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I played all through Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and around in Kentucky and places, but I never played in Texas, but I played all over the cotton belt countries - Howlin' Wolf, interview with Pete Welding, Chicago, ca. 1967, I Sing For The People: An Interview with Howlin' Wolf, Down Beat, 14 Dec 1967

Author Topic: Belton Sutherland Bio in Living Blues  (Read 788 times)

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Offline mtzionmemorialfund

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Belton Sutherland Bio in Living Blues
« on: April 18, 2018, 04:29:53 AM »
This article mentions several of the contributions to a Weenie thread about the obscure artist...

http://www.mydigitalpublication.com/publication/?i=485104&ver=html5&p=38
T. DeWayne Moore
Executive Director, Mt. Zion Memorial Fund

Offline Forgetful Jones

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Re: Belton Sutherland Bio in Living Blues
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2018, 12:07:43 PM »
Thanks for that link. I've always loved those clips of Belton Sutherland. Isn't there another take of one of his Blues?

Offline mtzionmemorialfund

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Re: Belton Sutherland Bio in Living Blues
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2018, 07:55:24 AM »
Only certain clips and scenes from the archived DVDs are available on Youtube.  This is the 5,000 word version of a much longer 12,000 word version, which does include an alternate version of Blues #1.  I found a recording of the alternate just laying on the ground outside the archives and listened at home with a friend until we had it all figured out.  Here is an excerpt about it:

  • The film crew recorded a second version of ?Blues #1,? and during the performance some folks started talking and moving around. The recording is obscured in some places, but not so bad that you can?t understand his words.  At the end of the song, he declares, ?"I'm sick of it now. I'm sick of it all the way down now,? perhaps complaining about having to play the song so much or the guitar period, or it might have been something else entirely.  Whatever it was, he was very sick of it.  With a little help from a friend Brandon ?Moses? Crouch, a musician who got an early start in Memphis, we understand that he sings:

    It's good enough to do you till your Glory comes x2

    I know I love her just can't help myself x2
    If I don't get her, neither will nobody else

    If you ever had the Blues you know just how I feel x2

    Come here Louise sit down on my knee x2
    I just want to tell you how you mistreat me

    You mistreat me here, can't when I go home x2
    I got somebody there, make you leave me 'lone
T. DeWayne Moore
Executive Director, Mt. Zion Memorial Fund

Offline mtzionmemorialfund

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Re: Belton Sutherland Bio in Living Blues
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2018, 08:09:19 AM »
T. DeWayne Moore
Executive Director, Mt. Zion Memorial Fund

Offline Forgetful Jones

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Re: Belton Sutherland Bio in Living Blues
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2018, 01:06:11 PM »
Wow! thanks for that link and the backstory. It's simply outstanding. He really finds his groove there.

Offline jphauser

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Re: Belton Sutherland Bio in Living Blues
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2018, 12:19:56 PM »
Kudos to you on your excellent Living Blues article, Mr. Moore!

I don't know if the "Kill the old grey mule, burn down the white man's barn" line from Blues #1 originated with Belton Sutherland, but I imagine that many lyrics expressing black rebellion were heard in blues sung in house parties in Mississippi and elsewhere in the deep south and in other settings in which black musicians did not have to be concerned with censoring themselves.  Of course, the ironic third line of the verse--I didn't mean no trouble, I didn't mean no harm--is a variation to a line which appears in many African American folk and blues songs, usually making up the first line of the verse ("I was standin' on the corner, didn't mean no harm").  But Sutherland's use of the line may be unique and certainly is powerful as it completes the verse with a stinging bit of sarcasm. 

The "Kill the old grey mule, burn down the white man's barn" line reminds me of other lines about striking back against racial oppression that Lightnin' Hopkins sang in recordings made during the civil rights era including songs like "Bud Russell Blues" and "Slavery Time."   My favorite is the song "I Would If I Could" in which Hopkins sings of going to a movie about Jesse James and insisting on sitting in the front row (see link below).  I am embarassed by how many times I listened to the recording before it finally dawned on me that the pertinent verse is almost certainly a protest against the practice of segregating black people in theaters by requiring them to sit in the balcony.  Coming to this realization has cemented in my mind the idea that, although the blues has universal appeal, you can not fully appreciate nor understand it without putting its lyrics in the context of the African American experience.



Jim Hauser
John Henry: The Rebel Versions
https://sites.google.com/site/johnhenrytherebelversions/home

« Last Edit: April 25, 2018, 12:57:50 PM by jphauser »

Offline mtzionmemorialfund

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Re: Belton Sutherland Bio in Living Blues
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2018, 02:29:38 PM »
Mr. Hauser,

           That is about the best thing I believe I can ever hope to hear after someone reads something I have written.  Thank you.  The over-twice-as-long version should be published in an academic journal with notes this summer. Hopefully with his new marker.
T. DeWayne Moore
Executive Director, Mt. Zion Memorial Fund

Offline jphauser

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Re: Belton Sutherland Bio in Living Blues
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2018, 07:37:55 AM »
I look forward to reading the expanded version of the article.  Please let us know when it has been published.  Good luck with the new marker and your important work!
Jim

 


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