Dry Spell Blues

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Overview

Here’s quite a stunning song by Son House, and one of the first songs he ever recorded, back in 1930.

The guitar work in the song captures the strong essences of Son House’s playing, and slide playing in particular. That is, sharp slides into the 12th fret on the treble-side strings, then quickly returning to open position to cap them off. On the bass-side, for the most part he simply sticks with marking out the root notes, such as on the 5th string open, to help provide structure and a basis for the lead work.

Workstation

Open G — DGDGBD
3rd Fret

It have been so dry you can make a powderhouse out of the world
Well, it have been so dry you can make a powderhouse out of the world
Then all the moneymen like a rattlesnake in his coil

I done throwed up my hands, Lord, and solemnly swore
I done throwed up my hands, Lord, and solemnly swore
There ain’t no need of me changing towns, it’s a drought everywhere I go

It’s a dry old spell everywhere I been
Lord, it’s a dry old spell everywhere I been
I believe to my soul this old world is about to end

Well I stood in my back yard, wrung my hands and screamed
I stood in my back yard, I wrung my hands and screamed
And I couldn’t see nothing, couldn’t see nothing green

Oh Lord have mercy if you please
Oh Lord have mercy if you please
Let your rain come down and give our poor hearts ease

These blues, these blues is worthwhile to be heard
Oh, these blues is worthwhile to be heard
For it’s very likely bound to rain somewhere

Song History

August 1930
Grafton, WI
Paramount 12990

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