Country Blues > Country Blues Lyrics

Henry Townsend lyrics

(1/9) > >>

Here's a topic covering Henry Townsend's lyrics and playing. His early recordings played on a metal body resonator are some of the most underrated deep blues around in my opinion. Though Henry was based in St Louis his music from that period sounds more like Delta blues. If you're not familiar with these recordings you owe it to yourself to track them down, particularly if you have a Style-O National laying around and are looking for some great non-slide licks and chords.

I'm going to go back and check my old transcriptions of Sick With The Blues, Mistreated Blues, Poor Man Blues, She?s Got A Mean Disposition and Henry?s Worried Blues individually before posting them, and hopefully expanding it to other songs over time. Here's the first one, please feel free to pitch in, and if you have ideas on capo and tuning let's discuss. I know there's some different theories on whether he's in a minor (cross-note) or major (Vestapol) tuning on some songs. I guess Henry's early non-slide playing in open tunings belongs in a couple of other topics running on the forum.

If there was no capo involved my feeling on this one is Vestapol open E tweaked up to sharp of F, could also be cross-note. Other good theories could be Open D capoed 3, which is definitely a good safe choice for playing along on a regular guitar. Though it sounds minorish I think he could be getting the modal sound by alternately killing the open 3rd string major 3rd, or fretting it at the first fret (sus 4) and third fret (modal, makes a 2 note chord). I find it easier to play that way but hey I could be wrong.  Here is "Sick With The Blues":

Sick With The Blues - Henry Townsend
Solo guitar
11 December 1933, Chicago, BB B5411
Pitch sharp of F, tuning ?, capo ?

People I?ve tried every doctor, every doctor in my neighborhood
Yes I?ve tried every doctor, every doctor in my neighborhood
But I haven?t even found me a doctor, who's capable of doing my blues any good

You had better leave her alone, she don?t mean a doggone thing
You had better leave her alone, she don?t mean a doggone thing
Ain?t but the one thing that she?s after, that is your doggone spending change

Mmmm, she wants to walk out of my door
Yes the girl that I wants now, people wants to walk out of my door
She just left me word tellin? me, she won?t come back to my house no more

[Instrumental verse]

But I?m going to try my best to leave her, Lord I?m gonna try to let her be
Yes I?m going to try my best to leave her, try my best to leave her be
I?m gonna try to find someone now, 'thinks the world in all of me

So bye, bye bye, baby that I?m leaving you
So bye, bye bye, reason now I?m leaving you
?Cause I?ve already found out that your love is not true

I set up the initial Henry stuff on Weeniepedia. Check out the stunning shot of Henry I snaffled off the web, playing a National:

Coyote Slim:
Right on, man...  Henry's music is always entertaining and inspiring:  musically and lyrically.

Emotionally too. Love those bends, slurs and dead thumb vamps. To me Henry sounds very expressive as younger man. He mellowed a lot later on, at present I'm more drawn to the early material, that might change as I listen to more of it.

Coyote Slim:
Yes, emotionally...

I think his earlier work sounds angrier (frustrated young man, ya know...); I don't think his later work is less expressive, just more subtle.  All of his work is "deep" to me.


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version