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Those who bite, shall be bitten - Kid Prince Moore, Bite Back Blues

Author Topic: Mississippi Blues  (Read 5787 times)

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Offline blueshome

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Mississippi Blues
« on: February 17, 2007, 07:56:37 AM »
Maybe old news - for months I've been trying to remember which Walter Davis track Willie Brown's Mississippi Blues is based on - unsurprising as I've tracked it down to Hard Times by Charlie Spand.

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Mississippi Blues
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2007, 09:15:37 AM »
Am I being my usual dense self or do you mean William, rather than Willie, Brown?

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Mississippi Blues
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2007, 09:28:46 AM »
Here's a quick transcription of the Spand song taken from a battered LP

Lord, the time is so hard, the birds refuse to sing.
Lord, the time is so hard, the birds refuse to sing.
And no matter how I try, I can't get a doggone thing.

Lord, I walked and I walked, but I cannot find no job.
Lord, I walked and I walked, but I cannot find no job.
Lord, I can't talk if I got no money and I sure don't want to rob.

I've got a woman that's hard to get along with, is a sittin' hen (??).
I've got a woman that's hard to get along with, is a sittin' hen. (??)
I can't cook me a square meal, honey, in god knows when.

Everybody cryin' "Depression", I just found out what it mean.
Everybody cryin' "Depression", I just found out what it mean.
It means a man ain't got no money, he can't buy no fresh collard greens.

(now trying to locate the record which contains a Spand number entitled Mississippi Blues...)


Offline waxwing

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Re: Mississippi Blues
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2007, 09:51:23 AM »
William Brown's Mississippi Blues was his reworking of the piano instrumental Sunrise Serenade, recorded a few years earlier by Frank (or Freddie?) Carle. I can't look it up right now but the info is in the River Of Song reissue of a lot of the Lomax recordings from the 1942 field trip.

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

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Willie Brown's Liquor at CD Baby

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Mississippi Blues
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2007, 10:40:14 AM »
I don't have that CD but I'm sure you are correct I can see it written somewhere in a discussion concerning the Brown tune that Sunrise Serenade was its inspiration being a million seller for Glen Miller on Victor in 1939. I think it was John Cowley writing in Blues World in late 60s.

Offline blueshome

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Re: Mississippi Blues
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2007, 02:55:31 PM »
Well, Sunrise Serenade or not, the Spand tune is the same! BH do you know when it was released?

Offline blueshome

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Re: Mississippi Blues
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2007, 03:13:53 PM »
Sorry to pop up again on this.
 Bunker - Spand's Mississippi Blues bears little relation tunewise to the W.Brown piece being a fairly straight ahead boogie beat.

Phil

Offline dj

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Re: Mississippi Blues
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2007, 03:47:17 PM »
Quote
Spand's Mississippi Blues bears little relation tunewise to the W.Brown piece

But it does have some of the same motifs in the accompaniment.  Spand's Hard Times Blues was recorded in 1931.  Not sure when it was released, but since it was on Paramount, I guess it must have come out before the end of 1932.  I'm not familiar with Carle's "Sunrise Serenade", nor familiar enough with piano music of the era in general to tell whether those melodic motifs came to Carle via Spand or if they were just "in the air" at that time.   

Offline Richard

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Re: Mississippi Blues
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2007, 03:56:24 PM »
Does seem a strange route, William Brown blues guitarist of the parish doing a cover in '42 of a '32 piece which was '39 Glenn Miller hit  ::)

This adds to the confusion -
Quote
.. recorded a few years earlier by Frank (or Freddie?) Carle. I can't look it up right now but the info is in the River Of Song reissue of a lot of the Lomax recordings from the 1942 field trip.

That reads as though Carle recorded it on the '42 field trip... the same year as Brown  ::)
« Last Edit: February 17, 2007, 03:57:41 PM by Richard »
(That's enough of that. Ed)

Offline waxwing

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Re: Mississippi Blues
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2007, 06:02:37 PM »
From liner notes to Rounder Records, The Alan Lomax Collection, Deep River of Song - Mississippi: The Blues Lineage.
Quote
Mississippi Blues (AFS 6606-A1) Performed by William Brown (vocal and guitar) Recorded by Alan Lomax at Sadie Beck's Plantation, Arkansas, on July 16, 1942.

John Work identified Brown's intricate guitar part as "adapted freely, but beautifully" from Frankie Carle's 1939 hit "Sunrise Serenade."

Was Frankie Carle the piano player for Glenn Miller? Not being a jazzer I wouldn't know.

All for now.
John C.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2007, 07:28:25 PM by waxwing »
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

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Willie Brown's Liquor at CD Baby

Offline waxwing

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Re: Mississippi Blues
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2007, 08:11:45 PM »
Found this on answers.com:
Quote
His[Carle's] signature tune was "Sunrise Serenade," which had been a hit for Glenn Miller after Carle co-authored it in 1938; he recorded his own version for Columbia in 1945.

So Brown must have been listening to the Miller record. No mention of Spand.

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

http://www.youtube.com/user/WaxwingJohn
https://www.facebook.com/WaxwingJohn

Willie Brown's Liquor at CD Baby

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Mississippi Blues
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2007, 12:12:41 AM »
I asked a Glenn Miller 78 collector friend of mine to look at the composer credit on the label. It says "Lawrence-Carle" who I'm told were Jack Lawrence (words) and Frankie Carle (music) and was recorded 10 April 1939. Incidently the reverse is Moonlight Serenade which I'm told was Miller's radio signature tune and played three times a week until his death. But I'm veering away from topic.

Originally I misunderstood Blueshome's post taking it to mean lyrically, rather than musically, the same as Spand - hence the reason for reproducing the lyric of Hard Times. As to when Hard Times was released, I don't know. B&GR gives a recording date of c. Sept 1931 so as DJ suggests perhaps it was a melody that was already popular ("in the air") and picked up by Carle. We may yet come across blues recordings others than Spand or Brown which employ it.

(Waxwing, I have that LoC LP but didn't even consider looking at the notes. Obviously couldn't have taken much notice of them at the time!)
« Last Edit: February 18, 2007, 12:24:46 AM by Bunker Hill »

Offline blueshome

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Re: Mississippi Blues
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2007, 02:56:33 AM »
I have now had the opportunity to listen to the 3 tunes side by side.

The motif from W.Brown guitar part fits almost exactly C.Spand's piano motif. Try playing it!

To say that Brown's piece could be "loosely based" on Sunrise Serenade is true, but it would be very loose - if you really stretch there is some similarity, BIMHO not enough for Brown to have based his playing on it.

However, I feel that Bunker is on the right lines when he says the the tune may have been "in the air" and so I think it must have been a fairly common piano tune picked up by Mr.Brown. The differences between this theme and Sunrise Serenade are such that I don't think there is anything in common between them, Brown seems to have been to been a good enough musician to have reproduced Sunrise had he wished.

As to John Work, I am sure that he would have been far more conversant with the popular contempary music of Glenn Miller etc than that of downhome pianists and that would be the reason for his reference.

(I still think there is a Walter Davis recording with this motif out there - I'm sure I've heard it in the past somewhere.)

Offline Richard

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Re: Mississippi Blues
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2007, 03:12:42 AM »
First to Sunrise Sernade, some confusion may be here as it was recorded by Glen Grays Casa Loma Orch in Feb 39 and Carle was the pianist... which preceeedes the Glen Miller April 39 recording  ::)
I would venture that it was the Glen GRAY recording that was copied if ever. Carle is also listed as playing banjo, what more could you want  :D although not on this, now there's a thought  :-X

Now to clarify a little..
Quote
Was Frankie Carle the piano player for Glenn Miller? Not being a jazzer I wouldn't know.
I wouldn't know either as I don't own a Glenl Miller record. However, it has to be said Glen Miller's pre '38 band (in his own name) did record some fair stuff in amogst the dross, but most of the later band is not really considerd 'jazz' per se, a fine dance band with some great players but not jazz...
« Last Edit: February 18, 2007, 03:21:34 AM by Richard »
(That's enough of that. Ed)

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Mississippi Blues
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2007, 03:25:38 AM »
I have now had the opportunity to listen to the 3 tunes side by side.

The motif from W.Brown guitar part fits almost exactly C.Spand's piano motif. Try playing it!
I did and I heard the similarity immediately and was remiss of me not to mention it.
Quote
However, I feel that Bunker is on the right lines when he says the the tune may have been "in the air" and so I think it must have been a fairly common piano tune picked up by Mr.Brown.
Credit where credit is due, and that's to DJ I was just quoting him....

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