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y2karl's 78 RPM jukebox-o-rama
August 25, 2006 2:20 PM   Subscribe

For murder ballads, here's your Mississippi John Hurt's Louis Collins and your Grayson & Whitter's Ommie Wise. Then, for some early white blues bottleneck guitar, here's your Frank Hutchison's K. C. Blues. Not to mention Charley Patton's Screamin' And Hollerin' The Blues. All courtesy the Internet Archives 78 RPM tag. where there is way more--like Bix Beiderbecke's first record, Davenport Blues, Louis Armstrong's Ain't Misbehavin' and Geeshie Wiley's Last Kind Words, among many others. Then, for more, Nugrape Records has an mp3 page. The standout there, at least for me, is Gus Cannon's Poor Boy Long Ways From Home. As for their namesake, the Nugrape Twins, well, the Archive has the mp3 of I've Got Your Ice Cold Nugrape. And don't let me omit mentioning PublicDomain4U. They have Mississippi John Hurt's Frankie, for one. Tyrone's Record and Phonograph Links will lead you to more 78 RPM goodness. And don't forget the inestimable and erudite vacapinta first directed us to Dismuke's Virtual Talking Machine.
posted by y2karl (48 comments total) 59 users marked this as a favorite

 
Damn. I just got finished reading your Stardust links and thought I had some time on my hands.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 2:25 PM on August 25, 2006


Nice!
posted by caddis at 2:39 PM on August 25, 2006


Nick Cave recorded an album called Murder Ballads. All of the songs on it were murder ballads. I really enjoyed the album. I would recommend the haunting "The Wild Rose" duet with Kyle Minogue.
posted by flarbuse at 2:56 PM on August 25, 2006


Other songs at the Archive worthy of mention include Blind Alfred Reed's How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times And Live, Prince Albert Hunt's Texas Ramblers' Blues In The Bottle , and Sousa's Band's Chinese Blues , to name but a few more. And there are so many more--there are some landmark recordings there.
posted by y2karl at 3:18 PM on August 25, 2006


There are a number of classic murder ballads on the first two discs of the Anthology of American Folk Music.
posted by Falconetti at 3:19 PM on August 25, 2006


Carve dat Possum! Yum!!!
posted by squalor at 3:20 PM on August 25, 2006


Bookmarked. Way too cool! Thanks y2k!
posted by snsranch at 3:25 PM on August 25, 2006


http://youtube.com/watch?v=jmsfRnz1qaE

I don't really know how to do links. The above is the video for the Nick Cave/Kylie Minogue song I mentioned in a previous comment.
posted by flarbuse at 3:27 PM on August 25, 2006


This is excellent, thanks. I'd heard a lot about Mississippi John Hurt from reading interviews with contemporary murder-balladeers like Will Oldham, but I'd never heard anything by him.

And y'know what? He sounds absolutely nothing like I thought he would. But in a good way.
posted by afx237vi at 3:30 PM on August 25, 2006


Carve dat Possum! Yum!!!

That is an example of a coon song. Arthur Collins and Henry Burr, members of the Peerless Quartet, were famous singers of such.

On another tip, there are many topical mp3s at theVintage Media pages at First World War.com.
posted by y2karl at 3:44 PM on August 25, 2006


EXCELLENT!
posted by The White Hat at 3:45 PM on August 25, 2006


There's some great stuff here.

I've had a thing for murder ballads after first hearing Neko Case sing "Deep Red Bells" (YouTube)

This is a superb post. Y2karl, you are a genuine Metafilter institution.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 3:46 PM on August 25, 2006


And y'know what? He sounds absolutely nothing like I thought he would. But in a good way.

He was unique. A great musician and, by all accounts, a very warm, great hearted and gracious man. Those who knew him loved him. Maria Muldaur called him Mister Hippie John Hurt back in the day.
posted by y2karl at 3:49 PM on August 25, 2006


Awesome, awesome, awesome. Thank you, y2karl.
posted by blucevalo at 3:56 PM on August 25, 2006


Many, many thanks for this excellent post!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:57 PM on August 25, 2006


Mississippi John Hurt was a force of nature. As proof (I say unto you) put Hurt's "Make Me Down a Pallet on Your Floor" on your wooing mixtape, and you are so getting laid.

My recommendation for placement is the last song of Side A.
posted by Haruspex at 4:17 PM on August 25, 2006


Here, afx237vi , is my Mississippi John Hurt post. Some of the links there are still good. Alas, it appears the Mississippi John Hurt Tab Book is not one of them.

Whoops, I take that back--here it is in html or pdf. Well, hallelujah for that.
posted by y2karl at 4:23 PM on August 25, 2006


God, I love Mississippi John Hurt. Listening to the first link is making up for all the annoyances of the last week. Flagged as fantastic, favorited, and added to my pantheon of Best of MetaFilter as Presented by y2karl. Gracias, amigo.
posted by languagehat at 5:03 PM on August 25, 2006


Does anyone still play guitar tuned in standard EADGBE??? Open tunings, lissen up people, open G to start!
posted by zaelic at 5:43 PM on August 25, 2006


You're Going To Walk That Lonesome Valley - MJH on YouTube. Catch it while you can--it won't be up for long.

Plenty of homemade cover versions of his songs are there, too.
posted by y2karl at 5:56 PM on August 25, 2006


Thanks y2karl. This is a really wonderful set of links.
posted by sleepy pete at 7:04 PM on August 25, 2006


Wowsers, bowsers! What a nice, albeit macabre, set of links. Thank you.
posted by taosbat at 8:03 PM on August 25, 2006


In the earlier MJH thread, MidasMulligan tells a story that does MetaFilter proud. Thanks, y2karl.
posted by cgc373 at 8:37 PM on August 25, 2006


In the earlier MJH thread, MidasMulligan tells a story that does MetaFilter proud.

Then, raysmj, an actual native son and still current denizen of the deep South politely calls bullshit on said story, MidasMulligan temporizes and subtextual brain-in-a-vat hilarity ensues.

Say, that's a cool little blog ya got there, Ray.
posted by y2karl at 8:54 PM on August 25, 2006


WOW

*eyes open wide in astonishment*
posted by johnj at 9:08 PM on August 25, 2006


GYOB!
Seriously, get your own blog, please! I would like become a regular reader. And even if you do, keep up the posts as well - this was great.

(And world's best use of "title" as always!)

posted by blahblahblah at 9:23 PM on August 25, 2006


This is the best thing ever. Sliced bread ain't shit anymore.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 9:28 PM on August 25, 2006


Huh, I hadn't quite sorted out what raysmj was talking about, but I see now I should probably class Midas's story with the CommentFables of robocop is bleeding or freebird.
posted by cgc373 at 12:06 AM on August 26, 2006


Does anyone still play guitar tuned in standard EADGBE??? Open tunings, lissen up people, open G to start!

*scoff*

Or, uh, perhaps, I dunno, take the time to learn your ax?

If your whole game is open tuning, then you don't know how to play guitar.

If you don't want to take it beyond open tuning, then learn the lap steel, get good at it, then back up someone who does play guitar. Though I posit that someone who can't play in open tuning probably lacks the facility to be a tasty lap steel player, because even that instrument requires you go beyond diatonic playing to do it right. It's the same trap I've seen countless harmonica hacks fall into also.

What you suggest is the same as asking piano players to remove seven out of twelve keys from their rig.
posted by sourwookie at 12:39 AM on August 26, 2006


This is the best thing ever. Sliced bread ain't shit anymore.

Isn't all bread sliced eventually?
posted by sourwookie at 12:41 AM on August 26, 2006


can't play in open tuning

Sorry. open=standard
posted by sourwookie at 12:43 AM on August 26, 2006


Paging #19466 to thread 54255.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:37 AM on August 26, 2006


...I see now I should probably class Midas's story with the CommentFables of robocop is bleeding or freebird.

There was a TV commercial at the time--was it the Gap or Levis?--that featured a young interracial trio playing harmonica, National guitar and washtub bass, jamming on the blues on the front porch of some rustic shack. That was what come to mind then for me when I read that pretty story.
posted by y2karl at 7:08 AM on August 26, 2006


I would recommend the haunting "The Wild Rose" duet with Kyle Minogue."

I prefer the song performed live, when Blixa Bargeld ^ sings Kyle's part.

It's dead-gay-loveralicious.
posted by illovich at 9:01 AM on August 26, 2006


"Or, uh, perhaps, I dunno, take the time to learn your ax?...If your whole game is open tuning, then you don't know how to play guitar.....What you suggest is the same as asking piano players to remove seven out of twelve keys from their rig."

Actually, you're incorrect. On multiple levels.

1) Not everybody wants or needs to be a virtuoso, and they don't have to be. Art is hard to define, but being technically accomplished isn't a pre-req. And if you think I'm just being taken in by some pop culture slacker hoodwinkims, check your local museums and other cultural institutions. You be surprised how many celebrated non-virtuosos there are at all levels of the artistic endeavor.

2) A guitar is not a fucking piano. A piano can only play one note per key, and the note (on an individual piano) is always generated in the same way (i.e. the same hammer strikes the same string in the same place every time -- obviously there is some variety of sound per note... pedals, dynamics etc.)

On a guitar, there are multiple instances of most of the notes. With standard 6 string tuning, C3 (I think - it's been a while since I thought about guitar and music theory) occurs on 5 of the stings. But each one of those has a different color/flavor/feel/tone (depending on which inexact language you'd care to use to descibe the phenomenon).

A G chord in open G tuning sounds different that the first position G chord (3 2 0 0 3 3 or 3 2 0 0 0 3 depending on preference). Telling people to use open tunings is more akin to telling pianists to check out chord variations (playing c major G C E or E C G rather than C E G) than telling them to remove keys.

Zaelic didn't say anything about not having to learn your guitar, they just expressed increduality that people still use the standard guitar tuning. When they said "open G first" I think they meant that if someone is still using standard tuning they should check out other tunings, starting with open g.

I guess someone stuck a nerve for both of us, eh? =P
posted by illovich at 9:21 AM on August 26, 2006


Art is hard to define, but being technically accomplished isn't a pre-req.

Hear, hear. Blind Willie Johnson played bottleneck slide on mostly just the dropped-to-D high E string but try to do what he did--well. good luck on that. There's so many notes going on in just one lick. Between the Charley Patton's Screamin' And Hollerin' The Blues linked to above and, say, Joe Venuti and Eddie Lang's Black and Blue Bottom from whence it came, there is a world of difference as far as left hand technique is concerned and yet both are exciting and that excitement comes from people transcending the envelopes of their competence. Mississippi John Hurt is somewhere between the two of them in regards to technique and he's usually playing alternating bass and picking not that many notes in the first position--but try to get close to the way he picks the melody as sung or hit near his sublime beat. People who play only a few notes because that's all they know can play the hell out of those few notes. Country blues or punk rock--these are not exactly the domains of technical virtuosos.
posted by y2karl at 11:22 AM on August 26, 2006


Thanks for that video, y2karl. I'm glad I caught it while it's still there!

And illovich, thanks for the informed response to sourwookie's unnecessarily nasty comment. I'm pretty sure zaelic knows at least as much about music as sourwookie, but some people jes' love showin' off.
posted by languagehat at 11:25 AM on August 26, 2006


Oh, pshaw, it was just the sour in Sourwookie coming out. He presented the point of view common to professional musicians and it is a point of view not without merit. If you are going to play music with other people, you are going to have to learn the basics at some level--keys, chords, pitch and time and so forth for that common language.

It's funny, though, to think of his piano analogy--a lot of barrelhouse and blues piano is in Bb, which, in pentatonic minor*, is basically your black keys. Yet that's some hella piano.

* Or I could simply be confused. I know zilch piano.

At any rate, it's a big tent as far as I am concerned and both points of view have their place.

I will note, though, that insofar as teaching beginning fingerpicking guitar is concerned, teaching the first few songs in an open tuning is a great help. Mississippi John Hurt's Pay Day was the first song I ever learned and usually the first song I teach anyone--it's in Open D and has a total of four or five fretted notes. But the thing is, after you practice it for a few days, you make the leap from picking notes mechanically to playing somethng that flows.

People really get jazzed when they break on through to the other side. It's not a substitute for deeper learning but it does give a taste of playing music that flows rather than a boring exercise of a series of notes in mechanical sequence. People can be lazy and open tunings can appeal for all the wrong reasons but they really have a place in teaching, learning and playing guitar--or so I think.
posted by y2karl at 12:37 PM on August 26, 2006


He presented the point of view common to professional musicians

But zaelic is a professional musician, which is my point. Not hard to find out, either; it's linked from his userpage. I think illovich interpreted his comment accurately.

I just wish I'd learned to play an instrument (other than bad grade-school piano)...
posted by languagehat at 1:25 PM on August 26, 2006


Well. if I had a nickel for everytime someone fired off a heated dogmatic rant on a moment's notice around here, I could retire and start a foundation. Hell, if I had a nickel for everytime I did so alone, it'd be venti drips for a week or two. Me, I read zaelic's comment--and I know he's a musician: I should have said a point of view generic to a certain subset of professional musicans, know what I mean?--as saying open tunings are a good place to start, which I think they are. But that's how I read it. YMMV. Multiple readers, multiple readings--it's not Meta for nothin'.
posted by y2karl at 1:40 PM on August 26, 2006


Oh man, Sleepy John Estes, Victoria Spivey, Son House, Ma Rainey, Blind Willie Johnson (!!) - what a treasure trove, y2karl. Plus some great old jazz, jug band, gospel, country, and cajun - w00t! I really liked this wonderful unpolished gospel tune Hard Times by Elder Curry & his congregation - the Elder does some great preachifying in it too. Another fun find - Cocaine by Dick Justice.

Coincidentally, I just found Ry Cooder's How can a poor man stand such times and live the other day on YouTube, and was wondering about early versions of the song. So that was great to find Blind Alfred Reed.

... I haven't even started on your last few links yet. Thanks for such a great post that I am enjoying immensely.
posted by madamjujujive at 4:21 PM on August 26, 2006


What's that make your lips go flipp-i-ty flop?
A-when you drink a Nugrape,
You don't know when to stop
I got your ice-cold Nugrape
Heh, now I see there's Jonathan Richman cover of it on a bootleg. And Weenie Juke Radio has their Nugrape-A Flavor You Can't Forget available on demand. And here's a meditation on the song from Tofu Hut chock full o' Nugrape related links. And there's even a Nugrape Twins Myspace page where their friends include Townes Van Zandt and Louise Brooks. Who'd a-thunk ?
posted by y2karl at 5:06 PM on August 26, 2006


Well. if I had a nickel for everytime someone fired off a heated dogmatic rant on a moment's notice around here, I could retire and start a foundation. Hell, if I had a nickel for everytime I did so alone, it'd be venti drips for a week or two.

You and me both, pal. You and me both.
posted by languagehat at 5:36 PM on August 26, 2006


You're Going To Walk That Lonesome Valley - MJH on YouTube. Catch it while you can--it won't be up for long.


That's an amazing video. Why won't it be up for long?? Thanks for this, man. It made my day.
posted by storybored at 7:38 PM on August 26, 2006


Clicking on the first two links here will give a hint. As will this.
posted by y2karl at 11:34 PM on August 26, 2006


Argh. Those fools are spitting in the wind of free advertising.
posted by storybored at 10:43 AM on August 27, 2006


Thanks, y2karl!

Some of you may enjoy Mark Lanegan's [mp3 link] cover of "Little Sadie"; it's one of my favorite versions. Lanegan is ex-Screaming Trees, sometime in Queens of the Stone Age, did an album last year with Isobel Campbell, but can most often be found solo. He's also known for dueting with Kurt Cobain on Leadbelly's "Where Did You Sleep Last Night".

"Little Sadie" was previously covered under that name by Bob Dylan (among others), and as "Cocaine Blues" by Johnny Cash.
posted by ibeji at 6:05 PM on August 28, 2006


I missed this somehow. It's awesome.
posted by OmieWise at 1:27 PM on August 30, 2006


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