bluestab's blog meets AfricanAfrican aka
October 23, 2009 3:20 PM   Subscribe

Chanteur puissant à la voix rocailleuse. And here is bluestab's blog And here, via Babelfish is bluestab's blog in an English of sorts. Then, while, looking for mp3s to match the tabs, I came across the universe of African American history and culture that is AfricanAfrican aka, a site so big it has two URLs. [Billy Mays] But, wait--that's not all! [/Billy Mays]

Then, while looking for in the commons mp3s for any of the titles in bluestab's blog , I stumble upon a treasure trove of such in the 5000 series pages at Document Records. , the completist's completist pre-war jazz and blues label, And found even more even more in the Rare Recordings and Video page of AfricanAfrican, a small universe of texts, music and motion pictures of and on the African American experience. I am overwhelmed. Yoda says I: Truly a Labor of Love this is. And between the two--voila! We have a post!
posted by y2karl (12 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
The majority of the titles are quasi-untraceable on the Net then profit in good.

Now as to the Blues Tab blog, the tabs look hinky and not lined up by bar, no doubt for a reason. They do make more sense when cut and pasted in Courier font in a Word doc. Or Wordpad. Someone may be flying under the radar in underground radio drum free internetsville, tab trading division, perhaps for reasons of copyright. But more for images than riffs, one suspects--but then again, in a fair universe the estate of R. L. Burnside has as much right to Rollin' and Tumblin' as the estate of Muddy Waters does with the original long in the public domain. Yet both claim copyright. So, in regards to posting this, no harm, no foul, thinks I. But then again I copied it all the day I saw it, so there is that. And I would recommend such to a friend. Hence the hippy dippy guilty ambiguity in trying to keep the inside baseball of it inside the fold, so to speak, wink, wink, nod, nod, hint, hint.

So bekow, wink, wink, nod, nod, below will be a list mp3s free for the download, matched to the tabs where possible. But note the ones starred * are from the Roots Listening Room and will fire blanks until you sign up for your free password. Whereupon, you will be recommended not to exceed forty downloads a day. Which is more than enough. Never download more than you can listen to that day, young grasshopper. But, with those caveats, here we go.
posted by y2karl at 3:22 PM on October 23, 2009

In the way of songs to go with tabs, , first is - 1 - Charley Patton - Screamin' And Hollerin' The Blues.
On page 2, is - 3 - Son House - My Black Mama Part One.
On page 3, is - 6 - Blind Willie Johnson - Dark was the Night (Cold was the Ground) See here also.
Also on page 3 is 8 - *Robert Johnson - Crossroads
On page 4, is 9 - Robert Johnson - I Believe I'll Dust My Brown and 10 - *Robert Johnson - Walking Blues

--Now, in regards to Fred McDowell, his recordings were made not long enough ago so as to be copyright free. But, from the Internet Archive, there is Blues Maker (1969). As to how he played, there is more than a taste of and a hint there.--

On page five is the tab for a song that comes in two flavors:
13 - Skip James - Devil Got My Woman as sung by rediscovered Skip James in concert in 1968 or the 1931 original Skip James - Devil Got My Woman (1931), which is the version that so captivated Enid in Ghostworld, which was about the least believable part of the movie. There are those who favor the older version, for the raw power his voice and guitar. Others prefer the re-discovered Skip James, for his ethereal falsetto and the sureness and lightness of his touch on the guitar. I am in this camp.

As for his ethereal falsetto, well, this article - Skip James' Hard Time Killing Floor Blues - will go along way to explain James's life and death, and falsetto, too--if one reads between the lines. That's a hella article. It gives as much information as the Stephen Calt book without the ax grinding. Mr. James was a complex and bitter individual. In his later life, he had reason enough to be so. All one can say is what a way to go.

Also on page 5 is 14 - Skip James - Crow Jane. James played mostly in open D minor tuning--Crow Jane is the one song he played in standard tuning. And the first song he learned, if I recall correctly.
On page 8 is 25 - *Blind Blake - Blind Arthur's Breakdown.
On page 9 is 26 - *Blind Boy Fuller - Screaming And Crying Blues
and 28 - Tommy Johnson - Canned Heat.
On page 10 is Tommy Johnson - Big Road Blues
On page 11 is *Tommy McClennan - Whiskey Head Man.

In regards to Tommy McClennan, please see Robert Petway - Catfish Blues for more information. McClennan and Petway were running mates back in the day, and, for a fact, both were very short men--McClennan supposedly 4' 10'' and 133 pounds in weight and Petway not more than two or three inches and pounds away. It's very interesting, considering their swaggering styles, especially McCLennan and the roughness of their voices. Robert Petway & Tommy McClennan - Boogie Woogie Woman is the only piece where they recorded together.
On page 11 as well is *The Mississippi Moaner - Mississippi Moan
And then there is the related arrangement *Mississippi Moaner - So Cold In China--his masterpiece. This is on American Primitive Vol. II Pre-War Revenants (1897-1939) for good reason. So Cold in China is something else.
The Mississippi Moaner was one Isaiah Nettles, and most of what little we know about him is due to the diligence of Gayle Dean Wardlow. He recorded 4 sides. See here also.
On page 14 is 43 - *Booker T Washington White - Bukka's Jitterbug Swing
as is 44- *Lead Belly - Good Night Irene.
On page 15 is 45- *Lonnie Johnson & Blind Willie Dunn - Have To Change Keys (To Play These Blues)
and 47- Willie Brown - Future Blues.
On page 16 is one classic country blues original: 48 - *Mississippi Sheiks - Sitting On Top Of The World.
On page 18, there is 53 - Robert Petway - Let Me Be Your Boss and yet another classic country blues original--54 - Robert Petway - Catfish Blues. As Dick Proeneke would say, "You can't beat that."

By the way, the tab for Let Me Be Your Boss is for Catfish Blues and not in the key of Let Me Be Your Boss as played, which is G capoed two frets to A--What is there is tab for Catfish Blues as well as some more at the song itself's tab, both played in E, standard tuning, capoed at the fourth fret. Between the two tabs, one gets an insight into the song. Few notes are involved but try to get that rhythm. Never has one ever gotten so much out of one chord.

On page 19, is 57 - Son House - Pony Blues, live At The Gaslight Cafe, Jan 3rd 1965. This is the rediscovered Son House at the peak of his later powers. My understanding is that when he was rediscovered, he could not play the guitar anymore and that a young guitar player name of Al Wilson, later of Canned Heat, taught him his old repertoire.

No one had to teach him how to sing, however. That much is apparent.

On page 20 are 59 - Blind Willie Johnson - It's Nobody's Fault But Mine
and 61- Mississippi John Hurt - Stack O Lee Blues.
On page 23 is 69 - *Tommy McClennan - She's Just Good Huggin' Size.
On page 24 is 72 - *Robert Lockwood - Little Boy Blue.
On page 27 is Jack Owens's Hardtime Killing Floor, for which Skip James - Hard Time Killin' Floor Blues will work as well. Skip James wrote the song, after all.

And these are the clips for the bluestab blog. Yeah, and verily.
posted by y2karl at 3:23 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

And having found plenty other country blues at Document, I thought I would share them here--but first let me list these three by Sleepy John Estes from AfricanAfrican--and anyone who has linked to as many Sleepy John Estes songs as AfricanAfrican deserves a medal of some sort, lemme tell ya. I loves me some Sleepy John Estes:

Sleepy John Estes - The Girl I Love Got Long Curly Hair
Sleepy John Estes - Diving Duck Blues
Sleepy John Estes - Milk Cow Blues

I loves me some Sleepy John Estes, especially the cuts with Yank Rachel on mandolin. And Estes's Milk Cow Blues is a wonder, even if it the one version to omit the Milk Cow verse.

For that, we have to go to the original: Kokomo Arnold - Milk Cow Blues.

Then, with more mp3s from the 5000 series, we have you some links:

Here are some songs by Blind Lemon Jefferson

Blind Lemon Jefferson - Rabbit Foot Blues
Blind Lemon Jefferson - Black Snake Moan
Blind Lemon Jefferson - Matchbox Blues
Blind Lemon Jefferson - Hot Dogs
Blind Lemon Jefferson - Low Down Mojo Blues
Blind Lemon Jefferson - Long Distance Moan

And now for the Memphis Jug Band

Memphis Jug Band - Sun Brimmers Blues
Memphis Jug Band - Sometimes I Think I Love You
Memphis Jug Band - Kansas City Blues
Memphis Jug Band - Peaches In the Springtime
Memphis Jug Band - On the Road Again

And here are some great cuts by the great Robert Nighthawk:

Robert Nighthawk - Maggie Campbell
Robert Nighthawk - Friar's Point Blues
Robert Nighthawk - Six O Three

And then we have an outlier, so to speak: Weaver & Beasley - Bottleneck Blues is the template for the country instrumental classic, Steel Guitar Rag. True dat. Or so I am told. Well...

Alright, boys, this is Frank Hutchinson, sittin' back in the Union Square Hotel, just gettin' right on good red liquor. Alright, Frank, step on it!

One great bottleneck classic deserves another. From the Internet Archive, comes another bottleneck guitar instrumental:

Frank Hutchison - K. C. Blues

This is listed as one of the sources of John Fahey's Poor Boy Long Ways From Home and will appear in the fabled Vrootzbox, but that is another story.

And to end, here are the Two Poor Boys with their version of the death letter blues--Two Poor Boys - Two White Horses In a Line--a momento mori, as it were. It can also be found on American Primitive Vol. II Pre-War Revenants (1897-1939) for good reason.

And those are some mp3s.
posted by y2karl at 3:23 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

I totally parsed that as "blue stab". Whoops.
posted by Eideteker at 3:26 PM on October 23, 2009

I totally parsed that as "blue stab". Whoops.

Ditto. It makes a lot more sense as Blues Tab.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:41 PM on October 23, 2009

GREAT POST! for the mp3's and videos alone. just fantastic. best of metafilta! crucial!
posted by frankbooth at 5:41 PM on October 23, 2009

y2karl, this is way too dense for me to parse. i'm just clicking random links and freaking out. this is like a blacklink vertical scrolling shootemup. bang! music! bang! text! bang! bang! bang!
posted by artof.mulata at 6:10 PM on October 23, 2009

posted by adamvasco at 10:45 AM on October 24, 2009

Blind Blake & Blind Boy Fuller require authentication.
posted by Obscure Reference at 8:11 PM on October 24, 2009

(Obviously, I mean the links to them.)
posted by Obscure Reference at 8:12 PM on October 24, 2009

You have to register at the Roots Music Listening Room to get those. You write them, they send you an ID and a password. After you check in, you will be remembered and your id and password popping up on the prompt. When you are on the site, that is. Offsite you get a blank prompt, I think. So, actually clicking on the starred links is problematic--but then I put them in there mostly to advise people of their existence and location, and what it took to get to them, noting that one had to sign up and get a password and all for free.

Now you could remember your ID and password and put it them into the prompt when it appears here and then hit go. Or you could go to the Roots Music Listening Room and scroll around until you find them there. Which would be the quicker way, I suspect. Either way, it's not quite cellphone blackberry PDA instant fast but it doesn't take that long to get to them. If time is money, they are worth the money. Bukka's Jitterbug Swing, for example.
posted by y2karl at 1:31 AM on October 25, 2009

Now in regards to the aspiring American primitive slash country blues guitar players out there--my post's primary target audience here, beeteedoubleyou--I suggest consideration of the following despite the lacking-all-subtlety and, well, duh.... belaboring the all too obvious everybody knows that gist of this or that, but, for the beginners out there, this is how I roll with learning a song on guitar with tab and mp3.

Tab, you can figure out.

Now, as to second part, for the record, my mp3 player is Winamp, which I got way back in the day and have stuck with, so I don't know nuthin' about i-podding no i-tunes. Be that as it may, Winamp, being free and open source, comes with many plug ins. which can be handy when using tab and ear to learn a guitar piece like those in blues tab's blog.

No doubt some of you may use another system to do this already but, but my way or 61 Highway the concept works all the same.

Learn like legos or learn it easy smooth except that hard part and there, make a clip of just that lick and learn it slow until you can play it fast in your sleep.

The Winamp plug ins I use to learn the hard parts are Pacemaker and mp3trim.

Pacemaker can slow a track down to about half speed and do this without changing the pitch of the track. Back in the analog pressed grooved plastic disc record days, some record players had a 16 rpm speed--one could set the player at that and voila, the record was an octave lower. Which kinda sorta made it easier to figure out a line or a lick.

Slowing down to half speed and keeping the piece in pitch, well, to requote Dick Proeneke here--you can't beat that.

Or course, Windows Media Player now has that as a feature. But it didn't back in the dinosaur days, so pardon the redundancy.

And no doubt, you young whipper snappers have a workaround for making a clip to learn a lick, too, but without one, mp3trim blows the clip up real good.

Why, I was a-learning me this easy as pie Mississippi John Hurt song once and could get it all but one run in the turn around that like to have drove me crazy. I was playing the song like a three legged cat--it used to lope along and then--7up!--fall down. But with cutting it out and learning that lick over and over slowed down, I din't have no more trouble no how when I put it all together, and sped up slowly.

When one learns a piece at half speed, and gets a feel for the nuances with said nuances spread out, and, then when you step on it, dang, if things don't speed up fast. (it can really help with learning the vocals, for that matter. Or so it seems to me.

So, beginning guitar grasshoppers--learn it right slow. Not sloppy but hitting every note in good guitar diction right. Play it over and over until you can play it with your eyes closed and making no mistakes and then speed that up. And when you get up to speed, keep going faster. That works for me, at least.

For my two bits, few things are more pleasant than getting a fingerpicked guitar piece in your muscle memory so deep that you can play it in full flow with eyes closed--getting lost in the groove like riding a bike with no hands... One of my favorite things to do is sit out in one of the courtyards here after dark on a summer night and get lost in the groove under the stars. And these things have helped make that so much more pleasant.

OK, that's my tip. Such as it is.
posted by y2karl at 11:44 AM on October 26, 2009

« Older The South Will Not Rise Again   |   What if copyright law is more complicated then a... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments