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For decades, practically every big circus on the road had a black band and minstrel company attached to its sideshow, performing on the streets and inside the sideshow tent before people of all races, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the southern reaches of Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. During the 1910s, these companies constituted a significant pathway for the dissemination of ragtime, blues, and jazz." - Lynn Abbott and Doug Seroff, Ragged But Right: Black Traveling Shows, "Coon Songs", And The Dark Pathway To Blues And Jazz

Author Topic: Miller's Breakdown  (Read 96958 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #2010 on: January 14, 2019, 09:45:53 AM »
Hi all,
It appears that everyone who intended to respond to the J. T. Smith puzzler on "Corn Whiskey Blues" has done so, so I'll post the answers.  Here goes:

For J. T. Smith's "Corn Whiskey Blues":
   * his playing position was E position in standard tuning as every one who responded had it--well done!
   * from :00--:05, he was fretting the first and third strings first sliding into the twelfth fret on those two strings, then the seventh fret, then the fourth fret.  He articulated little slides on the third string into these target frets.  This is sort of a simplified version of a move that Charlie Patton and Frank Stokes utilized, though in their version they went to the ninth fret on the first and third strings in between the twelfth fret and the seventh fret.  Pan had J. T. Smith's move spot on--well done!
   * In the last two bars of his verses J. T. Smith rocked from a I chord to a IV minor chord in the eleventh bar, returning to the I chord for the twelfth bar.  Prof Scratchy and Pan both had this move figured right on.
   * J. T. Smith played the ascending/descending fill from 1:03--1:05 as follows: the fill starts on the + of beat one in the seventh bar of the form, with a grace note hammer to the first fret of the third string.  On beat 2 +, he went from the open second string to the second fret of the second string, on beat three, he played a triplet moving from the open first string to the second fret of the third string, and from there to the open second string.  On beat four, he played another grace note hammer to the first fret of the third string, and he resolved the run to the second fret of the fourth string on the + of beat four.  Pan had this run perfectly described, as well--excellent!

J. T. Smith seems such a thorough-going pro, a great guitarist, beautiful deep voice and original lyrics.  I hope folks enjoyed the song, and thanks to all who participated.  I'll look for another puzzler soon.
All best,
Johnm

 

Offline rickerw

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #2011 on: January 25, 2019, 08:03:52 PM »
How to get closer to that music, that tune being a good example. Just let it out, liberated, I guess..... Ricker

Offline Johnm

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #2012 on: January 26, 2019, 10:17:20 AM »
Hi all,
I have a new puzzler for those of you who are interested.  It is from Josh White and it is his rendition of "Silicosis Is Killing Me", from 1936.  Here it is:



INTRO

I said, silicosis made a mighty bad break of me
Ow, silicosis made a mighty bad break of me
You robbed me of my youth and health, all you brought poor me was blues

Now, silicosis, you a dirty robber and a thief
Ow, silicosis, dirty robber and a thief
Robbed me of my right to live, and all you brought poor me was grief

I was there, diggin' that tunnel, for six bits a day
I was there, diggin' that tunnel, for six bits a day
Didn't know I was diggin' my own grave, silicosis eat my lungs away

I says, "Mama, mama, mama, cool my fevered head."
I says, "Mama, mama, come and cool my fevered head.
I'm gonna meet my Jesus, God knows I'll soon be dead."

Six bits I got from diggin', diggin' that tunnel hole
Six bits I got from diggin', diggin' that tunnel hole
Take me away from my baby, it sure done wrecked my soul

Now, tell all my buddies, tell all my friends you see
Now, tell all my buddies, tell all my friends you see
I'm goin' 'way up yonder, please don't weep for me
 
The questions on "Silicosis Is Killing Me" are:
   * What playing position/tuning did Josh White use to play the song?
   * Describe Josh White's left hand positions in the first two bars of each verse and name the chords he plays there.
   * Where did Josh White fret the run he plays from 1:59--2:01?

Please use only your ears and your guitars to arrive at your answers, and please don't post any responses until 8:00 AM your time on Tuesday morning, January 29.  Thanks for your participation and I hope you enjoy the song.
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: February 04, 2019, 11:17:01 AM by Johnm »

Offline blueshome

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #2013 on: January 27, 2019, 10:29:57 AM »
I?m hearing Vasterpol  in E.
The first two chords are E and A at the start of the verse.
Not sure of the E fingering but I?ll guess at 000330 and A x20103
The run down is from the 3rd fret 1st string down to the 3rd fret 4th string.
Very like the run down in a Tampa Kid?s Keep on Trying iirc.

Offline Old Man Ned

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #2014 on: January 29, 2019, 12:35:14 PM »
I'm hearing this in Open E too.  I'm struggling with the chords of the first 2 bars. Fact is I struggle to hear chords behind any vocals. Any help/advice/tips in this regard would be greatly appreciated.

For the run, I'm getting something along these lines:
3w-0------------------------------
------3w-0------------------------
-------------0--1--0---------------
----------------------0--3w-3w--0
------------------------------------
------------------------------------

I've got to say. I really like Josh White's playing. For me, he's beyond Blind Boy Fuller and up there with Buddy Moss. Is that a fair assessment or am I bias?

All the best,
Ned

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #2015 on: January 30, 2019, 08:27:30 AM »
  * What playing position/tuning did Josh White use to play the song? - Vestapol
   * Describe Josh White's left hand positions in the first two bars of each verse and name the chords he plays there. - Open chord E walking up via first fret of 5th string to A chord x20100 then Am (?) chord  x102xx
   * Where did Josh White fret the run he plays from 1:59--2:01? - 1str 3b>0; 2str 0; 3str 1; 4str 3b >0; 5str 2; 4str 3b x2 >0

Offline Johnm

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #2016 on: February 02, 2019, 11:56:06 AM »
Hi all,
Any other takers for the puzzler on Josh White's "Silicosis Is Killin' Me"?  Come one, come all!
All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #2017 on: February 04, 2019, 09:31:08 AM »
Hi all,
It appears that everyone who intended to respond to the puzzlers on Josh White's "Silicosis Is Killin' Me" has done so, so I will post the answers.

For Josh White's "Silicosis Is Killin' Me":
   * His playing position/tuning was Vastapol, playing in the key of the sixth, fourth and first strings.  Everyone who responded had this right--well done!
   * In the first two bars of each verse accompaniment, Josh White played the following positions and chords in the left hand.  In the first bar, he played a I7 chord, sounding X-3-0-0-3-0, avoiding hitting the open sixth string, despite it being the root of the chord.  In the second bar, he went to a IV chord in the first half of the bar, fingered X-2-0-1-2-0, and in the second half of the bar played a IV minor chord, fingered X-1-0-1-X-0.  Prof Scratchy had the chords analyzed correctly, but had the fingering confused on the IV minor chord. 
This series of chords was a pet move of Josh White's, and he used it for a very high percentage of the religious numbers he recorded in Vastapol tuning.  In walking chromatically down the fifth string from the third fret, he starts at the bVII of the scale, giving him the I7 chord.  Resolving downward by half-step into the second fret, he gets the VI note of the scale, which is the major third of the IV chord (the root of which he frets at the first fret of the third string).  Moving to the first fret of the fifth string, he gets the bVI of the scale, which functions as the minor third of the IV chord, the root of which he continues to fret at the first fret of the third string.  If you go to the "Josh White Lyrics" thread, which has over twenty of Josh White's early religious recordings in it, I think you'll find that he used this move at some point in practically every one of those songs.
As per Old Man Ned's query for tips on how to hear chords and chordal movement that happen underneath singing, I think the best way to hear a move of the type that Josh White employed here is to listen for the descending line in the bass, on the fifth string, and suss out where it lives in the scale.  Once you figure out that the line goes bVII-VI-bVI-V, you can figure out the movement, if any, in the inner voices of the chords.  The great thing about figuring out a series of moves like this is that you only have to figure it out once, but you can use it over and over again, as Josh White, in fact, did.  Listening for where melodic runs live in a scale is also probably the best way of figuring them out, too.
   * The run that Josh White played from 1:59--2:01 was played as follows:  on the + of beat one, he played a bent third fret of the first string.  On beat two, he played a triplet, going from the open first string to the open second string to the first fret of the third string.  On beat three, he plays another triplet, going from bent third fret of the fourth string to the open fourth string to the second fret of the fifth string.  On beat four, he plays a broken triplet, hitting the bent third fret of the fourth string on beat four and the + of beat four, resolving to the open fourth string on the downbeat of the next measure.  Prof Scratchy had this run dead on--well done!

Josh White's playing at this stage of his career had tremendous finish and control.  Like Buddy Moss, he was an exceptionally clean player, and was technically spot on, pretty much at all times.  Blind Boy Fuller didn't have the same degree of polish and spiffiness in his playing, but at the same time, he seemed to me to have a greater spontaneity, looseness, liveliness, and feeling of being in the moment.  It's impossible to say who was better, because it's simply a matter of what you want to hear in a player--and for that matter, at different times you may want to hear different things.  Suffice it to say that they were all great players in their own ways!

Thanks to blueshome, Old Man Ned, and Prof Scratchy for responding to the puzzler, and I hope folks enjoyed the song.  I'll look for another puzzler to post soon.
All best,
Johnm   

Offline Old Man Ned

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #2018 on: February 04, 2019, 02:26:07 PM »
Thanks for the tips on hearing chords behind vocals John and as always the detailed explanation.
All the best,
Ned

Offline Johnm

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #2019 on: February 17, 2019, 01:08:48 PM »
Hi all,
I have a new puzzler for those of you who are interested.  It is Lightnin' Hopkins' "Shining Moon".  Here is the song:



The questions on "Shining Moon" are:
   * What playing position/tuning did Lightnin' use to play the song?
   * Where did Lightnin' fret the run he played in his solo from 1:09--1:12?
   * Where did Lightnin' fret what he played from 1:18--1:22?
   * Where does Lightnin' most often fret his IV chord behind his singing?

Please use only your ears and your guitar to arrive at your answers, and please don't post any responses until 8:00 AM your time on Wednesday, February 20.  Thanks for your participation and I hope you enjoy "Shining Moon".
All best,
Johnm

Offline David Kaatz

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #2020 on: February 20, 2019, 11:31:33 AM »
Lightnin' played in standard tuning, key of A.

The run from 1:09 - 1:12, a line of triplets, was fretted two possible ways:
either in open position A shape, or at the 5th fret with a E shape. Each note a
triplet eighth note except the final note.
slide into the E note, 5th fret, 2nd string      * on the beat
F# 2nd fret, first string
G  3rd fret, first string
A  5th fret first string     * on the beat
G  3rd fret, first string
E  open first or 5th fret 2nd string
D  3rd fret 2nd string     * on the beat
C  1st fret 2nd string or 5th fret 3rd string
A  2nd fret 3rd string
E  2nd fret 4th string    * on the beat

The alternative at the 5th fret would be:
slide into the E note, 5th fret, 2nd string      * on the beat
F# 7th fret, 2nd string
G  8th fret, 2nd string
A  5th fret first string      * on the beat
G  8th fret, 2nd string
E  5th fret 2nd string
D  7th fret 3rd string      * on the beat
C  5th fret 3rd string
A  7th fret 4th string
E  7th fret 5th string      * on the beat

From 1:18 - 1:22,
Hammer from E open 6th string to F# 2nd fret 6th string
A open 5th string, let it ring   * on the beat
A 2nd fret 3rd string         
C 5th fret 3rd string      * on the beat
sixteenth note triplet:
D 3rd fret 2nd string slide to Eb 4th fret 2nd string hammer to E 5th fret 2nd string
 possibly the line above is 2 hammer ons
G  3rd fret, first string     * on the beat
A  5th fret first string
G  3rd fret, first string
E  5th fret 2nd string     * on the beat
D  3rd fret 2nd string
C  5th fret 3rd string
A  2nd fret 3rd string      * on the beat

Behind his singing, Lightnin' fretted the IV chord with the F# in the bass and
didn't play the 1st string, like this:
x
1
2
0
0
2

Offline Old Man Ned

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #2021 on: February 20, 2019, 01:53:39 PM »
Lightnin's "Shining Moon" I'm hearing in A standard:

   * Where did Lightnin' fret the run he played in his solo from 1:09--1:12?
-----------3----5--3
-3slide5-----5-------5---3---1
----------------------------------2
-------------------------------------2
--------------------------------------
---------------------------------------

   * Where did Lightnin' fret what he played from 1:18--1:22?
---------------------0--3--5--3-------------
--------------1--3----------------5--3--1---
-----------2--------------------------------2
----------------------------------------------
-------0-------------------------------------
-0h2-----------------------------------------

   * Where does Lightnin' most often fret his IV chord behind his singing?
D7 at the neck 6th str, 2nd fret; 4th str open; 3rd str,2nd fret; 2nd str,1st fret.

All the best,
Ned

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #2022 on: February 21, 2019, 10:57:53 AM »
Haven?t had time to sit down with this one, but I love Lightnin?s playing in A. Wish he?d done more of it. I?m in agreement with Ned?s answer (I think -without benefit of guitar to hand)!


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Offline blueshome

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #2023 on: February 21, 2019, 11:47:56 PM »
I?m with Ned.
I?ve attempted playing this song over the years.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #2024 on: February 22, 2019, 06:11:56 AM »
Hi all,
Thanks for all of the responses so far.  For those who have responded, check your answers to the question about Lightnin's IV chord, especially what he plays in the fifth and sixth bars of each verse.
All best,
Johnm