Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Leothus Lee Green - Number 44 Blues (information, sound file, & lyrics)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part III of a five part series about "The Forty Fours" Blues songs. This post provides provides information about Leothus Lee Green's song "Number 44 Blues" as well as a sound file & the lyrics to that song.

Part I of that series provides the text to the song entitled "Forty-Four" that is included in African American folklorist & Fisk Univesity professor Thomas W. Talley's 1922 collection Negro Folk Rhymes: Wise & Otherwise. Click for that post.

Part II provides a sound file & lyrics to Roosevelt Sykes's song "44 Blues". Click for that post.

Part IV provides the lyrics and sound file to "Vicksburg Blues" by Little Brother Montgomery. Click for that post.

Part V provides a sound file and lyrics to Howlin Wolf's "Forty Four". Click
"Leothus Lee Green, also known as Pork Chops, was an early contemporary of Little Brother Montgomery and a mentor to Roosevelt Sykes. Born in Mississippi around 1900, Green worked as a clothes presser in Vicksburg while perfecting his piano technique. Soon Leothus was traveling throughout the Lower Mississippi River Basin, earning a living by playing piano for the people. Montgomery knew him in Vicksburg, and claimed to have taught him the "44 Blues" in Sondheimer, LA, back in 1922...

Excepting for a brief excursion to New York in August 1937, Green performed and recorded mainly in or near Chicago. He cut 24 sides for Vocalion in 1929 and 1930, and 14 titles for Decca between August 1934 and September 1937. His last records were made for the Bluebird label in Aurora, IL, on October 11, 1937. Although primarily a bluesman, he was capable of quoting ragtime novelties, shifting into boogie-woogie, and running stride-like jazz passages. Little is known about the life of Leothus Lee Green; his death is believed to have occurred around 1945. All of his known recordings have been reissued in chronological sequence by the Document label." ~ arwulf arwulf, Rovi

(Leothus Lee Green)

Ah, my baby cryin and Ididn’t hear the 44 whistle blowin when she blows
Ah, my baby cryin and I hear the 44 whistle when she blows
And then I feel mistreated and your sweet mama bound to go.

Ah, baby, when you get lonely and think you want to go
Yes, baby when you get lonely and think that you want to go
You know that you ain’t no better, mama
Than the black woman that I had before

Some of these mornins mama, baby and it won’t be long
Ah some of these mornins, baby and it won’t be long
You gonna look for your daddy, baby, and I’m goin to be gone.
I got blues will last me nine months from today.
Baby, I got blues will last me nine months from today.
I’m gonna get my sweet woman to drive my blues away.

[Piano Instrumental]

Ah, little baby when you get lonely and want to go.
Ah baby, baby, when you get lonely and you want to go
You ain’t no better, baby, than the black woman that I had before
Transcription by Azizi Powell from the recording found above. Corrections and additions are welcome.


Leothus Lee Green - Number 44 Blues

baalhabeit, Published on May 6, 2012

"The Forty-Fours," as its earlier form was sometimes referred to, was a piano-driven "barrelhouse honky-tonk blues" that was performed as an instrumental. Little Brother Montgomery, who is usually credited with the development of the song, taught it to another blues pianist along the way by the name of Lee Green; Green, in turn, taught it to Roosevelt Sykes. As Sykes explained: Lee Green was the first guy I ever heard play the "44" Blues. So Lee Green took a lot of time out to teach me how to play it…

Thanks to Leothus Lee Green for his music legacy. Thanks also to those who are quoted in this post. And thanks to the publisher of this song file on YouTube.

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