics, and would really appreciate help with the bent-bracketed passages.

Trouble, trouble, been had it all my days
Trouble, trouble, been had it all my days
Lord, I feel like trouble carries me to my grave

If it hadn't-a been for you, partner, wouldn't even been here today
If it hadn't-a been for you, partner, wouldn't even have been here today
Lord, it seem like trouble's always in my face

Said, I walked so hard, babe, 'til I feel it down in my knees
I walked so hard, babe, 'til I feel it down in my knees
Misfortune's in their eyes, never seen "If you please"

Just fall in, brother, take a trip with me
Just fall in, brother, take a trip with me
I'm gonna take you where your troubles gonna let you be

Ain't but one thing, blues, that worry my mind
They ain't but one thing, blues, that worries my mind
Ain't but one thing, blues, worries my mind
They keep me troubled and troubled all the time

I wanta tell you one thing but I want you to understand
I'm gonna tell you thing, but I want you to understand
If that's your gal, I'm gonna take her from your hand

Don't you see here, baby, see what you done done?
Want you see here, baby, see what you done done
Want you to see here, baby, see what you done done
You made me love you, now your man done come

Lord, it's troubles, troubles, troubles, I feel sad
I say it's troubles, troubles, troubles, I feel sad
I woke up this morning, trouble every day

Goin' away, babe, cryin' don't make me stay
Says, I'm goin' away, baby, cryin' don't make me stay
I'm goin' away, baby, cryin' don't make me stay
More you cry, pretty mama, further you drive me away

Now if anybody ask you, people, who composed this song
I says, if anybody ask you, people, who composed this song
Tell 'em cool people's companions, babe, 'as been here and gone

The questions for "Trouble" are:
   * What position/tuning did Reese Crenshaw play the song out of?
   * Where (relative to tuning/capo placement) did he finger the ascending bass run from :50--:52?
   * How does he vary his chord progression starting at 2:34?  What are the three chords he plays before resolving to his I chord?
   * Where does he finger the ascending lick from 3:13--3:15?

As always, please use only your ear, experience and instrument to answer these questions.  Please don't post any answers until Tuesday, July 22, so that lots of people can listen and come up with their own ideas of how Reese Crenshaw played the song.  I hope you have fun with it.

Lyrics edited 7/22 with help from Davek and Johnm

All best,
Johnm

Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: dunplaying on July 22, 2014, 03:40:57 AM
As usual I am baffled but I will take a stab at standard tuning, capo at 2nd fret and played out of a G position.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: harvey on July 22, 2014, 07:21:05 AM
No way near touching a guitar this week so I am on very shacky ground. Sounds in spanish to me, I would say capoed up a bit but no way of telling where.

I say spanish because some of the runs sound like Memphis Minnie type runs like on When the Levee breaks.

That was as far as I got I am afraid.

 

Edit was : Mini ! I am blaming Iphone spell checker
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: dunplaying on July 22, 2014, 07:45:19 AM
Funny that you should say that Harvey as I thought it had shades of My Baby by Bo Carter which is in Spanish.
I will go and try again.  :(
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on July 22, 2014, 11:28:15 AM
I'm on North Uist with no internet connection and dodgy phone reception,, so will have to give this one a miss!

Sent from my HUAWEI MT1-U06 using Tapatalk

Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: David Kaatz on July 22, 2014, 04:23:31 PM
As far as the lyrics, at the end of the third verse, I can't make it all out but I am hearing:
Misfortune in your eyes, [   ] if you please

the last verse, it sounds like it might be:
Tell them two people companions, been to here and gone

Dave

Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on July 22, 2014, 05:49:55 PM
Thanks for the help with the lyrics, Dave.  Any other takers for the questions pertaining to how the song is played?  Come one, come all!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on July 22, 2014, 06:19:24 PM
Hi all

First of all, Iím sorry about not being able to help with the lyrics.

Secondly, Iíll agree with dunplaying about standard tuning, G position, pitched at A. My reasonings are the following; the bass and treble runs, and chord voicings seem to indicate G position in standard, The bass line doesnít go below the low root note, except for the instance where thereís a chromatic walkdown to the VI chord, which is also typical for the G position in standard, since no low 5th for the I chord is available. Thereís a #IVdim7 chord thrown in too, which you usually come across in standard tuning. Also, the I chord seems to have a root note on top, two octaves above the bass, which is common for the G position in standard.

Quote
* Where (relative to tuning/capo placement) did he finger the ascending bass run from :50--:52?

Sounds to me, like the bass run starts at the 5th string, going up chromatically from frets 2,3,4, and to the open 4th string, then the fingering and sequence is repeated on strings 4 and 3.

Quote
* How does he vary his chord progression starting at 2:34?  What are the three chords he plays before resolving to his I chord?

As mentioned above thereís a chromatic walkdown to the open 6th string, followed by a VI7 - II7 - V7 - I progression, fingered something like 0-2-2-1-3-0 (E7), then X-0-2-2-2-3 (A7), to X (0)-0-2-1-2 (D7), to X-X-(0)-0-0-3 (G).

Quote
* Where does he finger the ascending lick from 3:13--3:15?

This sounds like a broken run in thirds, played at the 3rd and 2nd strings; 0-0; to 2-1; to 3-2; to 4-3, lower string mentioned first.

Cheers

Pan
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Norfolk Slim on July 23, 2014, 01:03:23 AM
OK. No instrument here but I'm not convinced by g standard because the root sounds like an open bass string to me.  Which leads me to open g given the Minnie type licks that Harvey mentioned. But then the dim cords I know in open g are a movement of the g7 towards the headstock and the one in this tune is higher in pitch than its starting point. Which in turn takes me to A standard, for which I find some support in those lemony licks up the neck.

In short, I don't know. But I'm plumping for A.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on July 23, 2014, 09:34:03 AM
Hi all,
Thanks to everyone who participated in figuring out the lyrics and the way Reese Crenshaw played his song "Troubles".  Congratulations to dunplaying, who correctly identified the playing position, G position in standard tuning, in the very first response--well done!  Congratulations to Pan, too, who in addition to getting the playing position, answered all of the follow-up questions spot on.  Good hearing, Pan, and good explanations, too!
Simon was right on in noting a Lemon Jefferson influence.  One of the interesting things about Lemon is that on occasion he played licks up the neck that he normally played out of the A position in the G position as well, as in "Got The Blues".  That's what Reese Crenshaw was doing here.  I think one of the most mysterious aspects of Reese Crenshaw's playing on this track is what he was doing in the right hand.  He sounds like he could have been flat-picking, and if he was, he had a very smooth and varied technique that way, being able to move seamlessly from single-string melodic passages to beautifully controlled brush strokes and tricky cross-string moves, like his turn-around in which he walks down the fourth string from the third fret to the open fourth string, alternating up to the open third string between each of the descending notes.  Crenshaw may also have been playing with a thumb pick and fingers, a la Lemon, and perhaps that is a more plausible explanation of what he was doing in the right hand.
One of the other things that struck me about Crenshaw's playing here is how he was a font of ideas--he's still playing licks on the last two verses that he had not previously played in the rendition, and the track is long, 3:35.  That's quite unusual.  Some of his licks I have never heard played before by anyone in the style.  There's a particularly nifty one he starts around :59 where he rocks between a G out of the F shape on the top three strings, 4-3-3 and a D7 on the top three strings, but a very unusual one, arrived at via contrary motion on the first and third strings, 5-3-2, with the third fret of the second string sort of acting as a hinge between the two voicings.  Other unusual aspects of his playing here are that I don't think he plays a single IV chord, C, with the third fret of the fifth string, the low root, in the bass in the entire rendition, and his low root G at the third fret of the sixth string is very de-emphasized.  He hardly hits it at all, and only in passing.
Hearing so many stellar performances recently by musicians who were only field recorded, and never did commercial recordings, has made me realize how shaky it is to set up a hierarchy of skills or pecking order of the various Country Blues musicians who recorded, saying, "This one was the best.", or even "This one was the best at _______."  Hearing the performances of these field recorded musicians who may have recorded only a title or two but who acquitted themselves so admirably on those few recordings, makes me aware of the "tip-of-the-iceberg" quality that so much of their playing had.  Going back in the thread, wouldn't you like to hear more titles from Little Brother, Big Boy, Jesse Wadley, Wallace Chains, Eddie Bowles, and Reese Crenshaw?  Boy, I would--they were as good as anybody out there!
Thanks to all who participated, and I'll post another tune very soon.
All best,
Johnm 
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: dunplaying on July 23, 2014, 09:56:29 AM
Very well done Pan.
A brilliant answer.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on July 23, 2014, 10:36:32 AM
Hi all,
Here is another song to work on, Boy Green's "A and B Blues".  I know nothing about Boy Green in the biographical sense, but it looks like he was from the Carolinas probably.  Here is the song:

https://youtu.be/Jy76yXvPSbc

SOLO

Well, these A B Blues, sure is goin' hard with me
Well, these A & B Blues, sure is goin' hard with me
Yes, they sure has got me rockin', like a ship on the stormy sea

Well, it was so many times I had her by my side
So many times I had her by my side
Now, when I speak to her, she won't even smile

I knowed I did wrong, baby, can't you understand?
I knowed I did wrong, can't you understand?
Now, that I could do better, good as any other man

SOLO

You may have some friend, I don't have no friend at all
You may have some friend, I don't have no friend at all
And you won't even answer, baby, when I call

SOLO

The questions about his rendition are:
   * What position/tuning did he play the song out of?
   * Where did he fret his IV chord that falls at :09--:11 in his performance?
   * Where did he finger the little V7-I resolution that falls at :14--:15?
   * Where did he finger the lick he plays at :23--:24?

As usual, use ears and instruments only in figuring out your answers, please.  Please don't post any responses until Friday, July 26 to give lots of people a chance to listen, and thanks for your participation.

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: dunplaying on July 25, 2014, 04:38:22 AM
 I will try standard tuning ,capo 2nd fret and played out of an E position.
Another good song.

Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: ScottN on July 25, 2014, 09:37:59 AM
I'll vote for E position (I'm away from my guitar so no guess on where pitched).  From the intro, the V7 chord sounds like a typical walk up into B7 also the turnaround in bar 11 sounds like a variation of the common E move.

The activity in the bass in the E and B7 reminds me a lot of some Of Buddy Moss's playing. I wonder if one was influenced by the other. Anyone know the date of this recording?

Thanks,
           Scott
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on July 25, 2014, 12:52:06 PM
I'm agreeing with E with capo on the 2nd fret.  The opening sounds like it's played high up, barred at what would be the 9th fret (with the capo on the second) and playing around E & E7.

The second part of the puzzles been a bit of a scunner.  I think between :9 - :10 it's an open 5th str to the 4th fretted at the 2ndand then open first to the 2nd fretted at the 3rd.  Not got past that as I can't help hearing the D in there, but the IV chord would be a A or A7 right?

The next question: it sounds like he's faffing around the E and B7 positions at the neck.  I was sort of running out of steam here but I think around the :24 mark he's playing around the open E, 2nd str 3rd fret, 3rd str 4th fret and back to the E (3rd str 1st fret, 4th str 2nd fret.

Need a lie down now........
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: dunplaying on July 25, 2014, 01:03:24 PM
What I got for the lick was similar but in all honesty I don't know if it starts on an open 5th or at the second fret. I opted for the second fret,
2f5s,2f4s,0f1s,3f2s,2f2s,0f4s,0f1s
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: One-Eyed Ross on July 25, 2014, 01:27:15 PM
Ok, as far as I was able to get was that it is E position, capo at 2, but that assumes he started in standard A440.....

The rest I'll leave to someone who has a guitar working - broke my E string and haven't gotten to Centralia yet...
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: uncle bud on July 25, 2014, 09:07:18 PM
I'm late to the Reese Crenshaw party for "Trouble" but just wanted to say what a tune. Thanks for that.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on July 26, 2014, 05:13:55 AM
Hi all

I think I'll agree with dunplaying and everyone on standard tuning, E-position, pitched at F#.

I think Old Man Ned pretty much got the IV chord lick at :09 -:11, except that I think the chord is still ringing, when the next lick starts at the 7th fret on the 1st string. If I'm not imagining this, the previous lick has to be played at the 5th position, to be able to reach that note. Therefore I suggest that the lick starts with the open 5th string; then 5th string 7th fret; followed by 2nd string 5th fret; then 3rd string 7th fret; to 4th string 7th fret; then 3rd string 6th fret; back to the 2nd string 5th fret; and back again to the previous 3rd string 6th fret note. I also think the open 5th string is not ringing throughout, as it could be in the open position, which also suggest the 5th position to me. The fingering is a bit tricky, but you could play the consecutive 7th fret notes on 3rd and 4th strings with your little finger followed by the ring finger; or by playing a partial barrť with your ring finger.

I also agree with Old Man Ned about the E - B7 - E move at :14 - :15. Sounds like he's playing an open low E string; followed by a hammer on from open to the 1st fret of the 3rd string; then hitting the 5th string 2nd fret; then changing to a B7 while retaining the low B note, and playing a triplet on the 4th string 1st fret; open 2nd string; 3rd string 2nd fret; then repeating the hammer on on the 3rd string; then hitting the 4th string 2nd fret.

The lick he plays at :23--:24 sounds like it is  starting with the open 1st string; followed by a triplet starting with the 2nd string 3rd fret, followed by the open 1st string repeated twice; then follwed by a triplet of descending chromatic notes on the 2nd string, 2nd to first to open string; then a triplet starting on the 3rd string 2rd fret, down one fret to the 1st fret, to the 4th string 2nd fret.

I agree with Uncle Bud about the Reese Crenshaw. These field recordings are really something. Makes one wonder again how much talent and great music must have escaped from any recordings!

Cheers

Pan
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: One-Eyed Ross on July 26, 2014, 09:01:41 AM
Just an aside to compliment this idea.  It's great training for the ear!  I need more of this kind of thing.  Thanks!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on July 26, 2014, 01:56:22 PM
Hi all,
Thanks for the responses to the questions on Boy Green's "A and B Blues".  For the first time I can recall, every response was in agreement as to the playing position, E position in standard tuning, and every response was correct.  Well done!
As for the questions about specific places in the piece, here goes:  For the IV chord phrase that falls at :09--:11, it is as follows, with pulse indicated as 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +.  The phrase begins with a pick-up note that falls on the + of beat four, coming out of the fourth bar of his opening E phrase:

   +       |     1       +        2        +       3       +        4      +      |
Open       2nd     Open   3rd     Open   6th    5th     7th 
5th         fret,     1st      fret,    5th      fret,  fret,    fret,
string      4th      string  2nd    String  3rd    2nd    4th
   T          string             string            string  string  string,
                  T                             T                          6th
                                                                             fret,
                                                                             3rd
                                                                             string
                                                                             T brush
I've put a T under every part of the phrase that is stuck by the thumb.  You can see he starts with a thumb roll, from the fifth to the fourth string in an A chord at the base of the neck as Old Man Ned had it.  He had the first part of the phrase spot on, and the second half is very close to what Pan had, with the thumb re-hitting the open fifth string on the + of beat 2, and the thumb concluding the measure with a brush stroke of the fourth and third strings on beat four.  It's really neat the way Boy Green shifts from the A position at the base of the neck to the A out of the F shape at the fifth fret half-way through the bar.  The way Boy Green syncopated his thumb work here is operating very much the way Buddy Moss used his thumb, as Scott aptly noted a Buddy Moss sound in Boy Green's playing.
The passage from :14--:15 where he starts in E, rocks briefly to B7 and returns to E is as follows.  Pan mapped this out dead on in his post, but I'll put it here with the exact timing indicated so you can see how the phrase flows through the bar.

 |    1         +              2               +        3 (triplet)                    4              +         |
   Open                  Grace           2nd      1st       Open   2nd     Grace         2nd
   6th                     note            fret,      fret,     2nd     fret,     note           fret,
   string                 hammer,      5th      4th       string   3rd     hammer,     4th
     T                     Open            string    string              string   Open          string
                            3rd string       T           T                             3rd string
                            to 1st fret                                                  to 1st fret
                           3rd string                                                   3rd string
                                T
So it is that Boy Green does an alternation in the bass, on beats one and two from the 6th to the 3rd string, then does a thumb roll in the B7 from the + of beat 2 on the 5th string into beat 3 on the 4th string, starting a triplet that switches from the thumb to the fingers in the right hand after the thumb hits beat three.  The phrase has a tremendous lilt and rhythmic lift to it--wow!

The lick he plays at :23--:24 sits as follows.  I'll include the downbeat of the measure, although it doesn't fall in that time sequence.

   |      1            +          2 (triplet)                        3(triplet)                    4(triplet)               |
       2nd         Open      3rd        Open    Open       2nd    Open    3rd      2nd     1st      2nd       
      fret,         1st          fret,      1st       1st          fret,    2nd      fret,     fret,    fret,    fret,   
       4th         string      2nd       string    string     2nd     string   3rd      3rd     3rd      fourth       
      string,                    string                              string              string   string  string  string
     and open
     6th string
      (T)

Pan had this all right except the beat 3 triplet, where instead over walking down the second string chromatically from the second fret, Boy Green skips the first fret of the second string, which gives him time to pick up the b5 note at the 3rd fret of the third string on the last note of the triplet, a grungy sound that really gives a nice oink in the middle of the run.  I was only able to piece together this run by trying it out on the guitar--it goes by pretty quickly!

As mentioned earlier, Boy Green's playing on "A and B Blues" appears to show a Buddy Moss influence.  Another player whose approach seems even closer to Boy Green's is Ralph Willis.  I'm attaching an .mp3 of his song "Just A Note".  Check out what he plays from :08--:09; it is very, very close to Boy Green's I-V7-I turn-around at :14--:15, and there are other similarities in the course of the two performances.

Boy Green was obviously a really accomplished player, as were Buddy Moss and Ralph Willis, but one thing that strikes me about these moves is that with the exception of the A phrase where he shifts positions half-way through the bar, these licks are models of economy.  In the E-B7-E lick, he never ventures above the second fret, and in the concluding E phrase, he never ventures above the third fret.  For that last E phrase, if you assign a finger to a fret, using the index finger to fret everything on the first fret, the second finger to fret everything on the second fret and the third finger to fret everything on the third fret, it actually lays out pretty easily and naturally, despite the speed at which he plays it.

Thanks, as always, for participating.  I think this kind of close listening is hugely beneficial in terms of hearing how different players got around on the guitar and used their hands.  And if you understand how they did it, you can figure out how to do it yourself.  Like every faculty, this kind of listening, hearing and analyzing sharpens with use, too.  Onward and upward!

All best,
Johnm         
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on July 26, 2014, 06:02:30 PM
Thanks for the analysis and the Ralph Willis mp3, John!

I'm hoping that I (and others) will now instantly recognize the E - B7 -E lick, when I (we) hear it!

Cheers

Pan
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: dunplaying on July 27, 2014, 03:45:47 AM
Thanks Johnm.
I have been working on the E-B7-E lick all morning. :)
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on July 27, 2014, 08:11:40 AM
I'm glad you're having fun with that lick, Pan and dunplaying, and you're welcome for the thread, One-Eyed Ross.  It has been fun picking out the tunes and I've heard a lot of music I'd not heard previously--great players, too.

Here are a couple of pretty much straight position/tuning puzzles.  The first is of a Post-War Detroit player, Johnny Howard, and his song is "Natural Man Blues".  Here it is:

Johnny Howard - Natural Man Blues (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXUt5UcvAYw#)

Well, the sun is goin' down, and the moon begin to rise
I said, baby, the sun is goin' down, and the moon begin to rise
Well, you wake up in the mornin', and the sun rises in the east

I'm gon' do just like the eagle, I'm gon' rise and view the sun
Yes, I'm gon' do like the eagle, babe, I'm gon' rise and view the sun
I can look down into your heart, and tell ev'ything goin' on

SOLO

Yes, I want you, I don't wan-a you's do me, baby, do me like 'lilah did Samiston {sic}
No, I don't want you to do me, baby, just like Delilah did Samiston {sic}
Tame my head, clean as my hand, my strength come as a natch'l man

SOLO

The questions for "Natural Man Blues" are:
   * What tuning/position did Johnny Howard play the song out of?
   * Where is he fretting the opening of his solo, at 1:28--1:34, and how does he get the texture he gets in the treble there?

The second song is Sylvester Cotton's "I Tried".  Like Johnny Howard, Cotton was a Post-Wat Detroit player.  So much strong music came out of Detroit in that period.  Here is the song:

Sylvester Cotton- I Tried (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTGMiwOK5YA#)

In the transcription, dashes indicate places the guitar finished the vocal line.

Now listen, all you friends, you'll hear the record I made
Remember this one thing, Lord, I did everything I could
Don't thank me, friends, just think on the one man,
Mr. Broony Bethune

That was the first man that give me my chance
Name of the place was Pan-American Record Company
Lord, I tried, I tried to do
The best I can

I'm sorry I couldn't play the piece you like best
I had to play the blues, Lord, that's the first thing I know
But I tried, I tried to do
The best I can

If you people'd understand, every man have to crawl
Every baby has to crawl, Lord, before he walks
I tried, Lord, I tried to do
The best I can

SOLO (Spoken: For Mr. Broony now)

Say hey, let me tell you something, friends
Lord, you don't know how good it's settin' a poor Mac
Lord, Lord, when you're tryin', when you're tryin' to do
The ----

Says, now you watch out the, whether when the man says,
"Now, and it's time for you to cut your boys off."
The Mr. says, "You tried, Lord, you tried to do
The ---."

I want you to excuse all the mistake in this song
Lord, 'cause this is the last one I'll every play, maybe,
But I'll try, Lord, I'll try to do
The best I can

So long, I got to go
Lord, 'cause somebody waitin' on me, don't 'round here
But I try, Lord, I try to do
The best I can

What position/tuning did Sylvester Cotton play "I Tried" out of?

The third song is Lucious Curtis' "Guitar Picking Song".  Curtis was recorded in Natchez, Mississippi for the Library of Congress.  Here is the tune:

https://youtu.be/xqYsyJEFYl8

What position/tuning did Lucious Curtis play "Guitar Picking Song" out of?

As always, please use only your ears, experience and guitar to figure out the answers to the questions, no transcription software.  Please don't post any answers to the questions until Tuesday, July 29th, so that plenty of people have a chance to listen to the song and make their own determination of the answers.  Thanks for participating, and I hope you enjoy the songs.

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: dunplaying on July 29, 2014, 02:41:14 AM
When I first heard "Natural Man" I thought Johnm had thrown in a duff track but ,after listening to it for several hours, I have grown to like it. I am still unsure as to how it is played but will try standard tuning,capo 4th and played from an E position.
Sylvester Cotton's "I tried" is ,I hope, standard tuning,capo 2nd and played out of an A position.
I am afraid I cannot even hazard a guess for the third track.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: mr mando on July 29, 2014, 03:57:02 AM
Back from my vacation, I'm glad I didn't miss too much in this thread.

Here's what I hear for the current puzzle:

Johnny Howard - Natural Man Blues:
   * What tuning/position did Johnny Howard play the song out of? standard tuning  / E position at G# He accidentially hits open strings with the bass notes sometimes that are not available in an open tuning and that are sounding in dissonance with the tonality he's working in.
   * Where is he fretting the opening of his solo, at 1:28--1:34, and how does he get the texture he gets in the treble there? On the second string at frets (relative to the capo) 5 and 8 (bent) against the open first string.

Sylvester Cotton- I Tried:
   * position/tuning: Spanish Tuning @ (+/-) Bflat

Lucious Curtis - Guitar Picking Song:
   * position/tuning: standard tuning / D position
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on July 29, 2014, 03:22:04 PM
Hi all,
Any other takers for "Natural Man Blues", "I Tried" and "Guitar Picking Song"?  Come one, come all!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on July 29, 2014, 04:51:57 PM
Hi all

For some reason these were really difficult for me Ėso I'm not sure at all, if I got them right.

Nevertheless, I'll stick my head out and make some guesses.

Quote
The questions for "Natural Man Blues" are:
   * What tuning/position did Johnny Howard play the song out of?
   * Where is he fretting the opening of his solo, at 1:28--1:34, and how does he get the texture he gets in the treble there?

I disagree with standard tuning E position here, because I hear a low V note played on the 6th string which isn't available in E,  because the lowest string is the root. I couldn't make any open tuning work either, so my best guess is that the song is played in standard tuning, A position, tuned about a half-step low.
The solo seems to start in triplets, with the low open 6th string , while the second string is played on the 10th fret, slid in, then the open 1st string is played too, so that all the three notes are ringing. The second string is then changed to a note bent up roughly a half step from the 13th fret, while the 6th and 1st strings remain open.

Quote
What position/tuning did Sylvester Cotton play "I Tried" out of?

Again, this was difficult for me. I seem to hear most of the treble licks doable in standard tuning, G-position. But again, the bass licks go down to the low V note which isn't available in Standard G. So I'm guessing the D-G-D-G-B-E or ďhalf-spanishĒ or G6 tuning, which would solve the problem.

Quote
What position/tuning did Lucious Curtis play "Guitar Picking Song" out of?

With the Lucious Curtis tune, I think the bass goes down to low D, so I'll say dropped D, while I agree with Mr. Mando, that the rest of the song sounds like it's played in D-position. The IV chord also seems to have the 3rd on bass, which is common in dropped D, while the root of the IV chord (G) is moved up two frets on the 6th string, and is difficult to reach for. I think I'm hearing some similar chords to Curtis' "High Lonesome Hill", which I believe is (in what I believe is his guitar part) in dropped D.

Looking forward to the verdict!

Cheers

Pan
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: uncle bud on July 29, 2014, 06:15:35 PM
I'm with Pan (though working without a guitar, only banjo at hand). I'm guessing A position tuned low for Natural Man Blues. Half Spanish seems reasonable for I Tried, with the bass notes I think I am hearing. Then Dropped D for the Lucious Curtis (I also hear echoes of High Lonesome Hill).
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Norfolk Slim on July 29, 2014, 11:25:53 PM
I had a, tuned two steps low for the first one. As pan did and for the same reason; that low pickup note which sounds at d.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on July 30, 2014, 04:20:45 PM
Hi all,
Thanks for participating to those of you who posted.  For the first song, Johnny Howard's "Natural Man Blues", it was played out of A position in standard, tuned a half-step low, as Pan, uncle bud and norfolk slim had it.  One thing that makes that identification more difficult than it would normally be is that Johnny Howard free-hands everything at the base of the neck--he never once plays a I chord, per se, down there.  Pan nailed what he did for the solo section in question:  he fretted his melody on the second string, moving from the 10th fret up to a bent thirteenth fret back to the 10th fret, all the while also brushing the open first string along with the second string.  That strange disembodied sound of the open first string makes for a really interesting timbre.  This approach was also a favorite of Jesse Thomas, who particularly utilized it on his Post-War recordings, but did it with full chords, not just a moving line.  It's really an exotic sound, and I think has been under-utilized.

I agree that the Sylvester Cotton identification for "I Tried"  is a tough one.  My original inclination was that he played it out of Spanish, but after reading the responses, I went back and listened, and there is one sound, in particular, that he gets that is much easier to get out of the DGDGBE tuning that Pan and uncle bud selected than it would be in Spanish.  It's a droney sound on the first three strings where he is sounding the root of the I chord on the third string, a V note on the second string and a high root on the first string.  In DGDGBE, that sits at 0-3-3 on the top three strings; in Spanish at a comparatively more awkward 0-3-5.  I was ready to opt for DGDGBE until I noticed a place in his solo at 1:42--1:43 where he goes from a fretted V note to an open V note back to a fretted V note in the treble.  That move is really only plausible in Spanish, where it would involve going from the third fret of the second string to the open first string back to the third fret of the second string.  In DGDGBE, the same move wouldn't work because the first string is tuned to a VI note.  So it is that Sylvester Cotton played "I Tried" in Spanish.
Lucious Curtis's "Guitar Picking Song" is flat-picked, I believe, out of D position in standard tuning.  I never hear a low root of the I chord on the sixth string, which you would have in dropped-D tuning in the song, nor do I hear a low root of the I chord on the sixth string in "High Lonesome Hill", which I also believe to be played by the lead guitarist out of D position in standard tuning.  I noticed that Curtis' "Guitar Picking Song" bears a real resemblance to Mance Lipscomb's "Boogie in A", too.

These tunes ended up being more difficult than I thought they would be when I selected them.  Just as an unrelated aside, I am particularly enjoying a lot of the Post-War blues from in and around Detroit lately.  It's some of my very favorite Post-War blues.  Apart from the big names, John Lee Hooker and Dr. Ross, you also have Calvin Frazier, Andrew Dunham, Sylvester Cotton, Johnny Howard and others--whew!

Thanks to all who participated and I will try to post another puzzler in the next couple of days.  Port Townsend has been really fun thus far.

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on July 31, 2014, 03:38:15 PM
Hi all,
After yesterday's post, I realized something that I've never said in this thread but probably should have, and that is that if after my explanation of the answers to playing position/tuning questions and questions as to where particular passages are played on the guitar, you're convinced I got the answer or answers to my own questions wrong, I hope you'll express your doubts.  I've been wrong before and I'm sure I'll be wrong again, and don't mind being corrected when I'm wrong, or questioned when I've expressed something with inadequate clarity, so please let me know if either of those things has happened, as you hear it.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on August 01, 2014, 07:35:04 AM
Thanks again for the examples and analysis John! Much appreciated, as always.

I especially appreciated your explanation about the unison V note between the 2nd and open 1st string, which clearly puts Sylvester Cotton's "I Tried" in Spanish tuning. Never would I have caught that detail!

I would most respectfully ask, that you would, when time and means permit (I know you must be quite busy at Port Townsend), listen again closely to Lucious Curtis' "Guitar Picking Song", especially to the verse that starts around :31.
I seem to hear a sort of call and response thing, where a lick played on the treble strings, is responded to, on the bass strings. No matter how many times I've listened to it, it sounds to me, like the bass response licks end to a low tuned D note on the 6th string! I could be wrong, of course, it wouldn't be the 1st time I hear things in a wrong octave or mess them up otherwise!

By the way, I completely agree with you, in that Curtis never plays the low D note on the I chord, which would, of course, be very unusual, because that's usually the whole point in tuning to Dropped D! And the fact that he would wait until halfway to the  song, before playing the low D must seem implausible too.

But to my ears, it sounds that Curtis might have a habit of doing this, because I hear a bass lick ending to a low open D note in bar 11 of the form, in "High Lonesome Hill" too, a song where he, as you say, never plays the low D on the I chord either. The lick could be played by Willie Ford also, but it sounds to me like it's done by the lead guitarist, who's playing resembles that of Curtis' on "The Guitar Pickin' Song".

I'll add the YouTube link to "High Lonesome Hill" here too.

Please let me know what you think, and most of all, have a wonderful time at PT.

Willie Ford & Lucious Curtis - High Lonesome Hill.wmv (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0Ij4SF7bGA#)

Cheers

Pan
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on August 02, 2014, 07:56:01 AM
Thanks very much for your points re the Lucious Curtis songs, Pan!  I'm not currently in a situation where I can do the kind of close listening that is required, but I'll be returning home tomorrow and will give both "Guitar Picking Song" and "High Lonesome Hill" very close listens and will report back then. 
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on August 03, 2014, 10:34:04 AM
Hi Pan,
I finally got a chance to re-listen to Lucious Curtis's "Guitar Picking Song" and "High Lonesome Hill", and never heard a low D note in them anywhere.  In "Guitar Picking Song", the first time he goes to the IV chord, he hits a G note on the sixth string and a "chang" of a G chord fingered as per normal in the treble.  In dropped D, that G note would be at the fifth fret of the sixth string and would be awkward, though not impossible, to access.  In his main bass lick in the song, in which he echos the motif he plays over the I chord when he goes to the IV chord, he first plays from F to F# on the sixth string resolves to the open A string and then strums a D chord in the treble.  In D position in standard tuning, that F and F# live at the first and second frets of the sixth string, respectively.  Against the G chord, he goes from Bb to B on the fifth string, resolving up to the open D string, followed by a strum of the G chord in the treble.  The Bb and B notes on the fifth string live at the first and second frets of the fifth string, exactly where the analogous notes in the D chord lay on the sixth string in standard tuning.  In dropped D, the F to F# movement would be from the third to fourth fret of the sixth string, making a different move for the I and IV chords, and something that is considerably less hand-friendly and intuitive in the left hand.  The only time I hear Lucious Curtis playing a note lower than F natural on the sixth string in "Guitar Picking Song" happens around :48--:53 when he does a strum in the treble of 10-8 on the first two strings, followed by a brush stroke of the sixth and fifth strings open.  I can barely hear the sixth string there, but what I'm hearing is E-A on those two strings rather than D-A.
In "High Lonesome Hill", his signature lick in the eleventh bar is like so, I believe:

    1      +      2                  +        3                 +                  4              +                1
  |      Open  3rd      2nd    Open   3rd           Open              Slide,           Open   |    Open
         4th     fret,   fret,     5th      fret,         5th                 1st to          5th            4th 
        string  5th     5th     string   6th           string             2nd fret,      string        string
                  string  string            string                              6th string

The lick would not be impossible to play in dropped-D, but since he never hits that note in the course of playing the lick, and it fingers so much easier in D position, standard tuning, that seems the more likely choice. 
Also, consider the boogie bass figure he plays over the IV chord.  In D position, standard tuning, it lies right under the hand in G.  In dropped D, starting from the fifth fret of the sixth string, it seems a less likely move.
I guess my primary reason, though, for thinking he played the songs out of D position in standard tuning is that I never once hear a low D note on the sixth string (relative to the pitch at which the renditions sound).  Everything I do hear is more easily executed and lies more naturally in D position in standard tuning, too, so I'd be inclined to stick with that identification.  Thanks for bringing it up and giving me a good reason to listen harder than I had previously, Pan.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on August 03, 2014, 11:41:37 AM
Thanks again for your insight and analysis, John, and sorry if I sent you on a wild goose chase with my mishearings!

Cheers

Pan
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on August 04, 2014, 02:00:02 PM
Hi all,
I've got another puzzler for you.  It is "Tampa Blues", as performed by Skoodle Dum Doo and Sheffield, originally released on the Regis label in 1943.  The duo performed it with guitar and harmonica, and I absolutely love their time and rhythmic feel; this is one of my favorite guitar/harmonica pairings I've ever heard.  The Document CD's notes presume that "Skoodle Dum Doo" was a performance monicker for Seth Richards, who had recorded a song of that title more than a decade prior to this recording being made.  Musically, I would say it is exceedingly unlikely that Seth Richards appeared on this recording, because based on his two early titles, he sounds to be of an altogether different musical generation than these players, with a completely different sense of timing and rhythmic feel.  For our purposes here, though, I suppose that is not really under consideration.  Here is the song:

Skoodle Dum Doo & Sheffield-Tampa Blues (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WR5mSEjqIIg#)


The questions with regard to "Tampa Blues" are:
   * What tuning/position did the guitarist play his part out of?
   * What is the form of the song?  That is, working in 4-bar phrases, please describe the chord progression and where chords change, using either the key of the playing position relative to capo placement or numerical designations for the chords.
   * In the solo that starts around :47--:56, the guitarist drops out his bass, going for a bent and released note in the treble and two slightly lower-pitched notes in the treble.  Where are the three treble notes in this portion of the solo fretted?

As always, answer as few or as many of these questions as you wish, using only your ears and your musical instrument and experience to arrive at your answers.  Please wait until Wednesday, August 6 to start posting your answers so that plenty of people have a chance to listen to the track and come up with their own solutions.  This is such a terrific tune, and I've never heard it covered.  I'd love to hear some of you doing it the next time I see you.

All best,
Johnm

Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Gumbo on August 04, 2014, 03:41:21 PM
What a great track :) Here's what I've got for the lyric. Not sure about 'drop' in 1.2


Don't you never take a woman, well to be your friend
She'll lead you from the jailhouse drop you somewhere's in the pen
yo'll be there grieving tell you what they want to do
wait for you're in Tampo,
Sitting down

Well a woman she's a peculiar thing, her mind always in the wrong
Make no difference where their husbands go, she haven't got no business knowing
And I've got a ticket, I tell you what I' believe I'll do
I'll beat it on back to Tampo
and sit down

Hey now mr conductor can a broke man ride the blind
You better get your ticket, John, well-a you know this train ain't mine
Well since I've got a ticket I tell you what I believe I'll do
I'll ride this train to Tampo
and get down

edited as per Johnm's correction
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on August 04, 2014, 04:13:04 PM
Good on you, Gumbo, for coming up with that so quickly!  I think "drop" is right on the money.  I think "Penn" in this instance should probably be "pen' ", since it is short for penitentiary.  Isn't that a rocking tune?
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Gumbo on August 04, 2014, 04:34:12 PM
Rockin' is right. I'm looking forward to being able to play it - it's a perfect one to practice when my ex comes to visit.  :D
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: banjochris on August 05, 2014, 10:21:29 AM
Paul Brown and Mike Seeger do a version of this on their album "Way Down in North Carolina." I couldn't find it on YouTube unfortunately. It's called "Down to Tampa" and has lead banjo and vocal by Paul Brown. Great version with a very different feel than this version but it's definitely the same song.
Chris
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on August 06, 2014, 08:03:35 AM
Thanks for that information on the Paul Brown/Mike Seeger version, Chris.  I've realized I'm very weak on what Mike Seeger did in his post-NLCR years and need to seek out more of his recordings, as well as Paul's.
Any takers on Skoodle Dum Doo and Sheffield's "Tampa Blues"?  Come one, come all, and put your ears to use!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: banjochris on August 06, 2014, 08:29:04 AM
That record with Paul Brown is an excellent one, John. If you don't have it I'd also recommend the last NLCR album, "There Ain't No Way Out," which was recorded in the '90s sometime.

And from the brief one listen to this version of "Tampa," I would say he's playing out of A position, standard tuning.
Chris
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on August 06, 2014, 08:57:00 AM
For the Tampa Blues Iím going to say A position a half step up or capoed at the first fret. The structure and chords go something like:

A                                             D       
Don't you never take a woman, well to be your friend

A                                                    E7
She'll lead you from the jailhouse drop you somewhere's in the pen

A                                D
you'll be there grieving tell you what they want to do

Adim                               (E)
wait for you're in Tampo,

A
Sitting down

With the capo at the third fret it sounds like the treble notes played are a first string bend at the ninth fret down to first string 6th fret and second string 8th fret back to first string at 6th fret.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Gumbo on August 06, 2014, 09:53:25 AM
I was thinking it is open G (DGDGBD) capo'd at the 3rd. I can't get it to sound right in standard.
the solo at 47s plays well in a D shape at the 7th fret.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Norfolk Slim on August 06, 2014, 01:14:59 PM
Im with scratchy.  A position, half a note sharp.  The intervals shout "long a shape" at me, and the V chord has a lower bass note than the I and IV suggesting an E shape V chord.

I'll give the other questions a go if I get the chance later this evening!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: ScottN on August 06, 2014, 03:16:19 PM
No guitar at hand but I'll vote for A position.

In the 16 bar form the V chord in measures 7,8, and 14 sound like they drop in pitch to E position.

The bass activity in bar 15 and 16 over the I chord sound similar to what Blind Boy Fuller plays over the A chord at the beginning of the verses to Untrue Blues.

The biggest reinforcement of A to me was in the verse starting at 1:55, in bar 5 and 6 over the I chord (at about 2:00) there is the telltale sliding barre move from fret 1 sliding into fret 2.

Bars 1 and 2 in most of the verses sound consistent with the long A shape over the I chord.

I'm less sure what is happening in bars 3 and 4 although it sounds like maybe starting in D then leaving the ring finger in place on string 2 fret 3 and reaching back with the index finger to get the first fret first string...pure speculation on that as I don't have a guitar to test it on right now.

Thanks,
           Scott
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on August 06, 2014, 04:49:08 PM
Hi all

Seems like the heavy lifting is already done, so I'll agree with Banjochris, Professor Scratchy, Norfolk Slim and ScottN on A-position standard tuning, pitched at around B flat.

I think ScottN makes an excellent point with the similarity to Blind Boy Fuller and his "Untrue Blues".

Professor Scratchy mentions an A diminished chord, which falls to bar 13, if I'm not mistaken. At first I too thought of a diminished chord, but listening again, I'm going to suggest a partial D9 chord with the third (F#) on bass: X-X-4-5-5-5. Note that this has just one note different from the diminished chord that the Professor suggested.

What happens next on the form is a little difficult to describe in terms of chords, since on bar 14 there are only the single string notes open E on the 1st string, and then D on the 3rd fret of the 2nd string, followed by a slightly bent C note on the 3rd fret of the 5th string. Some might hear the E and D note belonging to the E7 chord played earlier on the form, but since no low E, or the chord's major 3rd G# are present, it leaves room for interpretation, especially since the following C note doesn't belong to the E7 chord either. I'll just interpret the last three bars of the form as riffing a minor pentatonic scale over the I chord, but someone else might hear a V7 chord in there as well, and I wouldn't call him or her being wrong.

So for the song form, I hear 16 bars, divided into two 8 bar sections, starting similarly, but with  two different endings, something like this:

|| I | I7 | IV7 | IV7 |

| I | I7 | V7 | V7 ||

|| I | I7 | IV7 | IV7 |

| IV9/3 | I | I | I ||

I think the notes starting the solo are a bend starting at the7th fret on the 1st string, bent up a half step, and then released, the the 5th fret of the 1st string, and the 7th fret of the 2nd string.

Hope I'm more in the ballpark this time!

Cheers

Pan





Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on August 07, 2014, 09:51:47 AM
Hi all,
Here is what I believe is happening in Skoodle Dum Doo and Sheffield's recording of "Tampa Blues".  The guitarist is playing out of A position in standard tuning, as many of you identified it.  The two sounds that most clearly indicate that identification for me are the sound of the IV chord, with the thumb wrap at the second fret of the sixth string and the D7 fingered on the top three strings at 2-1-2, and the place in the course of the song where the guitarist does a series of syncopated slides with his index partial barre, from the first fret to the second fret on the fourth, third and second strings.
The form is pretty much exactly as Prof Scratchy and Pan had it, a really neat 16-bar blues variant.  I would have it as:

   |    A    |    A(7)    |    D7    |    D7    |

   |    A    |     A       |    E7    |    E7     |

   |    A    |    A(7)    |    D7   |    D7     |

   | Adim7/D9over F#/D7overF#|  E7   |    A    |    A    |

The reason the analysis is hedged in the thirteenth bar is that despite repeated listenings, I have not been able to hear with any certainty what note he plays on the second string there.  I can hear the fourth, third and first strings perfectly clearly, but I sure can't hear the second string.  I think the guitarist is brushing the fourth and third strings with his thumb and picking the first string with his index finger and giving the second string a pass.  In any event, Prof Scratchy's A dim7 would be fretted 4-5-4-5 and is a sound familiar from many Blind Boy Fuller and Rev. Davis songs in A, Pan's D9/F#, 4-5-5-5 is perhaps more rarely encountered, but is a more highly colored D7 chord essentially, and the D7/F# is what I always think of as the Funny Papa Smith chord, 4-5-3-5, a sort of more monochromatic version of Pan's chord.  You can see that all of these choices share the same notes on the fourth, third and first strings, and they are all usable in the context.  In terms of your own playing of the song, I'd say try them all and pick the one you like the sound of best.
I have the 14th bar as an E7, despite there not being an E note in the bass or a G#, the third of the E7 chord as Pan noted, because on most passes through the form the guitarist hits a B note, the fifth of the E7 chord, at the second fret of the fifth string on the downbeat of that measure. He goes quickly from there to an open fifth string, bouncing up to a syncopated third fret of the fifth string.  You can hear this move especially well in the solo at 1:51--1:52.  I think I'd also go for the E7 in the 14th bar because in the verse that follows that solo the guitarist omits the chord he normally plays in the thirteenth bar and simply plays two bars of E7.  I believe he also does this on his last pass through the form.  Plus he doesn't really resolve to a I chord with its root in the bass until the fifteenth bar.
The three notes he plays up the neck in the first solo when he drops the bass out are exactly as Pan had them mapped out, 7th fret of the first string, bent and released, 5th fret of the first string and seventh fret of the second string.  I think Prof Scratchy may have had the same notes, but using the nut as the frame of reference rather than the capo.
I sure do like Skoodle Dum Doo and Sheffield.  I was able to pick up the Document CD at Port Townsend that contains their four cuts, and they also did a terrific and very original cover of Blind Lemon's "One Dime Blues".  I'll see if I can find it on youtube, and if it is there, I'll post it in the "Great Covers" thread.
I feel like people really heard "Tampa Blues" well, and obviously Prof Scratchy and Pan were right on the case.  I hope more folks will find the time to post answers to the more specific questions on how a song was played.  What's the worst that could happen--you listen to a great performance a bunch of times!  Thanks for your participation.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on August 08, 2014, 09:40:59 AM
Hi all,
I've got a new puzzler for you.  The piece is "Sometimes I Wonder", a field recording credited to Rob LeRoy.  The piece is obviously a duet, and the tonal quality of the higher guitar, especially, is really odd, as though it were under water.  The duo has a really cool sound, though, and a lot of what the higher guitarist plays is inventive and new to me.  Something about the singer's voice and delivery reminds me of Geoff Muldaur.  NOTE:  Lastfirstface later in this thread identified the two musicians who perform this duet as Leroy Campbell and Robert (Yancey) Sanders.

https://youtu.be/m8FOkQvMpWc

SOLO X 2

Look who's runnin' around, baby, you don't love me
Baby's let my money down
REFRAIN: Baby, that's all right, yeah, mama, that's all right
Sometime I begin to worry, who's lovin' my baby tonight

Says, look-a-here, mama, see what you done done
Done caused me to love you, now your man done come
REFRAIN: Baby, that's all right, yeah, mama, that's all right
Sometimes I begin to cry, who's lovin' my baby tonight

Baby, you goin' 'round here, with your mouth poked out
Baby, you don't know what love is all about
REFRAIN: Baby, that's all right, yeah, mama, that's all right
Sometime I begin to worry, who's lovin' my baby tonight

SOLO X 2


The questions are:
   * What positions are the two guitarists playing out of?  Hint: They're both playing out of the same position.
   * At :08, you can hear the higher guitarist slide a position up the neck on the top three strings.  Where does the slide end up on those three strings?
   * Where does the higher guitarist fret the fill that is played at :19-:20 over the IV chord?
   * Where does the higher guitarist fret the fill that is played at :27-:30, where the form goes to the V chord?

Answer as many of the questions as you wish, using only your ears and instruments to figure out the answers, please.  Please wait until tomorrow, Saturday, August 9 to post your answers.  Thanks for your participation.

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on August 08, 2014, 03:19:06 PM
Hi all,
An additional hint:  Since both players are playing out of the same position, if the higher guitarist seems really difficult to suss out in terms of position/tuning, try figuring out the playing position of the second guitarist, which might be easier to hear and figure out.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: One-Eyed Ross on August 09, 2014, 08:32:24 AM
Oh, this is tricky...I think I have it partly figured out, but still working it out.  Figuring out what key it is in was easy, and I think I have position, but I'll wait a few days to make sure (I have to go take care of the chickens and all right now)....

Great tune, by the way.  I love the field recordings...

OK, back from chores, so here's my stab at this (Please remember, guys, I'm new at this type of thing, so give me a break)...

a.  E, Vestapol, ( I tuned to D and capo at 2 to get E).

b.  The slide (to my uneducated ear) ends at 12th fret

c and d I will leave to better ears than mine.  I have difficulty getting the two guitars apart, c sounds like at the 5th fret, strings 2-4, but....that could be the lower guitar, so I dunno...
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on August 09, 2014, 02:51:37 PM
OK - for this one Iím going to say E position in standard tuning. The second guitarist slides up to a long A shape E chord at the ninth fret, with his pinky covering the first and second strings at the twelfth.

For the fill at .19/.20 the second guitarist plays a bent A7th G note at the third fret of the first string, then first string open, then second string second fret, then first string open, then the bent G note on the first string twice, then the open first string again, ending up on the second fret of the second string.

For the fill at  .27 to .30 it sounds to me like the second guitarist is just playing third string second fret, second string open, first string second fret and slightly bending this whole abbreviated V chord.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on August 09, 2014, 04:51:45 PM
Hi all,
Any other takers for Rob LeRoy's "Sometimes I Wonder"?  I'll have to post the answers tonight since I won't be available to do it for a bit.  Come one, come all and get your licks in.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on August 09, 2014, 10:27:46 PM
Hi all
Well, it looks like Ross and Scratchy are the only takers for Rob LeRoy's "Sometimes I Wonder".  Here are the answers to the questions about the song:
   * Both guitars were played out of E position in standard tuning
   * When the higher guitarist does the slide up on the first three strings at :08, he ends up at
13-12-12 on the first three strings (from third string to first), like the top of an F chord moved up eleven frets.  He moves that shape down a fret and back up, intact, a couple of times and then reaches up to get the fifteenth fret of the first string.  The sound of those three strings fretted at 13-12-12 in E position standard tuning is exactly the same as what Ross proposed, a barre at the twelfth fret in Vestapol.  The long A shape that Prof. Scratchy proposed, with a barre across the top four strings at the ninth fret and the 12th fret of the first string is what the higher guitarist starts the song in, going from there to an A7 shape on the top four strings, 9-9-9-10, before going into the position that he slides up.
   * The phrase that the higher guitarist plays over the IV chord sits in the measure is is played like so, starting the phrase on the + of beat 1:

   1          +          2                   +          3          +          4          +
             8th        5th     6th      5th      bent                  5th
             fret,      fret,     fret,     fret,     8th                    fret,
             2nd      1st       1st      1st       fret,                   2nd
            string    and      string,  and      2nd                   and
                        2nd       5th      2nd     string                3rd
                        strings,  fret,    strings,                         strings
                        6th        2nd    6th
                        fret,      string,  fret,
                        3rd       6th      3rd
                       string    fret,      string
                                   3rd
                                   string
Once again, the higher guitarist is working out of an F shape on the first three strings, with his basic shape there being 6-5-5, going from the third string to the first.  He dabs his little finger down to get the 8th fret of the second string, only when he plays that note; otherwise he lifts it instantly.  Because of the way he ends the phrase, he probably barred the first three strings at the fifth fret with his index finger, used his second finger to fret the sixth fret of the third string, and used his third, or ring finger to fret the sixth fret of the first string where that comes in, in between beat 2 and the + of beat 2.  That sixth fret of the first string is really a rasty note in an E blues, Bb, a bV note relative to E and a b9 note relative to the A chord it sounds against.  It sure stood out when I first heard it.
   * The phrase the higher guitarist plays from :27-:30 against the V chord works like this.  As with the phrase against the IV chord, he starts it on the + of beat 1, which give it a strong counter-punching sort of feel.

   1          +          2            +          3          +          4          +
             10th     7th          10th      7th      10th      7th
             fret,      fret,         fret,      fret,      fret,       fret,
            2nd        first         2nd       first      2nd       first
            string,    three       string,   three    string,   three
            7th        strings     7th       strings  8th        strings
            fret,                      fret,                  fret,
            3rd                       3rd                    3rd
           string                    string                 string

Once again, the higher guitarist is working out of an F shape on the first three strings, but this time, an F minor shape.  He used his index to barre the first three strings at the seventh fret, dabs his little finger down only to sound the 10th fret of the second string where it comes in on the + of beats, and really gives the phrase an inside out sound by using his second finger to fret the 8th fret of the third string on the + of beat three.  So it is that he winds up with the following variations of his V chord, mapped out against the pulse:

     1          +          2          +          3          +          4          +
               Bm7      Bm       Bm7     Bm       B7        Bm

Have you ever heard anybody else play a lick that sounds like this in the Country Blues?  Me neither!  When I first heard this tune about a month or five weeks ago, I had to listen to it four or five times before I could get to the place where I could start to take it in.  I would love to know more about the two musicians who were recorded doing this piece, because they have about as close to an altogether different sound as it is possible to get in this music.  And the way that the higher guitarist utilized that partial of the F shape on the first three strings for his I, IV and V chord, up and down the neck, is not something I've ever encountered before.
Good on you, One-Eyed Ross and Prof Scratchy for getting in on this one, because it is really one for the books.  I considered not posting it, just because it is so singular, but I thought folks should hear it.  Thanks guys, for your participation, and I'll post another puzzler when I get back.
All best,
Johnm 
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on August 10, 2014, 02:37:50 AM
Phew! That is indeed a strange one! Like Ross, I first of all thought I was hearing a bottleneck on this one. Like most of these, the solution winds up being very simple and very complicated at the same time.

Sent from my HUAWEI MT1-U06 using Tapatalk

Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Gumbo on August 10, 2014, 04:35:24 AM
I had the positions  but also went for the long A at the 9th. Now I'm trying to get my head around the rest of it. Thanks Johnm. Even if I don't get to comment on time it's great to get my brain working after the fact.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: orvillej on August 10, 2014, 10:12:39 AM
This is a really interesting piece, not only for the music, but also the very reverberant sound quality. Sounds like they recorded those guitars in a cathedral!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on August 10, 2014, 11:46:49 AM
Yeah, this was a weird piece. Never heard anything like it before.  Only just got chance to have a listen to this tonight and spent all of 5 minutes on it but was in agreement with Prof Scratchy for the first part of the puzzle before skipping to John's answer for the other parts (it's been a long day....)....
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: alyoung on August 12, 2014, 05:51:08 AM
The big mystery to me is, where is this track from? It's not on Document DOCD-5621, despite the cover of that disc being used to illustrate the clip. And it's not pre-war -- it's a version of "That's All Right", which was a hit for Jimmy Rogers when he recorded it for Chess in 1950 (although it had been around since 1947 when Othum Brown made fairly much the same song as "Ora Nelle Blues"). But it does sound like a field recording. Anyone got any ideas?   
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Lastfirstface on August 12, 2014, 01:30:14 PM
The big mystery to me is, where is this track from? It's not on Document DOCD-5621, despite the cover of that disc being used to illustrate the clip.   

I was curious too so I did some poking around. Looks like the track is actually from Document's Field Recordings, Vol. 8: Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama (1934-1947) and at some point the artist name was changed from "Bob and Leroy" to "Rob LeRoy", maybe by the youtube uploader. They have one other track on the Document disc entitled "Bye Bye Baby".
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Lastfirstface on August 12, 2014, 01:38:13 PM
Just found this song's page on the Lomax Archive. It was a Alan Lomax recording from Parchman Farm at one of the 1947 sessions. The musicians were Leroy Campbell and Robert (Yancey) Sanders.

http://research.culturalequity.org/rc-b2/get-audio-detailed-recording.do?recordingId=10713 (http://research.culturalequity.org/rc-b2/get-audio-detailed-recording.do?recordingId=10713)
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: alyoung on August 12, 2014, 05:14:40 PM
Yep, there it is, sitting on the shelf six feet away from me -- won't an artist name-change and the wrong record fool ya every time? Thank you, Lastfirstface.

Now, the next mystery is ... where did they get the song? In his notes to Vol 8, Howard Rye says only that it is "a premonition of Jimmy Rogers' That's All Right, recorded in 1950". As I mentioned in my last post, that song was also made as  "Ora Nelle Blues" in 1947 in Chicago, by Othum Brown, Little Walter and Jimmy Rogers. Bob and Leroy didn't record for Lomax until the end of 1947, but I still think it long odds that a song made it from a minor-label recording in Chicago to a prison farm in Mississippi that quickly. Suppose it's possible, but can anyone think of an older version? 
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on August 16, 2014, 04:16:04 PM
Thanks very much, Lastfirstface and alyoung, for tracking down the provenance of the recording of "Sometimes I Wonder" and the identities of the the two players.  Perhaps the song had some degree of common currency in Mississippi prior to its having been recorded?  I know Sam Chatmon did a song he called "That's All Right" that was essentially the same song as "Sometimes I Wonder" and had the same refrain, but don't know where Sam got his version.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on August 16, 2014, 07:05:01 PM
Hi all,
In re-reading this thread a bit today after returning from a week away teaching at a music camp, I found that I neglected to give mr mando credit for correctly identifying Sylvester Cotton's "I Tried" as being played out of Spanish tuning, when that song was in a quiz, three pages back in this thread.  I am sorry for that oversight, mr mando, good identification, that was a tough one!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on August 18, 2014, 02:37:50 PM
Hi all,
I've got a new puzzler for you.  The performer here is "unknown", doing "Ding Dong Ring".  I believe the source of this performance is the Lawrence Gellert recordings.  Hearing the tremendous sophistication of unknown's playing, I find myself a bit dubious as to whether the performers and recording circumstances were as Lawrence Gellert represented them.  Unknown is an absolute ace guitarist, and very jazzy--quite different from even the most excellent players recorded in prison by collectors other than Gellert.  Moreover, the lyrics of the song are at odds with the sophistication of the accompaniment.  Whatever the case,(and this is very unlikely to get sorted out at this late date) unknown delivers a sparkling rendition of "Ding Dong Ring".

Unknown - Ding Dong Ring (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GF-OFBKtRQY#ws)

When they took me to Bellwood, I could hear that ding dong ring
Tyree said, "Wake up, Big Boy, I'm telling you to stand and sing

I told the Captain, "Please don't work me so hard."
I told the Captain, "Please don't work me so hard."
Captain said, "I'm sorry Big Boy, I know you have never had a hard job."

Well, it was one Monday morning, saw the jailer coming down the line
Well, it was one Monday morning, saw the jailer coming down the line
Well, they called my name, and said I had a great long time

But my Mother came to see me, my Father by her side
My Mother came to see me, my Father by her side
But all they could do was hang their heads and cry

SOLO

Called me this morning, just about a half past three
He called me this morning, just about half past three
He said, "Wake up, Big Boy, come and work for me."

I'm working for the county, when I'm sick or well
And I'm working for the county, when I'm sick or well
Say, the sun shine down on you, that's a burning hell

SOLO X 2 + CODA

Edited 10/10 to pick up correction from waxwing

Here are the questions with regard to "Ding Dong Ring":
   * What playing position/tuning was used for "Ding Dong Ring"?
   * Where is the fill from :08--:011 fretted?
   * Where is the turn-around from :38--:41 fretted?
   * Where is the fill from :45--:48 fretted?
   * Where is the fill in the solo, from 1:35--1:38 fretted?
Please use only your ears, guitar and musical experience to answer the questions, as always.  Let's allow a little longer than usual to answer the questions.  Please don't post your answers until Thursday, August 21, so that plenty of people have time to listen to "Ding Dong Ring" and work out their answers.  Thanks for your participation!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: mr mando on August 20, 2014, 04:57:04 PM
I am sorry for that oversight, mr mando, good identification, that was a tough one!

No problem at all. I'm not here to get credit, but to have fun. Unfortunately, I didn't have too much time lately to play and participate in this thread. I missed a few nice ones. For Sylvester Cotton's "I Tried", I don't know why, but this little unison lick between open first and third fret second string just jumped out at me, so I never even considered G6 tuning. I will have to learn to mention these little identifiers.

This "Ding Dong Ring" is just another incredibly great tune I've never heard before. The playing reminds me a little bit of Snoozer Quinn, and there are some neat Blind Blake-y thumb rolls in there too.

Q: What playing position/tuning was used for "Ding Dong Ring"?
A: I would guess Standard Tuning/C Position, because it lays there very nicely. The intervals in the bar chords scream standard tuning, and the lowest note I hear is a fifth below the root (F in C) around 2:16.

Q: Where is the fill from :08--:011 fretted?
A: straight bar chords across the top four strings on frets: 5 - 3 - 4-5 - 3-4-5 - 4-4, then a G7 fingered as a bar chord across the top four strings on fret 3 with the middle finger on the 4th fret third string.

Q: Where is the turn-around from :38--:41 fretted?
A: mostly on the D, g and b strings: C: 2-0-1 C7: 2-3-1 F: 3-2-1 Fm7: 1-1-1 C: 2-0-1, then G7#5: 3-4-4-3 on the top 4 strings

Q: Where is the fill from :45--:48 fretted?
A: 1st bar: 1st triplet: string/fret 3/0-3/2-2/1; 2nd triplet: 2nd string 3-2-1 ; 3nd triplet: 1st string 3-2-1 ; 4th triplet: string 2/fret 4 -pause-string 1 open
2nd bar: 1st triplet: string/fret 3/0-3/2-2/1; 2nd triplet: 2nd string 3-2-1 ; then a Bb on 3rd string 3rd fret (out of a C7th chord).

Q: Where is the fill in the solo, from 1:35--1:38 fretted?
A: straight bar chords across the top three strings on frets: 5 - 8 - 5-8- 11 - 10 - 8 - 5 - 4, then G: 4-3-3 on the top 3 strings.

I'm pretty confident that I'm close to what's happening, but I doubt I can figure out the bass-heavy chords behind the vocals.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on August 21, 2014, 02:11:23 AM
That just about does it, mando! This one has quite a few Blake-ish elements. The fill from 45-48 is pure Blake, I think. I was totally stumped by that last fill...but I'd say you nailed it.


Sent from my HUAWEI MT1-U06 using Tapatalk
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on August 21, 2014, 11:55:44 AM
This is wonderful playing.  Much in agreement with Mr Mando.  Played out of C, in standard tuning.  Only things I'd add is that I'm hearing a 9th chord (ie bar top 3 strings at 5th fret, 4th string, 4th fret) where he's bouncing around between the 3rd, 4th & 5th frets instead of a straight bar across the top 4 strings.  I'm also going for a G9/13th type chord(putting the E, 2nd string & A first string on the G7th at the 3rd fret) or maybes that's just me wanting to play that chord at that point.

Only other thing, is the C run instead of the triplet on the 2nd string going from 3, 2, 1 frets I'm hearing 4,3,1.  Great stuff though, I love this.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on August 21, 2014, 03:16:20 PM
Hi all,
Do any other folks want to post answers on "Ding Dong Ring"?  Come one, come all!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on August 21, 2014, 05:46:28 PM
Hi all

Again others have done most of the hard work. Here are some additional thoughts. I just lost an answer I had been writing for a good half-an-hour, so pardon me, if I'm somewhat blunt tonight.

Quote
* What playing position/tuning was used for "Ding Dong Ring"?

C-position standard tuning, as others alreadyhave stated.

Quote
* Where is the fill from :08--:011 fretted?

X-7-8-7-8-X, then up chromatically without the lowest note: X-X-9-8-9-X, to X-X-10-9-10-X. The lick could be played on the top 4 strings as well, as Mr. Mando, and Old Man Ned stated. I like Old Man Ned's idea, that the C9 chord has the E note on the bass.

Quote
* Where is the turn-around from :38--:41 fretted?

A lone C note on the 10th fret of the 4th string, then broken chords with the bass note an 8th note early as follows: C7: X-X-7-8-7-X;  F: X-X-7-5-6-X;  Fm: X-X-6-5-6-X;  C: X-X-5-5-5-X;  Ab7: X-X-4-5-4-X; to G7+5 (good catch Mr. Mando) X-X-3-4-4-3.  The chords up to C could be played on the top three strings, but I personally prefere having the descending bass line on the 4th string all the way.

Quote
* Where is the fill from :45--:48 fretted?

Triplet one: open 3rd string-2nd fret 3rd string-1st fret 2nd string.
Second triplet: 2nd string 3rd fret bent up a half-step-2nd string 3rd fret bend released-2nd string 1st fret.
Third triplet, chromatic descent on the 1st string, 3rd to 2nd to 1st fret.
Two (swung) 8th notes, ope 1st strin-2nd string 1st fret.
The first two triplets are then repeated, followed by a C7 chord X-X-2-3-1-X.

Quote
* Where is the fill in the solo, from 1:35--1:38 fretted?

Here Iím torn! I first wanted to hear some fancy jazz chords, but then Mr. Mando brought me back to Earth with his parallel bar chords, which are much more likely to happen.  :-\
Tonight, I want to hear fancy jazz chords again, which probably is a huge mistake. :)
They are a C6 chord on the top 4 strings barred at 5th fret;
An F9 chord : X-X-7-8-8-8; 
these two repeated;
then a diminished chord at X-X-10-11-10-11;
then a G9: X-X-9-10-10-10;
the back to F9 and C6;
followed by an Ab7: X-X-4-5-4-4;
to G7+5 X-X-3-4-4-3;
then a diminished chord X-X-4-5-4-5,
then an octave  G note on the 1st string 3rd fret and open 3rd string;
then an Ab7: : X-X-4-5-4-X,
to a partial G7: X-X-3-X-X-3.
At least you have an alternative opinion!

Looking for the verdict again, as always

Cheers

Pan

Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on August 21, 2014, 05:54:50 PM
Hi again

I forgot to add, that on a side note, I believe we have discussed Mr. Unkown, the guitar player before, in this thread from 2006 (!).
Unfortunately the links to the music have died long ago, but I have a clear image in my head, that the guitar player sounded very similar, and played some of the same licks as in our puzzle of today.

http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=1934.0 (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=1934.0)

Cheers

Pan
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on August 22, 2014, 11:06:09 AM
Hi all,
Thanks for your responses on "Ding Dong Ring".  Here are the answers to the questions that were posed:
   * Unknown did play "Ding Dong Ring" out of C position in standard tuning as you all had it.
   * The first fill in question, from :08-:11 in the rendition, utilizes a sixth chord shape on the first three strings, voiced Root-3-6 ascending from the third string to the first string, before resolving to an Ab7 chord voiced bVII-3-5-root on the top four strings.  The fill falls in the seventh and eighth bars of the form, like so:

   +   |   1      +      2     +      3        +        4     + | 1        +        2        +     3 (triplet) 4       +             
 5,       5-5    3,    3-3,          4-4-4  5-5-5,  (tied)    3-3-3 4-4-4 5-5-5   4,     5-4-4     5-4-4  3,     
3rd      1st    3rd   1st           1st      1st                  1st     1st     1st      4th    1st        1st    4th
string  two  string two           three three                three three  three  string  three    three string                                                     
         strings        strings      strings strings          strings strings strings         strings   strings                                                                           
                                 
         

The fill from :38-:41 likewise falls in the seventh and 8th bars of the form, with a progression of C-C7-F-Fm-C-Ab7-G7#5, like so:

+       |  1       +       2         +       3        +        4        +    | 1        +     2      +     3       + 4     +   
open    1-0,   3rd    1-0,     2nd     1-1,   1st      1-1,    open  1-0,   4th  5-4,  3rd   3rd       4-4  "
3rd      first    fret,   first     fret,     first   fret,     first   3rd     first   fret,  3rd  fret,   fret,     3rd     
string  two     third  two     3rd      two    3rd      two   string  two   4th   and  4th   first      and
          strings string strings string strings string strings       strings string 2nd string string  2nd
                                                                                                           strings                  strings

The fill from :45-:48 falls in the third and fourth bars of the form and goes like so:

1 (triplet)   2 (triplet)   3(triplet) 4(broken triplet)| 1(triplet)    2(triplet)     3            4
0-2,           4-3-1,       3-2-1,      Open                  Same as     Same as     3-1       open
third          second      first          first string           beat 1        beat 2        on         1st     
string, to   string,       string        to                       triplet         triplet         3rd        string
1,             with                           1st fret,              from           from          and                           
2nd          slide                           3rd                     previous      previous    2nd
string       from 4-3                    string                  measure     measure   strings

The fill at 1:35-1:38 falls in the seventh and eight bars of the form, and unknown is using his partial sixth form on the first three strings to do a chord melody, pretty much as mr mando had it.  One neat thing about fretting the first three strings as a moveable shape is that it can function as 6th chord, as noted earlier, a rootless 9th chord voiced bVII-9-5 on the top three strings, or a minor chord voiced bIII-5-root, or as a rootless major seventh chord voiced 5-7-3.

+       | 1        +   2       + 3(quarter note triplet)     |  1            +       2       3(quarter note triplet)
5th      5-5-5,    8-8-8,     5-5-5,   8-8-8,  11-11-11 10-10-10, 8th   8-8,   5-5-5    4-5-4    4th 
fret,     first       first         first       first       first         first          fret,   first   first       4th,     fret,       
3rd      three     three      three     three     three       three        3rd    two   three     3rd,      1st     
string   strings  strings    strings   strings   strings     strings     string strings strings  2nd     string
                                                                                                                             strings

Two things are striking about unknown's playing, apart from his tremendous skill and fluidity.  One is that he is almost certainly flat-picking, not finger-picking, and has enormous facility moving from controlled brush stokes to single string runs.  Mr mando's comparison of unknown to Snoozer Quinn is very apt, for his sound has more in common with Quinn's than with any well-known Country Blues guitarist.  The other thing that sets him apart from other Country Blues guitarists is his fondness for sixth chords.  He uses them not only for the little partial fingering on his first three strings but also for an F6 chord, 1-X-3-2-3 early in the song at :27-:29 and a C6 at the 8th fret at :30-:32 and an Ab6 at :33. 
Good hearing, everybody!  I hope that my representation of where the phrases were fretted and where they fall relative to the pulse is clear. 
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: One-Eyed Ross on August 22, 2014, 07:49:07 PM
I was off by a fourth on this one (or a fifth, depending on which way you go)....man, I need to get my ear calibrated or something.

I was hearing 9ths, not 6ths....

Back to the drawing board.

But please, keep these coming.  I enjoy them, even if I'm really wrong.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on August 23, 2014, 06:40:07 AM
What Ross said!

Cheers

Pan
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on August 23, 2014, 09:10:08 AM
Hi all,
I've got a new poser for you.  It is "Gas Station Blues", performed by Skoodle Dum Doo and Sheffield, who also did "Tampa Blues", a couple of pages back in the thread.  The duo only recorded four titles, and I just like their music.

Skoodle Dum Doo And Sheffield - Gas Ration Blues (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4EzU8oLrQo#)

SOLO

I've got the gas ration blues, keeps me worried all the time
I've got the gas ration blues, keeps me worried all the time
I can't get in the country to see that lovin' gal of mine

I would go to the country but I can't get no gasoline
I would go to the country but I can't get no gasoline
I want somebody to tell me, when has they seen Josephine

Josephine, Josephina, where you been so long?
Tell me, Josephina, where you been so long?
I would have been to see you, baby, but all my gas is gone

SOLO


The questions are:
   * What playing position/tuning is used to play the piece?
   * Where, relative to capo position if there is a capo, is the walk-down from :16-:19 fretted?
   * Where is the tremolo passage at the beginning of the solo, 2:01-2:03 fretted?
Please use only your ears and your instruments to come up with your answers.  Please don't post any answers before Sunday, August 24.  Thanks for your participation.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: mr mando on August 24, 2014, 11:51:41 AM
Hey guys, I don't want to be the first one with an answer every time, so please step forward!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on August 24, 2014, 12:27:05 PM
And I don't always want to be second. With the wrong answer!

Sent from my HUAWEI MT1-U06 using Tapatalk

Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: harvey on August 24, 2014, 01:05:51 PM
I will have a go however I am in deepest darkest Cornwall with no guitar or decent internet connection.

Will say A position capo second fret
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: mr mando on August 24, 2014, 03:11:59 PM
My guesses would be the following:

Q: What playing position/tuning is used to play the piece?
A: Standard Tuning G Position (capo at 4th fret). for the IV chord (C), I hear a thumb roll from the root to the third (C to E), which doesn't exclude open G or std./A Position, but makes them very improbable. Additionally, there's a II7-V7 progression in the form where you usually have a V7-IV Progression, and here I think I hear the low root of the II chord ring like an open string, which would make it an A7.

Q: Where, relative to capo position if there is a capo, is the walk-down from :16-:19 fretted?
A: Instead of explaining it, is it OK if I post this little tab (position realtive to capo placement)?

-|-----------------|-----
-|-----3---2---1---|-0---
-|-----0---0---0---|-0---
-|-0-3---2---1---0-|-----
-|-----------------|-----
-|-----------------|-----
   1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +   1


Q: Where is the tremolo passage at the beginning of the solo, 2:01-2:03 fretted?
A: realtive to capo placement,  1st string 3rd fret and 2nd string 4th fret bent up a half note, as the lower voice seems to be a bit "wavy".
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on August 24, 2014, 03:35:05 PM
I originally thought half Spanish capoed at 4th fret with the turnaround as man do has it. I then settled for A with capo at 2 as suggested by Harvey. The turnaround would then be frets 5Ö 4Ö3Öon the second string. Without a guitar to hand I'll need to pass in the tremolo passage!

Sent from my HUAWEI MT1-U06 using Tapatalk
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on August 24, 2014, 04:11:41 PM
Hi all.

I think I'll agree with Harvey and Professor Scratchy on A-position standard tuning, pitched at around B. The treble licks could mostly be played in more than one position, I believe, which makes figuring this one out a little tough.

I believe I'm hearing a low V note on the 6th string at times, which would put G-position out, although I too considered it first, as the treble licks would fall quite naturally in it.

The chord shapes are a little unusual for A-position, so I considered Spanish as well. After some experimenting though, I think the treble licks are little too difficult in Spanish, so I'll settle with A in standard after all. 

Quote
* Where, relative to capo position if there is a capo, is the walk-down from :16-:19 fretted?

I believe he plays the walk-down on strings 4 and 2, chromatically on frets 5-4-3-2, same frets on both strings, and interjects the open 1st string at times.

Quote
* Where is the tremolo passage at the beginning of the solo, 2:01-2:03 fretted?

In A-position it would be fretted on the 1st string 5th fret, and 2nd string 7th fret, if I'm not mistaken.

Cheers

Pan
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Gumbo on August 24, 2014, 04:53:36 PM
I couldn't ignore the previous replies today so I'm going with G position capo'd at 4. I can't get  A position to sound right so it may be an alt tuning but standard out of G sounds pretty  good.

The :16-:19 turnround is fretted on the 4th and 3rd strings. 3rd open and 4th fretted 5,3,2,0 which sounds nothing like what everyone else has so I wonder if I'm listening to the same thing?
EDIT the tremeloe bit sounds like a Dm shape at the 3rd fret playing mainly the 1st and second strings

AND this morning i hear the 4,3,2 on the 3rd string quite clearly. weird. ah well i have two walkdowns for G now :)
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: One-Eyed Ross on August 24, 2014, 07:21:47 PM
G position, capoed at 4 (key of B).

Turn around...and now, for something completely different...I hear 4th string 5th fret, 3rd string 4, 3, 2

The tremolo sounds to me to be a B chord played as a D shape on the 7th fret.

Although, putting this in Spanish with capo at 4 plays so well, I might just do that...
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: mr mando on August 25, 2014, 03:12:10 AM
I just realized that I have the tab partially upside down. Here's what I wanted to type:


-|-----------------|-----
-|---3---2---1---0-|-----
-|---0---0---0---0-|-----
-|-0---3---2---1---|-0---
-|-----------------|-----
-|-----------------|-----
   1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +   1

Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Lastfirstface on August 25, 2014, 08:43:11 AM
I was trying out some of the positions that have been suggested and found something on the recording that threw me for a loop. I feel like I keep hearing a very low B root on the sixth string being thumped away at. Could he be playing in vestapol tuned down to B and fingering the lead licks up near the 12th on the first string?

 At 1:22 it sounds like he fingers up a whole step and hits a low Db (C# if we're in the key of B) twice on the sixth string followed by two notes on the open 5th string (F#) at about 1:25. He repeats this turn-around at 1:52.

Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on August 25, 2014, 09:52:41 AM
Hi all,
Thanks for your participation, it's great to have so many people posting answers.  Whichever of Skoodle Dum Doo and Sheffield that was the guitarist was doing the following on "Gas Ration Blues".

The song was played out of G position in standard tuning, as mr mando, Gumbo and One-Eyed Ross had it.  There are a number of things that give away the G position.  I'm just wondering, did any of you re-listen to "Tampa Blues", which the same guitarist played out of A position in standard tuning?  The reason I ask is because the two pieces are pitched identically, and I'm sure the harp player used the same harp, but they sound so different in the guitar parts.  In "Tampa Blues", the guitarist used the thumb-wrapped D7 for his IV chord.  In "Gas Ration Blues", he's pretty clearly working out of a C position for his IV chord, because he most often does a thumb roll, a la Blake from the fifth to the fourth string in the C shape for his IV chord.  Also, in "Gas Ration Blues", when he goes to his II7 chord in the ninth bar, it very much has an A7 sound in the treble, with the root of the chord in the bass on the fifth string.  To get that sound out of a II7 chord working out of the A position, you'd have to finger a B7 chord X-2-4-4-4-5, not an impossible stretch but an awkward one, and one not encountered in the vast majority of Country Blues guitar playing I've heard.  "Tampa Blues" abounds in low roots for its V7 chord, E7 working out of the A position, but "Gas Ration Blues" has no low roots for its V chord, D, which is very de-emphasized.
The turn-around at :16-:19 is pretty much exactly as mr mando had it in his most recent version, a chromatic walk-down on the fourth and second strings from the third fret on each string down to the open string, with the I note sounding on the third string through-out the course of the walk-down.  The walk-down is an unusual one, because normally walk-downs involve taking the third of the chord on one string down to the root of the chord and the fifth of the chord down to the third of the chord, as in the E walk-down between the first and third strings, coming down from the fourth fret.  It walks as follows, with the voices on each string indicated as it descends:

1st string fret  4    3    2    0
 chord voice    III bIII  II    R
3rd string fret  4    3    2    1
 chord voice    V    bV   IV  III

In "Gas Station Blues", the walk-down is considerably more exotic and eccentric-sounding because of the voices of the chord the walk-down starts at on the second and fourth strings:

2nd string fret   3    2    1    0
 chord voice      V    bV   IV   III
4th string fret   3    2     1    0
chord voice     bVII  VI   bVI  V

Truthfully, the walk-down ends up being really gnarly to harmonize, but in general, if you can hear where in a chord a walk-down starts from and ends up on the strings involved, it can really help you figure it out.

The tremolo passage that starts the solo at 2:01-2:03 is fingered at the third fret of the first string and the fifth fret of the second string, with the third fret of the first string being ever so slightly bent.  It's kind of a surprising double stop to play over a G chord, because the notes, E on the second string and G on the first string are a sixth and a root, relative to G.  It is a much more common double stop to play against a C chord, where the same notes are the third and the fifth of the C chord.

I think I may have caused some confusion by saying "Where did the guitarist play the phrases, relative to capo position?".  A clearer way to express the meaning I was going for would be to say, "Where would the phrase have been fretted if the piece was played without a capo?"  I'm sorry for any confusion I may have caused with that.  I hope you'll go back and compare "Tampa Blues" and "Gas Ration Blues" if you haven't done that yet, because I think it will clarify the difference in the playing positions a lot.  Thanks for your participation.
All best,
Johnm   
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: One-Eyed Ross on August 25, 2014, 10:19:43 AM
Thanks for the update. 

Although, I think I'm going to do this in Spanish.  I like the sound of it....

Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on August 27, 2014, 03:35:45 PM
Hi all,
I've got a new puzzler for you.  The song is Bull City Red's "I Won't Be Dogged Around", and the questions are as follows:

Bull City Red - I Wonīt Be Dogged Around (George Washington) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8bPcvX5HcY#ws)

INTRO

Now, you said you been worried, havin' trouble all of your life
Well, you said you been worried, havin' trouble all of your life
But you never had no trouble 'til you fall for another man's wife

When you get a woman of your own and make her happy, night and day
When you get a woman of your own, make her happy, night and day
Then she'll fall for some no-good man and pretty soon she'll go astray

Lawdy, Lawdy, Lawdy, Lawdy, Law
Lawdy, Lawdy, Lawdy, Lawdy, Lawd
Lawd, the woman I love treats me like a doggone dog

But I ain't no dog and I won't be dogged around
Mmmm, I ain't no dog and I won't be dogged around
Before I stand your doggin', babe, I'll leave this town

SOLO

Don't the moon look pretty, shinin' down on them trees?
Don't the moon look pretty, shinin' on them trees?
And I can see my little woman, but she can't see me

SOLO


   * What playing position/tuning does he use to play the song?
   * The song opens with him playing brushed triplets in the treble.  Assuming he was not playing with a capo and was sounding in the same key as the position he was playing in, where would he have fretted those three different places he brushes the triplets?
   * Describe the form of the song, either indicating the chords he used to play it or numeric designations, like I, IV and V.
   * His signature lick has two different versions.  Where does he fret the version that he plays from :21-:23, and where does he fret the version he plays from :47-:50?
   * Where does he fret his final walk-down, from 3:03-3:05?

Please use only your ears and your instruments to figure out your answers, and please don't post any answers before Friday morning, August 29, so that lots of folks can have an opportunity to figure out their answers without being too swayed by answers that have already been posted.  Thanks!
All best,
Johnm
 
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: One-Eyed Ross on August 29, 2014, 07:54:22 AM
Oh, the joy of listening to music.  At first, I thought this was a Blind Boy Fulle song....has that kind of feel to it.

This sounds like a simple I-IV-I-IV-V-IV-I song...at first.

What I can say is I believe this is in E flat.  After that, I'm real confused.  If it were a Blind Willie song, I'd say he was tuned down standard and playing E flat out a C shape, but the base doesn't sound low enough for that.  Then I thought maybe tuned down a bit and playing out of D position....maybe.  But what works for me is using a capo and playing a C shape, with that BBF sound to it.

Since I can't get the position/tuning right, I'll leave the rest to someone else....

Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on August 29, 2014, 08:15:28 AM
Yeah, it definitely has a Blind Boy Fuller feel to it.  Apologies for the brevity of this but I've got to dash and haven't been able to give it all the time it deserves but here's what I've got:
Capo on 3rd fret and played out of C as One Eyed Ross suggests.
Opening brushed triplets are 1st string 3rd fret, 2nd str 5th fret, then moving up one and a half steps (but I've not fully convinced myself on this)
Form of the song - sorry, ran out of time
Signature lick: I got as 2nd string going down 4,3,2,1 frets; open 3rd str; 1st str going down 3,2,1 frets then 2nd str 4th fret 2nd str 1st fret.  This what I got for the first one but didn't have time to figure out the other fingering
The walked down goes from 3rd str 9 fret and 2nd str 8 fret down a half step till you end up at the 5th fret on the 2 ?& 3 strings.

Phew, not at all familiar with Bull City Red, bet he got fed up of folk telling him he sounded like Blind Boy Fuller.....

Got to go......looking forward to any other thoughts and the answer.

All the best

Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on August 29, 2014, 10:07:46 AM
OK, here's my take on the questions, in order of appearance (though I failed miserably on the second version of the signature lick)!

1 standard tuning C position capo 3rd fret

2 string/fret: 1/3 2/5: 1/5 2/7: 1/3 2/5: 1/1 2/3

3 IV///  I/ V/ 1/I V///  I/ V/ 1/ V/// 1/ V/ I/

4 string/fret: 5/3: 2/4310: 6/3: 2/0: 1/3210 to C chord

5 3rd and 2nd string fretted at 8/7/6 to C chord
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: mr mando on August 29, 2014, 10:22:18 AM
Here's what I hear:

Q: What playing position/tuning does he use to play the song?
A: C position standard / tuning capoed up

Q: The song opens with him playing brushed triplets in the treble.  Where would he have fretted those three different places he brushes the triplets?
A: first and second strings 3/5, then 5/7, then 2/4, then back to 3/5

Q: Describe the form of the song.
A: the solos differ a little, but for the verses I would say: IV - IV - I/V - I - IV - IV - I/V - I - V - V - I/V - I

Q: His signature lick has two different versions.  Where does he fret the version that he plays from :21-:23, and where does he fret the version he plays from :47-:50?
A: I hear only a small difference for those two licks, and I guess they're both played in first position.

The version he plays from :21-:23 would be:

C chord on beat one, a triplet on the second string 3b-3-1 (3b would be 3rd fret bent up a half step), on beat three broken triplet with open B string with a G in the bass (V chord) and 3rd fret first string, 4th beat triplet on top string 2-1-0, then a C chord with the high G on the top tring for beat one of the next bar.

The version he plays from :47-:50 differs only on beats three and four to my ear. Beat three triplet open B string with a G in the bass-3rd fret first string- 2nd fret first string, 4th beat triplet first string first fret- second string fourth fret-first string open, then again a C chord with the high G on the top string for the next bar.

Q: Where does he fret his final walk-down, from 3:03-3:05?
A: first and second strings 3/5, 2/4, 1/3, 0/1, as indicated by the G7-C chord change right after, which sound like typical first position chords to me.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: banjochris on August 29, 2014, 10:40:31 AM
Phew, not at all familiar with Bull City Red, bet he got fed up of folk telling him he sounded like Blind Boy Fuller.....

Since he was Fuller's regular washboard player, my guess is he wouldn't have been too upset :)
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Gumbo on August 29, 2014, 04:42:30 PM
I'm in on the C position capo'd at 3

seems like he applies the play it twice rule to the triplets. I'm guessing the 2/4 was accidental. 3/5 5/7 2/4 3/5
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on August 29, 2014, 05:13:50 PM
Hi all

Agreed on C position, sounding at around E flat.

I think Mr. Mando nailed the brushed triplets.

As for the song form, the intro and solo are 8 bars long, with an implied II chord, as Mr. Mando had in describing the triplets. The vocal verse is 12 bars long, starting with the IV chord:

||: IV | IV | I V | I |

| IV | IV | I V | I |

| V | V | I V | I :||

I think Mr. Mando nailed the signature licks as well.

For the final walk down, I hear a little surprising run-down in minor thirds, instead of the usual major thirds that you would expect: 1st string 3rd fret/ 2nd string 4th fret; then move the same fingering down chromatically one fret; then another; then  open 1st string/2nd string 1st fret; then followed by G7 and C chords.

Cheers

Pan








Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on August 29, 2014, 08:22:05 PM
Hi all,
Thanks to all of you who responded.  I'm happy that every single responder had the playing position right--C position, sounding at around E flat.  As for the other questions that were asked, the answers are as follows:
   * The form of the song, for the sung portions, is a 12-bar blues with the first two four-bar phrases starting on the IV chord.  The last two bars of each of the 4-bar phrases are harmonically identical because that is where Bull City Red played his signature lick.  So the form, which was correctly identified by mr mando and Pan, is:

   |    IV    |    IV    |  I  V   |    I    |

   |    IV    |    IV    |  I  V   |    I    |

   |    V     |     V     |  I  V   |    I    |
   * The three double stops that Bull City Red played at the beginning of the song were correctly identified by mr mando, Gumbo and Pan.  On the first two strings, going from second string to first, they were 5-3, 7-5, 4-2 5-3.
   *  The versions of the signature lick from :21-:23 and from :47-:50 were correctly identified by mr mando.  I think it is interesting that two versions of the lick consist of the same notes, but that the second version arrives at the brushed 1-3 on the second and first strings on the last note of the fourth beat triplet, while the earlier version of the signature lick doesn't arrive at the same place until the downbeat of the fourth measure.
   * Pan had the concluding walk-down correct.  It is definitely an odd one, because normally walk-downs start with two harmonizing chord tones, most often the third and the fifth, but sometimes the fifth and the bVII.  Bull City Red's walks down chromatically, on the second and first strings as listed here, from 4-3 to 3-2 to 2-1 to 1-0.  If we look at those notes, we see that one reason the walk-down has an odd cast to it is that he begins with a bIII on the second string and a V note on the first string.  Here's what he ends up with:

Second string frets:   4   3   2   1
Second string notes: Eb D  Db  C
First string frets:       3   2   1   0
First string notes:     G  F#  F   E

The Db-F double stop is a particularly odd-sounding one in the key of C, but the whole walk-down has a slightly twisted quality to it.

I feel like people are basically hearing things pretty well, and in fact every question about the song was answered correctly by at least one or more people.  Good work!  I really like this song and hope to hear one of you play it some day.  Thanks for participating.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: One-Eyed Ross on August 29, 2014, 09:44:26 PM
Thanks, John, for the update - I confess I was confused at first when you talked about "assuming he was not playing with a capo..."  Took me a few minutes to understand what you were meaning...(I'm easily confused some days, she tells me)....

It is a great tune, and now that greater brains than mine have dissected it a bit more than I did, I will be adding this one to my list.  As you said, it is a great tune....gotta work on them licks. 

Keep this going.  Love it.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: blueshome on August 30, 2014, 06:37:47 AM
Just got to this as I've been away from the internet and JM has now trumped anything that could be said. The form felt to me like a 16bar blues with the first 4 bars omitted.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on August 31, 2014, 02:46:53 PM
Hi all,
I've got a new puzzler for those who are interested.  The song is "West Side Blues", as performed by Willie Harris on guitar and an un-named pianist.  Here is the performance:

https://youtu.be/gs3IV5I3L2o

The questions for "West Side Blues" are as follows:
   * What playing position/tuning did Willie Harris use to play the song?
   * Where is he fretting the position he begins the form with at :08-:09?
   * What is he fretting at :13-:14, as he winds up his first four bars?
   * What are the five places he frets the descending passage on two treble strings, from 2:29-2:34?

As always, please use only your ears and instrument to come up with your answers.  Please don't post any answers until Tuesday morning, September 2.  Answer as many or as few of the questions as you wish.  I hope you enjoy listening to the tune.  I love this duo's time.  Thanks for participating.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Gumbo on September 02, 2014, 04:02:40 AM
Ok here's my go at it. Who is the vocalist and does she mention West Side blues at all?

position/tuning of F/standard

fretting a D shape F at the 5th and 6th (xxx565) at 08s

at 13s it sounds like 3rd string 8,7,5,open - 4th string 7 - 3rd string 5 - 4th string open,5,3

the descending riff 2:28 sounds like (1st/2nd strings)
13/11 (x4)
11/9 (x4)
10/8 (x4)
8/6 (x2)
5/3
3/1
1/1
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on September 02, 2014, 05:29:23 AM
In agreement with F/standard tuning.  For the bit at 8 secs, the D position at the 5th & 6th fret sounds a little bit flat to me.  I'm hearing it more at the 8th & 9th fret (1st, 2nd str respectively).  The run that follows this, I'm getting 2nd str: 4th, 3rd 1st fret, 3rd str 1st fret hammer on to 2nd fret. then 5th str 3rd fret, open 4th str followed by 4ht str at 3rd fret.

For the 5 descending positions, I'm having real trouble hearing where the first one is but I'm going for the D position right up at the 12th & 13th fret, and bringing that down to 10th & 11th fret; 8th & 9th fret, 5th & 6th fret and ending on 1st str/1st fret, 2nd str/3rd fret, but not all together confident on that.

All the best,
L
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: blueshome on September 02, 2014, 07:43:34 AM
Agree key of F. Not sure whether it's dropped D or Vestapol though. the licks on the 1st 2 strings would be the same except moved up 2 frets, i.e. 5/6bend or 7/8 bend. Struggling like Ned with the descending lick.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on September 02, 2014, 12:13:56 PM
Hi all,
Any other takers for "West Side Blues"?  Come one, come all!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: mr mando on September 02, 2014, 12:16:49 PM
It's sounding in F, that's for sure. I first thought it's in E position standard Tuning capoed on the first fret, but the chord at 0:13 is putting this in D Position, standard tuning for me. So the answers would be as follows:

Q: What playing position/tuning did Willie Harris use to play the song?
A: D Position, standard tuning (capo III). Could also be dropped D, as I don't hear a low root under the IV chord, but I don't hear a low D note either.

Q: Where is he fretting the position he begins the form with at 0:08-0:09?
A: 5th fret (relative to capo) on both the first and second string (probably with ring finger and pinky), the second string note bent up almost a whole step repeatedly.

Q: What is he fretting at 0:13-0:14, as he winds up his first four bars?
A: a D9 chord without 3rd, fingered (low to high) 0-2-1-0 (relative to the capo) on the top four strings

Q: What are the five places he frets the descending passage on two treble strings, from 2:29-2:34?
A: low to high: 5bb-5; 6-7; 6-5; 3-2; 1-0; (bb means bent more than a half note)

My ears are not fast enough for the runs today, so I don't know what he's playing between 0:09 and 0:13
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: uncle bud on September 02, 2014, 02:35:26 PM
No appropriately tuned instrument at hand to check, but listening to the song, I agree with mr mando. Harris is playing out of D position, capoed up, IMO.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on September 02, 2014, 04:26:34 PM
I'm currently away from proper listening means, and a guitar, so I'll have to pass on this one. I'm happy to see many paticipants already.

Cheers

Pan
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on September 03, 2014, 07:16:15 AM
Hi all,
Thanks for your responses on "West Side Blues".  Here are the answers to the questions that were asked.
   * Willie Harris played the song out of D position in standard tuning, as mr mando and uncle bud had it.  The late Michael Stewart recorded a solo version of the song, for which he chose to accompany himself out of dropped-D tuning, but there is no aural evidence that Willie Harris used that tuning for his rendition.
   * At :08-:09, Willie Harris is fretting the first string at the fifth fret and bending the second string at the sixth fret.  He may be using a D shape to do this, but since he's not hitting the third string, there is know way of knowing for sure.
   * Willie Harris winds up his first four bars by hitting the first fret of the second string and the open first string, emphasizing the bVII and the 9 note of the D chord to set up the movement to his IV chord, G.  Buddy Moss went for a similar sound on his "New Lovin' Blues", though Buddy added the open third string in there, giving himself a very uptown-sounding D9sus.
   * In the passage from 2:29-2:34, Willie Harris moved the fingering he used at :08-:09 down the neck progressively from 10th fret first string and bent 11th fret second string, to seventh fret first string and 8th fret second string, to fifth fret first string and bent sixth fret second string, to second fret first string and third fret second string, to open first string and first fret of the second string.  The same downward movement on the first string from root to VI to V to III to II was used by Frank Stokes on "Frank Stokes' Dream" and Charlie Patton on "Green River Blues", but out of E position in standard tuning, and harmonizing the first string movement with the same fret on the third string.  Willie Harris is the first player I can recall having gone for that descending harmonized sound out of D position in standard tuning.  Incidentally, Gumbo correctly identified the left hand movement Willie Harris made relative to the playing position he (Gumbo) selected.

Thanks for participating to those who posted answers.  Perhaps "West Side Blues" is another indication not to set too much store by the key in which a rendition sounds.  If you listen to how the left hand is used, where hammers and bends fall and so on, you'll probably get a better sense of the position used to play the song.  I think the next puzzler I post will just be a series of performances in which the only questions for each is the playing position/tuning.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on September 03, 2014, 11:31:07 AM
Hi all,
Here are some more puzzlers.  First from Jimmy Murphy:

JIMMY MURPHY Shanty Boat Blues (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjvRV2jKRRU#)

INTRO

I wants to stand on the levee, feel that muddy water in my shoes (spoken: yeah)
I wants to stand on the levee, feel that muddy water in my shoes
I wants to let this old river wash away my blues (spoken:  yes, yes)

SOLO (Spoken during solo:  Pick it, boy!  Pick that thing!)

I got a shanty on the river, and the door is open wide (spoken: yes)
I got a shanty on the river, and the door is open wide
I got a long tall mama, livin' on the other side (spoken: yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)

SOLO

She's got no money, no diamonds on her hand (spoken:  Sing 'em, Jimmy!  Sing them blues!)
She's got no money, no diamonds on her hand
She's just a shanty-boatin' mama, but she loves her shanty-boatin' man (spoken: yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, man)

SOLO (Spoken: Sounds pretty!)

Feelin' kind of lonesome with this muddy water in my shoes
Feelin' kind of lonesome with this muddy water in my shoes
That steamboat whistle makes a good man want to move (spoken: Yeah, I'm gone)

OUTRO

   * What position/tuning did Jimmy Murphy play "Shanty Boat Blues out of?

Next, from Tarheel Slim (Alden Bunn), we have "Wild Cat Tamer":

Tarheel Slim - Wildcat tamer (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a713TRQWzBs#)

INTRO

I'm a wild cat tamer and I'm going to try my hand on you
I'm a wild cat tamer and I'm going to try my hand on you
When I got you, baby, I'm gonna see what I can do

You had Tom, Dick and Harry eating out of your hand
But when I get you, baby, I'm gonna bring you under my command
REFRAIN: I'm a wild cat tamer and I'm going to try my hand on you
When I got you, baby, I'm gonna see what I can do

You had Tom doin' the dishes, Dick was scrubbin' the floors
You had Harry washing and ironing, but oh, baby, oh
REFRAIN: I'm a wild cat tamer and I'm going to try my hand on you
When I got you, baby, I'm gonna see what I can do

I've tamed lions in the jungle, horses on the range
But when I get you, baby, there's gonna be a brand new change
REFRAIN: I'm a wild cat tamer and I'm going to try my hand on you
When I got you, baby, I'm gonna see what I can do

SOLO

I've tamed lions in the jungle, horses on the range
Now when I get you, baby, there's gonna be a brand new change
REFRAIN: I'm a wild cat tamer and I'm going to try my hand on you
When I got you, baby, I'm gonna see what I can do
When I get you, baby, I'm gonna see what I can do
When I get you, baby, I'm gonna see (fade) 


   * What position/tuning did Tarheel Slim use to play "Wild Cat Tamer"?

Lastly, from Georgia Slim, "New Root Man Blues":

https://youtu.be/GZu4tv77WzI

SOLO

Well, I'll tell you people, got another root man in town
Hoo well, got another root man's in town
Well, well, they don't be careful, hoo-well-well, they take your wife and leave town

He's a root man, and he's 'round every night
Hoo-well-well, he's 'round every night
Well, well, he's around, hoo-well-well, for another man's wife

SOLO (Spoken: Hey, you gotta be careful with that root man 'cause he done took my wife.  Love a root man.

Well, I'll tell you mens, all of them crazy as that root man's in town
Hoo-well, they crazy as a root man in town
Well, well, they go 'round a-screamin', hoo-well-well, "This root man is in town."

Well, I'm goin' out, I'm goin' 'round just in town
Hoo-well, I'm goin' 'round in town
Just because I'm in love, hoo-well-well, that root man is 'bout to knock me out of town

Well, he's a careful man, and he don't care about what he do
Hoo-well, He don't care about what he do
Well, well, he take your woman, hoo-well-well, they leave town, too

Well, I ain't singin' no more just because I'm goin' out of town
Hoo-well, you know that I'm goin' out of town
Well, that root man done done damage, hoo-well-well, now your love can't be found



   * What position/tuning did Georgia Slim use to play "New Root Man Blues"?

Please use only your ears and your instrument to figure these out, and please wait until Friday, September 5, to post your answers.  Thanks for participating.

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: jpeters609 on September 03, 2014, 12:06:07 PM
I think that the lead guitar on "Wildcat Tamer" (as well as its flip, "Number 9 Train") was handled by Wild Jimmy Spruill.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on September 03, 2014, 12:19:51 PM
Hi Jeff,
"No. 9 Train" was played by Wild Jimmy Spruill, but "Wildcat Tamer" is Tarheel Slim all the way.  He played the very same accompaniment on his Trix album as a solo number with a different title.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Annabel on September 05, 2014, 05:38:03 AM
Ok, here's my first go at this game:

They sound to me like they're all in standard tuning as follows:

Shanty boat blues: G position, key of G
Wildcat Tamer: E position, key of B
New Root Man Blues: A position, key of A
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Gumbo on September 05, 2014, 06:59:39 AM
i agree they all sound like standard
so I think:
G position
B7 position (o212o2)
A position
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on September 05, 2014, 07:24:32 AM
What Gumbo said.

Sent from my HUAWEI MT1-U06 using Tapatalk

Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on September 05, 2014, 07:36:04 AM
Yep, agree with Shanty Boat Blues in G and New Root Man Blues in A, both standard tuning.  Didn't get around to Wild Cat Tamer unfortunately.  Just out of curiosity, how does someone get the name of "Peanut the Kidnapper" (see New Root Man Blues CD pic).  There's got to be a story behind that.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on September 05, 2014, 12:35:18 PM
Hi all,
Any other takers for Jimmy Murphy, Tarheel Slim and Georgia Slim?  Come one, come all!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on September 05, 2014, 11:10:05 PM
Hi all,
The playing positions are as follows:
   * Jimmy Murphy's "Shanty Boat Blues"--Vestapol tuning.  If you listen to his IV chord, 0-2-0-1-0-0, and V7 chord, 2-0-2-1-0-2, behind his singing, they don't sound anything like the IV and V7 chord in either G position in standard tuning or E position in standard tuning.  He does a neat rock in the bass under his I chord, hitting the open fifth string, then fretting it at the second fret, just suggesting a IV chord.
   * Tarheel Slim's "Wild Cat Tamer"--B (B7) position in standard tuning.  This is a really nifty piece, and he keeps coming back to a IV9 chord, E9, at the base of the neck, 0-X-2-1-3-2, that sounds great.
   * Georgia Slim's "New Root Man Blues"--A position in standard tuning.  Everyone had this one right.
Thanks for participating, and I hope you enjoyed the tunes.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on September 07, 2014, 11:13:53 AM
Hi all,
I've got a new puzzler for you.  It is Johnny Shines' rendition of "Tennessee Woman Blues".  Johnny probably hasn't received as much credit or discussion around here as he deserves, for he was a wonderful player and singer, especially.  Here is "Tennessee Woman Blues":

https://youtu.be/RwPjmqmtABk

I'm gonna sit down and write a letter and mail it to Tennessee
I'm gonna sit down, write a letter, mail it to Tennessee
I'm just wild about my baby, wonder do she ever think of poor me

She got ways like an angel, she got calls just like a dove
She got way like an angel, whoo, she got calls just like a dove
And every time she smile, whoo-hoo, now come my love

Now wake up, sweet mama, please don't sleep too late
You know your brownskin daddy is standin' at your gate, said, he cryin'
Ple-ease, plea-ease, don't do me wrong
Well, I'm just a strange man here, mama, whoo-hoo, I'm a long way from my home

SOLO

My Tennessee woman, she got two teeth solid gold
Ye-e-es, my Tennessee woman, she got two teeth solid gold
And every time I kiss her, whoo-hoo, I swear my blood run cold   

The questions for "Tennessee Woman Blues" are:
   * What playing position/tuning did Johnny Shines use to play the song?
   * Where is Johnny fretting the shuffle back-up that he plays from :19--:23?
   * Where does Johnny fret the turn-around run that he plays over the I chord, from :40--:42?
   * Where does Johnny fret the triplet fills at 1:33--1:35?
   * Where does Johnny fret the concluding chords he plays, from 2:44--2:48, and what are they?

Please use only your ears and instruments in figuring out your answers, and please don't post any answers prior to Tuesday, September 9, so that plenty of people will get a chance to listen and formulate their answers before seeing other posters responses to the questions.  I hope you enjoy the song and thanks for participating.

Edited 10/28 to pick up lyrics from Johnm
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: joe paul on September 09, 2014, 04:02:48 AM
Ok, I think Johnny Shines is playing in the A position, tuned up a semitone or capoed at the first fret, and the shuffle movement at :19 -  :23 is on the A chord, going from second to fourth fret on the d string.
The run on the turn-around sounds like the open 1st string, 2nd string 4th fret, 3rd fret then a nasty little bend up on the first fret with the open first sounding. Then 2nd string first fret, third fret, first fret and down to the root note at the 2nd fret  with the 3rd string.
I think the triplets at 1:33 are the third fret on the 1st string and the fifth fret on the 2nd string, with a slide coming up on the b string to get there.
I still haven't found the concluding chords, damn.
It's a pleasure finally joining in with this, thanks !

Gordon
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Gumbo on September 09, 2014, 06:54:19 AM
I tuned to an open A position EAEAC#E and capo'd on 1 to sound in Bb

fret positions relative to the capo:
0:19-0:23 5th and 4th strings  open and fretting the 4th at 2

0:39-0:43 hopefully looks something like this
-   -  o  -  - -  - -  - o
1 2h -  2 1 o  - o 1h- 1 o
-   -   -  -  -  -  - -  -  - -  - o

1:33 triplets are at 1st string 5th fret and 2nd string 6th fret (relative to capo on 1)

I'm still puzzling over the closing chords
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: One-Eyed Ross on September 09, 2014, 08:01:57 AM
I've been so busy getting high school football and soccer concessions up and running, I haven't had much time lately...so here is what I have so far:

B flat, but instead of A position I have in in G (standard tuning, capo 3).   I think the bass notes sound right this way (but willing to admit my ears aren't as good as they could be, which is why I do this exercise!)

The rest of it I haven't had time to figure out...next week should be slower for me, so I'll keep plugging away at these.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: mr mando on September 09, 2014, 08:33:05 AM
Q: What playing position/tuning did Johnny Shines use to play the song?
A: Spanish at Bb. It's definitely a position which lends itself to the boogie bass and still has the low V available for a bass note. A position in standard would be another possibility, but there are some spots where I seem to hear the third of the I chord ringing, which is a sound you don't get in in A pos/std.
Q: Where is Johnny fretting the shuffle back-up that he plays from :19--:23?
A: He fingers a basic chord x-0-0-0-3-3 (with ring finger and pinky) and rocks back and forth between open fourth and second fret/fourth string.
Q: Where does Johnny fret the turn-around run that he plays over the I chord, from :40--:42?
A: he starts on beat two with a triplet on the second string: 3-2-1 on beat three a broken triplet: string 3/fret 3-string 2 open, on beat four a triplet (string/fret): 2/1-2/0-3/0
Q: Where does Johnny fret the triplet fills at 1:33--1:35?
A: First and second string third fret, then starting to rock back and forth between 3rd fret and 5th fret on first string
Q: Where does Johnny fret the concluding chords he plays, from 2:44--2:48, and what are they?
A: all strings open, then a barre chord at the fifth fret, then a barre chord at the third fret, all strings open again and then x-0-2-3-0-0 to x-0-3-4-0-0. The chords are C (IV chord), Bb (bIII chord), G, and G7 (with a chromatic lead in).


BTW, I'm sorry I missed the last puzzle. I had listened to all three songs, but had no opportunity to sit down and play along. Just from the sound of it, I recognised A position for the third tune. I've got to admit that I first thought open G (high bass) for the first and D position standard tuning for the second song.

For the last puzzle before that, I have to find a way how to work on the problem that I was off a third from the correct positions. I just didn't hear it correctly. Maybe I should just listen to lots of guitar/piano duets.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: blueshome on September 09, 2014, 08:50:27 AM
I got it in Spanish and the boogie bass but in the absence of a guitar no further.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on September 09, 2014, 09:15:28 AM
Iím sure youíre all right, as Johnny Shines played in Spanish a lot, but just to be different (and without hope of getting it right), Iím going to say:

What playing position/tuning did Johnny Shines use to play the song?

 C standard tuned down to B

 Where is Johnny fretting the shuffle back-up that he plays from :19ó:23?
Rocking his second finger from second fret 5th string to 2nd fret 4th string

 Where does Johnny fret the turn-around run that he plays over the I chord, from :40ó:42?

Descends from fret 3 1st string via frets 2 and 1 to open 1st string then a bend on third fret of 2nd string to first fret 2nd string, then 2nd fret third string back to first fret second string.

 Where does Johnny fret the triplet fills at 1:33Ė1:35?

Third fret first  string

 Where does Johnny fret the concluding chords he plays, from 2:44--2:48, and what are they?

First position C chord, then F, F6 (bend on 3rd fret 2nd string) then back to C7
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: joe paul on September 09, 2014, 11:07:45 AM
Ooops... best tune my guitar to spanish and give it another shot !
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on September 09, 2014, 12:11:27 PM
In agreement with the folks who go for Open G, capo at 3rd fret and in agreement with Mr Mando on the shuffle back-up at 19--:23 and  the turn-around run that he plays over the I chord, from :40--:42.

For the triplet fills at 1:33--1:35 I'm hearing 3 triplets played on first 2 strings barred at the 3rd fret then a run 5fret, 3rd fret on first string, 3rd fret 2nd string, open 3rd string.  The concluding chords he plays, from 2:44--2:48 I need more time on as they sound really weird and wonderful but what I've got so far is the 3rd, 4th and 6th strings barred at the 5th fret, then moved down to the 3rd fret and finishing with a 4th string 3rd fret, then open 3rd, 4th and 6th strings.  But there's more to it than that I'm sure.

I was lucky enough to see Johnny Shines many years ago at the 100 club in London.  Such a powerful voice.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on September 09, 2014, 11:35:35 PM
Hi all,
It doesn't look like there will be any more responses on Johnny Shine's "Tennessee Woman Blues", so I'll post the answers to the questions about how the tune was played.
   * Playing position/tuning for the song was C position in standard tuning (though tuned a bit low).  Kudos to Prof. Scratchy, who was the only responder to identify the position correctly this time.
   * The playing position that Johnny Shine used to play the shuffle at :19--:23 requires a pretty big or limber hand.  He uses the same position Papa Charlie Jackson used to play Bb, but moved up two frets, going from X-3-5-5-5-5 to X-3-7-5-5-5 and back to X-3-5-5-5-5.  I reckon the fingering he used was index finger fretting the third fret of the fifth string, third finger barring the top four strings at the fifth fret and little finger fretting the seventh fret of the fourth string where that comes in.  If you re-listen to that section, listen for the highest-pitched note that Johnny Shines plays on those chords--it is a sixth, and it sort of "comes along for the ride" with that long ring finger barre at the fifth fret, on the first string.
   * The little turn-around run that Johnny Shines plays from :40-:42 starts on beat 2 of the eleventh bar of the form.  On that beat two, he plays a descending triplet on the first string, from the third to the second to the first fret there, as Scratchy had it.  On beat three, he does the Lemon Jefferson trick of playing the fourth fret of the second string and the open first string more or less simultaneously, followed by the open first string on the + of the third beat.  On beat four, he plays another triplet, going from the first fret of the first string to the open first string, and then to the first fret of the second string.  On beat one of the twelfth measure, he re-hits the first fret of the second string, going to a G7 on the first two strings, 0-1, starting on the + of that beat.
   * The triplets he plays from 1:33-1:35 are located at the eight fret of the second string and sixth fret of the first string, so that the eighth fret is the fifth of the C chord and the sixth fret is the bVII of the C chord.
   * The chords he plays at the end of the song, at 2:44-2:48 are F, X-X-3-2-1-1, Fm7 or Ab6, X-X-1-1-1-1, C, X-X-5-5-5-X, B, X-X-4-4-4-X, and C, X-X-5-5-5-X

Thanks to all of you who participated, and it's great to see people participating for the first time.  When I first found this song on youtube last week, I was really surprised to hear Johnny Shines playing in C, since I never thought of him as being a C-type player.  I think a lot of what he plays in some of his runs here is reminiscent of Bill Broonzy's playing in C, though much rougher.  It's neat to be surprised by someone you thought you had pegged.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on September 10, 2014, 01:03:24 AM
At last! Got one right! I saw Johnny Shines many times in the early 70s and never saw him play in C. However, on Kurt Hriczusa's recently unearthed home video of him playing in Vienna, he does have a go at a ragtime progression in C. What took me in the direction of C on this one was the similarity, in a couple of places (and with a wide stretch of imagination) to bits of Memphis Minnie's backing on Chickasaw Train. As others have said, didn't Johnny have the most amazing voice?

Sent from my HUAWEI MT1-U06 using Tapatalk

Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on September 10, 2014, 04:11:35 AM
Wow! C, tuned low!  I'm gob smacked......I mean he looks such an Open G type of guy! :-)  Really, I thought I had this one nailed apart from the last chords.  Amazing. Thanks again, this is a real education.
All the best,
L
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Gumbo on September 10, 2014, 05:14:27 AM
Bravo Professor! I don't recall hearing anything to make it seem like it was tuned low!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: David Kaatz on September 10, 2014, 10:20:58 AM
Wow.
John, I was going to argue with an expert, but I stopped myself to check your solution. In seems much easier to play in A position standard tuning, capoed at first fret as a few people suggested. I was going post that, but missed the deadline.

It would be helpful to explicitly point out the things that reveal this to be C position.

I think that in A, you can do and achieve everything that Johnny is doing, except the turnaround where he does, as you say, the Lemon Jefferson trick of playing the 4th fret 2nd string against the open 1st string. To me that is the definitive indicator of the playing position.

The ending can be closely approximated in A position like this (chords only, not timing):
| 0  2  x  x   x  0
| 2  3  1  2  1  2
| 2  2  2  2  1  2
| 2  4  1  2  1  2
| 0
|

Another great exercise!

Dave
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on September 10, 2014, 01:05:06 PM
Hi Dave,
There are a lot of indicators that Johnny Shines was playing out of C position.  At the opening of the intro, he's rocking between 5-3 and 3-1 on the first two strings in the treble, suggesting movement back and forth from a I chord at 5-3, voiced 3rd-5th from the second string to the first and the V7 chord at 3-1, voiced 5th-7th.  These two positions are commonly used by players working out of C position, as in John Hurt's "Let the Mermaids Flirt With Me".  To get the same sounds relative to A position, Johnny Shines would have to be fretting the double stops at 6-5 and 4-3, going from the third string to the second string.  I wouldn't say that those double stops are not ever used by players in the style, but the use of them is drastically less common than the same sounds in C position.

At about :06 of the intro, John Shines hits a bent II note, resolving it to an unbent II note, all happening over the I chord.  In C position, that is the most common bend employed by people working in that position, with the little finger bending the third fret of the second string and then hitting the same note unbent.  To get the analogous sound in A position, the player would have to bend the fourth fret of the third string, resolving it to the unbent fourth fret of the third string (or open second string).  Such a move is really rare in A position, largely because it is counter-intuitive to do a bend above a finger holding down a barre.  The bend could be free-handed, though, in A position.  Basically, the bend is a C position bend, not an A position bend, though.

The V7 chord that concludes the intro is voiced with a low root in the bass, then up an octave to root-3rd-b7th.  The b7th is the highest voice sounding in the chord.  In A position, this would entail playing an E7 voiced 0-x-2-1-3-X.  Johnny Shine is strumming very freely in his right hand--to avoid hitting the open first string in that E7 chord, he would have to be studiously avoiding hitting it, and he truthfully doesn't sound to be doing anything that carefully.  The V7 chord in C position, G7, would be voiced
3-X-X-0-0-1 to get the same sound.  To my ears, that is clearly the way he gets his sound.  He doesn't hit anything higher than the b7th of the chord, because that is the highest note voiced in the chord, at the first fret of the first string.

At about :58-1:02, Johnny goes to the IV chord in the third verse, the fifth and sixth bars of the form.  He does a shuffle rock in his IV chord, similar to what he does in his I chord, but voiced differently.  His two chords in the IV chord rock are voiced Root-3rd-5th-Root and Root-3rd-6th-Root.  In A position, to play such a rock over the IV chord, D, would involve moving easily and seamlessly from X-5-4-2-3-X to X-5-4-4-3-X, on the interior four strings of the guitar.  I think the first position is implausible, but the ease with which Johnny plays the rocking motion really rules out the possibility.  In C position, the sound of the rock would be achieved by going from an F chord voiced on the top four strings,
X-X-3-2-1-1 to an F6 on the same strings, voiced X-X-3-2-3-1.  Basically, he can hold the F chord down the whole time and just drop his little finger in at the third fret of the second string when he wants to get that 6th note.  It is right under the hand.

There are other indicators which further support the assessment that he was working out of C position in the course of the rendition, but I think what we have up to this point suffices.  Like I said before, I didn't think of Johnny Shines as a player who ever worked in C position, but by the time the intro was over, I knew that was where he was, and everything after that supported that interpretation.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: David Kaatz on September 10, 2014, 03:13:55 PM
I'm too lazy a listener, apparently, to pick most of that up. Practice, practice. That was much more detail than I expected, John. I tend to find something close to the sound and then try to work out the major landmarks within it. The nuances you are noticing then would be lost in my version.
Thanks.

Dave
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on September 10, 2014, 03:36:55 PM
Hi Dave,
It's one of those "devil in the details" kind of things, I think.  But very often, you only need one little window of hearing to make an identification, and it sounds like for you, the sounding of the fourth fret of the second string against the open first string did the trick.  The kind of detail that I went into is very rarely necessary to make an identification--you'd only go to those kind of lengths if you were still on the fence between a couple of positions/tunings after having listened to a song a good bit.  It's not a bad idea, though, to listen through a song even after you're reasonably sure of your identification, just to make sure that what you hear the person playing is going to be playable and accessible in the position/tuning you've selected.  And you're right, practice is the key, in listening as in playing.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on September 11, 2014, 02:57:48 PM
Hi all,
I've got a new puzzler for you.  The musician is Charles Caldwell, and his song is "Alone For A Long Time", which has one of the most infectious and mysterious signature licks I've ever heard--it's right up there with Frankie Lee Sims' "Lucy Mae" for coolness. 

Charles Caldwell - Alone for a Long Time (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_mRqg8nrbU#)

Don't your road look lonesome

When you're all alone

Can't live by yourself

Got to have somebody

Just to touch every night

Road look dark down there

For me to travel all alone

Did you ever start walking

Down that old lonely road

All alone

Don't your road look lonesome

When you're all alone
   

The questions for this one are minimal:
   * What position/tuning is he using to play the song?
   * Where does he fret his signature lick that precedes his singing?  How would you place it relative to the pulse and meter?

Please use only your ears and instruments to figure out your answers to these questions and don't post any responses until Saturday, September 13.  Thanks for participating.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: mr mando on September 13, 2014, 02:33:15 PM
I believe he's basically just rocking back and forth between an A chord and an E chord in standard tuning E position. The key center would be E, so it's a IV-I movement rather than a V-I.

I seem to hear the Riff starting (on beat 2+) with a hammer on on the fifth string from open to second fret (two sixteenth notes), then (on beat 3) open D string (quarter note), then (on beat 4) 5th string 2nd fret again (quarter note), then (next bar on beat 1) open A string with 2nd fret D string (quarter note), then (on beat 2) D and G strings both at 2nd fret (eighth note), then (on beat 2+) hammer on on the fifth string from open to second fret (two sixteenth notes), then (starting on beat 3) four eighth notes: open D string, 2nd fret D String, then open D string, then 3rd fret low E string, then (next bar beat 1) open low E string and on beat 2 5th and 4th string fretted at the 2nd fret (eighth note), on beat 2+ the Riff starts from the top.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on September 13, 2014, 06:30:43 PM
Thanks for your reply, mr mando.  I'm going to leave this tune open for responses until Monday morning.  It may be that people are busy this week-end, or perhaps Charles Caldwell's music is not generating that much interest.  In any event, if any of the rest of you want to give the song a shot, I won't be posting answers until Monday.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: David Kaatz on September 13, 2014, 08:59:19 PM
I'm in pretty close agreement with mr mando. I do hear a low E on the 'and' of 1 when he hits the A chord.
I think it is important to notate the notes that are played simultaneously. I'll attempt to do tab.

  1+2 + 3+4+ 1+2 + 3+4+ 1+2 + 3+4+
E|----------|----------|----------|
B|----------|----------|----------|
G|----------|2---------|1---------|
D|------0---|2-----020-|2-----0---| etc
A|----02--2-|0---020202|2---02--2-|
E|----------|-0-------3|0---------|


Cool lick.
Dave
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on September 14, 2014, 04:46:49 AM
E standard tuning. I think the musician is essential fingering a two fingered E chord and achieving the riff by raising and lowering the finger fretting the second fret of strings 5 and 4 as follows:
5 str hammer on 2 fret
open 4 str
5 str 2 fret
4 string 2 fret + 1st fret  3rd str //
(6str open damped)
5str 2 fret
open 4 str
5str 2 fret
open 4 str
5 str 2 fret
4str 2 fret + 1st fret 3rd str//
(6 str open damped)

I think I hear an open damped 6th str at the points shown, but I'm not sure! The emphasis in the riff is on the partial E chord (//) - but I'm not sufficiently literate musically to be able to express it in writing.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on September 14, 2014, 01:13:38 PM
 Only just got around to this one, away renovating a cottage for the weekend.  I'm hearing E in standard tuning and am getting something close to the signature lick by just fretting the 5th & 4th strings at the 2nd fret. Something like:

E ----------------------------
B------------------------------
G --------_-2-----------------
D ------0---2------0-2-------
A  0h2---2---0h2-----2------
E -----------------------3w--0
   
  The A note on the 3rd string is barely touched I think, with the emphasis being on the E note on the 4th string.  Sometimes he throws in a high E and B on the first and second strings with the low E that ends the lick.  As for placing it relative to the pulse and meter, I haven't got a clue where to start.  Love the tune though.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on September 15, 2014, 03:36:55 PM
Hi all,
Thanks for the responses on Charles Caldwell's "Alone For A Long Time".  It seems like everyone was pretty much in the same ballpark as to how he played his signature lick and what position/tuning he was working out of.  I think some of the differences in the solutions can be attributed to the fact that he did not play the signature lick exactly the same every time he did it.  Here is what I have for it:
   * Playing position/tuning:  E position in standard tuning.  Everybody had this right.  Good!
   * As to where the lick was fretted and how it sits in the pulse, I have it as follows. 

   +    |      1      +      2      +       3      +      4       +      |      1       +      2      +      3      +      4      +
 grace    Open          2nd             2nd          Open Grace      Open    2nd  Open  2nd  2nd       Open   Riff
 note       4th           fret,            fret,          6th    note        4th     fret,   4th   fret   fret        6th  starts
hammer string        5th              3rd          string hammer,  and     4th   and    3rd   5th    string  again   
from                       string           and                   from         3rd     and   3rd  string  and
0 to 2                                         4th                  0 to 2      strings   3rd strings        4th
on 5th                                       strings               on 5th            strings  and          strings
string                                                                 string                          3rd            open
                                                                                                            fret,           6th
                                                                                                            6th          string
                                                                                                           string

I know some of the solutions had the pick-up note leading into the third beat of the measure.  I hear the note following the grace note hammer as the downbeat of the measure, but there is no way of knowing how Charles Caldwell felt the lick (or even whether he thought of it in those terms).

I'd be interested to know how he worked his right hand in playing this lick.  At first, I thought he did it all with his thumb, but the place in the lick where he strikes the third fret of the sixth string while sounding the open fourth and third strings makes that kind of implausible.  Probably he used thumb and index, a la R. L. Burnside.

Thanks for participating, and I'll post another puzzler very soon.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on September 15, 2014, 08:10:05 PM
Hi all,
I have a new puzzler for you.  The song is "Poor Little Angel Girl", as recorded by Dennis McMillon in 1949.  It sure sounds to me like he sings "poor little Injun girl", but that's beside the point, I suppose.  I think this is a terrific cut, and it is exciting to discover really strong later East Coast blues performances, like this and the Skoodle Dum Doo and Sheffield tracks we've been listening to recently.  Here is Dennis McMillon's song:

Dennis McMillon-Poor Little Angel Girl (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2t452gObRw4#)

INTRO

Well, I wonder what's the matter with my poor little old injun girl?
Lord, I wonder what's the matter, poor little old injun girl?
Well, don't nobody know, Lord, she's somewhere in the world

SOLO

Well, the people been tellin' me that she gone on 'cross the sea
Well, the people been tellin' me, goin' on 'cross the sea
If I don't find that woman, you gonna have to bury me

SOLO (spoken:  Play it, man!  Yes, yes!)

I been sittin' down and studyin', do she care for me?
Lord I'm sittin' down studyin', do she care for me?
And if she don't, I'm gon' let her be

SOLO

The questions about "Poor Little Angel Girl" are as follows:
   * What position/tuning did Dennis McMillon use to play the song?
   * Where is he fretting the position he opens the song with, from :00--:07?
   * Where does he fret the revision of his opening position, in his solo, from :51--:52?
   * Where, in a later solo, does he fret what he is playing from 1:48--1:50?
   * Where does he fret the passage from 2:10--2:12?

Please use only your ears and instruments in figuring out the answers to the questions and please wait until Wednesday, September 17, to post your answers.  Thanks for participating.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: David Kaatz on September 15, 2014, 08:39:31 PM
I hate to gripe, especially when this is my favorite thread hear by far.

John, your solution is pretty much unreadable, the formatting is so messed up.

Love you though,
Dave
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on September 15, 2014, 10:33:40 PM
Go down vertically under each increment of the beat and it reads okay, I think, Dave.  There's a gap for some reason half-way down, but the columns hold true below.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Zoharbareket on September 16, 2014, 08:03:22 AM
I feel much too much of a novice to even start figuring these things out, but this is a great GREAT thread!

Johnm, you are an inspiration and a real treasure! Thank you tons!

Zohar
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Stuart on September 16, 2014, 08:49:05 AM
It's the text or line wrap in the WC message box that's throwing things off. On my wide screen laptop it more or less lines up, but on my desktop with an old style squarish monitor, it's way off.

John: Try using tab stops for the vertical column alignment in a word processing program, saving it as an RTF file, and posting it as an attachment for those who are having difficulty. Most word processing programs read RTF files.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on September 16, 2014, 09:56:03 AM
Thanks for the suggestion, Stuart, but it involves about five steps I don't already know how to do, so it's not going to happen.  I'd be better off just tabbing any portion of the song in question, scanning it, saving it as a .pdf and posting it that way.  I'm somewhat loath to use TAB, so I'll probably just describe what is being done in a way that can be communicated via text without worrying about formatting issues.

Thank you for the good words, Zohar.  If you'd like to participate but find the prospect of mapping out where different phrases are played daunting, you might try just answering the question of what playing position/tuning is being used as a point of entry into the process.  It really is the most important question being asked in every instance, because everything else involved in figuring out how to play the song hinges on that initial determination of playing position being correct.  Give it a shot!   
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Stuart on September 16, 2014, 12:14:25 PM
Hi  John: Yeah, probably a sequential or linear description with what you are diagramming out placed within might be the easiest way to go. Some of this stuff is second nature to me, but  it's not  for everyone.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on September 17, 2014, 08:58:39 AM
I'm kicking this one off now, so here goes:
 * What position/tuning did Dennis McMillon use to play the song?
Played in E, standard tuning but he sounds about a half step down to me.
   * Where is he fretting the position he opens the song with, from :00--:07?
I'm getting this sliding up from the 2nd & 4th fret to the 3rd & 5th frets on the 1st & 2nd strings.
   * Where does he fret the revision of his opening position, in his solo, from :51--:52?
Up at the 8th & 9th fret on the 2nd & 3rd string but he's also hitting the 9th fret of the 1st string for a sec and brushing up getting the open E when he pulls off the 9th fret, if that makes sense!
   * Where, in a later solo, does he fret what he is playing from 1:48--1:50?
I'm going to pass on this one for now as I've got to go but will look again later if I get the chance.
   * Where does he fret the passage from 2:10--2:12?
I think he's just fretting at the 2nd on the 3rd & 4th string but also reaching to the 4th fret of the 5th string to get that sort of boogie imitation.  I played around with this at the 7th fret 4th & 5th strings reaching to the 9th fret 4th string but I think it's the first option.
Another bluesman I've not heard before! 
Thanks again,
L
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on September 17, 2014, 03:24:21 PM
I too will venture E standard on a low tuned guitar.

Where is he fretting the position he opens the song with, from :00--:07
str/fr  2/8 1/0 bending  str 2

Where does he fret the revision of his opening position, in his solo, from :51--:52
adds 1/9>1/7

Where, in a later solo, does he fret what he is playing from 1:48--1:50?
1/15 1/15 1/12/ 1/15 bend 1/12

Where does he fret the passage from 2:10--2:12?
5/0 5/3 5/4 4/2
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Gumbo on September 17, 2014, 03:37:36 PM
Me too! E position standard sounding approximately Eb.

Sounds a bit John Lee Hooker ish - did he play in standard?

That's all for now though. It's been a long day and I should be practicing something else for friday so I'm not gonna tune down today!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on September 17, 2014, 05:42:22 PM
Hi all,
Let's extend responses for Dennis McMillon's "Poor Little Angel Girl" an extra day to allow more time for people to respond.  I'll post answers tomorrow night.
It occurred to me that I never did post the text solution to the Charles Caldwell song, so here goes on that.  His signature lick is two measures of four beats each in length.  He begins the lick with a pick-up note on the + of beat four of the measure preceding the downbeat of the lick.  I'll list the notes fretted for the two measures with an indication of what beat on which they fall, or what + of a beat they fall on.

   Beat 4+: Pick-up note, a grace note hammer from open fifth string to second fret of the fifth string
MEASURE ONE:
   Beat 1:  Open fourth string
   Beat 2:  Second fret, fifth string
   Beat 3:  Second fret of fourth and third strings
   Beat 4:  Open sixth string
   Beat 4+:  Grace note hammer from open fifth string to second fret of fifth string
MEASURE TWO:
   Beat 1:  Open fourth and third strings
   Beat 1+:  Second fret, fourth and third strings
   Beat 2:  Open fourth and third strings with third fret of sixth string
   Beat 2+:  Second fret, third string
   Beat 3:  Open sixth string with second fret of fifth and fourth strings
   Beat 4:  Open sixth string
   Beat 4+:  Lick begins again, with grace note hammer from open fifth string to second fret of fifth string, as above.

I hope that is more clear than what I posted before.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Zoharbareket on September 18, 2014, 01:34:55 AM
Thanks John,  I'll try. I'll wait for the next one,  though.....

Z
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: ScottN on September 18, 2014, 06:39:17 AM
Hi John,

Thanks!  I personally really appreciate the new format you used. I rarely use the site on a full computer screen and on my tablets and phone anyway, the graphical representation are usually so broken or overlapped as to make them indecipherable. I know that I can go log on to a computer to view them but by that point I'm usually distracted and on to something else. So from the standpoint of an almost exclusive tablet/phone user I thank you again :-)

Scott
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: David Kaatz on September 18, 2014, 10:34:17 AM
I find that pretty clear too, John. Thanks. I was able to view your previous solution correctly when I put my browser to full screen width (thanks for the suggestion Stuart), but I like this better.
Everybody learns differently, I do well reading tab - I guess I visualize the solution better than talk about it.
The tip for posting tab is to use the 'Teletype' (the Tt button) option when posting it. That was the only way I could get my tab to align correctly. Others may have a different solution.
Dave
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: David Kaatz on September 18, 2014, 11:04:21 AM
Question 1) E position
Question 2) Fret 3 1st string, fret 5 2nd string
E|333
B|555
G|
D|
A|
E|

Question 3) from :51--:52 Fret 8 2nd string, fret 9 3rd string
  1 2 3 4
E|   
B|8888888|
G|9999999|
D|
A|
E|


Question 4) from 1:48--1:50 Fret 15 1st string, fret 14 3rd string

Question 5) from 2:10--2:12 1st position A chord: open 5th string with fret 2 4th string,
fret 4 5th string with fret 2 4th string
open 6th with fret 2 5th string
fret 4 5th string with fret 2 4th string

E|        | 
B|        |
G|        |
D|22222222| repeat prev measure
A|0044  44|
E|    00  |


Dave
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on September 19, 2014, 10:51:18 AM
Hi all,
Here are the answers for Dennie McMillon's "Poor Little Angel Girl".  It really is such a strong performance by him; there's enough material in there for three or four normal blues.
   *  His playing position was E position in standard tuning, as everyone had it--well done!
   *  In the passage from :00--:07, he is brushing his first string open and his second string, very slightly bent, at the 8th fret, as Prof Scratchy had it.  In his first bar, he brushes the two strings with the 8th fret uninflected for 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + .  In measure two, he slides into his 8th fret of the second string on the beat 1 brush stroke--the remainder of that measure is the same as the first measure.  In the third measure, he slides into the eight fret of the second string on the brushes that fall on beats 1, 2, 3 and 4, then brushes the first two strings uninflected on 1 +, 2 +, and 3 +.  On 4 +, he gives up the position and heads down the neck.  The pitches of the two notes he sounds is the same as if he was fretting the second string at the 5th fret and the first string at the third fret, but by getting the pitches where he did, he gives the open first string an odd, open droney sound and is able to slide into and bend the 8th fret of the second string.
   *  In the passage from :51--:52, he is coming from a solo in which he starts out brushing the first two strings in the position described just above.  He breaks out of that position in the second measure of his solo.  On beat 3 of that second measure, he brushes the open first string and the 8th fret of the second string as he has been doing, followed by a brush of the 9th fret of the first string and the 8th fret of the second string on 3 +.  On beat four, he does a light thumb brush of the top four strings, hitting open 4th string, open 3rd string, 8th fret of the second string and open first string, followed by an index brush of the open first string and the 8th fret of the second string on 4 +.  In the third measure of the solo, he repeats what he played on beats 3, 3 +, 4 and 4 + from the second measure, described just above.  This is pretty close to what Old Man Ned described.  The pitch of the 9th fret of the third string that Old Man Ned and Dave had is that of the open first string, which McMillon is interspersing in there right along through the first three measures of this solo.
   *  In the passage from 1:48--1:50,  McMillon is going to his IV chord in a solo.  He frets it just where Dave had it, at the 14th fret of the second and third strings and the 15th fret of his first string, thus taking a normal A7 shape you'd play at the base of the neck (minus the second fret of the fourth string) up 12 frets!  This choice was a real eye-opener for me--I've never heard it done before in a Country Blues tune played out of E position.
   *  In the passage from 2:10--2:12, McMillon is playing over his IV chord in his final verse.  He begins his little boogie pattern with his open fifth string on beat 3 of the measure, hits the second fret of the 4th string on 3 +, on beat 4 hits the 3rd fret of the fifth string, and on 4 + hits the fourth fret of the fifth string.  He goes long on that first measure, adding two beats in which he plays the open 6th string on beat 5, the 2nd fret of the fourth string on 5 +, the 3rd fret of the fifth string on beat 6 and the 4th fret of the fifth string on 6 +.  He repeats the boogie pattern he played on 5 + 6 + to start the next measure of his IV chord.  This is very close to what Old Man Ned posted.

I feel like everybody was really close on these licks.  This is one performance that I think would be worth figuring out from beginning to end, and there aren't all that many performances in the style that I feel that way about.  The way Dennis McMillon occasionally goes long in the middle of a vocal phrase, doing a quick little instrumental response to what he's singing, is really exciting and effective.  It's the kind of thing that would be worth trying to incorporate into one's own phrasing.  You'd have to do it a lot to get it feeling natural, I expect, but I think the musical result would more than justify the work.

Thanks to all who participated, and I'll try to find another good puzzler to post soon.
All best,
Johnm   
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on September 20, 2014, 10:22:48 AM
Hi all,
I've got a new puzzler for those who are interested.  The song is "The Truth", performed by Precious Bryant.  Here it is:

The Truth - Precious Bryant (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evSmGl2XD4c#)

Said, I told my baby, a-just the other night
"But if you mistreat me, there gonna be a fight"
REFRAIN:  That is why, that is why
I like the truth, yes, I like the truth,
Yes, I like the truth

I told my baby, a-just the day before
"And if you mistreat me, you're gonna hit the door"
REFRAIN:  That is why, that is why
I like the truth, yeah, I like the truth,
Yes, I like the truth

I said, I told my baby, a-that afternoon
And if you mistreat me, he'll be leavin' soon
REFRAIN:  That is why, that is why
I like the truth, yeah, I like the truth,
Yes, I like the truth, yeah, I like the truth

SOLO

I told my baby, a-just the other day
"And if you mistreat me, you be goin' away
REFRAIN:  That is why, that is why
I like the truth, yeah, I like the truth,
Yes, I like the truth

SOLO

Two questions only this time:
   * What position/tuning did Precious Bryant use to play "The Truth"?
   * What is the chord progression of the song, expressed in the key of the position that she used to play the song?  Don't feel you have to describe the structure of the form, just the chords.

Please use only your ears and instrument to figure out your answers, and please don't post any answers before Monday, September 22, to allow plenty of people a chance to listen and come up with their own answers.  Thanks for participating.

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Zoharbareket on September 21, 2014, 11:36:08 PM
Hi there,

Here goes my first shot at this sport:

I think I am hearing Precious Bryant rocking between an A chord played out of the E position (5th fret) and an A chord played out of the D position with a 6th(?) on the bass. For the "that is why" part, it sounds like a D chord played out of the A position (5th fret).

Lovely tune!


(Its the 22nd from where I'm writing...)

Z
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Norfolk Slim on September 22, 2014, 02:50:25 AM
I agree with Zohar. Capo fifth then e position a,  followed by the d.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on September 22, 2014, 03:53:29 AM
What  I hear is something like:

E position capo 5th fret key of A

A/Fsharpm/A/Fsharpm/A/Fsharpm/A/Fsharpm
A/A6/A/A6/A/A6/A/Bm6
A/Fsharpm/A/Fsharpm/A/Fsharpm/A/Fsharpm

Not sure about the Bm6 but it sounds a bit like x9777x
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: One-Eyed Ross on September 22, 2014, 07:43:24 AM
Always the oddball, but I guess that's why I like this thread, I learn lots....

I hear it as G position, capo at 2.  The chord progression from major to relative minor (G, Em) seems more logical to me than playing it in E position and playing E, Cm.....

Also, the chorus part going from a C chord to D allows for those wonderful grace notes we can get with our pinky....but, that's just my ear...

Edited to add:  I must confess that I tried this on my 12 string, so the octave notes I have might affect how I hear this.  I capoed up to 5 and tried the tune out of E, and it does work well there, too...I'll tune the 6 string up to standard and give it a go and see what that sounds like.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on September 22, 2014, 10:19:41 AM
What a beautiful tune.  I've heard a little of Precious Bryant and what little I've heard I like a lot.  Originally I was getting this in Bb but then realised I was still tuned down a half step from the Dennie McMillon tune.  So yeah, E position out of A.  I'm agreeing with Prof Scratchy on the F# minor ( at the 9th fret?).  The 2 base notes I'm hearing on these chords are A and F# and the second chord just sounds like a minor to me. I've been trying to think how you could get these chords with the respective bass notes by tuning the 5th & 6th strings down so there's less movement in the left hand but I've not come up with anything so far.  The other chord I'm hearing is a D7 with bringing the high B note in on it to give it that sort of rocking sound.  Lovely tune.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: One-Eyed Ross on September 22, 2014, 10:31:24 AM
OK, having tried this on the 6 string, I will, with egg on my face, say capo at 5, playing out of E position.

Interesting exercise for me, going from the 12 to the 6 and hearing the different voices.  (If I were to perform this on the 12, I would do it in G position, capo at 2 however....I just like the sound there).
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Gumbo on September 22, 2014, 11:21:35 AM
I'm agreeing capo 5 and E shape (key of A) alternating with a C#m shape relative to the capo (so F#m on the neck) and there's an A shape with grace notes on the  2nd and 4th frets of the top string (relative to capo). Lovely to play with. Thanks John :)
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: David Kaatz on September 22, 2014, 11:54:43 AM
I think she is playing in open G. Not sure where the capo is - 2nd or 3rd fret? Because I don't know what my guitar is tuned to.
First the chord progression: She is going back and forth between the one chord and the relative minor sixth chord. Then eventually goes to the four chord, sixth chord, and back to one to start over.

She plays at open G, fretting the 5th fret of 1st string to catch the high root. Then she moves up to fret 9 5th string to play the bass note of the six chord, and plays a D7 shape on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd strings at the 8th fret. For the four chord, she plays at the 5th fret, barred across, reaching to the 7th fret on the 1st string for some notes. Then back to fret 9 for the sixth chord, and back to open.

Dave
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Vermonter on September 22, 2014, 01:39:23 PM
Because no one else has suggested it, I'm going for Capo on 4th fret, played in F position, then slide up to 9th fret D position for the second chord. Beautiful song.
Oh, and the "that is why" section moves to a B chord and then D chord on 7th fret.
It's a guess, anyway.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: waxwing on September 22, 2014, 02:58:23 PM
Just cleaning up the work of others because I didn't look at this until now, but at least I didn't cheat with software, which usually bars me from posting.

I think I'm in agreement with the Capo on 5th fret, E position folks with the chords relative to the capo being E; C#m (X4X654); A and D. The verse is a slow rocking between the E and its relative minor C#m, then the chorus is a quicker rocking between the A and the D, then using a C#m to get back to the E.

|E|C#m|E|C#m|E|C#m|E|C#m|A/D|A/D|A/D|C#m|E|C#m|E|C#m|E|C#m|

Wax
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: uncle bud on September 22, 2014, 07:40:48 PM
I'm going to go out into crazyland and say she's in an altered tuning. We know she has tuned the 6th string up to F before to play out of F. I'm thinking here she may also have tuned the 5th string up to B-flat. She gets the open F on the sixth string with a regular F chord, then a D minor with a little pinky reach for the treble note. For "That is why..." she gets the B-flat bass on the open 5th with the top three strings in a partial: x0x331.

Sorry, edited to add, all of that capoed up to 4th or 5th fret (not sure where my guitar is tuned right now).
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on September 22, 2014, 07:58:45 PM
Hi all,
I think this one has been open long enough and it has been great to see all the responses.  Here are the answers:
   * Precious Bryant is playing out of E position, sounding in A, so assuming she was tuned to A 440 more or less, she was capoed at the fifth fret.  Congratulations to those of you who chose this as her playing position.
   * The progression of the song is pretty much exactly as Waxwing expressed it in the previous post to this one.  Put in the position in which the song was played, it would be:
   |    E    |    C#m    |    E    |    C#m    |

   |    E    |    C#m    |    E    |    C#m    |

   | A  D/A | A  D/A    | A  D/A  |  C#m    |

   |    E    |    C#m    |    E      |    C#m    |

To put the song in the key in which it sounds, just change all of the E chords to A chords, all of the C#m chords to F#m chords, the A chord to a D chord and the D/A chord to a G/D chord.  As has been noted, the first, second and fourth lines of the form rock between the I chord and its relative minor.  In the third line, the song goes to the IV chord, and I think it's really helpful in terms of hearing to think of the D chord, which relative to the I chord would be a bVII chord, instead, as a IV of IV.  Precious Bryant is basically rocking there between X-0-X-2-2-0 and X-0-X-2-3-2, but she could have gotten the rocking motion on the interior four strings by going from X-0-2-2-2-X to X-0-4-2-3-X.  I think this rocking motion works out particularly pretty in the position she chose to play the song in--the analogous move played out of G position, C rocking to F/C, doesn't have quite as nice a sound to my ear, though others of you may prefer it.

It's neat to have so many people join in on the puzzle.  It's worth pointing out, perhaps, since there are some people participating for the first time, that there is absolutely nothing wrong with posting the same solution as someone else previously posted if you believe that solution correctly answers the questions that have been posed.  I really like "The Truth", both the song and Precious Bryant's performance of it; it has a nice relaxed feel, and elements of Gospel and older R & B that are very appealing to me.

I'll post another puzzler soon.

All best,
Johnm   
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: waxwing on September 22, 2014, 11:52:24 PM
Thanks, Johnm, for explaining about that bVII chord. I did wonder about it, and it did occur to me that it worked because it was the IV of the IV. Are you aware if this is a phenomenon that occurs with some regularity in R&B or any other form of pop music like Tin Pan Alley or something of that sort? Just curious. It's a great structural piece to be aware of.

Wax
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on September 23, 2014, 10:47:15 AM
Hi Wax,
I don't think of the rock from the IV to the IV of IV as having a particular stylistic affiliation--rather, it shows up all over the place.  I wouldn't be surprised if it showed up first in hymns.  It's a very natural sort of thing to do, especially when driven by the melody.  And if the same rocking motion has already happened between I and IV, it's especially natural to do the rock from IV to the IV of IV (bVII) chord.  In both instances, you keep the root of the chord you're rocking from, which is also the fifth of the chord you're rocking to, and resolve the upper two voices up by half-step and whole step.  So I, consisting of the I-III-V notes of the scale rocks to IV, which consists of I-IV-VI, and IV, which consists of IV-VI-I rocks to IV of IV, which consists of IV-bVII-II.
The rock from I to IV and then from IV to the IV of IV can be found in Jesse Wadley's "Alabama Prison Blues", which was discussed earlier in this thread at:  http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg88043#msg88043 (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg88043#msg88043) .  The move is implied by the melody of Ma Rainey's "Booze and Blues" and Charlie Patton's covers of that song, "High Sheriff Blues" and "Tom Rushen Blues", as well as Robert Johnson's "From Four Until Late".  I think it also shows up in Marvin Gaye's version of "Can I Get A Witness", and is a staple of pedal steel guitar players in Country music.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: waxwing on September 23, 2014, 12:16:10 PM
Thanks for the detailed info, Johnm. I guess I glossed over that reference in the Alabama Prison Blues discussion. You're right, tho', the voicing with the A and D chords in standard is particularly catchy, even uplifting, coming after the I-vi. I can hear how it would work well in spirituals and gospel. I'll keep my ear open for it.

Wax
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on September 24, 2014, 03:40:03 PM
Hi all,
I've got a new puzzler for you.  The song is "Poor And Ain't Got A Dime" as played by Floyd Council, yet another really fine East Coast Blues musician.

Floyd "Dipper Boy" Council (The Devil's Daddy-In-Law) Poor And Ain't Got A Dime (1937) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zO5wAZawzm0#) 


The questions about Floyd Council's performance are as follows:
   * What playing position/tuning did he use to play "Poor And Ain't Got a Dime"?
   * Where is he fretting the chord he plays at :05--:07?
   * Where does he fret the run he plays in triplets from :13--:15?
   * Where does he fret his turn-around at :24--:26?
   * Where is he fretting what he plays in the treble from 1:00--1:04?

SOLO

Say, I was layin' upstairs, layin' on my cold iron bed
Say, I was layin' upstairs, layin' on my cold iron bed
When I received the news, the woman I love was dead

I didn't have no money, then I could not go home
I didn't have no money, then I could not go home
Then I walked to my window, and I dropped my head to moan

Lord, Lord, woman I love is dead and gone
Lord, Lord, woman I love is dead and gone
Yeah, I am broke and hungry, five hundred miles from home

Yeah, hoo-yeah, uh-huh
Yeah, hee-yeah-ah
Yeah, hee-yeah, uh-huh

I'm going down to the river, fall on my bended knee
I'm going down to the river, fall on my bended knee
I'm going to ask the Good Lord to help me if he please

Please use only your ears and instruments in figuring out your answers, and please don't post any answers until Friday, September 26, so that plenty of folks will have a chance to listen to the tune and come up with their own answers.  Thanks for participating.
All best,
Johnm 
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: mr mando on September 25, 2014, 07:18:33 AM
Quote
* Where does he fret the run he plays in triplets from :24--:26?

I hear a turnaround at time position 0:24--0:26. Is it possible you're talking about the run from 0:13 to 0:15?
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on September 25, 2014, 08:17:38 AM
Oops, thanks for the catch mr mando.  The quiz works a lot better if I post the questions I intended to post!  I will edit the post to reflect the questions that I intended to ask, and they'll match up better with the descriptions and times.  Thanks!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on September 26, 2014, 02:02:35 PM
Hi all,
Because I stiffed the questions on the Floyd Council tune in my initial post, and also because there have been no responses thus far, let's extend the response period on the tune, and I can post the answers on Sunday night, if there have been some responses by then.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: mr mando on September 26, 2014, 02:42:18 PM
Q: What playing position/tuning did he use to play "Poor And Ain't Got a Dime"?
A: Sounds like std. tuning / G Position to me. The turnarounds, the C7 shaped V chord and the sound of the first chord (see next answer) don't indicate an open tuning to my ears.
Q: Where is he fretting the chord he plays at :05--:07?
A: I hear this as x-2-3-(o)-3-1, which is a G7 voicing I've never used or even thought about so far.
Q: Where does he fret the run he plays in triplets from :13--:15?
A: first position, starting on the G string: 0-2-3, then B string 0-1-2, then B string 3, E string o, B string 1, then G string 3, B string o, G string o.
Q: Where does he fret his turn-around at :24--:26?
A: That's the Blind Blake turnaround on the top four strings: 3-o-o-3, 2-o-1-3, 1-o-2-3, o-o-(o-3)
Q: Where is he fretting what he plays in the treble from 1:00--1:04?
A: That was the toughest question for me and took me some time to come up with an answer that I'm pretty sure of: the first bar of the form (1:00 - 1:02) was easy: 4-3 on the G & B strings. for the second bar, he's sliding the two fingers down one fret and adds the ring finger on the high E string 3rd fret but hits just the first and second strings (mainly) for a partial Gdim chord.

I actually wanted to avoid being the first one again to answer another puzzle. But I missed a couple in the last weeks, so I hope nobody's too angry with me for breaking the ice. That's one of my favorite tracks in this thread, btw, so thanks johnm for chosing it.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: waxwing on September 26, 2014, 04:11:47 PM
I'll take a stab at this one. Having transcribed Fuller's Screamin' and Cryin' the G position in standard jumped out at me and FC is tuned down a step, which I think might be pretty common for him. [Edit - Having read Mr. Mando's post I put a tuner on my guitar. It seems a tad low for standard, but not a whole fret. My guitar musta snuck up a bit as I hadn't put a tuner on it in a while.]

From 0.05-0.07: Sounds like a double stop at 2nd str 3rd ft, 1str 1st ft followed by a lick from 2nd str 1st ft, to 3rd str 3rd ft. bent (possibly into unison with 2nd str. open), to 3rd str. open.

From 0.13 to 0.15: The run starts on the 3rd str open going to 2nd ft to 3rd ft then 2nd str open, to 1st ft, 2nd ft, and 3rd ft, then to open 1st str, back to 2nd str 1st ft, then to 3rd str 3rd fret, to 2nd str open to 3rd str open. A little embellishment on a very similar lick Fuller uses.

From .024 to .026. The turnaround walks down on the 3rd and 2nd string while holding the G at the 3rd fret of the 1st str. Starting from a G chord at XXX433 to XXX323 to XXX213 to XXX003, hitting the 1st string on each up stroke.

From 1.00 to 1.04: This was a little tough for my ears but I think he plays two double stops, starting with 3rd str 4th ft and 2nd str 3rd ft (a B and a D from the I) and then 3rd str 10th ft and 2nd str 8th ft (an F and a G, the rest of the I7).

Listening to this I was amazed at how similar Council's vocal style is to Fuller's.

Wax
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on September 27, 2014, 04:18:34 AM
I'm hearing G, in standard tuning too.

For the chord at 05--:07 I'm in agreement with Mr Mando but would add that I think the thumb is getting hook over the top to catch the low G, like 3-2-3-0-3-1.  I always think of this as a Rev Gary Davis chord as his music was the first time I came across this.  Given the similarities to Blind Boy Fuller for this recording I would also suggest a big influence from Rev Gary Davis, if not directly.

For the run, I got:
3rd string open, then 2nd & 3rd fret;
2nd string open, then first and second fret;
2nd string 3rd fret, first string open, then 2nd string 3rd fret;
3rd string 3rd fret, 2nd string third fret, 3rd string open

The turn around at 24--:26:
Chords are G, C, Eb7, G with the bass on the 4th string going down from 3rd to 2nd to 1st frets to open 4th string.  Which I think is what Mr Mando is getting but I recognised this from Rev Gary Davis's playing (She's Funny That Way).

The treble at 1:00--1:04:
Yep, 2nd string 3rd fret and 3rd string 4th fret.  Then drop that down a half step and catch the high G. 

I was seeing this as a Eb7 but I guess you can call it what you like :-)

Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on September 27, 2014, 04:50:31 AM
G standard

x23x31

2/0 3/2 3/3 2/0 2/1 2/2 2/3 1/0 2/3 3/3bend 2/0 3/3bend 3/0

xx3003/xx2013/xx1023

xxx43x/xxx323
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on September 28, 2014, 03:44:35 PM
Hi all,
It's been more than 24 hours since the last response on Floyd Council's "Poor And Ain't Got A Dime", so I think I'll post the answers.  They are as follows:
   *  Playing position was G position in standard tuning
   *  In the passage from :05--:07, Floyd Council is fingering what I think of as a "double seventh G7", fingered at the beginning of that measure X-2-3-0-3-1.  On beat one, he does a triplet brush of his first two strings while hitting the fifth string in the bass.  On beat two, he re-brushes the triplet on the first two strings, but with the fourth string in the bass.  On beats 3 +, he goes from the first two strings brushed to the first fret of the second string, with the fourth string in the bass and on 4 +, he goes from the bent third fret of the third string going to the open third string against the third fret of the sixth string in the bass.  I think it's entirely possible, as Old Man Ned suggested, that Floyd Council was fingering that third fret of the sixth string all along, with a thumb wrap, but just didn't hit it until the fourth beat.  I think of the voicing as a double seventh G7 because if you look at how the chord is voiced from sixth string to first  (assuming the third fret of the sixth string is fretted), it is voiced
Root-3rd-7th-Root-5th-7th.  There's something very distinctive about the sound of voicing the seventh of the chord on both the fourth and the first string.  Bo Carter used this voicing a lot on his Pop-blues material in C, minus the third fret of the second string, which he chose to leave open.  By doing it that way, Bo freed up a finger in the left hand and didn't have to do a thumb wrap to get the third fret of the sixth string.
   *  Floyd Council's run of triplets from :13--:15 is:  open third string to second and third frets of the third string for the first triplet, open second string to first and second frets of the second string for the second triplet, third fret of the second string to open first string to first fret of the second string for the third triplet, and third fret of the third string to open second string to open third string for his fourth triplet.  Mr mando and Waxwing had this run right on.
   *  The turn-around from :24--:26 finds Floyd Council anticipating his bass brush strokes on the + of beat I, and then progressively brushing X-X-3-0-0-3 on beat two, X-X-2-0-1-3 on beat three, X-X-1-0-2-3 on beat four, resolving to X-X-0-0-0-3 on the downbeat of the next measure.  The chords then are G7/F to C/E to Eb7 to G/D.  Mr mando, Old Man Ned and Prof Scratchy all had this.
   *  The move from 1:00--1:04 in the treble is X-X-X-4-3-X going to X-X-X-3-2-3, or G going to G dim7.  As Old Man Ned pointed out, with just hitting those notes on the top three strings, the chord could be either a partial G diminished 7 or a partial Eb7.  I think if you keep those three notes on the first three strings and compare the sound you get by adding the first fret of the fourth string (Eb) versus the sound you get by adding the second fret of the fourth string (E), the E note sounds the better and more appropriate addition to the chord, so to my ears, anyway, the G diminished 7 seems the stronger analysis.

I feel like all who responded did very well on this one.  Every responder had the playing position right, and often a correct response was missed by just one note out of a host of notes, as in the triplet run.  One thing that I really like about Floyd Council's rendition of this song is that he varies his fills and runs throughout his performance.  Certainly, he returns to some runs, but he also introduces some licks and ideas that he only plays once and doesn't return to, which gives his playing a sort of "tip of the iceberg" quality.  I found myself wondering how much other stuff he had in his musical bag of tricks.  Hearing some tracks by Floyd Council and Dennis McMillon, as well as tunes by the Trice Brothers and Bull City Red makes me realize that a lot of these East Coast players who I think are often thought of as sort of second echelon musicians were, in fact, very, very strong in what they did, both playing and singing, as well as having a lot of originality in what they did.  They were by no means just a bunch of Blind Boy Fuller imitators.  If you enjoyed the Floyd Council cut and the Dennis McMillon track we looked at recently, all of the early tracks by those two artists, as well as those by Rich and Willie Trice, Frank Edwards, Sonny Jones, Roosevelt Antrim and the Cedar Creek Sheik can be found on the JSP set, "Blind Boy Fuller, Vol. 2".  No home should be without it.

Thanks to those who participated, and I'll look for another puzzler to post soon.

All best,
Johnm
 
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: mr mando on September 29, 2014, 08:34:12 AM
I completely agree with your rating of the players you mentioned, johnm! There's nothing second rate about them. There are also many players from other regions that are equally obscure and might be considered epigones of bigger stars, like e.g. Louie Lasky. But many of them are found to have such a strong and individual characteristic in their playing, if you only thake the time and effort to listen to them.

That's one of the additional benefits of this thread, that you really have to listen intensively!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on September 29, 2014, 01:05:23 PM
Hi all,
I am glad you are enjoying the thread, mr mando.  I'm certainly a believer in listening intensively.  You get so much more out of music that way.

I've got a new puzzler for anyone who is interested.  The song is "Sun Don't Shine" by Teddy Williams, and there are just two questions:
   * What playing position/tuning is Teddy Williams using to play the song?
   * How and where does he play his signature lick over the I chord?

Teddy Williams - Sun Don't Shine (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OO28d2JfS0#ws)

Oh mama, mmmmm, I cried all night long
Oh mama, now, cried all night long
I ain't had no lovin', honey, since you been gone

Oh, sun don't shine like it used to shine
Oh, the sun don't shine like it used to shine
Used to shine in your door, now it shines in mine

Where it ain't no lovin', then ain't no gettin' along
Where it ain't no lovin', then ain't no gettin' along
'Cause somebody done been here, stole my woman and gone
 

Please use only your ears and guitars to figure out the answers to the questions--no transcription software, and please wait until Wednesday morning, October 1, before posting your answers to the questions so that plenty of people get a chance to hear the song and form their own answers to the questions without being influenced by early responses.  Thanks to all who have participated for observing the guidelines, it really makes the process work better for everyone, I think.
All best,
Johnm

Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on October 01, 2014, 07:17:08 AM
I'm going to say Spanish capoed at 3rd fret. The lick? Not so sure (as usual), but it sounds a bit like first string pull off frets 3-2-0 followed by hammer on 5th string third fret.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: One-Eyed Ross on October 01, 2014, 08:17:52 AM
I'm agreeing with Scratchy on this one.

The tuning just really sounds Spanish, and B flat (capo 3) is the key...the lick sounds like, as Scratchy said, a descending 3,2,0 on the first string, but the hammer to me sounds like a 3rd string, 3rd fret ( a flattend 3rd).

Maybe I need to keep listening...

(Edited to change 2nd to 3rd.  I can't count some days)....
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on October 01, 2014, 11:29:50 AM
This one's really been puzzling me.  It sounds so simple, and I don't mean that in a derogatory way, but I just can't get my head around what he's doing.  All I've got is that it's in Bb, most likely Open G tuning capoed at the 3rd as has been suggested and it has a 'minor' feel about it.  I've also been tuning down a whole step and playing out of a C shape but I'm more include to go with the open G tuning.  For the I chord he's hitting the 3rd fret 1st string to get the high note and 3rd fret 3rd string to open string at some point and hitting the open 5th string but putting it all together is doing my head in.  Great recording though. 
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Norfolk Slim on October 01, 2014, 01:56:02 PM
Im with the Spanish tuning cao 3 crowd.  That interval in the bass note (on the 1 chord) just shouts open G (A bit like McDowell's rhythm bit on a few short lines).

Closest I can get to the lick is 3rd fret first string then first string open.  Possibly with finger and thumb alternating so the thumb plays the open first string note (i.e. the secoind treble note in th he lick) to get the rhythmic effect.  Possibly with odd slight brushes of the second stirng...

Maybe  :D

Really like the tune.  Trancy.
 
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: frankie on October 01, 2014, 04:21:27 PM
The song is "Sun Don't Shine" by Teddy Williams, and there are just two questions:
   * What playing position/tuning is Teddy Williams using to play the song?

Standard tuning, A position - the IV chord cinches it for me

   * How and where does he play his signature lick over the I chord?

Bar the A chord at the 2nd fret with the index finger, fret the 3rd fret of the 5th string with the 2nd finger, then he pulls off to the open 5th string, following with a thumb brush on the A chord. The treble lick starts on the 3rd fret of the 1st string, followed by the open 1st string played along with the thumb brush on the A chord.

I think his Down Home Blues would make a good puzzler!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: David Kaatz on October 01, 2014, 05:18:15 PM
Spanish - open G, capoed 3rd fret.

The picking/syncopation on this is really challenging, partly because he varies the length of his bars - sometimes 6 beats long. Hard to tell where 1 is.
I am trying to separate the guitar into three distinct parts, but I can't get my fingers to play them right. Bass, middle, and treble parts.

The bass line is like this in general:
Play the open 5th string on the 'and' of the second beat of the measure The last eighth note of the measure is fretted on the 3rd fret, 5th string, and then pulled off to play the open 5th string on the down beat of the next measure.

The middle part, open 3rd and 4th strings, are struck on the 'and' of the 1st beat, then directly on the 3rd and 4th beats.
 
The occasional high part is fretted at the 3rd fret, 1st string, pulled off to the open 1st string. I think this part starts on the 'and' of the 3rd beat of the measure.

Now I'll go read the other solutions  :)

Dave

Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: banjochris on October 01, 2014, 06:13:33 PM
Gotta go with Frankie on this one - A standard. The V chord has that E sound as he walks up to it, and I think there's an open D string sounding during the little lick at the very end. That pull-off off of the first string third fret is like a pull-off to nowhere!
Chris
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on October 02, 2014, 03:38:39 AM
Beginning to get the hang of this now: if I think it's it in Spanish, it's actually in A! Yes, indeed it is!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Norfolk Slim on October 02, 2014, 07:02:49 AM
If Scratch is now going A, then its definitely G so Im sticking with that :-)

The IV chord sounded to me like it was barred at the fifth rather than open, which encouraged me towards the G but Im at work and can't relisten / experiment with A at the moment.

Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on October 02, 2014, 09:23:45 AM
In the end, NS, we folk with cloth ears have to trust those with real ears!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Norfolk Slim on October 02, 2014, 09:45:25 AM
In the end, NS, we folk with cloth ears have to trust those with real ears!
Enter Mr Miller....
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: One-Eyed Ross on October 02, 2014, 09:50:13 AM
I'm sticking with B flat and hoping I'm right....but it could that I need to break out the Snark and see how bad I'm out of standard...
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on October 02, 2014, 10:11:00 AM
Hi all,
Teddy Williams' "Sun Don't Shine" is a tough one, without a doubt.  Indeed, I don't think it is possible to make the determination of playing position/tuning solely on the basis of how things lay out over the I chord, because all of the activity in the left hand over the I chord would happen at the third fret of the fifth and first strings whether you were playing in Spanish or A position in standard tuning!  That's like a definition of a tough identification, as far as I'm concerned.  In such an instance, the identification requires close listening to the IV and V chords, as Frank and Chris mentioned.
   * The playing position for "Sun Don't Shine" is A position in standard tuning as Frank and Chris had it.  The things that happen in the IV and V chords that seal that identification are as follows:  If you listen to the IV chord around 1:37, you can hear that it is voiced as a D chord in standard tuning, and Teddy Williams is doing a thumb roll from his open fourth string to the second fret of the third string, hitting the second fret of the first string, and brushing the third and second strings fretted at the second and third frets, respectively, with his thumb.  The identifications for the V chord are even more conclusive.  At 2:00, Teddy Williams brushes, in the interior strings, the root of the V chord and its third on the next higher string.  In A position standard tuning, those two notes would live at the second fret of the fourth string and the first fret of the third string.  In Spanish, they would live at the seventh fret of the fifth string and the fourth fret of the fourth string, a very non-intuitive and implausible choice--not hand-friendly, that's for sure.  Also, from 2:07--2:08, Teddy Williams goes from the root of the V chord to the root of the IV chord  on the interior strings.  In A position, standard tuning, that involves moving from the second fret of the fourth string to the open fourth string.  In Spanish, it would entail going from the open fourth string (or the seventh fret of the fifth string) to the fifth fret of the fifth string.  In either instance, it ends up being more trouble than would make it a likely choice to play.

"Sun Don't Shine" reminds me of the very first song in this thread, Andrew Dunham's "Sweet Lucy Woman", in that you have to listen to pretty much the entire rendition to get the evidence needed to make a solid playing position/tuning identification.  In general, though, in picking between Spanish and A position in standard tuning, if the player hits a low root in the bass for the IV chord, the playing position is probably A position in standard tuning.  The one exception would be if a player was obviously barring the IV chord at the fifth fret and hitting the root on the fifth string, as in Jesse Wadley's "Alabama Prison Blues" or Joe Callicott's version of "Roll and Tumble".  As Simon pointed out, that's how he was hearing Teddy Williams play his IV chord.
   * It is really hard to say just how Teddy Williams was getting his signature lick, and especially that heavy emphasis on the third string on the second and fourth beats of the measure.  I think part of getting that sound requires the use of an unwound  or plain third string, to get that whangy, piercing tone.  This is my best bet as to how Teddy Williams played the lick.
   The thumb anticipates the downbeat of the lick, striking the open fifth string on the + of beat 4 of the measure preceding the downbeat of the lick.  Teddy Williams does a thumb roll from that open fifth string to the second fret of the fourth string, landing it on beat 1 of the signature lick measure.  On the + of beat 1, he picks the third fret of the first string, choking it immediately after picking it so it has no sustain.
   On beat 2, he keeps his thumb moving towards the treble, and really lands hard on the second fret of the third string, letting it sustain.  On the + of beat two, he brings his thumb back and picks the third fret of the fifth string.
   On beat 3, he pulls off the third fret of the fifth string to the open fifth string, simultaneously picking the second fret of the third string with his finger.  That second fret of the third string that falls on beat three is much weaker than the same note on beats 2 and 4.
   On beat 4, he hits the second fret of the third string with his thumb, letting it sustain (as the rendition goes along, he also brushes the second fret of the second string on beat 4, too).  On the + of beat 4, he goes back to the open fifth string to start the lick again.

Thanks to all who participated in this one.  It's great to see the back-and-forth in the discussion, too.  I sure like this song, and the more I listen to it the more I like it.  I'll try to find another puzzler soon.

All best,
Johnm     
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on October 02, 2014, 02:06:43 PM
Thanks for the detailed explanation John.  I wondered off from the path and got lost in the long grass on this one.  Much appreciated.
L
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on October 03, 2014, 04:05:25 PM
Hi all,
Here is a new puzzler for those of you who are interested, and a kind of different one.  The song is "I See God In Everything" as played and sung by E. C. Ball and Orna Mae Ball, with E.C. playing the guitar and Orna Mae the pump organ, I believe (though it may be an accordion).  Here is their performance of the song.

E.C. Ball & Orna Ball "I See God in Everything" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkVFZUmOIxQ#)

Here are the lyrics, with E. C.'s vocal responses shown parenthetically where they occur.

When I stand and watch the little birds go flying high
Each tiny one (reminds me) re- (of my dear Lord) mind me of the blessed Lord
Evening when I watch the sun set in the Western sky
I see the beau- (the beauty) ty (of my dear Lord0 see the beauty of my Lord

REFRAIN: I see God in everything, on the land and the deep blue sea
In the fields, the meadows, and the pastures green
In the stars that twinkle at night, that big yellow moon
The oldest re- (the wonders) deem (of my dear Lord) wonders of the blessed Lord

SOLO

Shen I watch the rolling waves come dashing to the shore
Each mighty one (reminds me) re (of my dear Lord) minds me of the blessed Lord
When I see the pretty flowers blooming around my door
I see the beau- (the beauty) ty (of my dear Lord) see the beauty of my Lord

REFRAIN: I see God in everything, on the land and the deep blue sea
In the fields and meadows, and the pastures green
In the stars that twinkle at night, that big yellow moon
The oldest re- (the wonders) deem (of my dear Lord) wonders of the blessed Lord

The questions are:
   * What playing position/tuning is E. C. using to play the song?, and
   * What is the chord progression of the song, verse and chorus, expressed in the position that E. C. uses to play the song (NOT in the key in which the song sounds)?

Please don't post any answers until Sunday, October 5, and I'll post answers on Monday, October 6.  Please use only your ears and instruments to figure out your answers.  Thanks for participating.

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: roig on October 05, 2014, 04:40:08 AM
I love everything EC and Orna recorded, but "I See God" is particularly moving. That's definitely Orna's accordion on that one.

EC plays it in G in standard tuning, and the progression is:
Verse:
G, B7, C, G, A7, A7, D, D
G, B7, C, G, A7, D, G, G

Chorus:
G, G7, C, G
G, G, A7, D
G, G7, C, G
A7, D, G, G
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on October 06, 2014, 09:20:07 AM
Hi all,
It looks like Roi is the only responder  on "I See God In Eveything", and he identified the playing position and chord progressions of the song, verse and chorus, right on the money.  Well done, Roi! 

One interesting aspect of the phrasing of the song is that in the verse, each line ends with a single six-beat measure to allow for Orna's response line followed by two "breath catcher" beats before starting the next line.  The phrasing for the chorus is more square, utilizing four beat measures throughout, with the exception of the very last measure.  As is common practice in Bluegrass songs that have "dwells" in the sung verses, the extra beats are jettisoned for E. C.'s solo, which squares up everything in four-beat measures.

I will find and post another puzzler soon.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on October 06, 2014, 02:51:05 PM
Hi all,
I've got another puzzler for any interested takers.  The song is "Smokey Mountain Blues", performed by Wallace Chains, who turns out to be the first repeat performer in this thread.  Back on page 7 of the thread, his performance of "My Poor Mother Keeps On Praying For Me" was used for a puzzler.  He was a very distinctive guitarist, recorded at a prison in Texas, and seems to have been one of those players who covered a lot of ground in terms of what he was able to do, positions he was comfortable working in, etc.  Here is "Smokey Mountain Blues":

https://youtu.be/_DE4vknvBQo

I said, these smokey mountains, they are dangerous place to so
Said, I'm goin' up on that mountain and knock up on my baby's door

Now, and I've got a woman and she lives way out up on that hill, oh Lord,
I've got a woman, she lives way out up on that hill
She may drive me away, man, but I don't b'lieve she will

I'm goin' up on that mountain and knock up on my baby's door
I'm goin' up on that mountain and knock up on my baby's door
And if she drive me away, I know she don't want me no more

I'm goin' up on that mountain, and I may not come back down
I'm goin' up on that mountain, and I may not come back down
You can tell all my friends I'm on my last go-round

Baby, you may never see my smiling face no more
Baby, you may never see my smiling face no more
But if you see my baby, tell her that I hate to go

And my girl got a diamond, shine like the rising sun
And my girl got a diamond, shine like the rising sun
She said, "You come back to Texas, Lord, man, I'll buy you one."

The questions on "Smokey Mountain Blues" are:
   * What playing position/tuning did Wallace Chains use to play the song?
   * Where in the form does his rendition start?
   * Where does he finger the two chords he plays at the beginning of his rendition, from :00--:02 and from :03--:05
   * There does he finger the three positions he plays over his I chord, from :20--:29?
   * Where does he finger the V7 chord he plays from 1:06--1:07?
   * Where does he fret the running passage from 1:08--1:10?

Answer as few or as many of the questions as you care to, to participate, and please use only your ears and instrument to figure out your answers.  Please don't post any answers until the morning of Wednesday, October 8.  Thanks for participating.

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: roig on October 08, 2014, 05:59:43 AM
I'll say it's in A, but that's a rather unique approach to this position. He's playing his IV chord (D) like so xx4210. Mance Lipscomb used to do that. Then there's an F chord. Then he's fretting his E7 like a 'regular' D7 chord, and from there he's sliding down the neck to do this run over the IV which is similar to the one Robert Johnson did on the guitar break in Kindhearted Woman. That is my highly professional analysis of the recording.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on October 08, 2014, 11:50:17 AM
Hi all,
Any other takers on the Wallace Chains cut?  Ain't but one question been answered so far.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on October 08, 2014, 01:13:37 PM
I've had very little time to listen to this but here goes....
Playing out of G in regular tuning
Rendition starts on the IV chord (C/C7)

Where does he finger the two chords he plays at the beginning of his rendition, from :00--:02 and from :03--:05?
Not sure but may come back to this in a sec..

Where does he finger the three positions he plays over his I chord, from :20--:29?  plays D shape up at the 7th fret, slips down a fret, back up again and then moves the shape up to the 10th.

Where does he finger the V7 chord he plays from 1:06--1:07?
Sounds like it may be open first string, 1st fret 2nd str; 2nd fret 3rd str but then does he slide up to a D7 (C7 shape moved up 2 frets) where he can reach the run
for the passage from 1:08--1:10?
This goes 1st string: 6th fret to 5 to 3; 2nd string 6th fret to 3rd; 3rd string 5th fret hammer from 3rd to 4th fret; 4th string 5th fret.

Back to the two chords he plays at the beginning of his rendition.....Nah....I'm struggling with this....first notes an E (4th string)? so I'll go for a standard C but not sure where he fingers the next bit.

Not got a lot of faith in the above.  My ears have been like mush this week.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: mr mando on October 08, 2014, 01:21:24 PM
I first dabbled around with G6 tuning, but the sound of the IV chord made me change my mind, so I basically agree with roig (how could I not with a high professional :) ).
Q: What playing Position/tuning did Wallace Chains use to play the song?
A: Standard tuning down a whole step/ A position
Q: Where in the form does his rendition start?
A: on bar 5 (IV chord in the 12 bar form)
Q: Where does he finger the two chords he plays at the beginning of his rendition, from :00--:02 and from :03--:05
A: x-x-4-2-1-0 and 1-x-0-2-1-1
Q: There does he finger the three positions he plays over his I chord, from :20--:29?
A: 0-0-x-9-10-9, 0-0-x-8-9-8 and 0-0-x-12-13-12
Q: Where does he finger the V7 chord he plays from 1:06--1:07?
A: 0-2-2-4-3-4
Q: Where does he fret the running passage from 1:08--1:10?
A: String/Fret (starting on beat 1+): 1+:st1/f8, 2:st1/f7, 2+:st1/f5, 3+:st1/o, 4:st3/f5, 4+:st2/f2, 1:st3/f2
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on October 08, 2014, 01:23:21 PM
Hi all.

After a very busy time moving us to a new apartment, I finally seem to have some time for music! Here's what I'm hearing on this one.

Quote
* What playing position/tuning did Wallace Chains use to play the song?

At first I was thinking G position in standard tuning, but since there appears to be a low fifth on the 6th string, and the root on the 5th string rings out when he plays an I chord in upper positions, Iíll agree with Roi on A position, standard.   

Quote
* Where in the form does his rendition start?

Sounds to me like heís starting on the IV chord, on bar 5 in the 12 bar blues form.

Quote
* Where does he finger the two chords he plays at the beginning of his rendition, from :00--:02 and from :03--:05

I think Iím hearing a IV9 chord: X-X-4-5-5-5, followed by a IVm7, X-X-0-7-6-8, with maybe a change in the bass, from the open D string to the 7th fret D-string.
 
Quote
* Where does he finger the three positions he plays over his I chord, from :20--:29?

Iím hearing the two lowest string being alternated open, on 4th string is muted, I believe, and on the top three strings you have 9-8-9; to 8-7-8; and then 12-10-12.

Quote
* Where does he finger the V7 chord he plays from 1:06--1:07?

Iíll suggest something like 0-X-2-4-3-4.

Quote
* Where does he fret the running passage from 1:08--1:10?

Starting on the 5th position, from a D7 chord: 0-0-0-5-7-8, then a walk down on the top string to 7th and 5th frets, then changing postion while playing the open 1st string, followed by the 2nd string frets  1 to 2, and then followed by the long A chord.

Looking forward for the verdict

Cheers

Pan
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: One-Eyed Ross on October 08, 2014, 01:47:15 PM
What with grandkids, dogs, herself and all the household chores, about as far as I got with this is G, standard tuning.  The opening on the IV chord others say sounds right, but that is just parroting their remarks.  Life sure gets in the way of living, sometimes.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on October 08, 2014, 04:24:59 PM
Sorry I haven't had time for a go at this one! Have been frantically busy in preparation for bnemerov visit to Scratchy Towers (if he ever gets here, having missed his connection). History repeats, Johnm....

Sent from my HUAWEI MT1-U06 using Tapatalk

Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on October 08, 2014, 11:57:17 PM
Hi all,
Thanks for all of the responses, including those from Ross and Scratchy who had time constraints that prevented them from being able to participate fully.  Here are the answers to the questions on Wallace Chains' "Smokey Mountain Blues". 
   *  Playing position was A in standard tuning, though tuned a full step low, as several of you had it.
   *  He does begin playing in the fourth bar of his first verse, over his IV chord, once again as a number of you had it.
   *  The two chords he opens up with I found to be real ear-catchers, and unusual.  He begins with a D7(9) chord voiced X-X-4-5-3-0.  The notes make it a D9 chord as Pan had it, but Chains very craftily uses the open first string to get his 9 note.  He uses this basic configuration for all of his IV7 chords throughout the song, though at least once he frets his first string at the fifth fret, giving himself a D7 chord voiced X-X-4-5-3-5.  The second chord is an F chord voiced on the four interior strings, X-3-3-2-1-X.  Hitting that chord with the C note in the bass really gives it an interesting dark color.  For the remainder of the song, he plays a more conventional F chord, just fingering the top four strings and sometimes hitting the open fifth string against it, X-0-3-2-1-1.  The use of the bVI chord, F in the key of A, has much the same effect as going to a IV minor chord.  In his later verses, Chains really leans on the F# in the D7 chord, the fourth fret of the fourth string, resolving down into the F natural note in the F chord, at the third fret of the fourth string.
   * The three positions from :20--:29 are just as mr mando had them:  Open sixth and fifth strings, 9-10-9 on the first strings resolving down by half-step to 8-9-8, back up to 9-10-9 and then up three frets to 12-13-12. 
   *  The V7 (E7) chord that he fingers from 1:06--1:07 is one that he uses throughout his rendition.  It's a neat sort of hybrid fingering that I've seen Honeyboy Edwards and Bill Broonzy do on film: X-2-0-1-3-4.  In that measure, his thumb is hitting only on beats one and three, and he's brushing the second fret of the fifth string and the open fourth string.  He brushes the top two strings on beat 2 and 2+, and on 4+ he slides from the third fret of the second string to the seventh fret of the second string, starting the run that follows in the next measure.
   *  The run that he plays from 1:08--1:10 in bar 10 of the form is as follows:
     On beat one, he brushes the sixth and fifth strings open
     On 1+, he picks the 8th fret of the first string
     On beat 2, he picks the seventh fret of the first string and the seventh fret of the third string simultaneously
     On 2+, he picks the fifth fret of the first string, tying it into
     Beat 3, he hits the fifth fret of the third string, with the fifth fret of the first string still sustaining
     On 3+, he hits the open first string
     On 4, he hits either the first fret of the second string or the fifth fret of the third string, as mr mando had it
     On 4+, he picks the second fret of the second string
     On beat one of the eleventh measure of the form, he pinches the second fret of the third string against the open fifth string in the bass.
   Mr mando had this run spot on with the exception of the notes falling on the seventh and fifth frets of the third string.  They really give the run a neat sound, harmonizing it that way.  This run reminds me a lot of one that Otis Harris played on "You Like My Loving", which I know a number of you are familiar with and may have played.

Wallace Chains certainly was a spiffy guitar player, with some neat original sounds and clever ways of getting around on the neck.  A position in standard tuning was very heavily mined by the early Texas blue players, so it is especially impressive in a way to hear a player from there doing so many things that don't really sound like anybody else.  He was an inventive musician.

Thanks to all who participated, and I'll look for another puzzler to post soon.

All best,
Johnm
     
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on October 10, 2014, 08:41:40 AM
Hi all,
I've got a new puzzler--sorry that it took me a while to find one.  The song is "French Blues", as performed by Frank Evans, who evidently was recorded by Alan Lomax in Mississippi.  He continues in our trend of really outstanding musicians showing up on field recordings.  Here is "French Blues", and I should note that the sound drops out altogether for a moment in the middle of the track.

Frank Evans - French Blues (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLFsicH3_a0#ws)

Took that baby down to the Worldly [sic] Fair
And I took that baby down to the Worldly Fair
Aw, she's so good-lookin', I swear, she could not stay there

Tell me, tell me, what you tryin' to do
Whyn't you tell me, tell me, what you tryin' to do
Aw, you must be tryin', tryin' to break my heart in two

Tell Barrelhouse Jordy, shut the piano down
Tell Barrelhouse Jordy to shut the piano down
I ain't got no blues, and I don't want to hear them sounds

If I get drunk, who's gon' carry me home?
If I get ---
Seems like every body in the word is down on me

Tell me, tell me, what's the matter now
Whyn't you tell me, tell me, what's the matter now
Whyn't you tell me, tell me, what's the matter now

Blues was whiskey, stay drunk all the time
If the blues was whiskey, I'd stay drunk all the time
If the blues was whiskey, I would stay drunk all the time


The questions on "French Blues" are:
   * What playing position/tuning did Frank Evans use to play "French Blues"
   * Assuming that a capo operates like a zero fret or the nut, where did Frank Evans fret his IV chord phrase from :08-:11, and how did he articulate the phrase in his right hand? 
   * Where did he fret his V7 chord at :15?

As always, please use only your ears, instruments and past experience in determining your answers, and please don't post any answers until Sunday morning, October 12.  Thanks for participating.

All best,
Johnm 
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: uncle bud on October 10, 2014, 03:01:27 PM
Always loved this one!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: David Kaatz on October 10, 2014, 03:20:13 PM
Very similar to I'm a Little Mixed Up by Betty James.
http://youtu.be/8bAPh81WH40 (http://youtu.be/8bAPh81WH40)

Dave
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on October 10, 2014, 07:28:53 PM
"French Blues" is a new one to me, uncle bud, but I agree with you--I'm kind of smacked on it.  What a great tune.  And boy, are you right, Dave, it really is quite a lot like "I'm A Little Mixed Up".
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on October 10, 2014, 08:19:53 PM
Hi all,
I've been going back and trying to complete lyric transcriptions on all the songs in this thread.  Most of them are done, but I've been working on "Ding Dong Ring", performed by unknown and recorded by Lawrence Gellert, a very sophisticated performance, and would appreciate some help with the bent bracketed passages in the transcription.  The post is located at http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg88735#msg88735 (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg88735#msg88735) .
Thanks for any help.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: waxwing on October 10, 2014, 09:50:37 PM
Johnm, sounds like the last line is "Said the sun shine down on you like a burnin' hell." I can't make out the other, which seems likely a place name.

Wax
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on October 10, 2014, 10:05:54 PM
Thanks for the help, John C.!  I have made the change.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on October 12, 2014, 06:01:45 AM
Missed the last one, so I'll have a go this time! I'm going to say E position standard tuning, capoed at the sixth fret and sounding in Bflat. The IV chord phrase is second string fifth fret and third string sixth fret, dropping in the seventh note on second string eighth fret. The V7 chord sounds to me like he's playing a regular B7 in first position but with a bent note at first string third fret.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: mr mando on October 12, 2014, 10:40:06 AM
A: I agree with the Prof that "French Blues" has to be in E Position / Standard tuning capoed up 6 frets.
Q: Where did Frank Evans fret his IV chord phrase from :08-:11, and how did he articulate the phrase in his right hand?
A: relative to the capo rocking between st3/f9 and st2/f7, then st3/f9 and st2/f8, then again st3/f9 and st2/f7, and then a little run st3/f9, st2/f8, st1/f0, st2/f0 hammer f2, st1/f0. SOunds like he's using only his right hand thumb for the third and second strings and his right hand index exclusively for the first string.
Q: Where did he fret his V7 chord at :15?
A: x-2-x-2-0-3 (in agreement with Prof Scratchy)
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on October 12, 2014, 02:23:47 PM
Hi all

Agreed with Prof Scratchy and Mr. Mando on E-position, standard tuning, capoed at sounding around B flat.

It sounds to me. like the IV chord lick could be played at the two top strings, 1st string fretted at 2nd fret, and then changed to the 3rd, against the 2nd string fretted at the 5th fret. Both strings are then played open, to finish the lick, before returning to the I chord. I'd assume he used his thumb and index fingers on the right hand, to play the lick?

I believe Mr. Mando nailed the V7 chord, with the augmented 5th.

Cheers

Pan



Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: waxwing on October 12, 2014, 04:43:13 PM
Like Pan, I don't see why the 0:08-0:11 lick wouldn't be played on the 1st and 2nd strings.

I hear it as starting on the + of 4 at the 2nd str./5th ft., then 1st str/2nd on the 1, 2nd str/5th on the +, 1st str/2nd on the 2, rest on the +, 1st str/3rd on the 3, 2nd str/5th on the +, 1st str/3rd on the 4, and then repeating, 2nd str/5th on the +, 1st str/2nd on the 1, 2nd str/5th on the +, 1st str/2nd on the 2, rest on the +, 1st str/3rd on the 3, then open 1st str on the + and open 2nd str on the 4.

The timing is essential when thinking about the right hand, since, if the thumb was striking the 2nd string and the index was striking the first string that would mean the index was on the beat and the thumb on the +, which seems unlikely to me, as does striking the 1st str. with the thumb and the 2nd with the index.  Since much of the rest of the song sounds to me like down-up strumming in the treble, down on the beat and up on the +, this presents two possibilities in my mind. One is that the entire song is played with a flat pick, and I can't really hear any strong evidence against this. Second, if someone does hear a bass note and a treble note played in unison that could not be strummed with a flat pick, I would suggest he is playing in a non-opposing style, where, if the thumb and index are striking together they are striking down in parallel on the beat and the index, when alone, is striking down on the beat and up on the + throughout. One tell for this kind of playing, I think, is hearing a lot of up strokes on the 1st and sometimes 2nd strings on the +(s), for instance in the playing of Henry Thomas, which would require a lot of tiringly fast picking with the index if it were only striking upward, pinching with the thumb on the beat, but becomes more relaxed if the index is playing down and up. Also in this style of playing it is possible to use the index finger as a flat pick, even supporting it with the thumb, as if a flat pick were present, for more precision. The lick is quite easily played this way, striking down on the 1st string on the beats and up on the 2nd string on the +(s) until the final two open notes, where the 1st string is on the + and the 2nd string on the beat.

Wax

P.S. Johnm, I think roig was making fun of himself as "highly professional". Maybe you were just kidding him back?
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: waxwing on October 12, 2014, 07:24:40 PM
Rereading mr mando's post I guess it is possible to play the notes entirely with the thumb by following through, from the 2nd string through the 1st, but it would require pretty quick recovery and good accuracy to get the lick so precisely. It still seems much easier to me, and more in keeping with the rest of the piece, with a flat pick or with index finger as pick. But I believe guitarists are capable of almost anything with practice, hence such idiosyncratic right hand playing as Snooks Eaglin. So who really knows?

Wax
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on October 12, 2014, 10:29:48 PM
Hi all,
Thanks to all who responded to the Frank Evans "French Blues" puzzlers, and it seems a good time to post the answers.  This piece was a new one to me, and finding the songs in this thread has made it apparent to me that I need to acquaint myself with the field recordings of this music that were made in the 30s through the 80s in a more thorough way.  There really is so much great stuff.
Here are the puzzler answers:
   * Frank Evans did play the piece out of E position in standard tuning, capoed up around the sixth fret, in Charley Jordan territory.  Everyone had this right--good on you!
   * Frank Evans' IV chord phrase from :08--:11 in his opening solo was fretted as follows. 
   * For the entire two-measure phrase, he plays the + of each beat on his open first string, picking it with his index finger.  With his thumb, he strikes a note on every beat of the two measure phrase, and they are, in the first measure, the 7th fret of the second string on beats one and two and the 8th fret of the second string on beats three and four.  In the second measure, he hits the 7th fret of the second string on beats one and two, the 8th fret of the second string on beat three and does a hammer from the open second string to the 2nd fret of the second string on beat four.  Note that the pitches of these notes are the very same pitches (with the exception of the triplet on beat four of the second measure) as those proposed by mr mando, Pan and Wax in their solutions, but by getting the higher pitched notes on the second string and droning on the open first string, the right hand becomes greatly simplified, allowing for the thumb to strike the strongly emphasized fretted notes on the beat on the second string while the index finger simply plucks the weaker +s of each beat on the open first string. 

The underlying triplet feel gives the division of the beats a long-short, long-short, long-short, long-short feel, with the notes falling on the beat having the duration of the first two notes of the underlying triplet and the + of the beat that the index is picking being the third note of each underlying triplet.  Only in the fourth beat of the second measure of the IV chord, with the hammer to the second fret of the second string followed by the open first string are all three notes of the underlying triplet sounded.
Frank Evans' right-hand approach on this song is amazing in its consistency.  Almost without exception, he uses his thumb to either strike individual notes or brush several strings on every beat, and similarly almost without exception, he uses his index finger to hit the + of each beat on the open first or second string.  Evans is so consistent in hitting the +s with his index finger that he continues to do so while in the midst of slides or hammers in the bass, as in the + of beat 4 in the first two measures of the solo, and several other places.  In the entire opening solo, Evans never once does a pinch, picking with the thumb and index simultaneously.  It's a tribute to his invention that despite such a strictly adhered to right hand picking formula his piece nonetheless has a lot of variety and dynamics rather than being the sort of monotonous sing-songy sort of thing that just reading a description of the technique might lead one to believe would be the result.  This is both great guitar playing and a great conception.  Hats off to Frank Evans!
   * The V7 chord is just as you all had it, a normal B7 fingering apart from the first string, which he frets one fret high to get the #V of the V7 chord, as Pan had it (and the bIII of the I chord).  He fingered it X-2-1-2-0-3.

Thanks to all who participated and thanks for posting such thoughtful responses.  I felt like everybody was right in the neighborhood.  I hope folks will try out the solution for that IV chord phrase--it lays out so beautifully, it just plays itself, and it is so close to where he was fretting the two measures immediately preceding it, right up in the same area of the neck.

I'll try to find another puzzler soon.

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: uncle bud on October 13, 2014, 08:13:59 AM
Hi all,
Thanks to all who responded to the Frank Evans "French Blues" puzzlers, and it seems a good time to post the answers.  This piece was a new one to me, and finding the songs in this thread has made it apparent to me that I need to acquaint myself with the field recordings of this music that were made in the 30s through the 80s in a more thorough way.  There really is so much great stuff.

There really is, and it is a shame that so much of it is not in print. That's changing a little with some of the new vinyl reissues, and I haven't checked the streaming services like Spotify and Rdio to see if they have this stuff. I guess Spotify must have some of it, since Document released some John Lomax recordings (and Alan's?). And then there's YouTube.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on October 14, 2014, 12:47:01 PM
Hi all,
I've got a new puzzler for any who might be interested.  It's been a little while since we've done one where there are several tunes with the only question being, "What playing position/tuning did the musician in question use to play this piece".  Let's do one like that. 

The first song is John Bray's "Trench Blues".  Here it is:

https://youtu.be/piyVnYo1VeQ

A couple of years ago, dj transcribed the lyrics to this performance, and they can be found at the "John Bray Lyrics" thread, located at http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=8359.0 (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=8359.0) .

What playing position/tuning did John Bray use to play "Trench Blues?"

The second song is Bull City Red's "Pick and Shovel Blues".  Here it is:

Bull City Red - Pick And Shovel Blues (Georg Washington) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2FkGAqdzgU#ws)

I'm on my way to the jailhouse, baby, and I sure don't care
I'm on my way to the jailhouse, baby, and I sure don't care
And I may get lifetime and I may get the 'lectric chair

'Cause I've got to go to jail innocent, and I've got to serve my time
I've got to go to jail innocent, and I've got to serve my time
'Cause that old judge is so cruel, Lord, he won't give me no fine

Lord, I laid in jail, pretty mama, six long months and days
Lord, I laid in jail, baby, six long months and days
And I didn't have nobody to come down and go my bail

SOLO

Lord, they tell me this old jailhouse is a, that's a low-down lonesome place
Lord, this old jailhouse is a low-down lonesome place
Every morning when you rise, pick and shovel right before your face

I said, "Captain, Captain, please don't be so mean.
Captain, Captain, Captain, please don't be so mean.
You know, a pick and a shovel sure don't run by steam."

OUTRO

What position/tuning did Bull City Red use to play "Pick and Shovel Blues?"

The third song is Roosevelt Antrim's "Station Boy Blues".  Here it is:

Roosevelt Antrim - Station Boy Blues (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WK74i3rMld0#ws)

Said, I went to the station and I looked up on the board
Said, I went to the station and I looked up on the board
I couldn't see no freight train, mama, and I couldn't hear no whistle blow

Well I'm leavin' this mornin', if I have to ride the blinds
Well I'm leavin' this mornin', if I have to ride the blinds
Says, I feel mistreated and I surely don't mind dyin'

Come home last night, mama, don't mark dinner down to me
Come home last night, don't mark dinner down to me
Then out there and you go and stay out all night for me

SOLO

Says, I woke up this morning, babe, I couldn't hardly keep from cryin'
Says, I woke up this morning, I couldn't hardly keep from cryin'
I had the blues so bad, mama, I could feel them in my natch'l hands

SOLO

Said today you want your man to die like Jesse James
Baby, do you want your man to die like Jesse James?
When I leave this town, mama, say, I ain't comin' back no more

What position/tuning did Roosevelt Antrim use to play "Station Boy Blues"?

Please use only your ears, experience and guitar to answer the questions, and please don't post any answers prior to Thursday morning, October 16, so that plenty of folks will get a chance to listen and work out their answers.  Thanks for participating.

Edited 10/18 to pick up correction from ScottN

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on October 16, 2014, 07:29:56 AM
Starting in reverse order:
Roosevelt Antrim's "Station Boy Blues" is in C, standard tuning.
Bull City Red's "Pick and Shovel Blues" is in A, standard tuning but it sounds a half step high to me, making it played out of Bb
John Bray's "Trench Blues" I found quite tricky.  He has such a commanding voice that I found it difficult to focus on much of the guitar part.  I'm going with a D position but played up at the 9th fret (making it an A chord).  I'm also thinking he may have a capo as high as the 7th fret and if he does and he is playing in A, then I'm guessing he's lowered the top string down from E to D.  So, Dropped D tuning (capo at 7th) playing out of a D position.  My only rationale for this is the couple of notes he plays around the 8 sec mark, an A and C# (sounds like to me) and that I could pick out the melody of his vocals out of this position.

Look forward to hearing what other folks are getting for the John Bray.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on October 16, 2014, 10:51:41 AM
Hi all

Here are my guesses for the playing positions.

Quote
What playing position/tuning did John Bray use to play "Trench Blues?"

Sounds to me, like maybe E-position, standard tuning, capoed up to sound somewhere between G# and A. I seem to hear the open E chord form for the I chord. It then has the open 1st string changed to the 2nd and then the 4th frets, to the Major 3rd of the chord. This would be somewhat hard to do on the open position, but maybe not so hard capoed higher up on the neck, where the distance between the frets is smaller.

Quote
What position/tuning did Bull City Red use to play "Pick and Shovel Blues?"

Iím going to suggest A position standard tuning, tuned  or capoed up about a half-step. The various forms of A chord shapes seem to be there for the I chord, and the walkdown in the end of the verses sounds like an A position thing to me.

Quote
What position/tuning did Roosevelt Antrim use to play "Station Boy Blues"?

Iíll say C position in standard tuning. The chords sound like it, the little bend from the minor to major 3rd from the 2nd fret 4th fret also. I think the high G note on the 3rd fret of the 1st string, added on the F chord is characteristic also.

Cheers

Pan
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on October 16, 2014, 11:19:53 AM
Trench  Blues sounds like E capoed at the fifth fret. For Pick and Shovel I'm going to say G capoed at the third fret. And for Station Boy Blues, C standard.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on October 17, 2014, 07:13:50 AM
Hi all,
Thanks to Old Man Ned, Pan and Prof Scratchy for the responses on the three tunes.  The identifications for the songs are as follows:
   * For John Bray's "Trench Blues", the playing position is E position in standard tuning, capoed up a ways.  The fact that the guitar was capoed up so high made John Bray's way of playing his E chord, with his little finger fretting the fourth fret of the first string a plausible reach.  D position, as Old Man Ned had it, likewise puts the third of the playing position on the first string, but it has a much closer interval to the next lower string, from the third down to the root, than what John Bray is playing--Bray skips the next lower root and goes down to the fifth below, which in this instance, is the open second string.  I think Bray's unusual fingering for his home E chord and the fact that he avoids the V chord make this a tougher identification than it might otherwise be.  I sure like his singing.
   * "Bull City Red's "Pick and Shovel Blues" is in G position in standard tuning, as Prof. Scratchy had it.  Differentiating between A position and G position in East Coast blues like this one can be tricky, because the G position and the long A chord voice out exactly the same on the top four strings, so that a final identification often rests on details you hear along the way or the difference in how the IV and V chords sound in the different positions.  Since Bull City Red pretty much avoids the IV chord, you miss out on one of the best ways to decide between the two positions. 
There are some details that point to G position right from the start.  He plays a descending run near the beginning and at about :03 or :04 brushes a flat 3rd and a major 3rd on the second and third strings.  In G position, those intervals would be at the third fret of the third string and the open second string--in A position, they'd live at the fifth fret of the third string and the second fret of the second string, not impossible to play, but awkward.  Around :23-:25, Red brushes a slide up into the 3rd of the I chord on the third string and the 5th of the I chord on the second string while also brushing a VI note on the first string.  In G position, those three notes would live at 4-3-0 on the first three strings, from third to first string.  In A position, they would live at 5-6-2 on the same strings, an implausible position, especially with the two lower strings sliding into position while the first string remains constant, as it does here.
   * Roosevelt Antrim's "Station Boy Blues" was played in C position, standard tuning, as all three of you identified it. 

Thanks to you all for participating and congratulations to Prof Scratchy for making all three identifications correctly.  I'll post another puzzler soon.

All best,
Johnm 
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on October 17, 2014, 01:12:27 PM
Hi all,
I've been trying to transcribe the lyrics of the songs in this thread as we go along.  I've gotten just about all of Roosevelt Antrim's "Station Boy Blues", back just a few posts at http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg89414#msg89414 (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg89414#msg89414) , and I'd very much appreciate help with the bent bracketed passages in the third verse.  Thanks for any help with those.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: ScottN on October 17, 2014, 10:08:32 PM
Hi John,

A complete WAG re: the lyrics "don't mark dinner down to me / for me."  No guess on the second part.

Thanks,
            Scott
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on October 18, 2014, 09:27:50 AM
Thanks for the help, Scott.  I think "don't mark dinner down to me" matches what Roosevelt Antrim sings, right on the money.  I've made the change.  Thanks!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on October 18, 2014, 01:36:03 PM
Hi all,
I have a new puzzler for you.  It's unusual in that it is an instrumental, "Baton Rouge Rag", as played by Joe Harris.  I know nothing about Harris except that this was apparently recorded by John Lomax in Louisiana.  Harris has four other titles up on youtube, I believe, and none of them are anything like this one.  It is such a beautiful conception, and beautiful playing, too.  I'm sort of surprised it isn't famous, at least in the world of Country Blues.  Here it is:

https://youtu.be/av9vEqY0K9c

The questions on "Baton Rouge Rag" are:
   * What playing position/tuning did Joe Harris use to play the song?  (You may have to listen a little ways into the tune to determine this.)
   * Where are the three chord positions that he opens his performance with, from :00--:03, :03--:06, and :06--:09 fretted, and how would you name each one of those chords?

Please use only your ears, instrument and experience in arriving at your answers, and please don't post any answers until Tuesday morning, October 21.  Thanks for participating.

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on October 19, 2014, 12:19:23 PM
Hi all,
I have been trying to figure out the lyrics to John Bray's "Trench Blues", a few posts back at:  http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg89414#msg89414 (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg89414#msg89414) , and I would very much appreciate help with the bent bracketed places in the lyrics.  It's a strong set of lyrics and there are not all that many songs that deal with African-American soldiers' wartime experiences.  Thanks for any help.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: banjochris on October 19, 2014, 05:00:43 PM
Hi all,
I have been trying to figure out the lyrics t John Bray's "Trench Blues", a few posts back at:  http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg89414#msg89414 (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg89414#msg89414) , and I would very much appreciate help with the bent bracketed places in the lyrics.  It's a strong set of lyrics and there are not all that many songs that deal with African-American soldiers' wartime experiences.  Thanks for any help.

A few suggestions, John. This was transcribed in the Library of Congress Bicentennial set, and they have gaps in a lot of the same places. Very hard to decipher. Here's a couple of things from them and me:

7.1 Last old word I heard old Kaiser say

9.1 The Berlin women holler ďNon comprendsĒ
holler in next two lines also

11.1 ???, big bell sadly tone
(sounds almost like "Weep long")

12.1 ó this is what the LoC had: Called him in the morning, chased him in the night
12.2,3 - LoC has Americans right
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Batson on October 20, 2014, 01:14:41 AM
4.1 : Montsec Hill
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: dj on October 20, 2014, 05:41:01 AM
Quote
I have been trying to figure out the lyrics t John Bray's "Trench Blues"

I transcribed the lyrics a few years back in the "John Bray lyrics" thread:  http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=8359.0 (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=8359.0).  I think they're mostly right.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on October 20, 2014, 06:50:12 AM
Thanks very much for the help, Chris, Batson and dj.  It had completely slipped my mind that you had previously transcribed these lyrics, dj.  I think I will post a link to your transcription in the post where I have John Bray's performance of the song.  You certainly caught a lot that I had missed.  Thanks so much.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: banjochris on October 20, 2014, 09:16:55 AM
I transcribed the lyrics a few years back in the "John Bray lyrics" thread:  http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=8359.0 (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=8359.0).  I think they're mostly right.

Excellent!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on October 21, 2014, 09:22:00 AM
Hi all,
Any takers for the puzzler on Joe Harris' recording of "Baton Rouge Rag"?  If you've not had a chance to listen to it yet, you can find it at http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg89459#msg89459 (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg89459#msg89459) , on the previous page of this thread.  Come one, come all, give it a shot!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: roig on October 21, 2014, 10:04:20 AM
Key of C, common ragtime progression

Doing his A sorta like this: xx7687

his D more or less like this: xx0765 (jumping from 5th to 7th fret on the high e)

his G like this: xx0065
or perhaps like this: x55765 (again that jump on the high e same as on the D chord)

GREAT recording
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on October 21, 2014, 10:49:10 AM
Hi all

I think Roi has it pretty well.

Anyway, here's my take on it.

Quote
* What playing position/tuning did Joe Harris use to play the song? 

Iím going to suggest Standard tuning, C position, tuned around a half-step low. At around :49 he plays a cycle of 5ths progression starting from the long A chord form, and playing the cycle, ending in an open C chord for the I chord, if Iím not mistaken. On 1:19 he does a chromatic walk-up from the open 6th string, to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd fret, to play the V or G chord. The ending at 1:48 sounds like a lick in C position too, starting from the 3rd fret of the 6th string, and going up to the open 5th string, then 2nd fret 5th string, to finish on the I or C note on the 3rd fret, 5th string.

Quote
* Where are the three chord positions that he opens his performance with, from :00--:03, :03--:06, and :06--:09 fretted, and how would you name each one of those chords?

The first chord I would call a A9 chord, and it could be fingered X-X-7-6-8-7 (or alternatively X-12-11-12-12-X).

The second one is a little trickier. It sounds like a Dm chord with an added 6th I guess you could call it Dm6. I think it is first fingered as a Dm X-X-X-7-6-5, and then the 6th is added on the top string on the 7th fret. To get the alternating bass, I guess youíd have to lose the 3rd string X-X-7-X-6-7. This chord too, could be played higher up on the neck, on the inner strings at the 10th fret, but since I believe the next chord uses open strings on the bass, and keeps the two top strings unchanged, I would say that it is more likely played at the 5th fret.

The last chord I think is a G7 chord with an A  note inserted on the 1st string 5th fret. I guess you could call it a G9 chord, and it would be fingered something like X-X-0-0-6-5, and then the top string is changed from A to B note, from 5th to 7th fret.

Cheers

Pan
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: One-Eyed Ross on October 21, 2014, 10:56:06 AM
I agree, C rag, but the D chord I'd have as 7-7-5, going from 5 to 7 on the E string...I'm not hearing it as a minor chord, but that's probably my ear.  I'll keep listening and see if I can hear it the same as everyone else...
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on October 21, 2014, 11:13:59 AM
I'm sure the C rag thing works, and I'll have a go later on based on these previous posts. But it also works easily (if not correctly) in G (capoed at 4 to play along). In this position the first three chords are 022132 (E7 with an added D); x02212 (Am with an added Fsharp); and a regular D7 first position chord. I've played a watered down version of this tune for some years based on G. I think I got it from a Steve Phillips recording many years ago. I don't know if Steve played it in G, or whether I just lazily worked it out in that key. Probably the latter.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on October 21, 2014, 12:21:11 PM
Pretty much in agreement with what other folks have said.  C, standard tuning about a half step down in pitch.  Chords follow what I've read is a typical ragtime progression of VIx, IIx, V, I.  The first chord I have as an A XX7687, but later in the recording I think he also plays this as a long A at the 2nd fret.  The second chord I have is XX7577 and lifting off to the 5th fret on the high E string.  The 3rd chord I have as X55767 again lifting off to the 5th fret on the high E string.

At first I also thought he may be using a capo around 4th fret (or near vicinity) but hearing some of the chords further in the recording I convinced myself he wasn't.  Love the tune, that's another CD for my to buy list. Cheers.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: David Kaatz on October 21, 2014, 02:25:38 PM
Without reading the other replies first, to keep myself honest, this is what I hear.

Baton Rouge Rag
- What playing position/tuning?
Key of C, standard tuning, tuned approx. 1/2 step low.

- Where are the three chord positions that he opens his performance with fretted? And how would you name the chords?
A9 chord at the 7th fret, fretting fourth string 7th fret, third string 6th, second string 8th fret, and first string 7th fret. Just barely brushes the first string during the lick.
D6 chord at the 7th fret playing the first, second, third and fourth strings: thumb alternating fourth string 7th fret with third string 7th fret, fingers playing second string 7th fret, and first string 5th fret and then 7th fret by laying down the little finger that should be holding the second string.
G chord at the 5th fret alternating open fourth and third strings while playing the second string 5th fret, then first string 7th fret, then first string 5th fret, then 7th fret again.

I think it is standard tuning because Harris plays a run from a low E chromatically up to G at about 1:19 in the tune.

Dave
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on October 21, 2014, 11:01:32 PM
Hi all,
It is great to see all of the responses on "Baton Rouge Rag", and how close the consensus is on left hand positions (with minor variations) and playing position.  Here are the answers to the questions:
   * Playing position was C position in standard tuning, tuned a half-step low.  While the progression can be played out of G position capoed to the fourth fret, the very notes that Joe Harris played can't be gotten there, because Joe Harris frequently plays the open sixth string in the bass behind the VI chord  (A) that opens the progression.  Relative to that A chord, the open sixth string is a low 5th.  The analogous note is not available in G position because the VI chord in G is E and there is no low 5th available on an E chord, since the low root of the E chord is as low as you can go.
   * Joe Harris starts the tune with are an A9, which he fingers 0-x-7-6-8-7.  A peculiarity of Joe Harris's arrangement is that in the course of his rendition he never hits the open fifth string in the bass under this chord, and it would be the most obvious note to hit there, the lowest root.  When he does alternate the bass under this chord, he goes from the open sixth string up to the seventh fret of the fourth string, from a low 5th to a medium range root.  It's an unusual alternation, but it sounds great.
The second chord Joe Harris plays is a Dm or Dm6, under which he plays X-X-0-7-6-5, with the fifth fret of the first string rocking up to the seventh fret and back.  I suppose what you would call the chord would depend on whether you think the prevailing sound is of the 7th fret on the first string (Dm6) or the fifth fret on the first string (Dm).  Joe Harris never hits a note lower in pitch than the open fourth string against this chord.
The third chord that Joe Harris plays is a G9/G7, under which he plays  X-X-0-0-6-7, with the seventh fret of the first string rocking down to the fifth fret and back.  If you considered the dominant sound to be the seventh fret of the first string, you'd have G7, and if you considered the dominant sound to be the fifth fret of the first string, you'd have G9.  They're functionally interchangeable, in any event.

These opening three chords are beautifully voiced, and especially in the shift from Dm to G9 there is a beautiful concision, since the two chord positions differ from each other only on the third string, where you fret the seventh fret for the Dm and have an open third string for the G9.  In subsequent passes through the form, when doing the high version of the progression that he opens his rendition with, Joe Harris starts the form with a particularly nifty-sounding A7, under which he plays 0-X-7-6-8-0.  That chord is missed on the first pass through the form because the take starts half-way through the first bar.  The A7 has such a neat sound because he utilizes the always interesting sound of fretting a higher pitched note on a lower pitched string, and harmonizes the 8th fret of the second string with the open first string.

Congratulations to Roi and Pan, who both nailed the identification altogether.  I think everyone had the 9th chord formation for the first chord right, too, and Scratchy had it right relative to G position.  And I think a couple of you had fretted bass notes for the Dm and G7 where the same notes were available on open strings.  In other words, the sound was right.  I thought this one was kind of a tough puzzler and everyone was pretty much right there with it.

Hearing this piece made me think of the way we sometimes generalize about the characteristic sound of Country Blues from different regions, with Mississippi blues being with heavy time, in Spanish or E standard, little chordal complexity, etc.  Certainly there were plenty of blues like that that came out of Mississippi, but what about Hacksaw Harney, Eugene Powell, Bo Carter and somebody like Joe Harris from across the river?  These players all had pretty (or very) sophisticated chordal content in their music, a varied rhythmic palette, and a degree of Pop or Jazz influence.  I suspect that at a time when this music was in a more evolutionarily hot period, in almost any region you would have found some people playing music with heavy time, a pared back chordal vocabulary and a trancey feel, and others who played chordally complex, raggy or Pop-influenced material.  I'm beginning to think that gravitating toward one or the other of these extremes is almost more an issue of someone's personality, or what jerks their chain, than it is an issue of the region that someone came from.  In any area, there will just be some people who respond to harmonic complexity and are drawn to it and others who are not.  Thus, you end up with really surprising renditions like Joe Harris's "Baton Rouge Rag" coming out of Louisiana.  Who'd-a thunk it?

Thanks to all of you for your participation and I'll post another puzzler soon.

All best,
Johnm         
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on October 22, 2014, 01:20:41 AM
Now to learn it properly!

Sent from my HUAWEI MT1-U06 using Tapatalk

Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: One-Eyed Ross on October 22, 2014, 07:55:42 AM
What Scratchy said.  This is a great tune.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on October 22, 2014, 01:35:28 PM
Hi all,
I've got a new puzzler for you.  The song is "Mama, You Goin' To Quit Me", as performed by Allison Mathis, recorded in Georgia in 1941.  I realize we haven't done many slide songs in this thread--I suppose I thought that it is relatively easy to tell what tuning someone is playing slide out of, but on a case by case basis, I'm not sure that is so.  In any event, I think this is one of the most exciting East Coast slide performances I've every heard--wow!  The only thing wrong with it is it's too short!  Here it is:

https://youtu.be/42aNshaKYN0

Allison Mathis used a stammering archetype in his vocal phrasing, much as William Harris had for his "Bullfrog Blues".  Dashes indicate places where Mathis concludes a vocal phrase with his slide.

You gon' quit me, good as I've been to --
You gon' quit me, good as I've been--

Lord, I ain't got no ticket, got no railroad, Lord, I ain't got no railroad fare
Lord, got no ticket, ain't got no railroad---
Got no ticket don't got no railroad---
Got no ticket, got no---

Eeee, Lord, my troubles been bad, just b'lieve my troubles easin' down
Easy, Lord, troubles bearing---

The first time I seen the catfish in the, said, a catfish in the sea
I guess these old fusstin' women are quarrelin' drunk over me

The questions on "Mama, You Goin' To Quit Me" are:
   * What playing position/tuning did Allison Mathis use in playing the song?
   * Where does he fret the passage from :33--:36?

As always, please use only your ears, instruments and experience to answer the questions, and please don't post any of your answers before Friday morning, October 24.  Thanks for participating, and I hope you enjoy "Mama, You Goin' To Quit Me" as much as I do.

All best,
Johnm 
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on October 24, 2014, 11:14:06 AM
Hi all,
Any takers on the puzzler on "Mama, You Goin' To Quit Me" as played by Allison Mathis?  Come one come all!  Answer both questions or only one if you wish.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: roig on October 24, 2014, 05:34:38 PM
It's open G to my ears even though it sounds pretty high - around C perhaps. Doesn't sound like open C though.

Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on October 25, 2014, 03:39:46 AM
Found this one really hard, not to say totally impenetrable, but close! So my best guess is Spanish capoed round about four or five. Using the capo as a nut, I think he slides up to the fifth fret of the fifth string then  frets the second string on the second fret. Then he rocks between the open first string and the second fret of the second string nine times before going briefly to the bent third fret of the fifth string, followed by the open fifth string. Probably entirely wrong, but my best guess. What a powerful performance! I've never heard a slide tune like it before (though some of it reminded me of Leadbelly's approach). Thanks for finding it, John.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: banjochris on October 25, 2014, 10:56:06 AM
I agree, open G. I'd bet money it's played lap-style. It reminds me a little bit of Eli Framer's "God Didn't Make Me No Monkey Man," especially how it keeps insistently returning to the first string fifth fret.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: ScottN on October 25, 2014, 02:21:11 PM
I'll guess at Spanish as well primarily based on the drop to the 6th string at 0:33. Just before the bass drops at 0:33 with a break in the vocal it sounds like an open 5th G alternating with a open 4th string D to me vs an A to D alternation (ruling out Vestapol because you cant get to G on the 5th).  At 0:33 it sounds like he slides up to the 5th fret and open 6th D alternates against C on the 5th fret 5th string and the start of the treble is 5th fret 2nd string vs open 1st string. That's my guess and I'll stand behind it at least until the next post that shows that I'm way off.

Thanks,
              Scott
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on October 25, 2014, 09:59:26 PM
Hi all,
Thanks to Roi, Prof. Scratchy, banjochris and ScottN for the responses on Allison Mathis' "Mama You Goin' To Quit Me".  Here are the answers to the questions about the song.
   *  The playing position/tuning that Allison Mathis used for the song was indeed Spanish tuning, capoed up a good ways.  Every respondent had this right, and that's pretty darned cool.  The question wasn't a slam dunk by any means.  Well done!
   *  In the passage from :33-:36, it sounds like Allison Mathis is momentarily going to the IV chord at first.  I hear the passage as being a 2-bar phrase.  Here is how I'm hearing it:
   In the right hand, Mathis' thumb is living on the fifth string for the entire phrase, doubling up and hitting 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + on the fifth string in both measures.  Mathis' picking in the treble is more irregular.  In the bar, Mathis slide into the fifth fret on the fifth and third strings on beats 1, 2 and 3, doing pinches on those two strings on those beats and keeping his thumb striking the fifth fret of the fifth string on the +s of those beats as well.  On beat four of the first measure, Mathis lifts his bar and pinches the open fifth and first strings, and on the + of beat four, he re-picks the open fifth string agains either the first fret of the second string or the fifth fret of the third string (the same pitch, the IV note of the scale, lives in both of those places).  If Mathis was playing lap-style as Chris surmised, he could very well have fretted either of those two places with his bar, just dabbing it down.  If he used a fretting finger to fret the note on the + of beat four, he probably fretted the first fret of the second string.
In the second measure, in the first two beats, Mathis plays precisely the same thing that he played on 4 + at the end of the first measure, a pinch of the open fifth and first strings on beats 1 and 2, and on the +s of those beats, a pinch of the open fifth string with either the first fret of the second string or the fifth fret of the third strings.  On beat 3, he once again does a pinch of the open fifth and first strings, but on the + of beat three he does a pinch of the fifth and third strings, with the slide sliding into the fourth fret of those two strings.  On beat four, he allows the fourth fret of the third string to sustain, but re-picks the fourth fret of the fifth string.  On the + of beat four, he pinches the fifth and fourth strings while doing a quick hammer with his bar from those strings open to the second fret.  On the downbeat of the next measure, he pinches the fifth and third strings open.

I believe this is one of the most exciting slide performances I've heard in the style, and I think one of the things that makes Mathis's approach so exciting is the way he double up with his thumb in the right hand, hitting eighth notes instead of quarter notes falling on the beat.  That doubling up creates a rhythmic push and intensity that is really powerful.  Allison Mathis accelerates like crazy over the course of the brief rendition, and this is an instance in which a tendency which is sometimes construed as a lack of control or some kind of shortcoming of musicianship is more than justified in expressive terms--it just makes the whole thing so much more immediate and exciting.  It's worth mentioning that he had a terrific tone with his slide, too.  Listening to his slide playing, and that of Sister O. M. Terrell, to whom I've also been listening a lot recently makes me realize, once again, that regional generalizations about musical sound tend not to hold up, the more people you hear.  I had an idea in my mind of East Coast slide players often being expert, as per Fred McMullen, Blind Willie McTell and Curley Weaver, but as having a very controlled sound.  Allison Mathis and Sister O. M. Terrell put the lie to that generalization, with their wild, free-sounding slide playing, as exciting and wild as just about any slide playing out of Mississippi or anywhere else.  I'm happy to have preconceptions like mine exploded--it makes the world a bigger place!

Allison Mathis' performance of "Mama You Goin' to Quit Me", incidentally, came from a wonderful CD called "Red River Blues, 1934-1943" on the Travelin' Man label, TM CD O8.  It is one of the very best re-issue anthologies I have ever heard, all field recorded stuff and spectacular.

Thanks to all who participated on this one.  Everyone had the tuning right, and if you have that right, figuring out as much of a tune as you would like to figure out is just a war of attrition--if you keep plugging away, you'll get it, and that's pretty cool.  I'll post another puzzler soon.

All best,
Johnm   
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on October 27, 2014, 10:36:37 AM
Hi all,
I've got another puzzler for you.  It has two parts.  The first cut is "Nobody's Business If I Do", as performed by Joe Harris, who also recorded "Baton Rouge Rag", discussed earlier in this thread.  Joe is joined by a mandolinist on this track.  Here it is:

https://youtu.be/EY2mKehdfEY

If I go down to the river, jump overboard and drown
'T'ain't nobody's business if I do, do, do, do
If I take a notion to give you all my money
'T'ain't nobody's business if I do

I'm going away, pin crepe on your door
Won't be dead, but I ain't comin' back no more
If I take a notion to jump overboard and drown
'T'ain't nobody's business if I do

If I take all my money, and give it to my honey
'T'ain't nobody's business if I do, do, do , do
If I take a notion to jump overboard and drown
'T'ain't nobody's business if I do

The questions on "Nobody's Business If I Do" are:
   * What playing position/tuning did Joe Harris use to play the song?
   * What is the chord progression of his first verse, from :06--:26?

The second piece is "Poor Joe Breakdown", as performed by Robert Davis.  Here it is:

Robert Davis - Poor Joe Breakdown (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7F4X2nvkek#ws)

The questions on "Poor Joe Breakdown" are:
   * What position/tuning did Robert Davis use to play the tune?
   * Where is Robert Davis fretting what he plays in the treble at :18--:19?

Please use only your ears, instrument and experience to work out your answers to the questions.  Please wait until the morning of Wednesday, October 29 to post your answers.  Thanks for your participation.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on October 27, 2014, 04:21:59 PM
Hi all,
I'm going back in the thread again and attempting to transcribe the lyrics to all of the songs in the thread.  I've been working on Johnny Shine's "Tennessee Woman Blues", located at:  http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg89019#msg89019 (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg89019#msg89019) , and I'd appreciate any help with the bent bracketed passages in the lyrics.  Thanks for any help.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on October 29, 2014, 06:32:10 AM
Another day, another valiant but doomed attempt!

Aint nobodyís business:E Standard; E/Ab/A/Adim/E/B7/E/Csharp7/Fsharp/B7

Poor Joe Breakdownn: Spanish; first and second strings at 8th fret bent sharply
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: roig on October 29, 2014, 09:22:40 AM
I'm going to have to disagree with Prof Scratchy on Nobody's Business. It's F standard to my ears.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: banjochris on October 29, 2014, 10:45:55 AM
Agree with Roig and Prof Scratchy, F and Spanish.
Chris
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on October 29, 2014, 11:49:00 AM
Unfortunately missed the last puzzler and not had much time to spend on this one.  The Joe Harris track I'm hearing E, this is solely based on the big fat low note he hits at 2secs which is matching the low E on my guitar, so there you go!  Love the tune and never heard it played out of anything but C.  This is the 2nd Joe Harris tune I've heard and the 2nd tune of his I love :-)

The Robert Davis I initially had down as in A but on listening again after reading other folks post I'm inclined to agree on Spanish.......must go....
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on October 29, 2014, 11:51:50 AM
Hmm.

I was initially thinking F-position in standard as well. I think you could play it from E position pretty much as well. The IV chord would be easier in E. But the III7 and the VIm are easier from F. The sound of the I chord doesn't quite ring as much as an open E chord would, so I'm betting on F as well.

I hear the chord changes just slightly differently than the Professor. I think I wouldn't have noticed the dim. chord on bar 4, so kudos for the Professor for that.

|| F | A7 | Dm | Bdim7 |

| F | C7 | F D7/F# | C7/G C7 ||

|| F | A7 | Dm | Bb7 |

| F | G7 C7 | F | F ||

I agree on Spanish on the Robert Davis tune. On :18 I just hear open strings with a minor 3rd fretted on the 3rd string (X)-0-0-3-x-x, followed by the open 2nd string, while the 3rd string is still ringing, which created a strong dissonance between the two notes a half-step away.

Thanks for posting the wonderful version of "Ain't Nobody's Business", John! It reminds me of Tommie Bradley's version of the tune, discussed in this thread.
http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=2526.15 (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=2526.15)
In fact, I think I'll add Joe Harris' version to the thread in question.

Cheers

Pan
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on October 29, 2014, 09:37:38 PM
Hi all,
Thanks for all of your responses.  Here are the answers for Joe Harris' "Nobody's Business If I Do" and Robert Davis' "Poor Joe Breakdown".  For "Nobody's Business If I Do":
   * The playing position was F position in standard tuning, as Roi, banjochris and Pan had it.  Pan outlined the reasons really well in his post why F position works better than does E position for this type of progression.  The first two changes in the progression are from the I chord to a III7 chord followed by a VI minor chord.  In F position, those three chords are F, A7 and D minor, all very playable chords that you can use open strings in the bass for (with the exception of F).  The same three chords in E position would be E, G#7 and C# minor, positions, with the exception of E, that really tie the left hand down and don't leave the player much leeway.  One good way to tell F position is the "chunky", "thumpy" sort of sound you get from an altogether closed-position I chord; another good way to tell F is that it makes more interesting moving bass lines available than just about any other position in standard tuning at the base of the neck.
   * The progression is very much as Pan had it.  I differ from his version only in a couple of minor details, and what he heard works just as well as what I hear.  Here is the progression as I had it with the slashed chords showing the chord played above the slash and the note played in the bass below the slash.  Joe Harris backs this, except for a few syncopations, in a boom-chang, cut time style.

   |  F   F/C   |  A7/E   A7   |     Dm    |   Bdim7   |

   |  F   F/C   |  C7   C7/G   |  F   D7/F# |  Gm7  C7  |

   |  F   F/C   |   A     A/E    |  Dm   Dm/A  |  Bb    Bb/F  |

   |  F   F/C   |  G7    C7   |    F   F/C      |   F      F/C    |

I agree with Old Man Ned on the merits of Joe Harris's tunes.  Both "Baton Rouge Rag" and "Nobody's Business If I Do" sound just great to me.  He has a couple of more tunes posted up on youtube, so if you like his music, you should seek them out.

Here are the answers for Robert Davis's "Poor Joe Breakdown":
   * He did play the piece in Spanish tuning, as everyone had it.  Well done!
   * In the treble at :18--:19, Robert Davis is fretting the first string at the twelfth fret while bending the second string at the eleventh fret.  The sound of this figure is the same as that which lives at the seventh fret of the first string and the bent eighth fret of the second string when playing in E position in standard tuning, or at the fifth fret of the first string and the bent sixth fret of the second string when playing in D position in standard tuning or dropped D.  The figure voices the 5th of the I chord on the first string and the bent bIII of the I chord on the second string.  Because Spanish tuning is voiced 5-R-5-R-3-5, you have to go all the way to the twelfth fret of the first string to get a V note on the first string with a bIII available on the second string.  Since the major III lives at the twelfth fret of the second string in Spanish tuning, the bIII will live at the 11th fret of the second string, one fret lower.  I've not heard this figure used in Spanish tuning a lot.

I think Robert Davis had beautiful tone on this recording.  His sound reminds me a lot of Jesse Wadley's "Alabama Prison Blues" which is back a ways in this thread.  "Poor Joe Breakdown" is on the Traveling Man "Red River Blues" CD that I just reviewed, along with Allison Mathis's "Mama You Gon' Quit Me" and Reese Crenshaw's "Trouble", both tunes we've looked at previously in this thread.  That CD is terrific!

Thanks for participating and I will find another puzzler to post soon.

All best,
Johnm


Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on October 30, 2014, 04:14:46 PM
Hi all,
I have a new puzzler for you, in two parts.  A musician we've not looked at here thus far, but who had an altogether distinctive approach and sound was Robert Pete Williams.  The first song of his I'd like to look at is "Free Again".  Here it is:

Robert Pete Williams- Free Again (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c22L4_UZJ9M#)

The questions on "Free Again" are as follows:
   * What playing position/tuning did Robert Pete Williams use in playing "Free Again"?
   * What chord, as designated by Roman numeral, that is commonly found in blues is never played in "Free Again"?
   * Describe a fingering that would enable you to get everything Robert Pete most often plays behind his singing over the I chord in "Free Again".

The second song of Robert Pete's is "Dyin' Soul".  Here it is:

Robert Pete Williams - Dyin' Soul (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UA9XkFhTRlI#ws)

Oh Jesus, have mercy on my dyin' soul
Oh Lord, have mercy on my dyin' soul
Oh Lord Jesus, save me on my way

Oh Lord, oh Jesus
Oh Father, take my hand and lead me always
Whilst I'm tryin' to do the best that I can

Oh, I'm so glad I know who Jesus is
Oh, I'm so glad that I know who Jesus is

Oh Lord, people wanta know why that I pray so hard
Oh, I want you to know I got no time to lose

Lord, have mercy on my dyin' soul
I'm growin' to Jesus and what you are

Well, I mean, my eyes closed, closed, they got prayin'

I don't want no worry when I'm callin' on that Jesu of mine
I don't want no worry when I'm prayin' to my God

Oh Lord, take my hand, Jesus, and lead me on
Whilst I'm tryin' to do the very best that I can
Have mercy on my dyin' soul

I wish that I was in my Father's kingdom right now
I feel so holy and so good 

Here are the questions for "Dyin' Soul":
   * What playing position/tuning did Robert Pete Williams use to play "Dyin' Soul"?
   * Where did he finger the little slide in the bass that is a recurring motif throughout the song?

Please use only your ears, instrument and experience to answer the questions, and please don't post any of your answers before Saturday morning, November 1.  Thanks for your participation.

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on November 01, 2014, 09:59:01 AM
Fingers crossed and hoping I'm not too off course, for "Free Again" I'm getting standard E and the missing chord is the IV.  The fingering over the I chord I'm going for:
0
3
1
0
2
0
a basic E7th but I'm not even sure if the 3rd string is held on this one and when I'm hearing a B note in there I'm not sure if it's open 2nd str or caught at the 4th fret 3str, (or both interchangeable) but either way it's easily playable out of this position.
   
For "Dyin' Soul" I'm hearing Open G tuning which would put the wee slide in the bass into the 4th fret on the 5th string followed by the open 4th and 5th strings.  I started out with this in standard G but most of the melody notes I'm hearing can come out of the 1st 2nd strings at the 5th fret and the open first string which seems to make the slide in the bass easier to play.
 
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: roig on November 01, 2014, 12:53:16 PM
I will have to respectfully disagree with Ned on Free Again - D standard to my ears. Open G for Dyin Soul is right.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: banjochris on November 01, 2014, 03:20:02 PM
On "Free Again" I wouldn't say D standard exactly, his main chord seems to be a D minor chord. I would finger it with index on the first string first fret, pinky on the second string third fret, middle finger on the third string second fret. Leaving the ring finder free to bend the third fret of the fourth string and your pinky could pop over and get the G note on the first string first fret. He avoids the IV chord, although I know he has pieces (the names escape me at the moment) where he plays out of that Dm position where he plays a full G major chord.

Chris
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on November 01, 2014, 05:25:59 PM
Hi all,
Any other takers on "Free Again" or "Dyin' Soul"?  Come one, come all!  I'll post sometime tomorrow.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on November 01, 2014, 06:37:48 PM
Well, I might very well be completely wrong here, but to me the guitar sounds too low to be played from the D minor position -you'd have to tune a minor third down to sound approximately at Bm, and to me the strings just don't sound that loose, so I'll stick my neck out and propose an A minor position in standard tuning instead, about a whole step up, probably with a capo. The V7 chord sounds like an open position E7 to me as well.

The 2nd tune sounds like Spanish to me as well, and if I understood Old Man Ned correctly, I'll agree that the slid note would be on the 5th string, from the 3rd fret to the 4th.

Cheers

Pan
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: banjochris on November 01, 2014, 07:13:08 PM
Pan, I think you're right, I hadn't realized how far down I had tuned. Plus him sliding up to get the A at the first string fifth fret is a lot more likely in the break, and I don't hear any note lower than the bass of the V chord. I'd finger the A minor two-finger, middle on the second fret of the fourth and third string, index finger on second string of the first fret, leaving the ring finger free to hit the third fret of the fifth and second strings, and the pinky free too. It's interesting how much he plays out of minor positions.
Chris
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: roig on November 01, 2014, 07:27:21 PM
I'm going to stick with my original D minor guess (tuned way down, indeed). What really gives it away is the open B string that he hits semi-accidentally every once in a while. To get such note in A minor he would have to fret the D string on the 4th fret - highly unlikely.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on November 02, 2014, 03:20:52 AM
I'm going to say Am for the first one, capo at 2, missing IV chord.
For the second one I'll say G standard with bass riff sixth string at 3rd fret followed by open 5th string and hammer on frets 1 and 2.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on November 02, 2014, 01:19:04 PM
Hi all,
Thanks for all of the responses on Robert Pete Williams' "Free Again" and "Dyin' Soul".  It's great to see identifications reasoned out and shared.  And of course Robert Pete's way of expressing himself on the guitar and vocally was so much his own way of doing it and so much not the way that everybody else did it. 
Here are the answers for "Free Again":
   * He did play it out of D position in standard tuning, tuned roughly a minor third low.  If you orient your ears to what he is hitting underneath his I chord, and compare where the notes fall in D position in standard tuning versus A position in standard tuning, I think the discussion has a more informed context.  On the highest pitched string he's playing under his I chord he is hitting the bIII and the IV notes.  In D position, those notes live at the first and third frets of the first string, respectively, and in A position they live at the first and third frets of the second string.  On the second highest pitched string he plays, he is hitting a bVII note and a I note.  In D position, those notes live at the first fret and the third fret of the second string, respectively, and in A position they live on the open third string and the second fret of the third string.  On the third lowest string he plays he hits the IV note and the V note, usually going from IV to V via a hammer.  In D position, those two notes live at the open third string and the second fret of the third string, and in A position they live at the open fourth string and the second fret of the fourth string.  On the fourth lowest pitched string he plays, he plays a I note and a slightly bent bIII note.  IN D position, those notes live at the open fourth string and the third fret of the fourth string, and in A position the notes live at the open fifth string and the third fret of the fifth string.  Comparing the two positions in sum, the only difference in the left hand for the two positions, apart from the A position consistently sitting a string lower than the D position falls on the second highest pitch string, where in D position you have the first and third frets of the second string and A position you have the open third string and the second fret of the third string. 
The open third string in A position for the bVII note of the scale is problematic, because when you listen to Robert Pete's playing, he is consistently inflecting that note, reefing on it a little bit, giving it a bit of vibrato or just slightly wiggling it.  You can't do any of those things to a note played on an open string, and the handiest place to get that same pitch as a fretted note, at the fifth fret of the fourth string is not a plausible solution for the left hand given the way the rest of the notes sit.
The place in the rendition that argues most strongly for D position is at 1:24 in his first solo, where he has been free-handing on his highest pitched string and working his way down from a high I note to a bVII note and continuing downward.  When he gets to the IV note, at 1:24, he brushes the next lower string, on which he sounds a VI note, which is the third of the IV chord.  In D position, the IV note on the highest pitched string lives at the third fret of the first string and the VI note below lives on the open second string.  In A position, you're in a "you can't get there from here" situation, because the IV note lives at the third fret of the second string and the VI note is at the fourth fret of the fourth string, with the third string between the two notes.  I suppose Robert Pete could have brushed those two strings and muted the third string between them, but I don't think it is plausible that he did so.  Alternatively, he could have gotten the two notes on adjacent strings by getting the IV note at the seventh fret of the third string and the VI note at the fourth fret of the fourth string--again, not plausible.
There are other places in the rendition where you can hear him going from a VI note to the bVII note a semi-tone higher, at 1:27, 1:33, 1:52 and 1:59.  In D position, those two notes are open the open second string and first fret of the second string, a cinch.  In A position, they're at the fourth fret of the fourth string and the open third string or fifth fret of the fourth string, which would use the left hand in a weird way.
One other consideration is that the way Robert Pete bends and inflects the notes on his three highest-pitched strings, and the tones of those strings make it clear that they are all unwound strings, and pretty slack ones at that, particularly given the way he does bends of the bIII note at the first fret of his highest pitched string.  In A position, having unwound strings for the three highest pitched strings he plays under his I chord would require unwound second and third strings, which are a commonplace, but would also require an unwound fourth string, which is rare indeed.
   * As a number of you noted, Robert Pete never hits a IV chord with its root in the bass in the course of his rendition.  As Chris noted in his first post on the songs, there are other songs that Robert Pete played with a D minor tonality in which he not only goes to a IV chord, but hits a IV7 chord, which puts him in the Dorian Mode.  It would be so interesting to know how he came to gravitate towards such sounds, because they are not commonly encountered in either the religious or popular music he was likely to have heard growing up.
   * For his left hand coverage in D position over his I chord, I would propose the index finger owning the first fret, where it could get the bVII note on the second string and the bIII note on the first string.  The second finger would get the V note at the second fret of the third string, and the third finger would fret the bIII note at the third fret of the fourth string, the I note at the third fret of the second string and the IV note at the third fret of the first string.

Here are the answers for "Dyin' Soul":
   * He did play it out of Spanish tuning.  One place in the rendition that makes this identification clear is at :34-:35, where he plays a line that goes from a high I note to the V below it, up to the VI note and back to that high I note.  In that passage, he consistently brushes a III note below those melody notes.  In Spanish, the three melody notes would all live at the open first string, the second fret of the first string and the fifth fret of the first string, and the lower III note would be the open second string.  In G position standard tuning, the high root would be at the third fret of the first string, the VI note would be the open first string and the V note would be the third fret of the second string.  The lower III note would be the open second string as it was in Spanish.  The problem with G position is that when you play the V note at the third fret of the second string you lose the open second string that needs to sound beneath it.
   * The little slide is from the third fret of the fifth string to the fourth fret of the fifth string, as Old Man Ned originally proposed and several others of you agreed.

I hope the explanations don't seem too detailed, and I suppose I could be accused of "chewing more than I bit off", but Robert Pete Williams' sound was so singular, and the selection of A position that several of you made was so well reasoned that I thought more detail than usual was called for.  For reasons that are not known to me, Robert Pete's most funky tunes in terms of timing and inflection were just about all played out of D position in standard tuning, a position altogether bypassed by a host of Country Blues players including Lemon Jefrferson, Charlie Patton, Luke Jordan and Libba Cotten.  I guess it is just one more example of how different Robert Pete heard things and chose to express himself than his contemporaries or predecessors.

Thanks for your participation and I'll post another puzzler soon.

All best,
Johnm

 
   
     
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on November 02, 2014, 01:55:03 PM
Not too detailed for me John and very much appreciated.  That's what I love about this thread, I'd strayed way off path on 'Free Again' and it's so good to go back figure out where things went astray.  Every day's a school day :-) Thanks so much.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on November 02, 2014, 05:10:03 PM
Thanks again for the detailed analysis, John. Much appreciated, as always.
Congratulations for Roi for getting it right, and apologies, if I mislead others with my suggestion for A minor position!

Cheers

Pan
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on November 03, 2014, 01:56:09 AM
I was lucky enough to see RPW several times live. Even when I could actually see what he was doing, I didn't have a clue about how he was making those sounds. A magical and unique player!

Sent from my HUAWEI MT1-U06 using Tapatalk

Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: wild irish rose on November 03, 2014, 05:38:45 PM
I agree completely Prof Scratchy on RPW's seemingly magical abilities on the guitar. While we're on the topic and before the next puzzle gets posted, I have a question about a particular RPW performance I found on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thOH7ebGkhQ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thOH7ebGkhQ)

If you jump to around the 1:36 mark when the camera pans down to his hands, it looks like what he's playing doesn't even match the sounds of his guitar. However, before that when he's singing his lips match perfectly to the vocals so I don't think there's any edit trickery or desyncing going on but perhaps I'm mistaken.

Do his hands match the sounds for everyone else and I'm just crazy? Kind of a weird question I'll admit but it's always bugged me and I've never taken the time to learn the song to see how it matches up.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on November 03, 2014, 05:53:59 PM
You aren't crazy, wild Irish rose--the sound and the film do not match up, especially at the tail end of that very brief passage showing his left hand.  The bend and position up the neck are correct, though not in synch with the sound track.  It does not match.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: wild irish rose on November 03, 2014, 06:43:59 PM
Thanks for the confirmation of my sanity, John! Seems like it might just be a desync either from YouTube or the source the video's from then I would wager. Just threw me off because the audio matched the vocals up until the guitar interlude when it starts to go off.

I love this thread even though I'm a hopeless lurker. Still learn loads from other people's guesses and your analyses, so thanks for the thread!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: banjochris on November 03, 2014, 11:29:48 PM
At the very end of that clip though is a good shot of him playing a G chord in a D-minor-based tune. My guess is that the film lost sync for a bit or it was screwed up in the editing. Don't think it's a YouTube problem.
Chris
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on November 04, 2014, 07:09:18 PM
Hi all,
I have a new puzzler for you.  The performance is "Guitar Blues", as played by Johnny St. Cyr, who was originally a New Orleans musician.  He played a lot with Jelly Roll Morton and evidently played at Disneyland late in his life.  He was a wonderful player and had a beautiful ear for harmony and way of getting around on his instrument.  Here is his performance:

Guitar Blues - Johnny St. Cyr (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qF_vzT_lLo#)

The questions on "Guitar Blues" are:
   * What playing position/tuning did Johnny St. Cyr use to play the tune?
   * What three chords does Johnny St. Cyr play in the passage from :11--:14?  Name them and indicate where they are fretted.
   * Where does Johnny St. Cyr modulate to at :45?
   * What three chords does Johnny St. Cyr play in the passage from :55--:59?  Name the chords and indicate where they are fretted.

Please use only your ears, instrument and experience to answer the questions, no transcription software.  I will not be able to post answers until Sunday evening, and this is a kind of detailed puzzle, so please wait until Friday, November 7, to post your responses.  I encourage you to use your guitar to figure out some of these voicings.  Thanks for your participation.

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: banjochris on November 05, 2014, 03:02:15 PM
While you're working on Johnny St. Cyr, If you've never seen this it's worth a look.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kg7cVSEfqPw (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kg7cVSEfqPw)
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on November 05, 2014, 04:26:44 PM
Thanks for the link, Chris.  That is great footage.  I get a kick out of Johnny St. Cyr's right hand when he's playing time--talk about conservation of energy!  Wonderful to see performance footage of Kid Ory too, and Louis of course.  That's a treat.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: David Kaatz on November 05, 2014, 06:56:23 PM
Great stuff! Wonderful how well the band plays at such a slow tempo. That's one of the things that makes them pros.

Dave
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: mr mando on November 07, 2014, 09:27:26 AM
Q: What playing position/tuning did Johnny St. Cyr use to play the tune?
A: A Position Standard Tuning, identified specially through Blind Boy Fuller licks, the characteristsic IV chord (2-0-0-2-1-(0)).

Q: What three chords does Johnny St. Cyr play in the passage from :11--:14?  Name them and indicate where they are fretted.
A: A Major (x-0-x-2-2-x), C#7/G# (4-x-3-4-2-x) and F#9 (2-x-4-3-2-4)

Q: Where does Johnny St. Cyr modulate to at :45?
A: From A up a fourth to D

Q: What three chords does Johnny St. Cyr play in the passage from :55--:59?  Name the chords and indicate where they are fretted.
A: For the first chord I only really hear the lowest and the highest note (C and e). I would probably decide for a D9/C fingering like x-3-4-5-5-x or x-3-2-2-5-x if I had to play the tune.
For the second chord, I hear a C9 x-x-2-3-3-3 and for the third a B9#5 to B9 move (x-x-1-2-2-3, then x-x-1-2-2-2), but maybe he's just playing another C9 before the B9.

BTW, may I ask if I'm the only one who would identify the A section turnaround passing chord (between A and E7) as Bbdim (x-1-2-0-2-x)?
Also, in the bar before the turnaround, would the chords for beats 2, 3,and 4 be fingered as x-4-x-2-5-x, x-3-x-2-4-x and x-2-x-1-3-x ?
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on November 07, 2014, 12:35:44 PM
Wonderful piece by Johnny St Cyr.  I love his version of Jelly Roll Blues (I think, every things packed up at the minute as I'm moving home) on the Lomax recordings of Jelly Roll Morton on the CD box set.  Anyhow's....A in standard, modulates to D.  The first of the 3 chords  from :11--:14 I get as A at 2nd fret, but haven't got the other 2 chords (I'm rubbish at getting chords unless it's something really basic), though having seen Dr Mando's post he sounds spot on.  That's as far as I got......



Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on November 07, 2014, 01:25:18 PM
Hi all

What a great tune again, thanks for posting it, John!

I agree with Mr. Mando and Old Man Ned on standard tuning, keys of A and D.

I think Mr. Mando nailed the first chord passage.

On the second passage in the key of D, I hear it slightly differently.  I could be wrong, though. After the IV chord I seem to hear quick D chord X-X-0-2-3-2, followed by the open 5th string, which gives you the time to quickly change position higher up on the neck.
Like Mr. Mando, I first could only hear the bass note C and the high E on the next chord. However, on a later chorus, on the same spot, I think I'm hearing a high F# (or Gb) above the E as well. This is why I'm thinking that the chord in question is a C7(b5) (bVIII(b5) or an F#7(b5) (III7(b5). These chords are tritone substitutions, and can be interpreted either way. I would finger them as 8-X-8-9-7-X, starting with the 2nd finger on the low 6th string.
I then hear a B7(#5) 7-X-7-8-8-X, followed by a B7 7-X-7-8-7-X, before resolving to E.

Mr. Mando, I think you nailed the turnaround chords on the A section.

Looking forward to hear what is the correct answer.

Cheers

Pan
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: David Kaatz on November 07, 2014, 06:56:42 PM
I believe St. Cyr was playing this in A position, standard tuning. The lowest note I hear played is the open E sixth string.
The three chords from :11 - :14 are A, G7, F#9 fretted (and attempting to indicate some timing of notes):

E|-0    x   444
B|-2    0   2
G|-2    0   3
D|-2    3   2
A|-x0   2   4
E|-x  0 3   2

At :45 he modulates to the key of D.

The three chords from :55 - :59 are D, C7, B7#5 fretted (again with note timing:

|-2   x  x  x| 3
|-3   1  1  1| 0
|-2   3  3  3| 2
|-0   2  2  2| 1
|-x  3  3  3 | 2
|-x  x  x  x | x

Dave
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on November 08, 2014, 03:27:55 AM
Yes definitely A standard tuning with a modulation to D. I had the first selection of three chords as davek has them. I didn't manage to suss the chords from :55 to :59 if I'm honest. I remain, as ever,
Cloth Ears Jones
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: mr mando on November 09, 2014, 10:21:39 AM
I've been listenening again and trying everybody's solution. Pan's mention of the high F# note in the second D chorus is spot on IMHO, and davek's identification of the B7#5 (x-2-1-2-0-3) also sounds closer than my initial solution. When listeneing to the second D chorus, I realized that there doesn't seem to be no Cwhatever chord chord at all.
So actually, the chords from :55 to :59 would be (after the D) F#m7b5 (x-3-2-2-5-2), then B7#5 (x-2-1-2-0-3), then B7 (x-2-1-2-0-2).
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on November 10, 2014, 11:02:09 AM
Hi all,
Thanks for your participation.  Johnny St. Cyr's "Guitar Blues" really is a stellar piece and performance, isn't it?  Sorry to be slow responding, but I was out of town.  Here are the answers to the questions that were posed.
   * He did play the piece out of A position in standard tuning, as everyone who responded had it--well done!
   * The three chords Johnny St. Cyr played in the passage from :11--:14 are very much as mister mando had them in the first response:  A: X-0-2-2-2-X, resolving to C#7/G: 4-X-3-4-2-X, resolving to F#9: 2-X-2-3-2-4.  Johnny St. Cyr doesn't really hit the fourth string in the F#9 until he brushes the top four strings on the fourth beat of the measure, and you can hear the bVII note of the chord on the fourth string, second fret, at that point.  Had he fretted the fourth fret of the fourth string, he would have had an F#add9 rather than an F#9, and it wouldn't have wanted to function like a V7 chord, continuing to push into the B9 chord that follows it.
   * Johnny St. Cyr modulates to D at the :45 mark, just as you all had it.
   * In the passage from :55-:59, one of the very prettiest in the tune, I think, Johnny St. Cyr goes from a D chord voiced on the top four strings 0-2-3-2, and passes through what at this time sounds like a C chord, with an open voicing, X-3-X-X-5-X, resolving to a B7#5, voiced X-2-X-2-4-3.  One of the nifty things about this passage is that Johnny St. Cyr does a very pianistic device of walking down in harmonized tenths (an octave and a third) as pianists of his era often did, with the bass walking down from the D string to the C note on the A string resolving to the B note on the A string, while at the same time the treble walks down from the F# on the first string to the E note on the B string to the D# on the B string in the B7#5 chord. 
Although the middle of the three chords sound like a C chord voiced root-3rd the first time he plays through the passage, the second time he gets there, he plays a much more fleshed-out voicing, an F#m7b5 chord, as Pan analyzed it, and I think F#m7b5 gets closer to the function of the middle chord in the walk-down than does a C major chord in any event.  That second time he plays the walk-down, he voices the middle chord, the F#m7b5, X-3-x-2-5-2, so that on the strings that are fretted, it is voiced b5-b3-b7-Root.  Voicing the F#m7b5 that way makes for a significantly niftier walk-down, with tighter and closer voice leading.  The outer voices still walk down in tenths, but that second fret of the third string holds its place through all three chords, binding them together beautifully, as the 5 of the D chord, the b3 of the F#m7b5 and the b7 of B7#5. 
Since mister mando mentioned it, looking at Johnny St. Cyr's turn-around in the next-to-last bar of his first time through the form, he goes from an open A string on the downbeat of that bar to another walk-down in tenths between his outer voices: F#7/C#: X-4-X-3-5-X, to Cdim7: X-3-X-2-4-X, to
E7/B: X-2-X-1-3-X, into the next bar to A: X-0-X-2-2-X to Bbdim7: X-1-X-0-2-X, to E7/B: X-2-X-1-3-X.  One of the really beautiful and elegant things about this turn-around is that the F#7/C#, the Cdim7 and the E7/B are all fingered exactly the same way, and the move can be achieved simply by moving the position downward from the F#7/C# where it starts, a fret at a time.  This seem to me to be a really happy meeting place of concept, sound and the way the hand is configured--wow!
One other thing that I think is worth mentioning about Johnny St. Cyr's approach in arranging "Guitar Blues" is his fondness for voicing chords in second inversion, i.e., with the 5th of the chord in the bass.  The arrangement abounds with places where he does this, and he usually does it to get linear motion in the bass, rather than having the blocky bass resolutions of 4ths and 5ths you would normally expect to have in a song that relies heavily on circle-of-fifths progressions.  Here are just a couple of the second inversion voicings he uses in verse three, the first time he plays through the form in D:
   * In the ninth bar, he voices an E9/B: X-2-X-1-3-2, resolving to E7/B: X-2-X-1-3-0
   * Going into the tenth bar he voices an A9/E: X-7-X-6-8-7, resolving to A7/E: X-7-X-6-8-5
   * Halfway through the tenth bar, he voices an E9/B: 7-X-6-7-7-X
This is a piece that has enough interesting ideas and sounds to justify doing a transcription of it from beginning to end (much like Joe Harris' "Baton Rouge Rag" or Reese Crenshaw's "Trouble"), and I encourage any of you who are so inclined to take it on.  I think we can get in the habit of thinking that Blind Blake, for instance, sort of had the last word in terms of speaking in a raggy language on the guitar, but Johnny St. Cyr goes a lot of places in this tune that Blake never dreamed about.

Thanks for your participation.  I think everybody was really in the ballpark in terms of hearing and to the extent there were differences, they tended to be quite subtle.  I will post another puzzler soon.

All best,
Johnm
 
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: mr mando on November 10, 2014, 02:50:11 PM
johnm, thanks for the insight into the details. I think it's great that with everybody's input, we were really close as a collective.
For the B7#5, I think there's a typo in your post. Wouldn't it be voiced X-2-X-2-4-3?
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on November 10, 2014, 03:09:41 PM
Yes, you're right about the typo, mister mando.  Thanks for the catch!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on November 10, 2014, 05:43:54 PM
Hi all,
I have a new puzzler for you, and it involves two Texas musicians.  The first is Pete Harris, doing "Square Dance Calls and Little Liza Jane".  Here is the recording:

Pete Harris- Square Dance Calls - Little Liza Jane (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xb1cHb-aqTg#ws)

One question only for this song:
   * What playing position/tuning did Pete Harris use to play the piece?

The second song is by Wallace Chains, whom we've encountered twice before in this thread.  The song is his version of "Ella Speed", and here it is:

https://youtu.be/deF-07wF3hU

Come al you girls, take heed, remember Ella Speed
You remember the poor girl, Ella speed
Some day you might be out, only having fun
Some man will kill, the deed that Martin done

Remember the day that poor Ella died
The women, everybody cried
Hung their heads, and these the words they said,
"Poor Ella's gone, and the poor girl's dead."

I was in Savannah upon a Christmas Eve night
Poor Ella, she was drinkin', she's out of sight
And the trains all come running, under the Union shed
Started the bells to tone when they heard poor Ella was dead

Poor Ella's people, they lived 'way out West
They didn't come south 'til they heard poor Ella's death
Some give nickels and some give dimes
I would give a quarter but she wasn't no friend of mine

SPOKEN:  That's all

The questions for "Ella Speed" are:
   * What playing position/tuning did Wallace Chains use to play the song?
   * What chord progression did he use to accompany the song?

Please use only your ears and instrument to figure out the answers to the questions, and please don't post any answers before Wednesday morning, November 12.  Thanks for participating, and I hope you enjoy the songs.

Edited 11/16 to pick up correction from Prof. Scratchy

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on November 12, 2014, 12:08:24 PM
Hi all,
Any takers for the Pete Harris and Wallace Chains puzzlers?  Come one, come all, and answer as few or as many questions as you wish.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: roig on November 12, 2014, 01:34:05 PM
Liza Jane is in Spanish the way I hear it.

Ella is in C -
A, A7, Dm, Dm, G, G, C, C
A, A7, Dm, Ab7, C, G, C,C
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on November 12, 2014, 03:42:23 PM
I believe Roi is right about Spanish on the Pete Harris tune.

Cheers

Pan
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: mr mando on November 12, 2014, 10:55:20 PM
I agree with Pan and roig, just wanted to add that Liza Jane and Ella Speed both sound at Bb, so the first one is copoed up 3 frets and the second one tuned down a whole step.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: harvey on November 13, 2014, 01:27:59 AM
Not had time to look at this thread for a few months, but have this week and really enjoyed going through some of the earlier posts, thank you John 

Spanish for the first version.

I think the second version is C as the others have said,  but I cant tell the progression it has some strange sounding chords in there to me.. however if in C I have the standard  A D7 G/G7 C

Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: frailer24 on November 13, 2014, 02:18:33 AM
I am going to go with Roig on this one. I believe, however that the last 2 lines of Ella Speed are played thusly: A, A7, Dm, F#aug, G, C.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on November 13, 2014, 10:10:15 AM
Hi all,
Thanks for your responses.  As for the answers to the questions that were posed, Roi had everything right in his post--well done, Roi! 
   * The Pete Harris cut was played in Spanish.  His approach in the right hand reminds me a bit of Henry Thomas, though I don't think Henry Thomas ever recorded thumb lead to the extent that Pete Harris employs it here.  Thumb lead works so well in Spanish and other open tunings (especially open Bb), and the way that Pete Harris did it sounds like it might have come right out of banjo playing.
   * Wallace Chains' version of "Ella Speed" is a particularly nice one, and everything I've heard by him has been really fine.  It's nice to hear that D minor chord in there instead of the D7 one most often encounters in a raggy circle-of-fifths progression like this.  Probably the most striking place in the song's 16-bar progression is the passage in the 11th and 12th bars where Chains goes from D minor to the Ab7 chord.  What makes those chords work as well as they do, and resolve so smoothly into the C chord that follows them is his bass line.  He plays the D minor with the open D string in the bass, X-X-0-2-3-1, resolves to Ab7/Eb, X-X-1-1-1-2, and then resolves upward 1/2 step into C/E, X-X-2-0-1-0. 

The walk-up Wallace Chains does there is like a much more commonly encountered one in raggy tunes, but done in it's relative minor.  The more common walk-up is IV to #IVdim7 to I/V; Chains' walk-up goes from II to #II to I/III in its bass line.  Expressing both walk-ups in the key in which he played "Ella Speed", the more common walk-up would be F-F#dim7-C/G, and Chains' walk-up was Dm-Ab7-C/E.  It should be noted that in the more common walk-up, an Ab7 could similarly be used in substitution for the F#dim7 chord--indeed it was the way Blind Blake most often did the move, voicing the Ab7 chord with its b7 in the bass, Ab/Gb, 2-X-1-1-1-X.  It's neat to see how the raggy progression can comfortably accommodate such a variety of substitutions and still retain its most essential elements and sound.

Thanks to all who participated, and I'll post another puzzler soon.

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on November 13, 2014, 01:24:14 PM
Hi all,
I've got another two-song puzzler for those who are interested.  The first song is "Country Girl Blues", performed by George Boldwin.  I know nothing about Boldwin, but his sound is unusual.  The song has no verses, per se, just single lines with intervening instrumental fills.

https://youtu.be/yYuJApddU3c

Tell me, baby, where'd you, where did you stay last night?

Stay out in the country, just a few miles out from town

I-uh sent for you last night, here you come, this mornin' soon

Say, tell me, where did you get your sugar from?

I got my, been travelin' Highway 61 

The questions on "Country Girl Blues" are as follows:
   * What playing position/tuning did George Boldwin use to play the song?
   * What is unusual about the scale George Boldwin uses to sing the melody of the song?

The second performance is Bill Tatnall's performance of "Fandango".  Here it is:

https://youtu.be/WG4b3CdRQ-g

The questions on "Fandango" are:
   * What playing position/tuning did Bill Tatnall use to play the tune?
   * What chord does he play at :30--:31, and where is it fretted?
   * What other name for a Country Blues guitar instrumental might more aptly have been used for "Fandango"?

Please use only your ears and instruments in arriving at your answers to the questions, and please wait until Saturday morning, November 15 to post your answers.  Thanks for your participation.

All best,
Johnm   
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on November 13, 2014, 01:48:09 PM
Thanks again for the analysis, John.

FWIW, Ella Speed was discussed in this thread a few years ago. I managed to get the chords wrong then already, so I passed on it this time. :)

http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=3584.msg84332#msg84332 (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=3584.msg84332#msg84332)

Cheers

Pan
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: mr mando on November 15, 2014, 08:00:29 AM
"Country Girl Blues"
Q: What playing position/tuning did George Boldwin use to play the song?
A: G position / standard tuning. I hear lots of open strings, the characteristic sixth interval on top and a tonic bass note for the IV chord (C), so no open tuning

Q: What is unusual about the scale George Boldwin uses to sing the melody of the song?
A: I hear a major 7th quite often and also a #4 when he sings "...country..." at 0:25-0:26


"Fandango"
Q: What playing position/tuning did Bill Tatnall use to play the tune?
A: Open D (at D)

Q: What chord does he play at :30--:31, and where is it fretted?
A: E chord, second fret barre

Q: What other name for a Country Blues guitar instrumental might more aptly have been used for "Fandango"?
A: I'm not sure if I understand this question correctly. The way I understand it, the answer would be that this tune should rather be called something that's connected to "Siege of Sebastopol", which is the model tune for open D, rather than relating to "Spanish Fandango", which is the model tune for Open G tuning. So I'd call it "Siege".


Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on November 15, 2014, 10:16:10 AM
Hi all,
I've been transcribing the lyrics for Wallace Chains' version of "Ella Speed" on the last previous page of this thread, at http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg89803#msg89803 (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg89803#msg89803) , and I think I have it except for one bent bracketed portion.  I'd very much appreciate help with that phrase.  Thanks.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on November 16, 2014, 03:15:10 AM
This is probably wrong, but what I hear is 'under the Union shed'. Was there a Union railway with sheds where trains were maintained?
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on November 16, 2014, 03:32:40 AM
For Country Girl Blues and Fandango, I'll agree with mr mando on G standard and open D respectively. I don't know the answer to the question about the vocal scale on Country Girl Blues, but the sound he achieves is really haunting and effective. I'm going to suggest Breakdown as another possibility for the Fandango title?
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on November 16, 2014, 06:53:09 AM
Thanks very much for "under the Union shed", Prof., it is spot on!  I would guess it was at Union Station, a common name for train stations in the U.S.  I will make the change.  Thanks!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Stuart on November 16, 2014, 09:13:53 AM
There's a line in a Jimmy and Mama Yancy tune: "...when the Centipede left the shed," referring to either when the engine or train left the station or the yard. I don't have the album on CD, so I'm going to have to dig out the LP (Atlantic SD 7229) and give it a spin to find out the specific song. Thanks to Google, I  learned that "The Centipede" was the nickname for the Baldwin DR-12-8-1500/2 locomotive, and perhaps was also used to refer to other engines and trains--at least by some.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: waxwing on November 16, 2014, 10:36:23 AM
Rather than referring to the station or the yard, I think "shed" refers to the shed, which is the round house, a great turntable, and the individual engine sheds that radiate out from it. I don't know the particular context of the songs, but hearing an engine, like the Centipede, pull out of the shed would be distinctive in that the sound would be enclosed and then become much louder as it moved into the open. This would be a signal to hobos that a train had been made up by smaller yard engines and once coupled to the larger engine, was about to leave the station. Time to find an open empty boxcar or sneak into the blinds, or worse yet, strap yourself to the rods, if you wanted to be on that train. The significance of "the Centipede" would be that it likely drove a specific route and so it's individual sound would mean certain destinations to the hobos, just like a stationmaster calling destinations to ticket holders.

Wax
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Stuart on November 16, 2014, 02:27:46 PM
Edited  to add: I found it, it's "Santa Fe Blues" and it's on Youtube. You can listen for yourself and decide on the meaning:

'Mama' Estelle and Jimmy Yancey -- Santa Fe Blues (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_1gbPF9Huw#)

--at least in the context of the Yanceys' song.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Original post:

In literal terms, I think you're correct Wax. It's most probably not a generic reference. I'm going to have to listen to the LP to identify the song and pin down the context--and try to locate lyrics if they are available. There was/is a railroad yard in the next town over from where I grew up in NJ (the "Loop" in Bay Head), but there weren't any sheds as it was the southern end of the Jersey Coast Line and the maintenance was done up north. However, there were stations with long cavernous covered platforms, like Newark, that might have been thought of, or referred to as a shed. Who  knows? Not I. I remember hearing "Centipede" 40+ years ago when I got the LP and thinking it was some general Blueism for a train--and didn't know that it was a specific reference.

There's a Bay Head Loop YT vid that brings back old memories of my taxi driving days. I used to drive the crews who would overnight at the railroad bunkroom around town to the various gin mills and greasy spoons. Some real characters and the stuff the Blues is made of.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on November 16, 2014, 03:03:48 PM
Hi all,
Any other takers for George Boldwin's "Country Girl Blues" and Bill Tatnall's "Fandango"?  Come one, come all!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: uncle bud on November 17, 2014, 04:01:49 AM
I think Boldwin's Country Girl is in Spanish and agree about the maj7 in the melody. What a weird one. Fandango sounds like Vestapol to me.

Re. Union shed - Belton Reese sings about "standing in the Union Shed" in McKenzie Case.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on November 17, 2014, 07:10:31 AM
Hi all,
Thank you for your responses.  Here are the answers for the puzzlers.  For George Boldwin's "Country Girl Blues":
   * Boldwin's playing position was G in standard tuning.  At about :16-:18, he does a couple of drag-throughs with his thumb from the fifth to the fourth strings, going from the II note of his scale on the fifth string to the V note of the scale on his fourth string.  This would suggest G, standard tuning, where the fifth string is tuned to A and the fourth string is tuned to D.  The same notes could be gotten in Spanish by fretting the fifth string at the second fret, but both strings sound open as he plays them.  Also, around the :28-:29 point, he plays a IV chord with its root in the bass that is voiced like a C chord in standard tuning, and which would be very awkward to play in Spanish.
   * The primary and most consistent oddity in Boldwin's scale that he sings the major seventh note, as mister mando and uncle bud had it.  The first time he sings it is when he sings the line, "Tell me where did you stay last night."  He sings no bVII notes in the course of his rendition, and the effect is an odd one, certainly not the norm in a song with blues phrasing.  It's the kind of sound you might expect to (but as far as I know, never did) hear from Robert Pete Williams.

For Bill Tatnall's "Fandango":
   * His tuning was "Vestapol", as you all had it.
   * I phrased my second question poorly, but the name I was thinking of for the tune was "Vestapol", which is sort of the identifying instrumental played in that tuning vs. Tatnall's title of "Fandango" which is usually the identifying title of an instrumental in Spanish tuning.  Mister mando essentially got at this point in his answer.

Thanks to all for your participation and well done for mister mando, who was spot on with his answers.  I'll look for some more puzzlers to post.

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on November 18, 2014, 02:48:25 PM
Hi all,
I have a new puzzler for you. The song is "Thunder in Germany", as performed by Joel Hopkins.  I know nothing about Hopkins or the circumstances in which the song was recorded, but I know Country Blues tracks 8:13 long are quite rare.  Here is his performance:

https://youtu.be/d071g_iYciA

Says, I was stud'in' in Germany, Red Cross on my arm
Says, I was stayin' in Germany, baby, with the Red Cross on my arm
I never heared nobody say, "Lord, son, I'll take you home."

You know, I'm motherless and fatherless, yes, I'm brotherless too
Yes, I'm motherless and fatherless, yes, I'm brotherless too
That's the reason I tried so hard, baby to make this trip with you

Got the blues so bad it hurt my feet to walk
Got the blues so bad, baby it hurts my feet to walk
And it settled on my brain, Lord God, hurts my tongue to talk

I got drunk last night, kicked the cover all on the floor
Got drunk last night, baby, cover all on the floor
If that ain't bad luck, Lord God, baby, I'd like to know

I'm gonna leave here walking, talkin' to myself
I'm gonna leave here walking, baby, talkin' to myself
I don't get the woman I'm looking for, don't want nobody else

I'm goin' to West Texas, jump down a prairie dog's hole
I'm goin' to West Texas, baby, jump down a prairie dog's hole
'Cause the East Tex women hate to see me go

Mmmmmmmmm, Lord have mercy on me
Hey hey, baby, Lord have mercy on me
Some of you brownskin women don't know what mercy means

SOLO

Yes, wished I was a catfish in the ol' sea
Says, I wished I was a catfish in the sea
Boy, these brownskin women be draftin' after me

Mmmmmmmmm, Lord have mercy on me
Hey hey, baby, Lord have mercy on me
Some of you brownskin women don't know what mercy means

SOLO

Got a brownskin woman, scared to call her name
Got a brownskin woman I'm scared to call her name
'Cause she's a married woman, love her just the same

Got a woman, lives up on the hill
Got a brownskin woman, she lives up on the hill
Said, that fool tried to quit me, man, I love her still

SOLO

One of these, ain't comin' back no more
Gonna leave this time, baby, ain't comin' back no more
Say, you know how you treated me when I was here before

Gonna take me and get me a rockin' chair
You gonna take me, baby, and get me a rockin' chair
That's, the blues overtake me, rock away from here

The questions are:
   * What playing position/tuning did Hopkins use to play "Thunder In Germany"?
   * Where did he play his signature lick, :06-:07 and throughout the rendition?  Place the lick in the meter and place it relative to the pulse.
   * Where does he fret and play what he plays under the first line of each verse?
   * Where is he fretting the portion of his solo that falls 3:50--3:57?
   * Where is he fretting what he plays from 5:09--5:15?

Please use only your ears and instruments to arrive at your answers, and please don't post any answers until Thursday morning, November 20, so that plenty of people have a chance to listen to the track before answers are posted.  Thanks for participating.

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on November 19, 2014, 06:00:19 PM
Hi all,
I've been trying to get the lyrics to all of the songs in this thread transcribed, and one of the most difficult ones has proven to be Big Boy's "Blues", which can be found at http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg87891#msg87891 (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg87891#msg87891) .  This might be my favorite performance in the entire thread, and I think it is every bit at the level of quality of such great train songs with narration as Booker White's "Special Streamline" and "Panama Limited" and John Hurt's "Talking Casey".  I believe I have most of the transcription done at this point, but I'm sure I've made some mistakes, and there are still some spots in bent brackets.  I'd very much appreciate some help with the transcription, and if you haven't listened to Big Boy's performance yet, you're in for a treat.  He had die-happy time.  Thanks for any help with the lyrics.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: waxwing on November 19, 2014, 09:01:58 PM
Johnm, thanks for pointing me back to this, I'm not able to follow all the songs on this thread. This gets such drive from the swung eighth notes which I hear as great right hand work, but the slide comes into it, too.

In the spoken part I think he is saying HOME FLYIN' FREIGHT, which makes it one he wants to catch.

After the whistle blows I think he sorta stumbles on saying CLEAR OF THE CROSSING, and it comes out sounding like CLAR, or it could be a local pronunciation, which I think is the case with ACCUSIN', which sounds like ACCOOZIN', and I think is right. I don't think it's A COUSIN!?! (wink)

The last one is tough. I hear two words with SORRY the first word and then something like MAYDEE or MAYJEE? I thought maybe like MAJOR, but that seems weird. Since I can't think of anything that works it does throw SORRY into question, but that's sure what it sounds like to me.

Some help, I hope.

Wax

Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on November 19, 2014, 09:33:02 PM
A very big help, Wax, thanks so much!  I really love this song and performance, but had wondered if it would be possible to transcribe it.  I think "home flyin' freight" and "clear" the crossing are spot on, and I've made the changes.  Now if we can just get that whatever it is "on some battlefield".  Thanks!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: dj on November 20, 2014, 12:05:15 PM
"Like a SOLDIER [LAYING?] on some battlefield" is as close as I can get.  Laying makes sense, but it sounds like Big Boy puts a d in there and says "lading".
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on November 20, 2014, 12:54:12 PM
Thanks very much for that, dj.  Could it be, "Like a soldier laid me on some battlefield", i.e., laid me down, wounded?  "Soldier" is terrific, and is right, I'm sure.  Good listening!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: mr mando on November 20, 2014, 01:03:34 PM
Q: What playing position/tuning did Hopkins use to play "Thunder In Germany"?
A: A Position Standard tuning. The signature lick has a bVII to VIII not move that's mor comfortably in Standard than in spanish, and there's two places towards the end where you hear the typical Sound of a full E7 V chord, very different Sound than the five chord in open Tunings.

Q: Where did he play his signature lick, :06-:07 and throughout the rendition?  Place the lick in the meter and place it relative to the pulse.
A: Beat 1: open A string; Beat 2: open G string; Beat 2+: G string 2nd fret; Beat 3: A string 3rd fret Beat 4: open G string; Beat 4+: G string 2nd fret; Beats 1 and 3 I think are slightly before the beat, while beats 2 and 4 are a little behind the beats.

Q: Where does he fret and play what he plays under the first line of each verse?
A: fifth frets on the G and high e strings on beats 2 and 4

Q: Where is he fretting the portion of his solo that falls 3:50--3:57?
A: rocking between 2nd and 4th frets on the D string against 2nd fret G string, then 4th fret G string

Q: Where is he fretting what he plays from 5:09--5:15?
A: Similar to the previous answer, but then he bends the g string 4th fret up a whole tone, and builds a lick out of the notes used in the previous answer.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on November 20, 2014, 01:13:50 PM
Quote
* What playing position/tuning did Hopkins use to play "Thunder In Germany"?

Iím thinking of A-position, standard tuning. Most of the licks seem to sit nicely in this position, and I think Iím hearing the long A chord form played for the I chord. At around 5:34 I think Iím hearing (the only time throughout the whole rendition) a V chord played with an open position E7 chord.

Quote
* Where did he play his signature lick, :06-:07 and throughout the rendition?  Place the lick in the meter and place it relative to the pulse.

For beat one, a quarter note open 5th string; for beat two, two eighth notes, and open 3rd string, and an open 5th string again; for beat three a quarter note with the 5th string 3rd fret with a slight bend; and for the fourth beat two eighth notes, the open 3rd string, followed with the 3rd string 2nd fret. This is a simple, but very effective and funky riff.

Quote
* Where does he fret and play what he plays under the first line of each verse?

Iím hearing the open 5th string, followed by a double-stop with the 3rd and the 1st string played at the 5th fret, the 3rd string is bent up little.

Quote
* Where is he fretting the portion of his solo that falls 3:50--3:57?

I hear an open A chord X-0-2-2-(2)-X, followed by the 4th string 4th fret , then the 3rd string 2nd fret, then a double stop with the 4th string and 3rd string both at the 2nd fret, then the 3rd string 4th fret, followed by the 3rd string 2nd fret.

Quote
* Where is he fretting what he plays from 5:09--5:15?

Iím suggesting the open 5th string; then the 3rd string 5th fret bent up roughly a half-step; then the 3rd string 2nd fret; followed by the 4th string  4th fret; then the 3rd string 2nd fret again.
This is followed by the open 5th string again; then the 3rd string bent up a half-step again, but this time from the 4th fret, then the same string and fret bend released, then the 3rd string 2nd fret, followed by the 3rd string 4th fret; the 3rd string 2nd fret, the 4th string 4th fret; and the 3rd string 2nd fret again.

Cheers

Pan
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: dj on November 20, 2014, 01:15:22 PM
Quote
Could it be, "Like a soldier laid me on some battlefield"

That's it, John.  Good ears.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: jpeters609 on November 20, 2014, 01:31:39 PM
The song is "Thunder in Germany", as performed by Joel Hopkins.  I know nothing about Hopkins or the circumstances in which the song was recorded, but I know Country Blues tracks 8:13 long are quite rare.

John,
Joel Hopkins is actually Lightnin' Hopkins' older brother (second oldest, I believe). This is what AllMusic has to say:

b. 3 January 1904, Centreville, Texas, USA, d. 15 February 1975, Galveston, Texas, USA. An elder brother of Lightniní Hopkins, guitarist Joel learned his trade from Blind Lemon Jefferson when they travelled together during the 20s. Joel Hopkins spent most of his life working outside of music, but in 1947 he accompanied his brother Lightiní on his famous Gold Star recording of ĎShort Haired Womaní. He resurfaced in 1959 to record a handful of archaic Texas blues for historian and folklorist Mack McCormick. The latter part of his life was spent in ill health, and he died from a heart attack in 1975.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on November 20, 2014, 03:17:22 PM
Hi all,
Thanks to mister mando and Pan for their responses on the Joel Hopkins puzzler.  I want to wait a while before responding on that and give more folks a chance to post their answers, too.

I want to offer particular thanks to Waxwing and dj for their help with the Big Boy "Blues" transcription.  I'd gotten pretty close, but on those last few bits I was really stuck.  I'm excited to have the transcription now and be able to post it in Weeniepedia and enter Big Boy as an artist there, as well.  Thanks, guys!

Thanks as well to Jeff for the information on Joel Hopkins.  It's cool to hear something from one of Lightnin's older brothers.  From what you posted, Jeff, it seems very likely that "Thunder in Germany" was one of the tracks that Mack McCormick recorded in 1959, for that would make the length plausible--no commercial company at the time would have allowed an 8 minute take.  It's nice to have the context of the song enriched.  Youtube is a wonderful resource for hearing the music, but very few entries there have anything like adequate documentation and background information.  Thanks, Jeff.

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: ScottN on November 20, 2014, 03:27:18 PM
Hi John,

Re: the Big Boy lyrics -

You ever been down know 'bout how I feel
Like a soldier maybe on some battlefield.

"About" is approximating the feeling and "maybe" is a close example

Thanks,
           Scott
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: jpeters609 on November 20, 2014, 04:41:51 PM
Just so happens Stefan has a discography for Joel Hopkins:

http://www.wirz.de/music/hopkjfrm.htm (http://www.wirz.de/music/hopkjfrm.htm)

Looks like this song was indeed one of the Mack McCormick recordings from 1959.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Bunker Hill on November 20, 2014, 10:59:36 PM
Just so happens Stefan has a discography for Joel Hopkins:

http://www.wirz.de/music/hopkjfrm.htm (http://www.wirz.de/music/hopkjfrm.htm)

Looks like this song was indeed one of the Mack McCormick recordings from 1959.
As the link provided to another forum appears to be broken, here's my rather cringe making review of the LP from 25 years ago.

JOEL & LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS 1959
Collector's Issue C-5530
JH: Good Times Here, Better Down The Road/Match Box Blues/Accused Me Of Forgin', Can't Even Write My Name/l Ain't Gonna Roll For The Big Hat Man No More/ Thunder In Germany, Red Cross On My Own
LH: Long Way From Texas/Whiskey, Whiskey/Getting Out Of The Bushes Tap Dance/Suicide Blues/Look Out Settagast, Here Me And My Partner Come

Yet again it's taken an anonymous (and dubious?) source to bring back to catalogue a record of major documentary importance. This album (now with an additional track) originally appeared on Tony Standish's Heritage label and culled from Mack McCormick's attempts to document the surviving Texas blues traditions of the Fifties/Sixties. The star of the album is without doubt Lightninís elder brother Joel. Born 1904, a true throwback, Joel Hopkins' archaic vocal and rudimentary guitar playing were, in 1959, a far more logical continuation of the Texas tradition than that of younger brother Lightnin'. The extended vocal lines of Texas Alexander, the playing of JT "Funny Paper" Smith, even nuances of Ramblin' Thomas and Little Hat Jones can all be detected, but never more so than in the hypnotic, eight minute improvisation, "Thunder In Germany". Such was its impact on me the song got three successive plays. Fans of Lightnin' will probably find Joel in comparison earthy, by contrast stark and, musically, somewhat hard going.   

Lightnin's own contribution emanate from the same source and will for some be far easier listening. I well recall how primitive a practitioner I first thought him to be when introduced to his music in 1962, but back-to-back with Joel he sounds positively ordered. Given Hopkins's formative career as a juke box artist the temptation to class these post jukebox days as "Hopkins for the folklorists" is quite tempting, but to his credit Lightnin' turns in several committed reworkings, a charming rendition of "Creole Belles" (as "Getting Out Of The Bushes Tap Dance") and "Suicide Blues" has to be one of the most remarkable insights into the contemplation and effects of suicide that's ever been committed to tape. This, too, I played repeatedly just to convince myself of what I was hearing. Whilst there may be a few like minded souls who will purchase this record to expand their understanding of Texas blues most, I suspect, will ignore this album as not warranting the expense. What this reissue will definitely provoke in some of us is a lament for the stillborn Oliver/McCormick Texas book. If publication of the work has proved impossible how about a series of features for "Blues & Rhythm" based on the research? Paul? Mack? Anybody? 
Alan Balfour (Blues & Rhythm 53 July 1990)

LATER: Sorry I intended to include the following which was originally sent to accompany the B&R review but not used. From Jazz Journal, April 1960, p. 37
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on November 21, 2014, 08:38:18 AM
Thanks for re-printing your review of the disc that had Joel Hopkins' titles on it, Alan.  It's interesting that the McCormick/Oliver Texas Blues book's non-release was already being mourned 25 years ago!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on November 21, 2014, 08:39:50 AM
Hi all,
Are there any other takers for the Joel Hopkins puzzler, "Thunder in Germany"?  Come one, come all, and answer only as many of the questions as you wish.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: blueshome on November 21, 2014, 01:17:35 PM
FWIW the Big Boy "battlefield" line is in Tampa Red's Western Bound Blues
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: ScottN on November 21, 2014, 04:48:01 PM
Thanks Phil - I wish the lines matched better:

If you ever been down I know you know just how I feel
If you ever been down you know just how I feel
Why I feel just like a dyin soldier across the battlefield

Thanks,
           Scott
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on November 21, 2014, 10:18:44 PM
Hi all,
It doesn't appear that their will be more responses on the "Thunder in Germany" puzzler, Joel Hopkins' recording, so I'll post the answers to the questions now.  Here they are.
   * Joel Hopkins did play the song out of A position in standard tuning as both mister mando and Pan had it.
   * His signature lick is just as Pan had it:
      Beat 1: Open 5th string
      Beat 2 + : Open 3rd string going to the open 5th string
      Beat 3:  Bent 3rd fret of the 5th string
      Beat 4 +:  Open 3rd string going to the 2nd fret of the 3rd string
   * Behind the first vocal phrase in each of his verses, he hits the open 5th string on beats one and three and pinches the bent 5th fret of the 3rd string along with 5th fret of the 1st string on beats 2 and 4
   * In the passage from 3:50--3:57, Joel Hopkins is, in the general sense moving around what he hits with his thumb in the right hand falling on the beat and with his index finger picking the 3rd string on the +s of the beats.  He is holding down an A partial barre with his index finger at the second fret across to the fourth string.  In the first measure, his thumb strikes the open 5th string on beat one, the fourth fret of the fourth string on beat two, the second fret of the fourth string on beat three and the fourth fret of the third string on beat four.  In that same measure, his index finger picks the second fret of the third string on the +s of beats one, two and four.  In the second measure of this passage, his thumb brushes the fourth and third strings at the second fret on beat one, strikes the fourth fret of the fourth string on beat two, brushes the fourth, third and second strings at the second fret on beat three, and strikes the fourth fret of the third string on beat four.  In the second measure, the index finger picks the second fret of the third string on the + of each beat.  In the third measure, his thumb brushes the second fret of the fourth, third and second strings on beat one, gets the fourth fret of the fourth string on beat two, brushes the second fret of the fourth, third and second strings on beat three and hits the fourth fret of the third string on beat four, with the index finger picking the second fret of the third string on the + of each beat. 
Thinking about how he uses his left hand in this passage, he is striking only barred notes with his thumb on beats one and three of each measure, and is hitting either the fourth fret of the fourth or third strings with his thumb on beats two and four. 
   * In the passage from 5:09--5:15, he is working out the partially barred position at the second fret again.  I think he is doing all of his bends at the fourth fret of the third string--he has an unwound string there and can bend it extravagantly.  In the first measure he hits the open fifth string on beat one, on beat two he hits the fourth fret of the third string with a very big bend, which he ties into beat three.  On the + of beat three, he goes to the barred note at the second fret of the third string, and on 4+ he goes from the fourth fret of the fourth string back up to the second fret of the third string.  In the second measure, on 1+ he goes from the open fifth string to a bend of the third string at the fourth fret.  On 2+ he does a pull-off from the fourth to the second fret of the third string and resolves down to the fourth fret of the fourth string.  On 3+ he goes from the fourth fret of the third string to the second fret of the third string, and on 4+ he goes from the fourth fret of the fourth string back up to the second fret of the third string.  He continues on in this vein with minor variations for two more measures.
One thing that struck me in listening to this passage was the extent to which he was working very much the same territory in the left hand, even to the extent of using the very same bends as did Garfield Akers in "Dough Roller Blues".  I'm not suggesting that Joel Hopkins copied Garfield Akers' recording, and in fact think it is very unlikely that Joel Hopkins ever heard Akers' recordings or even heard of Akers.  I think it is much more likely simply a case of the same possibility in the language of the blues in A position in standard tuning occurring to, and being utilized by two very different players from different places and different times.
I very much like Joel Hopkins' singing and playing on "Thunder in Germany".  He doesn't have the other-worldly vocal instrument and charisma that his brother Lightnin' had, but he did just fine on his own--he sounds great.  I believe, too, that the title, "Thunder in Germany" is a Mondegreen, or phonetic approximation of what Joel Hopkins sang, which is altogether different.  The phrase "Thunder in Germany" is never sung in the song.
Thanks to mister mando and Pan for their participation.  I think you guys both had a very good idea of where everything was happening on the guitar.  I'll try to find another puzzler soon.
All best,
Johnm   
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Bunker Hill on November 21, 2014, 11:22:10 PM
About a decade ago it was suggested that Hopkins sang "Soldiers dyin' in Germany, Red Cross on my arm. Can't recall the source!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on November 23, 2014, 09:50:03 AM
Thanks, Phil and Scott, for the additional thoughts on that verse in Big Boy's "Blues".  It's interesting to know a different source for the verse, or at least one very much like verse one Big Boy sang.  I don't think the "maybe" in the last line works, Scott.  It's seems too modern or something, as well as diffident in a way that doesn't seem plausible.  It just would seem kind of weird to use a simile and then hedge your bets by saying "Well, it's sort of like that, maybe."
Thanks also, Alan, for the thought on the first verse of "Thunder in Germany".  I've transcribed it the way I hear it, at the original post of the song at:  http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg89913#msg89913 (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg89913#msg89913) .
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on November 24, 2014, 01:02:18 PM
Hi all,
I've got a new puzzler for you.  The song is "Ol Time Rounders" by Emmet Murray, a Florida musician who was recorded in the 1980s.  Pan originally provided a link to a podcast that included this performance a couple of years ago, at:  http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=7053.msg55949#msg55949 (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=7053.msg55949#msg55949) .  I think both the song and Emmet Murray's performance of it are terrific.  Here it is:

OL' TIME ROUNDERS by MR. EMMETT MURRAY (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDnsYRyBCAM#ws)

Captain got a way he got to stop
A-wakin' me up at four o'clock
All of you old, long-time a-rounders, you better lie down

You lay down late, and you get up soon
Can't see nothin' but the stars and the moon
All of you old, long-time rounders, you better lie down

It look mighty cloudy, but it ain't gon' rain
You look on the table, it's the same old thing
All of you old, long-time rounders, you better lie down

If I'd a-knowed my Captain was mean
I wouldn't ever left St. Augustine
All of you old, long-time rounders, you better lie down

You lay down late, and you get up soon
You can't see nothin' but the stars and the moon
All of you old, long-time a-rounders, you better lie down

SPOKEN EXCHANGE:  "Remember when the Captain used to do you that-a way, then.  "Me too, boy."  "Yeah."

May be crazy, but I ain't no fool
I'm goin' down in Florida where I won't have a plow nor mule
All of you old, long-time rounders better lie down

You lay down late, and you get up soon
You can't see nothin' but the stars and the moon
All of you old, long-time a-rounders, you better lie down

There are just two questions on "Ol Time Rounders":
   * What playing position/tuning did Emmet Murray use to play the song?
   * What are the pitches to which his strings are tuned?

I consider this a tough puzzler, and a particularly strong performance, so I'd like to allow more time than usual for folks to come up with their answers, so please don't post any answers to the questions before Friday morning, November 28.  As usual, please use only your ears and your instruments to figure out your answers.  Thanks for your participation.

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on November 28, 2014, 01:32:14 AM
Well, I'll have a go! Open C tuning. My guess for the notes is: CGEGCE. Whatever the actual tuning is, it certainly produces a haunting accompaniment. Great sound.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on November 28, 2014, 07:53:44 AM
Hi all.

I may very well be wrong, but I'm going to suggest standard tuning, E position tuned really low. I think he's tuned down a major 3rd, to C, so the tuning would be C-F-Bb-Eb-G-C, if I got it right.

Emmet Murray is a fantastic musician, thanks for posting this, John!

Cheers

Pan
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on November 28, 2014, 07:57:22 AM
You may well be right, Pan!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on November 28, 2014, 11:20:23 AM
This is a real teaser isn't it? but what a fantastic tune.  It sounds like it's coming from a really deep place.  I'm getting the E high and low strings tuned right down to C and have been trying all sorts of weird and, some not so wonderful, combinations.  Last night I was trying to get this in the Vestapol tuning, tuned right down to C in the bass.  Then I had the tune bouncing around in my head all night and lay awake at 3 this morning thinking I was over complicating this and my latest attempts are standard tuning, tuned way down to C in the low E and playing out of E position as Pan suggests.  Which I was relieved  to see.   Missing the best part of a night's sleep may not have been in vain!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: frailer24 on November 28, 2014, 11:32:23 AM
Could be E position, 2 steps low, or this tuning I've been working with: CGCGBD.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on November 28, 2014, 05:21:28 PM
Hi all,
Thank you for your responses.  Despite the fact that there were only two questions with regard to Emmet Murray's "Ol' Time Rounders", it has been the most difficult of all the puzzlers posted in this thread to figure out and be satisfied that I had it right.  Here are the answers that I came up with, followed by the reasoning/hearing behind them.
   * I believe Emmet Murray played "Ol Time Rounders" out of E position in standard tuning
   * His guitar was pitched with its open strings sounding at C-F-Bb-Eb-G-C
In determining the playing position for "Ol' Time Rounders", the first point was that the open sixth string was the lowest pitch struck and is the I note of the key in which the song is sounding.  This eliminates most playing positions/tunings, but left as possibilities:
   * E position in standard tuning
   * Dropped D tuning
   * Vestapol
   * Cross-note
   * Open C (low)
   * EAEGBE
   * DGDGBE, played in D position
As Emmet Murray begins his third verse, at :53, he does a thumb drag from from his open sixth string to his open fifth string, sounding a I note on the sixth string and a IV note on his open fifth string.  Having an interval of a fourth between the sixth and the fifth string eliminates Dropped D tuning, Vestapol, Cross-note and open C tuning from the running, since they all have an interval of a fifth between their open sixth string and the open fifth string.  That leaves the following positions/tunings in the running:
   * E position, standard tuning
   * DGDGBE tuning, played in D position
   * EAEGBE tuning
As Emmet Murray begins his second verse, at :34--:36, he twice hits a sonority where he hits a ringing VI note on his fifth string, with a I chord voiced Root-3-5-Root on the fourth through first strings above it.  That sonority leaves E position in standard tuning in the running, because you can voice such a chord as X-4-2-1-0-0.  DGDGBE tuning in D position is eliminated by this sonority, though, because while you can get the VI note on the fifth string, at the fourth fret, you can't play that note and let it sustain and voice a D chord Root-3-5-Root above it, since the first string is one whole step above the higher of the two roots in that voicing.  You just don't have the notes to do it.   EAEGBE tuning remains a possibility, since you could get the sonority by fingering X-4-0-1-0-0.
Fairly near the beginning of the song, Emmet Murray plays an ascending bass run which has him climbing up from the low Root on his open sixth string to IV, up to V, up to bVII and resolving up to the Root an octave above where he started the run.  In E position in standard tuning, those notes sit so easily and naturally accessible at the open sixth string, the open fifth string, the second fret of the sixth string, the open fourth string and the second fret of the fourth string.  The tuning more or less gives you the run.  The same run can be played in EAEGBE tuning, but it lies so much less naturally and intuitively, at the open sixth string, the open fifth string, the second fret of the fifth string, the fifth fret of the fifth string and the open fourth string--not impossible to play, but at the same time not exactly under the hand.
Taken in sum, this process eliminates every one of the possible tunings at the starting point of the identification process with the exception of E position in standard tuning and EAEGBE tuning.  EAEGBE tuning would make enough other aspects of what goes on in the left hand of the song very unusual, to the extent that I'm satisfied that it eliminates itself, though it would probably be possible to figure out a way to play the song using that tuning.
Let's hear it for E standard tuning, then, as the position that Emmet Murray used to play "Ol' Time Rounders", and congratulations to Pan for making that identification in the first place.  It's kind of amazing when you think of how much hard listening and skull work it takes just to figure out what playing position Emmet Murray used for the piece--whew!
I don't know how much other recording Emmet Murray did, but from my point of view it all belongs on an easily accessible CD, that could be bought and listened to over and over.  Even if there's nothing else by him out there, I anticipate doing that kind of listening to "Ol' Time Rounders" in any event.

Thanks for your participation, and I'll post a new puzzler soon.

All best,
Johnm 
     
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on November 28, 2014, 06:15:49 PM
Thank you again for your detailed analysis, John!

Being a big Emmet Murray fan, I'd like to point out, that the Dust-to-Digital collection "Drop On Down In Florida: Field Recordings Of African American Tradition" has, among some other gems, altogether 6 Emmett Murray tunes, recorded on field by Dwight DeVane and  Peggy A. Bulger on April 8, 1980. They are:

- Old Time Rounders
- She's a Fool, She Ain't Got No Sense
- Mobile Blues
- I'm Gonna Dig Myself a Hole
- I'll Find My Way
- Drinkin' Bad Bad Whiskey

I'm not aware of any further recordings by Emmet  Murray.

http://www.ideabooks.nl/9781938922244-drop-on-down-in-florida-field-recordings-of-african-american-traditi (http://www.ideabooks.nl/9781938922244-drop-on-down-in-florida-field-recordings-of-african-american-traditi)

Cheers

Pan
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: frailer24 on November 29, 2014, 02:11:44 AM
Looks like I need to get me ears cleaned.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on November 29, 2014, 11:18:46 AM
Hi all,
I've got a new puzzler for you.  The song is Willie Lane's "Too Many Women Blues", recorded in 1949.  Boy, did he know what he was doing!  Here is his performance:

Willie Lane - Too Many Women Blues (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhGpyRM0DbU#)

I've got so many women, I don't hardly know who to choose
I've got so many women, I don't hardly know who to choose
Boy, I wake up every morning, I got too many women blues

I've got a little bitty woman, she lives down in Arkansas
Little bitty woman, she lives down in Arkansas
She's pigeon-toed, she's bow-legged, she got dimples all in her jaw

SOLO

Some red, some yella, some is black, some is teasin' brown
Some is red, some is yella, some is black, some is teasin' brown
You can't tell much about 'em, 'cause they're scattered all over town

Five on the South Side, seven on the East Side
Nine on the West Side, North Side, too
Ten out in Oak Lawn, 'leven on Sixth Avenue
I've got twelve in the Bottom, thirteen in TCU

SPOKEN:  Too many women, they waren't good

Here are the questions on "Too Many Women Blues"
   * What playing position/tuning did Willie Lane use to play the song?
   * Where is he fretting the positions he plays in the fifth and six bars of the first verse, at :19--:23?
   * Where does he fret the fill he plays at :37--:39 in the second verse?
   * Where does he fret the descending run at 1:23--1:25 of his solo?
   * In the lyric break that starts at 1:57, what two chords is he rocking back and forth between?

Answer however many of the questions you're comfortable addressing, but please use only your ears and your instruments to figure out your answers.  Please don't post any answers until Monday morning, December 1, to give plenty of people an opportunity to listen to the song and formulate their own answers before answers start being posted.  Thanks for your participation.

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on November 29, 2014, 11:21:05 AM
Thanks for the tip on the Dust-to Digital release that includes all of Emmett Murray's cuts, Pan.  I'll have to pick that up.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: David Kaatz on December 01, 2014, 09:14:06 AM
I guess I'll go first.
Guitar tuned to standard EADGBE, playing in the key of A.

Playing in the 5th and 6th bars, he plays an F on the 3rd fret of the fourth string to pickup to the F# on the 4th fret of the same string. The chord is fretted 4232, fourth to first strings. Then he moves to an F on the fourth string, and fingers a D minor chord fretted 3231, fourth to first strings.

The fill at :37 - :39 is played at the 7th fret, he plays 78 on the first two strings, and bends them.

The descending run at 1:23--1:25 is played as triplets, except the last two notes, something like this:

E|-------------|
B|4321---------|
G|----21-------|
D|------210----|
A|---------3 0 |
E|-------------|


at 1:57, the two chords are C#7 and D7. Both are fingered the same with the first 3 fingers each catching a note. A cool voicing:
 
E|-------------
B|-------------
G|-4-5-4-5-4-5-
D|-3-4-3-4-3-4-
A|-2-3-2-3-2-3-
E|-------------


Dave
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on December 01, 2014, 10:19:03 AM
I have standard tuning A position. For the section from :19 to :23 I hear a D7 chord fingered xx4535 resolving to xx3525. from :37 to :39 it's a bent chord x0x878. for the descending run, it's something like str/fret 2/1,0; 3/2,1,0; 4/2,1,0; 5/0,3bend,0. I can't figure out the two minor sounding chords at 1:57!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on December 01, 2014, 12:51:35 PM
I'm getting standard tuning in A also.  The fretting positions he plays at :19--:23 in the fifth bar I'm saying D7 4535 (4th string to 1st) not sure about the 6th bar though so I'm going to keep a dignified silence on that one.  Could he be he fretting the fill he plays at :37--:39 in the second verse at 3rd string 12 fret, 2nd string 13th fret?
The descending run at 1:23--1:25 of his solo is lovely and possibly
E|-------------|
B|431---------|
G|----20-------|
D|------210----|
A|---------3 0 |
E|-------------|

very close to Davek, but I'm just not hearing all of those notes.  But because I don't hear them doesn't mean they're not there.....phew pure Zen, that!

The two chords he's rocking back and forth between at 1:57 I'm not so sure about but I'm going to go with a C9 at the 3rd fret to C#9 at the 4th fret.

As always. looking forward to the answer.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on December 01, 2014, 06:33:10 PM
Hi all

Here's my attempt to answer the puzzler.

Quote
Here are the questions on "Too Many Women Blues"
   * What playing position/tuning did Willie Lane use to play the song?

I agree with A-position, standard tuning.

   
Quote
* Where is he fretting the positions he plays in the fifth and six bars of the first verse, at :19--:23?

I agree with the chords Professor Scratchy proposed, only I think thereís a typo on the second one, the Dm7 should have a 3rd fret instead the 2nd fret, on the 2nd string: xx3535.

 
Quote
* Where does he fret the fill he plays at :37--:39 in the second verse?

I hear just the open  5th string and a double-stop played against it, on the 2nd string 7th fret and 1st string 8th  fret, bent up a little.

 
Quote
* Where does he fret the descending run at 1:23--1:25 of his solo?

Thatís a tough one, it being so fast. I think he starts with a bend up a whole step from the 3rd fret 2nd string; followed by the 3rd fret 2nd string bend released; then the 1st fret 2nd string.
Then 2nd fret 3rd string; to open 3rd string; to 2nd fret 4th string.
Then the 1st fret 4th string to open 4th string and open 3rd string.
All this played in triplets, then two eight notes, the 3rd fret 5th string bent a little, followed by the open 5th string.

   
Quote
* In the lyric break that starts at 1:57, what two chords is he rocking back and forth between?

Agreed again with the Professor, on the minor sound. Iím going to suggest an E chord X-X-X-1-0-0, followed by an Am chord X-X-X-2-1-0.

Looking forward for the verdict again. Another great choice, John, thank you!

Cheers

Pan
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on December 02, 2014, 10:28:21 AM
Hi all,
Thanks for your participation in the "Too Many Women Blues" puzzler.  Here are the answers:
   * Willie Lane did play the song out of A position in standard tuning as you all had it.  Well done!
   * In the fifth and sixth bars of his first verse, at :19--:23, Willie Lane goes from a D7 in his fifth bar, voiced X-X-4535, and after a brief little pick-up note on the open fourth string, resolves to a little three-string partial F chord, voiced X-X-3-2-1-X, in the sixth bar.  The F leads beautifully to his I chord, A, when he resolves to it in his seventh bar, because he uses the first fret of the second string and the second fret of the third string, both of which he was already fretting in the F chord.  By using the F chord in this context, he gets much the same effect he would have gotten by going from IV major, D, to IV minor, D minor, with the F# to F interior resolution capturing the essence of that sound.  The F chord is a bVI chord relative to the key of A, and is often used as a substitution for a IV minor chord.
   * The little interior fill that Willie Lane plays in the middle of his vocal phrase at :37--:39 is achieved by bending the first and third strings at the 8th fret.  The two notes being bent, then, are Eb on the third string, a bV in the key of A, and C on the first string, a bIII.  It has a bit of a partial diminished seventh chord sound here--try playing the double stop at the fifth fret of the first and third strings and just move it up three frets to the eight fret, bending as you go, and I think you'll catch that sound.  It is sure a grungy sounding double bend and sounds like a million bucks the way Willie Lane does it here.
   * The descending triplet run that Willie Lane plays from 1:23--1:25 lives like so:
      On beat one, a triplet going from a slightly bent fourth fret of the third fret of the second string to the first fret of the second string;
      On beat two, a triplet going from second fret of the third string to the open third string to the second fret of the fourth string;
      On beat three, a triplet going from first fret of the fourth string to the open fourth string and back up to the open third string;
      On beat four, a broken triplet, with the bent third fret of the fifth string holding for the duration of the first two notes of the underlying triplet followed by the open fifth string on the last note of that triplet, resolving up to the second fret of the third string on the downbeat of the next measure.
This is a really cool run and I think the coolest part of it is the triplet he plays on the third beat; the way that he comes back to the open third string for the third note of that triplet arrests the downward motion in a way that acts like a little rhythmic speed bump--ultra cool.
   * In the lyric break, starting at 1:57 he rocks between an E chord, voiced X-X-1-0-0 to an A minor partial, voiced X-X-X-2-1-X, with the E chords falling on the weak beat, four, and the A minors falling on the strong beat, one.
Everyone who participated had at least a couple of the questions right on the money, and among the group, I think the questions were all pretty much answered. 
One sort of unrelated note regarding Willie Lane:  he is sometimes credited with having recorded a tune at Huntsville Prison in Texas for Alan Lomax entitled "Building Up and Down the KC Line", by virtue of that inmate going by the name Little Brother, which Willie Lane evidently also used in a session he backed J. T. Smith on that was never released.  As it happens, Little Brother's recording of "Building Up and Down the KC Line" was one of the first tunes we looked at in this thread, at:  http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg87671#msg87671 (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg87671#msg87671) , and if you return to it and re-listen to it, and then re-listen to Willie Lane's "Too Many Women Blues", I don't see how one could come to any conclusion other than that it was two different people who recorded those two cuts.  Apart from the fact that both performances feature a singer accompanying himself on guitar, they have nothing in common with regard to instrumental or vocal tone, touch on the instrument, sense of time, etc.  The attribution of "Building Up and Down the KC Line" to the Willie Lane who recorded in 1949 is wrong.
Thanks for participating, and I'll post another puzzler soon.
All best,
Johnm   
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on December 03, 2014, 06:01:54 PM
Hi all,
I have a new puzzler for those who are interested.  The song is Charlie McCoy's "Motherless and Fatherless Blues".  Here it is:

https://youtu.be/1W17fz80sJE

I say, I'm motherless and I'm fatherless, and I've been misled
I say, I'm motherless and I'm fatherless, and I've been misled
And it have caused rocks to be my pillow, and concrete to be my bed

I say, I looked at my Mother's picture, hanging upside the wall
Looked at my Mother's picture, hanging upside the wall
And I say, every time I see it, the tears begin to fall

I say, if I could see her smilin' face once more
If I could see her smilin' face once more
I say, I would be through with driftin', babe, from door to door

I say, before I lost my Mother, had friends for miles in 'round
Before I lost my Mother, had friends for miles in 'round
I say, since I've lost her, friends can not be found

I used to call my Mother, she used to come to me
Used to call my Mother, she used to come to me
I say, but nowr I'm calling, and she can't answer me

The questions are:
   * What playing position/tuning did Charlie McCoy use to play the song?
   * Where is Charlie McCoy fretting what he plays behind his singing in the first two bars, from :06--:10?
   * Where does Charlie McCoy fret the descending run he plays from :25--:27?
   * Where does Charlie McCoy play the descending run from :53--:54?

Please use only your ears and instruments to come up with your answers, and please don't post any answers before Friday morning, December 5.  Thanks for participating.

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on December 05, 2014, 01:07:31 PM
Hi all,
Any takers for the Charlie McCoy puzzler on "Motherless and Fatherless Blues"?  Come one, come all!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on December 06, 2014, 04:18:41 AM
Oh well, if there are no takers I'll go first again (always brings a smile to bnemerov)! I'll say Vestapol at F. I can't really make out what's going on under the vocal at the start of the song. From 06 to 10  I think it's something like third and second strings at the third fret, descending to the second fret, then a bent note on the fourth string at the third fret, then open fourth string followed by open first. For the phrase at 53 to 54, it sounds like he uses the slide from 11th to 12th fret descending from 1st string, to second string, to third string , to fourth.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: mr mando on December 06, 2014, 05:11:05 AM
Q: What playing position/tuning did Charlie McCoy use to play the song?
A: Vestapol at F (agree with Prof Scratchy)

Q: Where is Charlie McCoy fretting what he plays behind his singing in the first two bars, from :06--:10?
A: 1st string-10th fret / 2nd string-12th fret (relative to the capo) on beats 2, 4+, 1, 2+, 3, 3+, 4

Q: Where does Charlie McCoy fret the descending run he plays from :25--:27?
A: string/fret: (1st triplet) 1/0-2/3-2/0 (2nd tripet) 3/1-3/0-1+2/0 (broken triplet) 4/3b-1+2+4/0

Q: Where does Charlie McCoy play the descending run from :53--:54?
A: 1st string slide to 7th, back to 5th fret, (fingered?) 3rd fret, 2nd string slide to 5th fret

Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on December 06, 2014, 02:48:49 PM
Agreed with vestapol, but I'm hopeless with slide tunes. 

Cheers

Pan
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: harriet on December 07, 2014, 07:14:15 AM
I'll probably wind up as a candidate for ear cleaning...     
    * What playing position/tuning did Charlie McCoy use to play the song? open g tuning

   * Where is Charlie McCoy fretting what he plays behind his singing in the first two bars, from :06--:10? 3rd-5th fret e and b string
   * Where does Charlie McCoy fret the descending run he plays from :25--:27? 3rd fret g and d string
   * Where does Charlie McCoy play the descending run from :53--:54?5th fret e and 3 fret d
 
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on December 07, 2014, 10:38:23 AM
Hi all,
Thanks to all who participated in the "Motherless and Fatherless Blues" puzzler.  Here are the answers:
   * The song was played out of Vestapol tuning.  Sounds that aid in that identification are the fact that Charlie McCoy never plays a lower-pitched note than the open sixth string, which is also the I note, or key center for the song.  Vestapol and cross-note place the I note on the open sixth string, whereas Spanish tuning places its lowest-pitched I note on the fifth string, with a V note being the pitch of the open sixth string.  Also, when he walks into the IV chord, placing its third on the fifth string, he has four strings sounding above it and the I note on top; the analogous position in Spanish tuning would have only three strings above it, and a V note on top.
   * The position Charlie McCoy played from :06--:10 is just as mr mando had it, with the first string fretted at the tenth fret and the second string fretted at the twelfth fret.  That little double stop gives him the seventh of the I chord at the tenth fret of the first string and the fifth of the I chord at the twelfth fret of the second string.  This was kind of a pet position for Charlie McCoy, and he's the only player I've heard who used it in Vestapol.  On his recording of "Last Time Blues", he uses the same position but for his IV chord, fretting the third fret of the first string and the fifth fret of the second string.  That recording is discussed in another thread here which can be located via the tags index.
   * Charlie McCoy start the descending run from :25--:27 on the second beat of the measure.  On that second beat, he strikes the open fifth string with his thumb on the beat, pinching the open first string at the same time, continuing on in the treble with a triplet going to the third fret of the second string and then to the open second string.  On the third beat, he plays another triplet in the treble, pulling off from the first fret of the third string to the open third string and then resolving up to the open first string, while his thumb strikes the open fifth string on beat three and pinches the open fourth string simultaneous with the open first string that it is the last note of the treble triplet.  On beat four, he does a broken triplet pinch of the first and fourth strings, with the first string being picked open twice in rhythmic unison with the thumb in the right hand striking first the bent third fret of the fourth string and then the open fourth string.
   * Charlie McCoy's descending run from :53--:54 is very much as Prof Scratchy had it.  On beat two of the measure, Charlie McCoy does a triplet with his slide, first sliding up into the twelfth fret of the second string, then sliding down to the tenth fret of the second string for the second note of the triplet, getting the third note of the triplet at the twelfth fret of the third string and getting the twelfth fret of the fourth string on beat three.  The notes of the run, then, relative to his key are V-IV-III in the triplet, resolving to I at the twelfth fret of the first string.  The run really is a model of economy in the left hand--you barely have to move the left hand at all.
I never hear Charlie McCoy's name mentioned when people talk about slide players, but he had a beautiful tone and was very accurate with his pitch.  His sound was sort of hyper-controlled; it is very much of a "set piece" sort of sound, and perhaps lacked the excitement generated by less precise players like Fred McDowell who had more powerful and active rhythmic engines.  There's room for all sorts of approaches, though, and there's much to be learned from Charlie McCoy, if only because he didn't really sound like anyone else playing slide.
Thanks to all who participated, and I'll try to find another puzzler to post soon.  Please let me know if anyone has any questions.

All best,
Johnm
     
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on December 08, 2014, 10:29:00 AM
Hi all,
I have a new puzzler for you--Scrapper Blackwell's "Goin' Where the Monon Crosses the Yellow Dog", recorded by Art Rosenbaum in Indianapolis in 1961.  This is such assured guitar-playing, and I particularly like Scrapper's singing here, too.  Here is his rendition:

Scrapper Blackwell - Goin' Where The Monon Crosses The Yellow Dog (1961) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQd1yWNp-ss#)

INTRO

Girl, I'm goin' where the Monon crosses the Yellow Dog
Lord, I'm goin' where the Monon crosses the Yellow Dog
Lord, they treat me like a possum, I would be out in the log

Lord, you be good to me, and I'll sure be good to you
Lord, be good to me, and I'll sure be good to you
Girl, that's the kind of way, I caused you want to do

I laid last night a-sleepin', Lord, a-thinkin' to myself
I laid last night a-thinkin', oh my God, a-thinkin' to myself
Lord, if you wanted someone, I guess you wanted someone else

SOLO (Spoken: Oh, I know what's the matter now)

What's the matter with you, child?  You cryin' every day
What's the matter with you, child?  You cryin' every day
Lord, that's all right, I'll hold your head wherever you lay

I cooked your breakfast, I brought it to your little bed
Lord, I cooked your breakfast, Lord, I brought it to your bed
I was a man enough to hold your little old achin' head

SOLO


The questions are:
   * What playing position/tuning did Scrapper use to play the song?
   * Where did he fret and how did he pick the fill from :07--:09?
   * Where did he fret the portion of his turn-around from :31--:33?
   * Where does he fret the chord positions he plays from 1:12--1:23?
   * What are left and right hands doing in the passage from 2:35--2:41 and where does it sit in the pulse?

This is more complicated and virtuosic playing than we sometimes have in the quizzes, so let's allow a little more time before posting answers.  Please don't post any answers before Thursday morning, December 11, and as always, please use only your ears and your instruments to figure out your answers.  Thanks for your participation.

All best,
Johnm
 
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on December 11, 2014, 09:54:49 AM
Will start this off as unfortunately have had very little time recently due to a house move but glad to get back involved with these particularly as Scrapper Blackwell is one of my favourites.  Not got around to answering all questions but this is what I've got for starters:
What playing position/tuning did Scrapper use to play the song?
  E, standard tuning
   * Where did he fret and how did he pick the fill from :07--:09?
Is this just on the 3rd (thumb) and 1st (index) strings? something like
0 - 2 - 0 slide into 4 - 0 - 2- 0
x - x - x               x - x - x - x
1 - 2 - 1 slide into 4 - 1 - 2- 1
 
   * Where did he fret the portion of his turn-around from :31--:33?
x
x  also making use of this open b string
4
3
x
4
   * Where does he fret the chord positions he plays from 1:12--1:23?
Not got to this yet
   * What are left and right hands doing in the passage from 2:35--2:41 and where does it sit in the pulse?
Is his left hand playing a long A chord, barred at the 2nd fret and his right hand is using 3 picking fingers to pick out the barred notes, then hitting the barred chord and snapping the high A note at the 5th fret?  A bit too vague, but all I've got at the moment.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on December 12, 2014, 03:37:57 AM
Ii agree with Old Man Ned that it's standard tuning, key of E, pitched around Fsharp/G.

For the first question: 2 fret third string, plus open first string then bouncing between open first string and first string at second fret twice before sliding position up via third fret to fourth fret, then with open first string sliding back to second fret and hammering on/pulling off first string at second fret. (Much easier to do than to explain)!!

For the turnaround, i think he slides an abbreviated B7 shape up two frets (x434xx) then back down again whilst also playing open first string

For the next question: he takes abbreviated B7 position up the neck to sound E7 at 076700, then slides that position down one fret to Eb7 and back.

For the last part, I can't describe the answer to the question about pulse, but I think he plays an abbreviated A7 chord with A in the bass and hammering to the second string at second fret followed by open first string twice and then first string at third fret bend and repeat a further three times.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on December 12, 2014, 05:43:24 AM
Hi all

Thanks for posting this tune, and making us listen more closely to what Scrapper Blackwell does. He sure has a virtuoso picking style, that makes it sometimes hard to figure out what he's exactly doing! I found this to be a difficult tune for sure!

Anyway, here are my thoughts.

Quote
The questions are:
   * What playing position/tuning did Scrapper use to play the song?

I'll agree with Old Man Ned and the Professor, for E-position standard tuning.

   
Quote
* Where did he fret and how did he pick the fill from :07--:09?

Against the open low E string, double stops on strings 3 & 1 as follows: 1-0, 2-2-and 3-3, the lower 3rd string mentioned first. I have no idea how he picks it! Maybe with the thumb and index? Or heís using a flatpick and adding the index finger for some kind of hybrid picking?

   
Quote
* Where did he fret the portion of his turn-around from :31--:33?
Again really not sure. Could he be moving a partial F-shaped chord down from the 2nd fret, against the high open E-string?  Maybe  X-4-X-3-2-0; to  X-3-X-2-1-0; to an open E chord X-2-2-1-0-0?

   
Quote
* Where does he fret the chord positions he plays from 1:12--1:23?
The first chord sounds like an E7 from the 5th fret: 0-X-6-7-5-7, but then he rocks back and forth between an E7 and an A9 chord with open E and B strings ringing out, if Iím not mistaken? 0-X-6-7-0-0, to 0-X-5-6-0-0.

 
Quote
* What are left and right hands doing in the passage from 2:35--2:41 and where does it sit in the pulse?

I think the left hand maybe holds a partial A9 chord; X-0-2-0-0-0, then the 2nd fret of the 2nd string is quickly hammered on and off, then the 3rd fret of the 1st string bent a little. It would be easier, if the 4th string fret note is fretted with the index, leaving the index and ring finger free to do the slur and bend, I think. I think the Professor described pretty much the same in different words. I have no idea how he does this with his picking hand, and how to describe the complex syncopated rhythm. Iíd have to slow it down, and try to write it down.

Cheers

Pan
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on December 12, 2014, 03:48:45 PM
Hi all,
It looks like as many people as were going to respond to the Scrapper Blackwell puzzler have already done so, so I'll post the answers.  Before I get into them, a word about Scrapper's approach in the right hand.  He sounds to me as though he is playing with flesh in the right hand, no nails or picks, and is getting very deep into his strings, which enables him to snap them, but also to play very hard  without them buzzing or bottoming out.  He is particularly adroit with his thumb is and is perfectly comfortable playing single notes or heavy, very controlled brush strokes.  His sound is distinctive because he plays very hard but also very clean, which is an unusual combination--his sound is not "crashy" or uncontained at all.  He has a big beautiful clean sound.
Here are the answers to the "Going Where the Monon Crosses the Yellow Dog" puzzler:
   * He did play the song out of E position in standard tuning, as Old Man Ned, Prof Scratchy and Pan all had it.
   * Here's how he played the passage from :07--:09  He was working with an underlying triplet feel, and in the third bar of his first full pass through the form the fill start with the thumb striking the open sixth string on beat one.  On the + of beat one, Scrapper pinched the open third string with his thumb and the open first string, probably with his index finger.  On beat two, he picked a triplet on the first string going from the second fret of the first string to the open first string back to the second fret of the first string, against which he hit thumb pinches at the second fret of the third string on the first and third notes of the triplet.  On beat three, he pinches the third fret of of the third string against the third fret of the first string, and finishes out the beat with a triplet in the treble, picking the open second string and returning to the third fret of the first string for the last note of the triplet.  On beat four, he plays a triplet in the treble, the first two notes of which are the open first string being hammered to the second fret of the first string and the third note being a return to the open first string.  Against the beat four triplet, the thumb picks the second fret of the third string on beat four and on the third note of the triplet picks a grace note hammer from the open third string to the first fret of the third string.  I think one of the surprising things about this fill is that he starts on the + of beat one picking the open third string rather than the first fret of the third string against the open first string; it is a surprising minor sound, just for an instant.
   * The positions he plays from 1:12 to 1:13, in the eleventh bar of the form, have a beautifully distinctive sound.  On beats two and three of that bar, he slides, I believe, into a partial F#7, X-4-X-3, doing a very controlled brush stroke with his thumb of the fourth through third strings, and muting the fourth string with his fretting hand, so that he can brush right across the fourth string without it sounding.  If you finger the fifth string with your second finger and the third string with your index finger and get a slight curvature on your second finger so that it mutes the fourth string, it works like a charm.  On beat four of that bar, he slides up into the very same position but one fret lower, X-3-X-2, an A minor, once again thumb brushing the fifth through third strings while muting the fourth string.  On the +s of beats 2, 3, and 4, he picks the open first string with his index finger.  On the downbeat of the next measure, he resolves the position down one fret further, with it becoming X-2-X-1, an E chord, thumb brushing it again followed by the open first string on the + of beat 1.  On beat two, he slightly alters the position, X-2-X-2, giving himself a B7 chord, minus the third.
These positions are very close to Pan's solution for the passage, the one difference being the interior muted fourth string in the way Scrapper played it.  The way Scrapper does the muted string with his left hand shows a degree of sophistication in his technique that is really rare in the style, and this is not the only place in the song where he utilizes that technique.
   * For the passage from 1:12--1:23, Scrapper again utilizes the left hand muting that he used for the last question.  He is rocking between an E7 with a B in the bass, 7-X-6-7-0-0 and an E dim 7 with a Bb in the bass, 6-X-5-6-0-0.  So, if you finger an E7 chord like a C7 moved up the neck, using your third finger to fret the sixth string, your second finger to fret the fourth string and your little finger to fret the third string, this move is as easy as pie in the left hand--just get enough curvature on your third finger, which is fretting the sixth string, to make a light incidental contact with the fifth string and mute it.  This move sounds so great, and I had never heard it done before the way Scrapper did it here-wow!  Prof Scratchy pretty much had this move nailed with the only difference being Scrapper's fretting of the sixth string with his third finger rather than the fifth string as Prof Scratchy had it.
   * For the passage from 2:35--2:41, Scrapper's left hand is very much as Prof Scratchy and Pan had it.  I believe Scrapper held the second fret of the fourth string down with his index finger throughout the entire passage, as a sort of fulcrum or pivot point.  He wound then do a snapped hammer to the second fret of the second string with his second finger, going immediately to the open first string and lifting the second finger simultaneously so that the second string would be open again.  He then would do a snapped bend of the first string at the third fret, with his third finger, I think.  That's the left hand.

In the right hand, he does the initial snapped hammer to the second fret of the second string on the + of beat three in the fourth bar of the form, pinching the open fifth string with his thumb at the same time.  On beat four of that measure, he picks the open first string in the treble brushing the open fifth string and second fret of the fourth string with his thumb at the same time. On the + of beat four, he picks the bent third fret of the first string, and re-hits the open fifth string with his thumb.  He sustains the bent third fret of the first string into the downbeat of the fourth bar, hitting a very forceful brush of the open fifth string and second fret of the fourth string and open third and second string with his thumb.  On the middle note of the triplet in that first beat, he does the grace note hammer to the second fret of the second string, and on the third note of the beat one triplet he picks the open first string, followed immediately on beat two by another powerful thumb brush of the fifth through second strings, fretting only the second fret of the fourth string.  He keeps this going through the third beat of the fourth bar, and whew, is it great!  I think this is my favorite passage in the song, and there are so many great ones.  One you get this going well, it's like having your spine in perfect alignment, it feels so good.  And as Prof Scratchy said on one of his answers, it may be harder to describe than it is to do (though both the timing and the right hand articulation are tricky and unusual).
I don't believe any rediscovered blues musician of the '60s and '70s ever played better than Scrapper Blackwell played on this recording.  It is perfectly amazing playing, especially since if what Scrapper told Art Rosenbaum was true, he had barely played for the 25 years prior to the session.  We're very fortunate that he made this recording and the recording on which he backed the singer Brooks Berry before he was murdered.  Kudos to Scrapper for having such an original sound and for being such a convincing proponent of his musical approach.  Incidentally, both Pete Franklin and Shirley Griffith also did really fine playing in Scrapper's style (or perhaps in the "Indianapolis Style").  I believe this CD is still available, originally on Prestige Bluesville, and if you don't have it, find it and get it.
Thanks to Old Man Ned, Prof Scratchy and Pan for participating in this puzzler.  Many of the answers were pretty much right on the money.  I'll try to find and post another puzzler soon.

All best,
Johnm
   
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on December 12, 2014, 04:12:57 PM
Thanks John!

Cheers

pan
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on December 13, 2014, 06:09:25 AM
Yes, John - thanks once again for this detailed explanation. I agree with everything you say about Scrapper's playing and about how lucky we are to have those later recordings. Scrapper was no slouch on the piano either. Whilst not in the same league as Leroy Carr, he certainly had paid attention to piano blues and played nicely. What a tragedy that he was killed so soon after rediscovery, and at a time when he'd have stood to have a busy career during the revival.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on December 13, 2014, 01:15:16 PM
Just like to follow-up the thanks above from Pan and Prof Scratchy for such a detailed explanation.  But a question...how do you get to hear these tunes in such detail?  I'm usually in the right ball park with playing position, tuning and roughly in the vicinity of where the fingers are on the strings (usually!), but how do you get to hear fine detail and subtleties. Is it just perseverance and dogged determination and when it's right, you know it's right?  if you know what I mean.

ps  Scrapper Blackwell played piano? I never knew that.  Are there recordings?
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Bunker Hill on December 13, 2014, 10:55:16 PM
ps  Scrapper Blackwell played piano? I never knew that.  Are there recordings?
He did play piano an example of which was recorded by Duncan P. Schiedt of his performing How Long Blues.

http://www.wirz.de/music/blackfrm.htm (http://www.wirz.de/music/blackfrm.htm)

In Stefan's discography scroll down to item 18 (1960)
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on December 14, 2014, 07:26:18 AM
Hi Old Man Ned,
With regard to your query, hearing detail in listening to these recordings is a matter of dogged determination in a way, and trying to make that a habit.  When I first started trying to figure out this music, decades ago, I was very impatient and as a result missed a lot of detail, especially what was happening in the bass.  The treble was just a lot easier to hear.  When I went back in recent years and listened to John Hurt and Bo Carter and really listened to what they were playing, especially in the bass, I was struck by how much I had missed on the first go-round. A couple of things I have found helpful in listening:
   * If you can develop the ability to listen to individual parts of what is happening rather than the whole thing at once, it is really helpful.  As an example, listening to Blind Blake and just saying, "What is hitting with his thumb?", figuring that out and then figuring out the treble.  Or on some of these passages of Scrapper's where he is muting an interior string, trying to hear what he would be playing if he fingered a conventional shape without muting, and figuring out where the void is, what part of the chord is missing.
   * I try (and sometimes forget) not to take anything for granted when listening.  Even when someone is playing what at first sounds like a commonly played sort of lick, so often they'll have their own very slightly different way of doing it.  If you stay focused and don't assume they're just doing the "normal" way, you may be able to figure out what it is that is different about how the person is playing the lick. 

A lot of the close listening depends on just taking the time to do it carefully and maintaining focus while doing it.  It is a nice head space to be in, while you're engaged with it.  I hope this helps.

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on December 14, 2014, 09:01:01 AM
Thanks John, that helps a lot.  Much appreciated.  All the best.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on December 15, 2014, 09:42:30 AM
Hi all,
I have a new puzzler for you.  The song is "Blues Knocking At My Door", as played by Carolina Slim (Ed Harris).  He was an East Coast player who died very young in the early-mid 1950s.  Here is the song:

Carolina Slim Blues Knocking At My Door (1951) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3dJZHuFiQI#)

Early this mornin', baby, blues was knockin' at my door
Early this mornin', baby, blues was knockin' at my door
Well I had so much of trouble, I didn't know where to go

Well, if I could only read, read my little baby's mind
Lord, if I could only read, read my little baby's mind
Well, I wouldn't be worried and bothered all the time

SOLO

Baby, you know you don't love me, please stop jivin' me
You know you don't love me, why don't you stop jivin' me
Well, you know it's better to be without you and to live on in misery

Blues, go away and don't ever return no more
Blues, go away, don't ever return no more
You bring me the worst old feeling I ever had in my life before


The questions are:
   * What playing position/tuning did Carolina Slim use to play "Blues Knocking At My Door"?
   * Where does he fret that passage that he plays from :20--:24?
   * Where does he fret the descending fill from 1:06--1:08?
   * Where is fretting the opening portion of his solo, from 1:22--1:30?
   * Where does he fret the two chords that sound from 2:13--2:15?

Please use only your ears and your instrument to come up with your answers, and please don't post any answers until Wednesday morning, December 17.  Thanks for your participation.

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: jtbrown on December 17, 2014, 01:00:50 PM
OK, here goes -- this is actually my second attempt to post this, as I tried to edit to correct a mistake and accidentally deleted the whole post:

1) I think he's playing out of E position, in standard tuning but with the guitar tuned one and a half steps low, so that the actual key is C#.

2) I think he's fretting this at the fifth fret, x05657 (so a IV9 chord, I guess?).  First he brushes up on the top strings, alternating between the first and second string as the highest note, then he plays a little four-note run in the bass that goes fifth string seventh fret, fifth string fifth fret, fifth string seventh fret, fourth string fifth fret.

3) I think he starts with an open note on the highest string just before the beat, then slides into the second string, eighth fret to begin a one-bar run in triplets that goes something like this: second string eighth fret, second string fifth fret, third string seventh fret, third string fourth fret, third string third fret, third string second fret, fourth string fifth fret, fourth string second fret, quick slide from fifth string sixth to seventh fret, back to fourth string second fret.  Those last three are all the same note (the tonic), and the final note of this run is accompanied by the open sixth string as a bass note.  (I'm pretty unsure about this whole run; I suspect I may be playing it in the wrong place, and possibly making other mistakes as well.)

4)  I think he starts up around the twelfth fret by sliding into a I or I7 chord of some sort and playing triplets for about three beats.  Maybe he's playing the seventh on the first string at the tenth fret, the fifth on the second string at the twelfth fret, and the third on the third string at the thirteenth fret?  Anyway, he plays triplets on that for about three beats, then does something that I can't hear/remember well enough to make it out; it's kind of dissonant in places, and he goes down a bit, then back up, then back down, then down further.  (How's that for a vague description?)  In this part, the second string seems to be the most prominent, and I seem to hear him playing it at the twelfth fret, then moving down to the tenth, then back to the twelfth, then back to the tenth, then the eighth, and finally the fifth fret. 

5) Fifth string, seventh fret as a bass note, then xxx787, then xx7565?

Thanks for giving us these puzzlers and your detailed analysis of them, John.  Although this is my first time posting to this thread, I've tried to work out some of the previous ones on my own, with mixed success.  I won't be at all surprised if it turns out that I've gotten everything wrong on this one, starting with the tuning, but even so it was fun to try to figure it out.  I also appreciate your highlighting this great song, which I was previously unfamiliar with.

Todd Brown
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on December 17, 2014, 01:32:27 PM
This ones been messing with my head.  I'm going for D in dropped D tuning as I'm hearing a low note at about 3 secs that's pushing me towards this. I think he's tuned about a half step low.  Also thought it may be A in dropped D but discarded that.

Where does he fret that passage that he plays from :20--:24?
--5--
--3--
--2-- on the top 3 strings
 then open 4th, 5th str/3rd fret, open 4th, 4th str/3rd fret with a slight bend

Where does he fret the descending fill from 1:06--1:08?
--2--
-----3---1
------------2--1-----0
------------------3-----3-----0
---------------------------3
--------------------------------
or thereabouts..

Where is fretting the opening portion of his solo, from 1:22--1:30?
Moving between 1st str/5th fret and 2nd str/6th fret to a D chord at 2nd & 3rd frets, then I think he's keeping the D on the 2nd str and hitting the open E but that's as much as I've got.

Drew a blank on the 2 chords, ran out of time to spend on them.

Look forward to the solution.  All the best.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: jtbrown on December 17, 2014, 02:35:50 PM
Oh, that makes so much more sense!  One thing that seemed off to me in my version was that at the end of the run in 3), I thought I heard the penultimate note of the run still ringing when the final note was sounded.  That isn't possible with the tuning I used, but it works beautifully in dropped D (or dropped C#), since that final note is played on the open fourth string rather than at the second fret.  I should have tried harder to resolve this discrepancy, rather than convincing myself I was mishearing the recording.

So I did in fact get everything wrong, starting with the tuning.  No surprise there, but I'm curious to see how much (if any) of what I guessed for the top five strings is "correct," apart from being tuned a step low and playing two frets too high to compensate. 

Todd
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: banjochris on December 17, 2014, 09:15:25 PM
   * What playing position/tuning did Carolina Slim use to play "Blues Knocking At My Door"?

drop D, tuned down some

   * Where does he fret that passage that he plays from :20--:24?

As Old Man Ned said but I think the chord is 5-X-X-4-3-5


   * Where does he fret the descending fill from 1:06--1:08?

Borrowing some of Ned's tab, I think closer to

----1-0
--3-----3-1
------------2-1-0
------------------3--0--
-------------------------3>5--
--------------------------------

he almost always slides up to catch that unison D note on the 5th string 5th fret.


* Where is fretting the opening portion of his solo, from 1:22--1:30?
 8th fret, 1st string and 10th fret, 2nd string

* Where does he fret the two chords that sound from 2:13--2:15?
I canít quite tell if itís a 7th or a diminished 7th shape, but I think itís either
x-x-4-5-4-5 or x-x-4-5-3-5 and then the whole thing slid down two frets. Iíd lean toward the x-x-4-5-3-5 if I had to pick one.

Interesting hearing someone really copying Lightning Hopkins but not sounding much like him vocally. Nice performance.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on December 18, 2014, 01:05:53 AM
Another klaxon of failure for  me on this one! Seduced by the Lightnin' Hopkins sound,  I had E standard.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: roig on December 18, 2014, 03:31:14 AM
Actually, Lightnin' played quite a few in dropped D as well, can't think of one right now though. Dropped D and E standard can sound pretty similar sometimes, but the A7 chord gives it away along with some less noticeable elements.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: jtbrown on December 18, 2014, 07:14:32 AM
Prof Scratchy, I'm glad I wasn't the only one -- the strong resemblance of several licks to Lightnin' Hopkins's playing in E is exactly what made me jump to the conclusion that this song must be in a variation on standard tuning. I might have done better if I had listened more closely to the whole thing, with a guitar in hand, before focusing on the specific passages John asked about; as roig mentions the voicing of the V7 chord makes it very obvious that he's playing an A7-type chord, not a typical B7 shape. (At least, now that I know what to listen for!)

Todd
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on December 18, 2014, 07:23:09 AM
Mmmnnn... They're not called puzzlers for nothing...
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: blueshome on December 18, 2014, 09:37:20 AM
I'm hopeless at this usually, but I did figure dropped D (down a bit) from the 1st low note. Very similar to early Lightnin though, he seems to have been very popular with Piedmont players of the period as there are quite a few recordings in his style from there.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on December 18, 2014, 03:01:43 PM
Hi all,
It has been great to see more folks participating in the Carolina Slim puzzler, and especially good to see folks discussing the tune and everything pertaining to it.  Carolina Slim was pretty darn good, wasn't he?  It's neat to hear someone who I'm sure would have admitted to being strongly influenced by Lightnin' Hopkins nonetheless express himself so strongly and convincingly in that style--and no matter how much someone's guitar playing is influenced by Lightnin', Lightnin's vocals are pretty much inimitable, just because Lightnin's voice was one-of-a-kind.
Here are the answers to the questions on "Blues Knocking At My Door":
   * Carolina Slim did play the song out of Dropped-D tuning (tuned a bit low) working out of D position there, as Old Man Ned and Chris and Roi and Phil had it.
   * For the passage at :20--:24, where Slim comes to his first IV chord, what I hear sounding is very close to Chris's suggested position of 5-X-X-4-3-5.  I hear the same chord, but minus the 4th fret of the third string, 5-X-X-X-3-5.  The sound with the 4th fret of the third string in there comes right out of Lonnie Johnson, and was also used a lot by Bo Carter when he played Johnson-influenced tunes in dropped-D.  I think Carolina Slim is getting a dronier, more open sound by leaving that sweet 4th fret of the third string, (the third of the G chord) out of there, so he's just hitting the low G note root at the fifth fret of the sixth string, the V note of the chord, D, at the third fret of the second string, and an add 9, A, at the fifth fret of the first string.
   * The descending run Carolina Slim played from 1:06--1:08 sits as follows:  He hits a pick-up note on the + of beat one at the third fret of the second string.  On beat two, he plays a triplet going from first fret of the first string to third fret of the second string to first fret of the second string.  On beat three he plays a triplet descending chromatically on the third string from the second fret to the first fret to the open string.  On beat four he plays a triplet going from the third fret of the fourth string to the open fourth string and then sliding up into the fifth fret of the fifth string, as Chris had it.  On the downbeat of the next bar he resolves the run with a thumb brush of the open sixth and fifth strings.  Todd had this run pretty much spot on for the position he initially suggested for the song.
   * For the opening of his solo, from 1:22--1:30, Carolina Slim is moving around a little two-string double stop on the first two strings.  He starts the passage fretting the 10th fret of the second string and the 8th fret of the first string, voicing the bVII of his D chord on the first string and the V of his D chord on the second string.  He moves the position down three frets, to 7-5 on the first two strings (V on the first string and III on the second string), back up three frets and back down three frets.  Thus far, he is working territory very heavily mined by Buddy Moss.  Slim then moves the position down two frets, to 5-3 on the second and first strings respectively, (sus 4 on the first string and 9 on the second string), worries the position a bit coming on and off the fifth fret of the first string down to the third fret and back, and then resolves the position down two frets more, to 3-1 on the second and first strings (Root on the second string and bIII on the first string).  It's really kind of remarkable how much of a bang he gets out of that position in the first four bars of that solo, and I can't think of another recording I've heard where a player gets so much out of that position.  And the really cool thing is that it is not difficult to execute--you're just moving that position intact, up and down the neck and very occasionally fretting the first string as well at the same fret you're fretting the second string.  Brilliant!
   * For the passage from 2:13--2:15, Carolina Slim is hitting a position and then moving it intact down to frets.  What I'm hearing in the treble on the top four strings is  4-5-X-5 resolving to 2-3-X-3.  I think one of the reasons it is tough to discern whether he's playing a diminished seventh chord on those top four strings or just the top four notes of a seventh chord is that he is not sounding anything on his second string which is where the distinction between the diminished seventh, 4-5-4-5 and the dominant seventh, 4-5-3-5, would be made.  There is a natural way to fret these two positions, leaving the second string open that would utilize a commonly-played shape.  If you imagine a B7 chord fingered
X-2-1-2-0-2, and then just take the fretted portion of that shape on the fourth, third and first strings up three frets, you end up with 4-5-X-5, and then down two frets, 2-3-X-3.  In terms of the hearing of the move, even without the second string in there, I agree with Chris that it sounds like a D7 going to a C7.
Thanks to all of you who posted answers to the puzzler and took part in the discussion.  The discussion makes the whole thing richer for everyone, I think.  I will try to find another puzzler to post soon.
All best,
Johnm
     
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: jtbrown on December 19, 2014, 08:21:59 AM
Thanks, again, John.  As usual, your analysis is both instructive and fascinating; having a clearer idea of what these musicians are doing never fails to deepen my appreciation of the music. 

Todd
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on December 23, 2014, 06:55:11 AM
Hi all,
Thanks for the good words, Todd,  and thanks to all who have participated in this thread thus far.  I'll put up a new puzzler some time between Christmas and the New Year.  Seasons greetings to all and best wishes for a Happy New Year in 2015!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on December 26, 2014, 12:07:01 PM
Hi all,
I hope you've been having fun celebrating the Holidays.  I have a new puzzler for you--the song is "Alabama March" by JB Lenoir, and I'd like to thank Prof. Scratchy for introducing me to the song.  It's a striking song and performance by JB Lenoir, so earnest and heartfelt.  Here it is:

JB Lenoir - Alabama March (7 of 12) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoMMVgh3LNU#)

Third month, twenty-fifth day of '65, we marched on Alabama hill
Third month, twenty-fifth day, we marched on Alabama hill
Governor Wallace wouldn't come out, 'cause my God have give him a chill

We marched in the lion's den, God had locked their jaw
We marched in the lion's den, God had locked thei' jaw
God told the people to "March on, 'cause the lion's jaw will not bite you no more."

He even killed the people that kneeled down in prayer, calling on Your name
He even killed the people that kneeled down in prayer, calling on your name
God, you said we call on your name, you will lift us up 'bout the evil man's hand

SOLO

The questions for "Alabama March" are"
   * What playing position/tuning did JB Lenoir use to play the song?
   * What are the two chords that he rocks to and from throughout the rendition, but for the first time at :02--:03, and where are they fingered?
   * Where is the run from :21--:23 fingered?
   * Where is the run from :29--:31 fingered?
   * Where are the two-chord rocking motions JB Lenoir plays over his IV and V chords fingered?

As always, please use only your ears, experience and instrument to figure out your answers.  I expect a lot of folks are still pretty busy, so please don't post your answers until Monday morning, December 29.  Thanks for your participation.

Edited to pick up corrections from Prof Scratchy, 1/29/15

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on December 29, 2014, 11:42:42 AM
Hi all,
Any takers for the puzzler on JB Lenoir's "Alabama March"?  Come one, come all, answer however many of the questions as you wish!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on December 29, 2014, 02:59:35 PM
Ok -well, if there are no takers, I'll have a shot. Dropped D tuning. At the beginning he rocks between a first position D chord and x20030. The run at 21 to 23 sounds something like (str/fret) 6/0; 5/3; 4/3;3/1; 3/0; 4/3; 4/0; 5/3; 4/0.
From 29 to 31 the run is something like: 5/4>5/5 hammer on; 4/3; 4/5; 4/3; 5/5; 5/3; 6/5.
For the rocking chord on the IV, I think he hits a G note on the fifth fret of the sixth string then goes to a C6 chord, covering strings one to four at the fifth fret, then plays a second position G chord over strings 1 to 4. Moving to the V chord he does the same move, though getting the root A note on the open fifth before getting the D6 chord at xx7777, then resolving briefly to the second position A chord at x07655.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on December 29, 2014, 03:02:16 PM
Well perhaps I'll start, while everyone else are apparently still digesting their turkeys or whatever.  :)

Quote
The questions for "Alabama March" are"
   * What playing position/tuning did J. B. Lenoir use to play the song?

Well, Iíve been terribly wrong with dropped D before, but Iím going to suggest it again.  :)

Quote
   * What are the two chords that he rocks to and from throughout the rendition, but for the first time at :02--:03, and where are they fingered?

Sounds to me like thereís an octave D played on the 6th and 4th strings, followed by the open position D chord:  0-X-0-2-3-2; then Iím hearing the top 4 strings open, with maybe a B on bass:  X-2-0-0-0-0, which could be seen as an Em7 chord, I guess.

Quote
   * Where is the run from :21--:23 fingered?

Sounds like an arpeggiated F minor chord 3-3-3-1-X-X; followed by the open 3rd string; and then the 3rd fret 4th string; pulled off for the open 4th string; and followed by the 3rd fret 5th string.

Quote
   * Where is the run from :29--:31 fingered?

I think heís playing the 3rd fret 5th string, the hammering on the 5th fret; then following with the 3rd fret 4th string; then a downward run from the 5th to the 3rd fret on 4th string; then same frets on the 5th string; and ending up on the 5th fret on the 6th string.

Quote
   * Where are the two-chord rocking motions J. B. Lenoir plays over his IV and V chords fingered?

If Iím understanding the question correctly, I think he plays X-X-5-5-5-X to X-X-5-4-3-X for the IV chord; and for the V chord a little more elaborately, starting with the 7th fret 4th string and a slid in 5th fret 2nd string, then X-X-7-7-7-X, then a double stop on strings 3 and 2, with a barred 5th fret, followed by a quick hammer on on the 6th fret of the 3rd string, while the 2nd string is still ringing.

J.B. Lenoir is such an interesting guitar player and musician, thanks for posting John, and looking forward to see if I was anywhere near the ballpark again. Hopefully others will chime in as well.

Cheers

Pan

Edited to add: Professor Scratchy posted while I was typing!

Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on December 30, 2014, 02:16:41 AM
Prof Scratchy should have waited five minutes and and stolen your ideas, Pan!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: uncle bud on December 30, 2014, 09:48:47 AM
Without a guitar at hand, I would also agree with dropped D, but boy what an interesting sound JB Lenoir gets out of it.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on December 30, 2014, 12:18:44 PM
Just got to this after travelling over Christmas.  In agreement with everyone on dropped D and I think Pan has covered the other questions though I've not got around to listening to the last one as much needed rest beckons.  All the best for the New Year.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on December 31, 2014, 10:05:10 AM
Hi all,
Thanks to all who responded on JB Lenoir's "Alabama March" puzzler.  Here are the answers:
   * JB did play the song out of dropped-D tuning, as you all had it, tuned about one half-step low.  Good hearing!
   * The two chord rocking motion he plays over the I chord throughout goes from a conventionally fingered D chord at the base of the neck to X-2-0-0-0-0, which is just as Pan had it.  Prof Scratchy's
X-2-0-0-3-0 is actually the same chord, but with a slightly different color, with the fretted note on the second string rather than an open second string.  The chord could be analyzed as an Em7 as Pan had it, or as a G6, voiced X-3-5-R-3-6.  I'm sort of hearing it as a IV chord of D, but a IIm7 captures the sound, too.
   * The run that JB plays from :21-:23 is: third fret sixth string to third fret fifth string to third fret fourth string to first fret third string to open third string to grace note pull-off from third fret fourth string to open fourth string to third fret fifth string to open sixth string.  This is also as Pan had it, and differs from Prof Scratchy's solution only in its first and last notes.  The first four notes of the run are an F minor arpeggio as Pan noted, but if you analyze the run in the context of the D scale you get a sense of why it has such a gnarly, arresting sound.  It is: b3-b7-b3-b5-4-b3-R-b7-R.  You can see that the run really emphasizes all of the altered, colored tones of a blues scale.  To get a richer context for it, it would probably be helpful to figure out where the same run would sit in a couple of different keys, like E and A in standard tuning.
   * JB's run over his IV chord, from :29-31 sits as follows: grace note hammer from third to fifth fret on the fifth string to third fret of the fourth string to fifth fret of the fourth string to third fret of the fourth string to fifth fret of the fifth string to third fret of the fifth string to the fifth fret of the sixth string.  The run fits the left hand beautifully, if you just assign the third fret notes to the index finger and the fifth fret notes to the third finger.  Pan and Prof Scratchy were both pretty much right on this one with Prof Scratchy just differing on the very first note.  As with JB's run over the I chord, this run really grabs your ear.  One thing interesting about it is that it consists entirely of the notes in common between a D pentatonic blues scale and a G pentatonic blues scale, omitting only the note in each of those scales that differs from the other scale's note (A in the D scale and Bb in the G scale).  If you analyze the run relative to D, it is b7-R-b3-4-b3-R-b7-4, and if you analyze the run relative to G it is
4-5-b7-R-b7-5-4-R.
   * For his two chord rocking motions over his IV and V chords, JB plays X-X-5-5-5-X to X-X-5-4-3-X over his IV chord and X-X-7-7-7-X  to X-X-7-6-5-X over his V chord.  In the V chord rock, when he resolves to X-X-7-6-5-X, he does a neat fingering in the left hand, using his third finger to fret the seventh fret of the fourth string, his index to barre the top three strings at the fifth fret, and then hammering with his second finger to the sixth fret of the third string.  Both of these rocks have a IV-I sound, (relative to the IV and V chords), so that the rock over the IV chord goes from C to G and the rock over the V chord goes from D to A.  When you think about it, JB sets up contrasting rocking motions over his I, IV and V chords:  Over the I chord, he rocks I to IV, but over the IV and V chords, he rocks IV to I.
This is such a striking piece in every way, I think--compositionally, lyrically, vocally, in the unusual texture of the guitar part, and a number of you remarked upon that.  JB seems like he must have been a really creative man, with big, open ears.  One of the things that makes the piece work so well, I think, is how beautifully JB utilized repetition, and was unafraid to return to the same ideas.  It ends up building an altogether distinctive feel for the song.
Thanks for your participation and I'll try to find another puzzler to post soon.  And Happy New Year, everyone, and best wishes for 2015!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on December 31, 2014, 10:24:56 AM
Now - if only I'd found this before i went and got the answers wrong again!
http://youtu.be/bgRpmE266P0 (http://youtu.be/bgRpmE266P0)
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on December 31, 2014, 11:17:11 AM
Thanks for posting that, Prof.  It's neat and really instructive to see how JB negotiated playing the tune, and the subtle differences between the recording and the live performance.  I noticed that in his V chord, he ended up at 6-5 on the third and second strings by sliding his second finger and index fingers up those two strings from one fret below, rather than by barring with the index at the fifth fret and hammering to the second finger to the sixth fret as I described it above.  JB's way is both easier than how I described it and has the additional advantage of inflecting both of those strings rather than just the third string, as I was hearing it.  Talk about a picture being worth a thousand words!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on January 01, 2015, 06:45:00 PM
Hi all,
I've got a new puzzler for you--the song is "Hungry Spell", as performed by Ranie Burnette.  Here it is:

Rural Blues 2 -- track 5 of 12 -- Ranie Burnette -- Hungry Spell (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awlHKDTrLZE#)

Well, the blues ain't nothin', hungry spell
Well, the blues ain't nothin', baby, but a hungry spell

Well, I got somethin' to tell you, woman, don't run and tell your man
Well, I got somethin' to tell you, little woman, don't run and tell your man

Well, I wonder what my woman, she will answer if I call
Well, I wonder what my little woman answers if I call

Well, come on, little woman, baby, sit down on my knee
Well, come on, little woman, sit down on my knee

I say, yeah, little woman, you sure lookin' good to me
Oh yeah, little woman, sure lookin' good to me

The questions re "Hungry Spell" are:
   * What playing position/tuning did Ranie Burnette use to play the song?
   * How did he fret and play his primary signature lick in the version that he plays from about :43--:50?  (He played the lick a number of slightly different ways over the course of the rendition.)
   
It's been a while since we've had a trancey number and I hope you enjoy this one.  Please use only your ears, experience and instrument to answer the questions, and please don't post any answers before Saturday morning, January 3.  Thanks for participating.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on January 03, 2015, 11:57:01 AM
Another bluesman I've never heard before.  I love this thread. In answer to the questions..here goes:

What playing position/tuning did Ranie Burnette use to play the song?
Vestapol (Open D tuning).  I'd first looked at Dropped D, playing out of D but the signature lick is easy to handle in Vestapol

How did he fret and play his primary signature lick in the version that he plays from about :43--:50?
It's sort of like this (?)
4th string 3rd fret bend to open string. he then may catch the open 1st string before hammering on the open 2nd string at 2nd fret and catching the open 1st string again.  He sort of repeats this, but throughout there's the steady beat on the 6th string making an almost drone effect which is in sync with his foot beat. Probably not explained this too well but I'll go back to it again as I love this tune.  Thanks.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: roig on January 04, 2015, 08:05:28 AM
I'm going to take a ballsy guess and say he's in standard tuning EXCEPT the D string is tuned a tone up to E.

In other words EAEGBe (Or whatever the pitch is).

The open G string can be heard (unintentionally on Ranie's part)  at 1:03.

It's also equally possible that the A string is tuned down to B, and the hammer-on thing is instead done on the low E string higher up the neck. This will make it an open Em tuning, and my guess a bit less risky.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on January 04, 2015, 09:32:10 AM
I'm with Old Man Ned on this one, I think he pretty much nailed it.

For the riff I'll just add a few minor details; I'm hearing the 4th string 2nd fret quickly hannered on to the 3rd fret, rather than a bend; then the open 4th string is played twice; then the open 1st string; then a hammer on from the open 2nd string to the 2nd fret; and finally the open 6th string. All this played in eighth notes, although without counting the starting grace notes for the two hammer ons.

Looking forwrd to hear the verdict.

Cheers

Pan
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on January 04, 2015, 09:34:32 AM
Haven't had time to sit down with this one, but just to mix it up I'm going to say crossnote for the tuning!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on January 04, 2015, 01:28:57 PM
Hi all,
Any other takers for the Ranie Burnette puzzler on "Hungry Spell"?  Come one, come all!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on January 05, 2015, 09:38:51 AM
Hi all,
It looks as though everyone who is likely to respond on the "Hungry Spell" puzzler has posted, so I'll post the answers.  Here they are:
   * The playing position/tuning that Ranie Burnette used for "Hungry Spell" was the EAEGBE tuning that Roi suggested, tuned a minor third low, so that the strings ended up being tuned C#-F#-C#-E-G#-C#.  Having gone to that tuning he then played out of an E position.  Very well done, making this identification, Roi!
Here is a bit of the thought process involved in making this identification.  Burnette is playing in the key of his sixth string, and it is obvious from listening that his first string is tuned to the same pitch, two octaves higher.  This suggests the following playing position/tuning possibilities:  E position standard tuning, Vestapol tuning, cross-note tuning, and EAEGBE tuning.  Vestapol and cross-note tuning are both eliminated as possibilities because Ranie Burnette through-out the course of the song hits a IV note on his open fifth string, hammering to the V note on the same string.  Since both Vestapol and cross-note put their V note on the fifth string, they would not work for what Ranie Burnette is playing on the song.  That leaves E position standard tuning and EAEGBE tuning in the running.  EAEGBE tuning wins out by virtue of Ranie Burnette never hitting a note on his fourth string lower in pitch than a I note; in fact, all he ever plays on his fourth string is the little grace note hammer from the second to the third fret resolving to the I note on the open fourth string that Pan described.  These factors taken in combination point towards EAEGBE tuning being the solution.
If you've never played in EAEGBE tuning and are having a hard time wrapping your mind around it, here are two ways of thinking of it, which may help.
   1) You can think of it as E position in standard tuning, but with the fourth string raised a whole step so that the octave bass above the sixth string is an open string, rather than fretted at the second fret of the fourth string; or,
   2) You can think of it as cross-note tuning, but with the fifth string lowered a whole step so that you have a usable IV note root on the open fifth string.  Not having a usable low root for the IV chord is probably the most limiting aspect of cross-note tuning, and EAEGBE tuning solves that problem. 

EAEGBE tuning is a terrific tuning with a lot of unplumbed possibilities and it was used most notably by Furry Lewis, Clifford Gibson, Henry Spaulding ("Cairo Blues"), Lane Hardin and a couple of other players.  If you've never played a song in it, I encourage you to put your guitar in the tuning and give it a shot.  In fact, if you put your guitar in tune with Ranie Burnette's, I venture to guess that you'll have his entire guitar part figured out in less than half an hour.

   * Ranie Burnette plays his signature lick, starting at :43 as follows:  On beat one he strikes the open sixth string.  On beat two, he hits a grace note hammer from the second fret to the third fret of the fourth string.  On the + of beat two, he picks the open fourth string.  On beat three, he re-strikes the open sixth string.  On the + of beat three he picks the open first string.  On beat four, he does a grace note hammer from the open second string to the second fret of the second string.  On the + of beat four, he re-picks the open first string.  In other iterations of the lick, he does an additional grace note hammer from the second fret of the fourth string to the third fret of the fourth string on the + of beat one.

Thanks to all who participated.  It's such a cool piece, and the tuning really just sort of "gives" you the piece, it lays out so beautifully and easily there.  I will look for another puzzler to post soon.  Please let me know if anything was unclear or you'd like more in the way of an explanation.

All best,
Johnm 
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on January 05, 2015, 10:08:10 AM
Doh! I thought he played the hammer on on the V note on the 6th string higher up on the neck.

Congratulations to Roi for solving this one!

Cheers

Pan
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on January 05, 2015, 01:23:07 PM
Yep, congrats to Riog. Just when I thought I was getting the hang of figuring these out, scuppered by the EAEGBE tuning :-)
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on January 07, 2015, 07:16:06 AM
Hi all,
It has been brought to my attention that there is film footage of Ranie Burnette at about the 19:00 mark of this film made in 1989 by Dutch Country Blues enthusiasts, up on vimeo.  I've watched the footage and the link worked for me.  Here is the link:  Rural Blues on Vimeo (http://vimeo.com/109335731)  .  Thanks for the tip, Harriet!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on January 07, 2015, 03:36:31 PM
Hi all,
I have a new puzzler for you.  The song is "Let Me Be Your Side Track", take 2, featuring Jimmie Rodgers singing accompanied by Clifford Gibson on guitar.  Here is their performance:

Jimmie Rodgers with Clifford Gibson - Let Me Be Your Side Track (Take 2) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DozValFtp_g#)

I saw two little monkeys playin' up and down a tree
Yes, I saw two little monkeys playin' up and down in a tree
One said to the other, "Come on, let's make whoopee."

Listen, mama, I know when you're hanging 'round
Yes, I know, pretty mama, when you are hanging around
'Cause I don't see no fire, but I am burning down
(Yodel)

There's something 'bout you women, always making me sore
There's something 'bout you women, keep on making me sore
No matter how much you get, you keep coming back for more

SOLO

Let me be your sidetrack 'til your mainline come
Let me be your sidetrack 'til your mainline come
'Cause I can do more switchin' than your mainline's ever done
(Yodel)

When you see a spider climbin' up a lonesome wall
When you see that spider, climbing up a wall
You can tell the world, he's going to get his ashes hauled
(Yodel)

The questions on "Let Me Be Your Side Track" are:
   * What playing position/tuning did Clifford Gibson use to play the song?
   * Where did Clifford Gibson fret the fill that he plays from :22--:24?
   * Where did Clifford Gibson fret the fill that he plays from 1:06--1:08?
   * Where did Clifford Gibson fret what he plays over the V chord in his solo, from 1:42--1:43?
Please use only your ears and your instrument to come up with your answers, and please don't post any answers prior to Friday morning, January 9.  Thanks for your participation.

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: roig on January 09, 2015, 10:30:57 AM
Great track! How did these two get together anyway?
Spanish for the tuning - I'll leave the rest to the others.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on January 10, 2015, 05:18:28 AM
Here's my attempt to answer the questions (str/fret)

*Spanish tuning

*1/0 -2-5-2 -0-2-0 ; 3/3bend x 2-0; 4/2; 3/0 x2

*double stop 2/8 +3/9 x3, down two frets x3> down three fets x3> 3/3 bend; 2/0 ; 3/0

*D7 chord fingered  2/1; 3/2 with alternating  bass 6/0>4/0 plus first str open then first str 2nd fret
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on January 10, 2015, 11:36:29 AM
Hi all,
Any other takers for the "Let Me Be Your Sidetrack" puzzler?
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on January 11, 2015, 09:55:11 AM
Open G, (a wee bit sharp?).
Then pretty much as Prof Scratchy has it apart from the fill that he plays from :22--:24
I'm hearing first string 0-5-3-2-0-2-0; 3str 3 bend; 2str open; 3rdstr open; 4th str 2; 3rd str open; brush 4th & 3str open. Though not quite sure about the last few notes, they're pretty fast and flurried.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on January 12, 2015, 10:41:49 AM
Hi all,
It looks as though everyone who intends to respond to the "Let Me Be Your Side Track" puzzler has responded, so here are the answers:
   * Clifford Gibson did use Spanish tuning to accompany Jimmie Rodgers on the tune, just as everyone responded.  Well done!
   * For Clifford Gibson's fill from :22-:24, I have him fingering it as follows, and I may start the phrase a hair before :22, now that I re-checked it.  He is playing a swung eighth note, underlying triplet feel.  On 1 +, he goes from the third fret of the second string to the fifth fret of the second string.  On beat two, he plays a triplet, going from the fifth fret of the first string to the fifth fret of the second string to the open first string.  On beat 3, he plays another triplet, going from the open first string to the second fret of the first string back to the open first string. On beat 4 + he goes from the third fret of the third string to the open second string, On beat 5, he plays another triplet going from the open third string to to the second fret of the fourth string and the open fourth string, and on beat 6 he hits the fifth fret of the first string.  The reason the phrase is six beats long is that Jimmie Rodgers doesn't allow two full measures of four beats each after his vocal phrases, so with Jimmie consistently short, Clifford has to adapt and play one six-beat measure after each of the vocal phrases rather than two four-beat measures.  The way Clifford Gibson achieves this adaption of his more customary timing and phrasing is really masterfully done.  I should say that the solution here is pretty much exactly the same notes that Prof. Scratchy had, with the only difference being the use of some second string third fret notes in lieu of the open first string.  Since the two notes are unisons, it is very difficult to say which Clifford Gibson chose to play, in many instances.
   * For the phrase from 1:06-1:08, I have it figured as follows.  On beat one, a triplet fretting the first two strings at the fifth fret, on beat two, a triplet fretting the first two strings at the third fret, on beat three, a triplet sliding into the fourth fret of the third string and the third fret of the second string, on beat four a triplet  going from the open third string to the second fret of the fourth string and back to the open third string.  In many ways, Prof. Scratchy's solution makes more sense in terms of the left hand, for he puts all of the triplets on the first three beats on the second and third strings, moving a single position down the neck intact.  Once again, since the notes are the same, it's tough to say exactly how Clifford Gibson fingered the passage.
   * For the passage over the V chord, from 1:42-1:43, Clifford Gibson played the following:  On 1 +, he goes from the second fret of the third string to the first fret of the second string.  On 2, he pinches the fourth fret of the fourth string and the open first string and on the + of 2 he picks the second fret of the third string.  On beat three, he hits the fourth fret of the fourth string with his thumb, and on 4 + he goes from the open first string to the second fret of the first string.  A V7 chord in Spanish always sounds so pretty when you get the fourth fret fret of the fourth string in there, as Clifford Gibson did  here and as Buddy Boy Hawkins did on many of his recordings.
I feel like everyone was really hearing this song well.  It's unusual, in a way, because it is the only Clifford Gibson accompaniment in Spanish that I can think of, including both his own songs and those where he backed Ed Bell as Sluefoot Joe, where he was not capoed way up.  I'm sure this was just a function of Jimmie Rodgers' vocal range, but it's interesting to hear how Clifford Gibson sounded in Spanish down at the base of the neck--pretty great, which is not exactly a surprise.
Thanks to roig, Prof Scratchy and Old Man Ned for participating, and I'll look for another puzzler to post soon.
All best,
Johnm   
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on January 12, 2015, 03:44:05 PM
Hi all,
The new puzzler is Carl Martin's "Badly Mistreated Man".  I think I first heard this song on the old Yazoo anthology, "Guitar Wizards".  Here is the song:

Badly Mistreated Man - CARL MARTIN (Piedmont Blues Guitar, 1936) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yaKwrzeVI_o#)

I worked hard, baby, I worked hard every day
I worked hard, baby, I worked hard every day
I even turned over in your hand every cent of my pay

I been done so dirty, treated so low-down mean
I been done so dirty, treated so low-down mean
You've even accused me of women that I ain't never seen

People, what's the use of lovin', when I can't see why I should?
People, what's the use of lovin', when I can't see why I should?
Especially when you got a woman and she don't mean you no good

SOLO

I woke up this mornin', got on a stroll
Met my baby, got her told,
"Look-a-here, baby, you're thinkin' wrong.
Let your papa help you to sing this song.
I grabbed my coat and hat, down the road I'll start.
Before I would work I'd rather part.
I wouldn't work for no human bein',
Neither no woman that I've ever seen.
Eighteen hundred, ninety years,
All of my women sit in rockin' chairs.
But ever since nineteen and twenty-three,
All of my women been workin' for me.
I got a mind, never work no more.
I been badly mistreated, I been drove from door to door."

Here are the questions:
   * What playing position/tuning did Carl Martin use to play "Badly Mistreated Man"
   * Describe where to fret the phrase he plays twice from :03-:08
   * Where is Carl Martin fretting the phrase he uses to accompany his singing in the first verse, from :10-:19?
   * Where did Carl Martin fret the fill he concludes the first verse with, from :33-:36?

As always, please use only your ears and your guitar to arrive at your answers, and please don't post any answers before Wednesday morning, January 14, so that plenty of people have an opportunity to listen and come up with their own answers.  Thanks for participating.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on January 15, 2015, 10:46:23 AM
Hi all,
Any takers on the Carl Martin "Badly Mistreated Man" puzzler?  Come one, come all!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on January 16, 2015, 04:14:43 AM
This puzzler is extremely puzzling. But as there are no takers I'll put myself forward once more for the first bite of the cherry of shame. (This makes bnemerov's day, so who am I to deny him)? All right, I'm going to say E standard tuned a half step low. The phrase from 03 to 08 sounds very like the Brownie McGhee turnaround' - a D7 chord up two frets to sound E7, descending to the first fret but sounding the open E string against the Eflat7. There's something else going on here though, and I cant work out what it is! Could he be taking a B7 shape up two frets and descending similarly, sounding the open E String on the way down? Or something else completely different. For the second part of the question - what does he do under the singing - well it could be that he slides up to the E at the seventh fret of the fifth string, but then reassumes a first position E chord, bending the G note of the third fret of the first string, then first string open, then second fret second string, then bent G again on first string, then first string open. Or he could be doing something much more sensible and simple up the neck, but I can't work it out! The last part of the question defeats me, and makes me convinced I'm barking up the wrong tree (again) with the rest of my answer. I'm sure everyone else will have sussed this, but from me, for now, it's back to the studio...
 
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on January 16, 2015, 05:08:22 AM
Hi all

I agree with Professor Scratchy on E-position standard tuning, tuned a little low.
Here are my takes for the other questions.

   
Quote
* Describe where to fret the phrase he plays twice from :03-:08

I hear an E chord: X-X-2-4-0-4, followed by what could be seen as an F#7: X-X-(2)-3-2-0, to a B7: X-X-1-2-0-2, followed by an open position E chord: X-X-2-1-0-0.
Quote
   * Where is Carl Martin fretting the phrase he uses to accompany his singing in the first verse, from :10-:19?

Thatís a tough one to hear underneath the vocals. I think Professor Scratchy might be right with the slid note, maybe from the  2nd to the 7th fret on fifth string. He could then go down to the open position, as Professor has it, but I find it easier to play the slightly bent G note on the 8th fret of the 2nd  string. This is followed by the open 1st and 2nd strings, and the all the 3 notes are repeated. While the last open 2nd string is ringing he has the chance to neatly go down to repeat the slid bass note starting the lick, if Iím not mistaken.

 
Quote
* Where did Carl Martin fret the fill he concludes the first verse with, from :33-:36?

It sounds to me like heís sliding from the 2nd to the 4th fret on the 3rd string, and simultaneously playing the two top open strings. The open strings are left ringing while he plays the 2nd fret to open string to 1st fret all on the 3rd string. Finally the open two top strings are played again.

Looking forward to hear again, if I'm anywhere near the truth.

Cheers

Pan
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on January 17, 2015, 08:33:06 AM
Think you are nearer to the truth than I was, Pan!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on January 17, 2015, 09:01:09 AM
Hi all,
It looks like all of the responses are in on Carl Martin's "Badly Mistreated Man", so here are the answers.  Thanks to Prof Scratchy and Pan for participating.
   * Carl Martin did play the song out of E position in standard tuning, as both of you had it.
   * For the little tag that Carl Martin plays twice from :03-:08, he did this:  On the + of beat four in the previous measure, he slid into the fourth fret of the fifth string, doing a thumb drag-through from there into the second fret of the fourth string, which lands on beat one.  On the + of beat one, he slid into the fourth fret of the third string, hitting it with the thumb of his right hand.  On beat two, he played a triplet, brushing the fourth fret of the first string and the open second string on the first and third notes of the triplet and re-hitting the fourth fret of the third string with his thumb on the middle note of the triplet.  On beat three, he lands on a partial F#7, with his thumbing striking the third fret of the third string, and his index finger brushing the second fret of the second string and the open first string.  On the + of beat three he hits the first fret fret of the fourth string, doing a drag-through with it into the second fret of the third string on beat four, against which he brushes the open second string and the second fret of the first string, also on beat four.  On the + of beat four, he brushes an E chord with his index finger on the top three strings.  The left hand of this tag is just as Pan had it.  Carl Martin's time and execution is so spot on, it's as though the phrase just glistens.
   *  For the vamp behind is singing over the I chord at :10--:19, Carl Martin did the following:  On the fourth beat of the measure preceding the vamp, he plays a triplet, striking the fifth string at the second fret on beat four, sliding to the seventh fret of the fifth string for the second note of the triplet, and hitting the open sixth string on the last note of the triplet.  He then starts the vamp with a thumb brush of 7-0-0 on the fifth fourth and third strings on beat one.  On the + of beat one he hits the bent eighth fret of the second string.  On beat two he pinches the seventh fret of the fifth string and the open first string.  On the + of beat two, he hits the open second string.  On beat three he pinches the seventh fret of the fifth string and the bent eighth fret of the second string and on the + of beat three, he hits the open first string.  On beat four he hits the same triplet in the bass that he used to precede the vamp and starts it over in the next measure.  This is much as Pan had it, as well.  I think this phrase is akin to one Bill Broonzy plays in "Hey, Hey, Baby".
   * For the fill from :33-:36, Carl Martin does a thumb-struck slide into the third string at the fourth fret.  On beat two he does a triplet index finger brush of the first two strings open.  On beat three he re-brushes the first two strings open, and on the + of beat three he hits the second fret of the third string with his thumb.  On 4 +, he goes from the open third string to the first fret of the third string, both struck with his thumb, and on beat one of the next measure he picks the open first string.  Once again,  Pan was pretty much on it.

Wasn't Carl Martin a great player?  His playing had such a finish.  Can anyone think of a song with a longer lyric break than he takes after the solo on "Badly Mistreated Man"?  It is 24 bars long--that's long!  Thanks to Prof Scratchy and Pan for participating, and I'll post another puzzler soon.

All best,
Johnm 
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on January 18, 2015, 09:33:08 AM
Hi all,
For anyone who was baffled yesterday by my answer to the second query in the Carl Martin puzzler, I caught my error when re-reading it last night and made a fix.  The description should now match the sound of what Carl Martin played better.  Sorry about that!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on January 19, 2015, 03:05:51 PM
Hi all,
I've got another puzzler for you.  The song is "Hoot Your Belly", by Jimmy Lee Williams, and it is the title track of his Fat Possum CD.  No home should be without it.  Jimmy Lee was a farmer in Porlan, Georgia who was discovered and recorded by George Mitchell.  Thanks, George!  Here is the track:

Hoot Your Belly (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqGic2KJbeo#ws)

Hoot your belly, give your backbone ease
Hoot your belly, give your backbone ease
Hoot your belly, give your backbone ease
Daddy ain't around, you can love just who you please

Mmmmmmmmmmm, mmmmmmmmmmmm
Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, well, well, well

Love that woman, just can't call her name
Love that woman, I just can't call her name
Love that woman, I just can't call her name
Married woman, but I love her just the same

Oh, ah, oh, ah
Well, uh-uh, whoa, uh, oh?

Goin', I'm goin', your cryin' won't make me stay
Goin', I'm goin', your cryin' won't make me stay
Goin', I'm goin', your cryin' won't make me stay
More you cry, now, further you're gonna drive me away

The questions on "Hoot Your Belly" are:
   * What playing position/tuning did Jimmy Lee Williams use to play the song?
   * Where did Jimmy Lee fret, and how did he play his signature lick, which he starts playing at about :03 into the song?
   * What chords does Jimmy Lee play in the course of the song?

Please use only your ears and your guitars to arrive at your answers, and please don't post any answers before Wednesday morning, January 21.  Thanks for your participation, and I hope some of you folks who have been following the thread but not posting will participate.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: mr mando on January 20, 2015, 12:14:44 AM
The video is not available to me, (maybe an oversees thing). Is this the same performance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUbNyBJh9sw (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUbNyBJh9sw) ?
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on January 20, 2015, 06:36:07 AM
Yes, mr mando, that is the same performance, so you could work from that one, too.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on January 22, 2015, 04:10:19 AM
Hi all,
I've got another puzzler for you.  The song is "Hoot Your Belly", by Jimmy Lee Williams, and it is the title track of his Fat Possum CD.  No home should be without it.  Jimmy Lee was a farmer in Porlan, Georgia who was discovered and recorded by George Mitchell.  Thanks, George!  Here is the track:

Hoot Your Belly (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqGic2KJbeo#ws)

The questions on "Hoot Your Belly" are:
   * What playing position/tuning did Jimmy Lee Williams use to play the song?
   * Where did Jimmy Lee fret, and how did he play his signature lick, which he starts playing at about :03 into the song?
   * What chords does Jimmy Lee play in the course of the song?

Please use only your ears and your guitars to arrive at your answers, and please don't post any answers before Wednesday morning, January 21.  Thanks for your participation, and I hope some of you folks who have been following the thread but not posting will participate.
All best,
Johnm

No takers for this one? I'm quietly confident, but think someone else should start the ball rolling! bnemerov??
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: bnemerov on January 22, 2015, 05:26:36 AM
My dear Prof.,
I've my hands full trying to harmonize those 17th & 18th C. tunes from your wee adopted country.
Dotted strathspey rhythms are already kicking my butt....I'll leave the Georgia farmer's playing to you.
best,
bruce
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on January 22, 2015, 06:26:30 AM
Dinnae fash yer sporran wi' they daft tunes,  pal!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: frankie on January 22, 2015, 06:32:59 AM
and now for something completely different...

I never did figure this one out too carefully, but it always sounded like std tuning, G position, with the signature lick played on the 2nd fret of the 4th ( D ) string essentially within the G chord (fretting finger is moved from the 2nd fret 5th string to the 2nd fret 4th string to play the lick). Picking hand thumb does the heavy lifting on the 4th and 6th strings and the index plays kind of an alternating drone on the high G note - 3rd fret, 1st string.

The whole thing is harmonized with 1st position G, C and D chords, seems to me.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Slack on January 22, 2015, 09:07:18 AM
Yes, mr mando, that is the same performance, so you could work from that one, too.
All best,
Johnm

Very cool though that it is a different cut... I had not heard this version.  Quicker tempo, not as distorted.  Thanks for posting Mr Mando!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on January 22, 2015, 09:34:35 AM
I'm in agreement with Frankie.  Listening to this last night, standard G was as far as I got.  I'd written off dropped G tuning as I couldn't hear the low D anywhere on the 6th string.  What was puzzling me though is that I also wasn't hearing anything on the 1st and 2nd strings when the G chord is played....apart from the wee run right at the end of the tune.  Don't know why that should puzzle me, but it did.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on January 22, 2015, 11:26:52 AM
Yes, agreed - G/C/D with signature lick being a double hammer on 2nd fret of 4th string followed by two brushes of the top four strings of the G chord.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: mr mando on January 23, 2015, 02:15:02 AM
Q: What playing position/tuning did Jimmy Lee Williams use to play the song?
A: Agree with frankie: std. tuning / G position

Q: Where did Jimmy Lee fret, and how did he play his signature lick, which he starts playing at about :03 into the song?
A: Agree with frankie: beat 1: thumb fret 3 on 6th string, beat 2: thumb strum strings 4, 3 and 2 open, beat 3: hammer from open 4th string to 2nd fret fourth string beat 3+: 1st string 3 fret, beat 4: like beat 3, beat 4+ like beat 3+.

Q: What chords does Jimmy Lee play in the course of the song?
A: starts on a G 1st Position chord, then, at 0:20 Em before switching to C7 at 0:21. Regular 1st position D chord at 0:27 followed by an F# (2nd fret 6th string) bass note. In the following run throughs of the form, he's not playing the Em anymore.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on January 23, 2015, 10:31:24 AM
Hi all,
Thanks for your responses on the Jimmy Lee Williams "Hoot Your Belly" puzzler.  Here are the answers:
   * Jimmy Lee did play the song out of G position in standard tuning, just as every one of you had it.  Well done!
   * Similarly, Jimmy Lee's signature lick lies very much as Frank, Prof Scratchy and mr mando had it.  He struck the third fret of the sixth string on beat one, on beat two brushes the fourth, third and a bit of the second string, all open, on beat three hammers with his second finger to the second fret of the fourth string, followed by the third fret of the first string, picked on the + of beat three.  On beat four, he re-strikes the fourth string with his thumb, doing a grace note hammer to the second fret of the fourth string, and on the + of beat four re-picks the third fret of the first string.  The tricky aspect of the signature lick has to do, I think with the two hammers to the second fret of the fourth string; the first hammer is very lazy, with the fourth string struck open on beat two and the hammer not happening until beat three--the second hammer is instantaneous, with both the open fourth string and the hammered second fret arriving on beat four, essentially.  It gives the lick a neat feeling of speeding up as it goes, and the grace note hammer on beat four gives it a little rhythmic snap that drives it right into its next iteration.  If you enjoy signature lick tunes, as I do, I think you might particularly relish Jimmy Lee's knack for coming up with memorable signature licks--with "Hoot Your Belly" and "Have You Ever Seen Peaches?", he has two of the most infectious licks you're ever going to hear to his credit.
  * The chords are in the main, simply G, C and D at the base of the neck, but in mr mando's version of the song, which as John D. noted is not the same as the version I originally posted, Jimmy Lee does hit a momentary E minor chord, and in both versions he does hit a C7 during the course of his rendition.
One of the things I have most admired and enjoyed about Jimmy Lee Williams' music, and especially his original tunes, since I was first introduced to them by blueshome at Blues Week one summer (thanks, Phil!) is the feeling I get when listening to him that so much of what he did was just for himself and what sounded good to him.  His non-verbal vocalizations, harmonizing with his slide, etc. just seem to give his music a special quality I wish I encountered more often elsewhere.  Thanks to George Mitchell for finding and recording him and for Fat Possum for releasing his music on CD.  And if you don't have his CD, get it!
Thanks to all of you who participated, and I'll post another puzzler soon.  I felt like everyone heard this one really well, could figure it out, and may yet do so.  And it's great to have an occasion to transcribe his lyrics to "Hoot Your Belly"! 
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on January 25, 2015, 12:45:23 PM
Hi all,
I have a new puzzler for those of you who are interested.  The song is "Hard Luck Man", as performed by Sonny Scott.  Sonny Scott is remembered, if he is remembered at all, as Walter Roland's duet partner on a number of really nice instrumental guitar duets, but I was surprised to find that he had more than a couple of titles released under his own name as well.  "Hard Luck Man", for that matter, is a duet, though it is not listed as such, and the seconding guitarist is pretty self-effacing, disappearing into his role.  I think Sonny Scott's playing on the song is unusually interesting and original, if not flashy, and wonder if it will strike any of you that way.  In the second verse, Sonny Scott pronounces hard-lucked, "hard-luck-ed".  Here is the piece:

https://youtu.be/rFG7fn9TA5M

SOLO (Spoken during solo:  Ah, Lord, have mercy on poor me!)

I can't sleep at night, baby, and the jinx does got poor me
I can't sleep at night and the, jinx does got poor me
And since my woman's been gone, then the blues won't let me be

Blues, blues, blues, don't worry my mind so long
Oh, blues, blues, blues, don't worry my mind so long
Because I'm a hard-lucked man, God, I ain't done nothin' wrong

My Mama told me, "Son, don't weep and moan."
My Mama told me, Lord, "Son, don't weep and moan.
These ugly women will be here, when you're dead and gone."

Lord, I been a dog in your family, mama, I been drove from door to door
I been a dog in your family, drove from door to door
Lordy, if my mind don't change, then I won't knock here no more

Lord, when I was a infant baby, lyin' in my Mother's arms
Ah, when I was a infant, Lord, lyin' in my Mother's arms
You know you told me, Mama, you wa'n't to going to do me no harm

I have more questions than usual about "Hard Luck Man".  Here they are:
   * What playing position/tuning did Sonny Scott use to play "Hard Luck Man"?
   * Where does he fret the fill he plays from :10--:15?
   * Where does he fret what he plays from :21--:26?
   * Where does he fret the fill he plays from :36--:43, and how does he negotiate it in the right hand?
   * How does he start his verse accompaniment from 1:05--1:06?
   * Where does he fret, and how does he play the fill from 1:40--1:49?

Please use only your ears and your guitars in figuring out your answers, and please wait until Wednesday, January 28 to post your answers so that plenty of people have a chance to listen to the track before people start posting answers.  Thanks for your participation, and I hope you enjoy the song and Sonny Scott's performance of it.

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: frankie on January 25, 2015, 05:12:54 PM
Walter Roland is actually listed as the second (barely audible) guitarist on this.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on January 26, 2015, 07:18:34 AM
Thanks for that information, Frank.  It makes sense.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on January 28, 2015, 01:37:40 PM
Miller's Breakdown

List continues at http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg98102#msg98102

1. Sweet Lucy--Andrew Dunham   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg87362#msg87362)
2. My Rare Dog--Jaydee Short   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg87484#msg87484)
3. Needin' My Woman Blues--Sammy Hill   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg87556#msg87556)
4. Up and Down Buildin' the KC Line--Little Brother   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg87671#msg87671)
5.   Seven Year Itch--Otto Virgial   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg87754#msg87754)
6.   Going to the River, See Can I Look Across--Eddie Kirkland   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg87834#msg87834)
7.   Blues--Big Boy   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg87891#msg87891)
8.   I Love My Jelly Roll--David Edwards   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg87891#msg87891)
9.   My Poor Mother Keeps On Praying For Me--Wallace Chains   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg87928#msg87928)
10.   Blues--Eddie Bowles   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg87967#msg87967)
11.   Alabama Prison Blues--Jesse Wadley   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg88043#msg88043)
12.   Bug Juice Blues--Kid Prince Moore   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg88108#msg88108)
13.   Nobody Knows My Name--Unknown   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg88108#msg88108)
14.   What Did the Doodlebug Say to the Mole?--Gabriel Brown   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg88108#msg88108)
15.   Trouble--Reese Crenshaw   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg88351#msg88351)
16.   A and B Blues--Boy Green   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg88383#msg88383)
17.   Natural Man Blues--Johnny Howard   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg88431#msg88431)
18.   I Tried--Sylvester Cotton   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg88431#msg88431)
19.   Guitar Picking Song--Lucius Curtis   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg88431#msg88431)
20.   Tampa Blues--Skoodle Dum Doo and Sheffield   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg88537#msg88537)
21.   Sometimes I Wonder--Leroy Campbell and Robert Sanders   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg88618#msg88618)
22.   Ding Dong Ring--Unknown   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg88735#msg88735)
23.   Gas Ration Blues--Skoodle Dum Doo and Sheffield   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg88791#msg88791)
24.   I Won't Be Dogged Around--Bull City Red   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg88862#msg88862)
25.   West Side Blues--Willie Harris   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg88918#msg88918)
26.   Shanty Boat Blues--Jimmy Murphy   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg88967#msg88967)
27.   Wildcat Tamer--Tarheel Slim   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg88967#msg88967)
28.   New Root Man Blues--Georgia Slim   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg88967#msg88967)
29.   Tennessee Woman Blues--Johnny Shines   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg89019#msg89019)
30.   Alone For A Long Time--Charles Caldwell   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg89078#msg89078)
31.   Poor Little Angel Girl--Dennis McMillon   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg89099#msg89099)
32.   The Truth--Precious Bryant   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg89142#msg89142)
33.   Poor and Ain't Got A Dime--Floyd Council   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg89186#msg89186)
34.   Sun Don't Shine--Teddy Williams   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg89250#msg89250)
35.   I See God In Everything--E. C. Ball   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg89292#msg89292)
36.   Smokey Mountain Blues--Wallace Chains   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg89324#msg89324)
37.   French Blues--Frank Evans   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg89355#msg89355)
38.   Trench Blues--John Bray   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg89414#msg89414)
39.   Pick and Shovel Blues--Bull City Red   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg89414#msg89414)
40.   Station Boy Blues--Roosevelt Antrim   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg89414#msg89414)
41.   Baton Rouge Rag--Joe Harris   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg89459#msg89459)
42.   Mama, You Goin' to Quit Me?--Allison Mathis   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg89504#msg89504)
43.   Nobody's Business If I Do--Joe Harris   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg89587#msg89587)
44.   Poor Joe Breakdown--Robert Davis   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg89587#msg89587)
45.   Free Again--Robert Pete Williams   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg89653#msg89653)
46.   Dyin' Soul--Robert Pete Williams   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg89653#msg89653)
47.   Guitar Blues--Johnny St. Cyr   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg89757#msg89757)
48.   Square Dance Calls--Pete Harris (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg89803#msg89803)
49.   Ella Speed--Wallace Chains   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg89803#msg89803)
50.   Country Girl Blues--George Boldwin   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg89850#msg89850)
51.   Fandango--Bill Tatnall   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg89850#msg89850)
52.   Thunder In Germany--Joel Hopkins   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg89913#msg89913)
53.   Old Time Rounders--Emmett Murray   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg89991#msg89991)
54.   Too Many Women Blues--Willie Lane   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg90051#msg90051)
55.   Motherless and Fatherless Blues--Charlie McCoy   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg90121#msg90121)
56.   Goin' Where the Monon Crosses the Yellow Dog--Scrapper Blackwell   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg90200#msg90200)
57.   Blues Knocking At My Door--Carolina Slim   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg90306#msg90306)
60.   Alabama March--J B Lenoir   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg90525#msg90525)
61.   Hungry Spell--Ranie Burnette   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg90620#msg90620)
62.   Let Me Be Your Sidetrack--Jimmie Rodgers and Clifford Gibson   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg90723#msg90723)
63.   Badly Mistreated Man--Carl Martin   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg90772#msg90772)
64.   Hoot Your Belly--Jimmy Lee Williams   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg90835#msg90835)
65.   Hard Luck Man--Sonny Scott   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg90920#msg90920)
66.   Born in Texas--Tom Shaw  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg91068#msg91068)
67.   Muddy Shoes Blues--Jewell Long   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg91068#msg91068)
68.   Bulldog Blues--Luther Huff   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg91068#msg91068)
69.   1951 Blues--Luther Huff  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg91179#msg91179)
70.   Home Again Blues--Frankie Lee Sims  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg91249#msg91249)
71.     Riverside Blues--Joe Callicott  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg91400#msg91400)
72.   This Heart of Mine--Josh White  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg91400#msg91400)
73.   Guitar Stomp--Big Bill Broonzy  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg91400#msg91400)
74. Eloise--Ralph Willis  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg91493#msg91493)
75. I Lets My Daddy Do That--Hattie Hart  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg91493#msg91493)
76. Against My Will--John Henry Barbee  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg91591#msg91591)
77. Pickin' Low Cotton, pt. 2--Kid Prince Moore  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg91591#msg91591)
78. Mean Conductor Blues--Roosevelt Holts  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg91694#msg91694)
79. I Ain't Gonna Roll for the Big Hat Man No More--Joel Hopkins  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg91694#msg91694)
80. Georgia Skin Blues--Memphis Minnie  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg91852#msg91852)
81. Blue Shadow Falling--Buddy Moss  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg91852#msg91852)
82. Stack O' Dollar--Arthur Weston  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg91982#msg91982)
83. Holy Ghost Train--Rev. Robert Wilkins  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg91982#msg91982)
84. Sleepless Nights Blues--Peetie Wheatstraw  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg92162#msg92162)
85. Frisco Blues (Take 1)--Walter Roland & Sonny Scott  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg92255#msg92255)
86. Fare Thee Blues, Part 1--Johnnie Head  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg92354#msg92354)
87. Quincey Wimmens--Tallahassee Tight  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg92354#msg92354)
88. I Been Down In the Circle Before--Sampson Pittman  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg92465#msg92465)
89. Brown Skin Woman--Sylvester Cotton  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg92465#msg92465)
90. Bad Luck Blues--Guitar Welch  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg92631#msg92631)
91. Married Woman Blues--Frankie Lee Sims  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg92631#msg92631)
92. 45 Blues--J. T. Smith  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg92797#msg92797)
93. Kentucky Blues--George "Big Boy" Owens  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg92797#msg92797)
94. Worried Blues--Babe Stovall  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg92942#msg92942)
95. Hollandale Blues--Sam Chatmon  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg93119#msg93119)
96. She's My Baby--Sam Chatmon  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg93119#msg93119)
97. I'm A Crawling Black Snake--Lightnin' Hopkins  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg93341#msg93341)
98. Early Morning Blues--James Lowry  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg93467#msg93467)
99. Central Avenue Blues--Will Day  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg93654#msg93654)
100. I Get Evil When My Love Comes Down--Gabriel Brown  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg93654#msg93654)
101. Skippy Whippy--Mississippi Jook Band   (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg93654#msg93654)
102. Hattie Mae--Andrew Dunham  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg93821#msg93821)
103. Rocky Mountain--Jim Brewer  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg93821#msg93821)
104. Kentucky Guitar Blues--J. T. Adams  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg94014#msg94014)
105. Brown Skinned Woman--Snooks Eaglin  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg94014#msg94014)
106. I Don't Want No Hungry Woman--Floyd Council  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg94140#msg94140)
107. Come On Baby--Rich Trice  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg94140#msg94140)
108. Train Blues--Lucious Curtis  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg94288#msg94288)
109. You're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone--Muddy Waters  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg94288#msg94288)
110. Red River Blues--Charlie "Dad" Nelson  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg94459#msg94459)
111. Two Ways To Texas--Emery Glen  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg94459#msg94459)
112. Tear It Down--Cincinnati Jug Band with Bob Coleman  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg94565#msg94565)
113. Sing Song Blues--Bob Coleman  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg94565#msg94565)
114. Run Here, Fairo--Myrt Holmes  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg94698#msg94698)
115. Easy Rider--Scott Dunbar  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg94698#msg94698)
116. Stove Pipe Stomp--Big Bill Broonzy  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg94819#msg94819)
117. Stump Blues--Big Bill Broonzy  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg94819#msg94819)
118. Sister Jane Cross The Hall--Kokomo Arnold  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg94929#msg94929)
119. Death Valley Blues--Arthur Crudup  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg94929#msg94929)
120. 180 Days--Tarheel Slim  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg95055#msg95055)
121. 90 Going North--Frank Hovington  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg95055#msg95055)
122. Hey Hey Mama Blues--Kid Cole  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg95055#msg95055)
123. Whole Soul Blues--Papa Eggshell  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg95135#msg95135)
124. Faro--Rosa Lee Hill  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg95135#msg95135)
125. Lemon Man--Dan Pickett  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg95256#msg95256)
126. T and T Blues--Mooch Richardson  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg95256#msg95256)
127. Funny Caper Blues--Memphis Willie B.  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg95332#msg95332)
128. Peakesville Boogie--Richard Wright  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg95332#msg95332)
129. High As I Want To Be--Robert Pete Williams  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg95411#msg95411)
130. Poor Bob's Blues--Robert Pete Williams  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg95411#msg95411)
131. Just A Closer Walk With Thee-Rev. Robert Wilkins  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg95411#msg95411)
132. I Will Fly Away--Pink Anderson  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg95497#msg95497)
133. Hoppin' Toad Frog--J. T. Smith  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg95497#msg95497)
134. Cat Squirrel--Dr. Ross  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg95609#msg95609)
135. Pretty Polly--E. C. Ball  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg95609#msg95609)
136. I've Been Mistreated--Georgia Slim  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg95665#msg95665)
137. Dream Book Blues--Tommy Griffin  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg95665#msg95665)
138. Georgia Blues--Cecil Barfield  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg95823#msg95823)
139. Make Your Coffee--K. C. Douglas  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg95823#msg95823)
140. I Want To Go--JB Lenoir  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg95978#msg95978)
141. Was That The Human Thing To Do?--Bill Williams  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg95978#msg95978)
142. My Laona Blues--Teddy Darby  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg95978#msg95978)
143. Hard Times, Hard Times--unknown  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg96044#msg96044)
144. Georgia Chain Gang--unknown  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg96044#msg96044)
145. Further Down The Road--Elester Anderson  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg96139#msg96139)
146. Pearl Harbor Blues--Roy Dunn  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg96139#msg96139)
147. Chattanooga Blues--Lester McFarland  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg96139#msg96139)
148. Insurance Man Blues--Washboard Walter & John Byrd  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg96278#msg96278)
149. Jivin' Woman--Carolina Slim  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg96278#msg96278)
150. Drove From Home Blues--Wright Holmes  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg96402#msg96402)
151. One More Drink--Snooks Eaglin  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg96402#msg96402)
152. Honey Bee Blues--Bumble Bee Slim  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg96535#msg96535)
153. Guitar Pete's Blues--Pete Franklin  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg96535#msg96535)
154. Blue Ghost Blues--Lonnie Johnson  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg96642#msg96642)
155. Blood Red River--Eddie Hodge  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg96642#msg96642)
156. Wolf's At Your Door--Lattie Murrell  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg96755#msg96755)
157. Barrelhouse Blues--Ed Andrews  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg96755#msg96755)
158. Stamp Blues--Tony Hollins  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg96850#msg96850)
159. Rabbit Blues--Debs Mays  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg96850#msg96850)
160. Poor Boy Blues--Willie Lofton  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg96949#msg96949)
161. Soap Box Blues--Debs Mays  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg96949#msg96949)
162. Black Bayou Ain't Got No Bottom--Blind Pete and partner  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg97078#msg97078)
163. Found My Baby Crying--Lightnin' Hopkins  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg97078#msg97078)
164. Sweet Little Woman--Doug Quattlebaum  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg97255#msg97255)
165. I'm Going Away--Robert Curtis Smith  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg97255#msg97255)
166. Bear Cat Blues--John Jackson  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg97403#msg97403)
167. Pittsburgh Blues--Archie Edwards  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg97403#msg97403)
168. Broken Heart--K. C. Douglas  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg97514#msg97514)
169. Riley And Spencer--Fields Ward  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg97514#msg97514)
170. You Ain't The Last Man--Elzadie Robinson & Johnny St Cyr  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg97654#msg97654)
171. Step By Step--Lesley Riddle and Mike Seeger  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg97654#msg97654)
172. If I Get Lucky--JB Lenoir  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg97761#msg97761)
173. See What You Done Done--Baby Tate  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg97761#msg97761)
174. Highway 80 Blues--Son Bonds  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg97906#msg97906)
175. War Blues--Pernell Charity  (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg97906#msg97906) 
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Slack on January 28, 2015, 02:03:07 PM
Wow!  65 songs already!  Time flies. Amazing Johnm!  Maybe I can figure a way to move this message to the top of the thread.  I might also edit your post and make the songs themselves the link by using the BBC button in the BBS list above (hint hint)
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on January 29, 2015, 09:40:51 AM
Hi all,
Any takers for the Sonny Scott "Hard Luck Man" puzzler?  Come one, come all, answer as few of the questions as you wish.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: roig on January 29, 2015, 10:50:22 AM
E standard and I'll let others have a go on the rest.
Do we know that Scott is the one playing the lead guitar (or the more dominant one) on this? Some parts sound somewhat difficult to sing and play at the same time. My guess is that it's Roland playing all that fancy stuff.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on January 29, 2015, 12:46:51 PM
If this is played out of E, he's a bit sharp or capo'd at the first fret as I'm hearing this in F.
 Assuming it's capo on 1st fret the fill he plays from :10--:15 is played out of an A7 barred at the 2nd fret and catching the E note on the 2nd string when needed.
 He plays from :21--:26 out of a long A shape barred at the 5th fret, mainly using the first string, frets 8, 6 and 5.

For the rest, 
   * Where does he fret the fill he plays from :36--:43, and how does he negotiate it in the right hand?
   * How does he start his verse accompaniment from 1:05--1:06?
   * Where does he fret, and how does he play the fill from 1:40--1:49?
this is where I get a bit lost. I'm hearing an E7th shape
-------7----
--5---------
-------7---
----6------
on the first 4 strings in there somewhere, but need to listen to this a whole lot more.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on January 30, 2015, 07:23:59 AM
E standard tuned or capoed to F.

10-15 lick is based around abbreviated A7 chord on first and second strings.  1/3b-0; 2/2; 1/0-3-0; 1/3b-0; 2/2; 1/0- 3b-3b-0

21-26  1/7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-5-4-5-4-5-4-7-5-4-5; 2/5-5

36-43  slide to 5/7 then pinch double stop 1/7 2/8 then 1/0 2/0 pinch double stop again

1.05-1.06 double stop 1/7 2/8

1.40- 1.49 Dunno
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on January 30, 2015, 09:04:57 AM
Just noticed a typo in my earlier answer.  Forgot to put this relative to capo so answer for :21--:26 should be frets 7,5 & 4 not frets 8, 6 and 5.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Gumbo on January 31, 2015, 04:44:56 AM
a long time since i did one of these - thanks for keeping them going, johnm. it's always interesting to read them even if it's after the deadline!

I'm going for standard too, capo on 1 E shape sounding in F

fill at 10s
sounds like a D shape slid up to the 4th fret (relative to the capo)
21s
is played on the first string at the 7th fret - 7(x9),5,4,5,4,5,7,5,4,5,4,5,7,5,4,5
 second string s6-7, 5
36s is this a d shape at 4th fret with a pull off of the 1st string to open?
1.40 partial d7 shape on the top two strings at 5 and 6th frets hammer on to the 7th and using the matching open 1st string and 5th fret second string so
6h7,0
.......5

it all reminds me of robert johnson's A shape songs like kind-hearted woman
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on January 31, 2015, 03:32:16 PM
Hi all,
It looks like as many people who are going to respond to the "Hard Luck Man" puzzler have responded, so here are the answers:
   * Sonny Scott (and Walter Roland) play the song out of E position in standard tuning, as everyone had it.  Well done!
   * In the passage from :10-:15, Sonny Scott plays the following fill over his IV chord:  On beat 1, he hits the open fifth string with his thumb, followed by the first string bent at the third fret on the + of beat 1.  On beat 2, he picks the open first string, going to the fourth fret of the second string on the + of beat 2.  On beat 3, he plays a triplet, going from the open first string to a bent third fret of the first string followed by the open first string again.  The last note of the triplet sustains through beat 4.  In the second measure, he once again hits the open fifth string on beat one, followed by a bent third fret of the first string on the + of beat one.  On beat two, he plays a triplet going from the open first string to the fourth fret of the second string back to the open first string.  On beat 3 he goes from the fourth fret of the first string to the open first string on the + of beat 3.  On beat 4, he goes from the fourth fret of the second string to the open first string on the + of beat four.  This is such a nifty fill, and the real shocker is the fourth fret of the first string on beat 3 in the second measure--a G#, or a major 7 note relative to the A chord it happens over.  Whew!
   * From :21-:26, he plays the following fill over the V chord, B.  On beat 1, he brushes an index barre of the fourth, third and second strings at the fourth fret, and on the + of beat one he picks the seventh fret of the first string.  For beats two, three and four of the first measure he hits three triplets, striking in every instance the seventh fret of the first string.  In the second measure, he plays a triplet on beat 1, going from the fifth fret of the first string down to the fourth fret of the first string and returning to the fifth fret.  On beat 2 he plays a triplet on the first string going from the seventh fret to the fifth fret and the fourth fret.  On beat 3, he plays another triplet on the first string, hitting the fifth fret and then the seventh fret twice.  On beat four, he does a quick little pull-off from the fifth fret of the first string to the fourth fret, followed by the open first string on the + of beat four.  I think everyone who responded specifically to this question was right in the ball park.
   * Sonny Scott's fill from :36-:43 is another doozy.  He leads in on the + of the preceding beat 4 by sliding from the second fret to the seventh fret of the fifth string.  On beat 1, he hits the open sixth string, followed by a brush of the first string at the seventh fret and a bent eighth fret of the second string.  On beat 2, he re-brushes the seventh fret of the first string and the bent eighth fret of the second string, and on the + of beat two, he uses his thumb to strike the sixth fret of the third string.  On beat three, he re-brushes the seventh fret of the first string and the bent eighth fret of the second string and lets it sustain for the whole beat.  On beat four, he re-brushes that position on the first two strings, and on the + of beat four, he hits the open sixth string with his thumb.  On beat 1 of the next measure, he drags his thumb though and hits the seventh fret of the fifth string, followed by another brush of the seventh fret of the first string and a bent eighth fret of the second string on the + of beat one.  On beat 2, his thumb strikes the sixth fret of the third string while brushes the first two string open, and on the + of beat 2, he re-hits the sixth fret of the third string with his thumb.  On beat 3, he brushes the seventh fret of the first string and the bent eighth fret of the second string , followed by a snapped pull-off to the open first string.  On beat 4, he hits the sixth fret of the third string with his thumb, followed by the open sixth string on the + of beat 4, leading into the seventh fret of the fifth string to begin the next measure just as he had the second measure of the lick.  It's hard to say how Sonny Scott may have fingered this passage--If he used his second finger to slid up to the seventh fret of the fifth string, he could have fingered the sixth fret of the third string with his index finger, the eighth fret of the second string with his little finger and the seventh fret of the first string with his third finger, ending up with 0-7-X-6-8-7.  More likely, perhaps, he gave up the fifth string altogether after hitting it and just fretted the first three strings.  That territory of 6-8-7 or 6-0-0 on the first three strings is one that was mined by Charley Jordan on "Big Four". 
   * He starts the verse from 1:05--1:06 by pinching the fourth fret of the first and third strings and sliding that position up to the seventh fret.
   * Sonny Scott starts the fill from 1:40-1:49 in the very position he finished the last puzzler question in, probably with his second finger fretting the seventh fret of the third string and his third finger fretting the seventh fret of the first string.  In the first measure, he strikes the seventh fret of the third string on all four beats.  In the treble, for beats 1, 2, and 3, he brushes triplets of the seventh fret of the first string and the open second string.  on the fourth beat, he plays another triplet, brushing the seventh fret of the first string and the open second string, pulling off to the open first string for the middle note of the triplet and re-hitting the open first string on the last note of the triplet.  In measure two, he pinches the open first string against his thumb striking the sixth fret of the third string,  and on the middle note of the beat 1 triplet, he slides his second finger up to the seventh fret of the third string and on the last note of the beat one triplet, he picks the open second string. On beat 2, he pinches the seventh fret of the first and third strings, bouncing his left hand so that the notes are accented and then damped, and on the + of beat two he hits the open first string.  Beat three is the same as beat one and beat four is the same as beat two.  He keeps the lick that he starts in the second measure going for another couple of measures, and boy is it cool!  He had so many great licks in this song, and I think this one is my particular favorite.
Thanks to all who participated, and I think people were all in the right neighborhood, perhaps apart from that last fill, which was so unusual.  Roi's suggestion that Walter Roland may have been playing lead was interesting, but I'm inclined to think it was Sonny Scott, after all, just because his vocal expresses real tension in a couple of places in the song, places that coincide with doing something on the guitar that would have made it pretty sporting to play and sing at the same time.  Were Sonny playing the rhythm guitar part, I don't think he would have been taxed at all by it, or sound as though he was.
I will post another puzzler soon.  I apologize for the length of the explanations, but what Sonny Scott played was so interesting that I didn't want to slough over it.
All best,
Johnm     
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on February 03, 2015, 03:56:36 PM
Hi all,
It's been a little while since we've had a puzzler which simply involved picking the playing position/tuning for several performances.  The first here is Thomas Shaw's "Born In Texas":

Thomas Shaw - Born in Texas (1971) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0rz92xtVWY#)

I'm goin' away now, mama, sorry but I can't carry you
Now, I'm goin' away, baby, sorry but I can't carry you
Ain't nothin' down the road that a monkey gal can do

Now, 'f you'll tell me, mama, can I be your salty dog?
Now, tell me, baby, can I be your salty dog?
I was your dog last week, gal, all the week before

Now, tell me, mama, tell me, I go home wit' you?
Now, tell me, baby, can I go home wit' you?
Say, ain't nothin' to-mama, that poor boy can't do

Now, ain't no use to talkin', mama, 'bout that old rat-back chair
Well, it ain't no use talkin', mama, 'bout that old rat-back chair
Some nice old joker got the best store here

Now, play me for your fool, mama, do let you have your way
Don't play me for your fool, mama, 'cause I do let you have your way
Ain't nothin' never happened like I'm gonna change on you someday

I's born in Texas, mama, but I did not stay
I was born in Texas, babe, I did not stay
I had a nice little old woman, partner, brought poor me away

Ain't gonna tell you, mama, what the Santa Fe done to me
I ain't gonna tell nobody what the Santa Fe done to me
Well, it taken my Tommy, come back and got my used-to-be

OUTRO

The second performance is Jewell Long's "Muddy Shoes Blues".  Here it is:

Jewell Long Muddy Shoes Blues (1960) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxM4uiaq86Q#)

My baby, she went away, my baby, she left me a mule to ride
My baby, she went away, she didn't leave me nothin' but a mule to ride
Soon as that train pulled off, that old mule laid down and died

My baby, I'm goin' away, baby, I won't be back until Fall
I'm goin' away, I won't be back until Fall
If you don't treat me no better, baby, daddy sure won't be back at all

Now, do it a long time, baby, short time make me mad
Do it a long time, baby, short time sure make me mad
'Cause you're the sweetest little baby that your daddy ever had

Baby, baby, do you think that's right?
Baby, why don't you tell me, baby, you know that ain't right
You done left me here waitin', baby, you've been gone all night

Baby, why don't you tell me, whose dirty muddy shoes are these?
You better hurry up and tell me, baby, whose dirty muddy shoes are these?
Layin' up here in the corner, where your good man's oughta be

I ain't got me, I ain't got me no more baby now
I ain't got me, I ain't got me no baby now
She was a dirty mistreater, she didn't mean me no good nohow

So baby, here your ticket, yonder stands your train
Baby, here is your ticket, yonder stand your train
I'm goin' back to my woman, you better go back to your man


The third performance is Luther Huff's "Bulldog Blues".  Here it is:

Luther Huff Bull Dog Blues TRUMPET 141 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Ji-dJbn_eE#)

SOLO

Well now, you told me, baby, that you was gonna be good
I hear your name a-ringin' all over the neighborhood, now,
You told me, baby, that you was gonna be good
Said, but I hear your name a-ringin' all over the neighborhood

Now, I would rather be a bulldog (spoken: Woof!), goin' from town to town
Hate to be there with you, baby, take the stuff you puttin' down, now,
Rather be a bulldog, goin' from town to town
Tell you now, to there, with you, baby, takin' this stuff you're puttin' down (spoken: I wouldn't take that stuff, man!)

Now, if I had-a known, like I do today
I wouldn't-a been here, baby, you treatin' me this-a way, now
If I had-a known, like I do today
Says, I wouldn't-a been here, baby, you treatin' me this-a way

Now, I would rather be a bulldog (spoken: Woof!), sleepin' in the woods
Hate to be there with you, baby, 'cause you don't me me no good, now,
I would rather be a bulldog, sleepin' out in the woods
Said, now to be there with you, baby, and you don't mean me no good


The question in every instance is: What playing position/tuning is being used to play the song?  (In the Luther Huff song, please answer the question for the acoustic guitar.)  Please use only your ears and instruments to arrive at your answers, no transcription software, and please wait until Thursday morning, February 5, to post your answers.  Thanks for participating!

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on February 05, 2015, 03:20:18 PM
Hi all,
Any takers for the Tom Shaw/Jewell Long/Luther Huff puzzler?  Come one, come all!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: roig on February 05, 2015, 05:38:43 PM
I would say A for Shaw
G for Long
With Huff I had to listen more than one time to decide between A and G - I'm going with A!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on February 06, 2015, 02:45:05 AM
I'll go with A, G and A too!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: blueshome on February 06, 2015, 05:53:55 AM
A,G & not sure
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on February 06, 2015, 05:24:41 PM
Hi all,
It doesn't appear that there will be more responses on this puzzler, so I guess I'll post the answers.
   *  Playing position/tuning for Tom Shaw's "Born In Texas" is A position in standard tuning, as everyone had it.  Well done!
   *  Playing position/tuning for Jewell Long's "Muddy Shoes Blues" was G position in standard tuning, with everyone once again nailing it.
   *  Playing position for "Luther Huff's "Bull Dog Blues" was Spanish tuning.  I think that maybe I didn't express clearly enough in my original statement of the question which guitar I was inquiring about.  For what it's worth, I was asking about not the guitar that carries the descending bass line, but the one that enters around the :11 mark.  When I first started listening to the tune, I thought it was out of G position in standard tuning, but as soon as it went to the IV and V7 chords, I knew it was being played in Spanish.  I think this is such a strong cut, and it's not one I had ever heard before. 

Thanks to all of you who participated, and I'll look for another puzzler to post soon.
All best,
Johnm   
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: blueshome on February 07, 2015, 04:59:25 AM
The Luther Huff track has a very Tommy Johnson feel to it.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: uncle bud on February 07, 2015, 08:54:10 AM
The Luther Huff track has a very Tommy Johnson feel to it.

Yes, it's very Maggie Campbell. That's a cool one, Johnm, I don't remember giving it much attention before (though it was on the late great Weenieology Post-War Blues Disc 2 along with "Rosalee" by the same duo)
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on February 07, 2015, 03:32:16 PM
Huh, I had completely forgotten "Bulldog Blues" was on that Weenie compilation, uncle bud.  For years the only tune I associated with Luther Huff was "1951 Blues", which is a great tune also.  I especially like the intensity of the mandolin player's tremolo on "Bulldog Blues"--he's just screaming!  And the piece does have a strong Tommy Johnson feel as you and Phil pointed out.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Lastfirstface on February 09, 2015, 10:14:54 AM
It seemed to me from a little googling around that Luther Huff was the one playing mandolin on that recording. Is that right? I'm always looking for more blues mandolin listening.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on February 09, 2015, 10:26:55 AM
Hi Lastfirstface,
I found similar information googling--I don't know who would have been playing the guitar part in Spanish, perhaps Percy Huff, and as for the second guitar part, I don't have any idea.  Thanks for bringing that up.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on February 09, 2015, 05:36:32 PM
Hi all,
I have a new puzzler for you.  Continuing in the Luther Huff vein, it is his "1951 Blues".  Here is the song:

Luther Huff 1951 Blues (1951) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPXu96nnSlQ#)

Nineteen-fifty, Lord, was not my year
Nineteen-fifty, Lord, was not my year
I hope blues and trouble, boys, hurry and disappear

Woman I was lovin', nineteen-forty-eight
Woman I was lovin', nineteen-forty-eight
She was a married woman, she couldn't keep her business straight

Had no woman, nineteen-forty-nine
Had no woman, nineteen-forty-nine
I'm going to get me a woman, boys, or run my fool self blind

Make that better, nineteen-fifty-one
Make that better, nineteen-fifty-one
Says, I'm going to make that better, boys, in nineteen-fifty-one

Had no woman, nineteen-forty-nine
Had no woman, nineteen-forty-nine
I'm gon' get me a woman, boys, I'm run my fool self blind


The questions on "1951 Blues" are:
   * What playing position/tuning was used to play the song?
   * What is the progression of the song, expressed either in the position in which it was played, or expressed numerically (I, IV, V)?
   * Where and how is the signature lick that falls in the third and fourth bars of each phrase fretted and played?
   * Where does the seconding guitar fret the bass run that is played in the tenth bar of each verse?

As always, please use only your ears and your instrument to arrive at your answers, and please don't post any answers before Wednesday morning, February 11, so that plenty of people have a chance to listen and come up with their own answers.  Thanks for participating.

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Bunker Hill on February 09, 2015, 11:21:10 PM
It seemed to me from a little googling around that Luther Huff was the one playing mandolin on that recording. Is that right? I'm always looking for more blues mandolin listening.
FWIW Percy Huff was interviewed by Gayle DeanWardlow and published in Blues Unlimited 56 (Sep 1968) - in 1998 reprinted in Chasiní That Devil Music (pp. 112-114) and includes as nice photo of Percy.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: rein on February 11, 2015, 02:45:27 AM
I had a longer reply but it seems to have got lost in the mail when I was timed out by the time I posted it  but in short: tuning : spanish structure, intro IV riff(I) IV riff V bass run (I) riff
riff based around the 7th chord on the 3rd fret of the 2nd and 1st string, 4th note on the 2nd string 1st fret and a slide from minor to major 3rd on the 3rd string frets 3 and 4.
Bass run is based around a I chord so (in Spanish) 5th string open and 4th fret, 4th strin open and frets 2 and 3.
Lets hope I didn t ridicule myself on my very first post, but I had fun, thanks a lot. Rein
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on February 11, 2015, 03:19:01 PM
Hi all,
Welcome to Weenie Campbell, rein, and thanks for participating!  Any other takers for the puzzler on Luther Huff's "1951 Blues"?  Come one, come all!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: roig on February 11, 2015, 04:18:29 PM
Nope rein I would say D standard.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on February 12, 2015, 02:59:03 AM
D standard. IV/I/IV/i/V/IV/I. For the signature lick I think he holds down a first position D chord over which he plays on the first string E>Fsharp>G>Fsharp, all notes apart from the E having a triplet feel. The seconding guitar plays also in D: str/fr 5/0>5/2>4/0>4/2>4/3>4/2>4/05/2>4/0.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: pete1951 on February 12, 2015, 09:31:29 AM
This seems to fit Spanish (G) very well. (as I only play in Spanish that could just be me) The chords are almost Rollin` and Tumblin` (usually an extra bar at the end so more 14 1/2 rather than 13 1/2) so each verse starts on the IV.
Very interesting, the starting riff (to my Robert Johnson obsessed ears) is like Preachin`the Blues backwards!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on February 12, 2015, 12:40:52 PM
I'm getting D standard too.
The form is 12 bar (ish)
IV | IV | I | I |
IV | IV | I | I |
V  | IV | I | I |

For signature lick, I'm getting the D shape, first slid from the Db position into D
then a sort of brush strum triplets, first catching the G on the first string, then 2 brushes of the regular D chord
then triplet of the regular D chord, followed by another D chord triplet, but only catching the A and D on the 2nd & 3rd strings.

The run at the 10th bar, I think Prof Scratchy has it spot on.

This tune sounded really familiar and sure enough, I've got it on Downhome Delta Blues 1949-1952 an album that was no stranger to my turntable some years ago but I haven't listened to in ages.  Guess which is the next album that going on :-)
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Gumbo on February 12, 2015, 02:54:02 PM
I'll go for D standard, too.

G/ D/
G/ D/
A G D/
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on February 13, 2015, 08:34:34 AM
Hi all,
Thanks to all who participated in the "1951 Blues" puzzler.  It's neat to see some first-time responders too, welcome!  It looks like everyone who was likely to post has done so, so here are the answers:
   * Playing position was D in standard tuning, as several of you had it.  One of the aural clues that can often help to identify the sound of D position in standard tuning is that the D chord in standard tuning voices its third, F#, on the second fret of the first string.  So often when playing in D position, when players go to the IV chord they voice the seventh of the IV chord, F, at the first fret of the first string; then when they return to the I chord, that F note resolves upward by half-step to F# in the D chord.  You can hear that movement in "1951 Blues" happening between the IV7 chord that begins each of the first two vocal phrases and the signature lick which follows it.
   * Chord progression is as a number of you had it:   
    |    IV    |    IV    |    I    |    I    |
    |    IV    |    IV    |    I    |    I    |
    |    V     |    IV    |    I    |    I    |
   * The signature lick is likewise pretty much as a couple of you had it.  Here it is, situated relative to the pulse:  On beat I, third fret of second string is pinched with the bass.  + of beat one, the bass alternates.  On 2-uh, he goes from a slide into the second fret of the first string then to the third fret of the second string, probably moving the entire D shape to get the slide, as has been suggested.  On the + of beat two, the bass alternates.  On 3-uh, he goes from the third fret of the first string to the third fret of the second string and on the + of beat three he alternates his bass.  On 4-uh, he re-slides into the second fret of the first string and then hits the third fret of the second string, and on the + of beat four he alternates his bass.  On beats two, three and four, the rhythm is two sixteenth notes in the treble followed by an eighth note in the bass.  It is not a triplet--there is no swing or shuffle feel.  The time is straight up and down, all duple in feel.
   * The seconding guitarist's bass run is exactly as Prof. Scratchy had it:  open fifth, second fret fifth, open fourth, second fret fourth, third fret fourth, second fret fourth, open fourth, second fret fifth.

One of the things I especially like about the ensemble sound in "1951 Blues" is the way the guitars are right on top of each other.  I know the well-worked out sounds of duos like Stokes & Sane, Tarter & Gay, Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe are much-admired, and deserve to be, but I also think there's something to be said for the wild musical "puppy pile" sound you get by throwing caution to the winds, often happily occupying exactly the same musical space, playing by feel, and just blasting.  It may not be nifty, but man, is it alive!

I'll try to find another puzzler soon.

All best,
Johnm 
 
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on February 15, 2015, 10:42:01 AM
Hi all,
I've got a new puzzler for you:  "Home Again Blues", by Frankie Lee Sims, from 1948.  This performance is one I think of as being "cover-proof", which is to say, having a combination of qualities that I doubt anyone other than Frankie Lee Sims will ever be fortunate enough to put together in such a way again.  Nonetheless, it is so strong, and interesting and rewarding to listen to, it seems a good song to spend some time with, and possibly use as a source for ideas.  Here is Frankie Lee's performance:

Frankie Lee Sims Home Again Blues (1948) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMcVzeAPN0o#)

I went down home, boys, where the weather suits my clothes
I done fooled 'round here in Dallas, boys, 'til I'm done got cold
If you see my woman, please 'od, tell her I said to hurry home
Boy, I ain't had no real lovin', my God, boys, since my old woman's been gone

Ain't that a shame, low-down dirty shame?
Boys, ain't that a shame, low-down dirty shame?
Boy, to love a sweet little woman, boy, and you're scared to call her name

Baby
SOLO

Well, If I'd a-listened, what my Mama said
I'd a-been at home, boys, sleepin' in my Mama's bed
But you know how boys and girls nowadays, they won't pay their mother no mind
Because they gone all night, your mother's in her back door cryin'

Baby, baby, baby, hear me callin' you?
Baby, can't you hear this black man callin' you?
Well, I'm goin' down the country, woman, God know what more can a black man do

Here are the questions on "Home Again Blues":
   * What playing position/tuning did Frankie Lee Sims use to play the song?
   * What is the form of the first verse he sings, mapping out chords and the length of time he spends in them, as expressed in bars?
   * Where does he fret the passage from :10-:12?
   * Where does he fret the fill from :57-:59?
   * Where does he fret the fill from 1:32-1:35?

Please use only yours ears and your instruments to arrive at your answers, and please don't post any answers prior to Tuesday morning, February 17.  Thanks for participating, and I hope you enjoy this song as much as I do.
All best,
Johnm

Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on February 18, 2015, 12:36:49 PM
Hi all,
Any takers for the Frankie Lee Sims "Home Again Blues" puzzler?  Come one, come all, and answer only the questions you feel like answering.  Thanks to all who participate.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on February 18, 2015, 01:19:11 PM
I'll get this started but I'm really pushed for time so only answering the first question.  After just the one listen, I'm going with A standard, regular tuning.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: andrescountryblues on February 18, 2015, 02:10:26 PM
Ok, I'll try!

* What playing position/tuning did Frankie Lee Sims use to play the song?
Standard tuning key of A

* What is the form of the first verse he sings, mapping out chords and the length of time he spends in the them, as expressed in bars?
First 4 bars of I (4 beats each)
One bar of IV (4 beats) + 2 beats of IV
Two bars of I (4 beats each)
One bar of V (4 beats) + 2 beats of IV
Two bars of I (4 beats)

* Where does he fret the passage from :10-:12?
|----------5-5-5--
|-----3----3-3-3-
|-------5--------
|-3-4-----------
|----------------
|----------------

* Where does he fret the fill from :57-:59?
Bending the 3rd string 7th fret and fretting the first and second string with the index finger 5th fret

* Where does he fret the fill from 1:32-1:35?
Not sure at all about this one but I think it involves pull offs in the first string from 5th fret to 3rd and to open string

By the way I want to say that its been 10 years since I registered. I always been more of a reader than a poster but I'm planning on participate more. I like this puzzlers idea! a great opportunity to learn from you all.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on February 18, 2015, 02:36:34 PM
Don't have a guitar to hand right now but will say G standard for the tuning.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Norfolk Slim on February 19, 2015, 01:20:07 AM
I have to take the kids out to the "pirate half term" at the Fleet Air Arm museum shortly so time is limited but...

I'm firmly with G standard, capoed at 2.  I think the 10-12 section is just played naturally out of the C shape.  and the 57 section is worked around 5/6/7/ on the 3rd string...

Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: blueshome on February 19, 2015, 03:46:14 AM
I got as far as G standard....no time with an instrument at present
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: roig on February 19, 2015, 05:25:17 AM
Nope 100% A  :)
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: pete1951 on February 19, 2015, 10:04:41 AM
Spanish A fits best to me .
PT
I find tab hard, and standard notation harder, so I`ll let others do the difficult stuff.
It is basically a 12bar with 1/2 a bar missing around the 5th
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: frankie on February 19, 2015, 02:19:45 PM
Regardless of pitch, the real clincher is the bass riff played at about 1:05 - weird and awkward in anything but std tuning, A position.

A lot of the licks are pinky-intensive in A, but that's A for ya...
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on February 20, 2015, 12:50:39 AM
Yes, like I was saying... Definitely A standard.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: pete1951 on February 20, 2015, 05:33:29 AM
[quote , the real clincher is the bass riff played at about 1:05 - weird and awkward in anything but std tuning, A position
[/quote]
It seems fine (as a someone who only plays in Spanish) if you play it just on the 5th string. Though it would be more elegant, and less awkward if the 4th string was a D
Anyway, I think the top string is an `E` and the bottom E and A which is the same as most other posts..........The other strings , well Johnm will enlighten us in due coarse
PT
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: blueshome on February 20, 2015, 07:54:09 AM
Have guitar, A!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: eric on February 20, 2015, 09:24:54 AM
I've got the position (A) I'm pretty sure, and 10-12 lick similar to what andrescountryblues describes, but that's as far as I've gotten so far.  I could probably work out the rest by slowing it down, but I'm trying to play be the rules...my ear just isn't quick enough, yet.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Zoharbareket on February 20, 2015, 12:34:33 PM
I'll give it a rough try too...

I am hearing A.

   * Where does he fret the passage from :10-:12?
seems to me that he is starting something with a movement from the 3rd to the 4th fret on the fourth string.

   * Where does he fret the fill from :57-:59?
starting from  the 6th to the 7th on the 3rd and then to a partial D on the high two strings??

   * Where does he fret the fill from 1:32-1:35?
not sure....but it sure sound nice!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on February 20, 2015, 01:05:17 PM
An unexpected chance to look at this again. 
For  the passage from :10-:12, fill from :57-:59  andrescountryblues pretty much has it.

* Where does he fret the fill from 1:32-1:35?
I'm hearing pull offs in the first string from 5th fret to 3rd also, something like:
5p 3---5p 3-----5p 3
------5-------5--------5---3
--------------------------------5--5--2
---------------------------------------
---------------------------------------
---------------------------------------
but can't decide if the c notes are on the 2nd str.
There sounds to be more going on there though.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Gumbo on February 20, 2015, 01:55:06 PM
Ooops I accidentally read the replies!

A standard :)
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on February 20, 2015, 02:18:40 PM
Hi all,
Wow, it's great to see all the responses and some first-time participants in the thread.  Here are the answers to the puzzler:
   * Playing position was A, in standard tuning.  It's important to remember that the question is not how we would choose to play the song, or where we would place our own rendition, but where the musician in question played it.  In differentiating between standard tuning and open tuning alternatives that place the same voices on the respective strings, like Spanish tuning and A position in standard tuning, both of which are voiced 5-R-5-R-3-5 at the base of the neck, it quite often is the IV and V chord voicings that clinch which tuning/position is being used.  In this instance, Frankie Lee's voicings of his IV and V chords clearly point to A position in standard tuning.  In the very first verse, he starts out voicing his IV7 chord just like a standard C7 fingering in standard tuning, moved up two frets.  To get the same sound for a IV7 in Spanish would require the following very difficult fingering on the interior four strings:  5-2-3-1.  Not that it couldn't be done, but why do it, as opposed to something easier? 
   *  The bar structure for Frankie Lee's first verse was exactly as andrescountryblues had it--Four bars of I in the first line, followed by one six-beat measure of IV7 and two measures of I in the second line, and a six-beat measure with four beats of V7 and two beats of IV7 followed by two measure of I in the third line.  Well done, Andres!  Just as a point of interest, in Frankie Lee's second verse, the first line has three bars of I, the second has two bars of IV7 and two of I, and the third line is phrased the same as in the first verse.
   *  For the passage from :10-:12, Frankie Lee hits a pick-up note at the third fret of the fourth string, resolving up to the fourth fret of the fourth string on the downbeat of the measure.  On the + of beat one, he hits the third fret of the second string.  On beat two, he plays a triplet, going from the fifth fret of the third string to the third fret of the second string, then brushing the fifth fret of the first two strings, thus switching from a D7 to a D9, getting a more modern or uptown sound.  The last two beats of the measure, he brushes triplets hitting the first two strings at the fifth fret, keeping the D9 going. 
   *  For the passage from :57-59, Frankie Lee hits the second fret of the second string on the + of beat one.  On beat two, he plays a triplet, going from the third fret of the second string to a bent fourth fret of the second string on the last two notes of the triplet.  For the third beat, he brushes a triplet on the first two strings, fretting the first string at the fifth fret, and continuing to bend the second string at the fourth fret--very grungy!  On beat four, he plays a triplet going from the open first string to a slide into the second fret of the second string and ending on the second fret of the third string.
   *  For the passage from 1:32-1:35, he does three brushed double pull-offs on the first two strings, going from the fifth fret to the third fret on both of those strings and then brushing those two strings open.  That is one wild lick!  I would guess he fretted both strings at the fifth fret with his third or ring finger, both at the third fret with his index finger and just did it.  Those three licks take two beats to elapse and are followed by a triplet in which he hits the third fret of the second string followed by a brush of the first two strings at the first fret, with a slight bend of the second string at the first fret predominating in the sound.  He concludes the lick with one more brush of the first fret of the first two strings on beat four, followed by the second fret of the third string on the + of beat four.

This is such a great performance--Frankie Lee Sims really slays me.  On the one hand, it is kind of rough-sounding playing, but he is doing very inventive and difficult stuff throughout his rendition.  I suppose you could say, "Oh, well that's just an updated Texas A blues.", but the whole package, including his singing, makes for some superlative blues. 
Thanks to all who participated and I'll try to post another puzzler soon.
All best,
Johnm     
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on February 25, 2015, 08:27:47 PM
Hi all,
I thought it might be a good time to do another one of the puzzlers where there are several performances and the only question of each is:  What playing position/tuning was used to play the piece?

Here is the first song, Joe Callicott's "Riverside Blues":

Mississippi Joe Callicott - Riverside Blues (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8X1wQ-LukA#)

Well, you see, see that woman, got a mouth lined with gold
Well, I wouldn't mistreat her to save nobody's soul
Well, I would not mistreat her to save nobody's soul

Well, I walked up on the mountain and I looked up in the sea
And I spied my baby, a-swimmin' after me
Says, I spied my woman, swimming after me

Says, my baby got a mouth like the red light on the sea
Every time she smile, she shines her light on me
Every time she smile, she shines her light on

Says, I'm going to the telephone, gonna ring up Chief Police
Well, my good girl done jumped down and I can't see no peace
Said, my good girl jumped down, I can't see no peace

Says, I looked down the road, 'til my eyes got green and sore
I'm gonna look her this mornin', baby, I ain't gonna look no more
I'm gonna look this mornin', sweet girl, ain't gonna look no more


The second song is Josh White's "This Heart of Mine":

'This Heart Of Mine' JOSH WHITE (1933) Blues Guitar Legend (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwA_4sIc_N4#)

SOLO

REFRAIN:  This heart of mine, Lord, this heart of mine
King Jesus done changed, changed, changed this heart of mine

Now I don't do, things I used to do
Lord, I don't do, things I used to do
Lord, I don't do, things that I used to do
King Jesus done changed, changed, changed this heart of mine

REFRAIN:  This heart of mine, this heart of mine
King Jesus done changed, changed, changed this heart of mine

Now I don't go, places I used to go
Lord, I don't go, where I used to go
Lord, I don't go, where I used to go
King Jesus done changed, changed, changed this heart of mine

REFRAIN:  This heart of mine, this heart of mine
King Jesus done changed, changed, changed this heart of mine

SOLO

Now I don't drink, drinks I used to drink
Lord, I don't drink, things I used to drink
Lord, I don't drink, things I used to drink
KIng Jesus done changed, changed, changed this heart of mine

REFRAIN:  This heart of mine, this heart of mine
King Jesus done changed, changed, changed this heart of mine

REFRAIN:  This heart of mine, this heart of mine
King Jesus done changed, changed, changed this heart of mine

The third song is Bill Broonzy's "See See Rider":

Big Bill Broonzy - See See Rider (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcy9YDBjME4#)

Please make your determination of the playing position/tuning for these songs using only your ears and instruments, and please don't post any answers until Friday morning, February 27.  Thanks for participating.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Lastfirstface on February 26, 2015, 10:22:08 AM
I'm confused by that Broonzy track being titled "See See Rider", isn't it "House Rent Stomp" that he's playing?
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on February 26, 2015, 11:10:27 AM
Yes it's Guitar Shuffle/House Rent Stomp. The you tube video is  mis-titled (despite the protestations of the uploader). Here he is playing See See Rider:
http://youtu.be/3hIcF_1DTFg (http://youtu.be/3hIcF_1DTFg)
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on February 27, 2015, 07:45:48 AM
I'll venture A standard, E standard (tuned very low) and C standard respectively.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: blueshome on February 27, 2015, 08:15:24 AM
A standard, Vasterpol well low, C.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: banjochris on February 27, 2015, 09:47:11 AM
A standard, Vasterpol well low, C.

Ditto.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Zoharbareket on February 27, 2015, 11:30:04 AM
I'd like to be able to say that I can figure out all three, but I am not there (hopefully 'yet'....)
Joe Callicot's tune sounds to me like A standard, Capoed on the 2nd fret.
Cant really figure out the other two....
nice ones, though!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on February 27, 2015, 01:02:06 PM
Joe Callicott is in A standard.  From 00:10 it sounds like he's frying eggs but I can't tell whether they are 'over easy' or 'sunny side up'...
The Josh White track, I'm a bit stumped on....he is so low tuned, could well be Vestapol as most folks say...but I'm not picking up on anything to give me a clue and I'm too scared to tune that low
Big Bill is in C standard
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Gumbo on February 28, 2015, 07:07:48 AM
Joe Calicott sounds in B played from a long A position
Josh White in ? Open A
Big Bill could be C standard but there's something about it that makes me doubt ....
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on February 28, 2015, 10:27:23 AM
Hi all,
It looks as though as many have responded to this puzzler as are likely to, so here are the answers:
   * Joe Callicott's "Riverside Blues" was played in A position in standard tuning, as I believe everyone had it.  Well done!  I found this track interesting because it is just about the only song I've heard from Joe's post-rediscovery recordings that had something of the sound of Joe's former playing partner, Garfield Akers.  Except for this performance, that sound seemed almost altogether absent from Joe's later recordings, which had more in common with Furry Lewis, Frank Stokes or Robert Wilkins' pre-blues material.
   * Josh White's "This Heart of Mine" was played in Vestapol, muy, muy low, at A, tuned a full fourth low.  I think of Josh's playing in Vestapol as being much the strongest aspect of his repertoire, and he really was, along with Connie Williams, one of the most sophisticated players in Vestapol.  One thing that gives away the Vestapol tuning is the fact that the song begins on a IV chord, and Josh voiced it with it's third in the bass, fingered X-2-0-1-2-0.  In Vestapol, unless the IV chord is barred, it almost always has its third as its lowest voice.  Josh's turn-around, too, is one commonly used in Vestapol, starting at 4-3 on the fourth and third string and then walked down until you come to the I chord, played on open strings.  Blind Boy Fuller used the same walk-down on "Little Woman, You're So Sweet" (and almost certainly got it from Josh, who recorded the tune before he did).  This song also illustrates why it is not particularly helpful to name open tunings by the pitch at which they sound, since open A would much more often end up being Spanish tuning a step high than Vestapol a fourth low.  Terms like Vestapol and Spanish, which describe which voice of the chord falls on each string are more helpful than referencing the pitch at which a tuning sounds.  In this instance, "Vestapol at A" would nail it right down.
   * The Bill Broonzy tune was played in C position in standard tuning, as I think everyone who responded had it.  Boy, Broonzy's playing has a wonderfully relaxed flow and swing here, doesn't it?

Thanks to all of you who participated, and I'll try to find another puzzler soon.

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: roig on February 28, 2015, 05:11:16 PM
Frank Hovington interestingly chose to play This Heart of Mine in E standard - worth the listen.

http://youtu.be/BzaFbaFHxOM (http://youtu.be/BzaFbaFHxOM)
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on March 02, 2015, 02:12:05 PM
Hi all,
I have a new puzzler for you.  It's sort of a double one, with the first puzzler fairly detailed and the other just asking one question.
The first performance is Ralph Willis' rendition of "Eloise".  He's a musician who seems terribly under-rated to me, really one of the top later-generation East Coast players.  Here is the song:

Eloise (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-vYKxmSNxs#ws)

INTRO

I said, Eloise, Eloise, Great God, gal, you don't know I'm here
Eloise, Eloise, Great God, you don't know I'm here
Well, if you do, my darling, Great God, look like you would hear my care

You know I love you, Eloise, Great God, I'll tell the world I do
Yes, I love you, Eloise, Great God, I'll tell the world I do
Well Eloise, my darling, what make you treat me like you do?

You know, I left you, Eloise, standin' in my back door, cryin'
Yes, yes, I left that old gal in the door, cryin'
Well maybe someday, Eloise, you'll come to me and try to change your mind

I think it's lonesome, everything is lonesome everywhere
Hey gal, Eloise, I swear it's everywhere
I think I'll go back, North Carolina, maybe it won't be lonesome down there

SOLO (Spoken: Play it a little bit for me now)

Well, Eloise, I wanted the whole round world to know
I said, Eloise, Great God, I wanted the world to know
You made me walk from Chicago, slammin' down to the Gulf of Mexico

Well, I'm wonderin', will a matchbox hold my clothes?
Hey, hey, Great God, will a matchbox hold my clothes?
Eloise, I ain't got so many matches, Ralph got such a long way to go
 

The questions on "Eloise" are:
   * What playing position/tuning did Ralph Willis use to play the song?
   * Where and how did he fret the little move in the bass from :09--:10?
   * Where  does he fret what he plays over his IV chord from :12--:14?
   * Where does he fret the little descending tag at the end of his solo, from 2:06--2:08?

The second song is Hattie Hart's rendition of "I Let My Daddy Do That", on which she was accompanied by Memphis Willie B. and Allen Shaw.  Here is the trio's performance:

Hattie Hart I Let My Daddy Do That (1934) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfuNmuSVEck#)

The question for "I Let My Daddy Do That" is:
   * What were the playing positions/tunings employed by the two guitarists on the song?  At this stage, I don't think there's any way of knowing which of the two guitarists played each of the parts, so it's not an issue of who played what, just what playing positions/tuning were used to play the song.

As always, please use only your ears and your instruments to arrive at your answers, and please don't post any answers until Wednesday morning, March 5.  Thanks for participating, and I hope you enjoy the songs.

All best,
Johnm

Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: banjochris on March 02, 2015, 03:56:01 PM
Not answering prematurely, just wanted to say that the trio of Hart, Borum and Shaw are so, so good. Wish they had recorded a lot more (or that a lot more had been released, I think there's some unissued stuff there).
Chris
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on March 02, 2015, 04:33:31 PM
I couldn't agree more, Chris.  I think Borum and Shaw's duet accompaniments behind Hattie Hart are up there with the finest Country Blues duets by whomever, the Beale Street Sheiks, Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe, you name it.  They were great!  And I know of a couple more tracks with that personnel that I'm going to post.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: andrescountryblues on March 03, 2015, 02:59:57 PM
Is the Ralph Willis video working for you? It says not available to me.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on March 03, 2015, 03:59:55 PM
Hi andrescountryblues,
Here is a different video of Ralph Willis' "Eloise".  Perhaps this one will work for you.

https://youtu.be/c-vYKxmSNxs

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Gumbo on March 03, 2015, 04:06:14 PM
the first video was auto-generated by youtube (I think you can tell by the hashtag artist name #ralphwillis as the name of the uploader)

Someone said that those vids don't show up in some countries when posted on Facebook so maybe it's the same here
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: ArthurBlake on March 03, 2015, 04:14:46 PM
the first video was auto-generated by youtube (I think you can tell by the hashtag artist name #ralphwillis as the name of the uploader)

Someone said that those vids don't show up in some countries when posted on Facebook so maybe it's the same here
I seem to get that a lot on Weenie, it must be something to do with countries, I am in Australia and some videos just come up as unavailable.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on March 03, 2015, 04:31:29 PM
So is the most recently posted version of the Ralph Willis tune viewable for you non-U.S. Weenies?  Please let me know.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Pan on March 03, 2015, 06:16:12 PM
So is the most recently posted version of the Ralph Willis tune viewable for you non-U.S. Weenies?  Please let me know.
All best,
Johnm

At least it shows here in Germany. The earlier video was denied because of copyright disputes between YouTube/Google and the German copyright organization GEMA. This happens quite often nowadays, I'm afraid.
Thanks for re-posting, John!

Cheers

Pan
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: andrescountryblues on March 04, 2015, 05:07:18 AM
So is the most recently posted version of the Ralph Willis tune viewable for you non-U.S. Weenies?  Please let me know.
All best,
Johnm

It works here. Thanks!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on March 04, 2015, 09:25:37 AM
Thank you, Pan and Andres, for letting me know that the re-posted Ralph Willis video is viewable for you.  Have at it, guys.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on March 05, 2015, 03:34:39 AM
For the Ralph Willis one I'll say:A standard

09-10 = 5/3>4h; 4/0.1.2; 6/0

12-14= 6/0>1>2; 3/2;2/0>1>0;3/2>1; 4/2; 1/0; 2/>4>3>1; 3/2

206-208= 2/5;1/5;2/5;2/4;1/5;2/4;2/3;1/02/3;2/1>2h;1/5

For the Hattie Hart one I'll suggest:
Vestapol and C standard
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on March 05, 2015, 04:03:30 AM
I'm also saying A standard for the Ralph Willis.  Unfortunately not had time to go any further or listen to the Hattie Hart track.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: jopoke on March 05, 2015, 05:07:02 PM
New to this thread, but will give it a go...

Hattie Hart's "I Let My Daddy Do That" - Sounds like one Guitar is in dropped D.  The other in C position Standard position. Pitch Db.

Ralph Willis "Eloise" tune in A standard tuning. 

Thanks,

Joe
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: David Kaatz on March 05, 2015, 05:34:14 PM
I agree on the Hattie Hart tune that one guitar is in dropped D tuning. There is a distinctive Tommie Johnson style run during one chorus, on the pair of D tuned strings that indicates that to me. Although I suppose one could do that in Vastopol tuning.
That's all I have for now.

Dave
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: frankie on March 05, 2015, 06:37:55 PM
The question for "I Let My Daddy Do That" is:
   * What were the playing positions/tunings employed by the two guitarists on the song?  At this stage, I don't think there's any way of knowing which of the two guitarists played each of the parts, so it's not an issue of who played what, just what playing positions/tuning were used to play the song.

This will sound crazy, and I'm not totally sold on it, but it sounds like the low guitar is played in spanish tuning, but with the 6th string as the root (assuming the guitar is tuned to G, he'd be playing out of D). The whole thing seems to live on the bottom 3 strings most of the time, with a couple of excursions to the 3rd string, and one place where I think I can hear a strum that includes the 2nd string ringing open at a 6th relative the I chord. The way he riffs over the IV chord makes drop D kind of unlikely, and that riff sits nicely in spanish, actually.

Since it sounds like Moanin' The Blues was played in much the same way, I'd guess that the low guitar was played by Allen Shaw, but I dunno..
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on March 06, 2015, 02:12:55 PM
Hi all,
It looks as though perhaps everyone who was going to respond to this puzzler has done so already, so I will post the answers, as best I can.
For Ralph Willis's "Eloise", here are the answers:
   * His playing position was A position in standard tuning as everyone had it--well done!
   * For the passage from :09--:10, Ralph Willis is walking up into an E chord.  He hits the open fourth string on the + of beat three, and on beat four plays a triplet hitting the first fret of the fourth string on the first note, the second fret of the fourth string on the second note of the triplet, and on the third note doing a grace note hammer from the first to the second fret of the fourth string, resolving then to an open sixth string on the downbeat of the next measure.  Willis's ploy of doing a grace note hammer in the middle of a triplet shows some real finesse, and he absolutely nails it.  Prof. Scratchy's solution was very close to this, but just started the phrase a little bit earlier.
   * In the passage from :12--:14, Willis is moving into his IV7 chord, D7.  He hits the first fret of the sixth string on the + of beat four in the ninth bar of the form, begins bar ten with a triplet that starts at the second fret of the sixth string and then goes from the first fret of the second string to the open second string.  Beat two is a triplet going from the second fret of the third string to the first fret of the third string and the second fret of the fourth string.  Beat three is a triplet going from the open first string to the third fret of the second string to the open second string.  Beat four is a triplet in which Willis slides his A partial barre from the first to the second fret of the second string for the first two notes of the triplet and finishes with the second fret of the third string.  Boy, the phrase has a beautiful flow to it.
   * For the phrase from 2:06--2:08 Willis hits the open fifth string on beat one and the + of beat one.  On beat two, he plays a triplet starting at the fifth fret of the second string, going to the fifth fret of the first string and returning to the fifth fret of the second string.  On be three, he similarly plays a triplet, moving everything from the second beat down one fret, going from the fourth fret of the second string to the fourth fret of the first string and back to the fourth fret of the second string.  On beat four, he does a grace note hammer and pull from the second fret of the second string up to the third fret of the second string and back, resolving down to the second fret of the third string on the + of beat four.  Once again, he nails a tricky passage.
 
I wonder if one reason Ralph Willis doesn't seem to generate more enthusiasm among present-day Country Blues fans (apart from not having been heard by many of them) is that his vocals most often have a jivey, off-hand, humorous quality.  Perhaps some people construe that as not feeling the music deeply, or as lacking a particular kind of emotional intensity they're looking for.  This is just guesswork on my part, and since I like Willis's singing, I may be way off base.  In any event, he was an ace player, really as strong as just about any East Coast player when working in his most favorite positions.

The Hattie Hart puzzler, "I Let My Daddy Do That" ended up being much more difficult than I thought it would be when I posted it.  I'm impressed that everyone picked up on the fact that one of the guitars was being played in the C position, since I didn't think that was necessarily easy to hear.  Just for identification purposes, let's say the C player was Memphis Willie B.
As for the playing position of the Allen Shaw part, Vestapol, Dropped-D and Spanish have all been proposed, and as much as can be heard of the part, any one of them could work.  I don't think I can definitively say what position/tuning was used, but if we look at what was played in this part, perhaps we can determine which of those options was most likely to have been used.
As Frank noted, the playing of this low guitar part to a great extent lives on the bottom three strings.  It centers around the V note of the key, played on the fifth string.  In the opening verse it goes from V up a whole step to VI, then up to I note above on the open fourth string and then a bent bIII note going back and forth down to the root on the open fourth string.  In both Vestapol and Dropped-D, the move from V to VI on the fifth string would involve going from the open fifth string to the second fret of the fifth string.  In Spanish, the same pitches would be found at the second and fourth fret of the fifth string, a little odd, but certainly not a knuckle-buster to play.  When the low part goes to the IV chord, the notes played in the bass are V up to VI up to I up to II up to bIII back to II back to I back to VI.  In Vestapol and Dropped-D, those notes would be found at the open fifth string and second fret of the fifth string and the open fourth string and second and third frets on the fourth string.  In Spanish, the notes on the fourth string would live in the same place, but the notes on the fifth string would each live two frets higher.  Going to the V chord, the low part plays a pick-up triplet, going from V to VI to bVII, and then goes 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +, moving from VII to the V note an octave above the one the triplet started on, down one whole step to IV, continuing down to II, the going from a bent bVII note down to V where the pick-up triplet started.  This phrase strong favors Vestapol and Dropped-D over Spanish in terms of ease of execution.  The ascending triplet that starts the phrase sits at open-second fret-third fret on the fifth string, and the VII note that is then resolved into is at the fourth fret of the fifth string, with all of this sitting very easily under the left hand.  The same passage sits two frets higher in Spanish, with the triplet at the second-fourth-fifth frets of the fifth string and the VII note at the sixth fret of the fifth string.  This seems very awkward and non-intuitive in the left hand to me.  The remainder of the V chord phrase is one of the few places in this guitar part where Vestapol and Dropped-D would have different left hand solutions thus far.  In Vestapol, you would jump from the fourth fret of the fifth string to the open second string, continuing down to the first fret of the third string to the second fret of the fourth string, ending up with a bent third fret of the fifth string resolving down to the open fifth string.  In Dropped-D, you'd jump from the fourth fret of the fifth string to the second fret of the third string, resolve down to the open third string, continuing to the second fret of the fourth string, ending on the fifth string as you did in Vestapol. 
In a subsequent verse comes the boogie bass over the IV chord that makes the strongest case for the Spanish tuning that Frank suggested.  In Spanish, it would live at the open fifth string-fourth fret fifth string-open fourth string-second fret fourth string-third fret fourth string and then back in the reverse of the ascending line.  In Vestapol and Dropped-D, the first two notes of the boogie bass would be awkwardly located at the fifth fret of the sixth string and the second fret of the fifth string.  Spanish tuning also makes the sixth note in the treble that Frank remarked upon most easily accessible, on the open second string.  In Vestapol, the same note would live at the second fret of the second string, a place Bo Carter often used it when playing in Vestapol.
All of this having been said, there is something screwy going on with this tune.  When you listen to it carefully, it becomes apparent that there are either three guitars playing through-out, with one doing a simple chordal accompaniment for the most part or the duo recorded the track on a stretch of tape they had already recorded a previous take on, and there was bleed-through from the previous take.  I think the second explanation may be the correct one.  Listen to the solo, especially noting the stretch going to the IV chord, around 2:24; you can clearly hear a guitar enter in the low part with a different tonal quality than had been present in the solo up to that point, while the low part continues to play, and the high part keeps going.  What is up with that?  There are places from the beginning of the rendition on, where the high part is up the neck, the prominent single string work in the bass is happening, and there is unaccounted for chordal texture in the mid-range.  Once again, as performed by a duo working live, the texture and division of labor makes the sound that is heard impossible.  I don't know if we'll ever know exactly what happened.
Sorry to be so gabby, but the rendition really poses some tough questions.  The high guitar part is in C position, and while I can't be certain about the low part, my best guess would be dropped-D tuning.  The fact is, though, that with a reasonably agile left hand, the low part could have been played in any of the three suggested tunings/positions.  If those of you who have been reading this are guitarists and have the time to do so, I suggest you try playing the passages that were described in the three different playing positions/tunings and see which would suit your own preference in the left hand.  It will also clue you in to figuring out where the same melodic line would sit in different tunings or positions.

Thanks for your participation and I'll try to find another puzzler soon.

All best,
Johnm   
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: jopoke on March 06, 2015, 05:45:06 PM
Thank you for the detailed explanation John. Based on the responses from both you and Frank, I realize I need to work on more Spanish and Vestapol tunes.  I don't play in these tunings enough to have considered either an option.

This is a fantastic thread, regret I did not get involved sooner.

Thanks,

Joe
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on March 06, 2015, 06:41:27 PM
Well, it's good to have you join in, Joe.  Don't be a stranger!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: banjochris on March 06, 2015, 07:13:12 PM
One thing Vestapol and dropped-D have in their favor on "Let My Daddy," at least to me, is that the low V note sure sounds like an open string to me. I'd vote for dropped-D myself.

As far as a third guitar, John I think you're right, there is a third one, and it seems to me it's there, subtly, on this and on "I'm Missing That Thing." I can't really put my finger on it except there's a denseness there that doesn't seem like it comes from only two guitars being crisply picked with a lot of single-note runs.

On this tune, I think you can hear the third guitar by itself at the very end of the tune, literally about the last half-second, there are two midrange strums that have a different sound than either of the "lead" instruments, both of which have ended on a single note. I think a third instrument is more likely than a recording mishap, especially because they would have been recording on disc, not tape, so either wax would be scraped off or a new disc would be used for a second take.

Looking in B&GR there are only two guitars listed, but man is it frustrating to see 15! unissued titles from those sessions. They're probably filed right next to the Vocalion Pattons.

PS if you haven't done it already the Harney Bros. duets behind Pearl Dickson might make good puzzler material.
Chris
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on March 07, 2015, 09:36:38 AM
Thanks for pointing out the impossibility of the extra guitar being the result of bleed-through from an earlier take recorded on the same stretch of tape.  I'm weak on the history of recording technology and didn't know that in 1934  magnetic tape would still not have been introduced yet.  I'm going to re-listen the track a bunch more and see if I can suss out the playing position/tuning of the third guitar.  I suppose it's not altogether impossible that Hattie Hart was playing it herself, and if that were the case, it would would go some way towards explaining why no other guitarist was listed for the session.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: banjochris on March 07, 2015, 09:51:42 AM
I'm sure there must be others, but I would say the earliest album in the blues genre to originate from tape rather than disc was probably Lead Belly's Last Sessions. I know the big labels used disc into the early '50s.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: waxwing on March 07, 2015, 10:31:12 AM
But Alan Lomax was using tape for the field recording trip on which he recorded William Brown, hence the substantially longer than 3 minute recordings of Mississippi Blues and Ragged and Dirty, as well as the dialogue in between. So that was '42, IIRC.

Wax
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on March 07, 2015, 10:39:00 AM
Thanks for that information, Chris.  Who would have thought that what was essentially a field recording would be a trail-blazer in terms of recording technology? 
I re-listened to "I Lets My Daddy Do That" and am certain that the mystery third guitar part was played in Vestapol.  You can hear it plainly at the very beginning of the song.  The song enters on a V7 chord, in the ninth bar of the form, with the third guitar providing chordal accompaniment and the high guitar part playing.  The low lead part enters more or less on the tenth bar of the form.  For that first bar of the intro, you can hear the chordally accompanying guitar voicing a V7 chord very plainly on the interior four strings, ascending from the fifth string, voicing the chord, R-5-b7-R, which is exactly the way a V7 chord is voiced in Vestapol, at 0-2-1-0 on those strings.  The I6 chord that Frank noted can be heard voicing out on the Vestapol guitar part, as 5-6-R on the top three strings, located at 3-2-0, a voicing that Memphis Minnie used in her lead guitar part on Kansas Joe's "Pile Drivin' Blues".  Having the third guitar in Vestapol also explains the occasional musical traffic jam on the bottom three strings, since sometimes both the Dropped-D guitarist and the Vestapol guitarist were playing runs down there on three strings tuned to the very same pitches.  Whew, it feels good to have that a sorted out a bit more.
All best,
Johnm

   
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Stuart on March 07, 2015, 02:27:09 PM
Wax: 1942 strikes me a a bit too early for the use of magnetic tape for audio recording in the U.S. A quick survey indicates that it was a post WWII technology in the U.S. Perhaps Lomax was using discs with a higher capacity than the standard 78 commercial record format.

n.b. The discs that William Savory used in the 30's--Here's a link to an article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/17/arts/music/17jazz.html?pagewanted=all (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/17/arts/music/17jazz.html?pagewanted=all)
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: jpeters609 on March 07, 2015, 02:39:32 PM
I believe Lomax was using 16-inch discs and often recording at 33.3 RPM to maximize space, resulting in longer takes (or sometimes more than one song per side) and, unfortunately, often less than ideal sound quality, as 33.3 didn't capture as much audio info as 78 RPM would.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: waxwing on March 07, 2015, 05:07:32 PM
This 1942 memo by Lomax regarding John Work using "blanks" to record artists at the Fort Valley Festival would seem to support your info, Stuart and Jeff. Can't imagine he would refer to tape as "blanks". Funny, I always thought that quote in the quote generator about the chocolate tape spooling off the reels was about the '42 recordings. Sorry for the misinformation. Amazing, tho', that he chose to use disc space to record his conversation with Brown.

http://www.loc.gov/resource/afc1941035.afc1941035_ms013/?sp=1 (http://www.loc.gov/resource/afc1941035.afc1941035_ms013/?sp=1)

Wax
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Stuart on March 07, 2015, 08:46:39 PM
It was just a fact check for clarification, Wax. I wish that I could keep all of this stuff straight regarding who, what, where, when, why and how. The history the things we take for granted is interesting, to say the least. Without going too far afield, here's a link:

http://www.aes.org/aeshc/docs/recording.technology.history/magnetic4.html (http://www.aes.org/aeshc/docs/recording.technology.history/magnetic4.html)

And then there's the invention of the precursor to the fax machine by Alexander Bain in 1843...

Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: blueshome on March 08, 2015, 10:35:34 AM
Lomax used 14/16" discs for some recordings which gave more recording time. I believe they were aluminium in the 40's.
Acetate discs were used until late 40's early 50's for recording.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Lastfirstface on March 08, 2015, 01:29:46 PM
If you look on the LOC website, you can see the recording medium Lomax and other field recorders used on different individual pieces. Several 1941 recordings are listed as being "16 inch acetate glass discs." Confusingly, a lot of acetate discs for record cutters had an aluminum core, and are referred to as "lacquer (aluminum base) on the LOC. These 12'' "lacquer" discs seem to be what Lomax was using in 1937.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on March 09, 2015, 10:39:42 AM
Hi all,
I have a new puzzler for you.  The first song is John Henry Barbee's "Against My Will".  Here it is:

https://youtu.be/86poI5VAit4

Well, I woke up, up in a slumber, babe, then I put on my shoes and clothes
Now, I woke up in a slumber, mama, put on my shoes and clothes
I'm gon' find pretty mama walkin' down this gravel road

She won't fix me no breakfast, now, she won't even, uh, wash no clothes
Now, now, fix no breakfast, Lord, she won't even wash me no clothes
She don't want to do nothin' but walk up and down this road

I don't want, want no woman, when she believes everybody but me
Mmm, b'lieves everybody but me
Because we'll soon be so that we, sure God, can't agree

SOLO

Now, it was late, late last night, babe, well, when everything was still
Now, now, it was late last night, mama, everything was still
I began to want to turn over and it was against my will

Now, she's gone, well, she's gone, but she'll forever be on my mind
Mmmm, forever be on my mind
She was a real good-lookin' woman, but she just wouldn't be lovin' and kind

Just two questions on "Against My Will":
   * What playing position/tuning did John Henry Barbee use to play the song?  (We're speaking of the higher, lead guitar part.)
   * Where did Barbee fret the descending line that he plays at the end of each verse?

The second song is Kid Prince Moore's "Pickin' Low Cotton, pt. 2".  Here it is:

https://youtu.be/Jk56yaWH81Y

Pickin' low cotton, bendin' my back all day
Pickin' low cotton, bendin' my back all day
Then I come home, I have some half a mind to lay

Have my dinner ready, don't let my coffee be cold
Have my dinner ready, don't let my coffee be cold
Don't forget, mama, fix some my good jellyroll

SOLO

Every payday, mama, when I get my check
Every payday, mama, when I get my check
Aft' I pay your bills, I'm all nervous in dread

Mmm, Got a girl cross-town, she crocheted all the time
Got a girl cross-town, crocheted all the time
If you don't quit crochetin', mama, you sure gon' lose your mind

Mmm, went to the station, set my suitcase down
Went to the station, set my suitcase down
Blues overtaken me and the tears come rollin' down

Pickin' low cotton, eatin' out all of my shoes
Pickin' low cotton, eatin' out all of my shoes
That's the reason why I got them low-down low cotton blues

What playing position/tuning did Kid Prince Moore use to play the song?

Please use only your ears and your instruments to arrive at your answers, and please don't post any answers before Wednesday morning, March 11, so that plenty of people have a chance to listen to the tunes and come up with their own answers.  Thanks for participating.

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: banjochris on March 09, 2015, 02:10:35 PM
Thanks for that information, Chris.  Who would have thought that what was essentially a field recording would be a trail-blazer in terms of recording technology? 
I re-listened to "I Lets My Daddy Do That" and am certain that the mystery third guitar part was played in Vestapol.  You can hear it plainly at the very beginning of the song.  The song enters on a V7 chord, in the ninth bar of the form, with the third guitar providing chordal accompaniment and the high guitar part playing.  The low lead part enters more or less on the tenth bar of the form.  For that first bar of the intro, you can hear the chordally accompanying guitar voicing a V7 chord very plainly on the interior four strings, ascending from the fifth string, voicing the chord, R-5-b7-R, which is exactly the way a V7 chord is voiced in Vestapol, at 0-2-1-0 on those strings.  The I6 chord that Frank noted can be heard voicing out on the Vestapol guitar part, as 5-6-R on the top three strings, located at 3-2-0, a voicing that Memphis Minnie used in her lead guitar part on Kansas Joe's "Pile Drivin' Blues".  Having the third guitar in Vestapol also explains the occasional musical traffic jam on the bottom three strings, since sometimes both the Dropped-D guitarist and the Vestapol guitarist were playing runs down there on three strings tuned to the very same pitches.  Whew, it feels good to have that a sorted out a bit more.
 

Thanks for figuring that out, John. A puzzler indeed!
Chris
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: eric on March 11, 2015, 01:19:27 PM
Kid Prince Moore: E position, capo at 4th fret?
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: David Kaatz on March 11, 2015, 02:22:52 PM
Kid Moore sounds like Spanish tuning, maybe capoed one fret up.

Dave
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on March 11, 2015, 06:20:53 PM
Hi all,
Any other takers on the Kid Prince Moore and the John Henry Barbee puzzlers?  Come one, come all.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: andrescountryblues on March 11, 2015, 07:46:36 PM
"Against My Will":

* What playing position/tuning did John Henry Barbee use to play the song?  (We're speaking of the higher, lead guitar part.)
Standard tuning capo 3rd fret "D" position.

* Where did Barbee fret the descending line that he plays at the end of each verse?
Relative to the capo:
|-------------------------------
|-3-0----------------------------
|------2-------------------------
|--------3b4-0----0-------------
|----------------2---------------
|-------------------------------

Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Dom94 on March 11, 2015, 11:28:02 PM
For Me Kid Moore sounds like standard tuning, pitch low , A position . typically licks in A.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on March 12, 2015, 12:06:24 PM
I'll say John Henry Barbee is playing in D standard, capoed up a bit, and the descending run is str/fret:4/0>3>4>2>0;5/2>0;4/0
Kid Prince Moore plays out of A postion in standard tuning.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: eric on March 13, 2015, 08:02:44 AM
Hmmm, I seem to the outlier on E for Kid Prince Moore.  I'll revisit this afternoon if its not too late.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on March 13, 2015, 08:10:31 AM
Hi all,
It looks like all the responses are in on the John Henry Barbee and Kid Prince Moore puzzlers, so here are the answers:
   * John Henry Barbee played "Against My Will" out of D position in standard tuning, as andrescountryblues and Prof Scratchy had it.  The descending run he played at the end of his verse, described as notes of the scale would be I-bVII-V-bIII-I-I, and could be played at third fret of the second string to first fret of the second string or fifth fret of the third string to second fret of the third string to bent third fret of the fourth string to open fourth string twice, with a little pause between the two low I notes
   * Kid Prince Moore played "Pickin' Low Cotton, pt.1" out of A position in standard tuning.  He has many or most of the characteristic A position sounds, such as doing a thumb wrap at the second fret of the sixth string under his IV7 (D7) chord, and doing a first fret hammer on the third string in his V7 (E7) chord.  One thing a bit unusual about Prince Kid Moore's playing here is that almost never puts the open sixth string in the bass under his E chord, choosing instead to play his bass in that chord at the second fret of the fourth string.
Thanks everyone, for participating, and I'll try to find another puzzler soon.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on March 16, 2015, 09:44:29 AM
Hi all,
I've got a new puzzler for you.  It involves two performances, and the first is by the Mississipi musician, Roosevelt Holts. Here is his performance of "Mean Conductor Blues":

Roosevelt Holts Mean Conductor Blues (1965) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCCBLd9vnDk#)

Well, well, well, baby, what's the matter here?
Well, well, well, what's the matter here?
Babe, I ain't got nobody feel my worried care

Well, sun gon' shine, my back door someday
Well, well, well, my back door someday
Well, the wind gon' change, blow my blues away

Well, mean conductor, won't let a poor man ride
Well, mean conductor, won't let a poor man ride
Well, mean old woman, won't treat a poor man right

Well, look-a-here, woman, what I got for you
Well, look-a-here, woman, what I got for you
Well, I done everything, poor old man can do

* What playing position/tuning did Roosevelt Holts use to play "Mean Conductor Blues"?

The second song is Joel Hopkins' "I Ain't Gonna Roll for the Big Hat Man No More".  Here is his performance:

https://youtu.be/Rsly0_3mGdM

Says, I ain't gonna roll for the big hat man no more
Well, I ain't gonna roll for the big hat man no more
There's a good time here, but it's better down the road, better down the road,
Good Lord, Good Lord, Lordy, Lordy, Lord

I ain't gonna tell nobody what the Santa Fe dones to me
Ain't gon' tell nobody what the Santa Fe done to me
Well, it take my rider and it set back after me
Good Lord, Good Lord, Lord, Lordy, Lord

Say, my poor Mama died in nineteen and twenty-four
Yes, my poor Mama died in nineteen and twenty-four
Sleepin' a long dream, to never speak no more
Yeeeeeeees, she leavin' in the mornin' so I can never see 'er no more

Says, I love my rider, tell the world I do
Says, I love my rider, tell the world I do, tell the world I do
Well, I hope someday that she come to love me too
Good Lord, Good Lord, Lordy, Lordy, Lord

Mmmmmmmmm, Lord, have mercy on me

If you take my rider, I won't get mad with you, won't get mad with you
Just like you takin' mine, I'll take someone's, too

Pleeeeeeease, baby, please not raise your hand
Say, please, ma'am, baby, said, please not raise your hand
'Cause, you know you leavin', you, on account of your man
Good Lord, Good Lord, Good Lord, Lordy, Lordy, Lord

Say, the blues ain't nothin' but a green man feelin' bad
Well, the blues ain't nothin' but a green man feelin' bad
You know, it must not a-been then, the worried blues I had

Gonna leave here walkin', talkin' to myself
Gonna leave here walkin', talkin' to myself
Talkin' to the woman I'm lookin' for, I don't want nobody else
Mmmmmm, Good Lord, Good Lord, Lordy, Lordy, Lord

Don't take my baby and I won't get mad with you
Don't take my baby and I won't get mad with you
Just like you taken mine, I'm gonna take someone's, too

   * What playing position/tuning did Joel Hopkins use to play "I Ain't Gonna Roll for the Big Hat Man No More'?

Please use only your ears and instruments to arrive at your answers, and please don't post any answers before Wednesday morning, March 18.  Thanks for participating, and I hope you enjoy the songs.

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on March 19, 2015, 03:36:44 AM
No takers yet, so time for another heroic failure to start the ball rolling. So I'm going to day Half Spanish for the first one and Vestapol for the second!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: roig on March 19, 2015, 09:01:44 AM
If by half spanish you mean dgdgbe then I would have to agree!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: eric on March 19, 2015, 09:52:58 AM
I'm in the Prof Scratchy camp on I Ain't Gonna Roll for the Big Hat Man No More:
Vestapol, capo iv.  Great title by the way.  Make that capo at the 2nd fret, or tuned high.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: blueshome on March 19, 2015, 10:26:19 AM
Vastapol for the Hopkins. 1st feels like G, not smart enough to figure is its droppedG.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: banjochris on March 19, 2015, 03:09:04 PM
I'll second (or third or fourth) Prof Scratchy!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: frankie on March 19, 2015, 04:18:19 PM
Roosevelt Holts sounds like std tuning, G position to me...  no V below the tonic and there's a moment at about 1:50 where he plays a G7 with a B in the bass (rocks back and forth between B-flat and B) that's a cinch in std... possible but not as cool under the hand in half-spanish.

The Joel Hopkins seems at first a safe bet for something vestapol-like...  except... is it just me, or is the major third on the 3rd string notably absent from that recording? Not even sure I hear it as part of the brush... Tons of activity on the 1st an 2nd strings, and man... does that guy enjoy his cuddle time on the I chord or what?

Listening again, you can hear him arpeggiate the tuning in the first few seconds - low to high: E B E E B E

dubya tee EFF! go figure...
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: eric on March 19, 2015, 04:47:44 PM
After what Frankie said, I'm not sure what's going on with the 3rd string there in that arpeggio, doesn't quite seem right for Vestapol...  :-\
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on March 20, 2015, 08:42:23 AM
Hi all,
I think enough people have responded to the last puzzler that it's okay to post the answers.  Here goes:
   * Roosevelt Holts did play "Mean Conductor Blues" out of G position in standard tuning, as Phil and Frankie had it.  This was a tough identification, I think, because so much of what Holts plays, especially up the neck, comes right out of Bo Carter's bag of tricks in DGDGBE tuning.  However, he never hits the low V note in the bass that would be available if he were playing in DGDGBE tuning in the key of G.  Instead, he hits a low E note, at :55, 1:21, 1:28 and 2:01.  The time he hits the low E note at 1:21 is particularly telling, because he is up the neck rocking between a G out of the D shape and a C7, up around the 7th fret, and couldn't possibly fret the sixth string at the second fret at the same time, which is what he would have to do to get an E note if he was in DGDGBE tuning.  Also, in the passage from 1:45--1:55, he holds an F note for a G7 at the first fret of the first string while rocking between a Bb and a B on the fifth string.  In G standard, that move is right under the hand, as Frank noted, but in DGDGBE it would require holding the first fret of the first string while rocking between the third and fourth frets of the fifth string--not impossible, but durned awkward and non-intuitive. 
One thing Holts does up the neck in G that is so nifty:  In rocking between the G and C7 chord on the top three strings, Bo moves between 7-8-7 for his G chord and 9-8-6 for his C7 chord.  Holts frets the G chord as Bo did, a D-shaped 7-8-7, but for his C7, goes from 0-8-6 on the first three strings to 0-8-0, popping back and forth between the 7th of the C7 chord, Bb, at the 6th fret of the first string and the 3rd of the C7 chord, E, located at the open first string.  This moves sounds so terrific--try it out!  I'm not accustomed to hearing someone "out-clever" Bo Carter in Bo's own language, but I think Roosevelt Holts just may have done that here.  It reminds me a little bit of some of the nifty moves Ramblin' Thomas played in A, working in Lemon's language, but coming up with things Lemon never played, at least on record.
   * Joel Hopkins did play "I Ain't Gonna Roll for the Big Hat Man No More" in EBEEBE tuning as Frank pointed out--way to notice, Frank!  I can't claim to having sussed this out from the sounds of what Hopkins does in the course of his rendition.  Rather, at the very front end of the piece, before he starts playing the song, he briefly plays his open strings from the sixth to the first, and that's what he plays.  It certainly does account for his very droney, open sound and complete lack of a third in his I chord (which he never leaves).  I have never heard of anyone else using this tuning, but it would certainly make figuring out what Joel Hopkins played easy, because he free-hands the whole thing, essentially playing slide without a slide.

Thanks to all who participated in these puzzlers, which I thought were really not easy at all.  I'll try to find some more to post soon.

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: roig on March 20, 2015, 10:45:13 AM
dang.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on March 20, 2015, 10:59:13 AM
Double dang. Mind you, there's no way I could have worked out the second one!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: One-Eyed Ross on March 21, 2015, 04:17:46 PM
I didn't type a response, but was thinking G std and then Vestapol for the second, which was wrong I can see.  Missed that double E ....not a tuning I'm familiar with, which might account for missing it.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: frankie on March 22, 2015, 08:52:38 AM
I don't think it's familiar to anyone, really...  frankly,  a tuning that consists entirely of the root and the fifth doesn't strike me as automatically sonically interesting...  Hopkins' singing and playing is interesting over and above the tuning, really. (maybe in spite of it?)
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: One-Eyed Ross on March 22, 2015, 09:20:15 AM
I don't think it's familiar to anyone, really......  Hopkins' singing and playing is interesting over and above the tuning, really. (maybe in spite of it?)

Possibly one of the reasons he is famous and I am not?
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: waxwing on March 22, 2015, 10:12:45 AM
Googling, there seem to be some post war uses of the tuning by Stephen Stills (4 & 20, Carry On, and possibly Sweet Judy Blue Eyes) and reportedly by Nick Drake (which younger Weenies may be aware of?). A few others are mentioned. How any of them came upon the tuning is a mystery to me.

Wax
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: frankie on March 22, 2015, 11:25:03 AM
Possibly one of the reasons he is famous and I am not?

You're probably exactly as famous as Joel Hopkins, but that's not really the point... :)
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on March 22, 2015, 02:51:09 PM
Hi all,
It occurs to me that it's worth pointing out that IDing the tuning Joel Hopkins used was not a function of recognizing the sound of the tuning as it was being played in the course of the tune, but rather, simply listening to Hopkins strumming across his open strings at the beginning of the track and remarking upon the sound of those open strings.  Everything else derives from that.  He basically gave the tuning right there.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: frankie on March 22, 2015, 02:54:30 PM
simply listening to Hopkins strumming across his open strings at the beginning of the track and remarking upon the sound of those open strings.  Everything else derives from that.  He basically gave the tuning right there.

precisely.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: eric on March 22, 2015, 03:11:16 PM
That's why I figured Vestapol; I just wasn't sharp enough to catch the 3rd string.  No pun intended...
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: waxwing on March 22, 2015, 03:57:04 PM
Hi all,
It occurs to me that it's worth pointing out that IDing the tuning Joel Hopkins used was not a function of recognizing the sound of the tuning as it was being played in the course of the tune, but rather, simply listening to Hopkins strumming across his open strings at the beginning of the track and remarking upon the sound of those open strings.  Everything else derives from that.  He basically gave the tuning right there.
All best,
Johnm

I thought you made that pretty clear in your original explanation, Johnm, which makes me think you could be referring to my wondering where Stills or Drake might have learned the tuning? Are either of them known as deep listeners to extremely obscure country blues recordings? I don't really know, but from discussions I found on a guitar forum of some ilk, it is, apparently, a "known" tuning, at least by some (not me). My googling was in response to your original statement that you "have never heard of anyone else using this tuning." Just made me curious so I did a search.

Wax
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on March 22, 2015, 04:32:01 PM
Nope, it had nothing to do with your post, Wax.  It had to do with people saying they could not have figured the song out because they had never heard of the tuning before.  Neither had I.  I just heard him play the open strings and said, "Huh, how about that?"
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: One-Eyed Ross on March 22, 2015, 07:05:50 PM
That gives my ears more credit then they deserve, John....
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Mr.OMuck on March 23, 2015, 03:34:56 AM
Is this in the same tuning ? Popped in my head right away.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mkRGF6azAA (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mkRGF6azAA)
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on March 23, 2015, 07:11:07 AM
That sounds like conventional Vestapol to me, Phil.  Reviewing Sister O. M. Terrell's titles, of her six, "Life Is A Problem" and "How Long" were in cross-note and all the others were in Vestapol.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on March 24, 2015, 07:15:17 AM
Hi all,
I've got a new puzzler for folks who are interested.  The first song is Memphis Minnie's version of "Georgia Skin Blues", for which she was joined by Joe McCoy.  Here is their rendition of the song:

https://youtu.be/hhZHwaQW5FM

SOLO

The reason I like the game, the game they call Georgia Skin
The reason I like the game, the game they call Georgia Skin
Because when you fall, you can really pick out again

When you lose your money, please don't lose your mind
When you lose your money, please don't lose your mind
Because each and every gambler gets in hard luck sometime

I had a man, he gambles all the time
I had a man, he gambles all the time
He played the dice so in vain, until he like to lost his mind

Out of the games I know, give me Georgia Skin
Out of the games I know, give me Georgia Skin
Because the womens can play, where also is the men

I picked that jack of diamonds, I played 'im on down to the end
I picked that jack of diamonds, I played 'im on down to the end
That's why I say I like the game called Georgia Skin

Mmmmmm, give me Georgia Skin
Mmmmmm, give me Georgia Skin
Because the womens can play, where also is the men

SOLO

The question on "Georgia Skin Blues" is:
   * What position/tuning was each of the players using to play the song?

The second song is Buddy Moss's "Blue Shadow Falling".  Here is his performance:

Buddy Moss, Blue shadow falling (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aW4GKqn786k#ws)

INTRO

Blue shadow falling, and my baby going away
Blue shadow falling, and my baby going away
Well now, the blues is my companion, every night and every day

Well, please talk to me, baby, if it's on your telephone
Please talk to me, baby, if it's on your telephone
Well, let me tell you how I feel the blues today, how it feels to be alone

SOLO

Here are the questions on "Blue Shadow Falling":
   * What position/tuning did Buddy Moss use to play the song?
   * Where is he fretting the two-string harmony bend from :19--:22?
   * Where does he fret the transition into the tenth bar of the form, from 1:49--1:52?

Please use only your ears and instruments to arrive at your answers, and please don't post any answers before Thursday morning, March 26.  Thanks, and I hope you enjoy the songs.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: eric on March 27, 2015, 07:47:10 AM
Time for another embarrassing guess.  On Georgia Skin, I think one guitar is playing out of G position capoed at the 2nd fret.  Maybe in Spanish? But I'm not that conversant in that tuning.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: blueshome on March 27, 2015, 09:07:18 AM
Not got a guitar handy but,
Minnie G standard; Joe G standard
Buddy - E standard. No guitar so no chance on the other questions.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Gumbo on March 27, 2015, 12:12:17 PM
On Georgia Skin I think the rhythm guitar is playing in G position capo'd at 2 while the lead lines are played from A position both standard tuning.

The opening riff of the Buddy MOSS track does sound easily on the E string in standard but after that I'm lost.

EDITED to save some semblance of credibility coz it sure ain't Buddy Guy
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: banjochris on March 27, 2015, 02:32:34 PM
I do believe --
Minnie: Spanish
Joe: A standard

Buddy: E standard, tuned low
on the first and third strings, third fret
and I don't have a guitar handy so I'm not figuring out that A run!

Chris
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: frankie on March 27, 2015, 04:53:52 PM
I do believe --
Minnie: Spanish
Joe: A standard

Buddy: E standard, tuned low
on the first and third strings, third fret
and I don't have a guitar handy so I'm not figuring out that A run!

I'm with Chris - and I'll add that at 1:49, he starts with a walk up from the open fifth string:

0-2-3-4

arpeggiates the fourth string second fret, third string open and second string open (an A9 arpeggio, one could say)

While the second string is still ringing, he walks up on the fourth string:

0-1

Then strikes the open second string again, followed by the third string second fret, and a hammer from the open third string to the first fret, then strikes the first string open, anticipating the beat, and then a pinch on the open first and sixth strings.

Slick, slick, slick...

I have to say that I've used that A9 arpeggio a million times, but it NEVER would have occurred to me to put it together with the bass run up the major third of the V7 chord (the 0-1 on the fourth string under the open second string) - brilliant.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on March 28, 2015, 09:44:28 AM
Hi all,
It looks like all the responses are in on the Memphis Minnie/Buddy Moss puzzlers, so I'll post the answers.  For Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe's version of "Georgia Skin Blues":
   * Minnie was playing out of Spanish tuning, either tuned a full step above Joe or capoed two frets above him, and Joe was playing out of A position in standard tuning, as Chris and Frank heard it.  Joe has a characteristic A standard sound, coming up into the second fret of his sixth string for his IV chord, D, as so many players did when working out of A position.  His V7 chord, too, has an E7 sound, not the droney sound that a V7 chord in Spanish tuning has.  I've found myself wondering in recent years if Minnie played with a flat-pick on a number of her duets with Kansas Joe.  Everything you can hear her doing her is single-string runs in the treble or brush strokes of chords in the treble.  I don't hear her maintaining any kind of time-keeping in the bass at all--not that she needed to, for Joe had the bass handled completely.  I reckon we'll never know, but I'm curious nonetheless.
  *For Buddy Moss's rendition of "Blue Shadow Falling", he was working out of E position in standard tuning, though tuned pretty darn low.  I think everyone who responded on this one had that right.  From :19--:22, Buddy bends the first and third strings at the third fret, as Chris identified it.  It's really something to have such a simple effect sound so good.  The passage from 1:49--1:52 is described so accurately in Frank's response, in the post immediately prior to this one, that rather than re-describe it here, I'll just refer you to his description of the run.  That whole passage is such an ear-catcher; Buddy is converging on the I note (E) at the second fret of the fourth string from below and above simultaneously, walking up chromatically from the B note at the second fret of the fifth string through B and C#, then up through D and D# on the fourth string until he arrives at E.  From above, he hits the open second string at the top of the A9 arpeggio, hits the A note on the third string as he passes back through B7, hammers from G to G# on the third string as he moves to resolve back to E, and finally lands the second fret E on the fourth string.  It's like a lesson in the architecture of the blues--whew!  Buddy had such a crisp touch, and his vocal instrument at this period of his life was kind of amazing.  Had he been so inclined, he could have been a great Pop Jazz singer like Billy Eckstine or Johnny Hartman or Lou Rawls.

Thanks to all who participated, and I'll try to find another puzzler soon.

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on March 28, 2015, 04:10:55 PM
Hi all,
I like to transcribe the lyrics of the puzzler songs, and I'm stumped on a little phrase in the tagline of the last verse of Buddy Moss's "Blue Shadow Falling".  I'd very much appreciate some fresh ears to listen to it and any help anyone could give.  Thanks!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: eric on March 28, 2015, 08:25:58 PM
That's a tough one.  How about:

Let me tell you how it [feeled yesterday], how it feeled to be alone.


Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: banjochris on March 28, 2015, 11:47:55 PM
Hi all,
I like to transcribe the lyrics of the puzzler songs, and I'm stumped on a little phrase in the tagline of the last verse of Buddy Moss's "Blue Shadow Falling".  I'd very much appreciate some fresh ears to listen to it and any help anyone could give.  Thanks!

That really is a puzzler! Maybe "how I feel blue today"?
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on March 29, 2015, 03:11:15 AM
I hear: Let me tell you how it feels when you do it, How it feels to be alone
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Gumbo on March 29, 2015, 07:17:47 AM
Something like:

Let me tell you how I feel if you're t' feel, ah, how it feels to be alone

except " t'feel, ah " sounds more like " t'feeder "  :-\
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on March 29, 2015, 09:30:24 AM
Hi all,
Thanks for all of the suggestions.  I just re-listened to the passage, and I think I have it:

   Well, let me tell you how I FEEL THE BLUES TODAY, how it feels to be alone

See if that is what it sounds like for you all.

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on March 31, 2015, 10:35:00 AM
Hi all,
I have a new puzzler for any folks who might be interested.  The first song is Arthur Weston's "Stack O' Dollar".  Weston was a St. Louis musician who recorded one album for Testament which may still be available on CD.  Boy, was he good!  Here is Arthur Weston's performance of the song:

Arthur Weston - Stack O' Dollar (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9qPso6FGR8#)

Stack of dollar, stack of dollar, long as I am tall, Lordy Lord
Stack of dollar, stack of dollar, long as I am tall

Be my woman, be my woman, you can have them all, Lordy Lord
Be my woman, be my woman, you can have them all

Stack of dollar, stack of dollar, take me where I'm goin', Lordy Lord
Take stacks of dollar, stacks of dollars, take me far, I'm goin'

Here's a woman, here's a woman, can I get a job wit' you, Lordy Lord
Ain't got no money, got no money, got no money, found no way to do

Take stacks of dollars, take stacks of dollars, take me where I'm goin', Lordy Lord
Take stacks of dollars, take stacks of dollars, take me where I'm goin'

I have two questions with regard to "Stack O' Dollar":
   * What position/tuning did Arthur Weston use to play "Stack O' Dollar"?
   * What possible position is eliminated as a possibility by what you can hear Weston doing from :08--:12 on the track?

The second song is Rev. Robert Wilkins' performance of "Holy Ghost Train".  Here it is:

Rev. Robert Wilkins - Holy Ghost Train (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8olIDGNb6AM#)

SOLO

REFRAIN: If this ain't the Holy Ghost, I don't know, and it just (guitar)
If this ain't the Holy Ghost, I don't know, and it just suits me
If this ain't the Holy Ghost, I don't know, never felt such a love before
And it just suits me

SOLO

Old John saw the train a-comin', and it just (guitar)
Old John saw the train a-comin', and it just suits me
Old John saw the train a-comin', got on board and never stopped runnin'
And it just suits (guitar)

REFRAIN: If this ain't the Holy Ghost, I don't know, and it just suits (guitar)
If this ain't the Holy Ghost, I don't know, and it just suits me
If this ain't the Holy Ghost, I don't know, I never felt such a love before
And it just (guitar)

Old Peter saw that train a-comin', and it just suits (guitar)
Old Peter saw that train a-comin', and it just suits me
Old Peter saw that train a-comin', he got on board and it never stopped runnin'
And it just suits (guitar)

REFRAIN: If this ain't the Holy Ghost, I don't know, and it just suits (guitar)
If this ain't the Holy Ghost, I don't know, and it just suits me
If this ain't the Holy Ghost, I don't know, I never felt such a love before
And it just (guitar)

SOLO

REFRAIN: If this ain't the Holy Ghost, I don't know, and it just suits (guitar)
If this ain't the Holy Ghost, I don't know, and it just suits me
If this ain't the Holy Ghost, I don't know, I never felt such a love before
And it just suits me

SOLO

REFRAIN: If this ain't the Holy Ghost, I don't know, and it just suits (guitar)
If this ain't the Holy Ghost, I don't know, and it just suits me
If this ain't the Holy Ghost, I don't know, I never felt such a love before
And it just suits me

SOLO

The only question re "Holy Ghost Train" is:
   * What playing position/tuning did Robert Wilkins use to play "Holy Ghost Train"?

Please use only your ears and instruments to arrive at your answers and please don't post any responses until Thursday morning, April 2.  Thanks for participating, and I hope you enjoy the songs.

All best,
Johnm

Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: harriet on April 03, 2015, 05:28:01 AM
I have no clue on the first.

Not much of an answer but the Wilkins it sounds like vestapol to me, a similar melody to wished I was in heaven but it could be he's playing the notes in another tuning like Spanish - I cant tell - be interested in the correct answer.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: blueshome on April 03, 2015, 05:39:40 AM
Cross-note, tuned down. He adjusts the 3rd string to below the 3rd of the scale.
Vastapol/F
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Lyndvs on April 03, 2015, 06:07:12 AM
Arthur Weston-Crossnote.At 8-12 secs.He plucks/adjusts his fourth string open to tune it to the same note an octave higher as  his sixth string open(I`m counting sixth string as lowest and  first string as  highest treble string),it  becomes a root note -eliminates the possibility of the tune being played out of "E" position.
Wilkins sounds like Vastapol to me too.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on April 03, 2015, 04:54:09 PM
Hi all,
Any other takers on the Arthur Weston/Robert Wilkins puzzlers?  Come one, come all--answer both or whichever one you want.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: roig on April 03, 2015, 06:50:17 PM
Seems like everyone's got Wilkins' vestapol tuning. Just a random thought, it's interesting that he chose to play  'slide-less' on this one  - sounds like a slide would've worked well on that arrangement (still sounds great of course!) plus he recorded a number of fine vestapol slide tunes on those 1964 session.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on April 04, 2015, 01:24:44 AM
Yes, vestapol for the second one. But I was totally foxed by the first one. Kudos to blueshome and lyndvs !
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on April 04, 2015, 09:59:16 AM
Hi all,
Well, it seems as though everyone who wanted to post on the Arthur Weston/Robert Wilkins puzzlers has done so by now, so I'll post the answers.  I'll go out of order:
   * Robert Wilkins' "Holy Ghost Train" was played out of Vestapol, just as Harriet had it in the first post and all of the other posters agreed.  Well done!  Roi's observation that Rev. Wilkins' guitar part is essentially playing slide without a slide is spot on, too.  There are a surprising number of tunes that could aptly be described that way--I've always put John Hurt's "Payday" in that category, and Vestapol seems to lend itself to that approach better than does Spanish tuning, though Libba Cotten's version of "Spanish Flangdang" falls squarely in that category, too.
   * Arthur Weston's "Stack of Dollar" was a subtle one, I think.  Lyndvs correctly observed that the passage from :08--:12 eliminates E position in standard tuning as a possible playing position for the song, because you can hear Arthur Weston tuning his fourth string to a I note, an octave above his sixth string.  Once E position in standard position has been eliminated from the running as a possible playing position, what you're left with as possible playing positions are those tunings in which the I note is located on the sixth, fourth and first strings, and which allow for a hammer to the major third note at the first fret of the third string, which Weston employs throughout his rendition.  (The fact that he has to hammer to get the major third note eliminates Vestapol as a possibility, because in Vestapol the third string is already tuned to the major third.)

This sort of progressive process of elimination, then, leaves two possibilities for tuning/playing position:  cross-note and EAEGBE.  The distinction between the two tunings is next to impossible to pick out in Weston's rendition because he avoids the fifth string in his guitar part, and the fifth string is where the difference between cross-note and EAEGBE tuning resides.  I listened to this song a lot, and as far as I could hear, the only time he strikes the fifth string at all is when he strums a I chord at the conclusion of his rendition, at 2:01 just as it creeps into 2:02.  When he makes that strum, I can hear a low IV note in the chord, which would be the open fifth string, were he in EAEGBE tuning, with him fretting the chord like so:
0-0-0-1-0-0.  This happens to be precisely the same fingering you would use to play a I major chord in cross-note.  Weston didn't compensate for his EAEGBE tuning by fretting the second fret of his fifth string for the final I chord, thus the IV note on the open fifth string is a non-chordal tone.

In a way, I'm straining at gnats here.  Arthur Weston does not hit the fifth string even once in the course of the body of his rendition, and for a one-chord song like his rendition of "Stack of Dollar", cross-note actually makes more sense than does the EAEGBE tuning.  Everything that is fretted in the guitar part, and it all lies on the first three strings, sits in exactly the same place in cross-note as it does in EAEGBE tuning.  So I guess the final point would be, if you wanted to figure out this song, either cross-note or EAEGBE would work and would be fretted the same for the body of the song.  In a way, what is more compelling to me is the question of what the heck Arthur Weston was doing in his right hand!  Incidentally, his CD is called "Pea Vine Whistle" and is on Testament.  I would give it a very high recommendation, and I reviewed it in the "Blues in St. Louis" thread in the Main Forum.

Thanks to all who participated in the puzzler, congratulations to Lyndvs for picking up on a very subtle distinction and I will look for some more songs to post as puzzlers soon.  Onward and upward!

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: roig on April 04, 2015, 10:18:50 AM
Interesting thing, Wilkins' approach to slide playing. Seems like he didn't really view it as an absolute necessity.

One of Wilkins' main slide tunes was "In Heaven Sitting Down" - and I like how "Heaven" was included in the narrative of his 1969 talking-train masterpiece "Streamline 'Frisco Limited", this time played without a slide and sounds just as good.

Oh well, I guess when you're especially crazy about someone's music you start paying attentions to details like that.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: frankie on April 04, 2015, 12:29:08 PM
the only time he strikes the fifth string at all is when he strums a I chord at the conclusion of his rendition, at 2:01 just as it creeps into 2:02.  When he makes that strum, I can hear a low IV note in the chord, which would be the open fifth string, were he in EAEGBE tuning, with him fretting the chord like so:
0-0-0-1-0-0.  This happens to be precisely the same fingering you would use to play a I major chord in cross-note.  Weston didn't compensate for his EAEGBE tuning by fretting the second fret of his fifth string for the final I chord, thus the IV note on the open fifth string is a non-chordal tone.

That is REALLY easy to miss - way to go, John!

and thanks for the reminder about Arthur Weston...  amazing..  and a sometime playing pal of Big Joe - that's exciting stuff!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on April 08, 2015, 01:33:50 PM
Hi all,
I have a new puzzler for you.  It's been a while since we had a single puzzler, and I thought of someone who might be a good candidate:  Peetie Wheatstraw with his "Sleepless Night Blues".  Wheatstraw was very popular in his day and died young in a car wreck.  Vocally, especially, he was hugely influential, with a mannerism that most of the blues singers of his day worked out their own versions of.  He's relatively forgotten nowadays, probably because of a much more guitar-centric listening audience than he had when he was recording, but to be fair, his recorded repertoire can be quite repetitious at times, with a host of songs sharing the same accompaniment and melody, with only the lyrics differing.  In any event, "Sleepless Nights" is a very strong performance by Peetie Wheatstraw, and here it is:

https://youtu.be/98fWcl9LQ5o

The questions on "Sleepless Nights Blues" are"
   * What playing position/tuning did Peetie Wheatstraw use to play "Sleepless Nights Blues?"
   * Where did he fret the single string passage with which he opens the song, from :00--:07?
   * What is the chord he continually rocks to from his I chord, as at :14, and where did he fret it?

Please use only your ears and your musical instruments to arrive at your answers, and please don't post any answers before Friday morning, April 10, so that plenty of people get an opportunity to listen to the track and come up with their own answers.  Thanks for participating.

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Gumbo on April 09, 2015, 04:15:09 PM
How easy it is to forget the pleasure of listening to just one side of a 78 at a time!

here's the lyrics minus one phrase in the third verse

Now let me tell you I'd like to see my baby now
I said let me tell you I'd like to see my baby now
I bet i'd want to see her - hoo-mm lord you don't know how

Well I know my little woman she can't sleep at night
Hoo-hoo know my sweet woman, she can't sleep at night
Well now she got it in her mind and her man gonna treat her right

Ba-ba-baby you may look for me most any day
Baby-babay you may look for me most any day
Well bay-darling mama hoo-hoo I ain't gonna ?? it away

INST Verse

Now-how would you feel, baby, now if i come home today
Well now how would you feel, baby if i come home today
You wouldn't have no time little mama but pass the time away

Hoo-hoo look for me tomorrow I'll be home I'm  sure
Look for me tomorrow Baby, now I will be home I'm  sure
I want you to hug and kiss me baby, now when I come walkin' in your door
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on April 10, 2015, 08:16:28 AM
Thanks for the transcription, Gumbo.  I'm hearing a couple of things differently.

   2.3 Well, now SHE'S got it in her mind THAT her man AIN'T GON' treat her right

In 3.3, the missing portion is, I think,
   3.3 . . . , I ain't gonna STAY away

Peetie Wheatstraw sticks that intervallic "r" between "stay" and "away", so it sounds almost like "stayr away".

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Gumbo on April 10, 2015, 04:37:12 PM
I agree with everything except the AIN'T in 2.3 there, Johnm. Much as it makes sense, I find it hard to imagine anything between the man and the Gon'. Was Peetie inclined to play with our expectations? I admit I'm quite taken with the idea of the woman in question lying awake because she's gon' get treated right! Call me romantic if you like!

I realised it's not just listening to one side at a time that helps us to appreciate this track. The copy used for the document CD actually jumps a few times so it's especially nice to hear this upload. 
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: eric on April 10, 2015, 04:45:19 PM
Batting about .100 so far but here goes:
Quote
* What playing position/tuning did Peetie Wheatstraw use to play "Sleepless Nights Blues?"
E position Capo 2
Quote
* Where did he fret the single string passage with which he opens the song, from :00--:07?
4th string second fret to ninth fret
Quote
* What is the chord he continually rocks to from his I chord, as at :14, and where did he fret it?
You got me there.  The chords he's rocking from sounds like a first positions E shape at capo 2; the one he's rocking to maybe some form of first position B7? 
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Gumbo on April 10, 2015, 04:52:21 PM
OK even though I can't quite figure out the last question (which often means I'm trying to fit the playing into the wrong tuning) I'm going to hazard G position in Standard but tuned low to sound in F#.
The opening run sounds, therefore, like
4th (D) string
s5-12
12 9
8 5 3 0 (5th string) 2 (6th string) 3
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Lyndvs on April 11, 2015, 03:05:24 AM
"E" POSITION ?.
SINGLE STRING PASSAGE 0-7 SECS.:4TH STRING SLIDE FROM FRET 5 TO FRET 9.THEN 4TH STRING FIFTH FRET SLIGHT BEND THEN FOURTH STRING SECOND FRET THEN FOURTH STRING OPEN.THEN SECOND STRING  2ND FRET THEN SECOND STRING OPEN .FINALLY SIXTH STRING 3RD FRET SLIGHT BEND THEN SIXTH STRING OPEN ?.
THE ROCKING CHORD-A SORT OF B 7(?) BUT FRETTED AT JUST SECOND FRET 5TH STRING AND SECOND FRET THIRD STRING ?.
Forgive me-I realise I have typed this all in capitals-I`m not shouting just had caps lock on!!.Please I hope you all don`t mind if I just leave as is rather than re type.
A great song great guitar by Peetie reminds me a little of JDShort etc..
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on April 11, 2015, 03:22:37 PM
Hi all,
Any other takers on the Peetie Wheatstraw "Sleepless Nights" puzzler?  Come one, come all!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: EddieD on April 11, 2015, 04:27:43 PM
I just grabbed a guitar and quickly tried this. The pitch is F#, Eposition with a capo on second is how Im doing it. Well actually im not using a capo just playing F#/F#7 barred and rocking between that and a B barre on the second and forth frets. Or with the capo on the second fret E and A. I slid up on the 4 string for that single string line. Im not sure if he was actually playing it like that or in another tuning. But that's what I got so far with a quick listen.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: blueshome on April 12, 2015, 09:03:40 AM
Cross-note.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on April 12, 2015, 10:21:00 AM
Hi all,
Thanks to all of you who responded.  I think this one has been up long enough and I'll post the answers.  Here they are:
   * Playing position was E position in standard tuning.  Cross-note is pretty much eliminated as a possibility by the single-note run Peetie Wheatstraw played over the V chord in his opening solo, starting at around :17.  He hammers from a IV note to a V note, repeats the V note, goes up to the bVII note and from there back to the IV note.  In E standard this series of notes is relatively easily found, since the IV note and the bVII notes are the open fifth and fourth strings, respectively, so you'd hammer from the open fifth string to the second fret of the fifth string, hit that second fret again, hit the open fourth string and go back to the open fourth string.  The same passage in cross-note is really problematic, because in cross-note you've lost the IV and V notes from open strings in the bass, since you are R-5-R ascending from from the sixth string.  In a general sort of way, E standard is much more advantageously set up for playing pentatonic blues runs descending from the root on the fourth string to the root on the open sixth string.
   * The single-string run from :00--:07 is just as Eric and Eddie had it started and Lyndvs had it from beginning to end, spot on--well done!  I found the run really ear-catching because the slide from the second fret of the fifth string to the seventh fret of the fifth string is a common move in the style, sliding from the V note up to the I note.  This is the first time I can recall hearing someone playing in E position in standard tuning slide from the I note at the second fret of the fourth string up to the V note at the ninth fret of the fourth string.  Peetie Wheatstraw negotiates the whole thing admirably, and it's especially cool because at the tail end of the introductory solo he does the more commonly encountered slide from the second fret of the fifth string to the seventh fret and makes his way down from there, sort of answering his opening idea.
   * The position that Peetie Wheatstraw rocks to from his I chord at :14 and throughout the remainder of the song in the third bar of each four-bar phrase is  2-2-2 on the top three strings.  I reckon he may have just taken his index finger up from the first fret, where it was in his E chord, slid up one fret and flattened out, doing a partial barre at the second fret and brushing those top three strings.  That position could be analyzed a number of ways:  you could call it the top of a B9 chord, though it doesn't really sound like a ninth chord to me without the third of the chord, which would live at the first fret of the fourth string, and which Peetie is certainly not playing.  You could call it an A6 chord, which is more like what it sounds like to me--as A6, the chord would voice at as R-3-6, going from the third to the first string.  Or you could call it a IIminor chord, F#minor, in which case it would voice out bIII-5-R, going from the third to the first string.  To my way of hearing it sounds more like the IV6 chord or the IIminor chord, but it doesn't really matter what you call it as long as you get that sound, which is pretty distinctive.

One point which was discussed a while ago in the thread which may be worth mentioning again is that in figuring out the position/tuning in which songs are played, it is wise not place too much store on the pitch at which a rendition sounds, since it very often does not provide useful information for determining the playing position/tuning.  Between the use of capos and/or tuning significantly high or low to match up a preferred playing position to the key the player is most comfortable singing in, the key in which a rendition ends up sounding is finally almost a happenstance.  The way I've come to look at the whole issue is that the key a rendition sounds in is the key the player wanted to sing the song in, and the playing position/tuning is what the musician wanted to use to play the song.  When you factor in the realization that tuning high or low or using a capo has no bearing on the "sound identity" of a playing position/tuning, you become all the more aware of the extent to which the key in which a rendition sounds is close to immaterial in making a determination of the playing position/tuning the player used.

Thanks to all of you who participated, and I'll try to find another puzzler soon.

All best,
Johnm     
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: eric on April 12, 2015, 02:49:07 PM
Trying to work these out is really helpful for me and are kind of bonus as I work through the ear training DVD.  Worth doing, even when I don't get them right, or at all. Thanks for posting them, John.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on April 12, 2015, 03:26:32 PM
I'm glad you're enjoying them, Eric, and you got the Peetie Wheatstraw puzzler right, so you're moving in a good direction.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: EddieD on April 12, 2015, 08:11:01 PM
You know there are so many great lessons available for a lot of the music I love I have recently been neglecting picking out songs by ear. These challenges will be fun and will keep my ears sharp. I will try to participate when ever I can in these. I didn't have much time trying "sleepless nights" so it will be great to actually sit down and really work at it.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Lyndvs on April 13, 2015, 04:30:35 AM
That "rocking"chord really had me stumped!.John`s analysis of these songs really is an education-first class.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on April 14, 2015, 01:00:12 PM
Hi all,
I've got a new puzzler for you.  The song is Walter Roland and Sonny Scott's rendition of "Frisco Blues, take one".  It's a ripping duet and Walter Roland, in the lead guitar role, does some really innovative and great-sounding moves.  Here is the duo's rendition:

Walter Roland And Sonny Scott - Frisco Blues (Take 1) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2O4LjR14C5A#)

SOLO

I'm worried now and I won't be worried long
I'm worried now and I won't be worried long
The woman I love, Lord, she caught the Frisco and gone

SOLO

Have you ever heard that lovin' Frisco blow?
You ever heard that lovin' Frisco blow?
You ever heard that lovin' Frisco blow?
Blows just like she ain't gonna blow no more

(SPOKEN: Play the Frisco, man, play it!  See that Frisco train!)
SOLO X 3

Mmmmm, Lord have mercy on me
Mmmmm, Lord have mercy on me
I'm just worried and blue as I can be

(SPOKEN: Play the Frisco, mister!)
SOLO X 3

Here are the questions on "Frisco Blues":
   * What position/tuning are the two guitarists using to play the song?
   * Where is Walter Roland fretting what he plays over the I chord in the first four bars of his solo pass which he starts with pick-up notes at the end of the form around 2:33?
   * Describe how he fingered what you hear him playing in the passage referred to in the last question.

As always, please use only your ears and your instruments to arrive at your answers, and please don't post any answers until Thursday morning, April 16, so that plenty of people have a chance to listen to the cut and come up with their own answers.  Thanks for participating and I hope you enjoy the song.

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: EddieD on April 15, 2015, 09:07:42 PM
It's the wee hours of the morning of the 16th here on the east coast of Canada so here is what I have so far:

 Walter Roland and Sonny Scott's rendition of "Frisco Blues, take one"

Seems to be in D in first position. Possible Drop D tuning on at least one guitar.

The song starts off by hitting the D7 a few times

Kind of rocking around on the D7 hitting notes on the 3rd fret on the second and first strings or
maybe the e string open sometimes.

There is a riff that goes from the D7 to the F in a D shape on the 5th and 6th frets.

Im having trouble nailing down exactly how this is played.
I have something that sounds close but I can tell it's not quite correct.

The chord progression seems to be D7 G7 D7, A/A7/A, D7 ...in a nutshell anyway haha

As far as hearing two guitars I find it hard to tell with this recording. Sounds like one may be in drop D playing basic
chord forms but with lots of low bass strings

I know you said pitch isnt really nessasary but Capo on the second fret to play along with the song this way for a pitch of E.


Here is a tab of sort of what I mean for the D7
Code: [Select]
e--2-2-2-2--2-2-3-2-
b--1-1-3-1--1-1-1-1-
g--2-2-2-2--2-2-2-2-
d--0---0-0--0---0-0-
a--0--------0-------
D--0--------0-------
It works but doesnt seem right to me.

Anyway, Im interested to see if I am close or not ;) Now time for some sleep.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Lyndvs on April 16, 2015, 01:30:32 AM
Walter Roland:d position
Sonny Scott:g position-I find it hard to hear not too sure of this.
I think at 2.33 Walter is fretting at the 5th fret 1st string,sixth fret(with slight bend) second string and alternating between 7th fret  second string and 7th fret third string.I think he does this by fretting the fifth fret 1st string with his index and bending the second string 6th fret with his middle finger then just sliding his middle finger over to bar the 7th frets of the second and third string-I think he starts the move with a short slide into the 6th fret bend on the second string.
At one point i thought he may be playing 11th fret third string and 10th fret  2nd string and alternating with the second and third string at the seventh fret but gave up on this as I think he is capoed and this may be too awkward.Also I think I hear that slight bend in there.
Reminds me a little of bullfrog blues.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on April 16, 2015, 04:25:17 PM
Hi all,
I will be off-line until Monday evening, so that leaves plenty of times for folks to listen and respond to the Walter Roland/Sonny Scott puzzler.  I look forward to re-visiting the thread when I return.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Gumbo on April 17, 2015, 04:21:33 PM
Wow this is a tricky one to pick the bones out of!

From the opening chords I think the rhythm (sonny) is played in C position with a capo on 4 if we're in concert standard tuning (we might be after all).

Walter could very well be playing out of D position, as Lyndvs and EddieD have it.

Johnm, much as you recommend that we don't focus on the sounding key (E in this case) and go for the sound of the playing position,  it seems hard to do that until I get to recognise a particular pattern (I'm beginning to spot the long A intervals for example). so if this sounds in E then I'm looking for E position, D position two frets up, C position 4 frets up etc and then either going YES! when I find it or getting stuck as it doesn't sound right, and wondering about the many possible alt tunings. I don't play other tunings much if ever so i'm limiting myself there.

the 2.33 seems to be a jump up from D position to the F at 5th fret but it's murky as pond weed at a skinny dipping party, so the fingering will have to be left foe someone else to explain!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on April 21, 2015, 09:16:14 AM
Hi all,
Well, it seems like as many as are going to respond on the "Frisco Blues" puzzler have responded, so I'll post the answers. 
   * Both Walter Roland and Sonny Scott played the song out of D position in standard tuning.  Sonny Scott is pretty hard to hear, but for the most part, he is playing boom-chang back-up, alternating between the open fifth string and the second fret of the sixth string for his I chord (D), and occasionally doing a little boogie run under the IV chord, G, moving from third fret of the sixth string to the second fret of the fifth string, the open fourth string, second fret of the fourth string and the open third string.  One of the really impressive things about Sonny Scott's unassuming back-up is that Walter Roland changes the phrasing of the form over the course of the rendition, and when a lead player phrases irregularly, it is the way the seconding player hears and responds to the irregularities that makes the difference in whether the duo moves smoothly through the song or has various speed bumps, stumbles or train wrecks.  Sonny Scott is flawless in his back-up, and as a result, Walter Roland sounds all that much more like an ace.
   * In the passage beginning around 2:33, for the first four bars of that pass through the form, Walter Roland moves from a D shape at the fifth fret, 5-6-5, going from the third string to the first string, down to a D at the base of the neck, 2-3-2, back up to the fifth fret, back down to the second, back up to the fifth fret, accenting it twice, then down to the second fret, but landing on a D7, 2-1-2, which he rocks rapidly into a D, 2-3-2 and back to the D7, concluding the four bars there.  EddieD and Gumbo both caught this move, in the main, well done!

The cool thing about this move is that when you take any three-note voicing of a major triad and move it up three frets, keeping the shape intact and a low root in the bass, you end up with a minor seventh chord off of that same root.  In this instance, Walter Roland is voicing his low root on the open fourth string.  His D at the base of the neck is voiced Root-5-3, moving from the third string to the first.  In moving that D shape up to the fifth fret, he winds up at frets 5-6-5, with a Dm7 chord which is voiced root on the open fourth string and then bVII-bIII-5 on the top three strings.  Rocking between a major chord and its minor seventh chord (or vice versa, as in this case) is a striking sound, and its relatively easy to achieve in such an instance because you're moving the left hand shape intact.  For an example of another playing using this device, but in another key, listen to Lil' Son Jackson's "No Money, No Love', for which he utilizes the very same concept, but working out of A position in standard tuning.
   * Walter Roland's fingering for the passage in question would require him to finger the D shape with his second or middle finger fretting the third string, his little or fourth finger fretting the second string, and his third or ring finger fretting the first string.  That arrangement leaves his index or first finger free so that when he goes to the D7 shape near the end of the passage it allows him to move really quickly from the D7 to the D and back, just by fretting the second string with his little finger and then lifting it, going back to the index finger fretting the second string.  If you listen to the rendition from the beginning to the end, Walter Roland uses this fingering and division of labor in the left hand for all of his playing over the D chord, and it allows him to move rapidly from an open second string to the first fret and the third fret, seamlessly, as well as occasionally picking up the third fret of the first string with his little finger.  It is really a slick solution to playing in the D position and figuring out a quick way to go back and forth from D to D7.

Thanks to EddieD, Lyndvs and Gumbo for participating and I'll look for another puzzler to post soon.

All best,
Johnm 
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: waxwing on April 21, 2015, 10:20:41 AM
Another good one, as usual, Johnm.

Just wanted to point out that Scrapper Blackwell uses this same fingering for his I chord in Back Door Blues to even more varied effect, using the index to finger the bIII on the 1st str. 1st fret as well, playing runs on the 1st and 2nd strings and going up to the 5th fret position for some riffs around that position to boot. This song was also discussed in the circle of 5ths thread because he (sometimes) substitutes a nifty walk down in 5ths for his V chord. Interestingly both Roland and Blackwell played with Josh White (answer to question in the Euroweenie quiz, BTW) but I'm not familiar enough with White's work to know if he used similar figures.

Wax
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: EddieD on April 21, 2015, 11:53:40 AM
I'm looking forward to the next one Johnm!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: eric on April 21, 2015, 03:51:10 PM
My excuse is I was traveling, but the truth is I had a tough time with this one.  I look forward to the next one.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on April 22, 2015, 03:01:05 AM
Same excuse as Eric. Now back home - so no excuses for the next one.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on April 22, 2015, 01:47:26 PM
Hi all,
I have a new puzzler for you.  The first song is Johnnie Head's "Fare Thee Blues, Part 1".  Here is his performance of parts 1 and 2 of the song:

https://youtu.be/770NBFt1dZU

KAZOO INTRO

When you hear me sing this song, babe, I ain't gonna be here long
Fare thee, high brown, fare thee
A-when you hear me sing this song, babe, I ain't gonna be here long
Fare thee, honey, fare thee

I'm gonna see you in the Spring, honey, when the birds begin to sing
Fare thee, high brown, fare thee
I'm gonna see you in the Fall, when you won't have no man at all
Fare thee, honey, fare thee

KAZOO SOLO

I left her standing on the hill, crying, "Daddy, I love you still."
Fare thee, high brown, fare thee
I left her standing on the hill, crying, "Daddy, I love you still."
Fare thee, honey, fare thee

I'm gonna see you, babe, way late, when your love have turned to hate
Fare thee, high brown, fare thee
I'm gonna see you, babe, way late, when your love have turned to hate
Fare thee, honey, fare thee

KAZOO SOLO

The questions on "Fare Thee Blues, Part 1" are as follows:
   * What position/tuning did Johnnie Head use to play the song?
   * What is the progression of the song, expressed in the key of the position that Johnnie Head used to play it?  Write it out in four-bar phrases if you wish.

The second song is Tallahassee Tight's "Quincey Wimmens".  The only thing I know about Tallahassee Tight in a biographical sense is that his name was evidently Louis Washington.  Here is the song:

Quincey Wimmens (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajQQc0kzkMU#ws)

Now those Quincey women produces, they sure do treat you fine
I got me a good Quincey woman, she sure treats me fine
You oughta go to Quincey, big boy, and see this gal of mine

She got coal stray hair, pray it's all in mine
She got coal black hair, it's pretty as long as mine
Way you treat me, baby, I stay worried all the time

Let me get up on some high mountain, and see her from miles away
Let me get up on some tall old high mountain, see my gal from miles away
Let me hang 'round there, baby, she sure will make you pale

She got ways like a terrapin and that she 'round this town
She got ways like a terrapin, just let any woman 'round your town
And if you two-time that gal, she's sure gonna turn your damper down

She got eyes like the devils, cast in the lion's den
She got eyes like the devils, cast in the lion's den
It's gonna be a long time, baby, 'fore you see my face again

Edited 4/27 to pick up correction from Prof Scratchy

Here are the questions on "Quincey Wimmens":
   * What position/tuning did Tallahassee Tight use to play "Quincey Wimmens"?
   * Where did he fret the fill he plays from :30--:33?

Please use only your ears and your guitars to arrive at your answers, and please don't post any answers before Friday morning, April 24, after 8 AM your own time.  Thanks for participating and I hope you enjoy the songs.

I wanted to mention, too, for the benefit of any recent arrivals to this thread that in the very first post of the thread is a link to a post that has a complete listing of all of the songs that have been discussed in the thread, with links to each of them.  If you enjoy figuring the songs out, and there are songs we've already done that you didn't participate on, the set-up will allow you to listen to the songs, see what questions were asked, and then come up with your own answers. 

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: EddieD on April 23, 2015, 11:25:38 AM
I don't know if I'll get a chance to try these ones Johnm. Hopefully I can get a bit of free time this evening to give them a crack. Too bad I didn't notice this last night, I had the whole night free playing guitar. I was caught up in a whole mess of Blind Blake.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on April 23, 2015, 01:46:16 PM
Thanks for the note about the link to the other posts John.  I'd not noticed that.  I've not had chance to have a look at the last few tunes posted so look forward to catching up with these.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on April 23, 2015, 08:01:25 PM
I have to give Slack credit for coming up with that idea of the linking list, Laurence.  I really like it, too.  It makes it so easy to find whatever song you'd like to hear or study again.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: roig on April 24, 2015, 07:33:12 AM
Tallahassee Tight plays out of D, I would say. Funny thing about his little Ďfillí Ė he plays the same lick on a few of his songs in G positions, where it sounds a lot less awkward, as itís an ideal turnaround for G (similar to Peg Leg Howell in ĎDoing Wrongí). Itís almost as if he was so used to this lick, that he semi-unintentionally included it in a D position song. Makes sense considering that he recorded at least 3 or 4 songs in G on that very same session on Jan 18, 1934.

So basically heís going down from xxx430  to xxx320  to  xxx210 and then *almost* goes naturally to a G chord but then, I guess, realizes ďoh crap Iím in DĒ and lands back on D.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: andrescountryblues on April 24, 2015, 08:36:28 AM

The questions on "Fare Thee Blues, Part 1" are as follows:
   * What position/tuning did Johnnie Head use to play the song?

C position standard tuning

   * What is the progression of the song, expressed in the key of the position that Johnnie Head used to play it?  Write it out in four-bar phrases if you wish.

C  E7  Am  Adim 
C  C  G7  G7
C  E7  Am  Adim 
C  G7 C  C

Adim being:

-5-
-4-
-5-
-4-
---
---
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on April 24, 2015, 09:06:44 AM
I'd say roig and andres have it right.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: EddieD on April 24, 2015, 12:52:05 PM
I got a few minutes last night to mess around with these but not near enough as I would have liked. So this is as far as I got with 2 listens to each song:

 "Fare Thee Blues, Part 1" are as follows:
   


* What position/tuning did Johnnie Head use to play the song?
   

standard tuning. C position


* What is the progression of the song, expressed in the key of the position that Johnnie Head used to play it? 
Write it out in four-bar phrases if you wish.

c E7 A F#dim c G C



"Quincey Wimmens":
   
* What position/tuning did Tallahassee Tight use to play "Quincey Wimmens"?
   
D position

I was way off at first...well not really Im starting to understand why the pitch doesnt matter. I was thrown off by the pitch being Eb and retuned my guitar to Eb right away. Capo first fret standard tuning in D position.

* Where did he fret the fill he plays from :30--:33?
Code: [Select]
e-----------
b--333-35-3-
g--444-44-4-
d-----------
a-----------
e-----------

just slide the 34 shape down after that

*the next few sentences was from my original post of playing in E position tuned down half a step*
as you can see I didnt finish that riff. im not even convinced of the tuning/position but this is what I got with the time I had! Also the video for Quincey Wimmens wouldnt play for me so I was going from a document CD with that song. I should get some more time this evening to mess around. I will update my post as I didn't read the other answers yet.*

Edited Quincy Wimmers***
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: One-Eyed Ross on April 24, 2015, 01:29:41 PM
Fare Thee Well is the only one I had time to look into, and the others have it nailed pretty well, as far as I can see.  C, standard tuning.  The chord progression is as others have said, I don't know exactly what dim chord it is, I just play the one that sounds right...Those things have never made sense to me, the way they keep changing names depending on what you want to call it...
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: frankie on April 24, 2015, 02:22:50 PM
Those things have never made sense to me, the way they keep changing names depending on what you want to call it...

Well, diminished chords are an extreme example of it, but ALL chord names are essentially purely contextual...  we just get attached to certain names when they are associated with certain shapes. A chord played thusly:

x32010

might be a rootless Am7 chord in one context... or a C chord in another (again, this example is extreme). It depends on how the chord is functioning relative to the others. This usually falls into some predictable patterns, so we get used to a particular name or another. You can name a diminished chord by any of the tones in it because if you form it correctly, all four tones show up with any of the others (in this case: F-sharp, C, D-sharp, A). The lowest note in the chord played by Johnnie Head is F-sharp, so you could call it F-sharp dim, but calling it A dim would get you the same notes and chord, anyway.

Beyond this, my thoughts on this kind of nomenclature get sketchy and hare-brained, so I'll just clam up while I'm behind!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: roig on April 24, 2015, 02:30:21 PM
I'm a *complete* theory illiterate, but I know the same principle that applies for dim chords is also true for aug chords (I'm an avid user of both), which is that you can move a certain number of frets (3 for dim, 4 for aug) up or down doing the same chord shape, and it would be the exact same chord with the exact same notes. So I guess you would basically name it after whichever note is in the bass.

BTW the progression for Johnnie Head's song is very similar to Tommie Bradley's 'Nobody's Business' (and to my own 'DIY Rag' but never mind that one...)
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: eric on April 24, 2015, 03:30:19 PM
On Fare Thee I got pretty much what andrescountry blues got, but a different dim chord.  I think andres is right.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: EddieD on April 24, 2015, 04:57:35 PM
 I named the diminished chord F#dim but Adim is the same. I just named it from the top note on the 4th string which is F#. You could name it for any note in the diminished chord itself. Move it up 4 frets and it's the same chord just with the notes in a different order. Move it up 4 frets again and same thing just with the notes in different order. I also didnt put the chords in a 4 barre structure just basically the chords that are used I typed up.

 I'm going to listen to Quincy Wimmers again and see if I can figure it out more. Like I said the video isnt working for me but I have the song on a Document records CD and Im assuming it's the same one.

*I edited quincy wimmers


Waxwing told me it's actually 3 frets you move it. I had my guitar in my hands and Im counting 1, 2, 3, 4.....I was confused until I realized I was holding the F#dim chord and counting that as 1 then each move after it so I was ending up with 4. Thank you for pointing that out Waxwing I have been counting it wrong for quite a while  ;)
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on April 25, 2015, 08:59:30 AM
Hi all,
I think all of the responses are in, so I'll post the answers to the "Fare Thee" and "Quincey Wimmens" puzzlers.
For "Fare Thee Blues, Part 1":
   * Johnnie Head did use C position in standard tuning, as I believe all who responded on that tune had it. 
   * The progression of the song, a 16-bar raggy blues is pretty much exactly as andrescountryblues had it--well done, Andres!  We can quibble about the naming of the diminished 7th chord, but as has been pointed out, it could be named by any of the notes that comprised it, and the most common convention has the chord named by its lowest-pitched note, which in this instance is the F# located at the fourth fret of the fourth string.  But since Andres gave the locations of the notes in the chord, its apparent he's talking about the same voicing of the diminished seventh chord that Johnnie Head used.  One nice touch in Johnnie Head's playing of the song is that for his E7 he always voiced the B note on the fifth string on the strong beat, so that he got a nice descending line from C in the C chord to B in the E7 to A in the A minor.  Great kazoo melody too, I've always loved that.
For "Quincey Wimmens:
   * Tallahassee Tight was working out of dropped-D tuning, although he didn't exactly know how to utilize the low D, and hardly used it.  You can hear it a few places in the rendition, at :08, :09, 1:22, 1:55 and a couple of other places.
   * The fill from :30-:33 was played exactly as Roi had it, and his theoretical assessment of it was spot on, too.  It is a common G turn-around, and in a way, only makes sense if resolved to G since the penultimate place in the walk-down, 2-1 on the third and second strings, is a D7 chord, which is a dominant seventh chord, wanting to resolve to G.  By resolving to D, he sets up a musical momentum and then squelches it, returning to where he started. 
"Quincey Wimmens" is an interesting track.  Tallahassee Tight in some ways sounds like he doesn't know what he's doing, but he plays a lot of nice ideas.  He also gets credit for one of the great similes in blues lyrics:  "She got ways like a terrapin".  Wow, how so?

Thanks for participating and I'll post another puzzler soon.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: frankie on April 25, 2015, 09:20:46 AM
Tallahassee Tight in some ways sounds like he doesn't know what he's doing, but he plays a lot of nice ideas. 

He definitely doesn't seem encumbered by knowledge!

He also gets credit for one of the great similes in blues lyrics:  "She got ways like a terrapin".  Wow, how so?

Actually, I was wondering if he was singing 'Terraplane'...
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on April 25, 2015, 05:05:17 PM
I think it is 'terrapin", Frank, after re-listening many times.  Checking on Wikipedia, I found that the Terraplane was released by Hudson for the first time in 1934, the same year this song was recorded, so I suppose it's possible that if Tallahassee Tight was a "now" kind of guy, he might have picked up on that and cited it in his song.  He seems pretty Country, though.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on April 26, 2015, 04:06:22 PM
Hi all,
I'm having a tough time coming up with the lyrics for Tallahassee Tight's "Quincey Wimmens" in this thread, and most especially the first lines to his verses.  The performance can be found at:  http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg92354#msg92354 (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg92354#msg92354) , and I'd very much appreciate help with the lyrics.
all best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: EddieD on April 26, 2015, 07:09:05 PM
Man that first line is hard to make out. Sounds like maybe it's " Had a little Quincy women, sure good baby"
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: One-Eyed Ross on April 26, 2015, 11:48:29 PM
"Now those Quincy women, they sure feel good, they sure do treat you fine"
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on April 27, 2015, 09:32:30 AM
Hi all,
I have some new puzzlers for you.  The first is "I Been Down In the Circle Before" by Sampson Pittman, whom I believe was a transplanted Mississippian living in Detroit at the time he was recorded in 1938.  He was an musical associate of Calvin Frazier, who also moved from Mississippi to Detroit.  I sure like his singing, and especially his confidential way of delivering his lyrics.  Here is the song, which despite the length of the video is really only 3:47 long:

https://youtu.be/oFQdO7qhrHk

SPOKEN: Boy, there ain't no need of tryin' to tell me nothin'!  You can't tell me nothin' 'bout the circle because, not Laconia Circle, 'cause I worked for every contractor, up and down the line.  And I know just exactly what they'll do, and how they is, see, that's why, that's why you hear me say it:  I ain't no stranger, you can't tell me nothin'.  I been down there lots of times.

I worked on the levee, long time ago
And ain't nothin' 'bout the levee camp, boys, that I don't know
REFRAIN: Partner, partner, partner, don't you think I know?
Sayin', I ain't no stranger, been down in the circle before

Now, there ain't but the one contractor in the area that I fear
He'll pull into Yard's Mill, and they don't 'low him back here
REFRAIN: Partner, partner, partner, don't you think I know?
Sayin', I ain't no stranger, I been down in the circle before

Now, there's Mr. Forrest Jones, ain't so long and tall
He killed a merchant man and he'd like to kill us all
REFRAIN: Partner, partner, partner, don't you think I know?
Sayin', I ain't no stranger, I been down in the circle before

SOLO (Spoken before solo:  Play it one time, play it!)

Now, Mr. Charley Lauren, is the mercy man
The best contractor, partner, that's up and down the line
REFRAIN: Partner, partner, partner, don't you think I know?
Well, I ain't no stranger, I been down in the circle before

Now, when you leave out take Helena, out highway 44
The first camp you get to, it is called Rainy Mole
REFRAIN: Partner, partner, partner, don't you think I know?
Says, I ain't no stranger, been down in the circle before

I ain't gonna kill a saw, I ain't gonna break down
Breakin' down wheel'll get a man all down in his back
REFRAIN: Partner, partner, partner, don't you think I know?
Says, I ain't no stranger, I been down in the circle before

Now, I have a friend in Arkansas tell me what to do
I told him to come to Arkansas, I told him, "No, no, no."
REFRAIN: Partner, partner, partner, don't you think I know?
Says, I ain't no stranger, I been down Arkansas before (spoken: Good-bye)

The questions on "I Been Down In the Circle Before" are:
   * What playing position/tuning did Sampson Pittman use to play the song?
   * Where did he fret what he plays from :22--:27?

The second song is Sylvester Cotton's "Brown Skin Woman".  Cotton was another Detroit-based player we've previously looked at in this thread.  Here is "Brown Skin Woman":

Sylvester Cotton- Brown Skin Woman (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XoPCgHOagc#)

My brown-skin woman, she as evil as she can be
My brown-skin woman, she evil as she can be
I don't why she gone and left me, Lord, she left me, I'm feelin' blue

I want you to tell me, woman, what you want me to do (yes)
I want you tell me, woman, what you want poor me to do (Lord have mercy over)
Says, now you left me 'round here, pretty mama, 'way down here with the brown-skin blues

I got a brown-skin woman, boy, you know she lives up on a hill (Lord have mercy)
I got a brown-skin woman, lives up on a hill
Says, I'm gon' find me a pretty woman, Lord, that know how to keep her [record?] still

SOLO (Spoken, during solo: Listen.  Yes.)

Then it's soon, old woman, guess I had better go
Well, it's soon, old woman, guess I had better go (Lord have)
Now, what would I want with stayin' 'round, woman, Lord, you don't want me here no more

Say, my brown-skin woman, Lord, she got me where I don't know what to do
Say, my brown-skin woman, Lord, she got me where I don't know what to do
I'm gon' find me another lazy brown, don't do work 'round here with you

The questions on "Brown Skin Woman" are"
   * What playing position/tuning did Sylvester Cotton use to play the song?
   * Where does he fret the bass run he plays from :27--:29?
   * Where does he fret what he plays from 2:28--2:29?

As always, please use only your ears and your instruments to arrive at your answers.  Please don't post any answers  before 8:00 AM your own time on Thursday, April 30th, so that plenty of people get to listen to the tunes before answers start being posted.  Thanks for your participation.

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: jpeters609 on April 27, 2015, 11:38:19 AM
Hi John,
Just a quick biographical note: Sampson Pittman did indeed move to Detroit from the Delta, but he was from the Arkansas side of the Mississippi River (as was Calvin Frazier).
-Jeff
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on April 27, 2015, 11:59:25 AM
On the Quincey Women lyrics, could the missing word in the first line of the first verse be 'produces'. That's what it sounds like to me and would indicate they come up with the goods in some kind of way. As far as the first line of the second verse is concerned, I think he just fluffs the line and sings nonsense, meaning to actually sing what he sings in the second line. Tough lyrics to decipher though, for sure.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on April 27, 2015, 05:53:36 PM
Thanks very much for the biographical catch on Sampson Pittman and Calvin Frazier, Jeff.  And thanks to EddieD, One-Eyed Ross and Prof Scratchy for the help with the lyrics of "Quincey Wimmens".  I do think that "produces" is the best match of the sound of the missing part of the first line of the first verse, and fits well with the sense of the second half of the line, so I will go with that.  Thanks to all for your contributions.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: EddieD on April 27, 2015, 06:13:34 PM
Do you know if there is only one recording of Quincy Wimmers by Tallahassee Tight? I can't find much information on Tallahassee Tight but seems like he didn't record a whole lot. Is the video you posted for Quincy Wimmers the same as the Quincy Wimmers on the Document Records split album with Spark Plug Smith? For some reason I still can get that video to play. Maybe it's blocked in Canada.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on April 27, 2015, 06:51:31 PM
Hi Eddie,
Yes, it is the same track as on the Document CD he shares with Spark Plug Smith.  One of the other Weenies who is not from the U.S. also said he could not play this particular kind of video which seems to be generated by youtube itself--evidently there are copyright issues with play outside of the U.S., which is a bummer.  I think Tallahassee Tight is obscure enough that for most of his recorded repertoire, the youtube-generated videos are all that is available.  I know there are a couple of his tunes that are more conventional videos that would probably play anywhere, but I thought "Quincey Wimmens" was more interesting than those songs.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Slack on April 28, 2015, 08:19:57 AM
I have to give Slack credit for coming up with that idea of the linking list, Laurence.  I really like it, too.  It makes it so easy to find whatever song you'd like to hear or study again.
All best,
Johnm

You came up with the list Johnm, I just cleaned up the format. ;)

Maybe there is a better way to remind folks of the index -- I'll look on the forum site and see if there is something appropriate to use.  It really is a Super Topic.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: frankie on April 28, 2015, 09:32:45 AM
Maybe there is a better way to remind folks of the index -- I'll look on the forum site and see if there is something appropriate to use. 

Maybe something like the Quick Menu widget on the left hand of the forum?

It really is a Super Topic.

Sure is!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Slack on April 28, 2015, 09:36:38 AM
Quote
Maybe something like the Quick Menu widget on the left hand of the forum?

Hmmm, not a bad idea and at least a good fall back.  suggestions for a menu item name?  It needs to be fairly short.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: harriet on April 28, 2015, 03:06:19 PM
Here's some thoughts I have:

Miller's List
Miller's Topic
Miller's Index
Miller's Puzzler
Challenge List
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: frankie on April 28, 2015, 04:02:41 PM
CB Ear-ups
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Gumbo on April 28, 2015, 04:42:50 PM
The Listening Masterclass
How DID they do that?
John Miller Opens Your Ears
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: EddieD on April 28, 2015, 04:48:14 PM
Hi Eddie,
Yes, it is the same track as on the Document CD he shares with Spark Plug Smith.  One of the other Weenies who is not from the U.S. also said he could not play this particular kind of video which seems to be generated by youtube itself--evidently there are copyright issues with play outside of the U.S., which is a bummer.  I think Tallahassee Tight is obscure enough that for most of his recorded repertoire, the youtube-generated videos are all that is available.  I know there are a couple of his tunes that are more conventional videos that would probably play anywhere, but I thought "Quincey Wimmens" was more interesting than those songs.
All best,
Johnm

Thanks for the reply Johnm. I agree Quincey Wimmers was a great choice and I enjoyed spending time listening to it and working it out.  :)
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: David Kaatz on April 29, 2015, 10:01:02 AM
Quote
Maybe something like the Quick Menu widget on the left hand of the forum?

Hmmm, not a bad idea and at least a good fall back.  suggestions for a menu item name?  It needs to be fairly short.
JM's Listening Challenge
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on April 30, 2015, 03:01:14 AM
Missed the last few due to travels, so will venture a go at the latest two:

Samson Pittman is in A standard tuned a half step high. From 22-27: holding down an A chord he plays double stops on the 5th and 4th strings 5/0+4/2 x2, then 5/0+4/4>4/4>4/2. He repeats this pattern x3.

Sylvester Cotton in E standard capoed at 2. His bass run at 27-29 goes something like:
6/0>6/3>5/0>5/1>5/2>4/2>4/0>5/2>5/0>6/3>6/0>4/2. At 2:28 -2:29 my best guess is that heís slightly bending the fifth string at the 5th fret and playing it against the open 6th string.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: EddieD on April 30, 2015, 05:32:45 AM
The questions on "I Been Down In the Circle Before"
   
* What playing position/tuning did Sampson Pittman use to play the song?

A position standard tuning up half a step or capo at first fret

He plays his chords in different positions at least with the A chord


* Where did he fret what he plays from :22--:27?

I find it hard to hear but sounds like he is doing a shuffle on the A chord while hitting a high A on the E string


The questions on "Brown Skin Woman"
 

 * What playing position/tuning did Sylvester Cotton use to play the song?
   
E position Standard Tuning up 1 step or capo at second fret


* Where does he fret the bass run he plays from :27--:29?
Code: [Select]
e---------------------------
b---------------------------
g---------------------------
d-------------0-------------
a-2-----0-1-2---1-0----0----
e-0---3---------------3-3-0-

* Where does he fret what he plays from 2:28--2:29?

sort of strum keeping the fretted notes bent 1/4

Code: [Select]
e-0--0--0--
b-3b-3b-3b-
g-2b-2b-2b-
d-0-----0--
a-0-----0--
e-0--------
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: EddieD on April 30, 2015, 05:45:42 AM
my best guess is that heís slightly bending the fifth string at the 5th fret and playing it against the open 6th string.

That odd sound was a bit of a head scratcher eh? I was originally playing the 5th fret 5th string with the open 6th string as well and adding in the octave on the 7th fret 3rd string. But I opted for more open strings but still the same idea as this. Im very interested to see exactly what is being done here!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: frankie on April 30, 2015, 09:04:36 AM
RJ casts quite the long shadow over Samson Pittman, doesn't he? In a good way...
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on April 30, 2015, 02:00:45 PM
Hi all,
Any other takers for the Sampson Pittman/Sylvester Cotton puzzlers?  Come one, come all!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Gumbo on April 30, 2015, 03:09:32 PM
Not much to add.

Sampson Pitman A position capo'd at 1
Sylvester Cotton E position capo'd at 2

that's all I got
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on May 01, 2015, 11:40:02 AM
Hi all,
It appears that all of the answers to the Sampson Pittman and Sylvester Cotton puzzlers have come in, so I'll post the answers.
  For Sampson Pittman's "I Been Down In the Circle":
   * He did play the song out of A position in standard tuning as all three of you had it--well done!
   * For the passage from :22--:27, he was playing a brushed shuffle bass, starting over an A chord, in the seventh and eight bars of his for.  In the seventh bar of the form, on 1+ he brushed the open fifth string and the second fret of the fourth string, on 2+ he went from a brush of the open fifth string and fourth fret of the fourth string to a brush of the open fifth string and third fret of the fourth string, on beat 3 he played a triplet, the first and third notes of which were brush strokes of of the open fifth string and second fret of the fourth string, and the second note of which was the fifth fret of the first string.  On 4+ he played the same thing he played on beat 2.  In bar eight of the form, beat 1 was the same as beat three from the previous measure, beat 2 was the same as beats two and four of the previous measure, beat 3 was the same as beat 1 from the eighth measure, and on beat 4+ he went from a brush of the open sixth string and the fourth fret of the fifth string to a brush of the open sixth string and the third fret of the fifth string, leading right down into an E7 chord, arriving in bar nine of the form.  I think the neat thing about Sampson Pittman's playing of this fill is his chromatic movement on the fourth string (and later the fifth string) where he walks down from the fourth to the second fret via the third fret, rather than simply rocking back and forth between the second fret and the fourth fret.
As Frank noted, Pittman's accompaniment has been very strongly influenced by the playing of Robert Johnson, but in fairness to Pittman, he has a lot of nice original touches that diverge from what Robert Johnson played on his blues played out of A position.  I think Pittman's playing on the song is a good example of a player getting a lot, but not everything, from another player.  Those little differences count for a great deal, at least to me.

For Sylvester Cotton's "Brown Skin Woman":
  * He did play the song out of E position in standard tuning as you all had it--well done!
  * Sylvester Cotton played his bass run from :27 to :29 as follows.  It falls in the seventh and eighth bars of his form.  On 1+ in the seventh bar, he hits the open sixth string and goes to the third fret of the sixth string.  On beat 2, he plays a triplet walking up the fifth string from open to first fret to second fret.  On beat 3, he plays another triplet, going from the open fourth string to the first fret of the fifth string to the open fifth string, on beat 4, he plays another triplet, going from the third fret of the sixth string to the open fifth string and back to the third fret of the fifth string.  He hits the open sixth string on the downbeat of the eighth bar, concluding the run.  What a terrific run, and it's really exciting the way he snaps it off.  Eddie had this spot on, so congratulations!
  * For the passage from 2:28--2:29, in the fourth bar of the form, Sylvester Cotton hits the open sixth string on beat 1, and on beats 2, 3 and 4 brushes with his thumb the open fourth string, the open third string and the third fret of the second string, slightly bent, getting a little bit of that second string on the +s of each of those beats, picking up with his index finger.  By bending that second string just a little bit, he really gets a rasty sound,  in the way it contrasts with the unbent fourth string, played an octave lower.  Sylvester Cotton loved the sound of this fill and used it in a lot of his E position tunes.  I don't know that I've heard anyone else use it, and it has a striking sound.  It's a happy thing when such an unusual sound is achieved by use of such simple means.
There sure were a lot of strong Country Blues players living in and around Detroit and Flint in the '40s and '50s, and they are well worth seeking out, people like Sylvester Cotton, Johnny Howard, Andrew Dunham, Sampson Pittman, Calvin Frazier, Dr. Ross, and of course, John Lee Hooker.

Thanks to Prof Scratchy, EddieD and Gumbo for participating and I'll post another puzzler soon.

All best,
Johnm   
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: EddieD on May 01, 2015, 01:20:43 PM
Thanks John! I really enjoyed this one. You picked some great spots (as always ;) ) in the songs to focus on.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on May 03, 2015, 09:38:25 AM
Hi all,
I've been working on the lyrics for Sampson Pittman's "Been Down In the Circle Before" and Sylvester Cotton's "Brown Skin Woman" and there are a couple of places I couldn't hear or am not sure of.  I'd appreciate correction/corroboration or addition of missing words from anyone who would like to help.  You can listen to both songs and see what I've gotten so far for lyrics at:  http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg92465#msg92465 (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg92465#msg92465)  .
Thanks for any help.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: One-Eyed Ross on May 03, 2015, 01:33:07 PM
I've Been Down in the Circle Before

You can't tell me nothin' 'bout the circle because I've [  worked   ] on the circle, 'cause I worked for every  contractor, up and down the line.

Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on May 03, 2015, 03:14:29 PM
Thanks for the suggestion, Ross.  I feel like I'm hearing an "l" sound at the front end of the missing word, it almost sounds like "lake", but that doesn't make any sense, of course.  "Worked" definitely makes sense.  Please give it another listen and see what you think.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on May 04, 2015, 03:28:25 AM
It sounds to me like 'laiked' too. But if it is, that would be pretty amazing, as it's a Yorkshire dialect word meaning to sport and play. Parlor Picker will concur that we grew up being asked: 'What's tha laikin' at', usually followed by a cuff on the ear!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on May 04, 2015, 01:41:41 PM
That's good, Allan.  I'll give you a sort of American equivalent.  When I was growing up, and was working on something with my dad, if I was day-dreaming or lost in thought, he'd say, "You're just sitting there with your teeth in your mouth and your mind in Arkansas."
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: One-Eyed Ross on May 04, 2015, 03:43:12 PM
To me, it sounds liked "worked" but kind of like "woiked" (I can't think of the region that does that, New Jersey, New York, somewhere back east).... although listening again, it does sound like "laiked".   
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: harriet on May 05, 2015, 04:32:35 AM
Its probably wrong but I hear:

You can't tell me nothin' 'bout the circle because NOT LINK on the circle, 'cause I worked for every  contractor, up and down the line.

meaning I interpret to be because you are not a link on the circle
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: EddieD on May 05, 2015, 07:47:17 AM
I hear it as "Not" rather than "I've" as well Harriet. I still cant make out the second word. Something with an "L" sound as everyone else hears.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: banjochris on May 05, 2015, 09:21:09 AM
I'm not exactly sure what the missing word is in "Circle" but I think I know what's happening there. I believe he's interrupting himself with the name of the circle.

You can't tell me nothin' 'bout the circle because... [here he interrupts himself to stress the name of it] not [it sounds like Lake something] Circle.

I hope that makes sense the way I'm trying to explain it.

Update: Pretty sure he's saying Laconia Circle there -- there's a Laconia Circle Levee.

So: You can't tell me nothin' 'bout the circle because...not Laconia Circle.

Chris
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on May 05, 2015, 09:55:44 AM
Well, hats off, Chris, you got it for sure, and that is amazing!  Last night I was hearing something like "linked", as Harriet was suggesting, but "not Laconia Circle" is plain as day, once it is deciphered.  I will make the change.  That is one for the books, as far as I'm concerned--great hearing combined with good research.  Thanks!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: harriet on May 05, 2015, 09:57:44 AM
While I was writing this post John Miller confirmed this but probably no harm in leaving a slowed down clip up in support.

Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on May 05, 2015, 10:27:24 AM
Phew, that's a relief! Well done Chris!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on May 05, 2015, 01:11:17 PM
Hi all,
I have a couple of new puzzlers for you.  The first is Robert "Guitar" Welch's "Bad Luck Blues".  "Guitar" Welch was discovered in Angola Prison by Dr. Harry Oster at the same time that Robert Pete Williams was discovered there, I believe.  Here is the track:

Guitar Welch - Bad Luck Blues (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9h6nBsamzM#)

INTRO

I'm a bad luck child, baby, havin' bad luck everywhere I go
I'm a bad luck child, bad luck everywhere I go
Everybody I know, mama, Lord, they drove me from their door

Bad luck and trouble, baby is my bosom friends
Bad luck and trouble, baby, is my bosom friends
Where di my bad luck leave me?  My trouble's just begin

SOLO (spoken):  Take it easy a while, man.  That's what I'm talkin' about.  Ain't it a shame?  That boy got the blues.)

Sometimes I wonder, baby, Lord, will I ever get back home?
Sometimes I wonder, baby, will I ever get back home?
You know, I been gone so long, pretty mama, Lord, I don't know my right way home

SOLO (spoken: Get it now!)

The questions on "Bad Luck Blues" are:
   * What playing position/tuning did "Guitar" Welch use to play the song?
   * Where did he fret the descending run from :20--:23?
   * Where did he fret the passage from 3:35--3:40?

The second puzzler is Frankie Lee Sims' "Married Woman Blues".  What a rocker!  Here is the track:

https://youtu.be/93plKiPxcHA

The questions on "Married Woman Blues" are:
   * What playing position/tuning did Frankie Lee Sims use to play the song?
   * Where did Frankie Lee Sims fret the bass run he plays three times consecutively from :32--:39?
   * Where did Frankie Lee fret the solo passage from 1:12--1:16?

Please use only your ears and your guitars to figure out your answers, and please don't post any answers before 8:00 AM your time on the morning of Thursday, May 7.  Thanks for your participation, and I hope you enjoy the songs.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Gumbo on May 05, 2015, 05:02:56 PM
And Happy Birthday to Robert 'Guitar' Welch. Wheresoever he may be! Born this day in 1896 according to Eric's Blues dates.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Lyndvs on May 07, 2015, 01:58:19 AM
Well,here goes,I could be making more of a pig`s ear of this than I did on the Roland/Scott duet.
GUITAR WELCH:
SPANISH
descending run 20-23 secs:
1st string-3rd fret,2nd fret,open
3rd string-3rd fret slide 4th fret,open
4th string 2nd fret,open
5th string 3rd fret slight bend
3rd string open
5th string open
passage 3.35-3.40secs.
barre across strings 1, 2 & 3 at 12th fret slid down to 11 th fret then back up to 12th fret played against pulse on open 5th string.
I can`t really hear the third string ringing out in this passage so it may not be played at all?

FRANKIE LEE SIMS:
A standard.
bass run 32-39 secs.:
5th string open,3rd fret hammer on 4th fret
4th string 2nd fret played twice,4th fret
3rd string 2nd fret
4th string 4th fret, 2nd fret
3rd string 2nd fret
5th string open.

solo passage 1.12-1.16:
this is tricky  but I came up with

1string slide into 9th fret
2nd string 10th fret
1string open,5 th fret
2nd string  5th fret
1st string 5th fret
1st string open,5th fret
1st string open,5th fret
2nd string slide into 10th fret
1st string 9th fret
2nd string 10th fret
1string slide into 9th fret
2nd string  10th fret
1st string open,5th fret,8th fret slight bend .
Great tracks.Hope I`m closer than on my last attempt.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: EddieD on May 07, 2015, 06:26:35 AM
"Bad Luck Blues"

* What playing position/tuning did "Guitar" Welch use to play the song?
 
A position, Standard tuning but about a 1/4 step flat give or take a bit


* Where did he fret the descending run from :20--:23?

Code: [Select]
E-----3-2-------------------
B-----2-2--5-2--------------
G-----2--------2--------2~~~
D-----2----------4-2--------
A--0-----------------3b---0-
E---------------------------

~ = let ring, b = 1/4 bend

* Where did he fret the passage from 3:35--3:40?

Code: [Select]
E--12--12--
B--14--13--
G----------
D----------
A----------
E----------

I use up strokes with my fingers for this part.
Hit the first one about 10 times and second a few less, then back to the first double stop.

"Married Woman Blues"

* What playing position/tuning did Frankie Lee Sims use to play the song?
   

A position standard tuning


* Where did Frankie Lee Sims fret the bass run he plays three times consecutively from :32--:39?

Code: [Select]
E---------------------
B---------------------
G-------------2-----2-
D--------2-4----4-2---
A--00-3b--------------
E---------------------

* Where did Frankie Lee fret the solo passage from 1:12--1:16?

Code: [Select]
E---9----------------------------9-------------9\--
B-----10-----10----10----10----10-10----10----10\--
G----------9----9-----9-----9---------9----9---9\--
D--------------------------------------------------
A--------------------------------------------------
E--------------------------------------------------
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on May 07, 2015, 02:56:13 PM
Hi all,
Any other takers for the "Guitar" Welch and Frankie Lee Sims puzzlers?  Come one, come all, and answer as many of the questions as you wish.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: eric on May 07, 2015, 08:45:46 PM
For Bad Luck Blues, I'll say A position, but that's based on my thinking that the :20-:23 riff sounds similar (but not exactly) to a riff in Willie Brown's Mississippi Blues, and the following turnaround sounds to me like the one in RJ's Kindhearted Woman.  So no great transcription skill on my part, just a guess based on tunes I know. 
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on May 08, 2015, 04:05:30 AM
Coming late to this one, and all the heavy lifting has been done. But on election day here, my vote goes to Lyndvs for Spanish on the Guitar Welch one, and A standard for Frankie Lee Sims. And yes, what a rocker of a tune that is! I know that most folk thing A as well for Guitar Welch, but what makes me think Spanish is that I hear a few Big Joe Williams licks in there. Anyone else hear a similarity?
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: EddieD on May 08, 2015, 11:05:58 AM
Listening again, it could be spanish. Im pretty confident in the notes I picked out but now I'm questioning the tuning which would change where everything is fretted. Oh well, I will leave it as is and wait for Johnm to post the answer :)
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on May 08, 2015, 12:56:53 PM
Hi all,
It looks as though probably everyone who intends to respond to the "Guitar" Welch and Frankie Lee Sims puzzlers has done so, so I'll post the answers.
For "Guitar" Welch's "Bad Luck Blues":
   * He did play the song out of Spanish tuning, as Lyndvs and Prof Scratchy had it.  Since the intervals of the open strings in Spanish are 5-R-5-R-3-5, exactly like an A chord in standard tuning fingered 0-0-2-2-2-0, the distinction between Spanish and A standard can be a tricky one.  A good way to discern the difference is to listen for the V7 chord.  In A standard, the V7 chord will be E7, which has a very distinctive sound with the third of the chord voiced at the first fret of the third string, often hammered into, etc.  The V7 chord most often played in Spanish, 0-X-0-2-1-0, has a much more drony, open sound because it has no third in it, being voiced R-X-R-5-b7-R.
   *  The fill that "Guitar" Welch played from :20-23 was played precisely as Lyndvs mapped it out--well done, Lyndvs!  Just to place it in the pulse, the third fret of the 1st string is picked on the + of beat one, followed by a triplet on beat two, going from the second fret of the first string to the open first string and a slide into the fourth fret of the third string.  Beat three similarly has a triplet, going from the open third string to the second fret fret of the fourth string followed by the open fourth string.  Beat four has a bent third fret of the fifth string on the beat resolving to the open third string on the + of beat four, and the run concludes with an open fifth string on the downbeat of the next measure.
   *  Welch's fill from 3:35--3:40 has him hitting triplets on the open third string with his thumb and brushing triplets on the first two strings, first at the twelfth fret for two beats, then at the eleventh fret for three beats, then back to the twelfth fret.  In making that move on the first two strings from the 12th to the 11th fret, Welch is effectively going from a G major chord to a G diminished chord--it sounds great, and it is easy!  I believe I have heard Big Joe Williams do this move, as Prof Scratchy noted.
For Frankie Lee Sims' "Married Woman Blues":
   *  Frankie Lee's playing position was A position in standard tuning, as everyone had it--well done!
   *  Frankie Lee's bass run in the passage from :32--39 operates like so:  On beat one he hits the third fret of the fifth string.  On beat two, he hits the second fret of the fourth string.  On 3+, he goes from the fourth fret of the fourth string to the second fret of the fourth string.  On beat four, he hits the second fret of the third string.  On 1+ of the second measure he goes from the fourth fret of the fourth string to the second fret of the fourth string.  On 2+ in the second measure he goes from the second fret of the third string to the open fifth string, letting that open fifth string sustain through beats three and four.  It is a wonderfully catchy run and very fun to play.  I should add that he occasionally intersperses a couple of index finger picks of the second fret of the third string in the course of playing the bass run.
   *  For his fill from 1:12 to 1:16, Frankie Lee plays an A chord out of a D shape up at the ninth fret and simply picks the appropriate strings to get his lick, exactly as EddieD had it--well done, Eddie!

I hope you enjoyed the songs and working on them, and thanks for participating.  I will post another puzzler soon.  The lyrics for "Married Woman Blues" are already up in Weeniepedia, by the way, and there is a fairly full "Frankie Lee Sims Lyrics" thread, if you're interested in more of his music.

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: frankie on May 08, 2015, 02:11:54 PM
A good way to discern the difference is to listen for the V7 chord.  In A standard, the V7 chord will be E7, which has a very distinctive sound with the third of the chord voiced at the first fret of the third string, often hammered into, etc.  The V7 chord most often played in Spanish, 0-X-0-2-1-0, has a much more drony, open sound because it has no third in it, being voiced R-X-R-5-b7-R.

That is definitely a clincher and makes its appearance within the first 20 seconds of the song. Another thing that you can notice in this song is the movement from 0:52-0:55 on the IV chord. It's a partial barre across all but the 6th string at the fifth fret, followed by the flat III chord at the third fret:

x55555

x33333

those chords are voiced R5R35 and while that's certainly possible in standard tuning, it is far, far easier to get that in spanish since you just lay a finger across all those strings at the fret in question. Getting the 1st string to ring cleanly using that position in standard can kinda be a knuckle buster.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: EddieD on May 09, 2015, 10:05:05 AM
I play in spanish tuning quite often with my resonator guitar but I haven't really ever picked out a song in spanish by ear. I learned some very good tips from this one and really enjoyed taking part as always. Also I now realize it's important to listen to the full song and not just focus entirely on the sections in the questions as I miss valuable hints from the rest of the song. 
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on May 09, 2015, 10:08:50 AM
Your last point is very well taken, Eddie.  Lots of time the licks that you're asked to identify could easily live in two or three different positions or tunings, but the sound of a piece, taken in sum, will eliminate all but one of those possibilities.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on May 11, 2015, 11:07:05 AM
Hi all,
I have a new set of puzzlers for you.  The first concerns J. T. Smith's "45 Blues".  Here is  the song:

http://youtu.be/ilKn2y2Beio (http://youtu.be/ilKn2y2Beio)

The questions on "45 Blues" are as follows:
   * What playing position/tuning did J. T. Smith use to play the song?
   * Where did J. T. Smith fret the opening introductory melodic movement from :00--:09?
   * What note does J. T. Smith hit on beats 2, 3, and 4 in the bass under his signature lick, in the third bar of almost all of his 4-bar phrases?

The second song is George "Big Boy" Owens' version of "Kentucky Blues".  Here is the song:

http://youtu.be/EoXROHPDLys (http://youtu.be/EoXROHPDLys)

SOLO

I'm worried, babe, darling, I'm worried in mind
I'm worried, babe, honey, I'm worried in mind

Be worried, honey, be worried all the time

What will you do when your good girl throws you down?

Gonna catch me a train, babe, gonna leave this town

Many days, I set down, babe, and cried
Many days, I set down, babe, and cried

SOLO

Says, Lord, little darling, to be by your side

SOLO

Some of these mornings, babe, and it won't be long
Some of these mornings, darling, it won't be long

You'll call my name, darling, and I'll be gone
You'll call my name, babe, and I'll be gone

SOLO

I woke up this morning, baby, feelin' bad
I woke up this morning, darlin', feelin' bad

The questions on "Kentucky Blues" are:
   * What playing position/tuning did George Owens use to play the song?
   * Describe the progression of the song in numerical terms or the chord names, working in the position that he played the song in, and placing the chords in the bars in four-bar phrases.
   * How was George Owens fretting his IV7 chord?

Please use only your ears and instruments to arrive at your answers, and please don't post any answers before 8:00 AM, your time, on the morning of Wednesday, May 13.  Thanks for your participation.

All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Lyndvs on May 13, 2015, 03:47:26 AM
"45 Blues"
C position.
intro 0-9 secs.:
3rd string-2,3
2nd string-0,0
3rd string-3,2,0
g chord strum
6th string-3
5th string -0
6th string-3,2,1,0,3
5th string-0,2,3
4th string-0,1,2
3rd string-0
5th string-3,0
6th string-3
5th string-3
c chord strum
bass note:bit weird not sure but I think it may be an E note(open 6th string).


"Kentucky Blues"
E position.

E/E/E/E-E7/
A7/A7/E/E/
B7/B7/E/E/


I think he plays the IV7(A7) by fretting the second frets of both the fourth and second strings and letting the other strings ring open.
This song would sound great with an octave g string.

Oh well!.I tried.Another curates egg no doubt.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Prof Scratchy on May 13, 2015, 08:15:30 AM
I think along the same lines:
JT Smith C standard

00-09=
3/0>2>3;2/0>0;3/3>2>0;strum open 4/3/2; 6/3;5/0;6/3>2>1>0>3;5/0;6/3;5/3;4/0>1>2;3/0;5/3>0;6/3;5/3>strum partial C chord twice

what note  does he hit in the bass? A?

George Big Boy Owens E standard capo 6

I/ IV7/ I/I V7/ I/ IV7/ I/// IV7/// I/ IV7/ I/// V7///V7/// I/I V7/ I///

IV7 Chord =X02020
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: EddieD on May 13, 2015, 01:55:06 PM
I don't think I will get time to participate in this one. Hopefully next one.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on May 14, 2015, 06:04:27 AM
Hi all,
Any other takers on the J.T. Smith and George "Big Boy" Owens puzzlers?  Come one, come all, and give it a shot.  Answer as many or as few of the questions as you wish.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on May 14, 2015, 09:10:47 AM
It's been a while since I had chance to have a crack at one of these, so here's my take of 45 Blues.
C standard, (a wee bit sharp)
00:09
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
-  - -  0 - - -  - 0 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -1- - - - - -1 1
0 2 3 - 3 2 1 0 0 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  0 - - - - - 0 0
- -  - -  - - - - -0 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 0 1 2- - - - - -2 2
- - - - - - - - - - - - 0 - - - - - - 0 2 3 3 - - - - 3 0- -3- - -
- - -  - - - - - - - 3 - -3 2 1 0 3 - - - - - - - - - - - 3 - - - -

which is very close to Lyndvs & Prof Scratchy.

The bass note....?! may well be E.  I first thought of G, which would mean hooking the thumb over but I really can't hear it too good.

Ran out of time for George Owens.......the gong sounds for dinner and like Pavlovs dogs, I follow, slobbering all the way to the table...

Look forward to the answer.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on May 15, 2015, 09:17:57 AM
Hi all,
It looks as though all of the responses are in on the J. T. Smith and George Owens puzzlers, so I'll post the answers.
For J. T. Smith's "45 Blues":
   * He did play the song out of C position in standard tuning, as all who responded had it--well done!
   * His opening run was exactly as Lyndvs and Prof Scratchy had it, and quite close to what Old Man Ned had, as well.  Just to place it in the pulse, it operates like so, a 4-bar intro with pick-up notes at the front end:
   Pick-up notes start on the + of beat 3, which is an open third string.  On 4+, Smith goes from the second fret of the third string to the third fret of the third string.
  1st measure:  On 1+, he strikes the open second string twice.  On 2+, he goes from the third fret of the third string to the second fret of the third string.  On beat 3, he strikes the open third string.  On beat 4, he brushes the open fourth and third strings.
  2nd measure: On beat 1, he plays a triplet moving from the third fret of the sixth string to the open fifth string and back to the third fret of the sixth string.  On 2+, he goes from the second fret of the sixth string to the first fret of the sixth string.  On 3+, he goes from the open sixth string to the third fret of the sixth string.  On 4+, he goes from the open fifth string to the second fret of the fifth string.
  3rd measure:  On 1+, he goes from the third fret of the fifth string to the open fourth string.  On 2+, he goes from the first fret of the fourth string to the second fret of the fourth string.  On 3+, he goes from the open third string to the third fret of the fifth string.  On 4+, he goes from the open fifth string to the third fret of the sixth string. 
  4th measure:  On beat 1, he hits the third fret of the fifth string.  On beats 2, 3, and 4, he strums a C chord on the first three strings.
Congratulations to Lyndvs and Prof Scratchy for absolutely nailing this very convoluted and ornate Lemon-influenced run!
   * For beats 2, 3 and 4 under his signature lick, J. T. Smith hit the open sixth string, as Lydvs and Old Man Ned had it--well done!  Since the signature lick involved fretting the second string at the fifth fret and the first string at the third fret, neither of the most common chord-tone choices for a bass note under a C phrase, the third fret of the fifth or sixth string, were easily reachable, though I suppose he could have gotten the third fret of the sixth string with a thumb wrap.  Much easier to play the open sixth string, and it sounds fine, too.

For George "Big Boy" Owens' "Kentucky Blues":
   * His playing position was E in standard tuning, as Lyndvs and Prof Scratchy both had it--spot on!
   * Owens played a slightly different progression for his first instrumental pass through the form than he employed for his sung verses.  Once he starts singing, here is how his form worked out:
   |    E    |    E    |  E  A7  |   E7   |
   |   A7   |   A7   |  E  A7  |    E    |
   |   B7   |   B7   |  E  A7  |    E    |
The really unusual thing about George Owens' form here is the way he rocks to the IV7 chord halfway through the third bar of each of his four-bar phrases.  I don't know if I can recall another player doing that in such a consistent way.
   *  George Owens fingered his IV7 (A7) chord exactly as Lyndvs and Prof Scratchy both had it:  0-2-0-2-0 on the five highest-pitched strings.  Owens must have had fairly large or flexible hands because he played a boogie bass line under his A7 chord in the fifth and sixth bars that required him to fret the fourth fret of the fifth string while holding that A7 position.  I don't know of any way of doing that that doesn't feel pretty darned awkward and stretchy.
I have really liked George Owens' recording of "Kentucky Blues" since hearing it on the old Yazoo "Going Away Blues" anthology.  I particular admire his time, and the looseness and freedom of his treble strumming.  It's really a lot of fun to do, too.  I never registered, either, until just now when I transcribed his lyrics how unusual his vocal treatment of the song is.  He sings several one-line verses in the course of his rendition, never sings a tagline to any verse, and most often seems to adopt the same strategy that Jimmie Strothers used for his version of "Richmond Blues"--taking what would have been the tagline of one verse to start the next verse. 
Thanks to Lyndvs, Prof Scratchy and Old Man Ned for their responses, which were pretty much right on target.  I will try to find some more puzzlers to post soon.
All best,
Johnm     
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on May 18, 2015, 08:49:08 AM
Hi all,
I have a new puzzler for you from Babe Stovall, a musician we haven't looked at in this thread previously.  He was from Mississippi originally, but re-located to New Orleans as a young man and spent most of the rest of his life there.  He was one of the Country Blues players (or songsters) who was recorded for the first time in the "re-discovery" period of the '60s. 
The song we'll look at is "Worried Blues".  Here is his recording of it:

http://youtu.be/Bl-W8miKYxE (http://youtu.be/Bl-W8miKYxE)

SOLO

Goin' away, brown, Lord, to wear you off my mind
Says, I'm goin' away, brown, Lord, to wear you off my mind
Says, you keeps me worried, bothered all the time

How can I stay here, all I've got is gone?
Well, how can I stay here, all I've got is gone?
Say, you know by that, my, I can't gonna be here long

Some folks said, Lord, the worried blues ain't bad
Well, there's some folks said, Lord, the worried blues ain't bad
Says, it must not've been, brown, worried blues I had

SOLO
Says it must not've been the worried blues I had

Blues ain't nothin', good woman on your mind
Say, the blues ain't nothin', good woman on your mind
Says, it keeps you worried, bothered all the time

Late in the evening when the sun goes down
Well, it's late in the evening when the sun goes down
I'm gon take my brown, I leave this lonesome town

She don't wanta go, I'm gonna leave her here
Well, if she don't wanta go, I'm gonna leave her here
I'm gon find me a brown, Lord, in the world somewhere

SOLO
I'm gon find me a brown, Lord, in the world somewhere

I ain't never loved, Lord, three women in my life
I ain't never loved, Lord, three women in my life
Say, one my mother, sweetheart and my wife

SOLO

If you don't want me, give me your right hand
Well, if you don't want me, give me your right hand
Says, I get me a women, get you another man

The questions on "Worried Blues" are:
   * What playing position/tuning did Babe Stovall use to play the song?
   * Describe his alternating bass and how he is fretting it in the left hand at the beginning of the song, from :00--:11, where he resolves to the V7 chord?
   * Where is he fretting and playing the opening portion of his solo, from 1:05--1:11?

Please use only your ears and your instrument to arrive at your answers and please don't post any answers until 8:00 AM your time on Wednesday, May 20th.  Thanks for participating, and I hope you enjoy the song.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: One-Eyed Ross on May 20, 2015, 07:13:53 AM
1)   I'm going to take a stab and say Vestapol, in D(+/-).
2)   Before I got sidetracked with other issues, I took a listen.  I know he's going back and forth between the fourth and fifth string, but I just couldn't get it right before I ran out of time...
3)   I'm guessing he went up to 14th fret on the 1st string and basically played melody - but again, ran out of time.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Lastfirstface on May 20, 2015, 11:22:02 AM
1.) I'm hearing C standard, little sharp
2.) Under the C chord he hits the bass on the fifth string at the third fret and then plucks the open third string, then alternates to the third fret of the sixth string followed by a hammer on from the open third string to the second fret of the third string a la RGD's Candyman. In the fourth bar he changes to C7 so he hits the third fret on the third string after the C and G on the fifth and sixth strings. When he goes to the IV chord, he hits the root at the first fret of the sixth string followed by the second fret of the third string, which he pulls off to get a bit of the open third string after striking it. On the V chord, he hits the root G at the third fret of the sixth string followed by the open G on the third string before going into his turnaround.
3.) At the beginning of his solo, he's striking the open third string with his thumb and fingering the first string at the twelfth and second string at the thirteenth then moving down the neck and fretting the first string at the eighth fret and second string at the firth (sort of a partial "long A" shape at C), he then repeats the high notes before returning to the position at the fifth and seventh fret, which he subsequently drops into a C7 by moving the note on the first string down to the sixth fret.

Sorry if that was confusingly written, I need to get better at formatting tab or explaining this stuff.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: One-Eyed Ross on May 20, 2015, 11:35:44 AM
Hmm....I'd better get my tuner out...
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: EddieD on May 20, 2015, 12:17:00 PM
It was a holiday here on Monday. I was thinking today was only Tuesday. I will try to take a crack at it later.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: EddieD on May 20, 2015, 03:58:53 PM
Song is in C position capo 1st fret guitar tuned kinda flat

For the C chord
Alternating on the 5th string 3rd fret, hit the 2nd string 1st fret, open 3rd string 
then hit the 5th string 3rd fret, 2nd string 1st fret, then pull off 3rd string 2nd fret to open 3rd string
then C7

The F chord sounds like hitting the 6th string 1st fret, then 2nd string first fret, then 3rd string 2nd fret
then pull off to open 3rd string

Code: [Select]
start of solo, i just put where you fret the double
stops not how many times you play each one


E--15-12-15--12-10--
B--17-13-17--13-11--
G-------------------
D-------------------
A-------------------
E-------------------
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: One-Eyed Ross on May 20, 2015, 06:10:09 PM
So, after getting a tuner out, I found myself almost a full tone low....which accounts for my D(+/-) remark earlier....but I still think of this as a Vestapol tuning.  It sounds almost like a banjo style roll in places, at least  to my poor twitter-pated brain.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: eric on May 20, 2015, 08:09:09 PM
I think C position.  The first couple of measures are very close to the way I play Candyman, like lastfirstface said,  with the move to C7 using the b flat on the 3rd string.  At first, I thought vastapol, but I couldn't quite get it to work.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on May 21, 2015, 08:20:47 AM
Hi all,
Any other takers for the Babe Stovall puzzler?  Come one, come all!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Old Man Ned on May 21, 2015, 09:27:04 AM
I'm hearing this in C too.  Pretty much as Lastfirstface has it.  I can't tell if the bass note goes to a G or stays at the C on the 5th string on the 3rd beat though.  I tried Open D for this but it just didn't seem to work for me.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: blueshome on May 21, 2015, 10:27:38 AM
Without the guitar it sounds like C.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Johnm on May 21, 2015, 02:46:09 PM
Hi all,
Thanks for all the responses.  I think that probably everyone who intends to respond has done so by now, so I'll post the answers.
For Babe Stovall's "Worried Blues":
   * His playing position was C in standard tuning.  Congratulations to all of you who made that identification.   
   * For the passage from :00--:11, what Babe Stovall played is very close to what Lastfirstface had, and the comparison to Rev. Davis's version of "Candyman" is an apt one.  Here's how what Babe Stovall played in the bass was fingered and what he played over the first 8 bars of his opening pass through the form.

   In the left hand, he fingered the first fret of the second string for the entire 8 bars.  He used his second finger to fret the second fret of the third string, used his little finger to fret the third fret of the third string, used his third or ring finger to fret the third fret of the fifth and sixth strings and used a thumb wrap to fret the first fret of the sixth string in the F chord.  For his first three bars, he hit the third fret of the fifth string on beat one, used his index finger to pick the first fret of the second string on the + of beat one, hit the open third string on beat two with his thumb, hit the third fret of the sixth string on beat three, picked the first fret of the second string on the + of beat three, and on beat four+ hit the second fret of the third string with his thumb and pulled off to the open third string.  So if you think of just his thumbwork in those measures the strings he's hitting on beats one--four are: fifth, third, sixth third.  The thumb is really just maintaining an alternation.  In the fourth measure, he goes to C7 in the left hand, continues to pick the first fret of the second string on the +s of beats one and three, and alternates his thumb from third fret of the fifth string to third fret of the third string to third fret of the sixth string to third fret of the third string, pulling off to the open third string. 
For measures four and five, he goes to his F chord.  In the fifth measure, he hits the open fifth string on beat one, hits the second fret of the third string pulling off to the open third string on beats 2+ and 4+, and hits the first fret of the sixth string on beat three.  He continues to hit the first fret of the second string on the +s of beats one and three.  In measure six, he hits the first fret of the sixth string on beats one and three and hits the second fret of the third string pulling off to the open third string on beats 2+ and 4+. 
For measures seven and eight, he returns to C.  In measure seven he hits the third fret of the fifth string on beat one, hits the second fret of the third string pulling off to the open third string on 2+, hits the third fret of the sixth string on beat three and the open third string on beat four.  In measure eight he alternates from the third fret of the fifth string on beats one and three to the open third string on beats two and four.
I think the way way that Babe Stovall achieves the movement and flow in these measures has both a beautiful sound and a beautiful economy in the right and left hands.

   * Babe Stovall played the following positions in the passage from 1:05--1:11.  He is brushing his open G (third string) right through this four-bar passage, and playing harmonized double stop sixths or chordlets on his first two strings, fingering 8-12 on the second and first strings respectively in the first two measures, dropping down in measure three to 5-8 on the second and first strings and returning to 8-12, and in the fourth measure going from 5-8 on the first two strings to 3-6 on the first two strings.  If we analyze what voices he is playing of a C chord in those various double stops we get this:  The open first string is a 5 note, a drone or pedal that sits underneath the whole thing.  The 8-12 double stop is 5-3, the 5-8 double stop is 3-R, and the 3-6 double stop is 9-b7 (WOW!). 
It took me a little while to hear what Babe Stovall was doing here and figure it out, and I think it is really brilliant--original and beautiful, especially ending up in that C9 double stop.  I really mean original, too.  I have never heard any other guitarist in the style utilize these double stops in this way while playing in C position in standard tuning, and I'm including Rev. Davis, Blind Blake, or anyone else you'd care to name.  The first double stop especially is a "big hand" sort of position with a four-fret stretch and is definitely not what I would think of as "intuitive".  The movement between the two lower double stops is especially pretty and sort of inevitable after the fact, meaning once you hear it, you wouldn't want it to be any other way.

Thanks to all who participated, and I hope you enjoyed the song.  I'll look for another good song to post a puzzler on soon.

All best,
Johnm   

 
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: frankie on May 21, 2015, 05:38:00 PM
Babe Stovall is f.u.n.k.y.

Just to throw this out there...  this is Babe taking essentially the same lyrical theme and giving it a totally different melody and accompaniment.

http://youtu.be/2BSlpqinXxM (http://youtu.be/2BSlpqinXxM)

f.u.n.k.y!!
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: Slack on May 21, 2015, 06:07:25 PM
Wow, thanks for posting frankie... such expressive singing over that driving funky accompaniment... love it.  No guitar in hand, but that sounds out of G position.  Remnants of Memphis Minnie in parts, to my ear.
Title: Miller's Breakdown
Post by: One-Eyed Ross on May 21, 2015, 06:26:04 PM
One of the reasons I do this is to learn.  Gr