Week #167 ~ Lonesome Road Blues

  1. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    This week's winner is Lonesome Road Blues, which was submitted as a bluegrass tune.

    I am not familiar with this tune, and when I started out with a you tube search for the tune (song), I got a variety of performances. A google search had it being a Bill Monroe song.

    Here's a YouTube video that says it's being sung by Bill Monroe

    If anyone can add any more, this would be great! I'm late posting this because I just arrived at my destination, after a 3 day road trip with my 4 (I mean Four AND A HALF!) year old granddaughter!
  2. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    Going Down The Road Feelin' Bad, also known as the Lonesome Road Blues, is an American traditional song. It was recorded by many artists through the years; the first known is Henry Whitter in 1924 as "Lonesome Road Blues". Others who made cover versions include Cliff Carlisle (also as "Down In The Jail On My Knees"), Woody Guthrie (also as "Blowin' Down This Road" or "I Ain't Gonna Be Treated This Way"), Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs, Roy Hall, Elizabeth Cotten and Grateful Dead. I like Doc Watson's many versions of this tune. Here's a really nice Transatlantic Session of the song.

  3. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    Here's my version of the Lonesome Road Blues by the Saw Mountain String Band – it's really just me overdubbing all the instruments. I noticed that this tune was probably going to 'win' so I got an early start on it this week. If you listen really closely right at the end of the song you can hear a low flying airplane going over. Its engine was humming an E note so that's the bass note I ended up playing too even though the song is in the Key of G!

  4. OldSausage
    Another great one from the Mountain! Good job, Michael.
  5. OldSausage
    The problem I've always had with this tune is that typically it's been kicked off by the banjo picker who has been playing the standard version since he was 3. If you're lucky it will be at 150 bpm, so unless you are a superpicker, you better have something crude and fast ready. Here's the sort of corn pone I dole out when called on to fill in the gaps in the banjo picker's show, lots of double stops and nothing fancy - but if you play it fast enough you might get some applause

  6. Manfred Hacker
    Manfred Hacker
    Oh my, the bar is sky high from the beginning.
    Great musicianship from the Saw Mountain String Band, Michael.

    And David, your tone has become just outstanding. And I am sure that's not just due to your recording equipment.
  7. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    Nice stuff David. Yeah, banjo pickers - can't live with 'em and ya can't live with 'em.
  8. Loretta Callahan
    Loretta Callahan
    Couldn't find a picture that was clapping, so I'm just smiling at you two!
  9. laura809
    Manfred, you know the bar is going to be sky high when Michael and David start us off. Michael, I have been really impressed with your banjo playing lately. Your "can't live with them" comment is particularly funny since you are exactly the type of banjo player that a mandolin player would love to jam with.
    I'm still trying to figure out how to approach this tune. I was introduced to it by the Grateful Dead, but I have versions by Woody Guthrie, Bill Monroe, and Doc Watson in my library. Each version has variations on lyrics and even in the chord progression.
  10. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    Thanks for the kind words Laura. I'm sure that anything you come up with on this song will be fun to listen to!
  11. laura809
    Here's my version. I feel like I cheated a little bit because I recorded the mandolin part in sections. I'm getting a little too dependent on my Logic software. Oh well, here it is.
  12. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Three very fine versions there, Michael, David and Laura. All different and all reflecting their authors' particular styles and interpretations. Most enjoyable.
  13. OldSausage
    That's great, Laura, love the way you did that.
  14. Francis J
    Francis J
    Laura, your'e making great use of that software, lovely version. Michael and David, really competent playing and your' consistently high standards always raise the bar.
  15. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    Well done Laura. Punching in breaks isn't cheating, it's just one of the things about modern recording techniques we need to learn. I've been known to do the same thing on occasion if necessary. Usually I record each instrument from the beginning of the song to the end without punching in breaks - like you'd do if you were playing it live. Although, I "cheated" a bit on Say Old Man because I discovered that I had missed the last note of the song on the mandolin, so I punched in the bell tone. I confess!
  16. maudlin mandolin
    maudlin mandolin
    I wish I could punch in a decent ending to this song but I can't so you'll just have to imagine it.

    I am familiar with this tune through the playing of Big Bill Who recorded it several times under the titles "Going down that lonesome road" and "Aint Going to be treated this way". He also recorded a "Lonesome Road Blues" but it was a completely different song.
    I have added an A7 chord for a bit of fun.
  17. Marcelyn
    When I got back from visiting Jeff's family in Michigan and heard these great versions, I had to join in. The string band is sounding better than ever Michael, and I hear you about living with a banjo player. Really cool multitrack Laura, isn't technology awesome! This is a once through with a barrel mike between Jeff and me, because once I start with the multitracking, my perfectionism kicks into overdrive. Anyway, this way you still get to hear all the flubs, but in such better sound quality.
    I'm working on a new technique that Michael and David do so well. I like the double stops over the melody. It helps the tunes sound less clutterd to me.

  18. laura809
    Nice job Maudlin. Those were interesting chords choices, and I like the way you varied them for the break. Too bad it cut off. Marcelyn, I always love hearing you and Jeff play together. I liked some of the less repetitive verses that you used.
  19. Don Grieser
    Don Grieser
    Great job on this tune by Michael, OS, laura, maudlin, and Marcelyn. Kudos for all your fine singing and playing.

    Here's some Monroe-style mandolin on the tune. Like OS, I've been tortured by banjo players and their tempos. Monroe style lets you play fast without working too hard. This isn't the cleanest playing I've ever done--just threw this together--but it felt like blues.

    Anyone notice it's the same chord progression as East Virginia Blues?
  20. sgarrity
    Y'all are some mighty hard acts to follow!! I loved the singing Michael, Laura, MaudMando, and Marcelyn but I'm a bit jealous that you can sing AND pick!!! And all of you multi-trackers.....I love it!! OS sounds like he could stand in for any mandolin player in a modern bluegrass band. And Don always brings the blues to a tune!

    Here's my purely instrumental attempt:

  21. OldSausage
    Great versions Don and Shaun, really sounding good and both very inventive. I hadn't noticed that it's the same progression as EV blues, but now you mention it - always sounds so different though, somehow.
  22. Marcelyn
    Yes, you both really nailed it. That Monroe style you guys do is really cool. That's what I'd love to learn.
  23. justkaron
    Love me some Monroe style playin'....just sayin.
  24. Don Grieser
    Don Grieser
    Sounding really good, Shaun. Love the gallop rhythm you put in there.
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