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The artist that you're listening to or are in love with, they were usually listening to three or four people within the framework of the style they were in. What you're essentially tryin' to do is play every giant of country blues's music as well as them, every song, in every style. Impossible! Give it up! - Jerry Ricks, Port Townsend 97

Author Topic: "Ham Hound Crave" and "Mississippi Jail House Groan"--Rube Lacy  (Read 2083 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Hi all,
Rube Lacy only recorded two titles, which is really a shame, for he was a tremendous singer and player.  He played "Ham Hound Crave" out of E position in standard tuning. Vocally, he is notable for his intense, buzzy headtone, a vocal choice he shared with his fellow Itta Bena native, Ishmon Bracey.  It would be interesting to know if the headtone enjoyed a particular vogue in Itta Bena, or whether it was just happenstance that the two best known singers from there sang with one.  The key word in the lyric in terms of determining Rube Lacy's rhythmic placement is the interior "now" he places in each line--his phrasing just jumps across that word. 
When re-discovered, in the '60s, Lacy had become a preacher in the intervening years, as had several other Country Blues players, and based on excerpts from his interviews with John Fahey, he was notably forgiving of Blues singers, including Charley Patton, and came across as an an open-minded and extremely likable man. 

   You can read my letter, now you sure don't know my mind
   You can read my letter, now you sure don't know my mind
   When you think I'm lovin' you I'm leavin' you all the time

   I ain't got nobody, now I'm all here by myself
   I ain't got nobody, I'm all here by myself
   I ain't got nobody, I'm all here by myself

   SPOKEN:  Who you tellin'?  Tell him!

   Let me be your sometime, now, 'til your always come
   Let me be your sometime, now, 'til your always come
   And I do more for you, now, your always ever done

   I don't want no hog head, don't eat no chittlin's, don't want no spare ribs, don't eat no       backbone, Mam' I got a hambone, I wonder can I get it boiled?  'Cause these Chicago women, now, it's 'bout to let my hambone spoil

   Church, the bell's a-ringin', the preacher's preachin', secretary's a-writin', the members shoutin', the dirty deacon done taken my gal and gone.  And all little children, now, papa, tryin' to sing my song

   Let me be your rocker, now, 'til your straight chair come
   Let me be your rocker, now, 'til your straight chair come
   And I'll rock you easier than the straight chair ever done

All best,
Johnm

« Last Edit: March 08, 2012, 02:45:34 PM by Johnm »

Offline dj

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Re: "Ham Hound Crave"--Rube Lacy
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2010, 05:31:47 PM »
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Rube Lacy only recorded two titles, which is really a shame

What's really a shame is that Lacy recorded six titles.  Black Dog Blues, Long Lonesome Blues, Railroad Blues, and Red River Blues were recorded for Columbia on December 9, 1927, but were never issued.  Maybe some day one or more test pressings will turn up, but chances are slim. 

Offline Johnm

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Re: "Ham Hound Crave"--Rube Lacy
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2010, 05:53:34 PM »
Thanks for that information, dj.  That makes a lot more sense.  I'm always baffled by people with only two titles out.  It seems as though if they went to the trouble to record them, they would have gotten more songs recorded.  It is a shame, though, that they weren't released.  I guess Rube Lacey joins Sam Collins, William Moore and J. T. Smith as a player with several uniussued titles.  I'm sure there are others in this unfortunate category.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: "Ham Hound Crave" and "Mississippi Jail House Groan"--Rube Lacy
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2012, 02:55:25 PM »
Hi all,
Rube Lacy played "Mississippi Jail House Groan" out of E position in standard tuning.  The song has an unusual right hand approach, with a thumb lead of the melody closely tracking the vocal followed by a descending run for the signature response lick, all while the finger forcefully snaps a droning open first string.  Lacy was a magnificent singer and he certainly gets a lot of mileage out of his hummed lines.  I wonder if Tommy McClennan picked up his mannerism of inserting "now now" into the middle of his lines from Lacy?  The next-to-last verse was one of McClennan's favorites, that he sang on song after song, so Lacy's influence on him seems plausible.

   Ooooo oooo whoooo
   Mmm mmmm hmmm hmmm
   I promise not to holler now now, mama, hi hi

   Oooo oooo, Layin' in jail, now, my back turned to the wall
   And I laid in jail, my back turned, unnh, to the wall
   I laid in jail now my back turned to the wall

   And she brought me coffee, and she brought me tea
   Yes, she brought me coffee, Lord, and she brought me tea
   She brought me evahthing, now, but that low-down jail house key

   Mmm mmm mmm hmm
   Mmm mmm hmmm mmm
   I promise not to holler now now mama, now, hi hi

   And my Mama told me, my Papa told me, too
   And my Mama told me my Papa stood and cried
   "You got too many women, now now, for any boy your size."

   I looked at my Mama and I hung my head and cried
   I looked at my Mama and I hung my head and cried
   "If my woman [quits] me now, Lord, I'm 'fraid I'll die."

All best,
Johnm

Offline dj

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Re: "Ham Hound Crave" and "Mississippi Jail House Groan"--Rube Lacy
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2012, 03:47:03 PM »
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I wonder if Tommy McClennan picked up his mannerism of inserting "now now" into the middle of his lines from Lacy?

According to both Lacy and Ishman Bracey, Lacy, Bracey, and the Johnson brothers (Tommy, Mager, and LeDell) played together extensively in and around Jackson in the mid to late 20s.

 

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