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The old expression says, 'simplicity is only the absence of clutter', it's not a substance. That's all, right?... The timing's harder. The less notes you play, the harder the timing. When you're playing quick it's just eighth notes so they're all even. Syncopation is created from the space - Jerry Ricks, Port Townsend 97

Author Topic: Eli Framer--"Framer's Blues" and "God Didn't Make Me No Monkey Man"  (Read 1437 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Hi all,
Eli Framer recorded only two titles, I believe, in Atlanta in 1929.  I don't think anything is known about him in the biographical sense, but he is supposed to have been from Alabama.  He accompanied himself out of E position in standard tuning for "Framer's Blues", and does a nifty job of it, with strong thumb-popped bass notes.  From his singing, he sounds like he may have been an older man when he recorded.  This is a terrific cut, and the extent to which he barely varies his accompaniment ends up giving the whole rendition a sort of "lost in time" quality and cumulative impact.  That sense of sameness or repetition is strikingly broken when he goes long at the end of the opening line of his fifth verse.  I like the idea of him having his own blues named for him, and think we should all have such songs.  Here is "Framer's Blues":



   Mama, I'm gwine to the river, set down there by myself
   Say, I'm goin' to the river, babe, gonna set down there by myself
   Told the woman I love, she don't want nobody else

   Say, if it wasn't for my Mother, then this girl I love
   Say, is it wasn't for my Mother, baby, then the girl I love
   Give my body to the fishes, Lord, my soul to the Lord above

   Say, my Mama fussed with me, when I was young and wild
   Say, my Mama fussed with me, when I was young and wild
   "Mama, you oughta consider, Mama, Lord, you done been a child."

   Well, I ain't gwonna marry, babe, I swear I ain't gwonna settle down
   Well, I ain't gwonna marry, babe, I swear I ain't gwonna settle down
   Say, I'm gon' stay 'round here, babe, gonna wear these good browns down

   Babe, if blues gonna kill me, baby, better take my measure, measure now, Lord,
   Blues gonna kill me, baby, take my measure now
   Say, the blues gonna kill me, baby, take my measure now

   There's a change in the ocean, mama, change in the deep blue sea
   There's a change in the ocean, baby, change in the deep blue sea
   Say, you take me back, baby, find a change in me

   I followed my rider, baby, to her burying ground
   Say, I followed my rider, baby, to her burying ground
   Say, "Easy, preacher, let her body down."

Edited 1/6 to pick up corrections from uncle bud

All best,
Johnm

   
« Last Edit: September 08, 2018, 06:39:05 AM by Johnm »

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Eli Framer--"Framer's Blues"
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2012, 11:48:52 AM »
Hi all,
Eli Framer recorded only two titles, I believe, in Atlanta in 1929.  I don't think anything is known about him in the biographical sense, but he is supposed to have been from Alabama.
Bob Groom in his Talkabout column in Blues-Link 4 (1974) speculated at some length but didn't arrive at much.

Click image to zoom.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2012, 11:51:02 AM by Bunker Hill »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Eli Framer--"Framer's Blues"
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2012, 01:16:47 PM »
What I would take from that piece, Bunker Hill, is that no one knows from whence Eli Framer hailed, yes?  It seems like more or less plausible inferences but no hard info.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Eli Framer--"Framer's Blues"
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2012, 10:14:35 PM »
What I would take from that piece, Bunker Hill, is that no one knows from whence Eli Framer hailed, yes?  It seems like more or less plausible inferences but no hard info.
All best,
Johnm
John, I think that's a fair summation.  ;D

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Eli Framer--"Framer's Blues"
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2012, 07:07:25 AM »
Hi all,
Eli Framer recorded only two titles, I believe, in Atlanta in 1929.  I don't think anything is known about him in the biographical sense, but he is supposed to have been from Alabama.  He accompanied himself out of E position in standard tuning for "Framer's Blues", and does a nifty job of it, with strong thumb-popped bass notes.  From his singing, he sounds like he may have been an older man when he recorded.  This is a terrific cut, and the extent to which he barely varies his accompaniment ends up giving the whole rendition a sort of "lost in time" quality and cumulative impact.  That sense of sameness or repetition is strikingly broken when he goes long at the end of the opening line of his fifth verse.  I like the idea of him having his own blues named for him, and think we should all have such songs.

This is such a great cut, I really love Eli Framer's groove on this one. I hear things a little differently in the first verse:

1.1 MAMA, I'm goin' to the river, SIT DOWN THERE BY MYSELF (sit sung as set)
1.2 SAID I'm goin' to the river, babe, gonna SIT DOWN THERE BY MYSELF

And also a
5.1   BABE IF blues gonna kill me, baby, better take my measure, measure now, Lord,
   

Offline Johnm

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Re: Eli Framer--"Framer's Blues"
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2012, 07:19:51 AM »
Thanks very much for the catches, uncle bud.  I thought I had it all but I sure didn't.  I agree, a wonderful cut.  I've made the changes.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: Eli Framer--"Framer's Blues" and "God Didn't Make Me No Monkey Man"
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2012, 09:34:44 AM »
Hi all,
I thought I'd try to transcribe the lyrics to Eli Framer's other cut, "God Didn't Make Me No Monkey Man".  Both cuts can be found on the JSP set, "A Richer Tradition", one of their very best sets.  This song qualifies as one of the "mystery titles" in that the title phrase never appears in the lyrics.
Eli Framer accompanied himself out of Spanish tuning with a slide on "God Didn't Make Me No Monkey Man".  He had such good lyrics, and sometimes they're really hard to hear, especially at first.  His phrasing at the front end of the rendition is very free-form and changeable, but as he gets deeper into the performance, he begins to regularize his phrasing, such that he's a little short with his response lick which answers each vocal phrase, like so:

   |   4 beats, vocal   |    4 beats, vocal   |   instrumental response, 4 beats plus 3 beats   |

The instrumental response is heard as a single phrase, with the final (seventh) beat accommodating the vocal pick-up to the next line, most often "Say, I".  At the very end of the song, Framer stops singing and perseverates, sliding into a I note at the fifth fret of the first string for twenty seconds, which in musical time is an eternity.  I don't know of anything else like it, exactly, in the style; when you listen to it, it kind of strains your belief.
As usual, there are some places I'm not sure of, and I'd appreciate help.  Here is "God Didn't Make Me No Monkey Man":



   Lordy, Lord, Lord, Lord
   Lord, Lordy, Lord, Lord, Lordy, Lord, Lord, Lord
   Aw, Lord, I seen her, Lordy, Lord, Lord, oh

   Say I'm goin' to the depot, look up at the, mamlish sun, Lord,
   Goin' to the depot, look up at the sun
   Said, the train be gone, Lord, be some walkin' done

   Say, I got up this mornin', with'n' her walkin' off from my door
   Say, I got up this mornin', walkin' off from my door
   Say, I had the blues so bad, Lord, know what in the world to do

   Here, you, I'll tell you, rider, now, dago told the jew
   Say, I'll tell you, baby, what the dago told the jew
   Say, "If you don't want me, baby, cinch I don't want you."

   Say, I got up this mornin' with the blues all 'round my bed
   Hear, I got up this mornin' with the blues all 'round my bed
   Say, I b'lieve to my soul, Lord, blues gonna kill me dead

   Say, change in the ocean, baby, change in the deep blue sea
   Hear, there's change in the ocean, change in the deep blue sea
   Say you take me back, rider, I will find a change in me

   Say, I ain't gonna stay here to be no stumblin' block
   B'lieve I ain't gonna be here, be no stumblin' block
   Say, I'll play your dough, babe, I swear I won't never stop

   Say I'm gonna buy me a bulldog, Lord, Lord, now,
   Buy a bulldog, high as I am tall
   Say, if I go the depot, Lord, I swear my shadow fall

Edited 1/17 to pick up corrections from uncle bud, bayrum 78, and banjochris

All best,
Johnm

   
« Last Edit: September 08, 2018, 06:41:35 AM by Johnm »

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Eli Framer--"Framer's Blues" and "God Didn't Make Me No Monkey Man"
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2012, 01:46:30 PM »
I've given this a listen and it's pretty tricky given Framer's delivery. That is a pretty crazy ending. It's like a slide blues equivalent of a Beethoven coda that keeps coming back. Some minor differences listed below (not 100% certain of them either). Everything else I agree with.

   Lordy, Lord, Lord, Lord
   Lord, Lordy, Lord, Lord, Lordy, Lord, Lord, Lord
   Aw, [knowed] I seen her, Lordy, Lord, Lord, oh

In 1.3, I am hearing:

Aw, Lord I see'd her...


Quote
   Say I'm goin' to the depot, look up at the, mamlish sun, Lord,
   Goin' to the depot, look up at the sun
   Said, the train be gone, Lord, be some walkin' done

   Say, I got up this mornin', with'n' her walkin' off from my door
   Say, I got up this mornin', her walkin' off from my door
   Say, I had the blues so bad, Lord, know what in the world to do

I don't hear "her" in line 3.2.

Quote
   Here, you, I'll tell you, rider, now, dago told the jew
   Say, I'll tell you, baby, dago told the jew
   Say, "If you don't want me, baby, cinch I don't want you."

4.1 could be "TELL YA, I'll tell you..." with the T swallowed.
4.2 Say, I'll tell you, baby, WHAT the dago told the jew

Quote
   Say, I got up this mornin' with the blues all 'round my bed
   Say, I got up this mornin' with the blues all 'round my bed
   Say, I b'lieve to my soul, blues gonna kill me dead

5.3 Say, I b'lieve to my soul, LORD, blues gonna kill me dead

Quote
   Say, change in the ocean, baby, change in the deep blue sea
   Hear, there's change in the ocean, change in the deep blue sea
   Say you take me back, rider, I'll find a change in me

For 6.2 I hear "YEAH, THE change in the ocean..."

Quote
   Say, I ain't gonna stay here to be no stumblin' block
   B'lieve I ain't gonna be here, be no stumblin' block
   Say, I'll play your dough, babe, I swear I won't never stop

   Say I'm gonna buy me a bulldog, Lord, Lord, now,
   Buy me a bulldog, high as I am tall
   Say, if I go the depot, Lord, I'll swear my [Santa] fall

In 8.2 I hear "Buy a bulldog..." without the ME this time round. For the last line, I hear what you've transcribed, though am not exactly sure what it means.

It's a damn shame nothing more was captured from Framer, because these are two cool tunes.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Eli Framer--"Framer's Blues" and "God Didn't Make Me No Monkey Man"
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2012, 02:18:15 PM »
Thanks very much for the help on "God Didn't Make Me No Monkey Man", uncle bud.  I made the mistake of leaving a bunch of tunes I was still working on in Seattle, but as soon as I get back there I'll re-listen one more time and make the necessary changes.  Thanks! 
I couldn't agree more about Eli Framer.  He's definitely one of those "two-side wonders" you run up on every so often in the Country Blues, like George Torey, Bobby Grant, Lane Hardin (before "Cartey Blues" showed up) and a bunch more.  One feels particularly tantalized when the two sides released are as musically different from each other as "Framer's Blues" and "God Didn't Make Me No Monkey Man" are--you come away with a 'tip of the iceberg" feeling about the person's music.
All best,
Johnm

bayrum78

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Re: Eli Framer--"Framer's Blues" and "God Didn't Make Me No Monkey Man"
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2012, 08:32:57 AM »
 "Buy me a bulldog, high as I am tall
   Say, if I go the depot, Lord, I'll swear my [Santa] fall"

Great transcription- I never would have heard some of those lyrics! Now that it has largely been decrypted, we can start singing it without slurring and mumbling every other word. I noted the same things  uncle bud did so I don't have any definite changes to make, but want to suggest that in 8.3 instead of [Santa] maybe he is saying scent. Possibly he is saying my scent will fall or scent he'll foll' as in follow. Given the reference to the bulldog, a bulldog tracking his scent isn't implausible.

bayrum78

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Re: Eli Framer--"Framer's Blues" and "God Didn't Make Me No Monkey Man"
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2012, 10:44:55 AM »
 "Say, I got up this mornin', with'n' her walkin' off from my door
   Say, I got up this mornin', her walkin' off from my door
   Say, I had the blues so bad, Lord, know what in the world to do"

Listening again - in 3.1 I hear BABY not with'n' her. In 3.3, I hear I had blues so bad (no the)

Offline Johnm

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Re: Eli Framer--"Framer's Blues" and "God Didn't Make Me No Monkey Man"
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2012, 10:47:08 AM »
Thanks for the tip, Nate.  I was dubious about "Santa" in the tagline of that last verse of "God Didn't Make Me No Monkey Man".  I have never heard a country blues lyric refer to "Santa", it's always "Santa Claus", which is something else altogether.  I will give this a good listen when I get back to my recording of it this Wednesday, and see if I can incorporate uncle bud's and your suggestions.
All best,
John

bayrum78

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Re: Eli Framer--"Framer's Blues" and "God Didn't Make Me No Monkey Man"
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2012, 10:55:00 AM »
Santa could be shorthand for Santa Fe which would make sense.

Offline banjochris

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Re: Eli Framer--"Framer's Blues" and "God Didn't Make Me No Monkey Man"
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2012, 09:58:14 PM »
I'm hearing "shadow fall" at the end of "Monkey Man" -- this is listening to the version on Times Ain't Like They Used to Be Vol. 6, which is much clearer and is mastered at a slower (and to my ears more reasonable) speed than the version on "Songster Tradition."
Chris

Offline Johnm

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Re: Eli Framer--"Framer's Blues" and "God Didn't Make Me No Monkey Man"
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2012, 05:05:54 PM »
Hi all,
I was able to re-listen to "God Didn't Make Me No Monkey Man" and incorporated the suggested changes that I heard.
All best,
Johnm

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