Son House lyrics..

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Son House lyrics..

Postby boogiechillun85 » Fri Dec 16, 2005 4:57 am

I just watched that video that was posted in the Slide Guitar forum, and I've certainly listened to my share of Son House. It seems like most of his songs make reference to his woman dying. Did this really happen? I'd certainly understand some artistic license in lyrics, but he seems to sing ALOT about being lonely because his wife/girlfriend died. Is there anything to this?
Jim
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RE: Son House lyrics..

Postby spud camp » Fri Dec 16, 2005 3:11 pm

[updated:LAST EDITED ON Dec-16-05 AT 11:09 AM (EST)]Absolutely! I believe he actually outlived like 7 women, but that could certainly be speculation. I read an article once where someone (not Son), and I dont remember who (maybe Dick Waterman), was talking about an interview where Where Son claimed he had returned home to find his wife in the outhouse dead, the interviewer asked "what did you do"? Son replied "Nothin, I just left, she was dead, wasn't nothin I could do". In every interview Ive ever seen with Son he refers to "the blues" as something between a man and woman. I found a real interesting article once about some guys trying to hunt down Son, very late in his life, a couple of years before his death. It is very interesting, and little depressing, but pretty cool just the same. I will try to find it post it.
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RE: Son House lyrics..

Postby spud camp » Fri Dec 16, 2005 4:08 pm

[http://rochester-citynews.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A2357]

Here is a link to that article.
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RE: Son House lyrics..

Postby nizer » Fri Dec 16, 2005 4:26 pm

>I believe he actually outlived like 7 women, but
>that could certainly be speculation.

Holy cow, that would beat Jerry Lee Lewis! Great article Spud Camp. There was definitely something about him - an intensity, almost tortured. His whole ambivalence about the religon/blues dichotomy, for instance. He seemed genuinely tormented by it. On the one hand, he could write great sarcastic lyrics like "I'm gonna become a Baptist preacher, I won't have to work" and then denounce the Blues as the devil's music.
Listening to him, I feel like he's in some kind of titanic struggle.
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RE: Son House lyrics..

Postby spud camp » Fri Dec 16, 2005 4:39 pm

There was definitely something about him - an
>intensity, almost tortured. His whole ambivalence about the
>religon/blues dichotomy, for instance. He seemed genuinely
>tormented by it. On the one hand, he could write great
>sarcastic lyrics like "I'm gonna become a Baptist preacher,
>I won't have to work" and then denounce the Blues as the
>devil's music.
>Listening to him, I feel like he's in some kind of titanic
>struggle.

I don't know if you've seen the video that the above mentioned clip comes from, but Son himself discusses this in some detail. When I finished watching it I was truly disturbed. It is like he is trying to make amends for a life of playing the blues. The last song he sings is an old hymn, in his own words "your either of good or of evil, you cant be both".
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RE: Son House lyrics..

Postby boogiechillun85 » Sat Dec 17, 2005 8:59 pm

Great stuff.. I liked that article, although I was hoping it'd be triumphant and it was really sad instead. Although, I guess everyone gets old..

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RE: Son House lyrics..

Postby ricochet » Sat Dec 17, 2005 9:12 pm

[updated:LAST EDITED ON Dec-17-05 AT 04:12 PM (EST)]In that video, I'm having a hard time hearing who the third woman in his "four women" verse is. In a similar verse Clapton used "sweetheart," but that's not what Son's saying.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."
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RE: Son House lyrics..

Postby boogiechillun85 » Sun Dec 18, 2005 5:45 pm

Sounds like "I thought I'd never but four women in my life. My mother and my sister, my dead gal and my wife."
Might also be "my tenth gal." Go Son. ;)
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RE: Son House lyrics..

Postby ricochet » Sun Dec 18, 2005 7:03 pm

I suppose "best gal" could work.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."
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RE: Son House lyrics..

Postby boogiechillun85 » Mon Dec 19, 2005 2:04 am

That sounds nice too.. better to sing the verse three times to make sure you cover all the bases..
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RE: Son House lyrics..

Postby ricochet » Mon Dec 19, 2005 2:27 am

And if you ever sing it in front of your wife, better stop and interject something like "And I've got two of 'em right here!"

(Meaning your wife, of course.)

I got a good laugh a while back, joking around with a cute young thing at work about how, if something happened to her, her husband'd likely take the insurance money, find himself a hot young babe and take off to Cancun. Then I said, "Of course, he's already got a hot young babe!" Her eyes narrowed, her lips tightened, and she said "Who? Who is it?!"
:7

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RE: Son House lyrics..

Postby bighollowtwang » Thu Dec 29, 2005 4:54 pm

>Sounds like "I thought I'd never but four women in my life.
>My mother and my sister, my dead gal and my wife."

The correct line is "I thought I'd never love but four women in my life, my mother and my sister, my kid gal and my wife."
"Kid gal" meaning girlfriend.
As far as I know "Death Letter Blues" is the only Son House song about the death of his woman, so I am a little confused by the first post in this thread.
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RE: Son House lyrics..

Postby spud camp » Thu Dec 29, 2005 5:45 pm

[updated:LAST EDITED ON Dec-29-05 AT 12:47 PM (EST)]
>As far as I know "Death Letter Blues" is the only Son House
>song about the death of his woman, so I am a little confused
>by the first post in this thread.


"my momma's so black she stays a part of this town, cant nothin grow when they poke her in the ground."

And he also refers to "hangin crepe on your door" which is a death marker.

I dont necessarily think death was the problem a lot of the time. It seems to me he had some regrets about the "travilin" life style and leaving his women. There must have been one that really broke his heart though, the one he "left sittin on the back porch cryin". I always wonder if that is Louise McGhee. Or if that name is just one he made up. You also got to wonder who Pearline was. I dont really think he was a womanizer, just so damn old, he had a lot of opportunities.
:)
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RE: Son House lyrics..

Postby ricochet » Thu Dec 29, 2005 5:56 pm

"Kid gal," huh? Thanks!

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RE: Son House lyrics..

Postby bighollowtwang » Thu Dec 29, 2005 7:09 pm

[updated:LAST EDITED ON Dec-29-05 AT 02:10 PM (EST)]>"my momma's so black she stays a part of this town, cant
>nothin grow when they poke her in the ground."

No, the correct line is "my momma's so black she shades part of this town, cant nothin grow when the poor girl is around."

>And he also refers to "hangin crepe on your door" which is a
>death marker.

Not specific to Son either...a fairly common blues metaphor (see Peetie Wheatstraw's "Six Weeks Old").

>You also got to wonder who Pearline was.

The slide tune "Pearline" was widely known before Son recorded it. Check out Furry Lewis' version "Why Don't You Come Home Blues" from 1927.
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