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I would say that Boogie-Woogie was the bad little boy of the rag family who wouldn't study. I heard crude beginnings of it in the back streets of New Orleans, in those early years following 1904, but they were really back streets... such music never got played in 'gilded palaces' - Roy Carew, from Giles Oakley's The Devil's Music, BBC

Author Topic: Lightnin' Hopkins Lyrics  (Read 7586 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Re: Lightnin' Hopkins Lyrics
« Reply #30 on: July 10, 2019, 02:25:29 PM »
Hi all,
Lightnin' recorded "Death Bells" for Gold Star as well, and it is a spectacular tune in E position, standard tuning.  In the second verse, he does say "creeper" rather than "creature".  Boy, was he at the top of his game for these recordings!  Here is "Death Bells":



INTRO

Sound like I can hear, this mornin', death bells ringin' all in my ear
Sound like I can hear this mornin', baby, death bells ringin' all in my ear
Yes, I know I'm gonna leave on a chariot, wonder what kind's gonna carry me from here

You know every living creeper, man, was born to die
Yeah, you know every living creeper, whoa, Lord, was born to die
Yes, but when that chariot come for you, they're gonna break, run, and try to hide

SOLO

Yeah, you know my Mama told me, my Papa told me too. She says, "Someday, son, you know that chariot's comin' after you."
I been wonderin', what kind of chariot, whoa, gon' take me away from here?
Yes, you know this life I'm livin' I been livin', oh Lord, for a great many years

SOLO

Edited 7/10 to pick up corrections from harry

All best,
Johnm 
« Last Edit: July 10, 2019, 03:49:17 PM by Johnm »

Offline harry

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Re: Lightnin' Hopkins Lyrics
« Reply #31 on: July 10, 2019, 03:10:59 PM »
1.1 Sound like I can hear, this mornin', death bells ringin' all in my ear

2.2 Yeah, you know every living creeper, whoa, Lord, was born to die

Offline Johnm

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Re: Lightnin' Hopkins Lyrics
« Reply #32 on: July 10, 2019, 03:49:48 PM »
Thanks for the catches, Harry.  That's what happens when you enter in haste.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Lightnin' Hopkins Lyrics
« Reply #33 on: April 13, 2020, 10:40:27 AM »
Hi all,
"Penitentiary Blues" was the program opener on the Lightnin' Hopkins Folkways album that Samuel Charters recorded.  Lightnin' accompanied himself in A position, standard tuning.  I remember hearing this for the first time and being blown away.  Here is "Penitentiary Blues":



INTRO (Spoken: Penitentiary Blues)

Mmmmmmmmmmmm, Big Brazos, here I come
Mmmmmmmmmmmm, (Spoken: Hoo, Lord have mercy!) Big Brazos, here I come
You know I'm gon' do time for another man, when it haven't been a thing poor Lightnin' done

They say you oughta been on Braz', nineteen and ten, Bud Russell drove pretty women just like he did, ugly mens
Ahhnnnnnn, Big Braz', whoa, Lord, yes, here I come
Fixin' to do time for another man, and ain't nothin' poor Lightnin' done (Spoken: Well, you oughta be 'shame')

SOLO

Yeah, you know my mama called me, I answered, "Ma'am", she says, "Son, you tired of workin'?", I said, "Mama, yes, I am."
Papa called me, I answered, "Sir", he said, "Son, if you tired of workin', why in the hell you gon' stay there?", I couldn't,
No, I just couldn't help myself
You know a man can't help but feel bad, when he doin' time for someone else

CODA (Spoken: You better watch it, all the time)

All best,
Johnm

 


Offline Johnm

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Re: Lightnin' Hopkins Lyrics
« Reply #34 on: April 14, 2020, 12:50:01 PM »
Hi all,
Another wonderful rendition from the Lightnin' Hopkins Folkways album is his version of "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean", which he played out of E position in standard tuning.  Lightnin's vocals are always striking, but his guitar playing on this track is nothing short of sensational, and the way he varies his tone and rhythmic approach is masterful.  Wow!  Here is "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean":



INTRO

You know there's one kind favor I'll ask to you
You know there's one kind favor I'll ask to you
One kind favor I'll ask to you
See that my grave is kept clean

SOLO

You know there's two white horses in a line
Two white horses in a line
Two white horses in a line
Gonna take me to my burying ground

SOLO X  2

All best,
Johnm


« Last Edit: April 14, 2020, 02:47:25 PM by Johnm »

Offline harry

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Re: Lightnin' Hopkins Lyrics
« Reply #35 on: April 14, 2020, 02:10:16 PM »
Penitentiary Blues - 3.2 why in the hell you gon' stay there for?

I think he sings "for" pretty swallowed.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Lightnin' Hopkins Lyrics
« Reply #36 on: April 14, 2020, 02:45:53 PM »
Hi Harry,
In re-listening, the only thing he has of "for" is the letter "f", there's no vowel sound at all.  I suppose I could insert f' into the transcription.  It sounds like he thought of singing "for" but decided not to.  I think I'll leave it out.
All best,
John

Offline Lazy John

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Re: Lightnin' Hopkins Lyrics
« Reply #37 on: May 24, 2020, 11:34:53 AM »
I'm brand new here, so forgive me if I chose the wrong topic in which to ask my question.  It relates to Lightnin's "Penitentiary Blues". 

I've looked in vain for guitar transcriptions or tabs for "Penitentiary Blues" or "Prison Blues Come Down on Me".  I find the lyrics so evocative and the guitar playing so mournful that I'd like to try to learn one or both of the tunes.  I've looked online and at published books of blues tabs, blues fingerpicking and blues instruction with no luck.  In fact--at least in my unqualified opinion--it seems that Lightnin' Hopkins gets short shrift in those kinds of books with only a very few of his songs included, if any, despite how prolifically he recorded.

That said, I'm just learning how to play the guitar.  I think the songs would give me a clear goal to work towards (slowly) and also some good examples for when I start exploring fingerpicking.  As well, it will give me something to have my instructor help me learn, instead of having him assign me something of his choosing. 

Any help would be appreciated.

John

 


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