Tishamingo Blues

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Overview

Here’s a wonderful classic, almost ancient-classic, blues song from Peg Leg Howell. I say ancient because those treble-side licks he plays make old-school licks seem brand new. That’s partly one of the fascinating aspects of Peg Leg Howell’s playing is that there’s so much preserved early blues information packed in, which even with Robert Johnson perhaps arguably isn’t as present.

As with many of Howell’s other Spanish tuning songs, he plays beautiful, small chords, with a mix of fretted notes and open strings, which allow for very resonant guitar phrases, almost constantly ringing with bell-like open strings. All of those licks connect seamlessly and beautifully, and on top of that the lyrics which he sings (and the timbre of his voice) are so fitting and nice with the guitar playing.

Workstation

Open G — DGDGBD
5th Fret

‘m goin’ to Tishamingo, ’cause I’m sad today
I’m goin’ to Tishamingo, because I’m sad today
And the woman I love, she done drove me away

I’m goin’ to Tishamingo, to have my hambone boil
I’m goin’ to Tishamingo, to have my hambone boil
These Atlanta women done let my hambone spoil

I woke up this morning, ‘tween midnight and day
I woke up this morning, ‘tween midnight and day
I felt for my rider, she done walked away

Can’t you always tell when, when your good gal’s gonna treat you mean?
Can’t you always tell when your good gal’s gonna treat you mean?
Your meals is un-reg’lar, your house ain’t never clean

You can always tell, there’s something goin’ on wrong
You can always tell, there’s something goin’ on wrong
When you come in, your rider, she’s out and gone

Say, when she come in, she got a rag tied ’round her head
When she come in, she got a rag tied ’round her head
You speak about lovin’, she swear she’s almost dead

Sweet mama, what’s on your lovin’ mind?
Mama, sweet mama, what’s on your lovin’ mind?
You can’t quit me, ‘t ain’t no need of trying

I’ve got a lovin’ fairy, she’s long and tall like me
Got a lovin’ fairy, ‘n’ she’s long and tall like me
I love my brownskin, I don’t care where she be

Song History

8 November 1926
Atlanta, Georgia
Columbia 14194-D

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