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The minstrel and annex bands were features at the show grounds. Here were a group of colored minstrels, players, band people, under the direction of Edward Rucker... The band plays pretty airs of all kinds, suiting the music nicely to the work in hand. When the snakes were exhibited it played a charming waltz; somehow it fitted the exhibit; others were of similar propriety - The Indianapolis Freeman, July 4th, 1914, quoted in Ragged But Right by Lynn Abbott and Doug Seroff

Author Topic: Guns  (Read 4168 times)

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Offline Rivers

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Guns
« on: January 27, 2007, 08:03:41 AM »
Guns come up so often in country blues you could write a book. Like the Stagolee story guns are potent symbols of the bad man who many singers and their audiences admired or strove to be. So I thought I'd start a thread that reeks of gunpowder and folklore. Here are three I like:

22:20 Blues - Skip James on piano. Hymn to a firearm. Mentions a 44.40 (will do very well), and a .38 special (too light apparently)

99 Year Blues - Julius Daniels. "Bring my pistol, three round balls, I'm gonna shoot everybody I don't like at all..." Surely one of the great opening lines and a very interesting song all round to which you could devote a whole thread.

Stagolee - I like John Hurt's version best. "Boom boom! Boom boom! With a .44... when I spied poor Billy Lyon he's lyin' on the flo'"

Whenever I hear a version of Stack Lee or Frankie & Albert I'm just waiting for that point in the song when the mayhem begins.

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Guns
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2007, 09:09:12 AM »
Machine Gun Blues - Willie '61' Blackwell which later was adopted by post war artists like Sunnyland Slim. "I feel like snapping, babe, my typewriter in your face" has to be one of the most bizarre lines ever injected into a song concerning machine guns...

Offline Bluesymel

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Re: Guns
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2007, 09:59:57 AM »
How about Dave Van Ronk's Duncan and Brady!

"Duncan blew a whole in Brady's chest"

Mel

Offline Rivers

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Re: Guns
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2007, 10:49:06 AM »
A whole 'what'  Bluesy Mel?  ;)

That "I'm gonna take my pistol, cock it in my baby's face" line is also in Casey Bill's "You Shouldn't Do That".

I once backed up Alan Young at an open mic where we did that song, him on a squareneck tricone and me comping along on my 000-16, wishing I could play those lovely jazzy breaks on the recording.

Alan takes great delight in politically incorrect lyrics and sure enough he sang the un-redacted line and I dutifully hammed it up with <shakes head, tsk tsk> "You shouldn't do that, you shouldn't do that.." Well, you shouldn't, should you.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2007, 10:53:13 AM by Rivers »

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Guns
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2007, 11:39:52 AM »
Gattling Gun crops up in a few blues. Robert Johnson's 32-20 contains the line "Gonna shoot my pistol, gonna shoot my gattling gun", but there are other occurrences which, for the life of me, I can't bring to mind. Kokomo Arnold perhaps?

Offline waxwing

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Re: Guns
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2007, 12:40:30 PM »
In what I think is the Gary Davis version of Delia, never recorded by him, but by many revivalists, didn't the sheriff shoot her down with his gattlin' gun?

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mississippijohnhurt1928

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Re: Guns
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2007, 01:00:29 PM »
Mance Lipscomb's "Ella Speed" Focuses On The Shooting Of His Wife.

In Many Songs When They're Wives Cheated On Them They Didn't Divorce Them They Shot 'Em

Online Johnm

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Re: Guns
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2007, 05:42:50 PM »
Hi all,
In the interest of being a stuffed shirt I just thought that I would point out that Gatling is a proper name (that of the gun's inventor) not a participle.
All best,
Johnm

Offline GhostRider

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Re: Guns
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2007, 08:37:20 AM »
Hi:

Funny Papa Smith had "Forty-Five Blues" about comitting a crime with a '45 and then turning himself in.

In his "Heart Bleeding Blues"  ..."I'll buy me a shotgun and some shells."

In "Mama, Quittin' and Leavin', Part 1" ..."take my '45 mama, and turn you upside down" (which he doesn't in the end do).

Alex

Offline Coyote Slim

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Re: Guns
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2007, 12:15:28 PM »
Something to think about when you listen to these old songs is that these guys were probably venting frustrations that couldn't be expressed at the time not about their women, but about Jim Crow.  Anyone ever listen to "Blues in The Mississippi Night" with Big Bill, Memphis Slim, and John Lee Williamson?  At one point Big Bill talks about a man yelling at his mule, but he wasn't really angry at the mule, he was angry at the Man.
Puttin' on my Carrhartts, I gotta work out in the field.

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Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Guns
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2007, 12:22:48 PM »
Anyone ever listen to "Blues in The Mississippi Night" with Big Bill, Memphis Slim, and John Lee Williamson? 
Yes, it was responsible for turning me on to the blues during the school vacation of summer 1962. I still have the LP today and know its content better than I do that of my life! ::)  :(
« Last Edit: February 08, 2007, 12:24:29 PM by Bunker Hill »

Offline Richard

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Re: Guns
« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2007, 12:32:34 PM »
My first blues LP was the  Ace of Hearts, "Out came the Blues", still have it of course but very tatty and then there Vol 2 !  I have feeling Bluehome has a first edition as well  :D
(That's enough of that. Ed)

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Guns
« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2007, 12:39:22 PM »
My first blues LP was the  Ace of Hearts, "Out came the Blues", still have it of course but very tatty and then there Vol 2 !  I have feeling Bluehome has a first edition as well  :D
Nothing tatty about my copy of Blues In Miss Night. :)

It's been in a plastic outer sleeve these past four decades. Here's a not very successful scan, something strange has happened to the blue.

Offline outfidel

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Re: Guns
« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2007, 01:44:03 PM »
There's the floating lyric "I'm going to shoot my woman / Just to see her fall"  that appears in a number of tunes:
- "Furry's Blues" by Furry Lewis
- "New Salty Dog" by Sam Collins
- "Blue Yodel No. 1" by Jimmie Rodgers (?I'm going to shoot poor Thelma / Just to see her jump and fall?)

Mississippi John Hurt in "Ain't No Tellin'" puts the weapons in the woman's hands:
"Don't you let my good girl catch you here
She might shoot you may cut you and stab you too
'Tain't no telling what she might do"

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Offline blueshome

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Re: Guns
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2007, 02:08:52 PM »
Don't forget the versions of that great piano blues ".44" - Roosevelt Sykes, Lee Green, Big Maceo (changed the calibre not the song), etc - not mention Howlin' Wolf etc.

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