Cool song. Strange history including an anecdotal about the Bahai’ faith…perfect for a Friday morning.
A song I enjoy playing, Black Bottom Blues.
The “Deep Elm Blues” is an American traditional song. The title of the tune refers to historical African American neighborhood in downtown Dallas, Texas, known as Deep Ellum, and a home to music legends Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Willie Johnson, Lead Belly, and Bill Neely. Sometimes the song’s title is also spelled “Deep Elem” or “Deep Ellum.”
The first known recording was made by the Cofer Brothers under the name of The Georgia Black Bottom on OKeh Records. The Shelton Brothers recorded various versions of this song, the first being cut in 1933 with Leon Chappelear under the pseudonym of Lone Star Rangers for Bluebird Records. They recorded it again in 1935 for Decca Records followed by “Deep Elm No.2” and “Deep Elm No.3”. Les Paul (as Rhubarb Red) recorded “Deep Elem Blues” and “Deep Elem Blues #2” on Decca in 1936. The Sheltons also recorded it in the 1940s as “Deep Elm Boogie” for King Records. Other versions of the song were made between 1957 and 1958 by Jerry Lee Lewis for Sun Records, by Mary McCoy & the Cyclones for Jin Records and, later, by Jerry Garcia, the Grateful Dead, Levon Helm, the Infamous Stringdusters, Rory Gallagher and most recently by Redhorse Black.
A very cool article about “Deep Ellum Blues.”
Wiki: Poor Ellen Smith is a late 19th-century murder ballad recounting the shooting death of one Ellen Smith, and the trial and execution of her murderer.
The song is based on real events in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In 1894, a ne’er-do-well named Peter DeGraff had a love affair with Ellen Smith, who may have been mentally challenged and was unable to understand his rejection towards her. Smith became pregnant by DeGraff, but their child died at birth. Afterwards she began following DeGraff around town, and eventually he sent her a note that asked her to meet him in a secluded area, worded in such a way that Smith would have believed DeGraff wanted to reconcile. Instead, when she arrived, DeGraff shot her through the chest. He later reported that Smith’s only words after being shot were “Lord have mercy on me.” DeGraff confessed to the crime on the gallows, shortly before he was hanged.
The song and its variants have been performed and recorded by a range of artists including Tommy Jarrell, Neko Case, Laura Cantrell, Molly O’Day, Kristin Hersh, Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper, Jimmy Martin, the Stanley Brothers, Ralph Stanley & Larry Sparks, the Kossoy Sisters, Country Gentlemen, John Hartford, The Kingston Trio, and Crooked Still. The plot was also adapted by German Folk-Metal band Subway to Sally in their song “Arme Ellen Schmitt”.
My attempt here:
Frank Fairfield going to town:
Tab and information here: http://2ftlbanjer.wordpress.com/2010/11/30/poor-ellen-smith/
Got home from work late, visited with the family before they went off to bed, and picked up the tab book recently posted in the comments section on the blog. Dwight Diller’s playing style is simply awesome. If you are listening to Diller play toe tapping will ensure. Here’s my attempt at “More Pretty Girls Than One.” This is after about 30 minutes.
According to the tab book,
Lee Hammons is the only person who played it this way that I personally know of. It is crooked because it leaves out beats at the end of phrases. Crooked like our mountain roads and streams. This tune is similar to the square tune, ‘Tempie’. Lee Hammons never played this tune with “chucks.” Like many West Virginia tunes it is crooked, having 13 measures. This, obviously, is not a good tune to dance to. In the UK they call them “leg breakers”. Diller: Lee said, “My sister hated that tune. Didn’t want anything to do with it.” She also played the banjo. As youngsters, I think they would play the banjo together once in great awhile.
Dwight Diller playing the tune.
Getting back into playing so last night I started to mess around with double C tuning.
Some glad morning when this life is over
I’ll fly away
To a home on God’s celestial shore
I’ll fly away – I’ll Fly Away
Eat up the meat and save the hide,
Eat up the meat and save the hide.
Best dang shoe lace I ever did tie.
Ol’ Ground Hog. – Ground Hog
Mind blown! Time capsule effect.