Country Blues => Weenie Campbell Main Forum => Topic started by: jaybird on May 07, 2006, 10:32:38 PM

Title: jaybird coleman music
Post by: jaybird on May 07, 2006, 10:32:38 PM
hi i am wanting to know if anyone knows about jaybird colemans music what keys of harps he played i know he played cross harp but that is all i know i hope somewone about this artist thanks
Title: Re: jaybird coleman music
Post by: waxwing on May 07, 2006, 11:39:07 PM
Hey jaybird,

Welcome to Weenie Campbell. No reason this topic shouldn't be over here on the main forum, Jaybird Coleman is blues all the way. And I take it you're a harp player. Hope you hang around as we'd love to have more harp oriented discussions.

I just recently heard Jaybird for the first time and I was blown away. I don't know of any other prewar blues harp player who recorded so many solo sides, just harp and vocal. And what an expressive singer he is too. I was looking to hear his sides with the Birmingham Jug Band so I picked up his complete works on Document. It's all just great stuff.

I was looking to work out the BJB side titled Bill Wilson, which is a one chorder in F based on the John Henry melody (C harp for crossharp, right? Altho' this could be straight harp). I haven't worked out any keys for his solo stuff, but if you can suss out the melody, it's often a good bet that the note a song ends on will be the root of the key (or each verse, really). Maybe you can find the note on a C harp and then grab the cross harp for that note/key. You don't have the question of capo position that we guitar players do, eh?

Hope that helps.

All for now.
John C.
Title: Re: jaybird coleman music
Post by: Cambio on May 08, 2006, 10:12:28 AM
Alot of his solo stuff is in the key of Bb, so you'd need an Eb harp.  It's likely that they were were originally in A, but were recorded fast, since other solo stuff is recorded in G# and you'd need a C# harp to play it, those aren't too common.
The recordings he did with a piano player, like Man Trouble Blues, are in G and he's playing a C harp.
Birmingham Jug Band are as follows:

German Blues- Bb harp
Cane Brake- Eb harp
Wild Cat Squal- Bb harp
Bill Wison- Bb harp
Birmingham Blues- Bb harp
Gettin Ready for Trial- Bb harp
Giving It Away- A harp
Kickin' Mule Blues-Bb

Good luck
Title: Re: jaybird coleman music
Post by: waxwing on May 08, 2006, 06:19:22 PM
Hey, great post, Todd. I didn't know you were a harp player?

And right, I guess I counted the wrong way on Bill Wilson. D'oh! Hmm, maybe I should be capoing up one fret and playing that in E. Thanks. That would certainly free me up to fill in more behind the mando.

All for now.
John C.
Title: Re: jaybird coleman music
Post by: Chezztone on May 09, 2006, 07:04:37 PM
He's one of my favorites. Yes, anyone who believes blues harp starts with Sonny Boy, Big Walter and Little Walter is sure missing something. Really, all the greatest harpists were the early ones, just as all the great guitarists were. Yeah, Jaybird's got an expressiveness that cuts through all the scratches on the records. His singing also is incredibly expressive, and the way the singing and the playing work together is almost overwhelming.
But it is not at all clear that he was the harpist with the Birmingham Jug Band. I love them too (as you know, Waxwing)! Including their big-toned, hillbillyish harpist. But I don't think that's Jaybird. Even Document, which grouped them together on one compilation, I think includes a disclaimer in the liner notes.
Steve Cheseborough
Title: Re: jaybird coleman music
Post by: downthedirtroad on May 11, 2006, 01:21:50 PM
about jaybird:

if anyone has the opportunity to check this out, make a beeline to the remastered side of jaybird's "i'm going to cross the river of jordan some of these days" on the yazoo times ain't like they used to be compilation (either vol.7 or 8, can't remember right now).  The remastering is lightyears ahead of the documents' from what i understand (makes me want to pick up the stuff dreams are made of (yazoo) comp and see how they did with the sides on there).  Further more, although the document's remastering of it is terrible, the "goodbye babylon's" boxset (dust-to-digital) remastering of frank palmes (is it jaybird or not?) doing "troubled about my soul" is amazing.  I wish i could hear a similar copy of "'aint going to lay my religion down".

all things considered, how wise of an investment is it to pick up the jaybird coleman document?  how is the condition of his recordings compared to the frank palmes paramount (i.e: bad)?
Title: Re: jaybird coleman music
Post by: uncle bud on September 26, 2006, 08:30:37 AM
In the better late than never department, a reply for downthdirtroad.

Down, in case you were still wondering about the rest of the sides on the Document Jaybird disc comparing to the two Frank Palmes tracks. Most are quite a bit better, though still quite rough from surface noise in spots. But I'd say most are significantly better than the Palmes tracks on the same disc.

I'm not actually one who goes for solo harmonica tracks generally, but this is a fantastic collection. Jaybird is a force of nature and a truly great singer.
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