The Dying Crap-Shooter’s Blues
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Posted in 1920s,Female Blues,Honey on 03.09.07

Sorry for the lack of blues postings this week – it has been crazy busy around Honey H.Q. and in my blogging time I’ve been trying to fix some annoying CSS errors with the new redesign and Internet Explorer. I did get everything working so all it needs is a coat of paint and it will be ready to go live. Also a big thanks to everyone who donated this week – I’m working on getting some more downloads up for the loyal Honey Bees.

Long-Time followers of the blog will know that I’m obsessed with this song and the sound. Martha Copeland recorded her take on it in 1927 and it is an interesting take eschewing the typical dirge for a more traditional blues sound which is a shame, but I absolutely love her spoken work part towards the end. The little hints of the traditional dying crapshooter blues dirge sound are nice though I would have preferred if they had used it throughout.

Martha Copeland – The Dying Crap-Shooter’s Blues (1927)

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8 Comments so far
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By Tim on 03.09.07 11:44 pm

Thanks for posting this. I am currently reading David Fulmer’s mystery novel of the same name. It’s more excellent work from Fulmer, a story of sharps, rounders, crooked cops and missing jewels. It also features Blind Willie McTell as a character, as he goes about making up the song after his friend, a gambler, named Jesse is shot by a drunken cop.


By Keith on 03.10.07 3:21 pm

How could I not have known about this site of yours? Incredible!

I’m giddy just by the thought of all this great music. I love blues, but it hasn’t always been easy to find people sharing and writing about the music from the 20′s and 30′s.

Thank you for taking the time to put this all together.


By skank on 03.11.07 4:31 pm

This is a great song. I have a copy of this song by Blind Willie McTell. I thought it was original to him. Interesting that others have recorded it. Who wrote it and who else has recorded it?


By peter patnaik on 03.11.07 11:32 pm

it derives from St.James Infirmary Blues/Gambler Blues which in turn is from an English or Scottish Ballad. McTell’s version is probably the most personal recording of the song, though he didn’t record it until later in his career and after a host of female and male blues and jazz artist recorded it.


By JAMES on 03.21.07 1:11 am

I just want to ape the words of Keith – what a great website! Thank you for taking the time to share this wealth of incrediatble music and your knowledge of it with fellow blues lovers.


By skank on 03.25.07 4:54 pm

I just finished reading a mystery novel by David Fulmer called The Dying Crapshooter’s Blues. It’s a good read. It’s set in Atlanta in 1923. One of the main characters is Blind Willie McTell. The story is set around solving the murder of Little Jesse Williams, a pimp and crapshooting gambler. McTell composes the song at the request of a dying Williams and sings it at his funeral. I won’t spoil the ending but if you like blues and mysteries you’ll like the book.


By Andrew on 04.30.08 9:06 am

On my seemingly never-ending album-digitising project, what do I find but an old copy of How Late’ll Ya Play Till by The David Bromberg Band? It’s the 2LP set released by Fantasy in the UK, one is a studio set and the other is live. First track on side 2 of the studio album? The Dyin’ Crapshooter’s Blues! Pretty good version too, in a sort of rolling New Orleans style.


By Andrew on 12.26.09 2:08 pm

Further to my post in April last year, I saw The Wiyos play an excellent version of DCB as part of the BBC’s Folk America series.




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