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Author Topic: Longing For My Sugar - Leroy Carr - Rag Blues and the circle of 5ths tread  (Read 439 times)

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Offline daddystovepipe

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I made an arrangement of Leroy Carr's "Longing For My Sugar" after reading one of the treads "Rag Blues and the circle of 5ths)

I changed/updated the lyrics a bit

As a reminder, here's what johnm had to say about it :
Hi all,
I was just looking through these old topics and thought of a tune in this category that takes the sophistication to a completely different level:  Leroy Carr's "Longing For My Sugar".  It is an exceptionally pretty tune on which he is joined by both Scrapper Blackwell and Josh White, and it appeared on the old Yazoo compilation of Leroy and Scrapper, "Naptown Blues", Yazoo L1036.

Right from its intro, the song lets you know it means business.  It is in Bflat, and begins with this complex turn-around:
|   B flat      |   D7   |    Eflat       |E diminished7 |
|Bflat/F-G7| C7-F7 |Bflat Bflat/Aflat Eflat/G Aflat9/Gflat|Bflat/F--F7|
Once the full form starts, you realize it is a 12-bar blues, but utilizing a much different harmonic vocabulary than you normally encounter in its era.  It goes:
| B flat    | D7  |   G  minor  |  B flat7   |
| E flat    |   E dim 7 |  B flat/F  |  G 7   |
|C 7 |F7|Bflat-Bflat/Aflat-Eflat/G-Aflat9/Gflat|Bflat/F-F7|
The four chords in the eleventh bar each get one beat, and provide the same descending bass line that Robert Johnson used in his famous turn-around on his "A" tunes, like "Me and the Devil", or "Kind-Hearted Woman".  Leroy similarly keeps the I note, Bflat, ringing in the treble over the entire descending line.

If you look at how "Longing For My Sugar" moves from one chord to the next, it is exceptionally nifty.  When  Leroy goes from B flat to D7 in the second bar, he sets up a V-I resolution into G minor, the relative minor of B flat major--it is surprising, beautiful and natural all at the same time.  Just as quickly, though, he goes from G minor to Bflat 7, setting up a V-I resultion into E flat, the IV chord of B flat, with it falling in the fifth bar of the form where you always go to the IV chord anyway.  The E diminished 7 chord is used as a linking chord and to get the chromatically ascending bass line from E flat to E, continuing on up to F, though that note happens under the Bflat chord in the seventh bar.  By continuing on up from Bflat/F to G7 in the eighth bar, Leroy starts the circle of fifths progression that is eventually going to get him home, since G7 is the VI 7 chord of B flat.  Sure enough, he resolves the G 7 (VI 7) to C7 (II7), then to F7 (V7), and finally back to I, immediately beginning the descending bass line turn-around that will take him to the V7 chord that points him back to the beginning of the form.

Another really cool thing about the progression is the opportunities for melodic/linear movement it presents as you move from one chord to the next.  Josh White picks right up on this, going from F over the initial Bflat chord, to F# over the D7 chord to G over the G minor chord to Aflat over the B flat 7 chord.  Go Josh!  It takes big ears to pick up on those kind of possibilities.  This progression abounds with them, though.

I don't really see "Longing For My Sugar" as being Raggy--it is much more Jazzy, a distinction Frank made earlier in this thread.  Indeed, it anticipates a lot of the harmonic innovations Charlie Parker was to bring to the blues in the Bebop Era.  Here is a numerical version of the progression, for those of you who might like to transpose it to a more guitar-friendly key than B flat.
|  I   | III7  |  VI minor  |  I7   |
|  IV  | #IV dim7 |  I/V  |  VI7 |
| II7  | V7  | I-I/flatVII-IV/VI-flatVII/flatVI|I/V--V7|


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