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Thread: original Rollin' Stone etc. antecedents & early influences

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    original Rollin' Stone etc. antecedents & early influences

    There are quite a few songs by an earlier generation seen as being the antecedents of Muddy Waters' "Rollin' Stone", "Still A Fool" and 'Rollin' and Tumblin' and possibly songs of Hooker's. Some of them are available to listen to in Rubem's post below.
    Last edited by stplsd; 03-01-16 at 08:03 AM.
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    Re: 'Catfish Blues' sources?

    A little blues history for the ones among you who care,


    Without JImi: http://www.earlyblues.com/essay_catfish.htm


    Including Jimi: http://www.americanbluesscene.com/20...catfish-blues/




    And in roughly chronological order:


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    Re: 'Catfish Blues' sources?


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    Re: 'Catfish Blues' sources?

    Last edited by Rubem; 02-27-16 at 07:43 PM.

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    Re: 'Catfish Blues' sources?


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    Re: 'Catfish Blues' sources?


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    Re: 'Catfish Blues' sources?


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    Re: 'Catfish Blues' sources?

    Many thanks Rubem, I'd not heard the John Lee Hooker song, "Catfish Blues" before, or seen it discussed. This version though recorded in 1951 was only released very much later on a CD.
    The version that was released just titled "Catfish", from what I've read, was recorded slightly earlier in 1951, a year after Muddy's "Rollin' Stone", but was only released in 1952, on a 78 single (Gotham 515). The lyrics apart from one verse are very close to Waters'.

    Anyone know if Jimmy Reed ever recorded a song with similar lyrics?
    Last edited by stplsd; 03-01-16 at 06:17 AM.
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    Re: 'Catfish Blues' sources?

    The article above "Without Jimi" is a thoroughly researched, well written essay on the origins of catfish blues songs:

    http://www.earlyblues.com/essay_catfish.htm

    The other, "Including Jimi," is unfortunately just far too skewed and "brief" to be of any use.
    Last edited by stplsd; 02-27-16 at 07:29 AM.
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    Re: 'Catfish Blues' sources?

    You're right about the date of Catfish recording by Hooker. Les Fancourt's Blues Discography confirms this. I had not checked before posting.


    As for Jimmy Reed, it is unlikely. This kind of Delta blues was not his style, and he did not record any title like 'Rolling Stone', 'Catfish' or 'Still a Fool',
    and none of his songs listed on the Blues Discography has a title that seems to refer to Catfish Blues.

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    Re: 'Catfish Blues' sources?

    Jim Jackson, Kansas City Blues Part 3 (1928)

    "I wished I was a catfish swimmin’ down in the sea

    I'd have some good woman just fishin' after me.":

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7gAmnVD1bg
    Last edited by stplsd; 03-01-16 at 07:43 AM.
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    Re: 'Catfish Blues' sources?

    William Harris (aka "Alonzo Boone") Kansas City (1928) Gennet 6707 and later Supertone 9428

    "I wished I was a catfish in the deep blue sea
    I'd have all these women just fishin' after me.":

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6iX8T-o0X1M
    Last edited by stplsd; 03-01-16 at 07:46 AM.
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    Re: 'Catfish Blues' sources?

    Tommy McClennan, Deep Blue Sea Blues, Bluebird B-9005 (1941). This is the closest to Waters' version, although he uses "Bullfrog" in place of "Catfish". Hear it above in Rubem's post.

    "“Now, I wished I was a bullfrog, swimmin’ in the deep blue sea
    Lord, I would have all these good-looking women now, now, now
    Fishing after me
    Fishing after, I mean, after
    Sure 'nough after me

    Now, I went to my baby's house and I sat down on her step
    She said, 'Walk on in now now, Tommy, my husband just now left
    My husband just now, I mean just now, sure 'nough, just now left
    Oh, Lord, just now left, Lord just now left.’”
    Last edited by stplsd; 03-01-16 at 07:40 AM.
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    Re: 'Catfish Blues' sources?

    Robert Petway, Catfish Blues (1941), the first known recording with that title and 'that verse'. Not as close overall as Tommy McClennan's (whom he may have got it from originally. 1941 also) Deep Blue Sea Blues:

    "What if I were a catfish, mama?
    I said, swimmin' deep down in, deep blue sea
    Have these gals now, sweet mama, settin' out
    Settin' out hooks for poor me, settin' out hooks for poor me
    Settin' out hooks for poor me, settin' out hooks for me
    Settin' out hooks for me, settin' out hooks for me

    Well, I went down, yeah, down to the church house, yes
    Well, I was called on me to pray
    Fell on my knees, now mama, I didn't know, Lord
    Not a word to-hoo say, not a word to-hoo say
    Not a word to-hoo, ....etc.
    Last edited by stplsd; 03-01-16 at 10:46 AM.
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    Re: 'Catfish Blues' sources?

    Here's an interesting one, 'B' side of "Dust My Broom" 78, it is not Elmo, but actually Bobo Thomas and as (Traditional), Lillian McMurray was punishing Thomas for absconding with her guitar and amp. The guitar is amplified and Sonny Boy Williamson (II, Rice Miller) plays harp. It's from 1951, re-released in 1955 on 45 & 78 as, "I Believe My Time Ain't Long" b/w "I Wish I Was A Catfish" (Ace 508). This time Elmo is even credited as composer too:

    "Well, I feel like a catfish
    swimmin’ deep down in the sea
    I have no more worries
    All my little girls lookin’ out after me
    lookin’ out after me
    lookin’ out after me
    lookin’ out after me"

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vnfZwNqR_k
    Last edited by stplsd; 03-01-16 at 11:53 AM.
    Frank Zappa: "Rock journalism is people who can't write interviewing people who can't talk for people who can't read."

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