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She'd work Son Joe over right on the bandstand, right in front of the audience. Bang, bop, boom, bop! - Johnny Shines on Minnie, The Blues Collection #76

Author Topic: Miller's Breakdown  (Read 106564 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #1980 on: October 31, 2018, 02:49:07 PM »
Hi all,
I have a new puzzler for those of you who are interested.  It is J B Lenoir's recording of "Down In Mississippi", for which he was joined by Freddie Below, Jr. on drums and Willie Dixon on back-up vocals.  Here is "Down In Mississippi":



INTRO

Far as back as I can remember, either had a plow or a hoe
One of those old nine-feet sack, standin' at the old turn-row
REFRAIN: Down in Mississippi, down in Mississippi
Down in Mississippi where, I was born, down in Mississippi where, I come from

Nothin' I got against Miss'sippi, it's also was the home of my wife
But I feel just like I'm a lucky man, to get away with my life
REFRAIN: Down in Mississippi, down in Mississippi
Down in Mississippi where, I was born, down in Mississippi where, I come from

They had a huntin' season on a rabbit, if you shoot him you went to jail
The season was always open on me, nobody needed no bail
REFRAIN: Down in Mississippi, down in Mississippi
Down in Mississippi where, I was born, down in Mississippi where, I come from

The questions on J B Lenoir's "Down In Mississippi are:
   * What playing position/tuning did he use to play the song?
   * Where did J B Lenoir fret what he played at the beginning of the song, before the singing comes in?
   * Where did J B Lenoir fret the chord he played at :21--:22 and what is the chord?
   * Where did J B Lenoir fret the descending fill he plays from 1:15--1:16?
   * Why don't more people write songs this well?

Please use only your ears and your instruments to arrive at your answers and please don't post any responses before 8:00 AM your time on Saturday, November 3.  Thanks for participating, and I hope you enjoy "Down In Mississippi".
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: November 11, 2018, 10:15:01 AM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #1981 on: November 04, 2018, 02:10:36 PM »
Hi all,
Any takers for the J B Lenoir puzzler, "Down In Mississippi"?  Come one, come all!
All best,
Johnm

Offline Rivers

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #1982 on: November 04, 2018, 05:37:43 PM »
Workin' on it... great piece

* What playing position/tuning did he use to play the song?
   E modal position (damped third, sometimes hitting the minor 3rd, never the major 3rd), in standard tuning

* Where did J B Lenoir fret what he played at the beginning of the song, before the singing comes in?
   Not sure, closest voicing I can get is 0 x 5 4 5 3 - Em7 (edit, corrected 6th string, was 1, s/be open)

* Where did J B Lenoir fret the chord he played at :21--:22 and what is the chord?
  2 x 1 2 2 2 - B9/5 (?)

* Where did J B Lenoir fret the descending fill he plays from 1:15--1:16?
   open second string // pull off the 2nd fret of the third string to open // end on the root E on the fourth string at the 2nd fret. In other places he strikes the open second string three- or four times before going down - nice!

* Why don't more people write songs this well?
   I totally agree with you
« Last Edit: November 05, 2018, 09:26:17 AM by Rivers »

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #1983 on: November 05, 2018, 02:28:07 AM »
The questions on J B Lenoir's "Down In Mississippi are:
   * What playing position/tuning did he use to play the song? - standard tuning Em
   * Where did J B Lenoir fret what he played at the beginning of the song, before the singing comes in? - chord xx5430
   * Where did J B lLenoir fret the chord he played at :21--:22 and what is the chord? B9 221222
   * Where did J B Lenoir fret the descending fill he plays from 1:15--1:16? - 3str 2fr>3str open;4str 2fr x2
   * Why don't more people write songs this well? - they (we) lack what JB had in the genius (and coolth)department....
« Last Edit: November 08, 2018, 03:25:54 AM by Prof Scratchy »

Offline Old Man Ned

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #1984 on: November 05, 2018, 01:13:00 PM »
I was puzzling over J B Lenoir's "Down In Mississippi last night and am also coming up with Em sound in standard tuning.

I hear J B Lenoir fret what he played at the beginning of the song around an E minor chord, held on the first 3 strings:
---3
---5
---4
The chord he played at :21--:22 was what I couldn't get a handle on at all, but listening again I'm hearing what Rivers has.
The descending fill he plays from 1:15--1:16 I had as, on the 3rd string 4th, 2nd to 1st fret, then 4th string 2nd fret twice.
Why don't more people write songs this well?...?..I guess folk as intelligent and expressive as J.B. Lenoir only come along once in a very long while.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #1985 on: November 08, 2018, 08:12:29 AM »
Hi all,
Any other takers for the J B Lenoir puzzler, "Down In Mississippi?"  Come one, come all!
All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #1986 on: November 11, 2018, 09:23:58 AM »
Hi all,
It has been several days since the last response on the J. B. Lenoir "Down In Mississippi " puzzler, so I will post the answers.

For J. B. Lenoir's "Down In Mississippi":
   * His playing position was E in standard tuning, as all who responded had it--well done!
   * At the beginning of the song, before he comes in singing, and at the beginning of each verse, J. B. Lenoir fretted 7-8-0 on the first three strings, going from the third string to the first, left to right.  It's a way of voicing an Em7 chord that is both really striking sounding and very economical to play in the left hand.  J. B. Lenoir was particularly fond of voicing chords and melodies on the fretted second and third strings and sounding the open first string along with them.  In order to get the same sonority that J. B. Lenoir got at the beginning of the song without utilizing the open first string, you would have to fret the first three strings at 7-5-3, or the fourth through second strings at 12-9-8, and in both of those instances, you would lose that eerie timbre you get from using the open first string in that chordal cluster.  All credit to J. B. Lenoir, he was a creative musician in so many ways.
   * The chord that J. B. Lenoir played at :21--:22 was fretted 2-2-2-2-2-2--he just barred all the way across at the second fret!  It sure is a distinctive sound.  You could name the chord a couple of ways.  If you hear it as a V chord of a sort, you could called it B9sus/F#, in which case it would be voiced 5-R-sus4-b7-9-5.  If you hear it as a ii minor chord, it would be an F#m11, voiced
R-11-b7-b3-5-R.  In this instance, you'd call the 4 note on the A string an 11 rather than a sus4 by virtue of there also being a 3 note and a 7 note in the chord.
   * For the descending fill at 1:15--1:16, Old Man Ned had it right.  The notes of the fill are B-A-G#-E-E.  He either began the run with the open B string or the fourth fret of the third string.  The second and third notes of the run were played at the second and first frets of the third string, respectively and the last two notes were both played at the second fret of the fourth string.
   * The last question was not exactly meant to be answered, but all the answers were good.  J. B. was unusual in the extent to which he most often actually had something to say in his lyrics, rather than simply speaking in cliches in the style.  Combine that intent with a great ear for a telling turn of phrase and his original musical ear and instrumental and vocal gifts, and you had a very  special musician.  I suspect he was the kind of musician who only comes along once.

Thanks to Rivers, Prof Scratchy and Old Man Ned for participating, and I hope folks enjoyed "Down In Mississippi".

All best,
Johnm

« Last Edit: November 11, 2018, 10:00:05 PM by Johnm »

Offline Rivers

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #1987 on: November 11, 2018, 09:28:30 PM »
Thanks John, I look forward to working on it again tomorrow. It strikes me J.B. Lenoir's Down In Mississippi belongs in the Blues Forms and Vocal Phrasing thread. It's unlike anything else I know of, in particular the extended turnaround, where it mightily resists going to the V. Having made his point already going to the V would have been superfluous.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #1988 on: November 13, 2018, 08:12:24 AM »
You make a good point re the structure of "Down In Mississippi", Rivers.  I don't know another song in the style that shares its form and chord progression.  Actually, there isn't much of a chord progression, it's pretty static harmonically.  I think another distinctive feature of it is that the vocal and accompaniment operate in a true call-and-response fashion, since J B adopted the B. B. King approach of simply not playing while he was singing.  The more you think about it, the more you realize the extent to which it stood apart from blues structural norms.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Rivers

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #1989 on: November 13, 2018, 06:26:04 PM »
Yep. The last two vocal lines in each verse probably count as an 8 bar refrain added on to what I count as an 12 bar verse;

Refrain:
"Down in Mississippi where I was born
Down in Mississippi where I come from"

When playing it, rather than just listening to it, my brain wants to complete the last 4 bars with a lyric containing the V:

"Down in Mississippi."

But that vocal isn't there, leaving the lyric unresolved, and four bars of space for the guitar to jam on the I chord. It's unique and brilliant.

Sorry to obsess about this but I've been trying to figure out this song's structure for some time. I finally think I've understood what's going on.

Cheers!

Mark.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2018, 06:45:50 PM by Rivers »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #1990 on: November 18, 2018, 09:05:14 AM »
Hi all,
I have a new puzzler, with thanks to Lightnin' for the recommendation of the tune and Lindy for finding it on youtube.  The song is "Slim's Stomp", as played by John Lee Hooker using the nom de disque, Texas Slim, in 1949.  Here is it:



The questions on "Slim's Stomp" are:
   * What playing position/tuning did John Lee Hooker use to play the tune?
   * From :05--:12, John Lee Hooker is droning on one note and answering it with two descending notes in the bass.  Where, relative to tuning and capo placement, did he fret the two answering notes in the bass?
   * Starting at :39, John Lee Hooker hits a bend and releases it, goes down in pitch for a note, hits a lower note and returns to the second note, repeating this motif several times.  Where did he fret this passage?
   * Starting around 1:49, John Lee Hooker frets a double stop in the treble, returning to it several times and sometimes sliding down from it in pitch.  Where did he fret the two notes in the double stop?

Please use only your ears and guitars to arrive at your answers, and please don't post any responses before 8:00 AM on Wednesday, November 21.  Thanks for your participation, and I hope you enjoy "Slim's Stomp".
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: November 19, 2018, 06:16:11 AM by Johnm »

Offline Old Man Ned

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #1991 on: November 22, 2018, 01:04:11 PM »
In an attempt to get the ball rolling on John Lee Hooker's 'Slim's Stomp' I'm going with Spanish tuning.  From :05--:12 I'm hearing him droning on the D note on the 2nd string/3rd fret and the 2 bass notes are on the 6th str/3rd fret & open 5th string. I'm not at all confident in this but at least I'm finding it fun to play!

For the section starting at 39 secs I'm hearing 5th str/10th fret, slight bend then down to 8th fret, then 10th fret 6th string returning to 8th fret/5th str.

At 1:49 I'm hearing the 2nd,3rd,4th strings fretted at 10th fret, sometimes dropping down to the 8th fret.

Initially, I thought I'd get nowhere with this and I may not have done. Would loved to have spent more time on the tune but unfortunately have to be away with work over the next few days.

All the best, Ned

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #1992 on: November 23, 2018, 04:34:25 AM »
   * What playing position/tuning did John Lee Hooker use to play the tune? - Spanish capoed quite high at 5th or 6th fret; relative to capo I think he plays as follows:

   * From :05--:12, John Lee Hooker is droning on one note and answering it with two descending notes in the bass.  Where, relative to tuning and capo placement, did he fret the two answering notes in the bass? - 5str 3fr bend>open 6 str
   * Starting at :39, John Lee Hooker hits a bend and releases it, goes down in pitch for a note, hits a lower note and returns to the second note, repeating this motif several times.  Where did he fret this passage? - 5str 5fr bend>5str 3fr>6str 5fr>5str 3fr
   * Starting around 1:49, John Lee Hooker frets a double stop in the treble, returning to it several times and sometimes sliding down from it in pitch.  Where did he fret the two notes in the double stop? - 2str 3fr + 1str 5fr

Offline Johnm

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #1993 on: November 24, 2018, 09:35:08 AM »
Hi all,
Thanks to Old Man Ned and Prof Scratchy for their responses on the John Lee Hooker puzzler, "Slim's Stomp".  Anyone care to join them?  Come one, come all!
All best,
Johnm

Offline eric

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #1994 on: November 24, 2018, 10:24:43 AM »
I got as far as Open G capoed up, but have a tough time hearing the various riffs.  I think the Prof is on the right track.
--
Eric