Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out (Guthrie cover)

May 10, 2007 10:28 PM

Old Woody Guthrie tune that's probably been covered a couple hundred times. This is me breaking in our new upright bass.

posted by cortex (16 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

I first heard this song in high school, in English class my junior year. We were doing a unit on the depression, Steinbeck et al. One of the best teachers I ever had, Manuel Matteo, was also an aging rocker, and he shook up the slow dustbowl crawl by bringing in his Tele one day and playing us a few period songs, including Nobody Knows You.

I know I've heard a Clapton cover a couple times over the years, but I always think of Mr. Matteo when I think of the song, sitting there with his guitar propped over a crossed knee and singing to a class of sixteen-year-olds who were just about plenty done with the gloom and despair of the 1930s until they saw a guitar show up in English class.

I found out that a couple other teachers were old guitar bums as well; between Mr. Matteo and Steve Buckmaster we had half a band, and I managed to half-organize a school music show senior year featuring mostly students; Matteo and Buckmaster got together with a couple of hardcore metal dudes to do a fantastic cover of Paint It Black, and I talked them into helping me out with a cover of Wish You Were Here as well.

Good times.
posted by cortex at 10:34 PM on May 10, 2007

Excellent stuff sir and consider me jealous that you have an upright bass to break in!
posted by TwoWordReview at 2:28 AM on May 11, 2007

I am pretending, right now as I listen to the song, that you are playing it while wearing overalls and with your feet wrapped in newspapers. Please do not disabuse me of this vision.

Also, dude, those are some sweet harmonies!
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 2:45 AM on May 11, 2007

Cortex, how do you find time to make such excellent songs while deleting post after post on the blue with insanely funny deletion reasons and all your other mod responsibilities?

I ask because I envy.

As always, thanks for another awesome, free (!) song.
posted by Effigy2000 at 5:06 AM on May 11, 2007

Every time I press the delete button, black energy surges into me and I can hear, clamoring ever louder, the voice of The Dark Lord whispering, hectoring and cajoling, soliciting unspeakable perversions; and only by frantically exorcising His Presence through recording can I reclaim this human vessel as my own...for a time.
posted by cortex at 6:59 AM on May 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

Plus I was already recording something else last night so I didn't have to really do any extra setup.

It's a song I've played to myself now and then over the years—usually as more of a fingerpicking exercise for guitar, so it was interesting putting most of that over to banjo and using a pick on the guitar. I also usually play it in C, which is a much stronger key for the main melody in my register, but (a) it was more fun to play bass in G and (b) that left me with a lot more room on top for those vocal harmonies.
posted by cortex at 7:01 AM on May 11, 2007

This is great, I love this song. Great cover.
posted by ageispolis at 9:57 AM on May 11, 2007

Recording "something else"?

As in podcast theme songs or geeky duets?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:28 PM on May 11, 2007

Mostly column A, but there's a lot of weekend yawning before me.
posted by cortex at 2:31 PM on May 11, 2007

No hurry whatsoever, mate. Just wondering.

BTW great cover - I finally got a chance to listen to it just now.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:08 PM on May 11, 2007

I would do double duty as a washboard/jug player in the Cortex Old Timey Fun Band.

posted by sparkletone at 10:59 PM on May 12, 2007

Very cool! Nice job.

BTW, it's originally a Tin Pan Alley 1923 tune written by Jimmy Cox. I believe the first popular version was Bessie Smith's 1929 recording. Yes, I know... nobody really cares about that stuff but me 'cuz I'm totally weird. :)
posted by miss lynnster at 11:35 PM on May 13, 2007

The Cortex Old Timey Fun Band needs someone to play the spoons and sing high harmony, right?

Thought so. Sign me up.
posted by eritain at 3:35 AM on May 14, 2007

Neat. Good to know, miss lynnster.
posted by cortex at 6:24 AM on May 14, 2007

Another vote for Awesome.
posted by Jofus at 10:48 AM on May 15, 2007

Nice cover

thank you
posted by nicolin at 12:31 PM on May 18, 2007

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