99 Blues

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Example Pre-War Blues Video Lesson

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Overview

This song has a bit of a similar structure, say about 55% of overlap, with Third Street Woman Blues; that same kind of rocking-back-and-forth riff that he plays while he sings. Apart from a brief interlude/solo, it’s primarily the same riff that he plays throughout the song.

One thing that’s striking about this song is that that rocking-back-and-forth riff almost has the same feel, at say 1.25x speed, as the Rolling Stones’ Rip This Joint (or countless other “harder” rock tunes). It really just goes to show how much of a precursor people like Blind Joe Reynolds were, considering for instance that this recording was made in November 1929.

Workstation

Custom — Bb F Bb F Bb D (*all strings about 1/4 above these notes)

I got ninety-nine women, cravin’ nineteen more
I got ninety-nine women, cravin’ nineteen more
And if I get to a hundred, boys, I’m gon’ let these nineteen go

I got a big, fat mama, meat shakin’ on her bones
I got a big, fat mama, the meat shakin’ on her bones
And every time I quiver, every time she quiver, small woman lose her home

Lord, I’m goin’ away, mama, wear you off my mind
Lord, I’m goin’ away, mama, just to wear you off my mind
Because you keeps me worried, bothered all the time

[Solo]
Lord have mercy

Uh, when you feel tomorrow, like I feel today
If I feel tomorrow, sweet mama, like I feel today
I’m gonna drink corn liquor just to drive these blues away

Oh, let me tell you boys, what these women will do
Let me tell you boys what these old women will do
They will get your money and leave a nach’l child come to you

Oh, tell me, mama, what’s the matter now
Oh, tell me, mama, tell me what’s the matter now
Oh, the blues I’ve got, the blues like ninety-nine

And my woman got something called a stingaree
Yes, mama’s got something’ that the mens call a stingaree
At four o-clock in the mornin’ she turns it loose on me

Song History

November 1929
Grafton, WI
Paramount 12983 (US 10/1930)

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