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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Here are the "If You're A Viper (Reefer Song)" Chords


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/372856

bcubrich - Posted - 02/18/2021:  07:24:26


For some reason I couldn't find decent chords anywhere for this great song, so I did my best to transcribe what fats is doing. I made this arrangement for guitar, but I am planning to do a plectrum banjo arrangement next. About half of what he is doing works on the plectrum just fine.



If you look on musescore you can watch the chords play out against my **terrible** attempt to transcribe the melody.

musescore.com/user/7202336/sco...nxb_lTo78



But you you aren't a member you can't download, so here is the pdf. 



 


Edited by - bcubrich on 02/18/2021 07:45:42


R Buck - Posted - 02/18/2021:  07:29:23


Could you post a pdf? I can only look at it and would like to give it a spin.

bcubrich - Posted - 02/18/2021:  07:35:33


Would love to... How do I do that?crying I know how to make a pdf, just not how to upload it here. 

bcubrich - Posted - 02/18/2021:  07:37:10


I think I got it.

mmuussiiccaall - Posted - 02/18/2021:  08:36:28


Bart here's what I hear.


Edited by - mmuussiiccaall on 02/18/2021 08:38:02


R Buck - Posted - 02/18/2021:  08:47:23


Thanks, I'll give it a spin!

bcubrich - Posted - 02/18/2021:  10:24:37


quote:

Originally posted by mmuussiiccaall

Bart here's what I hear.






Thanks for that. I had considered some of those extensions, but my thinking is he was voicing those extensions in the right hand mostly. I do find the left hand extensions harder to hear, but I was totally ignoring the right hand voicings because I am trying to think what a rhythm player should play, and I think rhythm players should leave upper extensions to the soloist (just an opinion). I definitely think he is using the tenor line Bb->A->Ab->G though when the chords are |C7|->|F->Fm|->|C (G7)|, which was a really common 30's progression. It seemed to me you used voicing with the bass note as what the bass player would play, but not what Fats actually played in the bass (which is a tenor line). I am not a good transcriptionist though, so I could DEFINITELY be wrong on that. 



Looking forward to trying out your version, and would love some input on the bridge.



 



PS, based on the 30's jazz classes I have taken, I try to avoid iim7 as much as possible. It's fine, but I think it sounds more distinctive to use the regular minor instead of m7, as the iim7 sort of sound like a mushed dom7 (which is the point), but I feel you hear the changes better with a regular minor.



If you watch these guys the rhythm player leaves out the m7, but Duved plays it. In a way, it's like Duved is the right hand and the other fellow is the left hand of the piano.  



youtube.com/watch?v=84KR5aqnaX...unayevsky



 


Edited by - bcubrich on 02/18/2021 10:31:40

R Buck - Posted - 02/18/2021:  10:50:30


I agree with your thinking on extensions. I'm a mandolin player as well and teach. I tell my students that the rhythm player sets the tone and time, we do the window dressing, i.e. the extensions and flourishes. I was interested in your arrangement due having played this tune with a blues/rag player many years ago. We were less intellectual and more intuitive then, but these past years I've explored the intellectual mechanics behind what we were doing on the fly. Chord choices are always part and parcel to style, hence the great variety of interpretations.

bcubrich - Posted - 02/18/2021:  11:05:24


quote:

Originally posted by R Buck

I agree with your thinking on extensions. I'm a mandolin player as well and teach. I tell my students that the rhythm player sets the tone and time, we do the window dressing, i.e. the extensions and flourishes. I was interested in your arrangement due having played this tune with a blues/rag player many years ago. We were less intellectual and more intuitive then, but these past years I've explored the intellectual mechanics behind what we were doing on the fly. Chord choices are always part and parcel to style, hence the great variety of interpretations.






Yeah, I really enjoy the mandolin/guitar duet for that reason. Not a criticism of the of chart edit above so much as a style note. I think his is a much better lead sheet, and I am simply not good enough to know if those chords are more correct. Also, it's hard to hear Fat's left hand voicing because they are quiet and sometime he sings right over them, and a lot of times he is playing power chords on the left hand, or just the bass note followed by a diad, meaning you really don't even know if the chord was mean to be major or minor. 



Any recordings of your ragtime stuff?

 


Edited by - bcubrich on 02/18/2021 11:05:34

R Buck - Posted - 02/18/2021:  11:13:53


I have recorded Beaumont Rag on fiddle and and original banjo rag that came about in my failure to capture a good enough Black and White Rag. but I'm not a heavy rag player, just dabbled in it as part of a more folk/blues/old time player who is a recovering bluegrass player, but I really love early jazz. I worked with a blues singer in the 70's and 80's some. I don't write my stuff down, I'm not really good at it and not patient enough to really make it work.

bcubrich - Posted - 02/18/2021:  11:25:16


quote:

Originally posted by R Buck

I have recorded Beaumont Rag on fiddle and and original banjo rag that came about in my failure to capture a good enough Black and White Rag. but I'm not a heavy rag player, just dabbled in it as part of a more folk/blues/old time player who is a recovering bluegrass player, but I really love early jazz. I worked with a blues singer in the 70's and 80's some. I don't write my stuff down, I'm not really good at it and not patient enough to really make it work.






On writing stuff down: It is probably largely time that could be better spent. It took me three hours to transcribe that thing. I had the basic chord outline in a few minutes, but the details and the melody took me forever. I think the pros can do it in minutes though, and when you get to that point it's really useful. Instead of doing transcription for three hours yesterday though, maybe it would have been better to practice that song for three hours by ear. I dunno, I just like the process, and my musicianship suffers from it. 



"But there never seems to be enough time

To do the things you want to do

Once you find them" 

--Jim Croce

UncleClawhammer - Posted - 02/18/2021:  11:32:22


It's "mighty Mezz," not "mighty mess." A reference to clarinet player Mezz Mezzrow.

bcubrich - Posted - 02/18/2021:  11:43:33


quote:

Originally posted by UncleClawhammer

It's "mighty Mezz," not "mighty mess." A reference to clarinet player Mezz Mezzrow.






Thanks, did not know that one. 


Edited by - bcubrich on 02/18/2021 11:46:26

mmuussiiccaall - Posted - 02/18/2021:  15:14:06


Bridge:
Gm7 C9 Gm7 C9 F6 C7 F6 F6/C Am7 D9 Am7 D9 F6/G (F6/G) (F6/G) G6
I used to be a musician's union bassist & jazz guitarist so the first thing I do when I transcribe something like this is mark out the bass notes and then come back around to input the chord over it. I like all the extensions to be shown so if I improvise I'm synced with the rest of the band.

banjoy - Posted - 02/18/2021:  16:22:11


Petty interesting. I learned this tune over 30 years ago from Bob Worden in Spartanburg, who now lives and performs in Atlanta. He is a pretty intuitive musician who knows nothing about any theory at all yet he plays some pretty amazing and complex tunes to this day, just from ear. He picked up this tune from the Fats Waller recordings and this is what he plays and showed me years ago, something along these lines:



Part A

C / | C# / | D / | G / | C / | C# | D / | G /

C / | C7 / | F / | Fm7 / | G / | / / | C /



Part B

F / | / / | Fm / | / / |C / | / / | C Cb | C C#

D / | / / | / / | / / | G / | / / | Gaug / | / /



etc etc ...



I just tried this against the Fats Waller recording and it seems to function just fine, but obviously in a simpler form.



Bob told me way back then he thought there might be more going on but this is what he heard and came up with and when I'd jam with him this is what I played / jammed against. This is what I still pick to in the 1-in-1000 times this tune comes up at any jam session or be pulled from the air at some picking somewhere. It gets me by LOL.



Anyway, just a very different perspective here on this cool tune. It's fun to play, in certain settings :)


Edited by - banjoy on 02/18/2021 16:31:27

carlb - Posted - 02/19/2021:  05:25:41


The recording from which I learned this song.

Rosetta Howard and the Harlem Ham Fats (1937)

youtube.com/watch?v=vciEk9lUOBs



Stuff Smith recording (1936)

youtube.com/watch?v=TKFH_zh4gY0



Chords (uke) from Stuff Smith recording (lyrics miss "Mezz") (1936)

ukulele-tabs.com/uke-songs/stu...8069.html



Mezz Mezzrow

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mezz_Mezzrow

Nice biography of Mezz

Really the Blues - Mezz Mezzrow by Bernard Wolfe, publicshed by New York Review of Books, 1946

R Buck - Posted - 02/19/2021:  06:37:49


Thanks for that rabbit hole! It is great!

bcubrich - Posted - 02/19/2021:  07:33:26


quote:

Originally posted by carlb

The recording from which I learned this song.

Rosetta Howard and the Harlem Ham Fats (1937)

youtube.com/watch?v=vciEk9lUOBs



Stuff Smith recording (1936)

youtube.com/watch?v=TKFH_zh4gY0



Chords (uke) from Stuff Smith recording (lyrics miss "Mezz") (1936)

ukulele-tabs.com/uke-songs/stu...8069.html



Mezz Mezzrow

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mezz_Mezzrow

Nice biography of Mezz

Really the Blues - Mezz Mezzrow by Bernard Wolfe, publicshed by New York Review of Books, 1946






Those are great resources, thanks! Looks like I have the right idea on the bridge. My brother likes to go 1-4-2-5 on the bridge as well. I thought I heard Fats go 1-6-2-5, but there are a lot of notes in common between Am and F. Also, that is the chord I am most uncertain of. Also, where they go |C|C7|F|Bb9| that's what my mentor would do, but he taught me that was a substitution for |C|C7|F|Fm| (which he prefers).  I'm pretty sure I can hear fats do that chromatic walk down. |C|C7/Bb|F/A|Fm/Ab|C/G|



I'll have to try to transcribe what those other cats are doing and see if it changed my mind about what I thought fats was doing. Thanks agains for sharing the resources. 



 

bcubrich - Posted - 02/19/2021:  07:35:53


quote:

Originally posted by mmuussiiccaall

Bridge:

Gm7 C9 Gm7 C9 F6 C7 F6 F6/C Am7 D9 Am7 D9 F6/G (F6/G) (F6/G) G6

I used to be a musician's union bassist & jazz guitarist so the first thing I do when I transcribe something like this is mark out the bass notes and then come back around to input the chord over it. I like all the extensions to be shown so if I improvise I'm synced with the rest of the band.






Whoa, that's more interesting that what I was doing there. That's pretty cool. I'll try this out. 

bcubrich - Posted - 02/19/2021:  07:54:40


quote:

Originally posted by mmuussiiccaall

Bridge:

Gm7 C9 Gm7 C9 F6 C7 F6 F6/C Am7 D9 Am7 D9 F6/G (F6/G) (F6/G) G6

I used to be a musician's union bassist & jazz guitarist so the first thing I do when I transcribe something like this is mark out the bass notes and then come back around to input the chord over it. I like all the extensions to be shown so if I improvise I'm synced with the rest of the band.






I tried to put your ideas on here above the main line in more of a lead sheet version. What you're playing looks like what I would play with the big band or what my mentor would play, for sure. I've just read through about 300 pieces of 20s and 30s sheet music, so I was basing mine on what was more common for that time, as far as I can tell. 


Edited by - bcubrich on 02/19/2021 07:55:02


Jim Yates - Posted - 02/20/2021:  06:45:04


My version's probably a lot simpler (folkier), but here's how I've played it:



You'se A Viper    Stuff Smith



[C] Dreamed about a [C7] reefer [Dm] five feet [G7] long.

[C] Mighty [C7] Mezz, but [Dm] not too [G7] strong.

[C] You'll be [C7] high but [F] not for [Cdim] long

[C] If [G7] you'se a [C] viper. [G7]



[C] I'm the [C7] king of [Dm] every[G7]thing.

I've [C] got to be [C7] high be[Dm]fore I can [G7] swing.

[C] Light a [C7] tea and [F] let it [Cdim] be

[C] If [G7] you'se a [C] viper.



When your throat get dry you know you're high

[Am] Everything is [A] dan[A7]dy

[D7] Truck on down to the [Am] candy [D7] store

[G7] Bust your konk on [Dm] peppermint [G7] candy



[C] Then you [C7] know that your [Dm] body's [G7] spent

You [C] don't give a [C7] durn if you [Dm] don't pay [G7] rent

[C] Sky is [C7] high and [F] so am [Cdim] I

[C] If [G7] you'se a [C] viper

banjoy - Posted - 03/03/2021:  10:29:02


For what it's worth, this thread inspired me to dust off this tune which I hadn't thought of in years and tab out an arrangement for 5-string banjo, which can be found here:

banjohangout.org/topic/373248

I was working on a video demonstration until my camera crapped out on me today, so until I can get that sorted out I figured I'd just post the work I already have done. If I can finish that video it will include a lot of ideas for backup vamping and a discussion of chord choices inspired by this thread.

Anyway, just my two cents added to this cool tune.

banjonoah - Posted - 03/11/2021:  14:31:42


My band does this tune in G - it is super fun.  I'd post a lead sheet but it looks like several folks already did.   Have a listen, hope you enjoy.  



 





R Buck - Posted - 03/12/2021:  04:31:18


Nice rendition. I like how you hang the time out in the air at the intro. Real nice job.

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