Today’s song is by Charley Patton, & it’s been passed down to us from a recording he made in 1930 in Grafton, Wisconsin for Paramount Records. He’s accompanied by Willie Brown on second guitar on the recording. Although he’s not well known outside of blues aficionado circles, Willie Brown was one of the great Delta blues guitarists. Once Son House (who was also at the same 1930 Grafton recording session) was asked about Willie Brown’s & Charley Patton’s comparative guitar-playing abilities:
House: Well, now Charley…I thought Charley was the best player because I met Charley first, but I had never heard Will.from Oak Anthology of Blues Guitar: Delta Blues by Stefan Grossman
Q: When you first heard them together who was better?
House: Then I knowed it was Willie.
Q: Do you suppose that Charley knew he couldn’t play like willie?
House: Yeh, yeh, Charley knew it. Yeh, he knowed it, ‘cause a lot of times we’d be together & Bill, he called him Bill…Bill you c’mon play that piece….Charley could beat him singing, but those beats & things, Willie could beat him on that & he knowed it
Patton & Brown played the song in open G, which is also called “Spanish tuning.” This name comes from the song “Spanish Fandango,” a tune that many country blues guitar players had in their repertoire that was invariably played in open G tuning; for those of you who don’t know, “open G” means that the 6 guitar strings are tuned so that if you play them without fretting any strings, a G major chord is played. In standard tuning, the open strings don’t produce a common major chord. My version is done in drop D tuning, (the bass string tuned down to D rather than E) & there’s only one of me, so the arrangement is quite different. I’m playing my Regal resonator guitar.
Hope you enjoy it & that it drives your Tuesday blues away!