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I know my crown gonna fit me well, 'cause tried it on at the gates of hell - Reverend Gary Davis

Author Topic: Sleepy John Estes Lyrics  (Read 55878 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Re: Sleepy John Estes Lyrics
« Reply #240 on: May 10, 2018, 11:14:55 AM »
Hi Regulus Blues,
C position means working out of a C shape in standard tuning (possibly tuned up or down or capoed) at whatever pitch the guitar ends up sounding in.  In the case of "Hobo Jungle Blues", both guitars are tuned a whole step low, so they're sounding in Bflat.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Regulus Blues

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Re: Sleepy John Estes Lyrics
« Reply #241 on: May 10, 2018, 11:48:23 AM »
Ahh, okay - that?s what I had originally thought, but I think I managed to confuse myself somewhere along the line...

I?d seen one of Tommy McClennan?s songs (another that I thought was in Spanish) described in another thread as being played from G position in standard, which I took to mean play it from an open G shape.

This didn?t sound right at all until I capoed up and played from an E shape, which I thought was odd. But eventually the penny dropped and I guessed it meant to play G barred?

Thanks for your help John, I think I?ve got it all cleared up now  :)
Alex

Offline Johnm

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Re: Sleepy John Estes Lyrics
« Reply #242 on: May 10, 2018, 02:27:01 PM »
Hi Alex,
Yes, if you look at the table of Tommy McClennan positions/tunings, most of the time it will just say G, standard which would mean he was playing in G without a capo on tuned at standard pitch.  For "New Highway 51" though, it says "G, standard at A" which would mean playing in G position in standard tuning and capoing to the second fret so that the rendition sounded in the key of A.  Whenever a playing position description is followed by the phrase "at ___", it means the player was either tuned high or low or capoed, so that the key at which the rendition sounds and the position that was used to play the song are not the same.  I hope this helps.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Regulus Blues

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Re: Sleepy John Estes Lyrics
« Reply #243 on: May 10, 2018, 02:44:29 PM »
That is exactly the song I was thinking of - I hadn?t spotted that ?at A? bit. Well then... now I have a choice of three ways to play it :D

Cheers John!
Alex

Offline RichardW

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Re: Sleepy John Estes Lyrics
« Reply #244 on: January 22, 2019, 03:42:07 PM »
Hi all,
"Someday Baby Blues" was recorded by Sleepy John Estes and Hammie Nixon in 1935, as was "Drop Down Mama", and like it, was played out of C position in standard tuning.  "Someday Baby Blues" is an unusual 16-bar "chorus" blues, and it's structure is discussed in the 16-bar blues thread on the Main Forum.  Like "Drop Down Mama" it never goes to the V chord. 
Listening to the rendition, you get the distinct impression that for Sleepy John, the guitar's primary function was to accompany vocals.  I am hard put to think of a country blues singer/guitarist of Sleepy John's generation who gave his guitar less solo space.  The fact that he ends the song with a very nifty and complex run that he executes with perfect aplomb makes his choice to feature the guitar on his cuts so sparingly all the more mysterious.  He could really play.  Why did he choose not to?  Perhaps the answer is in his great singing.

   I don't care how long you're gone, I don't care how long you stay
   But that good kind treatment, bring you back home someday
   CHORUS;  Someday, baby, you ain't gonna worry my mind anymore

   I has that wind, that old chilly breeze
   Come blowin' through your BVDs, but
   CHORUS

   If you don't quit bettin', boys, them dice won't pass
   It's gon' send you home on your yas yas yas, but
   CHORUS

   It ain't but the one thing give a man the blues
   He ain't got no bottom in his last pair of shoes, but
   CHORUS

   I tell all the people in your neighborhood
   You's a no-good woman, you don't mean me no good, but
   CHORUS

All best,
Johnm

Many thanks for this and other Sleepy John lyrics, Johnm! I have a couple of thoughts about this one - not necessarily corrections. Well, one correction. On the last verse, he just sings 'you don't mean no good' rather than 'you don't mean me no good'. I know Muddy sings that in Trouble No More, which was the first incarnation of this song I knew (actually it was probably the Allmans' cover, come to think of it).

In the third verse (don't quit bettin'), when it goes to the chorus bit, is it possible he's actually singing 'life' instead of 'mind' the one time? It just sounds a bit different to the other ones where you can hear the M sound on My and Mind following similarly. I dunno what the story is with the Big Maceo Worried Life and how that came about or if I'm just being swayed by all the covers in mind...

Last thing is when I've been singing this I've tended to sing 'ah that wind' in the second verse, as that makes more sense to me than 'I has that wind' which suggests he has low temperature flatulence, not to say that that's not what he's singing, especially in light of the BVDs thing.   ;)

Offline Johnm

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Re: Sleepy John Estes Lyrics
« Reply #245 on: January 22, 2019, 04:57:28 PM »
Hi RichardW,
Thanks for the lyric catches.  I agree, he does sing "life" in the chorus following the third verse, and he does sing "mean no good" in the first line of the last verse.  I found another mistake, in the first line of the fourth verse, he sings,
   It ain't but the one thing THAT give a man the blues
I do think that in the first line of the second verse that I had it wrong, and what he actually sings is:
   I HAVE that old wind, that chilly breeze
I can clearly hear the "v" in "have".  I will make the corrections.

Thanks also for putting up the links to performances you and Prof Scratchy and Thomas and Snake Hips did.  I've seen a couple already and quite like them.  Good singing you did on the songs you sang, and all concerned sound great!
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: January 22, 2019, 05:29:25 PM by Johnm »

Offline RichardW

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Re: Sleepy John Estes Lyrics
« Reply #246 on: January 22, 2019, 11:46:01 PM »
Cheers John!  :D

Offline RichardW

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Re: Sleepy John Estes Lyrics
« Reply #247 on: January 23, 2019, 12:07:37 PM »
Hi all,
Sleepy John recorded "Easin' Back To Tennessee" in a guitar duet with one guitar (Sleepy John?) playing out of C, standard tunng and the other (Charlie Pickett?) capoed up three frets and playing out of A position in standard tuning.  The piece is pretty reserved instrumentally; there never are any fireworks, really. 
The song is a "chorus" format 12-bar blues, and the lyrics seem to allude to a period when Sleepy John may have been living in Chicago.  He sings the chorus with great feeling and sounds like he was really ready to return home.  Help with the bracketed portions would be appreciated.

   Now, woke up this mornin', couldn't hardly see
   Snow on the ground 'bout eight foot deep
   CHORUS:  Lord, have mercy, baby, what gon' come of me?
   You know I feel just like easin' back down into Tennessee

   Now Carl Williams in the office wants to see you alone
   I can't do nothin' where this white stuff on
   CHORUS:  Lord, have mercy, baby, what's gon' come of me?
   You know I feel just like easin' back down into Tennessee

   Now, I'm on the South Side, my buddy on the East
   I don't know whether he's got any place to sleep
   CHORUS:  Lord, have mercy, honey, what's gon' come of me?
   You know I feel just like easin' back down into Tennessee

   Said, car can't go, [mountain] too slick
   Prob'ly might slip back off in a ditch
   CHORUS:  as after verse 3

   Now, twenty-two twenty-four West Hubbard Avenue
   That's where you get my 1938 blues
   CHORUS:  as after verse 2

Edited, 2/23 to pick up correction from Bunker Hill

All best,
Johnm

I had a search to see if Carl Williams was mentioned elsewhere on the thread/forum but couldn't find anything. Only, I hear it is 'call William in the office', which seems just as sensible?  ^-^ Also I've been singing can't do nothing 'while' this white stuff on, i.e. it's still snowing, but it does 'sound' like he's singing 'where'.

On the car can't go bit, could he be singing 'margin' as in road margin, as he mentions a ditch in the next line?

Offline Johnm

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Re: Sleepy John Estes Lyrics
« Reply #248 on: January 23, 2019, 04:06:51 PM »
Hi RichardW,
I think it is "mountain" rather than "margin".  People in the U. S. don't use the word margin in this context, we use the term "shoulder" to describe the side of a road.  I'm satisfied with the other questionable areas.
All best,
Johnm