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Author Topic: Blind Boy Fuller Guitar Keys  (Read 13736 times)

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Offline waxwing

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Blind Boy Fuller Guitar Keys
« on: October 15, 2005, 08:47:55 PM »
A while ago Frank got me interested in Fuller's slow blues in G. He showed me some licks when I was visiting back east, which I promptly forgot, except for the fact that there were a lot of slides into unisons that sounded great. I quizzed Lightnin', who knew a few licks, too, and wished he knew a whole song ("The'r Goood!").

So I figured I'd work one out. Frank's beef was that none of the lyrics are really that great, so I thought I would find all the slow blues in G and listen to them. Which meant that I should finally take John M's advice from about 2 years ago and just run thru a bunch of songs and figure out what key they were in, without worrying about working them all out. I've learned a few BBF songs from Ari's video and also worked out a couple, so I feel familiar with his style, and figured I could probably figure most of them out, and, in the spirit of banjochris' great post on Willie McTell, I should post them up here.

So, for what it's worth, here's what I came up with. I've listed them the way they are on the Document Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order, seperated by Volume. After the title is my best guess at the guitar key of the chord forms he is playing and then the capo position (C+2)=(Chords in the key of C with capo at 2nd fret), or detuning (E-1)=(E with guitar tuned to Eb). For the three songs I thought were in Vastapol, I put the key that it was tuned to (Vastapol @ Eb). You could arrive at it by tuning or tuning and capo, as you prefer. In one or two cases I even got so bold as to suggest what the secong guitar was playing out of.

Rarely are the recordings right on key. Sometimes when it was particularly sharp, I indicated with a (') after the key or capo position.

I checked against both the GW books and Ari's video and found one mistake. If anyone would like to check over songs that they are familiar with that would be great. Oddly, some of the songs I was most unsure of were the religious numbers that are mostly strummed. I guess its hard for me to hear the whole chord as individual notes, and I didn't want to load individual songs into Trancsribe! as if I was going to work them out. So I took my best guess, which usually seemed to be first position chords with no capo. I went thru twice, and changed quite a few of the earlier ones after I'd gotten more familiar with some of his keys. I'm sure there are still mistakes, I feel unsure about several from each volume, and any that you folks find I'll change.

So, any votes on which is the best slow blues in G? I guess I'm leaning towards Screamin' and Cryin' Blues, which I know Stefan has tabbed, but I've resisted looking. I might try to graft in a solo from one of the others, which would be a new step for me.

Anyway, I hope these might help some of you over the hump and gets you figuring out some of these very fun arrangements.

Volume 1

Baby, I Don't Have To Worry? ?C+4
I'm A Rattlesnakin' Daddy? ? A+4
I'm Climbin' On Top of the Hill? ? E+5
Ain't It a Crying Shame? ? E+5
Looking For My Woman? ? A+5
Rag Mama Rag (unissued)? ? C+5
Rag Mama Rag? ? C+5
Baby, You Gotta Change Your Mind? ? C+5
Evil Hearted Woman? ? G+3
My Brownskin Sugar Plum? ?C
Somebody's Been Playing with that Thing? ? A
Log Cabin Blues? ? C+1
Log Cabin Blues (unissued)? ? C+1
Homesick and Lonesome Blues? ? Vastapol @ Eb
Walking My Troubles Away? ? E+2
Walking My Troubles Away (unissued)? ? E+2
Black and Tan? ? A+3
Keep Away from My Woman? ? G+2'
Keep Away from My Woman (unissued)? ? G+3
Babe You Got to Do Better? ? E+3
Big Bed Blues? ? C+3
Truckin' My Blues Away? ? C+3'
(I Got a Woman Crazy for Me) She's Funny That Way? ? C+3
Cat Man Blues (unissued)? ?A+3

Volume 2

Cat Man Blues (take 2)? ?A+2
When Your Gal Packs Up and Leaves? ? E+3
Mama Let Me Lay It On You? ? G+2?
If You Don't Give Me What I Want? ? C+3
Boots and Shoes? ? E+3;G
Trucking My Blues Away No. 2 (take 1)? ?C+1
Trucking My Blues Away No. 2 (take 2)? ? C+1
Sweet Honey Hole? ? E+1
Untrue Blues? ? A+1
Tom Cat Blues? ? E
My Baby Don't Mean Me No Good? ? E+1
Been Your Dog? ? E
My Best Gal Gonna Leave Me? ? G+1
Wires All Down? ? G+2
Let Me Squeeze Your Lemon? ? G+1
Death Alley? ? C+1
Mamie (take 1)? ? A
Mamie (take 2)? ? A+1
New Oh Red!? ? ?A+6;E-1
If You See My Pigmeat? ? A+1
Stingy Mama? ? A+1
Why Don't My Baby Write to Me? ? E+1
Some Day You're Gonna Be Sorry? ? E+1
You Never Can Tell? ? C+1

Volume 3

Put You Back in the Jail? ?C+1
Walking and Looking Blues? ? G+1
Bulldog Blues? ? A+1
Where My Woman Usta Lay? ? A+1
Working Man Blues? ? D+1'
Weeping Willow? ? A+3
Corrine What Makes You Treat Me So? ? A+2
Stealing Bo-Hog? ? A+1
Worried and Evil Man Blues? ? G+1
Bull Dog Blues? ? A
Break of Day Blues? ? A+1
Oh Zee Zas Rag? ? C+1
Throw Your Yas Yas Back in Jail? ? C+1
Snake Woman Blues? ? C+1
Mojo Hidin' Woman? ? A+1
Steel Hearted Woman? ? E+2
Ain't No Gettin' Along? ? A+1
Careless Love? ? A+2
New Louise Louise Blues? ? E+2
Mistreater, You're Going to Be Sorry? ? E+4
Bye Bye Baby Blues? ? E+3
Looking for My Woman, No. 2? ? A+2

Volume 4

Shaggy Like A Bear? ? G+2
Ten O'clock Peeper? ? A+2
Hungry Calf Blues? ? A+2
Too Many Women Blues? ? A+2
Oozin' You Off My Mind? ? C+2
Shake That Shimmy? ? C+2
Heart Ease Blues? ? C+2
I'm Going To Move (To The Edge Of Town)? ? E+3
Pistol Slapper Blues? ?G
Mean And No Good Woman? ? A-1
Georgia Ham Mama? ? A-2
Piccolo Rag? ? C-2
Funny Feeling Blues? ? E-2
Painful Hearted Man? ? D-2
You've Got To Move It Out? ? E
Mama Let Me Lay It On You No.2? ? G
Meat Shakin' Woman? ? C-1
I'm A Good Stem Winder? ? A-1
What's That Smells Like Fish? ? C+1'
She's A Truckin' Little Baby? ? C+1'
Jivin' Woman Blues? ? C+1'
You're Laughing Now? ? G+2

Volume 5

Stop Jivin' Me Mama? ? ?E+1
Long Time Trucker? ? ?A
Big House Bound? ? ?A'
Flyin' Airplane Blues? ? ?E+1
Get Your Yas Yas Out? ? C+2
Jitterbug Rag? ? ?G+3
Screaming and Crying Blues? ? G+2
Blacksnakin' Jiver? ? C+1
I Don't Care How Long? ? Vastapol @ E
You've Got Something There? ? C+1
Baby Quit Your Low Down Ways(take 1)? ? G+4
Baby Quit Your Low Down Ways(take 2)? ? G+4
It Doesn't Matter Baby? ? G+3
Black Bottom Blues? ? C+3
I Crave My Pig Meat? ? G+3
Big Leg Woman Gets My Pay? ? E+3
I'm a Stranger Here? ? Vastapol @ F
Red's Got the Piccolo Blues? ? C+2
I Want Some of Your Pie? ? E+1
Jivin' Big Bill Blues? ? E+1
Woman You Better Wake Up? ? A
Step It Up and Go? ? G
Worn Out Engine Blues? ? A

Volume 6

Blue and Worried Man? ? E
Passenger Train Woman? ? E+4
Shake It, Baby? ? C+1
Somebody's Been Talkin'? ? A+2
Three Ball Blues? ? A+2
Little Woman You're So Sweet? ? Vastapol @ D
Harmonica Stomp? ? E
Good Feeling Blues? ? E
You Can't Hide from the Lord? ? C
Twelve Gates to the City? ? G
Crooked Woman Blues? ? D
I Don't Want No Skinny Woman? ? E
Bus Rider Blues? ? E
You Got to Have Your Dollar? ? E
Lost Lover Blues? ? A
Thousand Woman Blues? ? A+1
Bye Bye Baby? ? E
When You Are Gone? ? G
No Stranger Now? ? C
Must Have Been My Jesus? ? A
Jesus Is a Holy Man? ? A+1
Precious Lord? ? G
Night Rambling Woman? ? G

All for now.
John C.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2005, 07:36:34 PM by waxwing »
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
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“Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22

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Offline a2tom

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Re: Blind Boy Fuller Guitar Keys
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2005, 06:52:02 AM »
That's great, John.  Oddly enough, I've been working up to doing the same thing - I think Fuller is right up my alley these days, and has a lot to teach me that I'm ready for - but haven't really gotten started yet (too ungodly busy at work).  Now looks like I don't have to!  Well, I still have to do the learning part...

Tom

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Blind Boy Fuller Guitar Keys
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2005, 09:02:06 AM »
Nice job, John. Like Tom, I had planned at one point to do exactly the same thing, so you've saved me some work as well. Fuller is a favorite of mine and I've probably started to learn more of his tunes than anyone else's (not saying I ever finish them though!).

WIll let you know if I see any discrepancies. I hadn't expected much more Vestapol than Homesick and Lonesome, but will check out the others.

Offline waxwing

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Re: Blind Boy Fuller Guitar Keys
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2005, 09:58:24 AM »
Yeah, UB, I am most unsure of Little Woman You're So Sweet, but I Don't Care How Long is also a slide tune like Homesick and Lonesome and at least once he goes up to the three treble notes at the 12th fret. I can't remember exactly why I decided LWYSS was Vastapol now when I give it a quick listen, but somethin' made me do it.-G-

All for now.
John C.
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

“Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22

http://www.youtube.com/user/WaxwingJohn
https://www.facebook.com/WaxwingJohn

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Blind Boy Fuller Guitar Keys
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2005, 12:07:45 PM »
OK, listening to vol 1 as I'm working and I believe (I Got a Woman Crazy for Me) She's Funny That Way is played out of C position, not A. I don't have a guitar beside me, but I think I'm right. ;)

Offline waxwing

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Re: Blind Boy Fuller Guitar Keys
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2005, 12:54:24 PM »
Yeah, That's one I was unclear on. He does seem to spend a lot of time up high in a long A position, but now I hear the low note on the open 6th string (which would be a G with the capo at 3) leading into the VI chord in the III-VI-II-V-I intro. I thought it was a little weird that he would do a rag in A and also capo way up at the 6th fret, but I guess that signature lick had me fooled.

Okay, changed, Thanks UB. And what a great pick for a rag, eh? I might have to learn this one, too.

All for now.
John C.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2005, 12:57:20 PM by waxwing »
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

“Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22

http://www.youtube.com/user/WaxwingJohn
https://www.facebook.com/WaxwingJohn

Offline Johnm

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Re: Blind Boy Fuller Guitar Keys
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2005, 10:19:32 AM »
Hi John C.,
Good on you, that's a lot of work to figure out all those keys!  I am not home now, and so can't check my own Fuller recordings (and I don't have all of his stuff, anyway), but you are definitely correct about "Little Woman, You're so Sweet"--it is in Vastapol, for sure.
All best,
Johnm

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Blind Boy Fuller Guitar Keys
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2005, 10:50:42 AM »
Yes, I didn't have my guitar in hand, but I did listen to Little Woman, You're So Sweet at lunch today and Vestapol it is. (Like I'm going to disagree with JohnM!) It's a little strange to me that of those many, many tunes Fuller recorded, leaving aside the two slide tunes Waxwing pointed out, we get that odd one in Vestapol. It's a nice tune, too, and makes me wonder whether there were others he played in this tuning that didn't get recorded, or whether this is a one off.

edited to add: it should also be added to the Adventures in Vestapol thread if it isn't there already...  went and checked. It's there. Alex got it.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2005, 10:56:40 AM by uncle bud »

Offline waxwing

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Re: Blind Boy Fuller Guitar Keys
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2005, 11:05:00 AM »
Thanks John M. It's funny, somewhere around the 4th cd I started looking for Homesick and Lonesome Blues as I had always liked that and pretty much thought it was his only slide tune. I finally found that I had already worked on it and hadn't even noticed the slide licks (d'oh! - musta been pretty late at night, and he doesn't really play that many slide licks, but, d'oh!). I had it as in E so I corrected that one and then had to question every song I had in E to that point. Then I came upon I Don't Care How Long and heard the few slide licks right off, so I got that one pretty quick. But then Little Woman Your So Sweet I think I first figured as E-2, but then after trying to work the bass riffs out a little I decided maybe Drop D. I think the little turn around, sounding just like the same phrase that Gibson uses in Tired of Being Mistreated, only over one string, made me start thinking Vastapol, so I listened to the first two slide tunes, heard enogh similarities, and decided to go with it. And, dang, I got it right.

Thanks again for recommending doing something like this. As I worked along, certain things really started to jump out quickly in certain keys. Of course the rags in C became pretty familiar, but also the little slide of the A chord, hearing him slide into unison notes, or just the feel of his E blues where he goes to the V7 chord (B7) so often, etc. Toward the end I moved thru a lot of songs quickly and just had to concentrate on the tricky ones. I highly recommend doing something like this to others who are getting started at discerning guitar keys. Wish I hadn't waited so long.

All for now.
John C.
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

“Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22

http://www.youtube.com/user/WaxwingJohn
https://www.facebook.com/WaxwingJohn

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Blind Boy Fuller Guitar Keys
« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2005, 11:18:45 AM »
Waxy, you're sure right, it's a great exercise. I believe it helps a huge amount for not only one's familiarity with a particular artist's style, but in figuring out other people's work as well. You start to think, "Oh, that's what Lemon does in C" or "that's like that Patton sound in Revenue Man", "that Gary Davis riff in A" etc. Once again, excellent work! We need to think of a good way to integrate these various "Keys" threads into an easily accessible resource.

Offline waxwing

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Re: Blind Boy Fuller Guitar Keys
« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2005, 12:17:45 PM »
Yeah, UB, Slack said the same thing a week ago about just such a section, after I told him I was doing this. Say, doesn't Fahey list all of Patton's guitar keys in his thesis, included in the Revenant set? We could add that, too.

And I wonder if the two slide tunes are in the slide thread? I'll check.

All for now.
John C.
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

“Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22

http://www.youtube.com/user/WaxwingJohn
https://www.facebook.com/WaxwingJohn

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Blind Boy Fuller Guitar Keys
« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2005, 12:21:09 PM »
I'm working on the Patton keys currently. As I recall, Fahey's thesis had a grouping by tune families (e.g., all the tunes in E that follow the Pony Blues structure, all the tunes in Spanish that follow the Screamin' and Hollerin' structure). I don't recall if there were actual keys for all tunes. But I don't have the Revenant set or the Fahey book so am not sure.

Offline waxwing

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Re: Blind Boy Fuller Guitar Keys
« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2005, 12:33:20 PM »
I do, so I'll check, later. Maybe I remember seeing them listed with Dick Spottswood's lyrics. Not sure if any capo positions were mentioned. But if you're working thru them, that's good enough for me.
All for now.
John C.
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

“Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22

http://www.youtube.com/user/WaxwingJohn
https://www.facebook.com/WaxwingJohn

Offline a2tom

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Re: Blind Boy Fuller Guitar Keys
« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2005, 01:53:37 PM »
I think this is a great learning exercise too.  I sure wish I had time to really do it.  I have periods of grant-writing and reading where I have to work non-stop for weeks on end.  I have my Fuller collection queued up and ready.  I am deliberately not looking at your list!

My personal blues aside, I have also been struck by the unusual oddballs in Vestapol, in particular slide, thrown into his recorded collection.  I mean, who'da thunk it.  Homesick and Lonesome caught my ear very early on - like a ton of bricks, frankly - what the heck was he doing playing that (I actually caught the slide right away  ;D)?!  I learned it straight off - although I've had trouble nailing the singing with it (what else is new) I love some of the guitar riffs.  A main one that starts on a slide to the 3rd fret 1st string and then down the strings just rocks.  Then in the IV chord he does this interesting thing where he lifts his index in and out of the fretted chord (I hope that right - these things get confused without a guitar in hand) - its unrelated to the melody and adds an intesting feeling.

But I digress - my point is that it blows me away to think of what the guy could do that wasn't recorded!  Same could probably be said for 'em all, but for someone as recorded as Fuller, or say McTell or Lemon, it is particularly inspriring, or depressing, to think about.

Last random thought - the other thing you get to realizing is how totally unafraid Fuller was of recycling!  I always feel kinda cheap when I do that - like, geez, can't I come up with a new idea?

tom

Offline waxwing

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Re: Blind Boy Fuller Guitar Keys
« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2005, 02:14:52 PM »
Well, it's funny that you meantion that how many recordings these players made suggests so much unrecorded material in the same post as how much they "recycled". I think possibly many of these recycled songs were created to be able to record more. You know, tweak the guitar part a little, sing different lyrics, and call it a new song for the A&R guy. I think it's possible a lot of them were not played much beyond the recording session. If you happen to have been able to listen to these players at a party, or on a street corner, you may have only heard the one seminal song from each of these families in a given set. I could be wrong, just conjecturing here. Maybe they did feel a pressure from their audiences to keep creating new songs at what seems a pretty frantic pace for some.

But in terms of what was not recorded, I think you're right, particularly when you think that many of these players may have had vast repertoirs of non-blues material that the A&R guys just wouldn't let them record.

Speaking of BBF's slide tunes, I'm surprised there are not more. I seem to remember reading about Gary Davis boasting that he had taught BBF virtually all he knew and that Fuller could only play some slide stuff before he hooked up with Davis. Maybe RGD shamed him into dropping 99% of his slide tunes (he called it "cheating") and these are the only two Fuller held on to.-G-

All for now.
John C.
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

“Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22

http://www.youtube.com/user/WaxwingJohn
https://www.facebook.com/WaxwingJohn

 


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