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Leadbelly: Doin' the Sukey Jump

DigiTrad:
ALABAMA BOUND
BILL MARTIN AND ELLA SPEED
BRING ME LITTLE WATER, SYLVIE
COTTON FIELDS BACK HOME
DUNCAN AND BRADY
DUNCAN AND BRADY (2)
GOOD NIGHT IRENE
JUMPIN' JUDY
KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF HER
KISSES SWEETER THAN WINE
LININ' TRACK
MIDNIGHT SPECIAL
ROCK ME ON THE WATER
SKEWBALL
SO LONG IT'S BEEN GOOD TO KNOW YUH
SONG TO WOODY
TAKE THIS HAMMER
THE GRAY GOOSE
THE ROCK ISLAND LINE (is a mighty fine line)
WE SHALL WALK THROUGH THE VALLEY
WHOA BACK BUCK
YOU DON'T KNOW ME


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harpgirl 30 Oct 00 - 09:25 PM
tradman 30 Oct 00 - 09:32 PM
harpgirl 30 Oct 00 - 10:49 PM
GUEST,Lyle 31 Oct 00 - 09:43 PM
harpgirl 03 Nov 00 - 08:25 AM
Rick Fielding 03 Nov 00 - 11:10 AM
harpgirl 03 Nov 00 - 12:44 PM
GUEST,Lyle 03 Nov 00 - 09:10 PM
Rick Fielding 03 Nov 00 - 10:56 PM
murray@mpce.mq.edu.au 04 Nov 00 - 02:00 AM
GUEST,harp 04 Nov 00 - 02:37 AM
murray@mpce.mq.edu.au 04 Nov 00 - 07:25 PM
GUEST,Lyle 06 Nov 00 - 09:46 PM
GUEST,harp 06 Nov 00 - 09:58 PM
Rick Fielding 06 Nov 00 - 10:37 PM
murray@mpce.mq.edu.au 07 Nov 00 - 03:06 AM
GUEST,keith e. abel 27 May 06 - 03:18 PM
Azizi 27 May 06 - 04:02 PM
Big Jim from Jackson 28 May 06 - 11:09 AM
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Subject: Leadbelly: Doin' the Sukey Jump
From: harpgirl
Date: 30 Oct 00 - 09:25 PM

...I think I have been channeling Leadbelly for a long time without realizing it!! I am astounded at how many of his songs I have sung without realizing they were his. There are so many more I want to do. How exactly did he tap his two feet? It was some kind of syncopation...What about tunings? Is a sukey jump a special kind of song style? The dancing at the end of some of his songs reminds me so much of John Hartford's dancing...There aren't enough of his songs in the DT. Anyone got any good links? harpgirl


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Subject: RE: Leadbelly: Doin' the Sukey Jump
From: tradman
Date: 30 Oct 00 - 09:32 PM

Sukey Jump was a kind of dance. Leadbelly often played a small Cajun style accordian when playing Sukey Jump tunes and there is definitely a style and rhythm associated with those tunes. My personal favorite is Corn Bread Rough.


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Subject: RE: Leadbelly: Doin' the Sukey Jump
From: harpgirl
Date: 30 Oct 00 - 10:49 PM

...yes the "windjammer". Got words to "Corn Bread Rough". Haven't hard it...thanks harp


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Subject: RE: Leadbelly: Doin' the Sukey Jump
From: GUEST,Lyle
Date: 31 Oct 00 - 09:43 PM

According to "The Life ans Legend Of Leadbelly" by Charles Wolfe and Kip Lornell, (page 18):

"Most of the parties and dances ... were held in rural houses miles from the nearest town and often miles from the nearest white homestead. 'They call them sukey jumps,' Huddie recollected many years later. Sukey or sookie was apparently a Deep South slang term dating from the 1820's and referring to a servant or slave. A sukey jump, therefore, was once a dance or party in slave quarters. Huddie himself once explained the term by saying, 'Because they dance so fast, the music was so fast, and the people had to jump, so they called them sooky (sic) jumps.' Sookie, Huddie thought, was derived from the field term for a cow, and was used to call a cow. Whatever the case, These late nineteenth century country dances gave Leadbelly the first public platform for his music."

Another source to go to is "Mules And Men" by Zora Neale Hurston, who knew Leadbelly in New York; she describes them as being dances around big bonfires.

Hope this helps.

Lyle


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Subject: RE: Leadbelly: Doin' the Sukey Jump
From: harpgirl
Date: 03 Nov 00 - 08:25 AM

Tell me more Lyle. Do you do any tunes? Recordings? Are you Lyle Lovett? I won't tell anyone!!!


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Subject: RE: Leadbelly: Doin' the Sukey Jump
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 03 Nov 00 - 11:10 AM

If so, why'd you marry that Julia woman?

One thing that I've always wondered was were any videos made of black musical culture? 8mm film rather. Just last year I saw for the first time some newsreel footage of "Whistler's Jug Band" and several trad. musicians from about 1930. Quite a revelation. Even an uncredited twenty second clip of Smith Hammett (an extremely important banjo player to nurds like myself) and a little piece on Bascom Lunsford playing the fiddle with some mountain folk. It's one of Stefan Grossman's releases.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Leadbelly: Doin' the Sukey Jump
From: harpgirl
Date: 03 Nov 00 - 12:44 PM

I just did a Google search on Leadbelly! Hey, Rick, check this out! http://leadbelly.lanl.gov/leadbelly.html


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Subject: RE: Leadbelly: Doin' the Sukey Jump
From: GUEST,Lyle
Date: 03 Nov 00 - 09:10 PM

Sorry; I'm NOT Lyle Lovett - he's better looking!

Rick: The question really is WHY DID SHE MARRY HIM???

Anyway...

Leadbelly happens to be one of many folk persons I've collected information about for years. Got interested in him after seeing him in concert in Chicago many years ago. Don't remember the place, but probably Art T would know. Just be careful if you are reading about him. There have been a lot of things said that don't stand up to documentation. That's why I like the Wolfe - Warnell book; there is a ton of confirmation that can be documented.

Plus, I just like his music. And he had a way with the 12 string that I think is fantastic.

Lyle, an old timer on Mudcat who refuses to use cookies.


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Subject: RE: Leadbelly: Doin' the Sukey Jump
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 03 Nov 00 - 10:56 PM

Lyle. Can you give us any of the feel of that performance you saw? I simply cannot tell you how important that man's music has been to me over the years. I've been lucky enough to know some folks who knew him and played with him many years ago, and I still get a great kick out of the anecdotes.

Thanks Harp. Good site......and answers my OTHER question (from the other thread)

Rick


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Subject: RE: Leadbelly: Doin' the Sukey Jump
From: murray@mpce.mq.edu.au
Date: 04 Nov 00 - 02:00 AM

First of all Harpgirl. What Leadbelly is doing with his feet is what is known in classical music as "three against two". That is he is tapping one foot in triple rythm 3/3 while he taps the other foot in cut time 2/2.

There were some amateur films made of Leadbelly singing. Apparently they were done with a non-sound camera and the was recorded as he did it. Or else he recorded the songs first and then mimed them for the film. At any rate Pete Seeger took the trouble to synchronize the two. There was also a newsreal of a very young Leadbelly taken during his wedding. All of these are on a Grossman video. I don't have it to hand, so I can't give you the title; but it has two volumes and Leadbelly is on vol 2. Both volumes are worth looking at--John Hurt, Son House, and others.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Leadbelly: Doin' the Sukey Jump
From: GUEST,harp
Date: 04 Nov 00 - 02:37 AM

...bless you Murray...It sounded like three and two but why? How does it support his style? Is it like 6/8 jig time with one leg doing six and the other cut? Those Grossman volumes are at my local library, I think. Thanks so much.


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Subject: RE: Leadbelly: Doin' the Sukey Jump
From: murray@mpce.mq.edu.au
Date: 04 Nov 00 - 07:25 PM

No, it is much more difficult than cut with one foot and 6/8 with the other, harp. Try it! It is like tapping a very fast waltz with one foot while tapping a reel with the other. (or a waltz with one foot and a very slow reel with the other. In any case the beat is the same and the rythm just differs between feet.)

I think he did the three against two because he could do it, and most people can't--that is as a show piece. In the newsreel of his wedding he does it while playing a snatch of "Goodnight Irene". He doesn't do it as a tap dance but sitting with his legs crossed. You can see him do it.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Leadbelly: Doin' the Sukey Jump
From: GUEST,Lyle
Date: 06 Nov 00 - 09:46 PM

Rick - Wish I could give you a better description of my impression of his music, but I'm one with little musical talent - I just make a great audience! I guess that's why I like to research these things, because that's one way a non-talent person can become involved with the music I love.

But to answer as best I can... He played for about an hour in kind of a club setting, and I was there with an older brother who lived in Chicago at that time. (I think it was 1946, which make me about 14 at the time; that's another reason for poor impressions!). I seem to recall that he was there to record with some of the great blues players of the area, but I'm not sure of that. I do know that after the hour or so we went to an upstairs hall a couple blocks away that I later in life found was a not-so-nice private club. What I really remember to this day is that it seemed like two different people played under one name. During the first show, he was pretty much what I hear on recordings. In the "club" it was more of a jam session, with several people singing along, and a few playing. There he seemed totally different. His voice seemed to change on each song. My Dad was a fine "Irish Tenor" singer, and on some of the slow stuff, Huddie sounded the same way - soft, gentle, high tenor. On some of the "rougher" ones his voice was rough and raspy. And on some sad ones, it was almost a lower register whisper. Part of that might have been that he was not in the best of health, although we didn't know that till some time later. But I guess what I remember most was that his music included ALL of him. Body, voice, and if I'd have been older I'd probably have included his soul were pare of the music. My brother (who would have been 36 at the time and a big fan of his) said he was taking me because I needed to know what a musician sounded like when he sang from the heart - not a bad description.

Hope you can make some sense of this!

Lyle


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Subject: RE: Leadbelly: Doin' the Sukey Jump
From: GUEST,harp
Date: 06 Nov 00 - 09:58 PM

...thanks for asking that question, Rick. I had it in my narrow little mind! The thing he does with his feet is difficult! I just have to see a video. Haven't found it yet! I am wild for his improvisation on words, tempo, beat and style! What a creative genius! He died Dec 6th 1949, right? Was it Lou Gehrig's disease?


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Subject: RE: Leadbelly: Doin' the Sukey Jump
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 06 Nov 00 - 10:37 PM

Lyle, bless you! You've conveyed a great deal in those words. One more little piece in my own Leadbelly jig saw puzzle.

My interest in him (and a few others) actually puzzles (no pun) me quite a bit. I've been fortunate enough to meet and do some pickin' with quite a number of folks I admire, and hero-worship or sycophancy has never seemed to be part of my make-up.....but when it comes to Huddie ledbetter, I'm the biggest groupie you ever saw. I think there's some kind of "alter-ego" thing at work there.

In general, I think there was a period (1930-1950) of music and musicians that I simply would have wanted to be a part of. Oh, and to have lived in the States during that time as well. Growing up in Canada in the 60s was fine, but it just didn't do it for me "soul-wise". Seems pretty obvious from some of my posts over two and a half years, that "If I couldn't have been there...I wanna talk to folks who WERE". Thanks.

Harp. He does some of that cloggin' (buck dancing?) in the film that Pete synchronized the music to. It's certainly available at the library, if yours carries the "Rainbow Quest" shows. I've seen it a few times and it's neat. Bloody hard though, as you say.

Yup Amyotroph........aw shit, I can barely pronounce it let alone spell it...Lou Gehrig's disease, it is though.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Leadbelly: Doin' the Sukey Jump
From: murray@mpce.mq.edu.au
Date: 07 Nov 00 - 03:06 AM

By the way, Rick. If Leadbelly is important to you, you should look at the The Leadbelly page, which gives information about the Leadbelly Newsletter (which I think was started as a vehicle to prove that he was innocent of one of the murders. I think the process was started by one of his daughters or nieces.

The guy who runs it (I don't have his name to hand,) has RealAudio samples of a lot of Leadbelly's songs that he (who is nameless) performs on an imitation of Leadbelly's Stella. It also has links to where you can purchase a Stella imitation if you have the Shekles.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sukey Jump (Leadbelly)
From: GUEST,keith e. abel
Date: 27 May 06 - 03:18 PM

sukey jump is what leadbelly called the house and field parties he played in and caddo parish in northwest louisiana. sukey jump is a name for a rural get together. perhaps there was a dance, i cannot say for certain. in my years of research on leadbelly i have not heard that but it is certain that a sukey jump ain't nuthin' but a house party!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sukey Jump (Leadbelly)
From: Azizi
Date: 27 May 06 - 04:02 PM

There's a discussion on this
Mudcat thread about different meanings and [perhaps different origins] of the word "Sukey".

Lyle's Oct 31 2000 statement that [sookie/sukey] "Huddie thought, was derived from the field term for a cow, and was used to call a cow". A poster in that linked thread always said that 'sukey' was used to call cows. Another poster said that 'sukey' was a colloquial expression in Canada for a sensuous woman. And I noted that "Sukey" is a nickname for "Susan" and may have also come from the Akan {Ghanaian} female name "Akosua". I also mentioned that the colloquial African American phrase "Ah Sukie Sukie now" was {and I believe still is} sometimes used by men as approval for a sexy woman's body or as approval for a sensuous dance move that a woman makes.

An example of that last use is found in this R&B song:

GROOVE ME {Artist: King Floyd}
Uhh! Awww, sookie sookie now!
Hey! Oww, uhh! Come on, baby!
Hey there, Sugar Darlin',
Let me tell you something
Girl, I've been trying to say, now.
You look so sweet,
And you're so doggone fine.
I just can't get you out of my mind.
You've become a sweet taste in my mouth, now.
And I want you to be my spouse,
So that we can live happily, nah-nah,
In a great big ol' roomy house.
And I know you're gonna groove me, baby.
Ahh, yeah now...
-snip-

I suppose this may have something to do with "sukey jumps".

But maybe not.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sukey Jump (Leadbelly)
From: Big Jim from Jackson
Date: 28 May 06 - 11:09 AM

As a kid listening to some reletives who were farmers I heard them as they milked their cows. When a cow was a bit fidgity they would murmer to her "sook, sook, sook," and as she settled down they would change it to "sahh, sahh". And when they called the cows in from the field they would use the "soook!, soook!, soook!", a bit more drawn out and with a slight rising of pitch at the end. This was in southeastern Missouri in the 1940's.


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