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Origin: Pretty Little Widow (Skillet Lickers)

Richie 12 Jan 10 - 09:52 PM
GUEST,999 12 Jan 10 - 10:37 PM
Richie 12 Jan 10 - 11:50 PM
Richie 13 Jan 10 - 12:08 AM
GUEST,999 13 Jan 10 - 12:11 AM
Joe Offer 13 Jan 10 - 02:22 AM
Richie 13 Jan 10 - 11:42 AM
Richie 13 Jan 10 - 09:06 PM
Richie 15 Jan 10 - 12:50 AM
Richie 29 Mar 10 - 05:40 PM
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Subject: Pretty Little Widow; Origin debate
From: Richie
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 09:52 PM

Hi,

Recently I did a video to show people how to play Pretty Little Widow: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxfRKcMGqFo

In the video I stated that:

Clayton McMichen stated that Sugarfoot Rag was taken from his father's song- Pretty Little Widow by some boys in Nashville. He was referring to Hank Garland.

Pretty Little Widow was around in the early 1900s and therefore is a public domain song. Since it public domain if you play the melody which is similar to Sugarfoot Rag- it should be OK- or is it?

Some controversy has arisen over the video- should I take it down or is it OK to say what McMichen said in 1959.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Pretty Little Widow; Origin debate
From: GUEST,999
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 10:37 PM

Is it under copyright? That's the question that needs answering.


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Subject: RE: Pretty Little Widow; Origin debate
From: Richie
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 11:50 PM

Hi,

Sugarfoot Rag is copyrighted by Hank Garland, the issue seems to be whether the copyright for Sugarfoot Rag extends to a previously existing PD melody.

Don't see how it can.

I'm not saying Garland took the melody but Clayton McMichen did. I even have a tape of him telling about it.

My point is: if you play a PD song Pretty Little Widow that a copyright on Sugarfoot Rag shouldn't prevent you from playing it- even if the melody is very similar.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Pretty Little Widow; Origin debate
From: Richie
Date: 13 Jan 10 - 12:08 AM

Hank Garland family still collects royalties for Sugarfoot Rag.

Clayton McMichen's family and Slim Bryant (who is 101) still collects royalties for "In the Pines."

I think I should be able to play Pretty Little Widow even if it is similar to Sugarfoot Rag. I'm not using the lyrics of Garland's song or the same guitar riffs.

Or just because McMichen has a copyright on "In the Pines" I'd like to freely use it. Not the exact version, but the song.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Pretty Little Widow; Origin debate
From: GUEST,999
Date: 13 Jan 10 - 12:11 AM

A good answer will require someone with more knowledge than I have, Richie.


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Subject: RE: Pretty Little Widow; Origin debate
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Jan 10 - 02:22 AM

Well, after listening to Hank Garland's recording of "Sugarfoot Rag," I'd say it's the same tune - but "Sugarfoot Rag" is an expansion of the tune for "Widder," so I'd say the copyright on "Sugarfoot Rag" is legitimate (and your implication that "Rag" is in the public domain is "iffy.") It sounds like you have pretty good documentation that the tune for "Widder" came from before 1923; so "Widder" is clearly in public domain, but not "Rag." I see nothing in general about the video that is a violation of copyright - but your implication that "Rag" is public domain, is problematic. So, yeah, I think I'd alter the video and re-post.
Say, I don't see the lyrics to "Pretty Little Widow" here at Mudcat. Can I talk you into posting them, Ritchie?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Pretty Little Widow; Origin debate
From: Richie
Date: 13 Jan 10 - 11:42 AM

Sure Joe,

I'll post lyrics later tonight.

After complaints from Hank Garland's folks I've pulled the video. Essentially they claim I can't use Pretty Little Widow, which is just wrong- on their part.

Whether Hank based Sugarfoot Rag on Pretty Little Widow as McMichen asserts I don't know.

By bringing up McMichen's claim this has caused the problem with the video and if Clayton were alive I'm sure he'd be the first one to back me up in court- if it went that far.

I strongly believe in the right to freely use PD songs. Too many songs have been taken and claimed which prevents us from using them.

In this case I'd have to go to court to get it straigtened out-

Should I?

R-


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Subject: Lyr Add: PRETTY LITTLE WIDOW (from Skillet Lickers
From: Richie
Date: 13 Jan 10 - 09:06 PM

Below are Clayton McMichen/Riley Puckett's lyrics. Clayton learned this from his father cica 1910 and played it at the family gatherings in Altoona, Georgia. Clayton's father was trained violinist who could read music something Clayton never mastered.

In a 1956 interview McMichen expressed his opinion that "some boys in nashville had taken his father's song." McMichen was referring to Sugarfoot Rag. I'll see if I can get the exact quote- I have it on tape. IMHO Hank Garland's composition which he called 'finger exercises' deserves recognition as an original composition. He may have used pretty Little Widow as a basis, which seems likely but he gone now so we'll never know.

I have great respect for Hank Garland's great guitar playing. My versions of Pretty Little Widow were based on McMichen's fiddle playing and were actually in a different key than Garland's. They were just based off the chords and tho similar in some ways were not copied from him.

LyrAdd: PRETTY LITTLE WIDOW- Skillet Lickers 1928

Mac to Bert: Well Zeke, how're you doing with the little widder now?

Bert as Zeke: Oh boy fine, fine.

Mac: They tell me you're gettin' up quite a case up there is that so?

Bert as Zeke: You bet.

Mac: I just learned a new tune called the "Little Widder," I'm gonna play it for you and her. Riley you sing it now.

Riley: Let's go

(Fiddle intro)

Lawd Lawd, what a pretty little widder,
If I was a young man I'd go and git 'er.

(Fiddle)

Lawd-- what a pretty little widder,
Black my boots and I'll go and git 'er.

(Fiddle)

That little widder she's lookin' fine
I'm a -gonna beat *St. Lawrence's time.

(Fiddle)

Lawd Lawd, Lawd what a pretty little widder,
If I was a young man I'd go and get 'er.

(Fiddle)

Lawd, Lawd, Lawd, what a pretty little widder,
Black my boots and I'll go and git 'er.

(Fiddle)

Woah is me, she don't like me 'cause I'm rough and rowdy.
Everytime I go see her she hardly tells me, "howdy."

(Fiddle)

Lawd Lawd, Lawd what a pretty little widder,
If I was a young man I'd go and get 'er.

(Fiddle ending)


*or "Steve Lawrence's time" also I've heard "Freddy Lawrence's time."


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Subject: RE: Pretty Little Widow; Origin debate
From: Richie
Date: 15 Jan 10 - 12:50 AM

Next to last verse should be:

Woe is me, she don't like me 'cause I'm rough and rowdy.
Everytime I go see her she hardly tells me, "howdy."

If someone could fix please. Never was good at spelling- lol

Richie


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Subject: RE: Pretty Little Widow; Origin debate
From: Richie
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 05:40 PM

Hi,

Just finished my painting of pretty Little Widow featuring Clayton McMichen:

http://richardmattesonsblog.blogspot.com/

Comments?

Richie


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