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Life wasn't hard with Gabe, you just had to drink a lot - Former sig. other, on life with Guitar Gabriel

Author Topic: Death Valley Blues  (Read 2578 times)

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lancebenson

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Death Valley Blues
« on: July 14, 2005, 08:34:28 AM »
I'm wondering if someone can supply the name and artist for the song I've heard here, beginning

I went down to death valley, nothing but tombstones and dry bones

Offline Slack

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Re: Death Valley Blues
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2005, 09:16:17 AM »
Hi Lance,

Did you hear it this morning?  If so, it might be Blind Boy Fuller - 'Death Alley'  -- I can check later today for sure...
« Last Edit: July 14, 2005, 09:19:10 AM by Slack »

lancebenson

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Re: Death Valley Blues
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2005, 11:54:01 AM »
I didn't hear it this morning--it was probably a week ago.  According to the web blues concordance referenced on this site recently, the words are used in an Arthur Crudup version, and a Washboard Sam (or Slim, Otis Hicks) version, but neither song seems to be on WeenieCampbell, and in any case it seems to be a different song.  On Google, the Otis Hicks lyrics seem close.

Offline Slack

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Re: Death Valley Blues
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2005, 12:06:03 PM »
Hi Lance,

Definately not BB Fuller. :)  Maybe someone will recognize it.  If you'll let me know when you here it -- I can track it down as the Juke keeps a 24 hour history.

Cheers,
slack

Offline Rivers

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Re: Death Valley Blues
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2005, 07:29:55 PM »
Ry Cooder did a song like that in the early 70s but it's only ever been released on bootlegs.

Offline Stuart

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Re: Death Valley Blues
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2005, 08:35:24 PM »
A quick search shows "Death Valley Blues" as the title of songs on Sleepy John Estes and Snooks Eaglin CDs, as well as by Arthur Crudup. No lyrics for the respective CDs however. Obviously not a singular song title.

Ran across this Japanese blues site in the process:

http://www.geocities.jp/clarksdale_kudo/

Anybody remember "The Bluegrass 45s"?

Online Johnm

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Re: Death Valley Blues
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2005, 08:32:46 PM »
Hi all,
I was looking through my records the past couple of days and found this song done by Arthur Crudup on an old RCA re-issue, "Bluebird Blues".? I'm reasonably certain it is the song Lance was looking for.? Tremendous singing from Arthur Crudup.
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: December 21, 2005, 08:34:35 PM by Johnm »

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Death Valley Blues
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2005, 10:00:56 AM »
I was looking through my records the past couple of days and found this song done by Arthur Crudup on an old RCA re-issue, "Bluebird Blues".? I'm reasonably certain it is the song Lance was looking for.? Tremendous singing from Arthur Crudup.
Ditto! From memory the Eaglin version mentioned elsewhere is almost a straight copy so guess learnt from 78.
RCA in this country had a simultaneous release of that LP (1966?) and I recall that Larry Cohn in his liner notes suggested that Death Valley was one of the greatest examples of blues poetry known to him...or something along those lines.

Offline Rivers

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Re: Death Valley Blues
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2007, 02:47:17 PM »
John Lee Granderson also does a pretty faithful cover of it, complete with trademark Crudup licks but missing some verses, can be heard on Hard Luck John, Testement.

Time for a transcription of the original:

Death Valley Blues, Arthur Crudup, 1941

I went down in Death Valley, ain't nothin' but tombstones and dry bones
I went down in Death Valley, nothin' but tombstones and dry bones
That's where poor me'll be, Lord when I'm dead and gone

Now if I should die, I should die before my time
Baby if I should die, I should die before my time
I want you to bury my body down by that that Frisco line

Now bury me mama low down in the sand
Ahhh, bury me mama low down in the sand
Now bury me mama, where I won't bother your next old man

Ahh, bye bye baby, I said good bye
Ahh, bye bye baby, I said good bye
Death Valley is my home, mama when I die

Tell all these women, please come dressed in red
Tell all these women, please come dressed in red
They goin' down on 61 Highway, that's where the poor boy he fell dead

Wear your patent leather slippers, mama put on your mourning gown
Wear your patent leather slippers, put on your mourning gown
You're going to follow poor Crudup, down to his buryin' ground
« Last Edit: December 21, 2007, 02:54:19 PM by Rivers »

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Death Valley Blues
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2007, 08:26:36 AM »
I've just been listening to an Excello compilation of the early 70s which contains a half-remember version of the song recorded by Lightnin' Slim in 1961. He takes it at expressionless, funereal pace and I find it no surprise Excello failed to release it as a 45...not the kind of song that folk would rush to hear on a juke box.  :)

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Death Valley Blues
« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2007, 08:47:00 AM »
Death Valley- Blind Boy Fuller-Recorded in NYC 2/10/1937
Oldie Blues LP-2809 Album name: "Death Valley"
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

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Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Death Valley Blues
« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2007, 11:19:03 AM »
I thought I better take a listen to this cut through headphones to see whether it was indeed "Valley" or "Alley".
Sounds like "Alley" to me for sure. Sorry for the confusion. I'll try to post a picture of the album cover so you can see from whence the error sprungeth. (sprungeth? is that a word? It was "whence's" fault. I was doing fine up till whence.)
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

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

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Death Valley Blues
« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2007, 11:52:02 AM »
I thought I better take a listen to this cut through headphones to see whether it was indeed "Valley" or "Alley".
Sounds like "Alley" to me for sure. Sorry for the confusion. I'll try to post a picture of the album cover so you can see from whence the error sprungeth. (sprungeth? is that a word? It was "whence's" fault. I was doing fine up till whence.)
I thought I better take a listen to this cut through headphones to see whether it was indeed "Valley" or "Alley".
Sounds like "Alley" to me for sure. Sorry for the confusion. I'll try to post a picture of the album cover so you can see from whence the error sprungeth. (sprungeth? is that a word? It was "whence's" fault. I was doing fine up till whence.)
That's not the only error on the LP. It was originally a 1962 Paul Oliver compilation for British Philips. Somehow Philips managed mistitle "Untrue Blues" as "Evil Hearted Woman" and this error was perpetuated by Oldie in 1975 despite the confusion having been pointed out in review of the original LP.

The mistitling is not immediately apparent from the lyric as quoted in the Oldie LP booklet since Untrue Blues does infact contain one "You's an evil hearted woman" reference but the actual Fuller song Evil Hearted Woman commences "You's a hard-hearted woman".

Confused? Don't worry about it, I have this effect on folk when I wander off the path into the irrelevant.

Tags: Arthur Crudup 
 


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