country blues | old-time

The table included below consists of the following columns:

  • Volume - The volume number assigned by Document Records
  • Track - The track number
  • Title - Song title
  • Key - The basic chord shape the song is played out of - not to be confused with the actual pitch of the recording
  • Location - Location the original recording was made in
  • Month - Month of the original recording. Day of the month was unobtainable in all but two cases, so it was dropped from the data
  • Year - Year of the original recording
  • Pitch - Approximate deviation from concert pitch, measured in “frets” or “half-steps”. This measurement is anything but precise - lots of variables - use this as a rough guide.


Volume

Track

Title

Key

Location

Month

Year

Pitch
1 01 I Want to Be Like Jesus in My Heart C Chicago December 1925 -1
1 02 All I Want Is That Pure Religion E Chicago December 1925 -1
1 03 Got the Blues G Chicago March 1926 -1
1 04 Long Lonesome Blues A Chicago March 1926 -1
1 05 Booster Blues E Chicago March 1926 -1
1 06 Dry Southern Blues C Chicago March 1926 -1
1 07 Black Horse Blues C Chicago April 1926 0
1 08 Corinna Blues C Chicago April 1926 0
1 09 Got the Blues G Chicago May 1926 0
1 10 Long Lonesome Blues A Chicago May 1926 0
1 11 Jack O’Diamond Blues Spanish (G) Chicago May 1926 0
1 12 Jack O’Diamond Blues Spanish (G) Chicago May 1926 0
1 13 Chock House Blues C Chicago May 1926 0
1 14 Beggin’ Back C Chicago August 1926 +3
1 15 Old Rounders Blues C Chicago August 1926 +1
1 16 Stocking Feet Blues A Chicago November 1926 -1
1 17 That Black Snake Moan C Chicago November 1926 -2
1 18 Wartime Blues E Chicago November 1926 -1
1 19 Broke and Hungry G Chicago November 1926 -1
1 20 Shuckin’ Sugar Blues A Chicago November 1926 -3
1 21 Booger Rooger Blues C Chicago December 1926 -1
1 22 Rabbit Foot Blues A Chicago December 1926 -1
1 23 Bad Luck Blues C Chicago December 1926 +1
2 01 Black Snake Moan C Atlanta March 1927 -2
2 02 Match Box Blues A Atlanta March 1927 -1
2 03 Easy Rider Blues G Chicago April 1927 0
2 04 Match Box Blues A Chicago April 1927 0
2 05 Match Box Blues A Chicago April 1927 +1
2 06 Rising High Water Blues No Guitar (C) Chicago May 1927 0
2 07 Weary Dogs Blues C Chicago May 1927 +1
2 08 Right of Way Blues E Chicago May 1927 +1
2 09 Teddy Bear Blues No Guitar (F) Chicago June 1927 0
2 10 Black Snake Dream Blues No Guitar (G) Chicago June 1927 0
2 11 Hot Dogs C Chicago June 1927 +1
2 12 He Arose from the Dead C Chicago June 1927 +1
2 13 Struck Sorrow Blues A Chicago September 1927 -1
2 14 Rambler Blues G Chicago September 1927 0
2 15 Chinch Bug Blues C Chicago October 1927 0
2 16 Deceitful Brownskin Blues G Chicago October 1927 +1
2 17 Sunshine Special C Chicago October 1927 +1
2 18 Gone Dead on You Blues A Chicago October 1927 +1
2 19 Where Shall I Be? E Chicago October 1927 +1
2 20 See That My Grave’s Kept Clean E Chicago October 1927 +1
2 21 One Dime Blues E Chicago October 1927 +1
2 22 Lonesome House Blues C Chicago October 1927 +1
3 01 Blind Lemon’s Penitentiary Blues C Chicago February 1928 -1
3 02 ‘Lectric Chair Blues E Chicago February 1928 0
3 03 See That My Grave Is Kept Clean E Chicago February 1928 0
3 04 Lemon’s Worried Blues A Chicago February 1928 0
3 05 Mean Jumper Blues C Chicago February 1928 0
3 06 Balky Mule Blues A Chicago February 1928 0
3 07 Change My Luck Blues C Chicago February 1928 0
3 08 Prison Cell Blues E Chicago February 1928 0
3 09 Lemon’s Cannonball Moan A Chicago March 1928 +1
3 10 Long Lastin’ Lovin’ A Chicago March 1928 0
3 11 Piney Woods Money Mama E Chicago March 1928 0
3 12 Low Down Mojo Blues E Chicago June 1928 +1
3 13 Competition Bed Blues C Chicago July 1928 -1
3 14 Lock Step Blues C Chicago July 1928 0
3 15 Hangman’s Blues G Chicago July 1928 0
3 16 Sad News Blues C Chicago July 1928 0
3 17 How Long How Long C Chicago July 1928 +1
3 18 Christmas Eve Blues C Chicago August 1928 +1
3 19 Happy New Year Blues C Chicago August 1928 +1
3 20 Maltese Cat Blues C Chicago August 1928 +1
3 21 D B Blues E Chicago August 1928 -1
4 01 Eagle Eyed Mama A Chicago January 1929 -1
4 02 Dynamite Blues C Chicago January 1929 -1
4 03 Disgusted Blues C Chicago January 1929 -1
4 04 Competition Bed Blues C Chicago January 1929 -1
4 05 Sad New Blues C Chicago January 1929 -1
4 06 Peach Orchard Mama A Chicago March 1929 -1
4 07 Oil Well Blues E Chicago March 1929 0
4 08 Tin Cup Blues C Chicago March 1929 0
4 09 Big Night Blues A Chicago March 1929 0
4 10 Empty House Blues C Chicago March 1929 -1
4 11 Saturday Night Spender Blues E Chicago March 1929 -1
4 12 That Black Snake Moan No. 2 C Chicago March 1929 -1
4 13 Bed Springs Blues A Richmond September 1929 -1
4 14 Yo Yo Blues E Richmond September 1929 0
4 15 Mosquito Moan C Richmond September 1929 -1
4 16 Southern Woman Blues A Richmond September 1929 -2
4 17 Bakershop Blues C Richmond September 1929 -2
4 18 Pneumonia Blues E Richmond September 1929 -2
4 19 Long Distance Moan C Richmond September 1929 -2
4 20 That Crawlin’ Baby Blues G Richmond September 1929 -2
4 21 Fence Breakin’ Yellin’ Blues C Richmond September 1929 -2
4 22 Cat Man Blues A Richmond September 1929 -2
4 23 The Cheaters Spell E Richmond September 1929 -2
4 24 Bootin’ Me ‘Bout C Richmond September 1929 -2

6 Comments »

Paul says:

01.19.09 @ 11:54 am

Matchbox blues is played as if it was in the key of A, but the actual sound is G#. Tune down half a step.


frankie says:

01.19.09 @ 12:41 pm

Hi Paul - there are three recordings of Matchbox. The March 1927 recording is 1/2 step flat, the April 1927 recordings are at concert pitch and 1/2 step sharp. All three are played in A - when I say this, it has nothing to do with the actual pitch of the recording (as noted above), but with the position used relative to the guitar. Absolute pitch is notated separately.

I compiled this information years ago, and at the time I did it, I captured the pitch information as the number of frets away from concert pitch - overly guitar-centric, in retrospect. That being said, the table displays exactly what you said - the March 1927 recording of Matchbox is played in the key of A, 1 fret flat (hence the -1 in the chart). Not ideal terminology, but accurate nonetheless.


Paul says:

03.17.10 @ 12:55 pm

I left that comment a while back and didn’t revisit the site for a while. I hope I didn’t offend you. I think you did a great job with everything. This page is a wonderful reference. Thank you for the time you put into it!


frankie says:

03.18.10 @ 5:57 am

Not at all - glad you found it helpful.


Peter says:

08.12.14 @ 4:07 pm

I´ve been searching for years and years for the tabs of Black Snake Moan (the 1927 version). Is there anyone here who could help me? Please mail me peter.robert.gielen at gmail.com Thanks!


frankie says:

08.20.14 @ 9:07 am

Hi Peter - I’ve not tabbed it out, but spent a fair time working out the way Lemon tends to play a slow blues in C - there are MANY examples. The chords themselves are pretty straightforward:

C | C | C | C |
F | Ab7 | C | A7 |
G7 | G7 | C | C |

He does away with the D7 that would typically be played to move from A7 to G7 in the key of C. You could certainly add it back in, and plenty of people that play this type of song from Lemon do that. For my money, it kinda ceases to have much to do with Lemon once you take that path, though.

The really interesting thing is what happens BETWEEN the chords, as Lemon has a nearly endless supply of ideas for riffs and licks… every chorus involves a nuance that’s worth noting. Nearly all of these are played between the 1st and 8th fret, and fall into very accessible positions on the guitar:

1st position C chord
3rd position “A” shaped C chord (top three strings)
5th position “G” shaped C chord (top three strings)

Try tuning to his pitch and seeing what you can catch. You may get a lot the first time around… probably not all, and repeated listening will always yield some kind of result, no matter how many years you listen to the song. Lemon’s well is deep, and the more you attune your ear to him, the more you’ll appreciate his depth.

Have fun!




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