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The blues ain't nothin' but a low-down achin' chill - Robert Johnson

Author Topic: The Influence of Blind Lemon Jefferson  (Read 14576 times)

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Offline JohnLeePimp

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Re: The Influence of Blind Lemon Jefferson
« Reply #45 on: July 15, 2011, 07:39:24 AM »
Just to add Blind Joe Reynolds and the dude who recorded under the name "Mississippi Moaner" to the list of direct influences
...so blue I shade a part of this town.


Offline uncle bud

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Re: The Influence of Blind Lemon Jefferson
« Reply #47 on: September 12, 2011, 07:26:05 AM »
Just to add Blind Joe Reynolds and the dude who recorded under the name "Mississippi Moaner" to the list of direct influences

Further to the Blind Joe Reynolds reference. Ninety Nine Blues sounds like it could have been influenced by Dry Southern Blues with the C chord that's rocking back and forth, and it also uses a Lemon-y bass riff in the solo. Third Street Woman Blues uses the vocal melody for Black Snake Moan. Both songs show the influence of Lemon but go off in very interesting directions. Cool stuff.

Offline jostber

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Re: The Influence of Blind Lemon Jefferson
« Reply #48 on: September 12, 2011, 08:03:16 AM »
So who did influence Blind Lemon? :)


Offline misterjones

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Re: The Influence of Blind Lemon Jefferson
« Reply #49 on: September 12, 2011, 11:54:57 AM »
I assume he picked up bits and pieces from musicians he heard on the streets as a youth.  Perhpas there are elements of southern gospel or aspects of African-American church services he incorporated, as well.  I also hear field hollers in his voice, and even some phrasing of Leadbelly (though I'm not sure who influenced whom in the latter regard.)  But what do I know?  I hear the Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet in the recordings of the young Elvis Presley.   

Offline Johnm

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Re: The Influence of Blind Lemon Jefferson
« Reply #50 on: September 14, 2011, 06:22:40 PM »
Hi all,
There's little point trying to re-construct the influences on Lemon's sound at this point.  Where the first generation of Country Blues musicians to record either did not have the opportunity to talk about who they learned music from, or were never asked, we're pretty much shut off forever from any sense of who, in particular, influenced their music.  The point of the thread is that in terms of influencing the greatest number of musicians possible, recording made all the difference in the world, for it made it possible for Lemon and other recording artists to influence hosts of musicians who would never see or hear them perform in person.  Recordings make it possible to trace the dissemination of musical ideas, both instrumental and in lyrics.  It's one reason why the more particular the point of influence cited is, the more telling it is. 
All best,
Johnm

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: The Influence of Blind Lemon Jefferson
« Reply #51 on: September 18, 2011, 08:09:03 PM »
Forgive me if I missed it, but I don't think anyone's mentioned Big Bill's late recordings of CC Rider which is a straight enough copy of Lemon's 'cept of course BBB can't help but swing a thing like crazy and boy howdy does he ever! Lemon's version is sublime, and despite BBB's claim to have learned a lot of his guitar playing from an older local musician named "See See Rider" the original source for Broonzy's version is clearly Blind Lemon, even if he received it second hand. A tip of the hat by the best to the best...can't beat it with a stick!
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Offline Rivers

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Re: The Influence of Blind Lemon Jefferson
« Reply #52 on: September 20, 2011, 08:40:56 PM »
Re. influences, I believe vocal power, being born with a natural instrument, allows singers to do whatever they choose to do, incorporating whatever influences happen to be current, as well as their tastes in 'retro sheik'. The guitar starts out as a backup instrument, if you then master it like Lemon did, and with that voice, you have no restraints on your power to invent or redefine genres. The voice is key to bending the music.

Examples are legion; Patton, Bessie Smith (no instrument just the voice), McTell, Gary Davis, Leadbelly, Robert Johnson, Stokes, Blake & Fuller (over-compensating on guitar to make up for the not quite stellar but totally adequate voice perhaps), it's a long list. Vocals rule, I have to just try and keep up. Then there's Furry Lewis, MJH and all kinds of other exceptions to that rule. Hey, it's folk music, usually, but Lemon was a country blues Pavarotti. It's really no wonder he still has the almost classical influence that he does. In fact I think it just gets stronger over time.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2011, 08:53:39 PM by Rivers »

Offline harvey

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Re: The Influence of Blind Lemon Jefferson
« Reply #53 on: September 21, 2011, 04:20:55 AM »
Mance Lipscomb does a fairly straight-up cover of Easy Rider Blues, with some alternate lyrics. Can be heard on the Captain, Captain disc.

I am listening to a lot of Mance at the moment, really good stuff Captian, Captain and Texas Songster.

Also sounds an obvious one, apologies if it has been mentioned in this thread already, but would fit into the same description as almost a straight-up cover with lyrics changed is One Thin Dime on Texas Songster - I really like both these tracks as

a. The original Blind Lemon songs are so damn good
b. The covers are so Mance.... if that makes sense.


 

Offline banjochris

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Re: The Influence of Blind Lemon Jefferson
« Reply #54 on: September 21, 2011, 10:16:06 AM »
In the case of "One Thin Dime," I would make the argument that that song was established in tradition and came to both Mance and Lemon through that route. Mance's playing of the tune and his sung melody is actually different than Lemon's, and Mance in interviews explicitly talks about learning that tune about 10 years before he heard Lemon play.

Offline CF

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Re: The Influence of Blind Lemon Jefferson
« Reply #55 on: October 04, 2011, 04:29:12 PM »
I've never found much Lemon in Lightnin' Hopkins' playing but I just caught a vid of Lightnin' where he announces he's going to play 'O My Baby Take Me Back' which we can assume he got from Lemon's 'Take Me Back' & just before he launches into it he plays a couple of Lemony licks in 'C' (the song is in this position too, a rare one for Lightnin' I think). Check it out here at the end of this video at about the 9:44 point & then part two below has the whole performance



I remember hearing some early Bill Monroe & my memory is that you can hear the guitarist do that great treble run Lemon does in songs like 'Got the Blues' . . .
Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: The Influence of Blind Lemon Jefferson
« Reply #56 on: December 02, 2011, 09:01:43 AM »
May have been mentioned before, but Blind Willie McTell's 'Last Dime Blues' seems to have been picked up note for note from BLJ. Or maybe he learned it from Ari Eisinger?

Offline Rivers

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Re: The Influence of Blind Lemon Jefferson
« Reply #57 on: December 02, 2011, 06:41:51 PM »
Absolutely agree, I posted that one on the 'great covers' thread. Was he influenced though, beyond being able to rattle-off a really good cover in the style?

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: The Influence of Blind Lemon Jefferson
« Reply #58 on: December 03, 2011, 03:39:38 AM »
Quote
[/quoteWas he influenced though, beyond being able to rattle-off a really good cover in the style?

That's a very good question. One for the Philosophy Dept?

Offline Johnm

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Re: The Influence of Blind Lemon Jefferson
« Reply #59 on: December 05, 2011, 05:30:54 PM »
Hi all,
Years ago here, in another thread, frankie cited McTell's "Drive Away Blues" as being influenced by Lemon's "Right Of Way".  I argued against it at the time, but have come to agree with him.  Lemon varies "Right of Way" considerably less than did McTell vary "Drive Away", but McTell's signature lick seems a pretty clear cop of Lemon's, plus the title  phrase, "drive away" versus "ride away".  McTell pretty much admitted to being a magpie about stealing and utilizing other people's ideas.  Why not steal from the best?
All best,
Johnm

 


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