Death Bells

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Example Pre-War Blues Video Lesson

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Overview

Here’s a classic slow, moanful blues by the great Lightnin’ Hopkins. Recorded during some of his earliest sessions in the late-1940s, the clarity of the recording quality, and the on-pointness of his singing and playing all sum to a great listening experience.

The song features some of his signature double stops on the treble-side strings and also a single-note lines which drip with feel. A great tune by this Texas icon.

Workstation

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

Sound like I’m hearing moaning
Death bell ringing all in my head
Sound like I can hear moaning
Death bell ringing all in my head

Yeah, I know that I was gonna
Leave on a chariot but I didn’t know
What kind of chariot gonna
Take me away from here

I want you to remember every living people
Every living people is bound to die
I want you to remember every living people
Every living people is bound to die

Yeah, you know when that chariot come at you
They’ll break running, try to hide

You know my mama told me
You know my papa told me too
You know my mama told me
Oh, papa told me too

He said, “You know one day, son, that chariot
Oh Lord, coming after you”

Yeah, you know the life I’m living
I’ve been living it for a many year
You know the life I’m living
I’ve been living it for a many year

I know the chariot was coming for me
But I didn’t know what kind of chariot
Gonna take me away from here

Song History

Houston, Texas
Gold Star 646

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