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Ain't but 5 dollars a head, and I guarantee you when you leave, you leave knowin' more than you know before you come there, and you'll know more than I took your money - Rev. Gary Davis offers guitar lessons to the audience, c. 1970

Author Topic: One of a Kind--and Great  (Read 14677 times)

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Offline DanceGypsy

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Re: One of a Kind--and Great
« Reply #45 on: May 11, 2010, 02:58:04 PM »
Cairo Blues by Henry Spaulding.  The following is an excerpt from the liner notes in Andy Cohen's new CD Built Right On the Ground, on which Andy covers the song:

"Nothing about this 1929 number by Henry Spaulding is typical, frpom the phrasal patterns that comprise its 11 bar organization to the driving snap-pizz on the strings to the reverse call-and-response pattern led by the guitar and answered by the voice.  It makes for one of the most singular pre-war guitar blues tunes ever recorded, and one of the most demanding [to reproduce today]."

The liner noted were written by William Lee Ellis, by the way.

Andy introduced me to this song about two or three years ago when he recorded it on one of Martin Fisher's wax cylinders at the Breakin' Up Winter old-time music weekend that is held at Cedars of Lebannon State Park outside Nashville every February, and I agree with Bill.  This song seems to me most singular, unique in the annals of the pre-war blues.  I think Andy told me that Spaulding recorded this and one other side, and then faded back into obscurity.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2010, 07:00:30 AM by DanceGypsy »

Offline Johnm

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Re: One of a Kind--and Great
« Reply #46 on: November 19, 2010, 06:43:59 PM »
Hi all,
I've been listening to a lot of St. Louis blues musicians recently, and yesterday got out Teddy Darby's "Lawdy Lawdy Worried Blues" and for the first time, really figured it out as he played it.  If Henry Townsend shows the good side of improvisatory riffing in songs like "She's Got A Mean Disposition", than Teddy Darby shows the potential for beauty in a well-thought-out set piece arrangement in "Lawdy Lawdy Worried Blues", which is like some sort of gorgeous little gem.
I've heard people say that the song has the same melody as "Rolling and Tumbling", but I don't hear it that way, partially because "Rolling And Tumbling" works out of a 12-bar format with each of the first two phrases starting on the IV chord.  In its structure, "Lawdy Lawdy Worried Blues" definitely qualifies as one-of-a-kind and great.  It has 2-line verses and a 6-bar structure with bar lengths of four beats, five beats, five beats, four beats, four beats and six beats, maintained with regularity from beginning to end.  Despite this appearance of quixotic metric irregularity, the song has a perfectly natural flow, as natural as a river flowing.  The treble part of the guitar very closely tracks and echoes the vocal, and the bass is highly irregular, with a sort of counter-punching quality relative to the pulse that makes it very difficult to anticipate or internalize (thus far).  Teddy Darby played it out of cross-note tuning, which allowed him to free-hand the entire guitar part; there are no chord positions or chords played, and in some respects the guitar part is like a slide piece played without a slide.
Fortunately, you don't have to know or appreciate any of this to appreciate the song, for it is such a prize.  It's one of the defining pieces in the Country Blues for me.
All best,
Johnm      
« Last Edit: November 20, 2010, 07:03:46 AM by Johnm »

Offline Rivers

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Re: One of a Kind--and Great
« Reply #47 on: November 19, 2010, 06:57:44 PM »
Thanks for pointing that out John, beautiful piece. Is this in F first position? [edit: I reread your post, crossnote]

The timing of the bass string thumps are really nice.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2010, 06:59:48 PM by Rivers »

Offline Norfolk Slim

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Re: One of a Kind--and Great
« Reply #48 on: November 01, 2012, 02:44:31 PM »
I was reviewing this thread following a search for information on something I'm working on and the thread got me thinking of the very weird Bedside Blues by Jim Thompkins.  It may not qualify on structure- but on feel and approach, Im struggling to come up with anything similar.

The constantly moving slide seems like the obvious thing to do with one (my kids do it when presented with one) but I dont recall hearing anything quite like it.  Perhaps the serious slide afficionados do?


Offline blueshome

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Re: One of a Kind--and Great
« Reply #49 on: November 01, 2012, 03:15:50 PM »
The singing style and lyrics rings a bell somewhere, I can't place it just now.
Guitar is played lap style, sounds very basic but I don't think he's a novice given his singing.

Offline JohnLeePimp

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Re: One of a Kind--and Great
« Reply #50 on: November 02, 2012, 05:11:57 AM »
The end bit of Tommy McClennan's "She's just good hugging size" has one of the stompingiest (technical term) beats played on a guitar till John Lee Hooker Came along

Smokey Hogg's Penitentiary Blues was a 2 parter and he recorded it more than once but I think still counts

I'm not sure if it's fair to include players or singers who were generally unusual - if so then I'd include Sloppy Henry's Canned Heat and Napoleon Harriston Frisco Train
...so blue I shade a part of this town.

Offline Johnm

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Re: One of a Kind--and Great
« Reply #51 on: February 08, 2013, 05:54:06 PM »
Hi all,
I was going through some Leroy Carr tunes today and happened upon one that I reckon fits this thread's description:  "Papa's On The Housetop".  It's an 8-bar blues but not like any I've encountered before.  Through it's first six bars, it looks like it's going to work like a conventional 12-bar blues, and then it pulls a fast one in the seventh and eighth bars.  It works out like so:

    |    I    |    I    |    I    |    I    |

    |   IV   |   IV   |    V    | V    I  |

In addition to its unusual or unique chord form, it is unusual in leaving no space for instrumental response lines, either in the verses or in the refrain that follows each verse.  Describing it this way makes it sound learned; in fact, it is a dangerously catchy tune, as those of you who have heard it know, and it has a tremendous set of very clever lyrics.  One of a kind and great?  Absolutely.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: One of a Kind--and Great
« Reply #52 on: November 12, 2013, 02:31:04 PM »
Hi all,
In listening recently to "String Bands (1926-1929)" on document recently, I've been mightily impressed by the Alabama Sheiks, featuring Eddie West on fiddle and vocals and Ad Fox on guitar and vocals.  All four of their tracks on the CD are fine, but "The New Talkin' 'Bout You" is a stand-out.  The duo plays the song in C, and it opens with an instrumental pass of the tune, which starts on a IV note in the melody and is harmonized with the IV (F) chord.  The melody has a small range, just from I up to V, and after that initial IV chord, it goes back to I and sort of hangs out there for the remainder of the form, while occasionally hinting at another IV chord or a V chord.  On subsequent passes through the form, Ad Fox often backs the opening phrase with a I chord, creating some real tension with the melody.  Fox's guitar back-up is exceptionally interesting throughout the rendition, and the singing has a lot of character and some unusual vowel sounds.
"The New Talkin' 'Bout You" ends up being a 12-bar, cut time (2 big beats per measure) chorus blues, in which the fourth measure of the first four-bar phrase has an extra big beat to accommodate the vocal pick-up to the refrain, like so, with where the beats fall relative to the lyrics shown:
                                                                                                                                                You can
 1                2                    1                 2         1             2                  1                    2          3
quit and do anything that you wanta do, someday you'll want me and I won't want you, I'm talkin' 'bout
|                                      |                             |                                  |                                                   |

That extra beat to allow for the vocal pick-ups to the chorus puts a nice little hitch in the timing.  The over-all impression I get from the performance is of something so particular to the two players and all the musical choices they make along the way.  It's a treat to hear something that is not driving right down the middle of the road of a musical style.
Here are the lyrics as I'm hearing them.  I welcome corroboration or correction.  I'm attaching an .mp3 of the Alabama Sheiks performance of the song.

You can quit and do anything that you wanta do
Someday you'll want me and I won't want you,
REFRAIN: I'm talkin' bout you, I'm a-talkin' 'bout you
I'm a-talkin' 'bout you, I don't care just what you do

What did the elephant say when he swallowed a cat?
"A bellyful of pussy and-a tight like that"
REFRAIN: I'm a-talkin' 'bout you, I'm a-talkin' 'bout you
I'm a-talkin' 'bout you, I don't care there what you do

You's a woman runnin' around from-a hand to hand
I go my woman and you've got your man
REFRAIN: I'm a-talkin' 'bout you, I'm a-talkin' 'bout you
I'm a-talkin' 'bout you, I don't care just what you do

You don't treat me, you, you won't treat me right
Take you back where you had it last night
REFRAIN: I'm a-talkin' 'bout you, Oh I'm a-talkin' 'bout you
A-talkin' bout you, I don't care just what you do

SOLO

You can't be mine and somebody else's, too
I can't stand the a-way you do
REFRAIN: I'm talkin' 'bout you, I'm a-talkin' 'bout you
I'm a-talkin' 'bout you, I don't care just what you do

I met you a man when you's from house to house
I know you when your best woman had put you out
REFRAIN: I'm a-takin' 'bout you, I'm a-talkin' 'bout you
I'm a-talkin' 'bout you, I don't care just what you do

You can put your hat for me the other night
You can bring it down for tomorrow night
REFRAIN: I'm a-talkin' 'bout you, I'm a-talkin' 'bout you
I'm a-talkin' 'bout you, I don't care just what you do

I should add, too, that there is a terrific solo performance by the Mississippi-born mandolinist Mike Compton, at http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=2101.msg69455#msg69455 .  Check it out--you're in for a treat.

All best,
Johnm




 

Offline mr mando

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Re: One of a Kind--and Great
« Reply #53 on: November 13, 2013, 02:39:34 AM »
I always heard 2.1 as: "What did the alligator say .....", but listening again, I think you're right with transcribing it as elephant.

BTW, this song is a quite unusual cover of Memphis Minnie's and Kansas Joe's "I'm Talking About You".  The remaining two songs by the Alabama Sheiks may also be covers. ?Travelin? Railroad Man Blues? is similar to ?Traveling Man?, though I don't know if there's an older recorded version that is as close as "The New Talkin' 'Bout You" is to "I'm Talking About You". ?Lawdy Lawdy Blues? IMO is derived from a Papa Charlie Jackson tune, but I don't remember which one.

Offline Johnm

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Re: One of a Kind--and Great
« Reply #54 on: November 13, 2013, 06:20:00 AM »
Thanks for that information about it having been done before, mr mando.  I thought it might be a cover, since it was designated "new" in the title.  "Lawdy Lawdy Blues" is a cover of "The Cat's Got the Measles and the Dog's Got the Whooping Cough", done by Papa Charlie as you say, and a lot of other people.  If the four songs are all covers, I think it is still amazing the extent to which they sound like themselves and nobody else.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: One of a Kind--and Great
« Reply #55 on: February 19, 2016, 11:37:53 AM »
Hi all,
I think Jesse Thomas's "My Heart's A Rolling Stone" most definitely qualifies as one-of-a-kind and great.  It's the only song he ever recorded in DGDGBE, playing in G, he appears to have invented the form, and what he plays, sings and phrases sounds like no one else in the style . . . and he was about eighteen when he did it!  Check it out:



All best,
Johnm

Offline Forgetful Jones

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Re: One of a Kind--and Great
« Reply #56 on: May 22, 2016, 06:06:54 AM »
I think Jesse Thomas's "My Heart's A Rolling Stone" most definitely qualifies as one-of-a-kind and great. 

This is a prime example of why I've gotten sucked into this forum. There is so much music out there, and I'm not sure that I would have ever come across this song on my own. I love it. Thank you John.

Offline Johnm

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Re: One of a Kind--and Great
« Reply #57 on: May 22, 2016, 12:17:31 PM »
I glad you enjoyed that song, Forgetful Jones.  If you like that one, look for another one by Jesse Thomas called "Another Friend Like Me".  It is another terrific number.
All best,
Johnm

Online Suzy T

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Re: One of a Kind--and Great
« Reply #58 on: May 22, 2016, 11:23:11 PM »
Jesse Thomas' playing so reminds me of Steve Mann.  I never listened to him before, this is just great.  Thanks so much John!  What tuning is  Blue Goose Blues in?

Offline Johnm

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Re: One of a Kind--and Great
« Reply #59 on: May 23, 2016, 06:25:01 AM »
"Blue Goose Blues" is in G position, standard tuning, Suzy.
All best,
Johnm

 


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