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Blues with AAAB lyrics

GUEST,Joseph Scott 08 Apr 16 - 09:20 PM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 26 Apr 16 - 11:11 PM
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Subject: Blues with AAAB lyrics
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 08 Apr 16 - 09:20 PM

Many dozens of blues musicians recorded blues with the AAAB lyric form, which seems to have peaked in popularity in the 1910s. (The researcher of black folk music Newman White, who was born in 1892, wrote that as of about the 1910s the second most popular lyric form in blues after AAB was apparently AAAB, and other evidence suggests that he was right.) Some typical examples of AAAB blues songs in 1910s style are

"Midnight Blues" by William Moore (born about 1893)
"K.C. Railroad Blues" by Andrew and Jim Baxter (Andrew born before 1880)
"C. C. & O. Blues" by Simmie Dooley and Pink Anderson (Dooley born in 1880s)
"Sadie Lee Blues" by Peg Leg Howell (born 1888)
"Steamboat Man" by Roy Harvey (born 1892)
"Who's Going Home With You" by Rufe Johnson (learned from an older brother born in the 1890s)
"Goin' To Leave You Blues" by Big Boy Cleveland
"I'm Leavin' Town" by William Harris
"All Out And Down" by Thomas Shaw
"Florida Bound" by Edward Thompson
"Cross E Shimmy Dance Tune" by Tom Bell

Less common but quite common were ABBB lyrics and AAAA lyrics. It was common to use more than one of those three lyric forms in the same 16-bar blues song. It was also common to use both AAB and AAAB stanzas in the same blues song, or both 12-bar-blues and 16-bar-blues stanzas in the same instrumental, or more than one of AAA, ABB, and AAB in the same 12-bar song.

Emmet Kennedy of Lousiana recalled hearing blacks in the street singing a variant of "Poor Boy Long Ways From Home" with AAAB lyrics by about 1905. Although 16-bar blues have been quite popular with white musicians (ultimately as learned from black musicians, routinely), Bob Eagle and Eric LeBlanc's suggestion that 16-bar blues had a special relationship to white musicians rather than black musicians is incorrect.

Some of the famous blues musicians to use AAAB lyrics in blues were Blind Lemon Jefferson (in "One Dime Blues" and "Wartime Blues"), Furry Lewis (in e.g. some versions of "Judge Boushay Blues"), Leadbelly, Lightnin' Hopkins, Texas Alexander, Henry Thomas, Rev. Gary Davis, Big Bill Broonzy, Jesse Fuller, and Darby and Tarlton, among many others.

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Subject: RE: Blues with AAAB lyrics
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 26 Apr 16 - 11:11 PM

That typical folk 16-bar form of blues sometimes found its way into blues sheet music, such as Euday Bowman's "Fort Worth Blues" (1915) and Paul Durst's "Lone Star Blues" (1916). But most writers of blues sheet music were content to follow the lead of W.C. Handy, and Handy liked 12-bar blues.

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