Turtle Dove Blues

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Overview

Here’s a very soothing, lullaby-like song from Peg Leg Howell. It almost takes a form of an 8 Bar Blues, akin to Key to the Highway or Trouble In Mind, and has that same kind of longing feeling to it.

The guitar work is quite structured, with chords to spell out the harmony, and Howell seems to use some Piedmont picking patterns and single-note basslines to add extra textures and connect the chords together. At the beginning of the song, he plays the chords more fluidly (rocking back-and-forth rhythms and strums), and by the middle of the song plays them a bit more “stubby”.

Workstation

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

I weep like a willow, more than I ever could do
I weep like a willow, more than I could do
I weep like a willow, more like a dove
Said, ‘life ain’t worth livin’ if you ain’t with the one you love’

If I had wings like another turtle dove
If I had wings like another turtle dove
If I had wings like another turtle dove
I would rather fly, fly to the one I love

It’s a low down farmer, mistreating engineer
It’s a low down farmer, mistreating engineer
It’s a low down farmer, mistreating engineer
Took my gal away, and then left me standing here

I was standing at the station waiting for my train
Standing at the station, waiting for my train
Standing at the station, waiting for my train
And the tears went down just like the drops of rain

Mr. Engineer, turn your engine ’round
Mr. Engineer, turn your engine ’round
Mr. Engineer, turn your engine ’round
For the woman I love, she done blowed this town

Gonna leave here walking, talking to myself
Gonna leave here walking, talking to myself
Gonna leave here walking, talking to myself
The woman I love, she can have somebody else

Song History

10 April 1929
Atlanta, Georgia
Columbia 14456-D

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