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Country Blues => Weenie Campbell Main Forum => Topic started by: Johnm on February 03, 2006, 08:52:43 AM

Title: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: Johnm on February 03, 2006, 08:52:43 AM
Hi all,
I've been thinking recently about those songs you encounter from time to time in Country Blues that appear to be genuine one-offs; songs where you can't think of any precursor you've heard and which didn't spawn covers or imitations either.  These kinds of songs are particularly tantalizing when they are strong, for they have a sort of "road taken once and never traveled again" feel to them.
To get the ball rolling, I'll mention a couple of songs/performances that I think fall into this category.  There may be earlier versions of these songs of which I'm unaware, or the same for covers, but here goes.
   * "Hunkie Tunkie Blues" by Charley Jordan.  I know Charley Jordan recycled a portion of his accompaniment to "Hunkie Tunkie" on a later duet with Hi Henry Brown, but in that piece he omitted the first four bars--the most striking and distinctive aspect of this song.  Where did the idea come from?  It sounds to be a Latin-influenced groove, but I haven't heard anything else like it coming out of St. Louis or New Orleans in other Country Blues performances of that era.
   * "Down The Highway" by Charlie Pickett.  This one, recorded by one of Sleepy John Estes's erstwhile accompanists is even farther out of the mainstream.  Playing in E, standard tuning, Charlie Pickett sounds to be flat-picking, closely tracking the vocal melody behind his singing, and then concluding each phrase with a very flashy signature lick run that sounds as though it came right out of Spanish guitar.  I don't know enough about Charlie Pickett's recorded output to know if he returned to this sound in other numbers, but I have never heard anyone else in the style do anything remotely like it.  It is on the Juke, I think.
   * "Prison Cell Blues" by Blind Lemon Jefferson.  I know of no other 8-bar blues that conforms to the structure, let alone the feel, of this beautiful song.  Lemon's definitive performance may have scared off imitators, I suppose.  Like the other two songs mentioned here it was played out the E position in standard tuning.

I'd be interested to know other tunes that people consider to fall into this category.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: GhostRider on February 03, 2006, 09:58:24 AM
Hi:

I really like Hunkie Tunkie and Prison Cell.

One I've always thought was One-of-a-Kind is Church Bell Blues by Luke Jordan.

The rocking back and forth between the two sort of E chords during the  opening I part is unduplicated I think and so effective. And the chromatic (boy, ain't I got these terms now) bass run on the low E string at the end of the V chord section.

But more unique is the total lack of repeated lyrical elements in the song, no line or phrase is sung twice, in any fashion. You don't notice it until you think about it. And I have never found another CB tune with this feature (not that one doesn't exist).

Another is the Gary Davis version of Hesitatrion Blues. Is that opening Am-E (Key of C) phrase ever been  duplicated?

Alex
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: Stuart on February 03, 2006, 10:15:58 AM
   * "Prison Cell Blues" by Blind Lemon Jefferson.  I know of no other 8-bar blues that conforms to the structure, let alone the feel, of this beautiful song.  Lemon's definitive performance may have scared off imitators, I suppose.  Like the other two songs mentioned here it was played out the E position in standard tuning.

Whlie we are on the subject--Just who was "Nell" and what did she do?
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: frankie on February 03, 2006, 11:39:06 AM
These kinds of songs are particularly tantalizing when they are strong, for they have a sort of "road taken once and never traveled again" feel to them.

I think a lot of Lemon's early recordings might fit into this category, more or less: Bad Luck Blues, Rabbit Foot Blues, Black Horse Blues.  Prison Cell Blues sure is a gem, though.

Robert Wilkins - Get Away Blues - although, just about everything he does is unique in some way

Ramblin' Thomas - Sawmill Moan
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: Stuart on February 03, 2006, 12:20:28 PM
Robert Wilkins - Get Away Blues - although, just about everything he does is unique in some way

Robert Wilkins, for sure. "Old Jim Canaan's" jumps out, especially the images evoked by the lyrics, regardless of the fact that the choice of words just might have been a function of their convenient use for rhyming purposes.
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: MTJ3 on February 03, 2006, 10:10:23 PM
Johnm, Another mammoth and provocative topic. 

Scrapper Blackwell's "Springtime Blues."  I don't know of any other examples of the II/V progression being used in bars 9-10 of an otherwise straight ahead 12 bar blues.  I find this even more interesting than his I-III/VI/II/V in bars 7-10 of "Back Door Blues" (except in one verse) and "Rambling Blues" (in the first instrumental break).

This one's low hanging fruit, high cotton, easy.  If there's anything more deserving of being called "sui generis" (--and great) than BWJ's "Dark Was The Night, Cold Was the Ground,"  I don't know what it is.
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: Johnm on February 04, 2006, 05:40:39 PM
Hi all,
I realize I'm going to be thinking about songs that fall into this category for a while.  Two that belong in this category, I think, come from that Mississippian transplanted to Indianapolis, Shirley Griffith.  They are "River Line Blues" and "Shaggy Dog Blues".  "River Line Blues" was first recorded on Shirley's '60s album on Prestige Bluesville, "Saturday Blues".  He plays it out of E, standard tuning, and the way his guitar part interacts with his vocal is really exciting.  The first chord change is a shocker, too--I have never heard it elsewhere in the blues.  He takes an E7 played out of an A7 shape barred at the 9th fret, 0-X-X-9-9-9-10, and resolves the shape intact down three frets to a C#7, 0-X-X-6-6-6-7.  The sound is electrifying in the context and made more eerie by the tug between the open E sixth string and the E# third of the chord, voiced on the second string.  The song never goes to a IV or V chord.  It is really terrific.
Shirley recorded "Shaggy Hound Blues" for his '70s Blue Goose album.  It is also in E, standard tuning, and apart from the similarity in its lyrics, appears to bear no resemblance to Ishmon Bracey's "Saturday Blues" (which Shirley also played).  Its signature lick is a kind of eerie holding pattern in which Shirley moves freely between open sixth and open fifth strings in the bass while playing a repetitive figure in the treble.  What is the tonality?  E, I guess, but it is very ambiguous sounding.  This is trance music of the highest order. 
Shirley's singing is outstanding on both numbers.  They are both on the Juke, and from my point of view, at least, merit a pile of requests.  If you haven't heard them before, give them a try.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: Gingergeezer on February 07, 2006, 04:09:58 AM
Mississippi Blues by William Brown. I've never heard anything else like that, a great tune, some lovely picking and great words! Whatever happened to him?
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: dj on February 07, 2006, 03:21:08 PM
I was just listening to Piano Blues Volume 5 on the Document label and came across something that might fit here.  At least the "one of a kind", I'm not sure about the "great".  Monroe Walker recorded 2 sides for Columbia in Atlanta on April 21st, 1930, accompanied by (probably) Clancy Morris on piano.  Walker doesn't have a real blues voice - he sounds more vaudevillian to me, with a light tenor voice that's got a lot of vibrato on the longer notes.  And the singer and accompanist don't seem to be overly familiar with each other, as Morris plays the intro at a medium tempo and then has to slow down to match Walker's doleful pace.  At any rate, "Black Heart Blues" is a fairly straight ahead 12 bar blues, until Walker gets to the 4th verse.  The entire verse is "Can't you see, sweet woman, what a fool you've made of me".  What makes this one of a kind is that the "see" takes the place of the first two lines of the standard twelve bar phrase.  Walker hits a falsetto b-flat on that word on the first beat of the verse and holds it for 8 vibrato-laden beats, then comes back down to his normal tenor to sing "sweet woman, what a fool you've made of me" as the last line of the verse.  Neither the song nor the singer is especially memorable, but that 8 bar b-flat sure makes you sit up and pay attention!

Both this song and Monroe Walker's other recorded title are on the Juke.
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: Johnm on March 20, 2006, 03:04:33 PM
Hi all,
One song that I think fits in this category is George Carter's beautiful "Rising River Blues".  The way he opens the first two lines of each verse over the IV sixth chord is really haunting.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: waxwing on March 20, 2006, 03:12:42 PM
Except that he recorded another song with exactly the same guitar and melody, Ghost Woman Blues, about a woman flagging a ride next to a cemetary. But really, you're right, John M. what a beautiful guitar and melody it is. And noone esle ever recorded anything like it.

All for now.
John C.
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: Johnm on March 20, 2006, 05:08:48 PM
Good catch, John.  I guess the fact that George Carter recorded another song with the same melody and accompaniment does keep "Rising River" from being one of a kind, though not from being great, as you say.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: AX17609 on March 23, 2006, 03:40:28 PM
Another is the Gary Davis version of Hesitatrion Blues. Is that opening Am-E (Key of C) phrase ever been  duplicated?

   St James Infirmary?

John
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: Doc White on March 23, 2006, 04:46:56 PM
Hi Guys,
Great thread.
Last Kind Word by Geechie Wiley - eerie use of Am to E as mentioned before (by the way that progression pops up all the time in things like St James Infirmary Blues and Rope Stretchin' Blues), You Shall by Frank Stokes which I think is played in F using D position chords (it's been a while since I played that one) but a great rhythm and idiosynchratic chord changes, wonderful lyrics (anything that pricks the pomposity of organised religion is fine by me), YoYo Mama by Barbecue Bob - played with a flatpick in G - tuning - rhythmically interesting - turn it up loud get up and bop
Cheers,
Chris
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: Bunker Hill on March 24, 2006, 04:07:34 AM
   * "Prison Cell Blues" by Blind Lemon Jefferson.  I know of no other 8-bar blues that conforms to the structure, let alone the feel, of this beautiful song.  Lemon's definitive performance may have scared off imitators, I suppose.  Like the other two songs mentioned here it was played out the E position in standard tuning.
Whlie we are on the subject--Just who was "Nell" and what did she do?
Sure as hell wasn't the person he was married to at the time, her name was Roberta which is hard to rhyme with "cell". :)
Perhaps when Paul Swinton finally gets his 30+ years of Jefferson research published as a book all will be revealled.
Apologies for this intrusion, just couldn't contain myself! :(
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: Johnm on May 07, 2006, 10:34:38 AM
Hi all,
I've been thinking about a song that definitely falls into this category that could also be placed in the "8-bar Blues" thread or the "Blues with Minor Chords" thread:  Clifford Gibson's "Don't Put That Thing On Me".  Despite having known the song for many years, I had never noticed until this morning that it is an 8-bar blues; perhaps it is an indication of how much it diverges from the standard 8-bar progressions and phrasing models that it had never occurred to me that it is an 8-bar blues.  
Clifford Gibson plays "Don't Put That Thing On Me" out of E position in standard tuning, pitched just flat of G# (capoed at the fourth fret).  The song's progression works out as follows:

   |        I        |        I        |       iiminor     |   iiminor/I     |

   | iiminor/I    |        I        |      I               |        I          |

So it is that you wind up with an 8-bar blues with no IV chord and no V chord, the only really changes being from E (relative to capo placement) to F#minor.  If that doesn't qualify as one of a kind in Country Blues, nothing does!  
It is interesting that Clifford Gibson chose to play this song in E standard, because the open fifth and fourth strings, A and D, do not work in support of the song's harmony and, in fact, result in the only awkward point in the song's accompaniment, in the tail end of the fourth bar where Clifford Gibson does a thumb brush of the open strings.  The open A and D strings at that point jar with the song's prevailing tonality.  In many ways, cross-note tuning, EBEGBE, would have been a more logical choice for the song (but only if you are conversant with it, I guess).  You would keep all the fretting on the top three strings intact from standard tuning, including the hammer at the first fret of the third string, but lose that rasty flat7 open D string.  When I play this song, I use the tuning DGDFAD, which is like cross-note with the fifth string tuned down a whole step so that you have a convenient low root for the IV chord (though it doesn't get used in this song).  Another advantage of this tuning is that not only the top three strings but the fifth and six strings as well have the same relationship to each other that you encounter in standard tuning.  The difference from standard tuning is that you end up with an octave you don't have to fret between the open sixth and fourth strings.
Just as the harmony to "Don't Put That Thing On Me" is unique, so is the way the lyrics and melody are phrased.  In the first verse, it works out so:
                                                                     Don't put that
thing on me,          don't put that thing on me              I swear
|                  |                         |                  |                |
   I'll be good, kind mama don't put that thing on me      Don't care what
|            |                                        |                 |                     |

Here are the lyrics:

   Don't put that thing on me, don't put that thing on me
   I swear, I'll be good, kind mama, don't put that thing on me

   Don't care what you say, don't care what you do
   You sure can't quit your woman she puts that thing on you

   She puts that thing on you, she puts it on you right
   You can't eat when you get hungry, partner, and you can't sleep at night

   You can't sleep at night, you can't sleep at night
   You can't eat when you get hungry partner, and you can't sleep at night

   I asked a married woman to let me be her kid
   She said she swear, she'd put that thing on me, and I couldn't keep it hid

   I couldn't keep it hid, I couldn't keep it hid
   She say she swear, she'd put that thing on me, and I couldn't keep it hid

   My woman quit me, got her another man
   And the way she had that thing on me I couldn't raise my hand

   Now from my experience, I'll give you your advice
   If you've got a good woman, partner, you'd better treat her nice

   You'd better treat her nice, you'd better treat her nice
   If you've got a good woman, partner, you'd better treat her nice

Clifford Gibson's time on this song has a beautiful relaxed swing and he always had a great tone on his guitar.  I think it is my favorite of all of his songs.

Edited to pick up lyric correction from Bunker Hill, 4/6
Edited, 11/5/10 to add:  My musical analysis of Clifford Gibson's tuning on the post here is off.  He actually played "Don't Put That Thing On Me" in the very same tuning that I describe myself utilizing, though probably a full step higher, at EAEGBE.

All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: Bunker Hill on May 07, 2006, 11:19:31 AM
Clifford Gibson's time on this song has a beautiful relaxed swing and he always had a great tone on his guitar.  I think it is my favorite of all of his songs.
Yeah, all round great song with such perfect diction and enunciation too.:)

It was on Yazoo's Blues From Alabama compilation which at one point was never off the turntable. What I still hear playing in my head, for both verses, is:

"She say she swear she put that thing on me and I couldn't keep it hid"

I'll have to give this a re-listen but ain't got the time now...
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: Johnm on May 07, 2006, 11:27:36 AM
Good catch on the lyric, Bunker Hill.  As soon as I read your post, I could hear it in my mind.  I will make the correction.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: Johnm on September 03, 2006, 11:18:48 AM
Hi all,
A song I was thinking about this morning that I believe fits this category is Blind Joe Reynolds performance of "Third Street Woman Blues".  It is so different from the rest of his recorded repertoire, for one thing.  I believe the rest are either very low-down slide pieces in Vestapol, "Outside Woman Blues" and "Married Man Blues", or E standard, "Nehi Blues".  "Third Street Woman Blues" is very pretty one-chorder in C, standard tuning, with a trancey sort of guitar part that is very African-sounding to me. It bears a very slight resemblance to Lemon Jefferson's "Hot Dogs" in the way it comes on and off the second fret of the third string in C, but I don't really believe it to be derivative of "Hot Dogs"; perhaps it's more of an instance of the position itself giving two different players the same idea.  Joe Reynolds' singing on this is great, too.  He has a great sort of buzzy head tone when he sings, "Oooooooo, comes my Third Street woman, now."  This one is a real beauty.
All best,
Johnm   
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: tenderfoot84 on September 04, 2006, 10:35:32 AM
hi everyone,
johnm you'e right to say that "thrd street woman blues" is a one of a kind - i absolutely love it. i'd never thought of a similarity with lemon's "hot dogs" before but you're absolutely right. my favourite lemon tune also has this "rocking" type motion over a c chord - "dry southern blues". why is that song so under appreciated?

thanks too for pointing out that "nehi blues" is i E standard, it's a nice song and i don't listen to it nearly enough. may i ask: does anyone know what joe reynolds plays under the vocals on "outside woman blues"? it's a song i love to play but i do it with just an alternating bass behind the singing but that my vocals just can't carry it off. i think at times he's brushing open strings and playing very scant slide on treble strings. but the bass runs, break, intro and outro are what make the song phenomenal.
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: tenderfoot84 on September 05, 2006, 04:04:49 AM
just to add to my post above, joe reynolds' "ninety-nine blues" is also in C standard and shares much with "third street woman blues" in terms of the positions used. It also features the "rocking" guitar figure over a C chord - but he creates a massively different feel on this song.
i'm a wee bit disappointed in myself for not noticeing how great this song and "nehi blues" are. i think they just get over shadowed by the rest of his recorded output - six songs, but six of the best.
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: Johnm on September 05, 2006, 09:16:52 AM
Hi David,
I forgot about the recent finds of Joe Reynolds.  Do you know what the other side of "Ninety Nine Blues" is?  I discovered that I have that track on one of the CDs that accompanies the Tefteller calendars.  "Ninety Nine Blues" reminds me of some of Sam Collins's stuff in C, as well as Lemon.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: dj on September 05, 2006, 11:12:43 AM
The flip side of "Ninety Nine Blues" is "Cold Woman Blues".  If I recall correctly, "Cold Woman Blues" was on the disk that came with the 2004 Blues Images calendar, and "Ninety Nine Blues" accompanied the 2005 calendar.  "Cold Woman Blues" is also on the Charley Patton Revenant set, and both songs are on Document's Trouble Hearted Blues: Vintage Guitar Blues 1927 - 1944.       
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: Johnm on September 05, 2006, 12:59:52 PM
Hi dj,
Thanks for the information.  I have the Patton Revenant set, so I will dig out "Cold Woman Blues" and see what's up with it.  It's kind of stupid not to know what I have.  Oh well.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: tenderfoot84 on September 06, 2006, 04:34:24 PM
hey peeps,

i had thought that with the exception of 'third street woman blues' joe reynolds recorded everything in vestapol. this was pure assumption, from what i'd read -  i was very wrong. i've still yet to have a crack at 'cold woman blues' though.

dj, have you any idea where i can lay my hands on sam collins recordings? i'm aware that this has been discussed on this site before but i'm dismayed to be denied at every cut and turn when i try to lay my hands on it! i love his work on yellow dog, slow mama slow, lonesome road and graveyard digger's blues. these are all that i've been able to accumulate from compilations.
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: uncle bud on September 06, 2006, 04:49:56 PM
Hi David C,

A copy of Yazoo's Sam Collins CD clocks in at a whopping $134 and change at Amazon. I'm assuming you're not insane.

You might consider emusic.com: see http://www.emusic.com/artist/11606/11606752.html . I myself haven't gone the eMusic route yet for anything, but they are offering some of the out of stock Documents (including Sam Collins as per above) as downloads. Plus there's a trial with X number of free downloads, so you could get it that way.

I'd be curious to hear from other Weenies regarding their eMusic purchases. What are the bit rates of the mp3s, are you happy with the purchases etc. Obviously, we'd all love liner notes and uncompressed files on CD, but if the alternative is $134 at Amazon marketplace, well....

I was very (very!) happy recently to score the Mississippi Sheiks Vol 3 on Document through eBay for less than I would have paid for a new Document, even with shipping from the UK. So watch eBay as well.

I love Sam Collins, think he's just great!

Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: dj on September 06, 2006, 06:11:03 PM
Beat me to the punch, Uncle Bud!

Just be aware that if you can get a copy of the Document Sam Collins CD, or if you download all the Sam Collins tracks from emusic, you get 6 songs not on the Yazoo CD.  On the other hand, if you can find the Yazoo CD, you get better sound than the Document has.  I haven't tried emusic yet, but as more and more of the Documents go out of print, I'm getting darned close to trying it.

Back to the topic at hand.  Johm M., as usual, you've pointed out a really interesting and beautiful song.  It wasn't too hard to figure out, given the playing position and hints about the rocking on and off the third string (and a 50% slowdown on Transcribe!  ;D), and it's fun to play - really kind of hypnotic.  Thanks a lot!

I always wonder when songs like this were played.  It's hard to imagine it accompanying a crowd of dancers at a Juke - it seems too delicate and lacking in bass "drive" for that.  But it's equally hard to imagine it holding an audience on a busy street.  To me it sounds more like a "sitting on the front porch in the evening" piece.  But I could be really wrong about that.  I'd love to know when Joe Reynolds played it. 
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: tenderfoot84 on September 07, 2006, 01:54:40 AM
hey dj,

there's some interesting info on joe reyolds in wardlow's 'chasin' that devil music'.
here's a wee snippet:

Among those who tried to and failed to "run" Joe was Ishmon Bracey, a well-known bluesman from Jackson, Mississippi, who, one Saturday afternoon around 1930, thought to dislodge him from a Vicksburg street by pitting his playing against Joe's. "He worked me over on that guitar," Bracey freely conceded. "He had two, three pieces there he could 'stop' anybody with."

page 174 if anyone's interested. i'd chew my leg off to have been on THAT street.

thanks uncle bud,

eMusic seems to be the way forward in terms of getting hold of sam collins' tracks. i think i'll go with the yazoo tracks and fill the gaps with document. the only problem is i have an allergy to credit cards so i'll need to ask my brother, politely, if he can get me them for me: i can't even sign up for the free trial!
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: GerryC on September 11, 2006, 03:42:19 AM
Has anyone mentioned Carl Martin's version of Crow Jane? Whilst the three verses are standard CJ fare, the guitar arrangement , withb its combination of treble string strumming, bass and middle slides and finger-popping, is terrific. I don't think I've come across that turn-around he uses anywhere else: a 'normal' C shape starting on 3rd fret tripletting down to E by playing the 5th, 2nd and open 1st. I mention it because after many months of listening and practising, I finally summoned up the nerve to play it in public for the first time last week. It went down well apart from with one guy who thought I was trying to summon the waiter... ::)

Cheerily,

Gerry C
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: GhostRider on November 20, 2006, 08:31:09 PM
Hi:

Just thought of another arrangement that belongs in this catagory, "Walking Across the Country" by Blind Blake. The first 1.75 bars is accompanied by a progression of diminished chords. And the first 2/3 of the turnaround is played by moving a partial G chord up the fretboard.

I don't think I've ever heard either of these devices in any other tune.

Alex
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: Johnm on November 22, 2006, 09:51:19 AM
Hi Alex,
I just dug out "Walkin' Across The Country" because I didn't have the sound of it in my head, and you are dead right--it's one for the books.  The way Blake uses those diminished shapes to play chord melody in the first two bars of the two set-up line phrases is something I don't recall hearing before, in Blues at least.  Ditto the ascending phrase, which if anything, is even more unusual.  I wonder if Ari has figured this one out?  It would seem to be right up his alley.  That's a great find.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: Johnm on June 11, 2009, 12:36:18 PM
Hi all,
I've had occasion recently to re-visit Bo Carter's "Who's Been Here?", in the course of doing a transcription of it for a student.  It was the opening number on the old Yazoo re-issue, 1014, "Bo Carter's Greatest Hits", and I think Nick Perls deserves a lot of credit for being one of the first serious public listeners to the music not to dismiss Bo's music out of hand purely on the basis of his often smutty lyric content.  
I recorded "Who's Been Here?" on my first Blue Goose album, and I suppose I understood it well enough then to sing and play it, but the process of transcribing it has made me realize how little I understood it structurally.  It is not really a Blues, in terms of its phrasing, but, like "Twist It, Babe" and "Pussy Cat Blues", is more like a children's song, employing only the I and V chords.  Its phrasing is highly irregular.  Bo played it out of his G tuning, DGDGBE, and it opens with a 15-bar solo, with the following form.  Presume 4 beats per measure unless otherwise indicated.

   |  G   |   G   |   G   |

   |  D7  |   D7  |D7(3 beats) G(3 beats) |   G   |

   |   G   |   G   |   G   |

   |  D7(6 beats) |  D7   |   D7 (6 beats) |

   |   G(6 beats) |   G   |

When looked at this way, the phrasing looks almost pointlessly complicated, but that is certainly not the impression you get in listening to Bo's playing--it is driving and strong, with tremendous syncopation and a powerful rhythmic engine.  

The verses employ a 14-bar form, and are perfectly consistent in the metric treatment of the phrasing.  Each verse comes in two parts, with the opening of the second half of the verse coming out of the tagline of the first half, like:

   Baby, who been here
   Since your daddy been gone?
   Says, he must have been a preacher, daddy,
   Had a long coat on
  
   He had a long coat on,
   He had a long coat on,
   Says, he must have been a preacher, daddy,
   Had a long coat on

Each verse prior to Bo's mid-song solo conforms to this general lay-out, with the same opening two lines, the final two lines of the first half repeated as the final two lines of the second half, and the first two lines of the second half coming out of the tagline of the first half.  Bo's singing of the lyrics is quite syncopated and he is phrasing way in front of the beat.  All of the vocal phrases start on the + of beats, so the resulting emphasis has a strong counter-punching sort of feel.   He actually starts the verse with pick-up notes on on the + of the first beat in the measure preceding the down beat of the form, and there are very flashy instrumental responses between the vocal phrases.  The first verse phrases out like so (note that the double bars indicate the beginning and ending of the form):

| 1  + 2  +    3  +   4     +   || 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + | 1  +  2    +   3   +     4     +    |        
     Baaaby, who   been here (response)                  Since your daddy been gone
| 1  + 2  +   3 + 4 +  5  + 6   +|   1      +     2   +  3     +    4   +  5  + 6   +   |
                                  Well, it  must have been a preacher,      daaady,
|  1   +   2   +   3   +   4   +   | 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + | 1  +   2    +   3   +   4    +   |    
       Haaad  a  long    coat on    (response)               He had  a  long    coat on    
|   1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +|   1   +   2    +   3   +   4    +   |  1 + 2  +  3 + 4 + 5 +  6  +  |  
 (response)                    He had  a  long    coat on                                 Well, it
|  1     +     2    +   3    +     4   +  5    +   6  +   | 1    +   2  +   3    +   4     +    |
 must have been a  preacher,     daaaaady,                  Haaad a   long     coat on
|  1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +|  1   +   2   +   3   +  4     +     ||
(response)                   Baaaaby, who   been here

There is a childrens song in the Appalachian tradition that has very similar phrasing:

   Who's been here since I been gone
   Pretty little gal with a red dress on
   She took it off and I put it on
   Pretty little gal with a red dress on

Hearing what Bo did with his childrens song sort of material makes me think we all might be missing a bet by not examining some of the songs we learned as kids.  They might have real potential for something driving and distinctive in the style, like "Who's Been Here?".  I remember Big Joe Williams did "She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain" on his Folkways album, and it was as tough sounding as you would expect it to be.  This type of material is one of the meeting grounds of the black and white American folk traditions, and it's great stuff.  If you haven't heard Bo do "Who's Been Here?", seek it out--it really is sensational.
All best,
Johnm                  
    
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: Mr.OMuck on June 11, 2009, 01:18:24 PM
Quote
"River Line Blues" was first recorded on Shirley's '60s album on Prestige Bluesville, "Saturday Blues".  He plays it out of E, standard tuning, and the way his guitar part interacts with his vocal is really exciting.

I just discovered this thread and wanted to add my praise for this extraordinary performance of Shirley Griffith's.
That album remains for me, after all these years, one of the most satisfying blues records I own. What a terrific and under-recognized musician he was.
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: Bunker Hill on June 11, 2009, 01:38:01 PM
I just discovered this thread and wanted to add my praise for this extraordinary performance of Shirley Griffith's.
That album remains for me, after all these years, one of the most satisfying blues records I own. What a terrific and under-recognized musician he was.
He commands half a dozen Weenie "tags" which are individually worth checking out.
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: Johnm on June 11, 2009, 02:11:43 PM
I couldn't agree with you more, O'Muck and Bunker Hill, concerning Shirley Griffith's musical excellence.  His Prestige Bluesville solo album was superb, and so was his Blue Goose album.  I used to have his Prestige duo album with his buddy, J. T. Adams, and stupidly let it go at some point.  Griffith was a wonderful player and singer, and I was fortunate to see him perform twice.  He was missing the index finger on his left hand, a horrible misfortune for a guitarist, as a result of a grisly childhood accident involving a game played with an axe.
Re "Who's Been Here?" and blues musicians performing childrens songs, I just remembered that the great Jimmy Lee Williams, on Fat Possum, recorded "Little Boy Blue".
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: jostber on June 11, 2009, 02:22:09 PM
Montana Taylor's "I Can't Sleep" is something else too. Wonderful song.

Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: Johnm on October 22, 2009, 09:54:47 PM
Hi all,
I returned to John Hurt's "Candyman" to teach it today, and I had forgotten what a remarkable piece it is.  The solo is like nothing else I have heard in the style, and it's distinctive sound is accentuated by the bass being one chord change ahead of the chord it is backing at the beginning of the solo.  Working with this piece reminded me that I think that John Hurt, for all of his acclaim and popularity among present-day Country Blues fans, is pretty significantly under-rated as a musician.  There are so many pieces he did that are not like anything done by other people in the same position/tuning.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: Mr.OMuck on October 23, 2009, 06:10:27 AM
Quote
is pretty significantly under-rated as a musician

I completely agree John. He also got the absolute most variety out of any chord he played. His right hand work was terrifically inventive, wittily illustrating parts of the songs narrative, yet always remaining solidly rhythmic. I can tell how much he's got going in the right hand by how much thinking and anticipating I have to do while playing his songs and also how tired my right hand gets doing it. I've always loved his music and it just continues to grow for me as time rolls on.
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: Johnm on January 07, 2010, 05:44:08 PM
Hi all,
I had occasion to re-transcribe Mance Lipscomb's "Ain't You Sorry" for a lesson today, and is it ever a piece of work--oof!  Structurally, it is simplicity itself, an 8-bar progression in G, standard tuning, like so,

   |    E7    |    E7    |    A7    |    A7    |

   |    D     |     D     |    G     |     G     |

but Mance's incredibly funky thumbwork setting up the Latin groove in which he starts the song makes it a uniquely exciting number.  He accelerates throughout the course of the rendition, as was usual for him, and is just screaming along by the time he gets to the end.  Mance Lipscomb was such a fecund source of musical ideas.  He really was one of the most consistently inventive guitarists the genre ever produced.  In the LP configuration on Arhoolie, "Ain't You Sorry" was the second track on "Mance Lipscomb, Texas Sharecropper and Songster, Volume 4".  I will check at the Arhoolie website to see which of his many CDs it shows up on.  Oops--turns out I have it, on Mance Lipscomb, "Captain, Captain", Texas Songster, Vol. 3", Arhoolie CD 465.  This one is worth seeking out, folks.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: Johnm on May 09, 2010, 11:46:14 PM
Hi all,
I've had occasion recently to study and work out Ishmon Bracey's "Four Day Blues", and I believe it most certainly qualifies for this thread.  I had always thought the song (mis-titled by the record company--it should be "'Fore Day Blues") was an unusually interesting sort of riff tune in A, standard tuning, and could never really pick up a sort of guiding principle for what Bracey was doing.  It wasn't until I actually transcribed the piece that I discovered that Ishmon Bracey had created a 17-bar blues, and that what he did behind his sung verses was perfectly consistent with regard to structure, though so novel in the way it was put together that the structure is not immediately apparent.  The song is phrased like so, with all measures of four beats apiece.

   |    I    |    I    |    I    |    I    |    I    |

   |    I    |    I    |    I    |    I    |    I    |

   |    V    |    V    |    I    |    I    |    I    |    I    |    I    |

A couple of interesting features of the song's phrasing:
   * The song's phrasing irregularities are not driven by the vocal.  The vocal phrases over the first two bars of each of the three phrases as per usual in a non-chorus blues with an AAB lyric scheme.
   * The source of the song's unique phrasing is Ishmon Bracey's way of playing the instrumental response that follows each vocal phrase.  He has a one-bar signature lick that he uses to book-end a changeable interior bar in the three bars that follow each vocal phrase.  To complicate matters further, in the tagline he follows the vocal with a two-bar instrumental lick and then adds on the three-bar instrumental tag in the same way that he employed it at the end of the first two phrases.
What you end up with, then, is a form in which the bars end up being designated like so: (Note:  All bars are the same length despite the appearance of different lengths.)

   |  vocal  |  vocal  | signature lick  | changing lick  |  signature lick  |

   |  vocal  |  vocal  | signature lick  | changing lick  |  signature lick  |

   |vocal|vocal|ending lick|ending lick, cont'd.|signature lick|changing lick|signature lick|

This is a potent combination:  a unique and fascinating structure that has the capacity for change built into it, Bracey's astringent,puckery tuning and capacity for always seeming to bend even notes he's hitting dead on by just a hair, capped off by the most distinctive vocal head tone in blues singing this side of Rube Lacy.  One of a kind and great, indeed!
All best,
Johnm      
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: hortig78rpm on May 10, 2010, 04:20:56 AM
hello folks

this is a discussion without any end. Ive worked for years with afro-americanism professor alfons dauer here at the univrsity, looking out for different blues-forms etc. at that time I had all the document LP`s and later cd`s at hand, and we found hundred one of a kind tunes. structure: 4,6,8,9,1o,11,12,13,14,16,2o,24 bars, text: one line , two lines, three lines, two with answer-line , one story without any repeat,  minor, minor mixed, only played on the I. only I and IV
changes in the second or 1o chorus. here exampled of the most strangest tunes:
andy boy: house raid blues., big joh  henry miller : down by myself. sylvester palmer:lonesome man blues, lighning hopkins: Mr. charly blues, turner frodrell: slow drag, walter roland: big mama, joe pullum: black girl/rack it back and tell it right, lee green: the way I feel, leroy carr: baby, dont you love me no more,
tommy bradley: adam & eve and many more

regards
mike
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: Johnm on May 10, 2010, 08:33:19 AM
Hi hortig78rpm,
You'll get no argument from me that there is a virtually endless supply of one-off blues forms.  I think the notion of the thread is that the impact of such tunes/performances is most strongly experienced one at a time, rather than as an inundation of idiosyncrasies.  Adding to listed categories en masse shortcuts appreciation of individuality and presents the unique characteristics of these performances as an undifferentiated undigestible mass.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: banjochris on May 11, 2010, 01:28:59 AM
I've had occasion recently to study and work out Ishmon Bracey's "Four Day Blues", and I believe it most certainly qualifies for this thread.

Looks bizarre on paper, but sounds very logical, as you say. I think Bracey should get extra points for unusualness with "Worried now, shan't be worried long." Not sure I've ever heard anyone sing that lyric with "shan't".
Chris
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: Johnm on May 11, 2010, 09:15:44 AM
I know what you mean, Chris, you don't run into "shan't" in blues lyrics that often.  I can see it now, from Ishmon Bracey's forthcoming biography:  "And oft betimes would Bracey troll a tribute to his lissome faro." 
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: banjochris on May 11, 2010, 02:16:48 PM
"And oft betimes would Bracey troll a tribute to his lissome faro." 

 :D
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: DanceGypsy on May 11, 2010, 02:58:04 PM
Cairo Blues by Henry Spaulding.  The following is an excerpt from the liner notes in Andy Cohen's new CD Built Right On the Ground, on which Andy covers the song:

"Nothing about this 1929 number by Henry Spaulding is typical, frpom the phrasal patterns that comprise its 11 bar organization to the driving snap-pizz on the strings to the reverse call-and-response pattern led by the guitar and answered by the voice.  It makes for one of the most singular pre-war guitar blues tunes ever recorded, and one of the most demanding [to reproduce today]."

The liner noted were written by William Lee Ellis, by the way.

Andy introduced me to this song about two or three years ago when he recorded it on one of Martin Fisher's wax cylinders at the Breakin' Up Winter old-time music weekend that is held at Cedars of Lebannon State Park outside Nashville every February, and I agree with Bill.  This song seems to me most singular, unique in the annals of the pre-war blues.  I think Andy told me that Spaulding recorded this and one other side, and then faded back into obscurity.
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: Johnm on November 19, 2010, 06:43:59 PM
Hi all,
I've been listening to a lot of St. Louis blues musicians recently, and yesterday got out Teddy Darby's "Lawdy Lawdy Worried Blues" and for the first time, really figured it out as he played it.  If Henry Townsend shows the good side of improvisatory riffing in songs like "She's Got A Mean Disposition", than Teddy Darby shows the potential for beauty in a well-thought-out set piece arrangement in "Lawdy Lawdy Worried Blues", which is like some sort of gorgeous little gem.
I've heard people say that the song has the same melody as "Rolling and Tumbling", but I don't hear it that way, partially because "Rolling And Tumbling" works out of a 12-bar format with each of the first two phrases starting on the IV chord.  In its structure, "Lawdy Lawdy Worried Blues" definitely qualifies as one-of-a-kind and great.  It has 2-line verses and a 6-bar structure with bar lengths of four beats, five beats, five beats, four beats, four beats and six beats, maintained with regularity from beginning to end.  Despite this appearance of quixotic metric irregularity, the song has a perfectly natural flow, as natural as a river flowing.  The treble part of the guitar very closely tracks and echoes the vocal, and the bass is highly irregular, with a sort of counter-punching quality relative to the pulse that makes it very difficult to anticipate or internalize (thus far).  Teddy Darby played it out of cross-note tuning, which allowed him to free-hand the entire guitar part; there are no chord positions or chords played, and in some respects the guitar part is like a slide piece played without a slide.
Fortunately, you don't have to know or appreciate any of this to appreciate the song, for it is such a prize.  It's one of the defining pieces in the Country Blues for me.
All best,
Johnm      
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: Rivers on November 19, 2010, 06:57:44 PM
Thanks for pointing that out John, beautiful piece. Is this in F first position? [edit: I reread your post, crossnote]

The timing of the bass string thumps are really nice.
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: Norfolk Slim on November 01, 2012, 02:44:31 PM
I was reviewing this thread following a search for information on something I'm working on and the thread got me thinking of the very weird Bedside Blues by Jim Thompkins.  It may not qualify on structure- but on feel and approach, Im struggling to come up with anything similar.

The constantly moving slide seems like the obvious thing to do with one (my kids do it when presented with one) but I dont recall hearing anything quite like it.  Perhaps the serious slide afficionados do?

Bedside Blues ........Jim Thompkins (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYPVKLyWHBY#)
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: blueshome on November 01, 2012, 03:15:50 PM
The singing style and lyrics rings a bell somewhere, I can't place it just now.
Guitar is played lap style, sounds very basic but I don't think he's a novice given his singing.
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: JohnLeePimp on November 02, 2012, 05:11:57 AM
The end bit of Tommy McClennan's "She's just good hugging size" has one of the stompingiest (technical term) beats played on a guitar till John Lee Hooker Came along

Smokey Hogg's Penitentiary Blues was a 2 parter and he recorded it more than once but I think still counts

I'm not sure if it's fair to include players or singers who were generally unusual - if so then I'd include Sloppy Henry's Canned Heat and Napoleon Harriston Frisco Train
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: Johnm on February 08, 2013, 05:54:06 PM
Hi all,
I was going through some Leroy Carr tunes today and happened upon one that I reckon fits this thread's description:  "Papa's On The Housetop".  It's an 8-bar blues but not like any I've encountered before.  Through it's first six bars, it looks like it's going to work like a conventional 12-bar blues, and then it pulls a fast one in the seventh and eighth bars.  It works out like so:

    |    I    |    I    |    I    |    I    |

    |   IV   |   IV   |    V    | V    I  |

In addition to its unusual or unique chord form, it is unusual in leaving no space for instrumental response lines, either in the verses or in the refrain that follows each verse.  Describing it this way makes it sound learned; in fact, it is a dangerously catchy tune, as those of you who have heard it know, and it has a tremendous set of very clever lyrics.  One of a kind and great?  Absolutely.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: Johnm on November 12, 2013, 02:31:04 PM
Hi all,
In listening recently to "String Bands (1926-1929)" on document recently, I've been mightily impressed by the Alabama Sheiks, featuring Eddie West on fiddle and vocals and Ad Fox on guitar and vocals.  All four of their tracks on the CD are fine, but "The New Talkin' 'Bout You" is a stand-out.  The duo plays the song in C, and it opens with an instrumental pass of the tune, which starts on a IV note in the melody and is harmonized with the IV (F) chord.  The melody has a small range, just from I up to V, and after that initial IV chord, it goes back to I and sort of hangs out there for the remainder of the form, while occasionally hinting at another IV chord or a V chord.  On subsequent passes through the form, Ad Fox often backs the opening phrase with a I chord, creating some real tension with the melody.  Fox's guitar back-up is exceptionally interesting throughout the rendition, and the singing has a lot of character and some unusual vowel sounds.
"The New Talkin' 'Bout You" ends up being a 12-bar, cut time (2 big beats per measure) chorus blues, in which the fourth measure of the first four-bar phrase has an extra big beat to accommodate the vocal pick-up to the refrain, like so, with where the beats fall relative to the lyrics shown:
                                                                                                                                                You can
 1                2                    1                 2         1             2                  1                    2          3
quit and do anything that you wanta do, someday you'll want me and I won't want you, I'm talkin' 'bout
|                                      |                             |                                  |                                                   |

That extra beat to allow for the vocal pick-ups to the chorus puts a nice little hitch in the timing.  The over-all impression I get from the performance is of something so particular to the two players and all the musical choices they make along the way.  It's a treat to hear something that is not driving right down the middle of the road of a musical style.
Here are the lyrics as I'm hearing them.  I welcome corroboration or correction.  I'm attaching an .mp3 of the Alabama Sheiks performance of the song.

You can quit and do anything that you wanta do
Someday you'll want me and I won't want you,
REFRAIN: I'm talkin' bout you, I'm a-talkin' 'bout you
I'm a-talkin' 'bout you, I don't care just what you do

What did the elephant say when he swallowed a cat?
"A bellyful of pussy and-a tight like that"
REFRAIN: I'm a-talkin' 'bout you, I'm a-talkin' 'bout you
I'm a-talkin' 'bout you, I don't care there what you do

You's a woman runnin' around from-a hand to hand
I go my woman and you've got your man
REFRAIN: I'm a-talkin' 'bout you, I'm a-talkin' 'bout you
I'm a-talkin' 'bout you, I don't care just what you do

You don't treat me, you, you won't treat me right
Take you back where you had it last night
REFRAIN: I'm a-talkin' 'bout you, Oh I'm a-talkin' 'bout you
A-talkin' bout you, I don't care just what you do

SOLO

You can't be mine and somebody else's, too
I can't stand the a-way you do
REFRAIN: I'm talkin' 'bout you, I'm a-talkin' 'bout you
I'm a-talkin' 'bout you, I don't care just what you do

I met you a man when you's from house to house
I know you when your best woman had put you out
REFRAIN: I'm a-takin' 'bout you, I'm a-talkin' 'bout you
I'm a-talkin' 'bout you, I don't care just what you do

You can put your hat for me the other night
You can bring it down for tomorrow night
REFRAIN: I'm a-talkin' 'bout you, I'm a-talkin' 'bout you
I'm a-talkin' 'bout you, I don't care just what you do

I should add, too, that there is a terrific solo performance by the Mississippi-born mandolinist Mike Compton, at http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=2101.msg69455#msg69455 (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=2101.msg69455#msg69455) .  Check it out--you're in for a treat.

All best,
Johnm




 
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: mr mando on November 13, 2013, 02:39:34 AM
I always heard 2.1 as: "What did the alligator say .....", but listening again, I think you're right with transcribing it as elephant.

BTW, this song is a quite unusual cover of Memphis Minnie's and Kansas Joe's "I'm Talking About You".  The remaining two songs by the Alabama Sheiks may also be covers. ?Travelin? Railroad Man Blues? is similar to ?Traveling Man?, though I don't know if there's an older recorded version that is as close as "The New Talkin' 'Bout You" is to "I'm Talking About You". ?Lawdy Lawdy Blues? IMO is derived from a Papa Charlie Jackson tune, but I don't remember which one.
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: Johnm on November 13, 2013, 06:20:00 AM
Thanks for that information about it having been done before, mr mando.  I thought it might be a cover, since it was designated "new" in the title.  "Lawdy Lawdy Blues" is a cover of "The Cat's Got the Measles and the Dog's Got the Whooping Cough", done by Papa Charlie as you say, and a lot of other people.  If the four songs are all covers, I think it is still amazing the extent to which they sound like themselves and nobody else.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: Johnm on February 19, 2016, 11:37:53 AM
Hi all,
I think Jesse Thomas's "My Heart's A Rolling Stone" most definitely qualifies as one-of-a-kind and great.  It's the only song he ever recorded in DGDGBE, playing in G, he appears to have invented the form, and what he plays, sings and phrases sounds like no one else in the style . . . and he was about eighteen when he did it!  Check it out:

https://youtu.be/8Ces3jJrAus

All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: Forgetful Jones on May 22, 2016, 06:06:54 AM
I think Jesse Thomas's "My Heart's A Rolling Stone" most definitely qualifies as one-of-a-kind and great. 

This is a prime example of why I've gotten sucked into this forum. There is so much music out there, and I'm not sure that I would have ever come across this song on my own. I love it. Thank you John.
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: Johnm on May 22, 2016, 12:17:31 PM
I glad you enjoyed that song, Forgetful Jones.  If you like that one, look for another one by Jesse Thomas called "Another Friend Like Me".  It is another terrific number.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: Suzy T on May 22, 2016, 11:23:11 PM
Jesse Thomas' playing so reminds me of Steve Mann.  I never listened to him before, this is just great.  Thanks so much John!  What tuning is  Blue Goose Blues in?
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: Johnm on May 23, 2016, 06:25:01 AM
"Blue Goose Blues" is in G position, standard tuning, Suzy.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: Forgetful Jones on June 01, 2016, 09:51:50 AM
I glad you enjoyed that song, Forgetful Jones.  If you like that one, look for another one by Jesse Thomas called "Another Friend Like Me".  It is another terrific number.
All best,
Johnm

Thanks for the suggestion Johnm. I like how all the solos in this song are completely different from each other.
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: Forgetful Jones on June 01, 2016, 09:58:58 AM
I hope this song qualifies as One-of-a-Kind...it's certainly great. The original recording of Sleepy John Estes "Special Agent" always seemed a little different to me. Maybe it's that killer signature riff?  I think it's cool the way he plays the riff differently the first time it comes around.

I've never really had much luck playing this song in any authentic kind of way. I sometimes struggle hearing what's going on when there are two guitars.

I know this song was also discussed in the vocal phrasing thread, so I know I'm not alone in my appreciation for this tune.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PWR3l_kW1E

The last line of the song is one of my favorite in country blues: "I got to do some recording, and I oughta be recording right now"
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: Forgetful Jones on October 02, 2016, 06:26:34 PM
I'm not sure if parts of songs that seem One-of-a-kind count, but John Byrd's Narrow Face Blues has a couple things that stand out to me. The first :08 of the intro is fantastic! The triplets sound like something more common with electric guitar. I also find it interesting that the washboard cut out only :25 into the song. That seems like it may be unique as well. Cool song all around.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FStI6dtRdZk
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: frankie on October 03, 2016, 04:10:38 AM
Seems like Washboard Walter is the singer on "Narrow Face Blues" (how's that for a weird title?). It doesn't sound much like John Byrd's voice, anyway:

https://youtu.be/HJk7SzYQVEY
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: Johnm on October 03, 2016, 09:35:24 AM
Nice pick, Forgetful Jones!  Boy, John Byrd was a powerhouse on twelve-string guitar.  That was Washboard Walter singing on "Narrow Face Blues", as frankie suggested.  In the first verse, is he singing?
   You can talk about grey liver, but narrow face is what I crave
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: Forgetful Jones on October 03, 2016, 01:01:59 PM
Thanks for the information Frankie & John! This past year, thanks in part to this forum, I've come across so many great artists that I had never heard before. John Byrd is one of them. I just checked out another post that lists more of his recordings with other artists.
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: Forgetful Jones on March 17, 2017, 08:25:31 AM
Hello all. I took advantage of the recent sale on JohnM's instructional videos, and I fell in love with Peg Leg Howell's "Turtle Dove Blues" from the Atlanta Guitar vid. Wow!! This is absolutely one-of-a-kind and great. There are some beautiful sounds in this song that I've certainly never heard anywhere else. I'm fascinated by it, and it's really fun to play. I'm still hammering out the small details of the song, but it's coming along nicely. And it's in the key of F to boot! This is also an example of me "discovering" a song that I already had in my collection, but didn't realize what a gem it really is.
By the way, it's well known here but bears repeating... JohnM, you are truly an amazing player and teacher. Thank you for everything you do!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLjSXpgBFF0
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: Johnm on March 17, 2017, 01:42:43 PM
I'm glad you're enjoying "Turtle Dove Blues", Forgetful Jones.  It really is a beauty, and so unusual.  Thanks for the good words, too.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: Johnm on April 19, 2020, 05:56:36 PM
Hi all,
Here's one that I think qualifies for this thread:

https://youtu.be/6kXiCdbSMoI

Certainly Jim Jackson never recorded another song remotely like it.

All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: One of a Kind--and Great
Post by: btasoundsradio on April 20, 2020, 10:15:34 AM
I do believe that Old Dog Blue comes from the pre blues minstrel banjo tradition, here is Dink Roberts of VA, playing it on banjo:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRsZkpYCuu8
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