Edited by Azizi Powell
This post showcases Tommy McClennan's 1941 Blues recording entitled "Deep Blue Sea".
This post is part of a pancocojams series on recordings that are connected to the song "Catfish Blues". Two pancocojams posts in this series are Robert Petway - "Catfish Blues", http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2013/10/robert-petway-catfish-blues-example.html and "How The Rolling Stones Band & Rolling Stones Magazine Got Their Names" [which showcases Muddy Waters' song "Rollin Stone"], http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2013/10/how-rolling-stones-band-rolling-stones.html. Posts about Jimi Hendrix's "Voodoo Chile" & Jimi Henrix's "Voodoo Chile" (slight return) are also included in this series.
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INFORMATION ABOUT TOMMY McCLENNAN
"Tommy McClennan (January 4, 1905 – circa 1962) was an American Delta blues singer and guitarist....
McClennan was born in Durant, Mississippi, United States, and grew up in the town. He played and sang blues in a rough, energetic style.
He made a series of recordings for Bluebird Records from 1939 through 1942 and regularly played with his friend Robert Petway. He can be heard shouting in the background on Petway's 1942 recording "Boogie Woogie Woman". McClennan made an immediate impact in 1940 with his recordings of "Shake 'Em on Down", "Bottle It Up and Go", "Whiskey Head Woman" and "New Highway No.51".
He left a powerful legacy that included "Bottle It Up and Go," "Cross Cut Saw Blues" later covered by Albert King, "My baby's gone" (covered and adapted by Moon Mullican), "Deep Blue Sea Blues" (aka "Catfish Blues"), and others whose lasting power has been evidenced through the repertoires and re-recordings of other artists. McClennan's "I'm A Guitar King" was included on the 1959 collection issued by Folkways Records, The Country Blues.
Although nothing is known of what happened to Petway, McClennan was occasionally seen in Chicago with Elmore James and Little Walter, two other artists who came from the Delta. McClennan is reported to have died from alcoholism in poverty in Chicago, Illinois, in 1962."
Deep Blue Sea Blues (Catfish Blues).Tommy McClennan.
silasouren, Uploaded on Jun 27, 2010
This blues reached a peak of popularity in the Mississippi Delta during the late 1930s and prior to World War II. The sensual haunting melody was later recorded by a world-famous Delta singer in 1950 (arid subsequently by other singers) and re-titled "Rollin' Stone". This was of course, Muddy Waters. As Texas blues expert Mack McCormick said singers like Muddy and Elmore James "worked the cat¬fish theme into a separate song"; (1). But we are jumping ahead of the story.
"Catfish Blues" was another example of animal-symbolism in blues which according to Paul Oliver (see "Screening The Blues") extended along the lines of the 'black-snake' motif made famous in rec¬ordings by Victoria Spivey and Blind Lemon Jefferson in the 1920s; interestingly, both from the state of Texas. Blues singers ad¬opted the persona of animal-like characteristics, which is how most Southern whites perceived the blacks, using that persona for powerful, sexual imagery
LYRICS: DEEP BLUE SEA
Recorded: Chicago, Illinois Monday, Sept. 15, 1941
RCA Studio A, A&R - Lester Melrose
Tommy McClennan - vocal & guitar, unk string bass
Album: Tommy McClennan Bluebird Recordings 1939-1942
07863 67430-2 RCA 1997 Bluebird Blues (BMG)
'I wants to make this one right now'
This 'un, this 'un I got'
I'm g'wan, babe I'm g'wan
An cryin' won't make me stay
'Cause the mo' you cry, now-now, baby
The furth' you drive me away
Furth' you drive me away
I mean drive me away
Fur' you drive me away
Now, I wished
I was a bullfrog
Swimmin' in the
Deep blue sea
Lord, I would have all these
Good lookin' women, now-now-now
Fishin' after me
I mean after
Sho' nuff after me
Now, I went to
My baby's house
An I set down
On her step
She said, 'Walk on in, now-now, Tom
My husband just now left
My husband just now
I mean just now
Sho' nuff' just now left
Oh Lord, just now left
Oh, jest now left'
Now, ain't none-a-mmm
None-a my bid'ness
Babe, but you know I
Know it ain't right
Stay wit' yo kid-man all day long
An play sick on yo' husband at night
On yo' husband at night
I mean yo' husband at night
Sho' nuff yo' husband at night
Oh Lord, yo' husband
Oh Lord, yo' husband
Oh Lord, yo' husband
'Long time, isn't it'
Now Lord, whoa Lord
Baby, hear me blow the blues
Lord, they got no bottom
Now-now-now, in my last pair-a shoe
In my last pair, sh
In my last pair.
Thanks to Tommy McClennan for his musical legacy.
Thanks to all who are quoted in this post.
Visitor comments are welcome.