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Country Blues => Country Blues Licks and Lessons => Topic started by: uncle bud on October 31, 2004, 05:20:04 PM

Title: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: uncle bud on October 31, 2004, 05:20:04 PM
Hi All,

I was listening to Little Hat Jones tonight, having been led to that by the mention of Willie Reed and Dreaming Blues last week, which I intend on picking up again to work on. I was listening to the Yazoo disc (out of print I think) Don't Leave Me Here, featuring Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas blues, including Willie Reed and Little Hat, and this led me to revisit Little Hat's complete works on the Story of Blues CD Texas Blues Guitar 1929-35. Little Hat is just brilliant and it had been a long time since I'd listened to him. Will have to revisit my minidisc of Ari's Litte Hat class. But this in turn led me to listen more carefully for the first time to the rest of the disc which is made up of JT Funny Papa Smith tunes. I really enjoyed this, having not paid much attention to Smith in the past. While there's only 10 tunes from him on this disc, there's some really fun stuff.

Anyways I got hooked on Wiskeyhead Blues and decided I would figure it out. A very fun tune. It seemed at first to be in E, but I quickly decided he was using an open tuning, and then decided it wasn't open E but cross-note or open E minor tuning. 99% sure about this but welcome disagreement if you can prove it ;). It took a few spins of the tune to decide on cross-note, largely because it is a very major sounding tune. While I have hardly any experience in this tuning aside from some Skip James stuff, and JohnM covered Teddy Darby's Lawdy Lawdy Blues this year at PT, I'm definitely more used to the minor and modal sound of this tuning. But trying to figure it out in standard E quickly led me elsewhere. Too hard to play there; much simpler (not that I've got it down) in cross note. Not sure of the absolute pitch, I was capoing at the 3rd fret, but may have been tuned low as I often am down a half step - didn't check.

Anyway, I figured I'd start another sister thread to the Adventures in Spanish and Adventures in Vestapol threads. What are some cross-note tuned songs you play or are aware of? Skip James is the first one I think of in this tuning, obviously, some Henry Townsend, and Bukka White. What else?

Really enjoyed the Funny Papa stuff, BTW. I haven't heard much else from him but am inclined to order the Documents. Any Funny Papa fans who can say hell yes go for it?


Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: Slack on October 31, 2004, 06:41:43 PM
Hey UB, I'm a big JT Smith fan - so go for it!   :D  I don;t have the Document CD but I have two others (the ones on the Juke).  It is unclear from your message which (Little Hat or Funny Papa) Whiskeyhead Blues you are listening to?    I'll have to go back and listen - for some reason I cannot feature these guys using cross note tunings... but whut do I know.

Ari's Little Hat lessons are great - he reveals stuff that you would be hard pressed to hear from the recordings (at else for my ear)  - ah, so many tunes to work on and so little time..

cheers,
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: uncle bud on October 31, 2004, 08:29:21 PM
Hey UB, I'm a big JT Smith fan - so go for it!??:D? I don;t have the Document CD but I have two others (the ones on the Juke).? It is unclear from your message which (Little Hat or Funny Papa) Whiskeyhead Blues you are listening to??

Sorry, the Little Hat business was just a tangent. Starting with a tangent obviously makes for confusion. :) I meant JT Smith. Thanks for the recommendation.

Quote
? I'll have to go back and listen - for some reason I cannot feature these guys using cross note tunings... but whut do I know.

Little Hat played in standard tuning on all his tunes as far as I remember. Smith's Wiskeyhead Blues just doesn't work in standard IMO. Just trying to figure out the intro was enough to make me think, this is too hard in these positions, he's gotta be doing something else. At first I thought Vestapol but then that hammer-on on the G-string led me to cross note. I'm just starting to figure out the tune, but I'm pretty certain about the tuning.

Quote
Ari's Little Hat lessons are great - he reveals stuff that you would be hard pressed to hear from the recordings (at else for my ear)? - ah, so many tunes to work on and so little time..


Indeed. I'm making some measure of progress on a lot of the stuff I'm working on these days, though!

Speaking of Little Hat (there I go again), too bad Dirty Red isn't around. Was reading some of his old posts from the weenie email list and enjoyed his insights.
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: GhostRider on October 31, 2004, 10:26:32 PM
Howdy UB:

Funny Papa Smith, you bet! I think he's fantastic! I've been a fan for years and purchased the Document complete at PT.

To my mind the the best lyrics writer in CB. A terrific singer. A great, inventive player in may keys (E,A,D,C, and now Open Em ;). By the way Wiskeyhead Blues is in an absolute key of E on my copy

The other two tunes he recorded at the same session as Wiskeyhead Blues, (March 1931)
Forty-Five Blues and County Jail Blues are a great two part story, both in C but the latter using the Careless Love melody. The intro to Forty-Five Blues sounds very BL Jefferson-like to me.

Lots of great listening and lots of great guitar parts to learn. Stuff no one else plays.

Get that Document!

Where in the world I prowl,
Alex
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: Johnm on November 01, 2004, 01:06:45 AM
Hi all,
An exciting thread to catch in progress.  As with many of the Country Blues players, I have not heard all of JT Smith's titles, and have missed "Whiskeyhead Blues" thus far.  I will try to track it down and hear it.  I agree with Alex, JT was a hell of a lyricist, and his bag of tricks in A standard was really huge.  Best news--"I'm making some measure of progress on a lot of the stuff I'm working on these days, though!".  Go, Andrew!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: uncle bud on November 01, 2004, 06:52:02 AM
I'll post an mp3 later so people can hear Wiskeyhead Blues and observe what I'm saying about the tuning (or tell me I'm nuts).

Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: uncle bud on November 01, 2004, 02:52:45 PM
Here's the mp3 of Wiskeyhead. Listen and see what you think.

[attachment deleted by admin]
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: Johnm on November 01, 2004, 07:13:10 PM
Hi Andrew,
After down-loading and listening to the mp3 of "Wiskeyhead", I would say your identification of the tune as being in cross-note seems right on to me for a number of reasons.
   * Everything that happens on the top three strings, including the the hammer to the first fret of the third string would seem to indicate E, standard tuning, but since the top three strings are the same in E standard and cross-note, it kind of throws the identification to the bass aural clues for determination of the tuning/position.
   * He never once hits a low root on his IV chord, which, were he in E standard, would be the easiest and most natural thing to do when going to the IV chord, because it would be the open fifth string.  Instead he plays the rocking motif moving from the V note up to the VI note and back.  In cross-note the V and VI notes are readily available at the open fifth string, and second fret of the fifth string.  They are a cinch to play.  In E standard they live at the second and fourth fret of the fifth string, and would require fingering every time they were played, as would the I octave note, at the second fret of the fourth string.
   * Towards the end of the tune, he plays a descending chromatic line Josh White loved to use in Vestapol, from VI to flat VI to V.  The harmony implied is IV major with a third in the bass, IV minor with a flat third in the bass, and I with its fifth in the bass.  The line lives in the same place in cross-note that it does in Vestapol, too.  Second fret, fifth string, first fret, fifth string, open fifth string.
Good find on this tune, it's really distinctive sounding, and I think you nailed the identification.  I look forward to hearing you play it.
All best,
Johnm 
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: Slack on November 01, 2004, 07:49:44 PM
Very interesting tune UB!  I'd never heard it before (not on the two CD's I have of JT Smith) - so now I'll have to get the document also.  :P

Good work on the tuning! - just listening to it, I'd have bet on E standard, it does have a minor sound to it, now that you point it out.  And the double stops for a brief period, have that Skip Jame-ish sound.  I did try the tune in E major, determined to prove you wrong, but alas. ;) .. you learn something every day.  I wonder if he does any other tunes in e minor tuning?

Also nice to have your sleuthing confirmed by Johnm, eh? -- looking forward to hearing you play it too.

Cheers,
slack
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: uncle bud on November 02, 2004, 07:43:56 AM
Hi John and Slack,

Yes, that IV chord was one of the clinchers for me. The other was the intro: those double stops in the bass and treble are quite awkward in standard, but in cross note they either use an open string or are accomplished by fretting the 5th and 2nd strings at the same fret, moving in parallel, like, as Slack points out, a Skip James riff (the song from which it comes I can't recall at the moment). Much simpler. Those chromatic bass lines later in the tune also remind me a bit of Bo Carter.

I was listening to Ari's Little Hat Jones workshop yesterday and lo and behold he actually digresses for a bit into JT Smith and Wiskeyhead Blues. He plays a bit of it, playing in standard. It sounds great, of course, since Ari's playing it, but it's wrong.  ;D

Alex, you're right, the intro to Forty-Five Blues is very Blind Lemon-like. Also a fun tune, although one of those kill my woman blues in the 32-20 style that I can't see myself playing. It's a bit cartoonish in it's violence, so perhaps...  Blind Lemon's Dynamite Blues is the best cartoon violence song I know of in this vein. (The way I feel now, I could get a keg of dynamite/ Put it all in her window and blow her up late at night.) !!

Definitely going to get the Funny Papa on Document...
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: Johnm on November 02, 2004, 08:56:16 AM
Hi Andrew,
I agree with you re the intro; it sounds like "Special Rider", but is moved over so that the slide to the fifth fret happens on the fifth and second strings rather than the fourth and first strings.  I wonder if JT ever ran into Skip James?  Funny that for his cross-note tune, JT ended up sounding like Skip, but Skip playing in Spanish!  Life is weird.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: Rivers on November 03, 2004, 10:29:18 AM
I'll resurrect the notorious "Honey" thread from the old list, that was an epic project...
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: Johnm on February 09, 2005, 11:24:29 PM
Hi all,
Reviewing that Bukka White re-issue recently reminded me that he used cross-note tuning quite a lot, for "Aberdeen Mississippi Blues", and many others.  It's hard to tell from listening that he is in cross-note, because he has his index finger living on the first fret of the third string so that it sounds like Vastapol tuning.  On most of Bukka's cross-note tunes he plays no V chord, just I and IV.
All best,
Johnm   
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: Janmarie on February 10, 2005, 08:50:09 PM
Hi John -
I'm probably not the only somewhat beginner level player out there reading this thread on cross-note which I find very interesting.  Could you give a layman's explanation of it (and I apologize if I've missed an earlier explanation).  I think I know what's going on -  tuning the strings in such a way that chording is optimized?  Why is it called cross-note?  Is this tuning generally unique to the individual and thus not considered an alternate tuning?
Thanks John.............Jan
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: Johnm on February 10, 2005, 09:33:31 PM
Hi Jan,
I think it was Skip James who most notably referred to the tuning as cross-note with the explanation being that in the tuning, "the major crosses the minor" (which I confess I have never understood).  Otherwise, it is alternatively known as Open D minor tuning, DADFAD, or open E minor, EBEGBE.   The intervals of the open strings are the same as an E minor chord in standard tuning in which you fret the fifth and fourth strings at the second fret, I-V-I-flatIII-V-I.
The tuning is most often used to play in the key of the sixth string, D if you are in open D minor, or E if you are in open E minor.  Because the top three strings are the same intervals that they are in standard tuning, you can play any of the phrases you play in E standard on the top 3 strings using the very same fingering.  An advantage of cross-note over standard tuning is that in cross-note you have an octave alternating bass of open strings between the sixth and fourth strings; in E standard you have to fret the fourth string at the second fret to get the octave alternating bass.
The sound of E standard vs. cross-note tuning can be a very subtle distinction--they are quite similar sounding.  One difference is that in E standard you must often have the IV chord (A) with a low root in the bass (the open fifth string).  In cross-note you almost never hear the IV chord with a low root in the bass, because it is inconveniently located at the fifth fret of the sixth string, where it is not very handy.
One other thing about open D minor vs. open E minor:  You get to open D minor by loosening strings, whereas with open E minor you have to raise the fifth and fourth strings, both or which are fairly heavy wound strings, a whole step.  As a result you are more likely to break strings going to open E minor than open D minor. 
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: waxwing on February 10, 2005, 11:23:45 PM
In his book, Chasing That Devil Music, Gayle Dean Wardlowe relates an interview with Ishmon Bracey in which Bracey mentions walking into a joint in Greenwood and seeing John Hurt playing. When John took a break, Bracey started to play and claimed he was "over" Hurt and that Hurt wouldn't play after him. He said Hurt asked him what tuning he was using and he said "Cross note". I'm not familiar enough with Bracey's recorded work to know if any are in cross tuning, but he was obviously familiar with the tuning and the name.
All for now.
John C.
P.S. Interesting book with several controversial conclusions.
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: a2tom on February 11, 2005, 05:27:50 AM
Crossnote is a hoot to play in - I'd recommend it if you haven't ever tried.? I find it an relatively easy tuning to sound good improvising in.? I always thought Skip James "crossing the major and the minor" comes from the shifting or transition feeling that is easy to generate in crossnote just by lifting or replacing that index finger on the third string.? As you move around, that finger will come up and inevitably end up back on that E major position.? I really thinking "shifting" is the word that evokes best the feeling it gives.?

I think JohnM's description is very good - the tuning is like mixing standard on the top strings with open E on the bottom strings.? I think it takes some messing with to get used to, but in the end it is versatile in its key relationship.? I would also say that I always tune down to D, but I never think of it as D.? The tuning works best over E figures, even if you tune down to D.

Finally, glad you mentioned Bukka White.? He is the one who actually introduced me to croosnote - watching him play "Babe you killin' me" on the?Newport blues video.? What a machine that guy was!? I had to do some of that.? In that tune he does, I think, use an back and forth rhythm that entails lifting and replacing the index, I think.? I may be remembering wrong, though, its been a while.

tom
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: Janmarie on February 15, 2005, 01:16:18 PM
Hi John, Waxwing & Tom -

Thanks for your explanations on 'cross note'.  I may not put it into practice right away but I really appreciate having an understanding of what's going on.

My best ........... Jan
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: thehook on May 02, 2005, 12:34:25 PM
You say bukka played some in cross note? Are making chords easier in this tuning? what is it note for note the way old fellows would tune it? What are some chords in it? Any other beginner stuff for it?
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: waxwing on May 02, 2005, 01:13:10 PM
Hey John H,

If you tune "up" to cross note in Em the strings would be EBEGBE (bass to treble). You only need to tune the 2nd and 3rd strings up a full note each. If you're worried that the extra tension of those two strings will have a bad effect on a very delicate guitar, you could tune all the other strings down a full note instead, but tuning up for a practice session and then tuning back down should not be a problem.

You'll notice that the relationships of the three treble strings are unchanged, so any licks you know on these strings will work, and, for those in the key of E, you can thumb away at the bass, no matter where you are on the fretboard. Also, notice that by fretting the G string at the 1st fret you "cross" from an Em chord to an E Major chord, hence, cross note. Many play in this tuning without ever striking the open G string, or only striking it to hammer on to the G#.

Similarly to Vastapol, you have difficulty finding a satisfying bass for the IV chord (other than the E, which is the 5th.) without reaching to the 5th fret, but the B is available for the tonic in the V chord. Really the tuning works very much like Vastapol with the added nuance of the minor 3d being available.

I'm sure others can chime in with some other nuances of the tuning.

All for now.
John C.

Edit to add: Actually, looking back to the bottom of the first page of this thread, I don't think I said anything that John M hasn't already stated. At least my memory seems to be working well.-G-
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: a2tom on May 02, 2005, 06:41:16 PM
What are some chords in it?

I'm no expert, but I don't know many chords, per se.  As Waxwing suggested I think it works more like an open tuning.  The only major chord (pun not intended, but I'll take it...) is index on the first fret of the third string = E major.  Then hammer into it.

Then there's A7 by just putting your middle (or other) finger on the 2nd fret of the 2nd string.  But then don't sound the 5th string = B.  You can easily rock back and forth between these two 1-finger chords.  Or try the same thing without lifting the index from the 3rd string, just placing and removing the middle finger. 

Another great sound is to fret the 1st and 3rd string on the same fret and pinch or strum through it.  Then move it around to different frets.  The droning 2nd B string works really well since you're in E.  Skip James "I'm So Glad" is based around this.  I've always though it mimics to some degree what you'd do with a slide. 

Of course, you can always put on a slide and have at it.  Slide around those upper fret and then resolve back to the 1-finger E.

Or, another neat thing is a basic shuffle in E, like you'd normally do from the 2nd to 4th fret of the 5th string.  Only with that string raised up, you now do that from the open to the 2nd fret of the 5th string - a 1-finger shuffle.  And you can do that without lifting out of the E chord.

Kind of got going there - but I'm quite sure I've just scratched the surface. 

Similarly to Vastapol, you have difficulty finding a satisfying bass for the IV chord (other than the E, which is the 5th.) without reaching to the 5th fret

agreed there - I have found myself partial to picking up an A in the bass by fretting the 5th fret 6th string with my left hand thumb when messing around up the fret board.

tom
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: Johnm on May 03, 2005, 07:41:19 AM
Hi John Hardy,
If you want to get a I chord in cross-note, fret the third string at the first fret. If you want to get a IV chord in the treble, fret the second and third strings at the second fret (this is what Bukka most often uses for the IV chord). If you want to get a IV chord you can strum all the way across, fret the second, third and fifth strings at the second fret. If you want to get a IV7 chord, fret the second string at the second fret and leave the third string open--you can avoid the fifth string or fret it at the second fret, too. If you want to get a V7 chord, fret the first and third strings at the second fret, and avoid the sixth string (this is what Skip James used).
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: frankie on August 26, 2006, 05:09:40 AM
After listening to it again over the last couple of days, I'm pretty convinced that Robert Wilkins' "Nashville Stonewall Blues" is in cross-note, pitched at about E or so.  And a lovely tune it is...
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: NotRevGDavis on August 26, 2006, 10:58:22 AM
Perfect timing for this thread to re-appear. I have been having a "hard time" figuring out the V chord in open D minor then I find out crossnote <is> open D minor. Now I can continue on with those "Hard Time Killin' Floor Blues".
Thanks everyone.
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: Johnm on August 26, 2006, 11:28:58 AM
Good call on "Nashville Stonewall Blues", Frank.  The way Wilkins keeps that V note and octave I note going when he's up the neck make E standard tuning an unlikely candidate for this tune, especially when taken in combination with the fact that he never hits anything lower than the V note on the A string.  The signature lick would be a bear to play in E standard but is relatively easy in cross-note.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: uncle bud on January 21, 2007, 10:30:52 AM
We never actually listed in this thread the Skip James songs using cross-note tuning, though we spoke of him as a source for the name. Here's what I have, though I am not 100% certain about all of them. I have thought for awhile that sometimes Skip played in standard tuning E position but with an occasional minor feel to it, but haven't explored this in any detail.  As JohnM mentions earlier in the thread, there can be a subtle distinction, since the top three strings are the same as standard tuning and can deceive the ear.

This list includes both pre- and postwar recordings.

Skip James
4 O'Clock Blues
Broke and Hungry Blues
Cherry Ball Blues
Cypress Grove
Devil Got My Woman
Good Road Camp Blues
Hard Luck Child
Hard Time Killin' Floor Blues
Illinois Blues
Jesus Is a Mighty Good Leader
Sickbed Blues
Washington D.C. Hospital Center Blues
Yola My Blues Away
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: uncle bud on January 21, 2007, 10:54:14 AM
The other person who hasn't been mentioned is Jack Owens, often said to be of the so-called "Bentonia school". Obvious similiarities to Skip James anyway in some material. Here's what I have for him in cross-note, though there may be more (and these are educated guesses, not songs I have worked out in detail).

Jack Owens
Can't See, Baby
Cherry Ball
Good Morning, Little Schoolgirl
It Must have Been the Devil
Nothin' But Notes
Hard Times
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: banjochris on January 21, 2007, 05:36:15 PM
On the Skip James stuff, the dead giveaway that he's in standard E is the full B7 chord, as well as the E7 when he slides it up the neck. The B7 is always partial or implied in cross-note.

I don't think anything except Drunken Spree is in standard on his early recordings, and the recordings of Hard Luck Child from the 1960s (which are actually recordings of Four O'Clock) are in standard.
Chris
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: Baird on February 01, 2007, 10:11:58 AM
Hey all,
Just wanted to say that I've been having fun playing the "Yo Yo Blues" family of Blind Lemon Jefferson songs in Cross Note.
It seems like everything is accessable - the IV chord has a root but it's easy to grab because the IV part is in 5th position anyway. Also, the descending turnaround, to my ears one of the most beautiful turnarounds imaginable, is very easy to play in this tuning.... None of this, of course, is to suggest that Lemon played in Cross Note, just that it's a great family of songs to fiddle around with in that tuning.
Best,
Michael
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: Coyote Slim on February 07, 2007, 11:36:22 AM
Every time I read a thread like this I have to grab my guitar.

Bukka playing in cross-note?   ???  I'm not so sure about that.  I hear most of the tunes mentioned as being played in Vestapol or Spanish.

Henry Townsend, on the other hand, played guitar almost entirely in cross-note.
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: banjochris on February 07, 2007, 12:01:54 PM
Bukka definitely plays in cross note, but he uses it pretty much only so he can get the G-G# hammer on in his I chord. There's lots of videos of him playing things like "Aberdeen Mississippi" and "Mama Don't Allow" and many others and you can see him holding that first fret note with his index finger.
Chris
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: waxwing on February 13, 2007, 12:50:11 PM
I think it was Paul Geremia (or maybe Terry Robb) who pointed out that, after his rediscovery, Booker was so enthralled by the way that Lightnin' Hopkins did that repeating hammer-on from open to first fret on the G stgring in E (see video of Moon Goin' Down) that he started using Crossnote instread of Vastapol so that he could use the technique in many of his songs. If you watch some of the videos of his later performances you will see that he plays whole songs holding the first fret on the third string and often never opens it up, even tho' these songs would be far easier to play in Vastapol.

All for now.
John C.
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: Rivers on April 09, 2008, 07:01:14 PM
FYI folks Andrew has put an 'Adventures in Cross Note' page on weeniepedia: http://www.weeniecampbell.com/wiki/index.php?title=Adventures_in_Cross-Note

I was surprised to see we had no tags for 'cross note' so I've tagged this one as well as the more recent thread about playing in this tuning.
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: banjochris on April 10, 2008, 10:07:42 PM
A post over at Stefan Grossman's Woodshed had me listening to Fred McDowell's "Big Fat Mama" on the "Long Way From Home" album, and it's in cross note -- I hadn't realized McDowell ever used this tuning.
Chris
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: Rivers on December 21, 2008, 11:51:51 AM
JohnM picked up some more cross-note tunes when studying the George Mitchell set:

3-03Bud WhiteWhite HorsesCross-note   Eflat+   1969, 02/02Richland GA
5-27Rosa Lee Hill   Count the Days I'm Gone   Cross-note   Bflat+   1967, 08/23Como MS
5-28Rosa Lee Hill   Roll & TumbleCross-note   C#+   1967, 08/23Como MS
5-29Rosa Lee Hill   Bullying WellCross-note   E   1967, 08/23Como MS
7-15Eddie Hodge   Blood Red RiverCross-note   Eflat-   (unknown)(unknown)

I'll add them to the weeniepedia page.
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: uncle bud on September 23, 2010, 12:30:14 PM
All this Charley Jordan action over in the lyrics thread reminded me that the other day I was listening to Henry Townsend's Jack of Diamonds Georgia Rub, which features the signature lick we'd normally associate with Charley Jordan's playing in E, like the tag in Keep It Clean. There's something about Townsend's playing in the song though that sounded to me like he was doing something different overall, particularly staying on the root bass through the IV chord. A more careful listen now suggests to me he is actually playing this out of cross-note tuning. It works very nicely, since the treble notes of the Jordan lick are played the same, and the bass line riffs Townsend does fit very comfortably on the open 5th and 4th strings. He's pitched around G, so if in cross-note tuning, capoed up. My guitar was pitched around D before capoing, so I had the capo at the 5th fret to play along with Townsend.

The best version out there for this song is found on the Blues Images Calendar CD Vol 7 from this past year. And even that one's rough!

I would also add Jack Owens Jack Ain't Had No Water to this list.
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: uncle bud on September 24, 2010, 06:39:21 AM
And listening to Keep It Clean again (which I have actually been known to play at one time - sheesh), I realize the above reference is totally wrong. Now I can't remember where the lick actually comes from. Anyway, I'm still fairly sure the Henry Townsend tune is in cross-note.  :P
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: banjochris on September 25, 2010, 12:06:46 AM
And listening to Keep It Clean again (which I have actually been known to play at one time - sheesh), I realize the above reference is totally wrong. Now I can't remember where the lick actually comes from. Anyway, I'm still fairly sure the Henry Townsend tune is in cross-note.  :P

It's a lot like the tag of "Hunkie Tunkie," so not far off.   :D
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: uncle bud on September 25, 2010, 08:32:31 AM
Thanks Chris. Thought I was losin' it. So many songs, so little brainspace.
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: Johnm on February 24, 2011, 11:21:52 AM
Hi all,
Teddy Darby's "Lawdy Lawdy Worried Blues" was played out of cross-note tuning.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: Johnm on March 11, 2012, 10:36:22 AM
Hi all,
I just heard a tune in cross-note tuning that I had never heard before that Prof. Scratchy posted on facebook (thanks, Prof.!)--Johnny Beck's "Locked In Jail".  I know nothing about the player, but it's a very strong effort.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: Bunker Hill on March 11, 2012, 11:40:56 AM
Johnny Beck's "Locked In Jail".  I know nothing about the player, but it's a very strong effort.
All best,
Johnm
Neither does anybody else John, except that he was recorded in Houston by Bob Shad for his Sittin' In With label as Johnny Beck The Blind Boy during 1949, the reverse being You Gotta Lay Down Mama.

The first vinyl outing was in 1980 on the Nighthawk compilation Down Behind The Rise of which all note writer Leroy Pierson could muster was "...a prewar ambience emphasized by Beck's choice of acoustic guitar and his individual approach to the instrument".
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: Prof Scratchy on March 11, 2012, 12:03:55 PM
Well, that's a coincidence, BH! I just posted on facebook that if anyone knew anything about Johnny Beck, it would be Bunker Hill...Such a shame he remained so obscure, as presumably he was around well into the 50s and maybe beyond that.
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: Johnm on March 11, 2012, 01:40:38 PM
Thanks for that information, Alan.  These players who recorded only one or two titles so strongly are sure tantalizing.  It makes you wish you could have heard so much more of their music.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: Johnm on June 13, 2012, 08:40:55 AM
Hi all,
As per video posted over on "Down The Dirt Road", Arthur Crudup played "That's All Right, Mama/If I Get Lucky" out of cross-note tuning.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: Johnm on September 01, 2012, 08:36:51 AM
Hi all,
Cornelius Bright's versions of "Devil Got My Woman" and "My Baby's Gone", posted by Pan in the Cornelius Bright thread, were both played in cross-note tuning.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: Johnm on September 01, 2012, 08:55:07 AM
Hi all,
After re-reading this thread and looking in the "Adventures in Cross-note" page at Weeniepedia, I realized we had never identified the Henry Townsend songs played in cross-note tuning.  As he was one of the foremost practitioners in the tuning, it is kind of a serious omission.  The following tunes of Henry's were all played in cross-note, and I may add others.
   * Doctor, Oh Doctor
   * Henry's Worry Blues
   * Jack of Diamonds/Georgia Rub
   * Mistreated Blues
   * Poor Man Blues
   * She's Got A Mean Disposition
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: frankie on April 02, 2013, 01:50:07 PM
As per video posted over on "Down The Dirt Road", Arthur Crudup played "That's All Right, Mama/If I Get Lucky" out of cross-note tuning.

I've been listening to a LOT of Arthur Crudup lately, and while I haven't heard EVERYTHING, at this point I'd be hard pressed to pick out an example that was NOT played in cross-note!

I *must* be wrong....
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: Johnm on April 02, 2013, 02:11:11 PM
I don't know, Frank, I think you may be right, at least for his E-sounding stuff (and I don't know if he had anything that wasn't E-sounding stuff).  Whenever I hear him, I find myself thinking about how terrific an electric guitar can sound sometimes.  And his singing, gosh!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: Johnm on August 06, 2017, 09:15:20 AM
Hi all,
This one is moved to Licks and Lessons now.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: Johnm on January 28, 2018, 11:39:14 AM
Hi all,
On his album released a couple of years ago, "Every Day Seem Like Murder Here", Hayes McMullan played the song "Sugar" out of cross-note tuning.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Adventures in Cross Note
Post by: Johnm on September 05, 2019, 05:28:00 PM
Hi all,
Fred McDowell played "Jim Steam Killed Lula" out of cross-note tuning on his album "Levee Camp Blues", on Testament Records.
All best,
Johnm
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