TRJ - December 2022 - Gallows Pole (trad.) & I Hope That I Don't Fall In Love With You - Tom Waits

My take on Gallows Pole, Willie Watsons version

This song was a Corona project.

I think I first started studying on it in 2020, I saw the Youtube video of it and I was immediately hooked on it. The accompaniment is mostly based a fingerstyle ‘biscuit roll’, and it makes the most of the drone coming from a drop-D tuning *). I trimmed of some of the embellishments (had to, to keep the overall structure understandable).

The original by Willie Watson is sung way beyond my vocal range (F#m instead of Dm) and in specific bits he even octaves himself upwards.

No can do! The original is on Youtube though. Even though the text is very simple, as usual it took me a very long time to memorize it, then to sing it to the accompaniement. This is where I am right now, 2 years later.

The added benefit of doing the Dm is that friendly bluesharpers can play the Harp Riff played after each group of three verses, as in the original, which is kind of neat.

The first recorded of this song I am aware of is of course by Leadbelly , which is quite different.

Most people having living memories of the 1970’s would remember the Led Zeppelin version.
I think its an exciting version of the song to do
Anyway, I hope you enjoy this.

Gallows Pole, by Willie Watson
Gallis Pole, Leadbelly’s original" version
Gallows Pole (Page and Plant live 1996)

A second upload for this month:

Tom Waits - I Hope That I Don’t Fall In Love With You


Tjeerd, this is a song I only know from the Led Zeppelin version. In fact always assumed it was an original. Makes me wonder how many other songs might be covers/intrepretations.

Enjoyed your play, which is above my playgrade to make furthre comment on, and vocal delivery.

Most enjoyable.

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Hi David, many, many artists in the 60s, and again the 90s, used the songs collected and performed by Leadbelly (Huddie Ledbetter) such as Gallows Pole (Led Zeppelin); Where did you sleep last night (Nirvana), Alberta (Clapton), Black Betty, the Midnight Special, the House of the Rising Sun (Animals) etc. Leadbelly himself prodiguously played, memorised and collected songs, when he was in prison, and after his discovery, recorded all these songs. He played with the likes of Woody Guthrie (This land is your land…) and Pete Seeger. Kurt Cobain famously bought a 12 string guitar that had belonged to Leadbelly.

That is most interesting, Tjeerd. I know of Leadbelly but have never listened to him.

In similar vein, I’m more familiar with the songs of Robert Johnson, that have been equally widely covered by many different artists (even your own moderators, Richard and David, once covered Love In Vain :grin:)

That’s probably what Plant and Page were hoping. :slight_smile:

You guys may know that Led Zep were famous for failing to credit the original writers on a number of songs that they recorded. They were often sued for copyright infringement and often lost. Many songwriting credits were updated after the lawsuits. I love Zep and I love that they were doing incredible rock versions of these blues songs, but man, why did they have to be so stingy about attributing authorship?

Here’s a wikipedia article on the subject: List of Led Zeppelin songs written or inspired by others - Wikipedia


A link pretty pleaaseee…

Here you are: Robert Johnson's Love In Vain - YouTube

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Thank you David, That was really enjoyable, really smooth and nice guitar play there!

Glad you enjoyed it, Tjeerd. @Richard_close2u Richard is indeed a mighty fine guitarist

Lovely fingerpicking there and excellent vocals.

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That was beautiful Tjeerd. Really well played and vocals were also very good.

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Very nice, I only really remember the Led Zeppelin cover though!

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Tjeerd that was some very nice Travis picking. Well played and sung. :clap::clap::clap:

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Well it was a new song to me and I really enjoyed it. Really great playing and singing Tjeerd.

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That was really cool Tjeerd. I think I’d only heard one over original style version of this song some where in my past and as you mentioned was more familiar with the Zeppelin version back in my yoof. Not surprising it was a cover. I grew up thinking most of their songs were originals but learned differently over the years, especially when I got more into the old and very old blues masters. which no doubt they were doing when they started out.

Great version. Nicely played and good vocals as well. Look forward to some more.


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Very cool arrangement and cover. I’m more familiar with the Led Zeppelin version, but I think if I were going to cover this song I’d go for something more like what you’ve done here (i.e. Willie Watson inspired). Good job!

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Thanks for sharing your video with us. As others have stated i am familiar with the Led Zeppelin version from their 3rd album; I appreciated the history you gave for the song.
Nice playing style and timing; thanks.

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Hi Phil,

thank you for the kind comment. I see that this is your first post here, so I am honoured! Why don’t you make a post about yourself in the introductory section, and tell a little about your guitar story. I am sure we would all benefit from that!

i took your advice to introduce myself.
Mine looks like a familiar path/story :slight_smile:

So being here is also trying to get into new stuff! A month ago I had a listen to the lesson by Justin on the Tom Waits song, I hope that I don’t fall in love with you. Turns out my vocal coach is a big fan of this song, so I made it into a project. We’ll start on it in January. Gives me time to try and get the picking right. I have made an audio of it - tucked it away in Soundcloud.

I hope that I don’t fall in love with you - 3 x Verse

It’s not yet set enough in muscle memory to attempt singing simultaneously, I will make myself a full length backing tape, and use that for vocal practice.

The JG lesson is here.
JG Lesson