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Big Maceo Lyrics

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Johnm:
Hi all,
I've been listening a lot recently to a 2-CD set of Detroit Blues and noticed that every time a Big Maceo track came on, I was so happy to hear his music.  For "County Jail", Big Maceo played piano out of Bb and was joined by Tampa Red.  What a beautiful cut!  I feel like there's much to be learned from this cut, in the sense that neither player is going for anything consciously innovative in what he is doing--rather they are speaking and communicating comfortably in their own ways of expressing themselves in the style.  And that is more than enough, it is a treat in every way.  I love everything about Big Maceo's singing, including note choices, and he sets up such a rock solid groove on the piano, heavy time, and is perfectly willing to let Tampa Red handle all of the fills and solo space, something Red was certainly perfectly qualified to do.  They rock to a V7 chord in the second bar of the form, something you run into a bit less often than rocking to a IV7 chord, and it is a nice touch.  Here is the track:



They picked me up and put me in the county jail
They picked me up and put me in the county jail
They wouldn't even let my woman come and go my bail

Now I'm in prison, but I've almost did my time
Now I'm in prison, but I've almost did my time
They give me six months, but I have to work out nine

Course, I know my baby, she's gonna jump and shout
I know my baby, she's gonna jump and shout
When that train roll up, and I come walkin' out

SOLO (Spoken: Now play 'em, Mr. Tampa)

So take these stripes from 'round me, chain 'way from 'round my leg
These stripes from 'round me, and these chains from 'round my leg
Well, these stripes don't hurt me, but these chain gonna kill me dead

All best,
Johnm

Stuart:
Good choice, John. Here's a collection:

http://www.arhoolie.com/blues/big-maceo-merriweather-the-king-of-chicago-blues-piano.html?sl=EN

One of my favorites is "Maceo's 32-20" -- A toss up between an ode to domestic violence and/or tender love poetry:



I  first heard it back in the late 60s-early 70s on one of the LP anthologies and I was hooked.

Johnm:
Yes, Stuart, "32.20" was my intro to Big Maceo's music, too.  I remember it was on RBF on "The Country Blues, Vol. 2", one of the early re-issues curated by Sam Charters.  I remember the same album had Luke Jordan's "Church Bell Blues" and Bo Carter's "I'm An Old Bumble Bee", along with Henry Townsend's "She's Got A Mean Disposition".  Talk about a lot of meat and not many potatoes!
All best,
Johnm

Stuart:

--- Quote from: Johnm on December 03, 2014, 04:56:13 PM ---...Talk about a lot of meat and not many potatoes!
--- End quote ---

Sam certainly knew how to package the good stuff--And corrupt the youth of America in the process!

Johnm:
Hi all,
Here is the performance that Stuart alluded to, "Maceo's 32-20", for which he is once again joined by Tampa Red.  Maceo plays the song in G, and Tampa Red accompanies him in G position without a slide, and on an electric guitar, rather than a National.  Maceo's descending signature lick on this rendition is so powerful.  Here it is:



I walked all night long, with my 32-20 in my hand
I walked all night long, with my 32-20 in my hand
Looking for my woman, well, I found her with another man

When I found that woman, they was walkin' hand in hand
When I found that woman, they was walkin' hands in hand
Well, she didn't surprise me, when I found her with another man

She started screaming, "Murder!", and I had never raised my hand
She started screaming, "Murder!", babe, and I had never raised my hand
Terrible, she know I had them covered, 'cause I had the steel right there in my hand

SOLO

I ain't no bully, and I don't go for the baddest man in town
I ain't no bully, and I ain't the baddest man in town
When I catch a man with my woman, I usually tear his playhouse down

All best,
Johnm

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