Tennessee Blues - Liner Notes
I started to play guitar in 1963 and, before I discovered Jazz in the early 1980's, the music I listened to and tried to play was Country Blues and early Country Music. Mississippi John Hurt and Jimmie Rodgers were particular favourites. I still love this music and recently formed a mandolin / guitar duo, "THE WEST STREET RAMBLERS" with my buddy Keith Baxter on guitar. Here is a taste of what we do along with some finger picked guitar solos.
I played a late 1920's "Regal" guitar and a 1919 Gibson A3 mandolin and Keith plays a hand made Bedell guitar from Oregon USA
Piers Clark April 2020.
"BUCK DANCER'S CHOICE". This was first recorded in 1926 by the fine guitarist,"The Grand Dad Of Country Guitar Pickers", Sam McGee from Franklin Tennessee. It's in C but I use a capo at the 2nd fret.
"BLUES IN C"Really an improvised slow Blues influenced by the marvellous Blind Blake. Nobody then (1920's) or now can play like him, for me one of the best 3 guitar players who ever lived !
"BLACK CAT RAG". Another Sam McGee tune and again in C but with an unusual structure, it begins as a Blues then becomes more of a rag in the second part.
"EVENING PRAYER BLUES". I learned this from a Bill Monroe recording. He learned it from African American harmonica wizard, DeFord Bailey, who for many years was a regular on the Grand Old Opry in Nashville. It's an echo of the sound of the choir in a little white, wooden, clapboard church somewhere in rural Tennessee warming up in the early evening before the congregation arrives. Key of G.
"WEST STREET RAMBLE". This is one of my tunes. It came to me one day as I was experimenting in the key of F, which is a challenge for finger pickers !
"TENNESSEE BLUES". Another tune by the great Bill Monroe, the man who invented Bluegrass Music. It's in A.
"AMOS JOHNSON RAG". Sam McGee again. Not sure when he first recorded this but I know he learned it from his neighbour whose name was, yep! "Amos Johnson". It's in E
"VICKSBURG STOMP", 1930 and by the" Mississippi Mud Steppers" who were Charlie McCoy (mandolin) and Walter Vinson (guitar), in E. They were part of a group of musicians including Bo Carter and Sam and Lonnie Chatmon who recorded under the name of "The Mississippi Sheiks". They came up with "Sheik" name after after seeing silent film star Rudolph Valentino
"FRANKLIN BLUES". Sam McGee recorded this in 1926 as tribute to his home town. He later became part of a trio with his brother, Kirk, and the legendary Uncle Dave Macon. They called themselves "The Fruit–Jar Drinkers". Key of C again.
"MR BLAKE'S RAGTIME". This is my version of Blind Blake's classic 1926 recording"West Coast Blues". Again, nobody can play like him but I do my best and add a few of my own ideas. In C