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Countin' The Blues

Nearly 100 years ago Ma Rainey wrote and recorded Countin’ The Blues. It is now in the public domain world wide thus we own all rights to this arrangement per forum posting protocol.

It’s difficult to understand why over all these years virtually nobody else has recorded the song. One would think it would’ve become a blues classic. I guess all the heavy hitters were too busy mining the Robert Johnson catalog smile


We took her lyric and arranged it with a new melody (by Janice) while hoping to retain the emotion of the original. Ma Rainey was a complex lady whose life was at times care free and defiant or sad. The lyrics may initially seem obtuse but with our research they became more and more illustrative of her life. Many of the references are to the names of her other songs or to places where she apparently performed. But it gets deeper. Boll Weevil was a song she wrote that referenced the insect that changed so many lives in the south by destroying cotton crops. She also wrote about Moonshine and the troubles it brought her. Jailhouse is thought to reference the time she spent incarcerated supposedly for bi-sexuality.

Ultimately she was a survivor during a time that had to be extraordinarily difficult for an African-American woman (the last verse appears to allude to this but leaves one wondering about the ambiguity). We hope we did the song justice.

Big thanks to Peter. He provided us with multiple great guitar track styles to choose from. Ultimately we all agreed to use a dual recording of Fender Peter and Gibson Peter. BTW, Janice said her vocal tag came from Buddy Guy. Bud said, well, OK. smile

We thank you for listening and appreciate comments!

Tech/track stuff:

Janice - Vocal: Rodes NT1 mic > Scarlett 212 > Logic Pro EQ > CLA Vocals
Peter - guitar solos and fills: whatever the man does smile
Bass: RT 564 Blues Monday Sw 065 > Logic Pro EQ > Waves Bass Rider > CLA Bass
Rhythm Guitar: RT 565 Blues Monday Sw 065 > EMT 140 Reverb sim
Piano: MIDI SuperTrack 2848 BluesSlow128Mike Sw 065 > CLA Unplugged
Drum kit: RD BluesMondaySw8 > CLA Drums (hi-hat volume shaped down 6db)
Snare: Neutron 2 > EMT 140 Reverb sim
(Neutron masking on bass/drums & rhythm guitar/piano)

DAW: Logic Pro X
Mastering: Logic EQ > Waves LinMB > Waves L2 > Ozone Tonal Balance > YouLean Loudness Meter

Countin' The Blues
© 2020 Trad Arr B. Merritt, J. Merritt & P. Fulham
PD lyric by Ma Rainey

Layin' in bed this mornin' with my face turned to the wall
Layin' in bed this mornin' with my face turned to the wall
Trying to count these blues so I could sing 'em all

Memphis, Rampart, Beale Street set 'em free
Memphis, Rampart, Beale Street set 'em free
Graveyard, 'Bama Bound, Lord, Lord, come from Stingaree

Lord, ‘rested at midnight, jailhouse made me lose my mind
Lord, ‘rested at midnight, jailhouse made me lose my mind
Bad Luck ’n Boll Weevil made me think of old Moonshine

Lord, goin' to sleep now for mama just got bad news
Lord, goin' to sleep now for mama just got bad news
To try to dream away my troubles, countin' these blues


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Man!!! You guys absolutely nailed this one!

You had me hooked right from that super cool intro with the dual guitars (excellent work from Peter) and then Janice comes in ... WOW!

Just superb, one of my favorite vocals from her. The was she phases the second "lose my mind" ... just about made me lose MY mind smile Just great phrasing, passion, and tone throughout.

Love the mix and arrangement.

Well done Bud, Janice, and Peter!

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Hi Janice and Bud,

Gee, that's a impressing one you made! And that from a 100 year old song!
This won't be forgotten now, that's for sure.
All (instruments and vocals) sound so impressing. It's like you're sitting in the same room as you played in! Enjoyed it very much and I believe I will not be the only one (with Dave). My compliments about how you did this.

It's also nice you've counted the Blues Babu was looking for in his song 'How many Blues'. I think you helped him a lot.

Hans


Hans Berkhout
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https://soundcloud.com/user-296497130
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It just keeps getting better. We aren't even into the 1930's.


Link: www.soundcloud.com/ed_shaw (Feel Free to Use)
https://drooble.com/edward.shaw/hymn/index.htm
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Originally Posted By: BlueAttitude
Man!!! You guys absolutely nailed this one!

You had me hooked right from that super cool intro with the dual guitars (excellent work from Peter) and then Janice comes in ... WOW!

Just superb, one of my favorite vocals from her. The was she phases the second "lose my mind" ... just about made me lose MY mind smile Just great phrasing, passion, and tone throughout.

Love the mix and arrangement.

Well done Bud, Janice, and Peter!


Thanks Dave
Loved that phrase by Janice as well, and I especially liked the ending. It's always great to play on these tracks.
Peter

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Originally Posted By: BlueAttitude
Man!!! You guys absolutely nailed this one!

You had me hooked right from that super cool intro with the dual guitars (excellent work from Peter) and then Janice comes in ... WOW!

Just superb, one of my favorite vocals from her. The was she phases the second "lose my mind" ... just about made me lose MY mind smile Just great phrasing, passion, and tone throughout.

Love the mix and arrangement.

Well done Bud, Janice, and Peter!


That is very generous of you Dave and coming from a blues man it is even more special to us! You put a BIG smile of appreciation on Janice’s face.

Thanks!

J&B

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This is stunning. Congratulations to all, but ... with all my immense respect to everyone else, Janice's voice is what makes this track (in my humble view, of course!). Perfect tone, timbre, sound ... what can I say? Superb job. Sad and uplifting at the same time. The guitars are also the perfect match for the voice in their solos. And that last note!!!

An excellent effort!!!

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The guitars remind me of The Thrill Is Gone from the Domino soundtrack.
The BIAB band is really well sorted...the cymbal crashes all the way to the bottom of the bass is sppot on.
If Peter is the icing and the band is the batter then Janice must be the jam in this blues cake.
LOVELY stuff on all levels.


Cheers
rayc
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Janice, Bud & Peter,

This is outstanding... I'm blown away by how you all have re-imagined this song.

The vocal, production and guitar tracks blend seamlessly to make this an instant classic here on the forum or anywhere.

Love the cover art as well!

Bob

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Ahhhhhh turns to awe. Excellent production!! What a great way to start the day. Thanks!!!


Enjoy whatever happens!
marty

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J&B + Peter.
Gorgeous blues tune! To my taste, one of the strongest songs I heard by your team. I can start pulling things and mention various parts, but that will be "ears" talking, in my heart there is nothing more to say except CONGRATULATIONS! Thank you for sharing!

Misha.

P.S. I am sure Ma is approving and smiling smile

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Originally Posted By: Birchwood
Hi Janice and Bud,

Gee, that's a impressing one you made! And that from a 100 year old song!
This won't be forgotten now, that's for sure.
All (instruments and vocals) sound so impressing. It's like you're sitting in the same room as you played in! Enjoyed it very much and I believe I will not be the only one (with Dave). My compliments about how you did this.

It's also nice you've counted the Blues Babu was looking for in his song 'How many Blues'. I think you helped him a lot.

Hans


Thank you Hans. And we are happy that you got a live band feel from it!

J&B

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Hey, this is some great cool blues y'all!

cool

Note: I am taking a different approach to getting re-involved and stay involved with the forum after a business-related absence. I listen to the forum in the background while I am writing and working, just to enjoy all the songs. Then, I will go to each one on a separate occasion and post the equivalent of a “Love It”—my version of a like. That is why all my comments might come at the same time, though I could have listened days ago.
This is the best way I know to stay caught up. If I feel I have to listen one song at a time and then offer a critique it makes my brain shut down. I just want to enjoy them—like I am listening to the radio.
If I post any new songs in the future, it will just be as a “radio” post—hope you enjoy it. If you do, that is cool. There is no need to post a lengthy comment.
I have been listening in my absence and all the new stuff sounds great. This will be attached to all my messages for a few weeks or a month until my new method is understood. Thanks!!


smile

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Originally Posted By: edshaw
It just keeps getting better. We aren't even into the 1930's.


Thanks Ed. There’s a world of great material in the PD for sure.

J&B

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Awesome blues. Love the two different tones and panning Peter used on the guitar parts. Just a beautiful vocal Janice.


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Janice,is too bad that the author couldn't be around to hear you sing her song. As usual, your vocals brings alive anything you sing. Great arrangement all around.
Thanks!

Mike B.


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Originally Posted By: musician17
This is stunning. Congratulations to all, but ... with all my immense respect to everyone else, Janice's voice is what makes this track (in my humble view, of course!). Perfect tone, timbre, sound ... what can I say? Superb job. Sad and uplifting at the same time. The guitars are also the perfect match for the voice in their solos. And that last note!!!

An excellent effort!!!


Thanks for mentioning that last note. It caught me (Bud) by surprise when we were recording. And, if I may brag on her, it was her usual two takes and I’m done smile

We appreciate your support.

J&B

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Hi all

Excellent mix and another superb vocal, Janice. What a gifted interpreter of the blues you are!

I was also taken (very pleasantly) by surprise by that final note. Wow.

Peter's guitar playing is OK, too (just kidding, my friend - excellent as per usual).

My (now) second favourite version of this song is the one Ma Rainey recorded with Louis Armstrong, which features some lovely playing by him.

Regards,
Leon

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Originally Posted By: Birchwood
Hi Janice and Bud,

Gee, that's a impressing one you made! And that from a 100 year old song!
This won't be forgotten now, that's for sure.
All (instruments and vocals) sound so impressing. It's like you're sitting in the same room as you played in! Enjoyed it very much and I believe I will not be the only one (with Dave). My compliments about how you did this.

It's also nice you've counted the Blues Babu was looking for in his song 'How many Blues'. I think you helped him a lot.

Hans


Thanks Hans Bud certainly has a way of making clear engaging mixes.
Peter

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I'm just back to listen again.
The analysis and discussion of the lyric is great AND you didn't throw a spoiler in either - you've left the majority to be as impressionistic and evocative as the best blues always is.
The melody magic applied to those words is very cool.


Cheers
rayc
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