Last Kind Words

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Example Pre-War Blues Video Lesson

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Overview

This is one finally covering Geeshie Wiley’s haunting and seminal tune, the great Last Kind Words.

The lyrics alone of this one gives you really harrowing pangs – it gets deeper than you feel comfortable, thinking about the wisdom your parents pass on and what not.

Anyways, before getting too emotional and deep with that stuff, here’s a bit of a veer off back into guitar land! It starts off with that A minor-type shape, an alternating bass on the root notes, and treble notes that ring in the minor tone that matches the dark lyric style.

Then the notes work into that interesting staccato-type line on the treble side, with bass notes from the 6th string to give it some emphasis. It’s a cool and unique line for sure – you won’t hear very many other players do that move.

Finally, it finishes up with these almost brush-like sweeps on each beat of the 5 chord, as if she’s actually sweeping a broom (maybe it’s just me, but that’s what I hear as she hits the 5 chord), and then lands into the 1 chord, only to return right back into the 5 chord, and then actually finish up with the 1 chord.

It finishes up with some alternations (if that’s a word) between the 5 chord and 1 chord. She comes down on the 5 chord like she’s sweeping a broom, if you know what I mean (and if not I’ll just escort myself to the insane asylum), but it’s a great little groovy way to finish up, the way she plays the 5 chord.

Overall, a really cool tune, and a classic. Actually, if you get a chance, try reading up a bit on her life. She’s got that vibe of a blues musician where since it’s not even known about her exact birth and death, there’s that added mystique that makes listening to her music and playing it more exciting in a way. But ya, hope you enjoy this one and that the lesson helps!

Workstation

Standard — but each string detuned one half-step, so Eb Ab Db Gb Bb Eb

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 sun
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

Song History

Grafton, WI
Paramount 12951

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