Thot youse blues-lovers might wanna note this

via GoodShit

Recorded circa March 1930 in Grafton, Wisconsin. Don Kent has described “Last Kind Words” as “one of the most imaginatively constructed guitar arrangments of its era….”

Twould be interesting to hear someone try to re-produce or expand upon said arrangement with 21st Century sound engineering.

11 comments on “Thot youse blues-lovers might wanna note this

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    • Pretty good, oddly enough – thanks for asking.

      Been planning a thought-through update.

      Meanwhile, found the lyrics to the above.

      The last kind words I heared my daddy say
      Lord, the last kind words I heared my daddy say

      If I die, if I die in the German war
      I want you to send my body, send it to my mother, lord

      If I get killed, if I get killed, please don’t bury my soul
      I p’fer just leave me out, let the buzzards eat me whole

      When you see me comin’ look ‘cross the rich man’s field
      If I don’t bring you flour I’ll bring you bolted meal


      I went to the depot, I looked up at the stars
      Cried, some train don’t come, there’ll be some walkin’ done

      My mama told me, just before she died
      Lord, precious daughter, don’t you be so wild

      The Mississippi river, you know it’s deep and wide
      I can stand right here, see my babe from the other side

      What you do to me baby it never gets outta me
      I may not see you after I cross the deep blue sea.

      Haunting as the melody. What can you guys tell me about it? In addition to what’s in the piece bob linked. What do you make of flour vs bolted meal? Nonsense or means something?

  1. flour is finely ground –bolted meal would be coarse grain.

    we may not get the good stuff like the rich folk but we’ll have something

    bout all i can make of it.

  2. Interesting essay on Frank Buckles contains this:

    As can be heard in the most striking song of this era, Geechie Wiley’s utterly bizarre “Last Kind Word Blues” from 1930, these people lived in a time where the First World War was behind them like a desert in the rear-view mirror. In the song, the singer uses otherworldly verses to conjure a land in which death looms everywhere and isolation is a way of life; when she sings of her lover’s last kind words – which are that if he dies in “the German War,” be sure to send his body back to his mother-in-law – it resonates deeply not just because it depicts a woman who is isolated from her lover by war and death, but because its singer is herself isolated in the strange time between the world wars.

    • Yes, it is interesting. Also, I’m enough of a know-nothing literalist that I thought, when she referred to her Daddy, she meant her father. The pieces do fall into place easier when he becomes her lover. Still difficult for me to identify the speaker in the final lines – the singer or her lover?

      Yet I’m not clear on why the writer considers the song “utterly bizarre.” It seems to me that a song that “resonates deeply” is in that fundamental respect anything but utterly bizarre.

      • I don’t find a contradiction between “resonates deeply” and “utterlly biarre”. My mind is pretty much mush right now from an intense day, so skipping coming up with examples, I’d say the 2 frequently accompany each other It may even be a servcable definition of great art.

        At any rate, the song has the feel of having been assembled from disparate parts resulting in th analomies Kent identifies, yet having a compelling cohesion. Or I could just be really tired.

        • I don’t find a contradiction between your statement and mine, so there.

          A song might strike you as utterly bizarre, but on deeper reflection, in the same way that everything normal and immediate might come to seem weird and remote under the influence of too much/the right amount/not quite enough philosophy or psychedelic drugs, start to seem “oddly familiar” – itself an oxymoronic phrase, but an oddly familiar one for most of us.

          So, what’s so utterly bizarre about the song? I guess what I’m saying is that of all of the reactions the song provoked in me, “bizarre,” much less “utterly bizarre,” wasn’t one of them. But I’m used to bizarre. I’m not completely sure that “bizarre” has much meaning anymore in my aesthetic vocabulary. It’s at most “might seem bizarre to people who’ve led sheltered lives,” or, maybe, “represents a motivation of some kind that I can’t just make out, possibly pathological” – someone devoting sixty years of his life to stacking toothpicks on top of each other…

          Difficult to understand, haunting, but deeply resonant songs aren’t unusual in the same way. A famous song like “Amfortas! Die Wunde!” from PARSIFAL concerning a mythichero in the throes of lust crying out in anguish while suffering the pain of a distant someone else’s never-healing wound) might strike a lot of people as a helluva lot more bizarre, but to call it “utterly bizarre” would be to suggest you can’t understand it. I can understand it. I relate to it!

  3. my head is a big mass of bizarre conceits and imaginings and mostly empty… a sharp tap with a small hammer and bells are resonating long and well deep

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