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After years of studying folklore, I've decided that it doesn't exist - John Fahey

Author Topic: SOTM _ Mean ol' Frisco , its antecedents and decendants  (Read 925 times)

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Offline Mr.OMuck

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SOTM _ Mean ol' Frisco , its antecedents and decendants
« on: September 10, 2015, 11:28:30 PM »
 

This is one of the most exciting and propulsive song families in the genre. Arthur Big Boy Crudup?s great Mean ol? Friscohas become a deeply ingrained part of the language and many players have done some variation of it. Crudup, as much or more than Robert Nighthawk, Elmore James or Muddy Waters was the link between country Blues and what came after, though in some ways he retained the originality of rural Blues more completely than the others mentioned. He was a superb singer, unique sounding, subtle and endlessly emotive and expressive. I suspect Mean ol' Frisco had precedents in terms of basic structure. Perhaps some of you can dig them up. I seem to recall a Patton tune or two that may have been the model.



Frankie swears that Crudup ONLY played in Crossnote which could account for the dark sounding tonality lurking in much of Crudup?s music.

My favorite version is Locomotive Blues by Smokey Babe. His propulsive drive aided by an off key harmonica just drives.



Joe Savage



Lightnin? weighs in:



Little Walter



Sonny & Brownie 1946



Snooks Eaglin



The Mighty Chuck


Clarence Edwards, Cornelius Edwards And Butch Cage - Mean Old Frisco



B.B.



Here?s my own version replete with self inflicted overdubbs of slide, Harp and Washboard

http://sclk.co/s3mn0p
« Last Edit: September 13, 2015, 08:48:09 AM by Slack »
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: SOTM _ Mean ol' Frisco , its antecedents and decendants
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2015, 03:44:30 AM »
Great song, and some great versions there, including the O'Muck Gesamtkunstwerk! Snooks and BB both have interesting takes on the lyric! I think Arthur Crudup always played in crossnote tuning. It remains my favourite version, having been the first one I heard.

Offline jpeters609

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Re: SOTM _ Mean ol' Frisco , its antecedents and decendants
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2015, 06:48:44 AM »
John Lee Hooker's "I Don't Be Welcome Here," circa 1950 (originally unissued):


« Last Edit: September 13, 2015, 12:31:58 PM by Slack »
Jeff

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: SOTM _ Mean ol' Frisco , its antecedents and decendants
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2015, 08:37:05 AM »
Yes I knew Hooker had one, but the name being different it didn't come up in the searches. He kills it! Whoo!
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline ScottN

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Re: SOTM _ Mean ol' Frisco , its antecedents and decendants
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2015, 10:48:11 AM »
Great topic Mr. O'Muck.

Larry Johnson has a nice version on Blues For Harlem. Here is a live version on YouTube.




Dave Van Ronk has a cover in the Down In Washington Square compilation:





Loved the Chuck Berry. Here are some other electric versions:

Muddy Waters:






Derek and the Dominoes:





And the song is still alive and well. Joe Bonamassa performed it at his concert in Seattle a few months ago. Here he is at Red Rocks on 8/31/14:



Thanks,
           Scott
« Last Edit: September 11, 2015, 11:48:46 AM by ScottN »

Offline frankie

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Re: SOTM _ Mean ol' Frisco , its antecedents and decendants
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2015, 12:09:34 PM »
Great topic! I'm generally guilty of ignoring uptempo tunes, particularly if they're ubiquitous like MOF...  listening to all of these is interesting. I had forgotten how amazingly great Crudup's version is. Chord changes are soooooo overrated.

Offline Johnm

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Re: SOTM _ Mean ol' Frisco , its antecedents and decendants
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2015, 12:31:29 PM »
Thanks very much for the topic and for tracking down all the versions, O'Muck.  I haven't heard a lot of the versions previously, but they're going to have to go a ways to match Arthur Crudup's.  I do love Lightnin's too, though.  Aah, abundance!

Offline Pan

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Re: SOTM _ Mean ol' Frisco , its antecedents and decendants
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2015, 02:21:46 PM »
I too had forgotten how great the Crudup song is. Thanks for reminding me, of all the other interesting versions, and for the very lively O'Muck interpretation!

Cheers

Pan

Offline frankie

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Re: SOTM _ Mean ol' Frisco , its antecedents and decendants
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2015, 02:35:42 PM »
Great interpretation, O'muck! Love the nod to Smoky Babe!

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: SOTM _ Mean ol' Frisco , its antecedents and decendants
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2015, 05:34:44 PM »
Tenks guys

My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline Johnm

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Re: SOTM _ Mean ol' Frisco , its antecedents and decendants
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2015, 06:13:30 PM »
Hi all,
Here are lyrics for Arthur Crudup's 1942 version of "Mean Ol' Frisco Blues".  What a singer, and what a player!  His sound on his electric guitar was just magical, and his ideas for playing in cross-note suggest a lot of possibilities that have never been adequately explored.

Well, that mean old, old Frisco, and that low-down Santa Fe
Yes, that mean old Frisco, low-down Santa Fe
Done took my babe away, Lord, and blowed back out of me

Well, my Mama, she done told me, and my Papa told me, too
Yes, my Mama told me, Papa told me, too
Son, every woman, grin in your face, Lord, she ain't no friend to you

SOLO

Lord, I wonder, do she ever think of me?
Lord, I wonder, do she ever think of me?
Well, I wonder, I wonder, will my babe come back to me?

Well now, standing, Lord, looking, watching that Southern whistle blow
Yes, I was standing, looking, watching that Southern whistle blow
Well, she didn't catch that Southern, Lord, now where did the woman go?

Lord, I ain't got no special rider here
Lord, I ain't got no special rider here
I might lea-eave, 'cause I don't feel welcome here

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: September 11, 2015, 06:16:10 PM by Johnm »

Offline Gumbo

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Re: SOTM _ Mean ol' Frisco , its antecedents and decendants
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2015, 10:05:32 AM »
Great song and lots of interesting versions. Nice choice O'Muck.

Somehow this song puts me in mind of Will The Circle Be Unbroken - and I don't think it's just the "I was standing ..." line. Not quite the same structure but  they hint at each other.

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: SOTM _ Mean ol' Frisco , its antecedents and decendants
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2015, 11:23:34 PM »
From memory in the 70s Oddenda recorded quite a few artists performing the song for his Trix label.

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: SOTM _ Mean ol' Frisco , its antecedents and decendants
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2015, 07:38:10 AM »
I had assumed in choosing this song that some more knowledgable person would turn up a song from the twenties or thirties which provided or inspired its basic structure, but perhaps I am wrong about that and there is no such song and Crudup's is truly original. That would be a surprising discovery.
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: SOTM _ Mean ol' Frisco , its antecedents and decendants
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2015, 07:57:24 AM »
Here's a song from 1939 the same year Crudup hit Chicago. While this song is not a direct predecessor of MOF, it is not too much of a stretch to see Memphis Minnie as a stylistic precursor of Crudup's, probably a big influence given the similarity of their vocal range.

« Last Edit: September 13, 2015, 08:50:19 AM by Slack »
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

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