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Author Topic: Song of the Month January 31, 2017, "Prison Bound Blues"  (Read 804 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Song of the Month January 31, 2017, "Prison Bound Blues"
« on: January 31, 2017, 11:18:01 AM »
Hi all,
It's a mysterious process by which a recorded blues becomes a "Blues Standard".  A prerequisite, I suppose, is that the song speaks to enough musicians that they choose to add it to their repertoires, and that it speaks to enough of the blues-listening audience that they continue to support new versions of the song.  Leroy Carr had a genius for coming up with such songs, and "Prison Bound Blues", recorded December 20, 1928 has certainly come to qualify as a Blues Standard over the years.  One of the interesting things about the song is that there is nothing harmonically, melodically or formally innovative about the song--it wouldn't be unfair to describe it as "generic", but it is a tribute to the strength of its lyrics and Leroy Carr's delivery of them that so many other musicians have wanted to play and sing it, too, over the years.  Here is Leroy Carr and Scrapper Blackwell's version of "Prison Bound Blues":



INTRO

Early one morning, the blues came falling down
Early one mornin', the blues came falling down
All locked up in jail, and prison bound

All last night I sat in my cell alone
All last night, whooo, I sat in my cell alone
Thinking of my baby and my happy home

Baby, you will never see my smiling face again
Baby, you will never see my smiling face again
But always remember, your daddy has been your friend

Sometimes I wonder, why don't you write to me?
Sometimes I wonder, why don't you write to me?
If I have been a bad fellow, I did not intend to be

When I had my trial, baby, you could not be found
When I had my trial, baby, whooo, you could not be found
So it's too late now, mistreating mama, I'm prison bound

A fairly early cover of the song was recorded by "unknown", one of the mysterious musicians recorded by Lawrence Gellert.  Whoever "unknown" was, he was an ace guitarist!



Tampa Red thought enough of the song to record a solo instrumental version of "Prison Bound Blues".  Here it is:



For Bumble Bee Slim's version, he chose to channel Leroy Carr vocally.



Josh White gave the song his characteristic sound.  Indeed, one of the characteristics of a Blues Standard is that it accommodates different artists' interpretations--it's sort of "style-proof".  Here is Josh's version:



Big Joe Williams did a version with a very inward opening solo.



Pianists covered the song, too.  Here is Little Brother Montgomery's "Prisoner Bound Blues":



John Lee Hooker recorded a solo acoustic version in 1960, singing it as "Prisoner Bound Blues", though calling it "Prison Bound Blues".



Here is Robert Nighthawk's version:



I've to post videos that will be viewable by non-U.S. residents.  Feel free to add favorites I've missed to the thread.

All best,
Johnm

« Last Edit: February 01, 2017, 09:20:09 AM by Johnm »

Offline harry

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Re: Song of the Month January 31, 2017, "Prison Bound Blues"
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2017, 12:39:07 PM »




Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: Song of the Month January 31, 2017, "Prison Bound Blues"
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2017, 02:19:56 AM »
Excellent choice of SOTM! Not a song I'd realised had been covered by so many artists. Just about every conceivable take on the song over a forty year or so period.


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Offline blueshome

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Re: Song of the Month January 31, 2017, "Prison Bound Blues"
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2017, 03:40:10 AM »
Found this lovely version by Robert McCoy:
« Last Edit: February 01, 2017, 03:42:26 AM by blueshome »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Song of the Month January 31, 2017, "Prison Bound Blues"
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2017, 02:48:06 PM »
Hi all,
I found this really nice version of "Prisoner Bound Blues" by Frank Busby, whom I know nothing about in the biographical sense.  Here it is:



All best,
Johnm

Offline eric

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Re: Song of the Month January 31, 2017, "Prison Bound Blues"
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2017, 08:05:35 PM »
Here's a solo version (no guitar) titled Early One Morning by Little Brother Montgomery from his great Folkways album Blues.  [Edited to add the correct track]


« Last Edit: February 07, 2017, 09:56:09 AM by eric »
--
Eric

Offline Johnm

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Re: Song of the Month January 31, 2017, "Prison Bound Blues"
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2017, 11:22:12 AM »
Hi all,
I just discovered, while listening to Dan Pickett that he recorded a cover of "Prison Bound Blues" which he called, as did Little Brother Montgomery, "Early One Morning".  Dan Pickett played the song out of Vestapol with a slide.  He really sounds like he listened to and was influenced by Tommy McClennan, especially vocally, I think.  Here is his rendition:



INTRO

Yes, early one mornin', when the blues came fallin' down
Oh, it was early one mornin', when the blues came fallin' down
Well, I was all locked up in jail, poor boy, oh Lord, was prisoner bound

INTERLUDE

When they had my trial, baby, honey, you could not be found
When they had my trial, baby, yeah, you could not even be found
Knowed I was all locked up in jail, and oh Lord, was prisoner bound

Now, you will never see my smilin' face again
Yes, you will never see my smilin' face again
Yes, you always remember, your daddy have been your friend

Once I had someone to love me, like I have learned to love
When I had someone to love me, like I have learned to love
Well, I would give my things up to the devil and my soul to the Lord above

Love is like a faucet, sometimes the water runs cold
Love is like a faucet, sometimes the water runs cold
And my baby treat me so mean, I have to move to my neighborhood

All best,
Johnm
 

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: Song of the Month January 31, 2017, "Prison Bound Blues"
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2017, 03:03:08 AM »



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Offline Lignite

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Re: Song of the Month January 31, 2017, "Prison Bound Blues"
« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2017, 09:01:32 AM »
Here's one not available on Youtube in the U.S.; Big House Blues by Josh White as Pinewood Tom from 1934 ; http://picosong.com/MpL8
« Last Edit: May 25, 2017, 11:27:12 AM by Lignite »

Offline Lignite

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Re: Song of the Month January 31, 2017, "Prison Bound Blues"
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2017, 11:49:23 AM »
A more modern interpretation of this song with electric guitar. Recorded live in North Carolina in 2006 by George Higgs; http://picosong.com/MpxZ

Offline DavidCrosbie

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Re: Song of the Month January 31, 2017, "Prison Bound Blues"
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2017, 06:12:24 PM »
Here's Sunnyland Slim

And Lowell Fulson

And Willie Nix

Tags: SOTM Leroy Carr 
 


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