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All music is folk music, 'cause we're all folks - Louis Armstrong

Author Topic: Furry Lewis Lyrics  (Read 25785 times)

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Offline cmr

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Re: lyrics for Dry Land Blues
« Reply #15 on: October 21, 2005, 09:28:37 PM »
Thanks!  Its so nice to post a question on the weenie site.  I not only get the my question answered (e.g., lyrics for "Dry Land Blues"), but we all get amended lyrics. What's the deal, it not a hard song to play, but to get it as recorded by Furry Lewis has requires some subtle touches?  Again, thanks to everyone.  Charlie R.

Offline Chezztone

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"Falling Down Blues"
« Reply #16 on: January 15, 2006, 10:55:15 PM »
Furry Lewis sings in the last verse of this lovely song:
   She caught the rumbling, Lord I caught the falling down
   She caught the rumbling, I caught the falling down
   I never see her, I never turn around
Any idea what that means?
Thanks! Chezz

Online Johnm

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Re: "Falling Down Blues"
« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2006, 10:11:19 AM »
Hi Chezz,
Might there have been an earthquake in or around Memphis shortly before this one was recorded?  I know there was a huge earthquake in Missouri in the early 19th century that reversed the flow of the Mississippi briefly.  If there was an earthquake near Memphis circa 1925--1928 I bet you could find out on the net.  Just a thought--I don't know what else it could be.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Chezztone

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Re: "Falling Down Blues"
« Reply #18 on: January 17, 2006, 10:52:53 PM »
John -- Yes, the New Madrid fault, probably the worst fault in the U.S., went boom in 1812 and would have destroyed Memphis if it had been built up then; lots of people in the whole four-state region (SE Missouri, western Tenn., North Miss. and NE Ark.) fear a repeat of that. But nothing like that happened during Furry's life. He was historically minded, maybe he's repeating a phrase that was around since then? Still, must have had some other meaning related to love or relationship? Thanks, Chezz

Offline waxwing

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Re: "Falling Down Blues"
« Reply #19 on: January 18, 2006, 09:11:22 AM »
Hey Chezz. Could it have to do with drinking bad liquor, i.e. canned heat or ginger jake? What is the rest of the song about? I don't have a copy. But a rumbling gut could be one symptom and falling down could be another, which they could have "caught" like a desease?

All for now.
John C.
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

“Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22

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Offline Chezztone

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Re: "Falling Down Blues"
« Reply #20 on: January 18, 2006, 01:26:18 PM »
Wax -- Good thinking, thanks. It's a nonthematic blues, without connections among verses, so the others don't give a clue. But sure, this line could refer to an illness or heavy drinking. Either way, she got off better than I did, and then she took off, I guess that's the point of it. Let me mull it over awhile (I won't sing a line I don't understand)....

Offline uncle bud

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Re: "Falling Down Blues"
« Reply #21 on: January 18, 2006, 02:35:24 PM »
(I won't sing a line I don't understand)....

I have no such qualms (see Back Porch), especially when it comes to Furry Lewis lyrics.  :P  But I had always vaguely interpreted this as some kind of cryptic "catching a train and ditching him" reference (c.f. lines like She caught the Katy and I caught the Sante Fe). He's playing on that obviously. What the "rumbling" and "falling down" are exactly, I don't know. Rumbling train, falling down in despair?

Hadn't thought of jake leg possibilities before.

Andrew

Offline uncle bud

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Re: "Falling Down Blues"
« Reply #22 on: February 13, 2006, 08:26:05 PM »
A passage from Lost Delta Found, quoting a fifty-year-old woman (in 1941) re changes in the influence of the church:

"You kin ketch some doing more wrong than right, but that ain't supposed to be no really fall down of the church cause it suppose to put you out for dancing and cursing."  Don't know if this a common colloquial phrase or simply her way of saying decline, or fault, or something.

Offline frankie

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Re: Furry Lewis--"Creeper's Blues"
« Reply #23 on: February 14, 2006, 05:25:43 AM »
Furry's exacting standards of nuttiness.

I'll say!
   
   Mama, get your hatchet, kill the fly on your baby's head (2)
   Mama, get your hatchet and run here to my bed

I've heard the verses about the bug ball game before, definitely in a tune by Reverend Gary Davis and probably others...    the verse about the fly takes the cake, though.

Edited to add - actually it turns out that I do have this on hand at the moment.  He sings this over an octave riff on the 6th and 4th strings.  It's amazing to think of him playing this tune while a bottleneck is perched on his little finger - amazing.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2006, 05:31:15 AM by frankie »

Offline banjochris

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Re: Furry Lewis--"Creeper's Blues"
« Reply #24 on: February 16, 2006, 04:08:39 PM »
I seem to remember reading something years ago, and I don't remember where, it might have been liner notes to something, that Furry played these tunes with the pulloff (i.e. Mean Old Bedbug, Creeper's, Jellyroll etc.) in standard tuning with the D string tuned up to E. I remember trying this a few times, also years ago, and it working pretty well, especially with the "Big Road Blues" style walk up the bass strings.

Am I imagining reading this? Or does anyone else remember?
Chris

Offline frankie

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Re: Furry Lewis--"Creeper's Blues"
« Reply #25 on: February 16, 2006, 08:01:10 PM »
I don't recall seeing anything about these particular tunes, but I was just talking about this tuning in an email earlier today, and about how nicely it works for the key of E (duh).  I dunno if Furry used it for the Mistreatin/Bedbug/Creeper family of songs, but it seems like it's in the realm of possibility.  It's not a whole lot more difficult to pull off in std tuning, though...  that's to say that the challenging aspects of the song don't have a whole lot to do with tuning, imo - just a fancy bit of playing no matter how you slice it.

Online Johnm

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Re: Furry Lewis--"Creeper's Blues"
« Reply #26 on: February 16, 2006, 08:20:54 PM »
Hi all,
Your suggestion is intriguing, Chris.  I had never heard of Furry using that tuning before (or anyone else) but there is nothing in the sound of the pieces in this particular Furry-archetype to make it sonicly implausible (hammers to the root note on the fourth string, sounding the flat VII note on the fourth string etc.).  I actually know "Mistreating Mama" the best of these tunes, and I know that on that one he does all of his alternating on the V chord hitting his upbeats on the third string, so that could be finessing the third of the V chord not being available at the first fret of the fourth string.  The same note would be hit for the upbeats of the IV chord on the fourth string whether in standard or this altered tuning you suggest, so there is no way of telling there.
Taking it all into consideration, I think I agree with Frank that the more difficult aspect of these songs lies in what the right hand is doing.  Once you have that handled, the relatively greater difficulty of handling the ascending octaves in standard tuning is more than made up for by the greater familiarity of the left hand positions in standard.  It seems though, that whether Furry played these songs in that tuning or not, it is certainly worth experimenting with them that way.  Thanks for providing some food for thought.
All best,
Johnm

Offline frankie

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Re: Furry Lewis--"Creeper's Blues"
« Reply #27 on: February 22, 2006, 06:36:42 AM »
I think I agree with Frank that the more difficult aspect of these songs lies in what the right hand is doing.

That's what I was trying to say (poorly) - thanks for coming out and actually saying it!

Offline Buzz

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Re: "Falling Down Blues"
« Reply #28 on: March 27, 2006, 11:38:33 AM »
Yo, Chezz!

This is interesting.

I am intrigued that Furry would use an allusion to a onomatopoetic sound--"she caught a rumbling" meaning a deep, earth shaking feeling of the big engine coming through the depot,and follow that with an allusion to an emotion--"I caught the falling down" meaning I was so broken hearted, I felt weak in the knees, fell down, couldn't look back a her, was even more upset than having  my tears come down like showers of rain... :'(

This does require that we ascribe to dear old Furry the emotional side of the words, his really knowing the broken-heaarted feeling and being able to talk about it in real words in his daily usage, which I think he certainly did, but also some innate sense of the what sounds evoke in language, such as the rumble of railroad wheels on tracks. He certainly may not have known about "onomatopeia" as a literary concept, but I have no doubt he was aware  of the natural, even instinctive sounds of life around him: the sound of trains, howling dogs, roosters crowing, strings twanging, springs ringing and creaking, glasses tinkling.

Interesting....

All best,
Buzz  :-\
Do good, be nice, eat well, smile, treat the ladies well, and ignore all news reports--which  can't be believed anyway,

Buzz

Offline Chun

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Re: "Falling Down Blues"
« Reply #29 on: April 05, 2006, 04:53:34 PM »
Ive always sung..."She CAUSED the rumbling I caused the fallin' down." Makes more sense maybe if it's about a relationship gone astray.
??????????
Christian

 


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