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Author Topic: SOTM 14 August 2015: Roll and Tumble  (Read 1973 times)

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Offline harriet

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SOTM 14 August 2015: Roll and Tumble
« on: August 14, 2015, 04:30:19 AM »
Roll and Tumble is a beloved blues classic that has endured for over 85 years. With your indulgence this thread presents some points of note in the song's journey as it "rolled and tumbled" along over the years through various re-incarnations.

Perhaps the earliest recording was done as  Minglewood Blues by the Cannon Jog Stompers recorded in March 14, 1928.



Don't you never let one woman worry your mind
Don't you never let one woman worry your mind
Well she will keep you worried, troubled all the time

Don't you think your faro was little and cute like mine
Don't you wish your faro was little and cute like mine
She's a married, she's a married woman but she comes to see me sometime

Don't you never let no woman worry your mind
Don't you never let no woman worry your mind
She'll keep you troubled, worried all the time

Well I got a letter, mama, you oughta heard it read
Well I got a letter, darlin', you oughta heard it read
Said you're comin' back, baby, now be on your way

However, Roll and Tumble is usually associated and credited to Hambone Willie Newbern's open spanish tuning version recorded a year later in 1929:



Often covered under different names through the decades by such luminaries as Sleepy John Estes, Big Joe Williams, Furry Lewis and Fred McDowell, there is also the very famous "If I Had Possession Over Judgment Day" by Robert Johnson in 1936 and "Dough Roller Blues" by Garfield Akers was recorded in 1930:



Next stop jumps ahead to the 1950 Parkway version, (which to my ear has rhythms reminiscent of Indian War Chants.) Recorded for Leonard Chess, featuring  Little Walter and Baby Face Leroy Foster the Parkway label credits the Baby Face Leroy Trio, with vocals by Leroy, and Muddy Waters as the songwriter.




Further down the road,recorded by Alan Lomax in Como, Mississippi, September 25, 1959 is the magnificent and minimalist Rosa Lee Hill version.


 
Rolling along to the the sixties 1961, Howlin' Wolf recorded "Down in the Bottom", which employed a new set of lyrics and is credited to Willie Dixon.  L. Burnside recorded what he titled "Rollin' Tumblin'" on several occasions, first on August 1967 for George Mitchell as well...



Concurrent in Chicago 1969 Sunnyland Slim recorded a version with Johnny Shines and Backwards Sam Firk and also as a stunning piano blues:



On a different note there's Eddie One String Jones minimalist driving and savage version recorded on the streets of Los Angeles accompanying himself on a home-made instrument akin to a diddley bow, which first appeared on vinyl in 1964 and then in 1993 on the Sam Charters Label



The final thought from me on this subject will "roll and tumble" off with Joe Callicott's haunting version from Ain't Gonna Lie to You reportedly recorded in 1967 by George MItchell and released May 6, 2003 by Fat Possum Records



Well I rolled and I tumbled, I cried all night long
Well I rolled and I tumbled, I cried all night long
I didn't have nobody to teach me right from wrong

It may be two, three days, may be a mont' or more
It may be two, three days, may be a mont' or more
Oh well the Good Book, said it teach, you got to, oh, reap just what you sow

Well I called my baby, called her to the door
Well I called my baby, I called her to the door
Said if you want, I tell you, woman, I don't, don't need you no more

Well I rolled and I tumbled, cried the whole night long
Well I rolled and I tumbled, I cried the whole night long
Says, I didn't have nobody to teach me right from wrong

Online Prof Scratchy

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Re: SOTM 14 August 2015: Roll and Tumble
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2015, 05:09:37 AM »
Excellent choice harriet! So many variations and styles.

Offline One-Eyed Ross

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Re: SOTM 14 August 2015: Roll and Tumble
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2015, 08:34:53 AM »
I love the Rosa Lee Hill version - although the Hambone Willie version reminds me of the way my dad played, back when I was a kid.  GREAT selection!
SSG, USA, Ret

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Offline waxwing

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Re: SOTM 14 August 2015: Roll and Tumble
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2015, 08:52:03 AM »
Great choice. Certainly a widely used melody format. I think we can come up with quite a few more songs from the prewar era that are only minor variations melodically but with very different lyrics, similar in both regards to Minglewood. Two I can come up with off the top of my head from Charley Patton would be Down the Dirt Road Blues and Banty Rooster, interestingly played in C and Spanish, respectively. Don't have time to embed youtubes and lyrics right now but will do so later. [edited in 8/15/15]  There are many more out there with that descending from the octave root down to the root melodic line. Let's hear from others.



Not wanting a lyric discussion to break out in an SOTM topic, you can find 12 pages of discussion on the lyrics to Down The Dirt Road Blues here: http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=4250.0



These seem pretty clear, so I'll risk posting my take on 'em.

Banty Rooster Blues

V1 ? I?m gonna buy me a banty put ?im in my back do?
   I?m gonna buy me a banty put ?im in my back do?
   So he see a stranger callin? he?ll flop his wings and crow

V2  ? What you want with a rooster, he won?t crow ?fore day
   What you want with a rooster, he won?t crow ?fore day
   What you want with a man when he won?t do nothin? he say

V3 ? What you want with a hen won?t cackle when she lay
   What you want with a hen won?t cackle when she lay
   What you want with a woman when she won?t do nothin? I say

V4 ? Ah, take my picture, hang it up in Jackson wall
   Ah, take my picture, hang it up in Jackson wall
   Anybody ask you what about it, tell ?em that?s all, that?s all

V5 ? My hook?s in the water and my cork?s on top
   My hook?s in the water and my cork?s on top
   How can I lose, Lord, what the hell?ve I got

V6 ? I know my doggity when I hear him bark
   I know my doggity when I hear him bark
   I can tell my rider if I feel her in the dark


Wax
« Last Edit: August 16, 2015, 05:03:17 PM by waxwing »
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Online Johnm

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Re: SOTM 14 August 2015: Roll and Tumble
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2015, 10:55:29 AM »
Thanks for your selection of "Rollin' and Tumblin'" for SOTM, Harriet, and for the work you did, tracking down sources and different versions of the song.  Your post brings up an interesting point I've been thinking about for some time:  Are songs that share the same melody and chord structure the same song, despite having altogether different lyrics?  At this point, just in my own opinion, a song is "Rollin' and Tumblin'" only if it has a rollin' and tumblin' verse as the linchpin of its lyrics.  Judged by that standard, I suppose I would disqualify "New Minglewood Blues" and "If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day" as being versions of "Rollin' and Tumblin'".  For me, the Hambone Willie Newbern version is kind of the gold standard, structurally, starting the first two lines on the IV chord, and using a slide, but my favorite versions to listen to are Rosa Lee Hill's and Joe Callicott's.  I don't think there is one correct answer to what it is that defines a song, though I suppose there is an answer as far as copyright law is concerned.  In any event, thanks for a great choice for a SOTM topic.
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: August 14, 2015, 10:57:45 AM by Johnm »

Offline banjochris

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Re: SOTM 14 August 2015: Roll and Tumble
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2015, 11:51:50 AM »
I see what you mean, John, but I think this "song family" ? which might be the best way to think about it ? has such a distinctive melody and main riff it's a bit of an unusual case.

The whole "Going to Brownsville" family, Sleepy John, Furry Lewis, Fred McDowell fit in, too, and it may be interesting to think about that the vast majority of these versions all come from the Memphis area or just outside it.

PS. "If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day" definitely qualifies; it has a rolling and tumbling verse!
Chris

Offline Stuart

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Re: SOTM 14 August 2015: Roll and Tumble
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2015, 12:16:23 PM »
Great choice, Harriet. --And good points, John. I think the best known legal case in this area is the "He's So Fine" - "My Sweet Lord" lawsuit. There are no shared lyrics, but definitely musical similarities.

Maybe what we need is an agreed upon way to organize songs that share similarities, starting with ones that are very close (the "same" song) re: musical structure and lyrics, and then branch off from there, noting the differences. It shouldn't be difficult as the musical structure and lyrics of various songs will likely make the categories self-evident.

Those are two good examples, Wax. I'm sure there are others.

While I was writing this--and doing a search for "Song Families," Chris posted  his message. He makes a good point. I think that some discussion of what was in circulation and lines or paths of transmission from one musician to another is something to consider as well. There's a lot we'll never know, but IMHO, it seems obvious that there was much more going on than what was recorded.

Online Johnm

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Re: SOTM 14 August 2015: Roll and Tumble
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2015, 12:26:29 PM »
Good catch on "If I Had Possession", Chris.  I guess my screw-up is an indication of how long it has been since I listened to that song--donkey's years!
All best,
Johnm

Offline bnemerov

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Re: SOTM 14 August 2015: Roll and Tumble
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2015, 12:43:09 PM »
Hi all,
In reference to Johnm's thoughts and Chris' reply: Fiddle tune folks---scholars and others; Mike Seeger and John Hartford come to mind---have used the concept of "tune families" for some time now as a way to discuss items that have enough musical elements in common to be thought of as "related."

The West Tennessee and North Mississippi provenance and the character of the fill lick; the 6/8ish instrumental section between the vocal lines; as well as a structure that starts on the 4 chord---all this makes for a "Roll & Tumble family" of tunes, to my mind. Lyrics are more ephemeral in this scheme.

Due to printed Old World origins for some American tunes, the fiddle folk are sometimes in a position to assign a "parent tune" to a family.
I doubt country blues ever knows who its Mama is!

best,
bruce

Offline Slack

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Re: SOTM 14 August 2015: Roll and Tumble
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2015, 06:01:02 PM »
Great choice Harriet!  And way to go throwing in a couple of outliers - to get a 'tune family' discussion going. Such quality and diversity!  I've always considered the Baby Face Leroy version a masterpiece of pure fun.

Offline blueshome

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Re: SOTM 14 August 2015: Roll and Tumble
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2015, 04:19:47 AM »
If we accept it's a tune family:

Offline blueshome

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Re: SOTM 14 August 2015: Roll and Tumble
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2015, 04:20:40 AM »
And again!

Offline harriet

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Re: SOTM 14 August 2015: Roll and Tumble
« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2015, 06:12:30 AM »
Thanks for the warm topic reception!

Whichever one I am listing to is my "Favorite of the Moment," and thanks for the interesting and informative discussion on the family of songs concept.

Wondering if anyone has this in their repetoire and if any of the acoustic songs are the basis. I hear alot of electric based on the later R.L Burnside (I think) and Joe Chiarelli I believe based his on the Newburn version. Myself, I've studied the Mcdowell, a version from Michael Messer along the lines of his resonator performance, Patton's Banty Rooster through MM as well and the Callicott version via John Miller.

Welcome to 2 new members of the "family" in that case by blueshome from Tampa Red and Howling Wolf, I grabbed the share code and took the "s" off the "https" so these would display in the thread - hope thats ok.

Tampa Red:


Howling Wolf:

Offline Zoharbareket

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Re: SOTM 14 August 2015: Roll and Tumble
« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2015, 03:07:19 PM »
Super! Thank you for this Harriet!

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Offline frankie

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Re: SOTM 14 August 2015: Roll and Tumble
« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2015, 12:49:16 PM »
Roll and Tumble is a beloved blues classic that has endured for over 85 years.

Fabulous topic, Harriet - thanks for posting this! Count me as "tune family" proponent...  this has to be one of the most pervasive in country blues...  even Sleepy John Estes' "The Girl I Love Got Long Curly Hair" and Yank Rachell's "Lake Michigan Blues" fit into the family.

Speaking of SJE - The Girl I Love was the first tune Mike, Kim and I ever recorded for youtube, more than SEVEN years ago...  crappy video and worse audio quality, but the playing still stands up, I think:



And thanks for including the Joe Callicott and Rosalie Hill - among the best imaginable!

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