Poor Bob’s Blues

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Overview

Upon first listening to Poor Bob’s Blues, it sounds deceivingly simple — yes he seems to have these chicken pickin’ motions in the works, but still it seems conquerable. The truth is — it is, in fact, conquerable, but only with the proper physical techniques in place. Two items which stand out in trying to play this song are both the left hand’s positioning (staying in 2nd or 3rd position, in technical guitar-speak, rather than playing the main riff in open position), and also playing an unorthodox alternating “bass” on the 5th and 3rd strings.

It’s a wonderful and ingenius song by Robert Pete Williams, with his jagged, foot-stomping rhythmic hypnotism in full effect; mean-sounding too, in a great way.

Workstation

Standard — EADGBE

Lord, look-a-here, baby, oh darlin’, what you want poor Bob to do?
Oh, baby, what you want poor Bob to do?
You must want me, baby, Lord, well, to lay down and die for…

If you ever been down, baby, you know just how it is poor
If you ever been down, woman, you know a-how it is every day

Wonder why, woman, you wanta treat me this-a-ways
Oh, wonder why, baby, you wanta treat me this way

I’m worried, woman, I ain’t got no place to go

Let’s go out and have some fun, baby
We gotta ball all night long
Let’s go out and have some fun, darlin’
We gonna ball ’til the break of day

If the river was wine, me and my baby be drunk all the time

Song History

28 April 1960
Baton Rouge, LA
Arhoolie CD 511

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