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Author Topic: Mississippi Sheiks Lyrics  (Read 27464 times)

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Offline MotMot

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Mississippi Sheiks Lyrics
« on: June 10, 2004, 06:15:54 PM »
Greetings!? First post, so please pardon any errors of protocol.
I've been working on the Sheiks' Lazy, Lazy River, and thought I'd share my progress, and invite others to comment, correct, chip in, whatever.
I've been focusing on guitar first, and later hope to attempt the fiddle part.

It sounds to be in Eflat.? I first tried it out of C fingering with capo at 3rd fret. But after noticing that low bass note at the "followed every rainbow" line, I put the capo at the 1st fret and played it out of D fingering. That also lets you do the bass-line walk down from the B chord to the E chord after "looked up in the moon."? I'm still trying to figure out whether that Bflat chord is right, or what shape it ought to be.

Anyway, here, as best I can figure or guess, more or less, are the lyrics and the general chord progression (I hope the spacing translates when I post):

D
I've been through all day, just walking here on borrowed ground.
A?
I've looked beneath the daisies, my pal could not be found
D
She's down the lazy river, & I'm just lost from you
E
That's the only place between heaven and earth
?A
that I long to get
D? Bflat? G
When I find that river, that lazy, lazy river
D? A?D
Then my life will be complete
?Bflat?G
I searched the whole world over, I've slept out on the clover
D?A?D
Hoping that the (?rest?) might see
F#? B
I searched beneath the daisies, and looked up in the moon
E?A?
I followed every rainbow, and I hope to be there soon
D?Bflat?G
When I find that river, that lazy, lazy river
D?A? D
Then I'm coming home for you

[about 32 bars of instrumental]

D? Bflat? G
If I could find that river, that lazy, lazy river
D? A D
Then my life would be complete
D?Bflat? G
I searched the whole world over, I've slept out in the clover
D? A? D
Hoping that the (?rest?) would be
F#? B
I searched beneath the daisies, and looked up in the moon
E?A?
I followed every rainbow, and I hope to be there soon
D? ?Bflat?G
When I find that river, that lazy, lazy river
D?A? D
Then I'm coming home for you
« Last Edit: April 19, 2005, 06:09:52 PM by Johnm »
... but it's a slow consumption, killing me by degrees

Offline frankie

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Re: Mississippi Sheiks: Lazy, Lazy River
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2004, 07:37:40 PM »
Hi MotMot - this is one of my favorite MS tunes.? I once tried to get an old-time fiddler I know to parse it and he nearly lost it when it sounded in Eflat.? I don't think he ever really recovered from the experience...

It's hard to preserve the relationships between the words and the chords with variable width text - try using the pre tags:

Code: [Select]
[pre]
D
When I find that river

?E? D
That lazy, lazy river

A?D
Then my life will be complete
[/pre]

Now for real:


D
When I find that river

?E? D
That lazy, lazy river

A?D
Then my life will be complete


Anyway, I definitely agree that Walter Vincson is playing out of D position, either capoed or tuned up about a half step.? I don't hear the Bflat or the G chord, though.? As you can see in the example above, what I think I hear is that WV goes to an E chord (1st position), but strums no strings below the 4th.? In other words, strums from the 4th string (2nd fret) to the first string.? Then he returns to the tonic (D).? It's true - there's a Bflat in the melody.? You could even say that the vocal/fiddle line arpeggiates a Bflat chord.? WV plays a D - them's the harmonizing breaks in CB, I guess .? I wonder if Lonnie Chatmon got as fussy about chords as some fiddlers I know...

Here's my take on the words - uncertainties in brackets:

I've been blue all day
Just walkin here on [borrowed] ground
I've looked beneath of the daisies
My pal could not be found
She's down that lazy river
And I'm just [lost from here] (lonesome here?)
That's the only place between
Heaven and earth I long to get

When I find that river
That lazy, lazy river
Then my life will be complete

I searched the whole world over
I've slept out on the clover
Hoping there to rest my feet

I've searched beneath of the daisies
And looked up in the moon
I followed every rainbow
and I hope to be there soon

And when I find that river
That lazy, lazy river
Then I'm coming home for you

Break

If I could find that river
That lazy, lazy river
Then my life will be complete

I searched the whole world over
I've slept out on the clover
Hoping there to rest my feet

I've searched beneath of the daisies
And looked up in the moon
I followed every rainbow
and I hope to be there soon

And when I find that river
That lazy, lazy river
Then I'm coming home for you

Great tune!? Welcome to the board!
« Last Edit: April 19, 2005, 06:12:44 PM by Johnm »

Offline MotMot

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Re: Mississippi Sheiks: Lazy, Lazy River
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2004, 07:42:56 AM »
Thanks, Frankie, for the welcome.? Actually, I think you and I e-corresponded a few years earlier, after posting on the old woodshed, about trying to find people adventurous (or eclectic (and maybe other adjectives, too)) enough to try and transport Joseph Spence tunes to fiddle and/or banjo.? As somebody noted in another thread about "top of the heap," this particular heap may be small.

Thanks also for the observations about Lazy, Lazy River.? Lonnie Chatmon sured seemed to favor flat keys and closed positions (even when the tune was in C or G) that I haven't found easy or intuitive on the fiddle.? I haven't found many of the guitar parts easy or intuitive, either!

Your take on the lyrics makes a lot of sense, and as for the guitar, I'm eager to try the E chord voicing you've suggested.? The chord I was playing was a D note on 5th string at 5th fret, and the 4th, 3rd, and 2d strings at barred at 3d fret.? It may be I tried that because, in trying to make sense of the song, I ended up replicating melody on guitar, instead of thinking of it as a separate part.

To my ears, the chord progression for the first section (from "blue all day" to "heaven and earth that I long to get") was very different from the progression for the rest . . .? But, I look forward to another session, with the benefit of your thoughts.

Thanks again, and good to be here.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2005, 06:13:49 PM by Johnm »
... but it's a slow consumption, killing me by degrees

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Mississippi Sheiks: Lazy, Lazy River
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2004, 09:34:36 AM »
This one's playing on the Weenie Juke right now. Great tune. Very unusual tune, the Sheiks doing a pop tune masterfully.

Offline frankie

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Re: Mississippi Sheiks: Lazy, Lazy River
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2004, 11:01:53 AM »
Actually, I think you and I e-corresponded a few years earlier, after posting on the old woodshed, about trying to find people adventurous (or eclectic (and maybe other adjectives, too)) enough to try and transport Joseph Spence tunes to fiddle and/or banjo.? As somebody noted in another thread about "top of the heap," this particular heap may be small.

Sure is - glad you found your way here!? I think I remember that discussion about Joseph Spence on the banjo...

Lonnie Chatmon sured seemed to favor flat keys and closed positions (even when the tune was in C or G) that I haven't found easy or intuitive on the fiddle.? I haven't found many of the guitar parts easy or intuitive, either!

Do you think it'd be easier to render in D?? Seems a lot of fiddlers do that with tunes in flat keys.? Just about everybody that I know who plays Mineola Rag seems to play it in D rather than Eflat.? Playing in Eflat is probably good therapy, but is unlikely to get a tune like this into a session!

Walter Vincson's guitar playing can get pretty fancy, and even his "simple accompaniments" are sophisticated.

To my ears, the chord progression for the first section (from "blue all day" to "heaven and earth that I long to get") was very different from the progression for the rest . . .? But, I look forward to another session, with the benefit of your thoughts.

That's true - I think the chords you listed for that part and the Fsharp section are right on.? It was just the chorus that I was referring to specifically.? I guess the part where WV plays a D chord while singing a Bflat note could be thought of as combining to create and D+...?

Thanks again, and good to be here.

Glad to have you!

Very unusual tune, the Sheiks doing a pop tune masterfully.

The Sheiks definitely had some serious pop sensibilities.? Seems like their musical interests were all over the map, but it all sounds like the Sheiks...
« Last Edit: April 19, 2005, 06:15:14 PM by Johnm »

HardLuckChild

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Re: Mississippi Sheiks: Lazy, Lazy River
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2004, 09:43:43 AM »
I haven't listened to the song in a while, but I seem to remember hearing "I've slept out on the floorboards." I'll listen to the song today.

nehi

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Re: Mississippi Sheiks: Lazy, Lazy River
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2004, 09:56:04 AM »
I like the Bflat - especially as a Bflat7, since I like things as raggy as possible -- but I don't hear the G on "clo-VER" either. The more I listen to the recording, the more I'm convinced that we may never know the true nature of that "clo-VER" chord. Weird and great tune. One of my all-time favorites.

Offline MotMot

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Re: Mississippi Sheiks: Lazy, Lazy River
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2004, 06:25:22 PM »
After some listening this weekend, I agree with Frankie: I don't think there's a Bflat chord in there, and there's definitely not a G. 
I come away impressed with Frankie's ear, and with Walter Vincson's singing: pretty hard to sing a Bflat note over a D chord.
I haven't tried any of it on fiddle yet, but don't know that those particular fiddle lines would translate easily to the key of D.  My experience with other Sheiks tunes is that when the fiddle's playing out of a closed position, those particular fiddle lines don't quite translate to another position.  Of course, as a fiddler, I'm a barely passable guitarist ... (and vice versa)!
... but it's a slow consumption, killing me by degrees

Offline frankie

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Re: Mississippi Sheiks: Lazy, Lazy River
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2004, 08:43:22 PM »
Walter Vincson's singing: pretty hard to sing a Bflat note over a D chord.

Hell, yes!? I've been listening to it over the weekend as well, and am just amazed at how they took some relatively simple ingredients and made it into something genuinely sophisticated.

Just amazing what some guys can do with talent...? I can't imagine having the chutzpah to come up with an idea like that!

My experience with other Sheiks tunes is that when the fiddle's playing out of a closed position, those particular fiddle lines don't quite translate to another position.

You may be right - I've got my Kim interested in the tune & she's been toying with it in D.? Currently on the hit parade is the Lewis Brothers' Bull at the Wagon - once we can play that badly, we're going to move on to The GA Yellow Hammers' Rip Van Winkle Blues.? That plays out of E on the fiddle, which for all intents and purposes is a closed position, at least in the lower register.? If she can handle that, I think I'll suggest working LLR out in E flat.

Playing it in D would *definitely* make it more session-friendly, though...? unless you're trying to scare somebody off!
« Last Edit: April 19, 2005, 06:16:29 PM by Johnm »

Offline MotMot

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Re: Mississippi Sheiks: Lazy, Lazy River
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2004, 06:33:24 AM »
Yup.  There's a lot going on in those tunes: chutzpah, genius, whatever.

I found it easier to sing that flat note when I added it to the chord.  When it was a D-shape chord, I added the third string at the third fret, and even got to like the dissonance.

But singing this melody in Dflat wasn't friendly for me, so I played around and eventually capoed on 2 and played out of G positions, to sound in A.   I added the flat note to the G chord by fretting the 4th string at the 1st fret.

While A's session friendly, for the purists, the sound may be getting a bit far from the Sheiks.

At sessions I've played along with Bull at the Wagon, but I don't really know it.  Rip Van Winkle Blues isn't familiar; I'll have to check my files.  But one of my favorites is the G Rag, by the Yellowhammers with Andrew Baxter -- although I play an easier (notier) B part from a version called something like WyZee Hamilton's Breakdown.

Cheers . ..
... but it's a slow consumption, killing me by degrees

Offline frankie

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Re: Mississippi Sheiks: Lazy, Lazy River
« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2004, 07:54:43 AM »
I found it easier to sing that flat note when I added it to the chord.? When it was a D-shape chord, I added the third string at the third fret, and even got to like the dissonance.

I was trying the same thing - I guess it's possible that he's doing that, too, but I can't say that I hear it.? Sure does make hitting the Bflat a lot easier

While A's session friendly, for the purists, the sound may be getting a bit far from the Sheiks

I don't know if I could sing it in A - D and Eflat works ok for me.? Have you tried playing the fiddle part in A?? That might be a challenge...

At sessions I've played along with Bull at the Wagon, but I don't really know it.? Rip Van Winkle Blues isn't familiar; I'll have to check my files.? But one of my favorites is the G Rag, by the Yellowhammers with Andrew Baxter -- although I play an easier (notier) B part from a version called something like WyZee Hamilton's Breakdown.

Here's a link to Rip Van Winkle Blues.? Maybe the only example I've ever heard of an old-time guitarist playing out of vestapol tuning and backing up a fiddler.? The guitarist is Melvin Dupree.? A few weeks back I was playing tunes with Clare Milliner & Walt Koken and got to talking about G-Rag variations.? Seemed like Walt was partial to Wyzee (Y.Z.?) Hamilton's - I like Andrew Baxter's... that's the one Kim and I play - badly!
« Last Edit: April 19, 2005, 06:17:43 PM by Johnm »

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Mississippi Sheiks: Lazy, Lazy River
« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2004, 08:34:46 AM »
By the way, welcome to the board nehi and MotMot.  :)

Offline frankie

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Re: Mississippi Sheiks: Lazy, Lazy River
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2004, 06:32:03 AM »
Revised for the key of Eflat:

Eflat
I've been blue all day


Just walkin here on [borrowed] ground


I've looked beneath of the daisies

Bflat
My pal could not be found

Eflat
She's down that lazy river


And I'm just [lost from here] (lonesome here?)

F
That's the only place between

?Bflat
Heaven and earth I long to get



Eflat
When I find that river

?F? Eflat
That lazy, lazy river

Bflat? Eflat
Then my life will be complete



Eflat
I searched the whole world over

?F Eflat
I've slept out on the clover

Bflat?Eflat
Hoping there to rest my feet



G
I've searched beneath of the daisies

C
And looked up in the moon

F
I followed every rainbow

Bflat
and I hope to be there soon



Eflat
And when I find that river

?F? Eflat
That lazy, lazy river

Bflat? Eflat
Then I'm coming home for you

Break

Eflat
If I could find that river

?F? Eflat
That lazy, lazy river

Bflat? Eflat
Then my life will be complete


Eflat
I searched the whole world over

?F? Eflat
I've slept out on the clover

Bflat?Eflat
Hoping there to rest my feet



G
I've searched beneath of the daisies

C
And looked up in the moon

F
I followed every rainbow

Bflat
and I hope to be there soon


Eflat
And when I find that river

?F? Eflat
That lazy, lazy river

Bflat? Eflat
Then I'm coming home for you

The chords:

Eflat:

e-6--
B-4--
G-0--
D-5--
A-6--
E-6--

Think of it as C moved up three frets.? You could thumb the 6th string or alternate with your ring finger.? Very often, WV uses a smooth move to get from the Eflat to Bflat - a little slide down from the Eflat on the 6th fret A string, then gets the 1st fret low E string with his thumb and slide it up into the Bflat chord:

e-6--
B-6--
G-7--
D-8--
A-8--
E-6--

The F chord is the one you all know & love:

e-1--
B-1--
G-2--
D-3--
A-3--
E-1--

During the initial verse, it sounds like WV plays the full chord and moves the bass from the 6th to the 5th to the 4th and to the 5th strings.? During the "Lazy River" choruses, he may be fingering the full chord, but he only uses the bass note on the 4th string.

The G is the F moved up two frets and the C is a typical C chord, stopping the high E string at the 3rd fret:

e-3--
B-1--
G-0--
D-2--
A-3--
E----

WV likes his chords to have those bright treble notes up top as part of his strum, and the slides are always a little bit behind the beat - he never rushes.? Play and think supportively - bass - strum, bass - strum.? There's a zen quality to the simplicity - honest!
« Last Edit: April 19, 2005, 06:20:56 PM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Mississippi Sheiks: Lazy, Lazy River
« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2004, 09:11:13 AM »
Good work, Frank!  I've always resisted being a completist, part of my formative years in this music when you might hear a new tune from some musician you really admired every couple of years or so.  It was a big deal.  In the case of the Sheiks, I'm going to have to make an exception, I can see.  Hearing you all talk about these great tunes I haven't heard makes me realize I need to hear them all.
All best,
Johnm

Offline frankie

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Re: Mississippi Sheiks: Lazy, Lazy River
« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2004, 09:23:14 AM »
There's something else I just noticed about the tune - WV's vocal phrasing is slightly ahead of the beat, where LC's fiddle is either dead on the beat or slightly behind.  If you listen carefully, the effect is pretty amazing - like an echo or delay.  It takes real discipline to pull it off, too...  wow!  Makes we want to listen carefully to a few other tunes to hear how the vocal and fiddle lines relate.

 


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