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I heard them bring that old Iron Curtain down on me - Sleepy John Estes visits eastern Europe, The Voice of the Blues

Author Topic: Poor Boy, Long Ways From Home  (Read 6265 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Re: Poor Boy, Long Ways From Home
« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2014, 02:16:21 PM »
Hi all,
Thanks for the Johnie Lewis version, powerlinehorizon, I had never heard that before, and it is sure enough the tune.
Here is an R. L. Burnside version.  It's a real shame about his grooving isn't it?  Whoo!  Burnside identifies the title as "Poor Boy And I'm A Long Ways From Home".  It's interesting that he says he got it "behind Howlin' Wolf".  The version that I've heard by Wolf was a shuffle and didn't groove nearly as intensely as this version.



Poor boy and I'm a long way from home
Poor boy and I'm a long ways from home
Poor boy and I'm a long way from home
World can't do me no --

SOLO

Babe, I can't stay here long
No, Lord, Lord, Lord
World can't do me no harm
Poor boy and I'm a long way from home
World can't do me no --

SOLO

My baby, she's dead and gone
My baby, she's dead and gone
World can't do me no --

SOLO

All best,
Johnm

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: May 14, 2014, 05:00:02 PM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Poor Boy, Long Ways From Home
« Reply #16 on: May 16, 2014, 11:10:34 PM »
Hi all,
Buell Kazee's version of "Poor Boy Long Ways From Home" is very different from the other versions we've heard thus far, but still is clearly related in the way it is phrased.  Buell is playing here in the "Reuben's Train" tuning, f#DF#AD.  I sure like the way he could hold a tone vocally.



Poor boy, long ways from home
Poor boy, long ways from home
Long ways from, poor man, his Mama's house
And he can't bum a freight back home

Nine hundred miles from home
Nine hundred miles from home
Not got no money, ain't got no friends
Ain't got nowhere to go

Oh darling, side-track your man
Oh darling, side-track your man
Side-track your man and go with me
Oh darling, I'll treat you right

Oh darling, you don't love me
Oh darling, you don't love me
You love some old rounder, but you don't love me
Poor boy that works so hard

Oh darling, you told me a lie
Oh darling, you told me a lie
You told me more lies than the diamonds in the skies
Oh darling, I'll never marry you

Oh darling, count the days I'm gone
Oh darling, you count the days I'm gone
Count the days I'm gone for it may be long
Oh darling, count the days I'm gone

All best,
Johnm
 

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Poor Boy, Long Ways From Home
« Reply #17 on: May 17, 2014, 06:24:33 AM »
Always loved this version. The song sure seems to encourage all sorts of different arrangements when you start teasing them out in a thread like this. Great choice, Johnm!

Offline Johnm

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Re: Poor Boy, Long Ways From Home
« Reply #18 on: May 18, 2014, 01:33:03 PM »
Hi all,
Brownie McGhee recorded his version of the song, "Poor Boy" on his 1959 Folkways album, "Brownie McGhee Sings The Blues".  He accompanied himself out of E position in standard tuning for his rendition, which mostly treats the song as a 16-bar blues.  Brownie occasionally uses a neat voicing for his B7 chord in the course of the song:  X-6-4-4-4-5.  I was unable to find a video of the performance but will attach an .mp3 of it for interested parties.

Poor old boy, long ways from home
Poor old boy, long way from home
Poor old boy, long ways from home
Please don't mistreat me, please don't do me wrong

Broke and hungry, ragged and dirty, too
Broke and hungry, ragged and dirty, too
Broke and hungry, ragged and dirty, too
Just want to know, can I go home with you?

SOLO

Good old boy, just been treated wrong, Lord,
Good old boy, just been treated wrong
Good old boy, ain't been treated right
Freezing ground was my bed last night

Big bell ringin', little bells fairly tone
Well, big bell ringin', little bells fairly tone
Big bell ringin', little bells fairly tone
I'm a lonely, lonely, long long ways from home

They say the graveyard is a mighty lonely place
They say a graveyard is a mighty lonely place
They say a graveyard is a mighty lonely place
Six feet in the ground, throw dirt in your face

SOLO

Dig my grave with a silver spade, Lord
Dig my grave with a silver spade
Baby, see that my grave is dug with a silver spade
And let me down with a golden chain

SOLO

Well, I ain't good-lookin', got no curly hair
Well, I ain't good-lookin', got no curly hair
Ain't good-lookin', I ain't got no curly hair
Well, I mean my God will take me anywhere

What makes you, baby, hold your head so high?
Tell me, baby, what makes you hold your head so high?
Tell me, baby, why do you hold your head so high?
Well, the way you hold it, that's the way you die

All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: Poor Boy, Long Ways From Home
« Reply #19 on: May 19, 2014, 04:01:39 PM »
Hi all,
Willie Trice does a really strong version of the song as "Poor Boy Long Ways From Home" on the recently released "Legendary Country Blues Guitarists" DVD put out by Stefan Grossman in his Vestapol series, Vestapol 13129.  Willie Trice played his version out of E position in standard tuning, and his rendition showcases his distinctive phrasing.  He works the song as a 16-bar form for the most part, but changes it quite a lot with regard to details as he works his way through the song.  His playing is yet another reminder that a strong rhythmic pulse and letting phrase lengths call the shots count for much more in this music than does metric consistency.  Among the Country Blues players, at least, players who play the same form from the beginning to the end of a rendition, maintaining a perfectly consistent meter throughout are very rare indeed.  You may be able to find a clip of Willie Trice's performance at YouTube, but the DVD is worth owning in any event, with terrific performances from Bill Broonzy, Skip James, Son House, Booker White, Mance Lipscomb, Rev. Gary Davis, Connie Williams (!!!!!), Sam Chatmon, Henry Johnson (!!!), Willie Trice(!!!), Will Shade and Charlie Burse and others.

Poor boy ain't got nowhere to go
Poor boy ain't got nowhere to go
Poor boy ain't got nowhere to go
Oh baby, meet me in your door

Make me a pallet on your floor
Make me a pallet on your floor
Make me a pallet on your floor
Make it by, baby, by your door

Oh baby, let me hold you in my arms
Baby, let me hold you in my arms
Baby, let me hold you in my arms
Honey, I sure can't treat you wrong

SOLO

Come by, your lovin' hand in mine
Come by, your lovin' hand in mine
Come by, your lovin' hand in mine
Oh baby, babe, I'll change your mind

Poor boy ain't got nowhere to go
Poor boy ain't got nowhere to go
Poor boy ain't got nowhere to go
Oh baby, I'm sleeping in the cold

Make me a pallet on your floor
Make me a pallet on your floor
Make me a pallet on your floor
Make it down, honey, by your door

SOLO

Know you're gwonna miss me when I'm gone
I know you're gwonna miss me when I'm gone
I know you're gwonna miss me when I'm gone
Gonna miss me, baby, to hold you in my arms

SOLO

All best,
Johnm
 


Offline Johnm

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Re: Poor Boy, Long Ways From Home
« Reply #20 on: May 23, 2014, 04:56:32 PM »
Hi all,
John Jackson recorded a version of this song as "Poor Boy", on his very first album, on the Arhoolie label, "John Jackson-Blues and Country Dance Tunes From Virginia", Arhoolie F 1025.  The version has not been included on any of the Arhoolie CDs of John's music that transitioned into the post-LP era.  John accompanied himself out of "high Spanish" tuning with a slide, with his guitar tuned AC#EAC#E.  John always used this version of Spanish when he played in that tuning and never used the more commonly encountered EAEAC#E tuning for playing in Spanish at A.  I remember sitting next to John in one of his classes at Port Townsend when he went from standard tuning to this tuning, viewing with some trepidation as he cranked his sixth string from E up to A and his fifth string from A to C#.  No problem!  John's early Arhoolie version concludes with a fade, something I always view as unfortunate.

Says I'm a poor boy, sit on the road and cry
Says I'm a poor boy, sit on the road and cry
Ain't got nobody to tell my troubles by

SOLO

Says, "Hey, hey Central, give me six-oh-nine."
Says, "Hey, hey Central, give me six-oh-nine.
Ain't heard from that black-haired woman of mine."

SOLO

Says I'm a poor boy, stood on the road and cry
Says I'm a poor boy, stood on the road and cry
Ain't got nobody to tell my troubles by

SOLO

All best,
Johnm


Offline Johnm

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Re: Poor Boy, Long Ways From Home
« Reply #21 on: May 27, 2014, 10:11:55 PM »
Hi all,
Here's a really nice version, "Poor Boy", by Peg Leg Sam and Louisiana Red.  Sam sings it and plays harmonica and Red accompanies him with a slide in Vestapol in E.



I'm a poor boy, stood on the road and cried
I'm a poor boy, stood on the road and cried

That's your woman, pin her to your side
That's your woman, pin her to your side
'Cause she flag my train I'm sure gon' let her ride

I'm a poor boy, don't know right from wrong
I'm a poor boy, don't know right from wrong
Turn your head, I have your woman and gone

My Mama told me, when I was quite a child
My Mama told me, when I was quite a child
"Have a good time now, son, but trouble after awhile."

Can't you hear that lonesome whistle blow?
Can't you hear the lonesome whistle blow?
It blow just like it ain't gonna blow no more

(Spoken: Oh yes!)

All best,
Johnm

« Last Edit: May 28, 2014, 02:11:48 PM by Johnm »

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: Poor Boy, Long Ways From Home
« Reply #22 on: May 28, 2014, 06:14:01 AM »

Offline Shovel

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Re: Poor Boy, Long Ways From Home
« Reply #23 on: May 28, 2014, 07:57:01 AM »
That is a pretty interesting connection between Powell and Gus, Johnm. I suppose there could have been a common antecedent to both? Could have been a common medicine show song. But they are certainly closely related.

Could Powell have heard Gus' version on record?

Offline Johnm

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Re: Poor Boy, Long Ways From Home
« Reply #24 on: May 28, 2014, 11:46:45 AM »
Yup, that's certainly a possibility, Shovel.  People started copping things from each other's records as soon as records started to be put out.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: Poor Boy, Long Ways From Home
« Reply #25 on: May 30, 2014, 08:45:10 PM »
Hi all,
Here's a really exciting version by John Dudley, recorded in 1959 at Parchman Farms.



Dudley had a wonderful tone with a slide, and adds some new verses we've not encountered thus far.

I'm a poor boy and I'm great long way from home
I'm a poor boy and I'm great long ways from home
I'm a poor boy and a great long ways from home

Telephoned to my baby, "Please send me my fare."
Telephoned to my baby, "Please send me my train --."
I'm a poor boy and I ain't got nowhere to stay

SOLO

Run here, baby, sit down on my knee
Run here, baby, sit down on my knee
Have any troubles, speak it all to me

SOLO

I'm gonna sing this verse and I ain't gon' sing no more
Sing this verse and I ain't gon' sing no more
She's down in trouble, boys, and I better go

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: May 31, 2014, 10:15:17 AM by Johnm »

Offline Zoharbareket

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Re: Poor Boy, Long Ways From Home
« Reply #26 on: June 12, 2014, 02:50:17 AM »
Great thread!
thank you for all the info.

I've made a YouTube playlist of the vidoes posted in this thread  (for my personal blues education, but its its there for all) check it out if you wanna...

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLvFuNFbeD_0MCUgnEL5uRzsJp-2FA4-Np

I might just make a habit of it.....

Z

Offline Johnm

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Re: Poor Boy, Long Ways From Home
« Reply #27 on: June 14, 2014, 09:42:48 AM »
Hi all,
I found this version of "Poor Boy, Long Ways From Home" played by Gabriel Brown.  Despite the attribution on the link, the performance is a solo one by Gabriel Brown.  He does it primarily as a slide instrumental in Vestapol with occasional spoken or sung passages.  All passages not indicated as spoken are sung.



Spoken:  Yes, you know I'm a poor boy, I'm a long ways from home!  I'm going to cut some wood.

Says, I'm a poor boy, mama, and I'm drivin' at your door

I'm a poor boy and I'm a long ways from home
Will you give me something, baby, to help me 'long

Spoken:  Carry it on, boy. Got to tell you something right here in a few minutes.  A boy met me, done said he was a poor boy and I wasn't, so I didn't have nothin' to gain, I's just a poor boy, long ways from home.

Poor boy, and I'm a long ways from home

All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: Poor Boy, Long Ways From Home
« Reply #28 on: June 15, 2014, 06:15:47 PM »
Hi all,
Sonny Chestain's "Po' Boy, Long Way From Home" was recorded at the Fort Valley Folk Festival, in 1942.  I believe it was the only tune he ever recorded under his own name.  Like the Gabriel Brown version, it is played with a slide in Vestapol, and also like the Gabriel Brown version it focuses on the instrumental side of the tune (though Chestain does sing more verses than did Gabriel Brown).  Sonny Chestain delivers a very strong and original version of the song.  His singing is pretty diffident, and is hard to hear.



You call me dog, baby, when I'm gone
You call me dog, baby, when I'm gone
But I'll be your baby, honey, when I'm gone

Hey, hey, hey, gettin' out of here

Well, the blues from Texas, lopin' like a mule
--From Texas, lopin' like a mule
Blues from Texas, lopin' like a mule
Don't start talkin', stop brayin' like a doggone mule

Easy rider, don't deny your name
Easy rider, don't deny your name
See here, don't you 'ny your name

Well, mama, you don't know my mind
Hey-oh, sure don't know my mind
See me laughin', laughin' to keep from cryin'

All best,
Johnm

Offline waxwing

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Re: Poor Boy, Long Ways From Home
« Reply #29 on: August 06, 2014, 08:01:28 PM »
I've worked on Henry Thomas's Red River Blues on and off over the years and decided recently to really make a go of playing the quills off a rack and put this piece together. I sat down tonight to transcribe the lyrics and realized this is really his version of Poor Boy. Found it on YT:



Little tough to hear the first word of the 1st and 2nd lines of verse 3. Any help appreciated.

Red River Blues
Henry Thomas

Quills intro

V1 -    Look where the sun done gone
   Look where the sun done gone
   Look where the sun done gone, poor girl
   Look where the sun done gone

Quills solo

V2 -   Yes, it?s gone God knows where
   It?s gone God knows where
   Look where the sun done gone, darlin?
   Look where the sun done gone

Quills solo

V3 -   Lov'n' babe, I?m all out and down
   Lovin' baby, I?m all out and down
   I?m all out and down, I?m laid to the ground
   Look where the sun done gone

Quills solo

V4 -   I?m a poor boy an? a long way from home
   Poor boy an? a long way from home
   I?m a poor boy a long way from home, darlin?
   Look where the sun done gone

Quills solo

V5 -   Which way do the Red River run
   Which way do the Red River run
   Which a way do the Red River run, poor boy
   Which way do the Red River run

Quills solo

V6 -   Yes, it run north and south
   It run north and south
   Which a way do the Red River run, boy
   Well, it run north and south

Quills outro


And a beautiful version it is. I think this is one of his nicest quills parts, particularly the lilting descent to the last phrase.

Wax

[Edited to pick up my own correction]
« Last Edit: August 20, 2014, 04:35:47 PM by waxwing »
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