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Origins: Earliest Version: Sporting Life Blues?

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SPORTING LIFE BLUES


Peter T. 09 Aug 03 - 11:29 AM
masato sakurai 09 Aug 03 - 11:50 AM
Peter T. 09 Aug 03 - 01:38 PM
GUEST 09 Aug 03 - 02:03 PM
Benjamin 09 Aug 03 - 02:04 PM
Mark Clark 09 Aug 03 - 02:16 PM
Peter T. 09 Aug 03 - 02:21 PM
Candyman(inactive) 09 Aug 03 - 04:10 PM
DonMeixner 09 Aug 03 - 08:11 PM
Roger the Skiffler 10 Aug 03 - 03:33 AM
GUEST,Peter T. 10 Aug 03 - 08:32 AM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 13 Nov 14 - 12:55 PM
GUEST 24 Apr 18 - 01:23 PM
GUEST 24 Apr 18 - 01:29 PM
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Subject: Earliest Version: Sporting Life Blues?
From: Peter T.
Date: 09 Aug 03 - 11:29 AM

Three versions of Sporting Life Blues well known to aficionados are Skip James (from his revival, 1960s), Dave Van Ronk, and Brownie McGhee (1970s). Anyone know who did the earliest version of this, and/or where it comes from? Am I missing someone famous who did it in the 20's or 30's?


yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Earliest Version: Sporting Life Blues?
From: masato sakurai
Date: 09 Aug 03 - 11:50 AM

No entry of "Sporting Life Blues" in comprehensive Blues and Gospel Records 1890-1943, by Robert M.W. Dixon et al. (Oxford, 1997).


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Subject: RE: Earliest Version: Sporting Life Blues?
From: Peter T.
Date: 09 Aug 03 - 01:38 PM

Hmm.         If so, I wonder if Brownie McGhee wrote it. yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Earliest Version: Sporting Life Blues?
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Aug 03 - 02:03 PM

Well, if you listen to Duke Ellingtons Rent Party Blues (late '20's I think,) you will hear the same melody line that Brownie uses but also a middle 8 that Brownie dosn't! I have Brownie with a bowed bass player version, probably late '40's I would guess. If ONLY we had a copy of "Thats The Stuff, the Recordings of Brownie McGhee, Sonny Terry, Stick McGhee and J C Burris" by Chris Smith, Housay Press, Spiral bound paperback. 184 page discography of the great Sonny and Brownie covering their solo work, their long productive partnership and everything in between including recordings with Cecil Gant, Carey Adams, Tarheel Slim, Square Wilson and many more. Original issues with relevant dates/line-ups/session notes/info on reissues on LP and CD/overview of recordings/comprehensive index" all for (UK)£15.00 + £3.00 UK p & P from www.Redlickrecords.co.uk


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Subject: RE: Earliest Version: Sporting Life Blues?
From: Benjamin
Date: 09 Aug 03 - 02:04 PM

According to Dave Van Ronk, it was Brownie McGhee. He teaches his arrangement on his instructional video.


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Subject: RE: Earliest Version: Sporting Life Blues?
From: Mark Clark
Date: 09 Aug 03 - 02:16 PM

Brownie McGhee had it on a 10" Folkways album that came out in the 1950's sometime. I'll try to remember to check the date.

Also what is the relation, if any, between this song and the tune by W. Nelson, W. Breeland and P. Buskirk called Night Life? I always thought they were similar in feel and meaning and the later may have drawn upon the former.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Earliest Version: Sporting Life Blues?
From: Peter T.
Date: 09 Aug 03 - 02:21 PM

In the discography to "the Harp Styles of Sonny Terry" there is a mention of Sporting Life Blues being recorded in New York in 1946. (Bass player is Pops Foster or Count Edmondson, the discography is unsure). Guess that must be the earliest.


yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Earliest Version: Sporting Life Blues?
From: Candyman(inactive)
Date: 09 Aug 03 - 04:10 PM

I have a Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee recording of "Sportin' Life" from 1957. I saw Brownie perform it many times with Sonny in the '60s and '70s, and once solo in the '80s, and he always claimed it as his song.

Dave Van Ronk, who was scrupulous in his song scholarship, always referred to it as a Brownie McGhee song.

Dave used to tell a strory about learning the song when he was about 17 and then putting it aside because he didn't think that a 17-year-old had the life experience to sing it. Many years later, Dave said, Brownie told him he'd written the song when he was 17.

Dave would have been 17 in 1953.


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Subject: RE: Earliest Version: Sporting Life Blues?
From: DonMeixner
Date: 09 Aug 03 - 08:11 PM

Jerry Silvermann's book "The Folk Blues " doesn't attribute it specifically but says it was recorded by Brownie McGhee on Folkways
FA 2030 and Bob Carey on Stinson SLP 6.

I first learned of it from The Lovin' Spoonful and their first LP "Do You Believe In Magic" about 1966. And it was a really fine job of it.   My brother Gary does an excellant job of too.

Don


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Subject: RE: Earliest Version: Sporting Life Blues?
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 10 Aug 03 - 03:33 AM

I learned it form Brownie McGhee recording, I don't know if he was the first.

RtS
(Tried telling my teachers "This Sportin' Life is killin' me" but they still made me do Cross country runs!)


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Subject: RE: Earliest Version: Sporting Life Blues?
From: GUEST,Peter T.
Date: 10 Aug 03 - 08:32 AM

Thanks. yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Earliest Version: Sporting Life Blues?
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 13 Nov 14 - 12:55 PM

"Brownie... always claimed it as his song." But Brownie also claimed that the "Blues Had A Baby And They Called It Rock And Roll" that Muddy Waters had already recorded as his own song when he recorded it, so.... Also, do we think Skip was bothering to learn any songs from the 13-years-younger Brownie? Maybe. In any case, the expression the "sporting life is killing me" itself is at least as old as 1892.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Earliest Version: Sporting Life Blues?
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Apr 18 - 01:23 PM

Bob Cary sings it on American Folksay: Ballads & Dances. Sounds like Fred Neil.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Earliest Version: Sporting Life Blues?
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Apr 18 - 01:29 PM

He's listed as Bob Cary on the Stinson Collectors Series CD.

Bob Carey here:
http://www.folkmusicworldwide.com/bob-carey-1.html


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