Country Blues => Weenie Campbell Main Forum => Books and Articles => Topic started by: dj on June 25, 2005, 10:04:29 AM

Title: RR Macleod's Lyric Books
Post by: dj on June 25, 2005, 10:04:29 AM
The discussion of the web concordance of pre-war blues lyrics brings up another topic:  Has anyone ever seen any of Robert Macleod's books transcribing the lyrics of the Yazoo & Document catalogs?  Any comments on their accuracy?  There are 2 volumes of Yazoo lyrics and 10 volumes of Document lyrics, each running over 500 pages.  Document sells them for $33 each.  A search of the Forums suggests that at least 2 members own or have access to a copy.  I have to confess that I find it hard to believe that one person could transcribe the lyrics of over 10 thousand songs, often poorly recorded, poorly preserved, and sung with a variety of regional dialects and accents, with any degree of accuracy.  But I suppose that after the first few thousand it gets easier... :)
Title: Re: RR Macleod's Lyric Books
Post by: Stuart on June 25, 2005, 01:46:24 PM
I did a check for Macleod's books via OCLC, but it seems that none of the libraries in the worldwide database list them in their holdings. I guess we'll have to rely on individual purchases for his books.

Out of curiosity, I also searched for "Bill Williams" and found that the University of Illinois as well as the University of Mississippi have both of his albums.

Title: Re: RR Macleod's Lyric Books
Post by: dj on June 25, 2005, 04:11:02 PM
You mean the Weenie Lending Library doesn't have them????   >:D
Title: Re: RR Macleod's Lyric Books
Post by: Stuart on June 25, 2005, 05:47:44 PM
The Weenie Lending Library may have them, but WLL wasn't listed in the OCLC database. The Weenie Lending Library is a great idea, but how would we ever pull it off?

Title: Re: RR Macleod's Lyric Books
Post by: waxwing on June 25, 2005, 06:20:08 PM
I have the two Yazoo volumes and all but the 10th Document volume. I would say they are about 90% accurate and at least give you a clue on some of the hard spots. I've read the preface but can't remember how many people may have helped Bob over the years, but I think it is essentially his own labor of love. He also footnotes all other transcriptions (Grossman, Calt, et. al.). At about 40 CDs per volume, with Document fitting 20-24 cuts per, that's probably over 10,000 songs, well beyond the scope of the Concordance, I think. "Course Bob hasn't counted the appearance of every word, but I coulda told you "I" was the most common word in the blues. And who'da thunk "you" would be the second most popular word?

Mine have been in storage for about a year so I haven't been able to refer to them for "suggestions" in any of the Weenie lyric quests lately. But they're out now so I'll try to keep y'all posted if Bob has any relavent transcriptions.

It is sometimes fun to just open them up and start reading lyrics.

One drawback of his starting with the Yazoo LPs is that he doesn't reprint any song from the Yazoo catalogue when it appears again in the Document "Complete Works" issues. So, for instance, If you get the volume that covers the Bo Carter Complete Works CDs you'll still be lacking all the lyrics for sides that appeared on the Yazoo LPs. Makes it imperative to purchase those first, which actually covers quite a few of the more well known songs (perhaps well known due to their inclusion on these LPs?).

Anyway, they are kinda pricey, but if you can hack the cost they do give you a good starting point before you throw it out to the Lyrics and Licks forum, which is, of course, more fun, and more accurate, in ?the end.

All for now.
John C.
Title: Re: RR Macleod's Lyric Books
Post by: Stuart on June 25, 2005, 09:16:02 PM

Thanks for taking the time to fill us in on Bob Macleod's Lyric Books. Regardless of the inaccuracies and places where he leaves out the Yazoo cuts where they have already been covered, I would venture to say that it is quite a contribution. It's common to focus on the flaws and shortcomings, but I think that it's difficult to fault the overall effort--and achievement. There's always room for improvement, and as you point out the Lyrics and Licks forum is an appropriate venue for corrections and additions.

Title: Re: RR Macleod's Lyric Books
Post by: waxwing on June 25, 2005, 10:54:53 PM
I agree, it is a phenominal contribution, and also acts as a good index to all the Document CDs covered, as the books are indexed by artist and title. Didn't mean to dwell on the "issues".
All for now.
John C.
Title: Re: RR Macleod's Lyric Books
Post by: uncle bud on June 26, 2005, 09:06:58 AM
Wax, if you have room in the waxmobile and can bring one or two of these to PT, I'd really like to check them out. In particular the volume with Lemon Jefferson...

Title: Re: RR Macleod's Lyric Books
Post by: Prof Scratchy on June 26, 2005, 09:35:33 AM
Although I've never knowlingly met RR, he's a close neighbour - lives, according to the phone book, a quarter of a mile away! I do have all the books though....as for accuracy,  I'd say too that he's 90% there or thereabouts. Apparently he uses an old stenographers' tape machine that can be slowed right down. I imagine he started this labour of love long before computers and the Amazing Slow Downer. My major gripe, apart from the omission of the Yazoo sides in the Document volumes, is that there should be a master index for all the volumes. The only way at present to find a particular lyric with certainty, without thumbing through all the volumes (the one you want is always in the last volume you get to) is to cross check against the Document catalogue to find the series code and disc code. Maybe one day somebody'll stick it all on CD Rom with quick links to each title/artist etc. But apart from that and the price tag, a useful addition to any bookshelf. As long as it's a strong bookshelf.
Title: Re: RR Macleod's Lyric Books
Post by: waxwing on June 26, 2005, 12:13:33 PM
Scratch, I use the online Document Catalogue to Find the CD codes, It'sd pretty quick. But conversely, since I know which Lyric volume many artists are in, I check there when looking for a specific song with out having to go to the computer. "This is your Department of Redundancy Department."

UB, as I did last year, I'll probably bring the whole set, which fits nicely behind the seat. 35 days, 1 hour and 54 minutes as of this posting!!

All for now.
John C.
Title: Re: RR Macleod's Lyric Books
Post by: Marshcat on June 27, 2005, 03:23:58 AM
Bob Macleod actually has a 1.5 MB Word file - Composer Credits - which lists all the song titles in all his books for each artist, with a reference to the relevant volume. Looks something like this:

Cottonfield Blues - Part 1 31 D1
Cottonfield Blues - Part 2 32 D1
Dough Roller Blues 32 D1
Jumpin' And Shoutin' Blues 32 D1   

where  [31] or [32] is the page number and [D1] is Document, Vol. 1.

This makes it very easy to find what you want. You could try contacting him:

RR Macleod. 19 Braidburn Terrace. Edinburgh EH10 6ET. Scotland. e-mail rrm@ednet.co.uk.

It's a while since I spoke to him, and I'm not sure the email address is still current, but I recall he was intending to update this file when he had the time... :)
Title: Re: RR Macleod's Lyric Books
Post by: Ponyboy on June 27, 2005, 07:00:40 AM
Great discussion, all.

For what it's worth, individual WCs may be able to access these Macleod titles depending on your proximity to a relevant library. I was curious after reading Stuart's comment about OCLC, and dissappointed that our library didn't have copies either--with a college of musical arts, a jazz program, and a center for popular culture, you'd think it'd be a given? I used WorldCat and found individual volumes scattered worldwide which will be more accessible to some than others--NYPublic Library; British National Bibliography, Ox-Bridge, Yale, Chicago Public Library, etc.

I'm not sure about this, but I think with OCLC, member libraries can inter-library lend holdings to patrons. WorldCat simply tells you whether a member library has a particular item; not necessarily whether or not may or may not access it in person.

If you're curious, for those of you who have access to WorldCat (you might just need to be within a member university's/library's domain for IP recognition; that seems to be the case here at BGSU), start here:

Then, scroll down to FirstSearch (or I suppose you could just start there)

On the right-hand side, under the nefarious shopping cart, are "User Resources." Click
"Log on via IP recognition" (to see if you can).

If you're successful, you should see your "home" library's name in the upper right-hand corner in a new window, and a couple of lines under the OCLC FirstSearch logo you'll find an option for ArticleFirst or WorldCat.

Click on "WorldCat."

Then in the WorldCat default search window, I used

macleod, r.r.

Then you'll need to pick and choose among the entries.


Title: Re: RR Macleod's Lyric Books
Post by: dingwall on June 28, 2005, 05:30:16 AM
A Title Index and an Artist Index are both available free as email attachments from rrm@ednet.co.uk.
Title: Re: RR Macleod's Lyric Books
Post by: waxwing on June 28, 2005, 09:37:17 AM
Thank you much. Again, it is a phenominal contribution.

And welcome to Weenie Campbell. Hope you feel free to contribute.

All for now.
John C.
Title: Re: RR Macleod's Lyric Books
Post by: dingwall on September 27, 2008, 04:57:04 AM
There is a website  www.rrmacleod.co.uk  which has not been picked up by Google.   It gives a full list of Artist/Titles and contents of each book.   Enter the full web address in the top left-hand corner of the Google opening page to access it.
Title: Re: RR Macleod's Lyric Books
Post by: oddenda on September 29, 2008, 02:05:16 AM
Folks like R.R. McLeod, or Stephan Wirtz are gifts from the gods... or need to get a life! Taking on such thankless tasks is, by its very nature, thankless (he said, stating the bleeding obvious), much like discography or bibliography. As with dancing bears, one doesn't criticize the choreography, but marvels that it's being done at all! McLeod at least has made a start on something, making OUR jobs just that bit more easy... and with, I presume a Scots accent as his norm?! How hard is that, to understand Black talk/song - don't forget the classic Japanese translation of the Elmore James tune "I Believe to my Soul" as "I Bleed Through my Soul". Maybe more poetic and romantic, but... .

May the farce be with you all.

     Peter B.
Title: Re: RR Macleod's Lyric Books
Post by: waxwing on September 29, 2008, 08:44:50 AM
Hey Pete,

Being a newcomer here, I should let you know that dingwall is Bob McLeod, and when his time and energy allow he is a regular poster here with great appreciation from all. He has contributed heavily to our Lemon Jefferson lyrics thread, which is slowly nearing completion. I'm sure Bob can speak for himself, but I just wanted you to know that you are speaking to THE MAN.

All for now.
John C.
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