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Author Topic: Train Blues with Narratives  (Read 793 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Train Blues with Narratives
« on: August 21, 2017, 09:07:23 AM »
Hi all,
Having recently discovered Leon Strickland's "Train Blues", I've been thinking about how train blues with some singing, spoken narration and the guitar delivering programatic elements designed to evoke the sounds of the train are almost a genre in themselves.  Here is a list of such blues we've transcribed at the Weenie site with links to the transcriptions:
   * Booker White--"Special Streamline":  http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=2438.msg57281#msg57281
   * Booker White--"Panama Limited::  http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=2438.msg57524#msg57524
   * Mississippi John Hurt--"Talkin' Casey Blues":  http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=449.msg38177#msg38177
   * Tom Bradford--"Going North":  http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10577.msg91658#msg91658
   * Big Boy--"Blues:  http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg87891#msg87891
   * Leon Strickland--"Train Blues:  http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=10188.msg101826#msg101826

Can anyone think of other train blues that utilize this format?

All best,
Johnm
 

Offline TenBrook

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Re: Train Blues with Narratives
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2017, 09:15:20 AM »
John,
Great topic. There are quite a few songs in the hillbilly tradition that I immediately thought of, but of course the topic is train blues so here's one that came to mind only coincidentally really since I put on the Yazoo Harmonica Blues comp last week and Freeman Stowers' 'Railroad Blues' is the first track.

« Last Edit: August 21, 2017, 09:17:23 AM by TenBrook »

Offline Lignite

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Re: Train Blues with Narratives
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2017, 11:06:38 AM »
Travelin' Blues by Blind Willie McTell;

Hi all,
I thought I would add Willie McTell's lyrics to Lightnin's link--thanks, Lightnin'!
All best,
Johnm

INTRO

(SPOKEN):  I was travelin' through south Americas.  Walked up to a lady's house--called her Grandma.  Didn't know her name, she give me something' to eat.  Walked on down the road, I heard a old train, getting' off like this:  (guitar imitates train).  I heard a old bell ring, kinda like this:  (guitar imitates bell).  I went on down, I heard a old whistle blow, I heard it sayin',
(SUNG) Look a-yonder (guitar answers)
            Look a-yonder (guitar answers)
            At the women (guitar answers)
            At the women (guitar answers)
(SPOKEN) I went on then, and begin to sing to the engineer.
(SUNG) Mr. Engineer, let a man ride the blinds
            Mr. Engineer, let a poor man ride the blinds
            Said, "I wouldn't mind it, fella, but you know this train ain't mine
(SPOKEN)  I begin to hear that old fella blow it long, sho'.  Here the way he blowed:(guitar imitates whistle).. Then I begin to sing to 'im one more time.
(SUNG) You's a cruel fireman, low-down engineer
            You's a cruel fireman, low-down engineer
            I'm trying' to hobo my way, and you leave me standing' here
(SPOKEN) Then I go along further and begin to sing "Poor Boy" to 'im.  (guitar plays "Poor Boy")  Then he begin to smile in my face. 
(SUNG) Get up, fella, ride all 'round the world
            Get up, fella, ride all 'round the world
            Poor boy, you ain't got no girl
(SPOKEN) Then I begin to hear him tell me about those cheese and eggs, how he wanted 'em fixed.  Hear him say,
(SUNG) Scrambled down (guitar answers)
            Scrambled down (guitar answers)
            Scrambled down (guitar answers)
(SPOKEN) Then I begin to hear him tell me about those cheese and eggs, I hear him say,
(SUNG) Cheese (guitar answers)
            Eggs (guitar answers)
            Dinner (guitar answers)
            Dinner (guitar answers)
(SPOKEN) Then I begin to hear him tell me about Emry.
(SUNG) I love you Emry, I love you true
            Love you, Emry, tell the world I do
            Em (guitar finishes)

Edited 8/25 to pick up correction from powerlinehorizon     
« Last Edit: August 25, 2017, 02:09:22 PM by Johnm »

Offline banjochris

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Re: Train Blues with Narratives
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2017, 11:09:49 AM »
Henry Thomas "Railroadin' Some"


George Bullet Williams "Frisco Leaving Birmingham"


Wesley Wallace "No. 29"


Chris

Offline alyoung

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Re: Train Blues with Narratives
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2017, 03:33:37 AM »
Wesley Wallace's No 29 is brilliant. Count the number of beats per bar in the left hand ... then do the same for the right. And he never falters.

Offline banjochris

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Re: Train Blues with Narratives
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2017, 08:50:07 AM »
Wesley Wallace's No 29 is brilliant. Count the number of beats per bar in the left hand ... then do the same for the right. And he never falters.

Agreed, one of my all time favorites; I wish he had recorded more.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Train Blues with Narratives
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2017, 12:30:00 PM »
Hi all,
I have been intending to transcribe Wesley Wallace's "No. 29" for some time.  It certainly is spectacular--can you think of any other piano boogies in 6/4?  And to maintain that narration while doing it--whew!  Well, here goes:

INTRO

SPOKEN:  This is the train they call 29.  Leavin' out of Cairo, comin' to East St. Louis.  Soon as she got in Murphysburg, she blowed that whistle.  She blowed her whistle this way:  (piano imitates whistle).  I caught that train in Murphysburg.  I was intendin' to get off in Sparta, Illinois.  I mean, that train was runnin'!  She wasn't doin' nothin' but runnin', hollerin', somethin' like this:  (piano imitates train runnin', hollerin').  Just before she got to Sparta, she thought she'd blow that whistle again.  She blowed that whistle somethin' like this:  (piano imitates whistle).  She's lopin' now.  I wanted to get off that train, but she's goin' too fast.  I hardly ain't touched one foot on the ground, my heel like to knock my brains out.  I always step four or five, right tight . . . and fell off.  This is the noise I made when I hit that ground:  (piano imitates impact).  I'm rollin' now.  I got up and waved my hand, told 'em, "Good-bye."  This is the way she was cakewalkin' on into East St. Louis:  (piano imitates train cakewalkin').

Edited 8/22 to pick up correction from banjochris

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: August 22, 2017, 01:59:00 PM by Johnm »

Offline banjochris

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Re: Train Blues with Narratives
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2017, 01:45:49 PM »
The only other tune remotely like "No. 29" that I've ever heard is Roosevelt Sykes' "3, 6 and 9" but this has a lot more drive to it. And no V chord, which reminds me of "Head Rag Hop."

P.S. I think it's Murphysboro, Ill., not Lambertsburg, and he pronounces it Murphysburg. But it is pretty much halfway between Cairo and Sparta.

Chris

Offline Johnm

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Re: Train Blues with Narratives
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2017, 01:52:42 PM »
Hi Chris,
What you say vis a vis Murphysboro/Murphysburg is right on the money, I think.  It is placed right on the map and I couldn't find any Lambertsburg, though it sounded like what he was saying.  I'll make the change to Murphysburg.  Thanks!
All best,
Johnm

Offline btasoundsradio

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Re: Train Blues with Narratives
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2017, 10:17:17 AM »



             
« Last Edit: August 25, 2017, 03:37:22 PM by Johnm »
Charlie is the Father, Son is the Son, Willie is the Holy Ghost

Offline btasoundsradio

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Re: Train Blues with Narratives
« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2017, 10:23:00 AM »
Moses Williams does a great train imitation on 'Drop On Down In Florida' set on Dust 2 Digital
« Last Edit: August 24, 2017, 10:24:39 AM by powerlinehorizon »
Charlie is the Father, Son is the Son, Willie is the Holy Ghost

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Train Blues with Narratives
« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2017, 05:19:03 PM »
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline btasoundsradio

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Re: Train Blues with Narratives
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2017, 01:56:30 PM »
I always thought McTell was singing:
Get up fella, ride all 'round the world
in Travelin' Blues
Charlie is the Father, Son is the Son, Willie is the Holy Ghost

Offline banjochris

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Re: Train Blues with Narratives
« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2017, 02:04:09 PM »
I always thought McTell was singing:
Get up fella, ride all 'round the world
in Travelin' Blues

Indeed he is.
Chris

Offline Johnm

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Re: Train Blues with Narratives
« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2017, 02:10:12 PM »
Thanks for the catch, powerlinehorizon, I have made the fix. 
All best,
Johnm

 


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