Monday, May 24, 2010

“Green River Blues”

Hi everybody—time for another installment of Monday Morning Blues, & today’s song is a favorite of mine, “Green River Blues” by the great Charlie Patton. As per usual, my version differs somewhat from the original—I try to keep the spirit of the original, but otherwise, I do stray a bit afield.

Patton was one of the first generation of recorded Delta blues players; he was born somewhere between 1889 & 1894, & spent much of his youth around the Dockery Plantation in Sunflower County, Mississippi. A number of other well-known blues players were associated with the Dockery Plantation, among them Son House, Willie Brown, Robert Johnson & Howling Wolf. In fact, there were close connections between these musicians—Patton performed & recorded with Son House & Willie Brown, & Robert Johnson is known to have performed with the latter two musicians as well. In addition, Howling Wolf looked up to both Patton & Son House as mentors.

Patton was a popular musician & recorded over 50 sides at four different recording sessions. Tho he is not as well-known to the general public as Robert Johnson, his songs are standards of the Delta blues. “Green River Blues” is probably quite an old song—most of its lyrics follow the older pattern of repeating the same line with no variation, as opposed to the later pattern in which a line is repeated & then answered.

& of course, as a guy who always likes a good train reference in a song, “Green River Blues” is noteworthy for mentioning the intersection of the Southern & Yazoo railroads in Moorhead, Mississippi, a location that has its own historical plaque. The photo leading off the the post shows the intersection.

Hope you enjoy the song!


  1. What a fine way to start the week. It is not just the music, not just the singing, it is that background information also that makes this a regular weekly treat.

  2. Hi Alan: Thanks so much--very glad you enjoyed it!

  3. My Monday mornings just wouldn't be the same without you, John.

    I'm intrigued with the radio snippet on your sidebar!

  4. Love love love LOVE the Monday morning blues. Yeah!!

  5. Love the song, but I love the guitar even more. I have a particular attraction for those old steel resonator guitars.

  6. Hi Reya & Roy

    Reya: Thanks so much!

    Roy: I love that guitar! I'd longed for a resonator guitar for some time & finally sprung for this back in 08. Now I complement it with a Gold Tone roundneck dobro, which I leave in open D & play slide style. Glad you enjoyed this.

  7. Excellent stuff, John. Hope you heard my feet tapping throughout and the applause at the end.


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