Country Blues => Weenie Campbell Main Forum => Topic started by: Muddyroads on August 26, 2005, 06:28:34 AM

Title: When the Train Comes Along
Post by: Muddyroads on August 26, 2005, 06:28:34 AM
I first encountered When the Train Comes Along  in the playing of Uncle Dave Macon but since have found  similar versions by  Henry Thomas and Will Slayden.   The cross-over of  these players with Southern White players who were their contemporaries is of real interest.  It is my opinion that if we set the racial issues aside, the marketing moguls of the day did much to separate the musicians. Thomas has more in common with the bluesier white players than many of his blues contemporaries (at least those that were recorded).  His guitar playing is adequate but fundamental.  Slayden?s banjo picking is pure accompaniment.  Uncle Dave on the other hand was a powerful banjo picker and a born entertainer who mined the Black music for much of his material.  John Jackson was a fan of country music black and white.

What would have happened had we not drawn black and white lines in the music back in the early days?

 The second volume of Mississippi John Hurt's Library of  Congress recordings have been released on Fuel.  There are some real gems on it.   I had never heard him play Redwing and some of the others there.  The folklorist is a slight irritant and John fluffs some notes (perhaps he was getting tired). The insight to his repertory in real interesting.
Title: Re: When the Train Comes Along
Post by: frankie on August 26, 2005, 06:46:48 AM
I noticed a similar relationship between Henry Thomas' "Shanty Blues", the MS Sheiks "Bootlegger's Blues" and Uncle Dave's "Keep My Skillet Good and Greasy".  Similar (nearly identical) melodic contours, many shared lyrics.  The Sheiks and Henry Thomas have a chorus element that Uncle Dave basically dispenses with, but the songs seem to me to all be the same basic song.  There are many more examples than that, I'm sure.

The repertoire that was shared across the "racial dividing line" (so to speak) is a deep, deep well.  And Uncle Dave certainly seems to have struck a vein!
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