Week #357 ~ Brown's Ferry Blues

  1. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Finally! It took till Sunday morning to finally get a winner! This week's winner is Brown's Ferry Blues, which was submitted as a Bluegrass Tune.

    I found on Wikipedia:

    The Delmore Brothers: Alton Delmore (December 25, 1908 – June 8, 1964) and Rabon Delmore (December 3, 1916 – December 4, 1952), billed as The Delmore Brothers, were country music pioneers and stars of the Grand Ole Opry in the 1930s.

    The brothers were born into poverty in Elkmont, Alabama, as the sons of tenant farmers amid a rich tradition of gospel music and Appalachian folk. Their mother, Mollie Delmore, wrote and sang gospel songs for their church. The Delmores blended gospel-style harmonies with the quicker guitar work of traditional folk music and the blues to help create the still-emerging genre of country. In addition to the regular six-string acoustic guitar, the duo was one of the few to use the rare tenor guitar, a four-string instrument that had primarily been used previously in vaudeville shows.

    In 1925, 16-year-old Alton wrote his first song ("Bound for the Shore"), which he co-wrote with his mother. It was published by Athens Music Co.

    The Brothers did their first recording session for Columbia in 1931, recording "I've Got the Kansas City Blues" and "Alabama Lullaby," which became their theme song. They signed a contract with Victor's budget label Bluebird in 1933 and became regulars on the Grand Ole Opry. Within three years, they had become the most popular act on the show. Disagreements with Opry management led to the brothers leaving the show in 1939. While they continued to play and record music throughout the 1940s, they never achieved the same level of success they had with the Grand Ole Opry.

    In 1941, their song "When It's Time for the Whippoorwill to Sing" made the Billboard "Hillbilly" top three.

    Their "Freight Train Boogie" (recorded for the King label in 1946) is regarded by some as the first rock and roll record. Their best-known song, "Blues Stay Away From Me" (also on King, 1949), was covered by Johnny Burnette and The Rock and Roll Trio, Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps, The Louvin Brothers, The Browns, Les Paul and Mary Ford, Doc Watson, The Notting Hillbillies and The Everly Brothers.

    Over the course of their careers, the Delmores wrote more than one thousand songs. Some of the most popular were "Brown's Ferry Blues," "Gonna Lay Down My Old Guitar" and "Fifteen Miles from Birmingham."

    Rabon died of lung cancer in 1952. Following Rabon's death, Alton suffered a heart attack, the loss of his father and his daughter Susan, all within a three-year period. He moved back to Huntsville, Alabama. He taught some guitar, did odd jobs, and devoted his creative energies to writing prose. He wrote a series of short stories and his autobiography, Truth is Stranger than Publicity, published posthumously in 1977 by the Country Music Foundation.

    I found these lyrics:


    Hard luck poppa cant stand his ground
    He was a good poppa but hes down
    Lord lord got those Brown's Ferry Blues
    Hard luck poppa standing in the rain
    If the world was corn he couldn't buy grain
    Lord Lord got those Brown's Ferry Blues.

    Hard luck poppa counting his toes
    You can smell his feet wherever he goes
    Lord Lord. got those Brown's Ferry Blues
    Hard luck poppa can't do his stuff
    The trouble with him he's been too rough
    Lord Lord got those Brown's Ferry Blues.

    Two old maids playing in the sand
    Each one wishing that the other was a man
    Lord Lord got those Brown's Ferry Blues
    Two old maids done lost their style
    If you want to be lucky you got to smile
    Lord Lord got them Brown's Ferry Blues.

    Early to bed and early to rise
    And your girl goes out with other guys
    Lord Lord got those Brown's Ferry Blues
    If you don't believe me try it yourself
    Well I tried it and I got left
    Lord Lord got them Brown's Ferry Blues.

    I gotta gal in Cumberland Gap
    Shes gotta boy that calls me Pap
    Lord Lord got them Brown's Ferry Blues
    I dont smoke and I dont chew
    And I dont go with the gals that do
    Lord Lord got them Brown's Ferry Blues

    I wanna go home but there aint no use
    For the jailer man he wont turn me loose
    Lord Lord got them Brown's Ferry Blues
    Had a good time when I was free
    But I let the wrong thing get the best of me
    Lord Lord got them Browns Ferry Blues

    I found this standard notation for the melody on 8notes.com

    Here's another from abcnotation.com (it may be the same!)

    Here's a link to chords and lyrics
  2. woodenfingers
    Had fun with this one. Basically just kept messing around trying different things. Some worked, some not so much...

    trying to fix this...
  3. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Woodenfingers: The syntax has changed for the MP3 player -- it no longer needs the "=1". Try this for your recording:

    Sounds great! I wish I could sing...

  4. woodenfingers
    Thanks Martin. The internet and computer gods are out to get me today. I managed to edit in your correction but now can't seem to edit it again to get rid of the fixing it statement.

    I certainly wish I could sing better. It seems to be like anything else and takes practice. I play in a band and I hunted down simple things to sing and am slowly adding harder tunes.
  5. Bob Michel
    Bob Michel
    Here's an instrumental take, with a bit of accompaniment:

    Bob Michel
    Near Philly
  6. woodenfingers
    Hey Bob, very cool. Nice jaunty rendition. Loved the backing track too.
  7. woodenfingers
    Hey Michael, very nice!! I love your finger-picking on that National. This one goes on the next CD!!
  8. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha

    My video for Brown's Ferry Blues just disappeared one day! Anyway here it is again...

    And thanks woodenfingers for watching it the first time around.
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