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Thread: Parchment Farm Blues

  1. #1

    Default Parchment Farm Blues

    I've never posted to this forum before, my stuff is usually found over at the SAW Social Group. A fellow member of the SAW group suggested placing my video here. Anyway, this blues is played on a National Resophonic vintage steel guitar and a National Resophonic mandolin. There is also a bass guitar and some light percussion. All instruments and vocal by yours truly.


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  3. #2
    Registered User Simon DS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Parchment Farm Blues

    This is a classic Michael!
    Hard to say this but it’s even better than the original!
    You’ve put in some great rhythm and those instruments sound really cool.

    First heard on MandolinCafe!

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    Registered User Mike Buesseler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Parchment Farm Blues

    Sorry to interrupt, but can anyone think of a reason that I cannot see this video on my iPad? There is just a blank there for me. This has been happening for a few weeks and I do not understand.

  5. #4

    Default Re: Parchment Farm Blues

    Quote Originally Posted by Simon DS View Post
    This is a classic Michael!
    Hard to say this but it’s even better than the original!
    You’ve put in some great rhythm and those instruments sound really cool.

    First heard on MandolinCafe!
    Sounds great! Would you happen to have the tabs that you could share.

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    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Parchment Farm Blues

    Thanks. I enjoyed that, Michael. (It's "Parchman" Farm though, referring to a prison in Mississippi.)
    Last edited by Ranald; Nov-29-2021 at 1:50pm.
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

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    Registered User mandrian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Parchment Farm Blues

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buesseler View Post
    Sorry to interrupt, but can anyone think of a reason that I cannot see this video on my iPad? There is just a blank there for me. This has been happening for a few weeks and I do not understand.
    Mike,

    Can’t help, but I’m seeing it OK on my iPad.

    Regards,

  8. #7
    Registered User Mike Buesseler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Parchment Farm Blues

    Thank you. It must be a setting I’m missing.

  9. #8

    Default Re: Parchment Farm Blues

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranald View Post
    .....(It's "Parchman" Farm though, referring to a prison in Mississippi.)
    It's only Parchment Farm on paper.

    I remember going through the same discussion on a Norma Cowkonen live show chat.

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  11. #9

    Default Re: Parchment Farm Blues

    Hey Mike, if you upgraded your iPad to 15, that would be the reason you can't see the post on the Mandolin Cafe. It doesn't show on mine either!

    Here's the link:

    https://youtu.be/55Vfeax2N0w

    I fashioned my version after Billy Dee Williams' and he called it Parchment Farm Blues. I did not know the prison was named Parchman, thanks!

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    Registered User Mike Buesseler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Parchment Farm Blues

    Thanks Michael. I downloaded 15.1 today. Thanks for the link!

  14. #11
    Registered User Mike Buesseler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Parchment Farm Blues

    Yowzer! That IS a great recording! Thanks so much for getting me in the door!

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    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Parchment Farm Blues

    Good going there! Pretty different from the original Bukka White version, but then, so is just about everybody's. Interesting to see the picture here of him with a steel guitar.

    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Default Re: Parchment Farm Blues

    I heard it first from Mose Allison. Very different, done with his classic cool delivery. Actually, I think I probably heard it first by Blue Cheer. Anyone remember them? Wild psychedelic power trio. I heard "Summertime Blues first from them, too. But when I heard Mose, that was it. So cool. The same album introduced me to Duke Ellington. Pretty sure Blue Cheer modeled their version on his.

    So glad I got to see Mose Allison back then, early 70s. He played at my little college in Wisconsin.

    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Default Re: Parchment Farm Blues

    You've got similarities to Mose's vocals in yours nice job. This is one of his tunes not the old blues.

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    Default Re: Parchment Farm Blues

    FWIW, Parchman Farm, the jail or "work farm" (as in chain gangs), is fairly iconic in the history of the blues, regardless of any song title. If some big star got the name wrong, it's probably because they were more into their acting career than into musical or cultural history. Just sayin'.

    And it's only (yikes!) 28 square miles! Here's more than any of us, hopefully, will ever need to know:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missis...e_Penitentiary

    Quote Originally Posted by CarlM View Post
    ... same discussion on a Norma Cowkonen live show chat.
    Lest we perpetrate yet more mis-spelling, I suspect that should say "Jorma Kaukonen", originally the lead guitar for Jefferson Airplane and later, w/ Airplane bassist Jack Cassidy, of Hot Tuna. He is heavily into blues.

    And Blue Cheer: Yes!
    Last edited by EdHanrahan; Nov-30-2021 at 11:59am.
    - Ed

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    Default Re: Parchment Farm Blues

    Terrible history.
    Were they allowed writing materials while in high security at the farm? Maybe ‘Parchment’ is an allusion to that.
    Very low protein diet too...

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    Default Re: Parchment Farm Blues

    Very nicely done, Michael! I really like my RM-1 as well, though I tend to play my more traditional instruments when alone at home. There’s a real tone difference in the quiet of my living room, but it always impresses me how “mandolin like” the RM-1 sounds in a jam, especially if played lightly. Now, get after it with a slide and it’s a totally different animal. Well designed instruments, for sure…

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    Default Re: Parchment Farm Blues

    Quote Originally Posted by Simon DS View Post
    Were they allowed writing materials while in high security at the farm? Maybe ‘Parchment’ is an allusion to that.
    Um, no. At best, highly unlikely. Also, Bukka White wrote the song after release, in response to a request by his producer for new material.

    As is often the case, the Occam's razor explanation is best. "Parchman" is the name of the place. "Parchment" is a misspelling.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Parchment Farm Blues

    I assure you this kind of wording mistake is extremely common, not only in folk song but in popular song as well. People have a tendency to change unfamiliar words into more familiar or understandable ones. On later recordings, the blues song, "See See Rider," often became "C. C. Rider," with some old blues fans and musicians claiming to have heard "C. C" live. Furthermore, I'm not convinced that on the earliest recordings, the singers weren't saying "Easy Rider," which makes sense in terms of American slang -- but then it may be me who's mishearing. Variations in people saying my name are also typical of this practice. "Ranald" is a Scottish name, unfamiliar to most North Americans except where Gaelic-speaking Scots settled. The name is easy to say: "Ran" as in the past tense of run, and "ald" as in Ronald. However, people want to turn it into the more familiar Ronald, Randall, Reynald, Reynard, and so on. I once lived with a friend named Rolf -- you can imagine how it went over when I introduced us, "Hi, this is Rolf and I'm Ranald". To complicate matters further people also develop folk etomolgies (legends of origin) for these misunderstandings, then pass them on as though they are factual. The reason they say "Parchament Blues" is... Naw, likely just a mistake.
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

  26. #20

    Default Re: Parchment Farm Blues

    Quote Originally Posted by CES View Post
    Very nicely done, Michael! I really like my RM-1 as well, though I tend to play my more traditional instruments when alone at home. There’s a real tone difference in the quiet of my living room, but it always impresses me how “mandolin like” the RM-1 sounds in a jam, especially if played lightly. Now, get after it with a slide and it’s a totally different animal. Well designed instruments, for sure…
    I do like my RM-1. However, I have noticed some terrible consequences of having an instrument with ultraviolet light-cured finishes and living in Southern California where the humidity drops down as low as 10% and the temperatures fluctuate wildly, sometimes 110 degrees in the day and down to 65 degrees at night. (However, in the house 80-90 degrees at most in the bedroom where I keep the instruments.) Traditionally finished instruments can handle it. However, I've had a Tacoma guitar and now the National RM-1 mandolin where the finish just separates over time from the body and forms "bubbles" where it is no longer attached to the wood underneath. It doesn't seem to affect the tone on either instrument, but they both really look terrible. (In fact I just took off the finish with my thumbnail on the guitar. It looks better but still horrible, however it plays nicely.) So beware if you live in a similar climate to mine and check what kind of finish your new purchase has! My instruments stay in the house in their cases most of the time and only come out to be played. They should not have done this especially as I take care of them. I've seen others in this area with similar finishes whose instruments have suffered a similar fate... has anyone else noticed this?

  27. #21
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Parchment Farm Blues

    Oh, absotively posilutely. Mishearing and misspellings are pretty common, and should be expected in music from the folk/oral tradition. Your example is a good one, though an oddly unsettled one. I've heard it was actually "C.C. Rider" originally, the initials referring to a 19th-century term for an itinerant preacher, travelling from congregation to congregation, on the "church circuit," Now, I wasn't there at the time, so I have no idea if this was a commonly used term. But let's say it was, makes a certain amount of sense, a travelling man of means with a certain charisma and the gift of gab, EXCEPT the song refers to a woman. "You made me love you/ Now your man has come." So I dunno, I just dunno ... Then again, good ol' wiki says it was first done by Ma Rainey, so the gender profile fits. Seems male singers never bothered to sort that out. Then again, the term "see see rider" could be an echoing of the next line, "see what you have done." The wiki also points out it could be a corruption of the term "easy rider," "riding" being a frequently used euphemism for, um, whatever we're talking about. As so often happens, it comes down to speculation, interpretation, and obfuscation, as no one was taking notes, just making notes. So to speak.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Default Re: Parchment Farm Blues

    ... same discussion on a Norma Cowkonen live show chat.
    Lest we perpetrate yet more mis-spelling, I suspect that should say "Jorma Kaukonen", originally the lead guitar for Jefferson Airplane and later, w/ Airplane bassist Jack Cassidy, of Hot Tuna. He is heavily into blues.
    It is an inside joke on the chat rolls when he was giving regular live YouTube shows during the pandemic lockdowns to try to figure out how many way his name could be garbled. Jorma and his wife participated and made contributions occasionally. The whole "Parchment" Farm thing came up in the same discussions when he performed it.

    It is like a live show I saw with Paul Barrere and Fred Tackett where the MC got their first names switched as he introduced them. Paul said it was ok as he had dealt with far worse garblings all his life. He had a junior high teacher who called him Paul Bearer. He considered opening a chain of funeral homes.

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  31. #23
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    Default Re: Parchment Farm Blues

    Might as well go back a few hundred years to the origin of what are now called "mondegreens"...
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mondegreen

    HA! I'd never heard this one before:
    "The girl with colitis goes by" (from the Beatles song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds": "The girl with kaleidoscope eyes")
    - Ed

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    Our mistakes weren't quite so easy to undo
    But by all those roads, my friend, we've travelled down
    I'm a better man for just the knowin' of you."
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    Default Re: Parchment Farm Blues

    Yeppers! There are bunches of websites devoted to misheard song lyrics. One of my favorites - well, I can't forget the name - is https://www.kissthisguy.com/
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Default Re: Parchment Farm Blues

    Michael, I’m near Charlotte, NC. While we do have humidity swings they’re not nearly that drastic. I have a whole house humidifier for winter months and run dehumidifiers in spring/summer months and am usually able to keep the RH 50% +/-. Temp stays pretty consistent with central heat and air, though we do run it cooler at night during the winter (though nothing drastic). Haven’t had any finish issues like you’re describing with any of my instruments to date (and hope to keep it that way, lol)…

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