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Blind Lemon questions

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GUEST,Iceboy 26 Jan 02 - 06:07 PM
Rolfyboy6 27 Jan 02 - 01:40 AM
Rick Fielding 27 Jan 02 - 11:50 AM
Rolfyboy6 27 Jan 02 - 10:11 PM
Sorcha 27 Jan 02 - 10:18 PM
iceboy 27 Jan 02 - 11:01 PM
Rolfyboy6 28 Jan 02 - 12:46 AM
Rick Fielding 28 Jan 02 - 12:06 PM
Justa Picker 28 Jan 02 - 01:00 PM
Murray MacLeod 28 Jan 02 - 02:21 PM
M.Ted 28 Jan 02 - 02:37 PM
iceboy 29 Jan 02 - 12:30 AM
Deckman 29 Jan 02 - 11:28 PM
Rick Fielding 30 Jan 02 - 12:22 AM
ddw 30 Jan 02 - 12:27 AM
Rick Fielding 30 Jan 02 - 12:53 AM
M.Ted 30 Jan 02 - 01:58 PM
Rick Fielding 30 Jan 02 - 07:42 PM
Tweed 30 Jan 02 - 08:26 PM
Rolfyboy6 30 Jan 02 - 09:41 PM
ddw 30 Jan 02 - 10:49 PM
Rolfyboy6 30 Jan 02 - 11:03 PM
ddw 30 Jan 02 - 11:07 PM
WyoWoman 30 Jan 02 - 11:43 PM
WyoWoman 30 Jan 02 - 11:44 PM
M.Ted 31 Jan 02 - 12:24 AM
Rolfyboy6 31 Jan 02 - 12:46 AM
M.Ted 31 Jan 02 - 12:47 PM
ddw 31 Jan 02 - 06:54 PM
Rick Fielding 31 Jan 02 - 08:16 PM
M.Ted 31 Jan 02 - 08:27 PM
Rolfyboy6 31 Jan 02 - 08:36 PM
M.Ted 01 Feb 02 - 02:56 PM
van lingle 02 Feb 02 - 10:39 AM
Rolfyboy6 02 Feb 02 - 11:24 AM
M.Ted 03 Feb 02 - 01:53 AM
Rick Fielding 03 Feb 02 - 01:49 PM
M.Ted 04 Feb 02 - 11:34 AM
M.Ted 04 Feb 02 - 11:35 AM
Rick Fielding 04 Feb 02 - 12:10 PM
M.Ted 04 Feb 02 - 04:20 PM
M.Ted 04 Feb 02 - 04:22 PM
GUEST,Iceboy 13 Feb 02 - 06:41 AM
M.Ted 13 Feb 02 - 02:18 PM
GUEST,Iceboy 13 Feb 02 - 04:51 PM
M.Ted 14 Feb 02 - 01:04 PM
GUEST,Iceboy 14 Feb 02 - 05:36 PM
M.Ted 15 Feb 02 - 12:10 PM
GUEST,Iceboy 15 Feb 02 - 07:23 PM
WyoWoman 17 Feb 02 - 10:34 AM
Marion 28 Mar 02 - 12:38 AM
Rolfyboy6 28 Mar 02 - 12:51 AM
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PoppaGator 17 Jan 05 - 06:46 PM
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Subject: Blind Lemon questions
From: GUEST,Iceboy
Date: 26 Jan 02 - 06:07 PM

Blind Lemon Jefferson is my latest favorite pre-war guitar genius, espcially when running bass lines and fills in the key of C. He often implies an A7 when nearin the end of a verse by running his bass line down from C to A. In a typical guitar rag that move would be followed by a D7, or Dm7, and then a G7 back to C. Lemon n't make it that simple! He often seems to glide over the end of the verse with a solo vocal line, as in Black Snake Moan, with a few muffled guitar notes underneath. I can hear, I think, a G note hanging on the high E third fret but the rest of it's pretty hazy. Anybody know exactly what he does in thoe several beats between the open A string and the downbeat of the next C chord? I know, I know....what's this guy, nuts? Trying to figure out Blind Lemon? Hint, I AM in Antarctic, after all. :^) Pass the gin, please. ~Iceboy


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: Rolfyboy6
Date: 27 Jan 02 - 01:40 AM

I've wondered about the same thing and, no, I don't think you're nuts. Jefferson is maddening to study because he plays rhythm and lead guitar alternately and breaks off from one and starts the other whenever a break occurs, sometime unpredictably. He sketches things and implies things because he has no second guitarist. He's the first real single note lead guitarist in the blues, so his bass runs and rhythm work are sometimes 'ghostly'.

Guess I'll get out my old records tomorrow and see what I can figure out. I've been meaning to take on 'Black Snake Moan', an all time great. Thanks for the push.


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 27 Jan 02 - 11:50 AM

Hi Iceboy. You already HAVE nailed Lemon's style. It's frustratingly difficult as a whole, but when you break it down into parts, it CAN be tackled. here's one little oddball trick. Find some recordings of the fine white blues guitarist (and contemporary of Lemon's) Dick Justice. His recordings are cleaner than lemon's and easier to learn from, and he plays the stuff virtually note for note (an amzing accomplishment)

Certain things have to be learned first though before you can apply them to a "lemon" song. That tremolo he does!! Yikes that's hard. Also you need to be fluent (I expect you are) in the "thumb-index" single string style. He's obviously big on "partial" chords, and as you mention, doesn't feel the need (always) to go from '6' to '2' before hittin' the '5'....or does he? Is he just playing some parts really quietly?

It's like a puzzle isn't it? Maddening, but great fun when you solve (parts of) it.

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: Rolfyboy6
Date: 27 Jan 02 - 10:11 PM

Here's a page of Blind Lemon Jefferson song keys and sources. Thanks to Doc John the Bluegill of Tweed's Blues for finding this on Frank Basile's site. Lemon Jefferson's Blues Keys


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: Sorcha
Date: 27 Jan 02 - 10:18 PM

Since this is supposed to be a "blues and folk" forum, I am really surprised that this has not had more respones. Oh well, I guess.


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: iceboy
Date: 27 Jan 02 - 11:01 PM

Hi Sorcha!

Actually, I'm impressed with the quality of these responses. Didn't know how many hits I'd get on a question like that. Untangling the mazes of Lemon's phrasing is no walk in the park, to say the least. Thanks Rick, for that tip. I'll look for this guy's recordings. I know Lemon plays some minimal notes in there to bridge the gap between the 6 and 1, but his vocal signal is so strong, it's damn near impossible to hear what's going on underneath. Wonder if Alvin Youngblood Hart knows? Thanks for the website Rolfboy. I also had fun with Lemon's boogie-woogie style intro, complete with octave bass runs in A position. Forget the name of the song but it's a killer!


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: Rolfyboy6
Date: 28 Jan 02 - 12:46 AM

Lemon has something to offer 70 years after his death. The guy was real original. His songs have way fewer 'loaner' verses than most pre-war guys, and his musical concepts were good too. Great lead runs too. A lot of his blues hold together thematically too, whereas a lot of his conteporaries had looser associations in their tunes. Plus I love names like "Piney Woods Mojo Mama."


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 28 Jan 02 - 12:06 PM

One of the aspects of Lemon's music that always puzzled me was that he was definitely "commercial". His recordings sold well, despite their eclectic nature. His death at an early age prevented us from getting a closer look at his style, and I wonder whether his recording career would have lasted into the mid to late thirties. He might even have been one of the "re-discoveries" of the early sixties.

One of those great little seminal moments for me was hearing Gary Davis' "Top to bottom" run in his original recording of "Search My Heart". I was simply blown away....but listening carefully to some of Lemon's more complicated figures, it's easy to see that he "buried" (beneath the vocal) more amazing lines than many of his contemporaries "showcased". A phenomenal Musician.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: Justa Picker
Date: 28 Jan 02 - 01:00 PM

If anyone's interested here are a few tabs of some BLJ tunes. You would need a free/evaluation copy of Guitar Pro tablature program to see/play/print these tabs.


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 28 Jan 02 - 02:21 PM

I have to confess that I have not listebed to Blind lemon Jefferson much. Well, at all really. I have listened to all of Blind Blakes's recordings however, and would be interested to know which one would be regarded by blues cognoscenti as the better guitarist.

Or let me rephrase that. Which one would be the more difficult to nail down note for note? Martin Simpson told me once that Woody Mann had Blind Blake down pat, but I haven't heard any of his recordings.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: M.Ted
Date: 28 Jan 02 - 02:37 PM

BLJ may have been as old as 50 when he died(Some people have placed his birth around 1880--

It had always occurred to me that each of his tunes had that well worked quality that only comes from time--he seemed to be able to pull any number of arrangements and even sets of lyrics out for any given tune--meaning to me that he knew the possibilities of each of the positions that he used, inside and out, and that he had long ago dispensed with the basic form of a tune, and had re-arranged it, and each number was exactly like he wanted it-even going so far as to moving the chord change, or dropping the chord to create tension--

I don't have Black Snake Moan on CD (my turntable hasn't worked for a while), so I can't speculate on what is there, but you can often get a leg up on his C position turnarounds if you play the C bass note on the low E String with your pinky, and ride down to the A, pop in a D note or D-F#-C triad, and grab G note and/or chord before hitting the open C chord--

He layed out the palate for every jazz, blues, and rock guitarist that followed--and many of them built careers on just one or two of the devices that he used--

You don't need to work out everything he did--in fact, you can keep yourself busy(and happy) for a long time working with just a few of his licks--


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: iceboy
Date: 29 Jan 02 - 12:30 AM

Hey M-Ted. I'm trying to visualize the turnaround move you describe. Why the pinky on the 6th string C? Where are the other fingers then, and why not just play it with the ring finger, or on the 5th string with the ring finger in plain open C position? The D F# C is around the fifth fret with C on G string, right? I know what you describe works musically, but I'm not convinced Lemon was squeezing those chords out of that little parlor guitar on his turnarounds! Doesn't quite sound the same.


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: Deckman
Date: 29 Jan 02 - 11:28 PM

Jeeeze! I'd like to add something of quality here, but all I can say is that I did sing a set at a club called "THE BLIND LEMON", in Berkeley, in 1959. (I know, it doesn't add much to the quality of the thread ... but it's a thought)! CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 30 Jan 02 - 12:22 AM

Hi Murray. As to your question of which one would be easier to nail down. It's really apples and oranges. I can HEAR Blake a lot easier than Lemon, and consequently have been able to play many of his licks, and obviously Dick Justice was able to HEAR Lemon, 'cause his take on him was pretty damn accurate. As to who was the best? Apparently Lemon sold a lot of records, and Blake nowhere near as many....so the public thought Lemon was best. They're ALL wonderful to me.

But the best....the very best...well....I'll go for Big Bill Broonzy. Anyone who could swing like he did with both fingerstyle AND hot flatpicking, is top of the heap to me.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: ddw
Date: 30 Jan 02 - 12:27 AM

Rick, Rick, Rick....

Heresy, I say! What about Josh White? I love Broonzy, too, but JW was so subtle.

david


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 30 Jan 02 - 12:53 AM

David, Josh was indeed subtle....but Broonzy could flatpick like crazy by the time he was about 19 or 20...and his syncopated fingerpicking still seems damn near impossible to me.

Now the Blues guy I LIKE the most was Leroy Carr....but that's another thread!

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: M.Ted
Date: 30 Jan 02 - 01:58 PM

Iceboy--

I use acoustic guitarists least favorite (and most practical) closed position C chord--

7-6-4-4-4-X

With the pink on 7, ring on 6 and index barred across the three strings on the fourth fret--(you can take the pink and put it on the 7 fret of the high e to get your high notes)

This seemingly awkward position allows you to play two full octaves with only a slide down on the G string(no slide at all if you are playing a scale with a dominant 7 in it)--and you can play any notes in the chromatic scales without changing position--If you want speed and range, this is your scale, and it lets you alternate bass lines with lead licks without changing position--

It works really well with many BLJ tunes--I won't say how much he used it, because I don't want to get into any debate with people who have worked out his tunes using different fingerings, but you can do a nice job with a number of his booger rooger lines, as well as his leads and rhythms in this position--


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 30 Jan 02 - 07:42 PM

You is DA MAN Ted!

Now this is one of those great little chord/scale positions that EVERYONE should learn. Too much of a stretch? Too hard? Nah... drivin' to an office job through traffic everyday....THAT'S hard!

Rick


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: Tweed
Date: 30 Jan 02 - 08:26 PM

MTed, thanks bub, just tried that out and learned another thing for the bag of licks and tricks. I've played C almost every other way, but not that one before. Thanks again.


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: Rolfyboy6
Date: 30 Jan 02 - 09:41 PM

Yeah! The barred "G" position, one of the old secrets of the 'untutored' old time musicians. I've had to 'unlearn' some things to see what some of the weird positions the old time players used.


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: ddw
Date: 30 Jan 02 - 10:49 PM

Help — I must be grossly misunderstanding something.

MTed, is the fingering you suggest starting from the top down and in standard tuning? If so, 7-6-4-4-4-X, would give you B-F-B-F#-C#-X. I do a C chord that is 8-5-5-5-X-X, but I don't understand your chord at all.

david


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: Rolfyboy6
Date: 30 Jan 02 - 11:03 PM

It's just the G chord form barred up the neck (leaving out the first string). barre with your index across all strings and use two of your remaining fingers to finger 1. three frets up on the 6th string and 2. two frets up on the 5th string. This allows varied 'boogie' patterns out of the basic position.


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: ddw
Date: 30 Jan 02 - 11:07 PM

Ah, the light dawns..... We're talking bass-to-treble, not the other way. Sorry.....

thanks Rolfy...

david


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: WyoWoman
Date: 30 Jan 02 - 11:43 PM

If I ever got my fingers in that position, they would simply have to stay there for the rest of my natural life.

But this raises a question: Did the old guys KNOW that they were playing in D or Am or whatever, or did they just make up chords that sounded good and sort of accommodate each other until it sounded good? Does that make sense? I mean, since so many of them were self-taught, how much of what we take for granted vis. music theory (key signature, circle of fifths, etc.) did they actuall know?

ww


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: WyoWoman
Date: 30 Jan 02 - 11:44 PM

If I ever got my fingers in that position, they would simply have to stay there for the rest of my natural life.

But this raises a question: Did the old guys KNOW that they were playing in D or Am or whatever, or did they just make up chords that sounded good and sort of accommodate each other until it sounded good together? Does that make sense? I mean, since so many of them were self-taught, how much of what we take for granted vis. music theory (key signature, circle of fifths, etc.) did they actuall know?

ww


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: M.Ted
Date: 31 Jan 02 - 12:24 AM

I made a naming mistake on the fret numbers, I was on the Seventh fret, which was in B, a half step up, eight fret would have been C--

Fool that I am, I play this position on my twelve string--I am glad that you all liked this so much, except for you WyoWoman, it really isn't that hard, once you've made up your mind to do it--I do believe those old guys knew exactly what they were doing, that "self-taught" stuff was went over big with the folklorist types, but there were a lot of trained musicians around and in those days, music lessons were cheap--I think it is no coincidence that a lot of the early blues guitarists came from Texas, since there were a lot of Mexican and Spanish guitarists there--


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: Rolfyboy6
Date: 31 Jan 02 - 12:46 AM

The self taughtness varies with the individual. Most were self taught in the beginning and then persued it. Also exposure to people who could teach varied. The great foundation Delta Blues artist Son House grew up in the church and was part of choirs and had been to singing schools and had been tutored in music by a choir master before he ever took up the blues and learned to play the guitar at the age of 26. Several blues people went to music schools after migrating to the north. Blind Blake shows enormous knowlege.

Lemon Jefferson knew all the musicians in Dallas (and elsewhere) and certainly would have picked up a considerable amount of knowlege. He worked all the joints in Deep Ellum where all the other Dallas musicians worked. We know he was a friend of T-Bone Walker's parents (both pro musicians) and attended the Sunday afternoon jams at the Walker house (where can I get a ticket?).

In contrast MississippiJohn Hurt stayed in and around very rural Avalon and Como Mississippi for almost all of his life and learned things for himself piece by piece, song by song. And he knew all the local good musicians. He had many chord forms and inversions of his own that he made up because they fit what he was doing. In the end, as always, "It's the 'want-to' that counts". The odd positions that can be found in some artists show a lot of self-taughtness, or is it invention?


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: M.Ted
Date: 31 Jan 02 - 12:47 PM

Part of playing guitar is that you are generally your own writer and arranger--Blues proves the rule--there are many different positions that you can use, each offering a different range of possibilities, and even when you use the same position as another player, a change in the rhythm pattern a slide, a quirky extension, or even a damped beat, can change the whole nature of what you are playing--

Oddly enough, the old time players used many more different musical ideas and devices than the newer players--it has been pointed out that there is a whole generation of electric players out there whose playing is based on two BB King licks, whose playing was based on 4 T-Bone Walker licks, whose playing was based on 16 Blind Lemon licks, who, on occasion. used 16 licks in a single tune--


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: ddw
Date: 31 Jan 02 - 06:54 PM

MTed and Rolfy —— I went home last night and tried the "barred G" you're talking about and found it nearly impossible. But then I tried forming a standard G using my little finger on the treble E, my ring finger on the bass E and my middle finger on the A string. Then I slid it all up the neck and laid my index across the all six strings two frets down quite comfortably. Worked a whole lot better for me than the contortions above and gave me a full six-string chord to boot.

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 31 Jan 02 - 08:16 PM

(16 licks!) Ted....you're on fire this week!

Blind bermuda Schwartz


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: M.Ted
Date: 31 Jan 02 - 08:27 PM

That is OK to do, now just let up on the pinkie, and slide the index down a couple frets and you are there--

You need to do this because there isn't a lot of point in playing a C chord up there unless you can move effortlessly from playing bass lines, and shuffle solos using extensions--In other words, that index finger holds the C triad(G-C-E), across three strings on the fifth fret and the other fingers bounce around playing bass and lead lines--


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: Rolfyboy6
Date: 31 Jan 02 - 08:36 PM

M. Ted. --Weel, lots of attitude but not actual fact. B.B. and T-Bone have a ton of licks. Many of the early blues guys have only a few. Lemon Jefferson is justly famous for his variety. The great Fred McDowell conciously built his songs from only one or two licks, describing his method as building from a lick that sounds good.

ddw--the point of the barred 'G' form is not having a full chord to strum or do pattern picking, but to have access to 'box' forms out of which the bass rhythm riffs can be done. Check out Willie Brown playing behind Chrlie Patton on some of Patton's recordings and behind Son House in some of the 1941 L of C recordings (and listen to his concepts on his only two recordings in his own name "Future Blues" and "M&O Blues").


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: M.Ted
Date: 01 Feb 02 - 02:56 PM

Rolfyboy,

I was actually being droll--T-Bone Walker was both a great player and a great entertainer--it has always annoyed me that so many people only focus on BB King(tho' his show never fails to please)--

Again, to be only slightly droll, blues does seem to have de-evolved, in the sense that, at least ideawise, it is much more minimalist than it once was--If you go for the idea that rap is the current day manifestation of blues, then it has, in some cases, de-evolved to to one lick repeated every eight counts, and one chord--


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: van lingle
Date: 02 Feb 02 - 10:39 AM

thanks for this very interesting thread, guys. i'm one handed for a while and i can't wait to to get back and try out some things with that closed c position. dave


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: Rolfyboy6
Date: 02 Feb 02 - 11:24 AM

M. Ted--Your right about the de-evolution: "When I found Stevie I found the BLUES!"--"I just love Clapton's 'Hideaway'." "Who's Big Bill Broonsy?" Makes my flesh crawl. Too much homogenization. I try to gently point the young guys toward diversity and away from straight 4/4 time and endless shuffles. "Uh, have you heard Slim Harpo and all his varied rhythms? B.B. doing rhumbas? Stop Time? Robert Johnson playing slightly behind his own beat? Tommy McClennan rushing the beat? Lightnin' Hopkins mangling the meter for song purposes? Can you swing?". The rockers look blank. Bluegrassers, old-timey, and Celtic people get it right away. They've all had rolls, cross picking, '6/8 ain't 3/4 time', and other lessons.


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: M.Ted
Date: 03 Feb 02 - 01:53 AM

Rolfyboy6,

The other thing is speed--a lot of these Stevie Ray Vaughn wannabees think that it is all about lots of fast notes--I love blues, but nearly never go to see any of the whitebread blues bands that have appeared over the last number of years because they are so predictable--


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 03 Feb 02 - 01:49 PM

Go here.

Old Records

Click on the "Artists" section, and find Frank Hutchison singing and playing "Miner's Blues". You'll hear someone who sure as hell listened to Blind Lemon. Greatttt pickin'.

Plus, I discovered (sort of) what "streaming" was....and that with it, I can hear all these wonderful songs without waiting three or four minutes for them to come up.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: M.Ted
Date: 04 Feb 02 - 11:34 AM

He's great, and the guitar is better miked! Do you know anything about this guy, or when the recordings were done?

The other cuts of his are real barn burners, too!

Even streaming, it buffered for quite a while before I could listen though--blame my really lame Verizon dial-up, which is really slow--with MP3 files, it takes longer, but a least I can listen to my hearts content--


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: M.Ted
Date: 04 Feb 02 - 11:35 AM

He's great, and the guitar is better miked! Do you know anything about this guy, or when the recordings were done?

The other cuts of his are real barn burners, too!

Even streaming, it buffered for quite a while before I could listen though--blame my really lame Verizon dial-up, which is really slow--with MP3 files, it takes longer, but a least I can listen to my hearts content--


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 04 Feb 02 - 12:10 PM

Frank is one of my heroes. Even did a "tribute" to him on my Folk Legacy album (Hutchison's Ramble). He was a miner, recorded extensively for about five years and then disappeared into obscurity. Died young if I remember right. His version of "Titanic" is classic (although indecypherable the first twenty listenings).

Rick


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: M.Ted
Date: 04 Feb 02 - 04:20 PM

It must be great to live in obscurity, given that there are so many amazing musicians there!


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: M.Ted
Date: 04 Feb 02 - 04:22 PM

It must be great to live in Obscurity, given that there are so many amazing musicians there!


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: GUEST,Iceboy
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 06:41 AM

Hey M Ted;

Thanks for the illumination. I've been crazy busy with work (shame we have to work, ain't it??!!) and unable to spend much time posting. I understand the G box position you refer to, but think Lemon used that position capoed in some other tunes, but certainly not as often as he used open C position. He wouldn't have been able to execute those amazing runs from low F up to E flat-E flat-C in G position, for example. What I love about the guy was that he was so unorthodix, regardless of whether he was in G, A, C, or E position. Oops, I'm missing dinner! Gotta run.

Iceboy


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: M.Ted
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 02:18 PM

It really is more of a C box--since it is a closed position--I it sounds to me like he used the closed position a lot for leads and such--I was listening to Corrina Blues, and there is a little lead figure that he repeats--he may use an open chord position, but that little figure just pops out in the closed position, and it is awkward in the open position--I am not sure if he is unorthodox or not--he does do a lot of stuff that people don't do now, but we don't really know much about the way the guys who he listened to played--

You've ruined me for the day, I am afraid, because I have the guitar out, and I am fooling around when I should be working--


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: GUEST,Iceboy
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 04:51 PM

M. Ted-I guess what I mean by G-box is that, if played open with the third fret as root, you'd be in the key of G. That's if I'm understanding the position you described with the root at the eighth fret. A lot of times when working with pre-war solo guitar, I think of the "positions" like a harmonica player might think in terms of blowing straight harp (1st position), cross-harp (2nd), or any of the other 6 positions you could get on a diatonic harp. In guitar for example, if you were playing out of a position using an A chord (open e, open a, second fret barred e,a,c sharp, fifth fret a) you could capo at the third fret, move the whole position up three frets, and you'd still be playing in "A" position, even though you'd now be in the key of C. I think the position you described was 6th to 2nd string c,e,g,c,e. If this pattern was moved down from the 8th fret to open position starting on the 3rd fret, it would be a G chord, and thus, by my peculiar terminology "G position." Clear as mud?! Ha-ha. I just tend to go with positions I think artists use to get their bass lines or chord voicings, regardless of what key they're capoed to, and it seems from a lot of what I've heard that Blind Lemon really tends to favor the G-C-E-G-C-E voicing in open position, as opposed to C-G-E-C-E-C. I have by no means worked on all his songs, though. I've studied about eight of them pretty seriously in the positions of C, G, A , and E.


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: M.Ted
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 01:04 PM

That actually is an "A" chord form, though a totally closed position A, with the bottom A note on the Low E string--As a general rule, the "position" is named for the fret where the index finger rests(since it is generally the closest to the nut on the fretboard)--

BLJ, and many other players,often used different positions within a song, depending on whether they were playing a chord, a bass run, or lead figure--Curious about which recording has the F bass run that you refer to. because generally, that can be done quite handily without using a C fingering of any sort--


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: GUEST,Iceboy
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 05:36 PM

So then what position would you call the one where the open fifth string would be an A and the open sixth an E with the d, g, b strings barred at the second fret for an A chord? I'm thinking if I'm playing out of a position that utilizes what would be described as a G chord in open position, the one you describe as A position, with the d, g, and b capoed, and the two E strings fretted three frets above the capo, that would be a G chord in open position, and therefore best described as G position, becoming A position if the nut or capo were dropped two more frets to allow the root and fifth to be played on te open fifth and sixth strings. Man, this is a lot easier to see than it is to describe!

Have to go look for the title of that BLJ song. The line I'm thinking of would be something like f, g, a, c, d, e flat. It sort of lands on an F minor 7th, but may actually start on a g note on sixth tring. Very distinctive sounding and cool, typical BLJ.


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: M.Ted
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 12:10 PM

The "A" with open notes is in second position, the "G" is in second position--you are on the money when you say this stuff is easier to see than to describe!

The trick is that everytime you discuss something, you have to agree in advance as to what you mean when you say certain things--this comes from the fact that it can make just as much sense to refer one chord as a G-position(because the notes have the same relationship as in a G), an "A" position because the fingers are in the positions that are used in the A chord, or a "C" position because that is the actual chord that you are playing--

It is a bit like philosophy, where most of the discussion revolves around the definition of terms--the difference is that we have something we actually want to accomplish after the terms are defined--


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: GUEST,Iceboy
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 07:23 PM

You are so right, M. Ted. Sorry to have made things so confusing. I basically learned early on listening to R. Johnson and Skip James records that a lot of those early delta bluesman would capo to match a key to their vocal range while keeping the same bass line options and chord voicings they wanted. In other words, if you're tuned standard playing in A major and you want to change to B flat major, don't go through a lot of left hand contortions, just capo up a fret and stay in "A." I may therefoe be using my own terminology when describing these positions. First, second, third, etc....would probably be a lot less confusing when you can't actually sit across the room from each other watching. Basically, I guess all the chords that would be played down near the nut in their most basic form using open strings, E, G, A, C, and D can be capoed up. My peculiar, maybe unique, and probably confusing terminology would define those positions when capoed, as the chord or scale positions you'd be in if you weren't capoed, but back down in first position around the nut. But you're right, the bottom line revolves around trying to get the muic right!


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: WyoWoman
Date: 17 Feb 02 - 10:34 AM

This is wonderful and hilarious, watching you two try to describe something in the abstract that if you were sitting next to each other on a sofa, you'd just look at each other's hands on the neck of the guitar and say, "OH, yeah... I see..."

One of these days, when we all have holographic internet connections. ... (Wait ... that probably means i'd need to comb my hair and get out of these raggedy-ass p.j.s, hunh? Maybe abstract is better ... )

ww


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: Marion
Date: 28 Mar 02 - 12:38 AM

M.Ted said:

"I use acoustic guitarists least favorite (and most practical) closed position C chord--

7-6-4-4-4-X

With the pink on 7, ring on 6 and index barred across the three strings on the fourth fret--(you can take the pink and put it on the 7 fret of the high e to get your high notes)

This seemingly awkward position allows you to play two full octaves with only a slide down on the G string(no slide at all if you are playing a scale with a dominant 7 in it)-"

Playing the two octave major scale in this position (which isn't that all that hard, WyoWoman, compared to some chords I could mention) I found that it was easier to barre all but the low E string with my index finger, since there are scale notes on the first and fifth strings as well. I also found that to get that seventh note in a non-flattened-seventh scale I could just as well reach up on the D string as slide down on the G string.

Iceboy, are you really in Antarctica?

Marion


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: Rolfyboy6
Date: 28 Mar 02 - 12:51 AM

Right on Marion, it is a position of great use. It does require using some finger damping on/against the first string and thinking about interior strings. Iceboy came out of Antartica seasonally some weeks back. When last heard of he was in Australian blues bars. He'll be back.


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Subject: Lyr Add: BLACK SNAKE MOAN (Blind Lemon Jefferson)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 16 Jan 05 - 07:21 PM

BLACK SNAKE MOAN
Blind Lemon Jefferson

Oh-h, ain't got no mama now.
Oh-h, ain't got no mama now.
She told me late last night. "You don't need no mama nohow."

Mm-m, black snake crawlin' in my room.
Mm-m, black snake crawlin' in my room.
Some pretty mama better come and get this black snake soon.

Oh-h, that must've been a bedbug. Baby, a chinch can't bite that hard.
Oh-h, that must've been a bedbug. Honey, a chinch can't bite that hard.
Asked my sugar for fifty cents. She said, "Lemon, ain't a dime in the yard."

Mama, that's all right. Mama, that's all right for you.
Mama, that's all right. Mama, that's all right for you.
Mama, that's all right, most any old way you do.

Mm-m, what's the matter now?
Mm-m, honey, what's the matter now?
Sugar, what's the matter? Don't like no black snake nohow.

Mm-m, wonder where my black snake gone.
Mm-m, wonder where the black snake gone.
Old black snake mama done run my darlin' home.

[Sung by Blind Lemon Jefferson on the various-artists CD "The Story of the Blues," Columbia Legacy 86334.]


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Subject: RE: Blind Lemon questions
From: PoppaGator
Date: 17 Jan 05 - 06:46 PM

Thanks, Jim, for reviving such a *great* discussion.

You could have posted your "Lyr Add" as a new thread -- but I'm *so* glad you did it this way!


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