collapse

* Member Info

 
 
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

* Like Us on Facebook

Now I'm gonna sing you all a little song entitled "I Was Engaged to a Peg-Legged Gal and I Broke It Off" - Chris Bouchillon, My Fat Girl

Author Topic: Re: Parry/Taft theories of Blues Lyric Construction  (Read 599 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline DavidCrosbie

  • Member
  • Posts: 147
  • Howdy!
Re: Re: SOTM December 2018 Hey Lordy Mama / Meet Me In The Bottom
« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2019, 07:46:21 AM »
And now I'm trying to figure out how to cleverly segue this conversation back to Meet Me on the Bottom...
at a certain point one has to put aside philology, historical phonology, epigraphy studies, formula and content analysis, etc. and just read it as poetry. After all, that's what it was created for: As a means of personal expression.

Yes, but the argument is that the poetic diction is created collectively by the sum total of contributors to a tradition of oral composition.

And in an oral tradition the immediate presence of an audience inclines a a composer/performer to express shared experiences and emotions.

Offline Stuart

  • Member
  • Posts: 2561
  • "The Voice of Almiqui"
Re: Re: SOTM December 2018 Hey Lordy Mama / Meet Me In The Bottom
« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2019, 08:36:35 AM »
Hi David:

Specifically, who made that argument with respect to the individual poems in the Book of Songs (詩經)?
« Last Edit: January 11, 2019, 08:48:22 AM by Stuart »

Offline DavidCrosbie

  • Member
  • Posts: 147
  • Howdy!
Re: Re: SOTM December 2018 Hey Lordy Mama / Meet Me In The Bottom
« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2019, 09:00:28 AM »
Hi David:
Specifically, who made that argument with respect to the individual poems in the Book of Songs (詩經)?

Sorry, Stuart. I wasn't taking about the Book of Songs. I thought you were making a general point ? one which would apply to Homer, Yugoslav epics and Blues.

For these three idioms the Parry-Lord-Taft approach gives insight into the poetic diction. And what they have in common is that performances are improvised or rapidly composed within a  tradition of oral transmission. (Assuming we're right about Homer, of course.).


Offline Stuart

  • Member
  • Posts: 2561
  • "The Voice of Almiqui"
Re: Re: SOTM December 2018 Hey Lordy Mama / Meet Me In The Bottom
« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2019, 10:36:52 AM »
Hi David:

I was referring to what we were reminded of in class way back when and attempting to steer the thread back on track. I wasn't making an overarching general statement. Sorry for the confusion.


Offline Johnm

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 10465
    • johnmillerguitar.com
Re: Parry/Taft theories of Blues Lyric Construction
« Reply #19 on: January 11, 2019, 03:05:29 PM »
Hi all,
I split out the posts pertaining to Parry and Michael Taft's theories of lyric construction as they apply to the blues and not specifically the song "Meet Me In The Bottom" and put the resulting thread in the Main Forum.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Rivers

  • Tech Support
  • Member
  • Posts: 6914
  • I like chicken pie
Re: Parry/Taft theories of Blues Lyric Construction
« Reply #20 on: January 12, 2019, 07:37:05 PM »
Good call.

Offline DerZauberer

  • Member
  • Posts: 40
  • I woke up this morning... (well I hope I did)
Re: Parry/Taft theories of Blues Lyric Construction
« Reply #21 on: January 22, 2019, 03:01:21 AM »
First of all, thanks a lot for pointing out this theory and especially the website to me - was not aware that such a collection existed! Great little starting point if you want to decipher hard-to-understand lyrics. Great resource, especially if you read how they were initially entered into what now seems ancient computer systems.

Not much I can add to the formula/theory discussion, maybe except this one: In the Beaumont Son House biography, there is a section where Son House complains about some of this contemporaries just stringing lyrics together, while Son himself was quite adamant that his lyrics told a story and were more than just a random collection of verses.

Obviously, that's something that will get lost if you just look at a couple of lines that make up a blues verse, but I think this is what sometimes makes the difference: "I woke up this morning, blues all around my shoes" (or similar) might be your bog-standard 100-times-heard run-of-the-mill first line of a Blues song, but if it then evolves into a deep story about leaving or being left it's completely different than if this is just thrown in right after a "I asked for water she bring me gasoline".

To me, the best blues songs - whether they are composed of mostly "original" verses or rely heavily on borrowed/traditional material - are the ones that either tell a strong story or pure poetry (think Geeshie Wiley's "Last Farewell Blues" for example), or the ones that just grip me musically (RL Burnside's "Poor Black Mattie" has seemingly unrelated verses, but that rhythm gets me every time).

Still, cudos to Taft for the pioneering work and giving us something to play around with and discuss and appreciate!
"The blues is not a plaything like some people think they are." - Son House

Tags: