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Author Topic: Miller's Breakdown  (Read 139668 times)

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Offline Lyndvs

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #2235 on: January 31, 2021, 11:10:36 PM »
Ollie Rupert.Out of E position...2nd guitar playing out of A position.A jew`s harp.
Reminiscent of the playing of Lane Hardin"Hard times",Henry Spaulding"Cairo",JD Short"It`s Hard Times"etc..certainly very St.Louis-y.
Tallahassee Tight - Drop D.

Offline frailer24

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #2236 on: February 01, 2021, 12:13:21 AM »
Ollie Rupert:
1st guitar, E standard
2nd guitar, A position, tuned down to B
Mystery instrument, a G jews harp!

Tallahassee Tight:
Vastapol at E flat.
That's all she wrote Mabel!

Offline Johnm

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #2237 on: February 09, 2021, 09:24:47 AM »
Hi all,
It has been a while since anyone has posted a response to the Ollie Rupert and Tallahassee Tight puzzlers so I'll post the answers.

For Ollie Rupert's "Ain't Goin' To Be Your Low-Down Dog":
   * The playing position of the lead guitar was E position in standard tuning, as every responder had it, i think. Well done!
   * The seconding guitar that enters for the second verse was played out of A position in standard tuning, tuned a fourth low, right in the normal range for a baritone guitar, though I think it was a standard sized guitar just tuned that low, judging by the tonal properties--it sounds pretty whangy and loose. And the other instrument was a jews/jaw harp as many of you had it. Banjochris's response gave a good basis for the determination of A position in standard tuning for the seconding guitar.
   * The lead guitar part does seem to operating very much in a St. Louis sort of approach, much like Henry Spaulding's "Cairo Blues" or Lane Hardin's "Hard Times", as several of you noted.

For Tallahassee Tight's "Black Snake Blues":
   * His playing position was D position in dropped-D tuning, as Lyndvs had it. At :26--:31, you can hear him hit the low D on the sixth string, followed by a walk-down on the third and second strings, moving 4-3 down to 2-1 and then 0-0, followed by another low sixth string and a strum of a conventional D chord on the first three strings, 2-3-2. He consistently plays his G chords out of an F shape moved up two frets own the second third and fourth strings.

Tallahassee Tight was really an interesting player, and I wonder if he influenced Gabriel Brown, another Floridian, in his playing in dropped-D. Their approaches are not all that similar, but playing in dropped-D was relatively rare in the era in which they first started recording. If you are interested in Tallahassee Tight's music, I think all of his titles, about half of a CD's worth, are up on youtube.

Thanks to all who responded, I think folks really did well on these puzzlers, and I hope folks enjoyed the songs. I'll look for some more puzzlers to post.

All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #2238 on: February 17, 2021, 10:39:28 AM »
Hi all,
I have a couple of new puzzlers for those of you who are interested. The first is Curley Weaver's "Dirty Deal Blues", recorded in Long Island City, New York in May of 1929. Here is "Dirty Deal Blues":



INTRO

When you were down, mama, sick down on your bed
When you were down, mama, sick down on your bed
I brought you your medicine, also brought you bread

Then you's out today, looking good again
Then you's out today, looking good again
I brought you your medicine, you won't even let me in

I go there early in the morning, I go there late at night
I go there early in the morning, I go there late at night
No matter what time I go there, he never cut out all his lights

I'm gonna hire me a taxi, gon' ride away from here
I'm gonna hire me a taxi, gon' ride away from here
My home up the country, mama, I wanna know what I'm doin' 'round here

Hey, hey-hey, hey-hey, hey-hey-hey-hey, hey-hey
Hey, hey-hey, hey-hey, hey-hey-hey-hey, hey-hey
Every man in Atlanta, he treats me like his dog

I ran to the telephone, took the receiver down
I went to the telephone, took the receiver down
I said, "Hello Central, give me Dr. Brown."

CODA

Edited 2/27 to pick up corrections from banjochris

The questions on "Dirty Deal Blues" are:
   * What playing position/tuning did Curley Weaver use to play the song?
   * How would you describe the song's bar structure, using I, IV and V to designate the different chords?
   * Where did Curley Weaver fret his signature lick, which he returns to in the third and seventh bar of each verse?

The second is from Alabaman Ralph Willis and is his "Worried Blues", recorded in New York City in 1944 for the Regis label. Here is "Worried Blues":



INTRO SOLO

You know, I done more for that woman, way last Summer, went through the Fall, boys, a couple over there through the Winter
Done more for that woman, good Lord's ever done
Got her a wig for long hair, Lord hasn't give her none

If you don't like your daddy, baby, my coat and ways, get tired of me, baby, why don't you bring me shoes and all, 'cause if you
Don't like your daddy, got no right to carry no stall
Give me my wig I bought you, let your head go bald

Well you know my Mother, she doesn't wanna have 'em, Auntie had 'em, Brother had 'em, you know my Father's the one died with 'em
Woke up this morning, family had the worried blues
Poked my head in the corner, Grandmama had them, too (Spoken: Play it now)

SOLO

She wouldn't cook me no breakfast, get me no dinner, squabbled over my supper, the gall kicked me outdoors
She had the nerve to ask me, matchbox hold my clothes
Had the nerve to ask me, matchbox hold my clothes

CODA

The questions on "Worried Blues" are:
   * What playing position/tuning did Ralph Willis use to play the song?
   * Ralph Willis's song is a re-working of what song taken from what earlier artist?
   * What soloing strategy that has been discussed on this site did Ralph Willis employ for the beginning of his solo?

Please use only your ears and your guitars to arrive at your answers, and please don't post any answers before 8:00 AM your time on Friday, February 19. Thanks for your participation and I hope you enjoy the songs.

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 06:03:48 AM by Johnm »

Offline rein

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #2239 on: February 19, 2021, 04:11:24 AM »
I ll give the Ralph Willis' one a go.
 The sound was so much like Blind Boy Fuller, my first thought which of his tunes it reminded me of. That was wrong, because I now think the song is based on Blind Willie mc Tell s Statesboro Blues. So I assumede the key was D, but when I try to copy the feel of the song on guitar, I land on E. The solo is the thing when you slide a chord shape (D shaped E) three frets up-
So: 1. Eposition 2. Statesboro Blues 3. D shaped E 3 frets up to Emin7 with the third in the 2nd string. All best and thanks
 Rein
« Last Edit: February 19, 2021, 04:14:58 AM by rein »

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #2240 on: February 19, 2021, 07:33:51 AM »
Haven’t got to the detail of these, but I’ll say open G for Curley Weaver (starting each verse in IV chord); and A standard for Ralph Willis.

Offline David Kaatz

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #2241 on: February 19, 2021, 11:54:07 AM »
Curley Weaver sounds like open G tuning to me. Thanks to Prof Scratchy for getting me to re-listen to this and change my opinion.
The structure is IV-IV-I-I-IV-IV-I-I-V-I-I-I Note the 14 bar form!
The lick starts on the fifth fret of the first string, hits that note 4 times, then open first string, then first fret second string, open second string, open third string..

Ralph Willis sounds like standard tuning, A position.
Reworking Matchbox Blues by Blind Lemon.
The soloing strategy is play a lick, then move it up a minor third (3 frets).

Offline joe paul

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #2242 on: February 19, 2021, 03:07:27 PM »
I agree with David and the Prof on the Curley Weaver song, Spanish starting on the IV. Good counting skills, fourteen it is!

The Ralph Willis sounds like A to me with the sliding up 3 frets move. There's the matchbox line in there in the last verse and the verse before the solo is very reminiscent of Statesboro Blues. The playing reminds me a lot of Blind Boy Fuller in A, but I can't think of one song in particular... Untrue Blues partly, Mamie too for the IV chord moves.
Both choices are fun tunes.

Gordon

Offline blueshome

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #2243 on: February 20, 2021, 06:41:55 AM »
Going with the Prof, Spanish and A.

Offline Forgetful Jones

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #2244 on: February 21, 2021, 05:57:31 AM »
Man these songs are just fantastic. I'd never heard either one before. What a great feeling it is when you get to experience a "new" song for the first time.

Curley Weaver
Might he be playing in Dropped D tuning? A position
IV  I  IV  I  V  I
For the signature riff start in a Long A position. Keep that index finger in place at the 2nd fret and play around the 5th & 3rd frets on the 1st String and the 5th, 3rd and 2nd frets on the 2nd string. Pinky at 5th fret. Middle finger for 3rd fret.

Ralph Willis
I think Standard tuning A position.
The song reminds me of Blind Boy Fuller in style. I can't recall which song though.

Offline banjochris

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #2245 on: February 22, 2021, 03:27:29 PM »
Spanish for Curley Weaver – it's one of the fairly few examples of him playing in his mother's style that she reportedly taught to Barbecue Bob. For instance:



And Ralph Willis is in A. Musically speaking he's in Fuller mode – some of the licks remind me of "Untrue Blues," but in 12-bar rather than 8 bar format. And lyrically the song is a rework of Luke Jordan's "Church Bell Blues."

Chris

Offline Old Man Ned

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #2246 on: February 23, 2021, 01:12:42 PM »
I'm hearing Ralph Willis's "Worried Blues" in A standard, capo around the 3rd fret. Can't put my finger on the tune but it's reminding me of Blind Boy Fuller. The solo strategy is the 3 frets up thing.

Curley Weaver, I can't get past the sound of sizzling bacon in the background, sorry.

All the best,
Ned
   

Offline Johnm

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #2247 on: February 26, 2021, 09:57:58 AM »
Hi all,
There have been no new responses to the Curley Weaver and Ralph Willis puzzlers in the past several days so I'll post the answers.

For Curley Weaver's "Dirty Deal Blues":
   * His playing position/tuning was Spanish tuning, as I believe everyone who answered this question had it. I had not remembered that Curley Weaver ever recorded this accompaniment, so frequently used by Barbecue Bob and Charley Lincoln, too, and as Chris noted, it is supposed to have been taught to that whole crew of players by Curley Weaver's mother.
   * Curley Weaver's bar structure, at least in the front end of the first two phrases recalls a favorite structure used a lot by Booker White and Fred McDowell in later years, starting the first two four-bar phrases by singing over the IV chord in the first two bars and answering with the signature lick in the third and fourth bars. He is really long in the last phrase, following the tagline, so that his structure ends up looking like:
    |    IV    |    IV    |     I     |     I     |

    |    IV    |    IV    |     I     |     I     |

    |     I     |     I     |     I     |     I     |     I     |     I     |

Which gave him a fourteen-bar structure he stuck with throughout his rendition
   * Curley Weaver fretted his signature lick at the fifth fret of the first string, the open first string, and then walked down the second string in a chromatic triplet from there, second fret, first fret, open second string, resolving down to the open third string. Barbecue Bob used the very same lick to the extent that it became almost a mannerism of his playing.

For Ralph Willis' "Worried Blues":
   * His playing position was A position in standard tuning, as most of you had it.
   * The song is a re-working of Luke Jordan's "Church Bell Blues", lyrically, as Chris had it. Ralph Willis re-worked "Church Bell Blues" at least twice in his recording career, and possibly three or four times. It's a set of lyrics and phrasing model that seem to have held a special appeal for him.
   * Ralph Willis used the "three frets up" strategy for the opening of his solo, as a number of you noted.

I feel like people really did well on these puzzlers. I sure wish Ralph Willis had recorded more solo numbers, because he was really a good guitarist. I think he's a bit like Gabriel Brown, in having the commercial misfortune of continuing to play acoustic guitar (for the most part) in a period of Blues recording when it seems like the market for the music found that to be passe, and then to be too early to benefit from the renewed interest in acoustic Country Blues guitar that came in in the '60s. Both of these artists just seemed to be caught in a lull in acoustic guitar recordings of the blues, and it's too bad.

I think I'll post the next set of puzzlers sooner rather than later, because I've already identified one really good tune to put up and I just need to find one more. Thanks for your participation, and I hope that you enjoyed the songs.

EDITED TO ADD: I have attempted to transcribe the lyrics to The Curley Weaver song back in the original post for these puzzlers and would appreciate help with any lyrics I may have gotten wrong and the bent bracketed space in the first line of the last verse. It is really a whupped record, and I find it hard to hear. Thanks for any help with the lyrics.

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: February 26, 2021, 10:15:10 AM by Johnm »

Offline Harry

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #2248 on: February 26, 2021, 12:38:23 PM »

Can't help you with a definitive answer on the last verse but it sounds to me like "telephone" not "the phone"

3.3 I hear something like  "he never cut out all just right" 

Offline David Kaatz

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #2249 on: February 26, 2021, 01:00:22 PM »
Curly never goes to the V chord?

4.1 and 4.2, I don't hear freight train, but I can't figure out what he is singing at all. Freight train certainly makes fits the context.

5.3, I hear:
Every man in Atlanta, treating me like his dog.

Maybe 6.1 is I like to telephone, ...     but that doesn't make much sense as the next line, to me.

 


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