Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Decoration Day - Memorial Day

I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day. I did, the wife and I celibrated her birthday spending the night at a local hotel Casino and resort. A good time was had by us both.

But I could not help but think about Memorial Day and where it comes from, and its connection to the blues. I have heard songs by several of the prewar bluesmen like Sonny Boy Williamson I, that mention Decoration Day. So I thought I would do a little research on the topic.

Here is just a bit of what I found;

Some sites mistakenly credit Howlin Wolf as the writer of this song and say that Sonny Boy Williamson II (Rice Miller) covered his version. But I remembered hearing a version of the song titled Decoration Blues done by Sonny Boy Williamson I (John Lee Williamson) which made me think that the song had an eairlier orgin.

Decoration Blues
Sonny Boy Williamson I (John Lee)
(John Lee Williamson)
Sonny Boy Williamson I - vocals & harmonica
Yank Rachell - mandolin & guitar
Joe Williams - guitar
Recorded March 13, 1938 Aurora, Illinois, Leland Hotel
Album: Bluebird Recordings 1937-1938


Lord, I had a woman
She was nice lovin' in ev'ry way
Lord, I had a woman
She was nice lovin' in ev'ry way
Lord, but she died an left me
I have the blues on ev'ry *Decoration Day

Lord, I hated to see her leave me
Because these are the last words
My baby had to say
Lord, I hate to see her leave me
Because these are the last words
My baby had to say
She told me to bring her some flowers
On ev'ry Decoration Day

People, you havin' a good time, now?
Just like the flowers that comes in May
Peoples, you havin' a good time, now?
Just like the flowers that comes in May
Now, but Sonny Boy thinks about his baby
On ev'ry Decoration Day

(harmonica & mandolin & guitar)

Fare you well, mm
Baby, I ain't got no mo' to say
Fare you well, mm
Baby, I ain't got no mo' to say
Lord, but I'll always remember
I won't never forget, 'Decoration Day'.


*Declaration Day
~

DECORATION DAY Live at The Music Hall Jazz Cafe

Notes from YouTube: This version of Decoration Day is being preformed by The Legendary JOHN SINCLAIR with Jeff "Baby" Grand on guitar, Martin "Tino" Gross on drums and "Showtime" Johnny Evens on horns on Aug. 16th 2007. It's a little dark but the audio is KILLER.


Decoration Day
Recorded in Memphis, April 17, 1952. It's the same song as done by Sonny Boy Williamson, of course.

Decoration Day (Chester Burnett)

Lord I got a woman, she nice lovin' in every way
Lord I got a woman, she nice lovin' in every way
You know she done died and left me, I have the blues on every Decoration Day

So sorry see you to leave me [sic], I hate to see my baby get away
So sorry to see you leave me, I hate to see my baby get away
I want you to bring me some flowers, about every Decoration Day

Lord I was walkin' round her bedside, these were the last words my baby had to say
Lord walkin' round her bedside, these were the last words my baby had to say
She said bring me some flowers - be sure honey - on every Decoration Day

------------------------------------
Wikipedia says;

According to Professor David Blight of the Yale University History Department, the first memorial day was observed in 1865 by liberated slaves at the historic race track in Charleston. The site was a former Confederate prison camp as well as a mass grave for Union soldiers who had died while captive. The freed slaves reinterred the dead Union soldiers from the mass grave to individual graves, fenced in the graveyard & built an entry arch declaring it a Union graveyard; a very daring thing to do in the South shortly after North's victory. On May 30 1868 the freed slaves returned to the graveyard with flowers they'd picked from the countryside & decorated the individual gravesites, thereby creating the 1st Decoration Day. A parade with thousands of freed blacks and Union soldiers was followed by patriotic singing and a picnic.

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Devil rode on a big black stallion: Question

Someone asked via email;

Hello there,

I'm looking to download this song I lost a long time ago on cassette. I remember the lyrics because i've felt them every once in a while. Even during stable relationships, haha.

The devil rode on a big black stallion traveling in a cloud of flames (x3)
Drifter was his name
Driftre destroyed teh hearts of women all across the land (x3)
he lives in the minds I know, of evrey travelin' man

and so on, till the main lines appear:
The wind's my lover
and Drifter's my steed
and the devil's theonly friend
I'll ever need
The wind, the Drifter, the Devil an' me
we ride together through all eternity


If you know these lyrics, please end my search and tell me where they come from!

Enjoy your day and greetings from Holland!


----------------------
So I go to my old friend Google and enter in parts of the lyrics to see what I can come up with.

I start with "The devil rode on a big black stallion traveling in a cloud of flames" no quote marks.

I get a lot of hits from literature about black stallions, it seems that many books were written about black stallions, named devil.

So I try a few other combinations because I figure that the asker of the question may not be remembering the lyric just right, as is often the case.

Again I am coming up with many hits to items that have black, devil, and stallion in them.

So I think maybe I should simplify the search and put part of it in quotes for an exact match. So this time I enter "The Devil Rode on a Big Black Stallion"

Bingo I get a hit to Charles Mingus' album "Changes One" which has the song Devil Blues.


Which has the lyrics; "The Devil rode on a big black stallion, ridin' on a cloud of rain..."

I am guessing that this is the song that you are refering to.

Which gets me to thinking, wait a minute Robert Johnson wrote a song called Me and the Devil Blues. Which led me to...

Probably most interesting of all;

Robert Johnson - Me and the Devil Blues


Feel free to send any blues questions that you might have to my email address above, when I have time I like to do the research and find answers to interesting questions.

As it heats up, try to stay cool and stay blue.

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Friday, May 16, 2008

B.B. King Talking and Playing

B.B. King In His Own Words

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Tell Me Who is That Writing? John The Revelator

To listen to these videos you will need to go a couple of post down and turn off or pause the play list.

People, it's Sunday and I sure do wish I knew who is that writing about the book of the seven seals?

Blind Willie Johnson, Son House and them people over there at Wikipedia say that it is John the Revelator.

Son House - John the Revelator


Blind Willie Johnson - John the Revelator


Depeche Mode: "John The Revelator"




Lyrics of John The Revelator
From Wikipedia

The lyrics below are Blind Willie Johnson's version of "John the Revelator". Subsequent versions feature a variety of substituted verses and different interpretations of Johnson's lyrics.

[call] Well who's that a-writin'? [response] John the Revelator
Who's that a-writin'? John the Revelator
Who's that a-writin'? John the Revelator
A book of the seven seals
Tell me what's John a-writin'? Ask the Revelator
What's John a-writin'? Ask the Revelator
What's John a-writin'? Ask the Revelator
A book of the seven seals
Now who art worthy, thousands cried holy
Bound for some, Son of our God
Daughter of Zion, Judah the Lion
He redeemeth us, Jesus bought us with his blood
Now tell me who's that a-writin'? John the Revelator
Who's that a-writin'? John the Revelator
Who's that a writin'? John the Revelator
A book of the seven seals
Well what's John a-writin'? Ask the Revelator
What's John a-writin'? Ask the Revelator
What's John a-writin'? Ask the Revelator
A book of the seven seals
John the Revelator, great advocator
Get's 'em on the battle of Zion
Lord, tellin' the story, risin' in glory
Cried, "Lord, don't you love some I"
[Repeat verses 4 & 5]
Well Moses to Moses, watchin' the flock
Saw the bush where they had to stop
God told Moses, "Pull off your shoes"
Out of the flock, a-well-a you I choose
[Repeat verses 4 & 5]


These are the lyrics for Son House's 1965 recording version.

[call] Well who's that a-writin'? [response] John the Revelator
Who's that a-writin'? John the Revelator
Who's that a-writin'? John the Revelator
A book of the seven seals
[call] Well who's that a-writin'? [response] John the Revelator
Who's that a-writin'? John the Revelator
Who's that a-writin'? John the Revelator
A book of the seven seals

God walked down in the cool of the day
Called Adam by his name
But he refused to answer
Because he's naked and ashamed
[call] Well who's that a-writin'? [response] John the Revelator
Who's that a-writin'? John the Revelator
Who's that a-writin'? John the Revelator
A book of the seven seals
Christ had twelve apostles
And three he led away
He said, "Walk with me while I walk,
'til I go yon and pray."
[call] Well who's that a-writin'? [response] John the Revelator
Who's that a-writin'? John the Revelator
Who's that a-writin'? John the Revelator
A book of the seven seals
[call] Well who's that a-writin'? [response] John the Revelator
Who's that a-writin'? John the Revelator
Who's that a-writin'? John the Revelator
A book of the seven seals
Christ came on Easter morning
Mary and Martha were down to see
He said, "Go tell my disciples
to meet me in Galilee."
[call] Well who's that a-writin'? [response] John the Revelator
Who's that a-writin'? John the Revelator
Who's that a-writin'? John the Revelator
A book of the seven seals
[call] Well who's that a-writin'? [response] John the Revelator
Who's that a-writin'? John the Revelator
Who's that a-writin'? John the Revelator
A book of the seven seals


Revelations Chapter 1, versus 1-3, King James Version

(1) The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified [it] by his angel unto his servant John: (2) Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. (3) Blessed [is] he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time [is] at hand.

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

A Question About Clarence Carter - Strokin' Video.

I have not been posting to many of my blog lately becasue I am addicted to Yahoo Answers as of late. They have a cool section for answering questions about music, and sometimes I answer questions in the blues section.

You can check out my Yahoo Answers profile if you want to see some of the questions that I answer over there.

As for the question about Clarence Carter it was;

Is Clarence Carter dead, the blues singer.?

My answer (even though Clarence Carter is more of a soul singer);

According to wikipedia he is still around.

Clarence Carter @ Wikipedia

His official website seems to indicate that he is still alive but he does not have any tour dates listed since 2006.

ClarenceCarter.net

There are also some mp3s on his media page.

Strokin' Music Video

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Thursday, May 01, 2008