King Solomon Hill


Here’s a badass tune by another great yet obscure musician, King Solomon Hill. A strikingly dark song, that has an eerie quality to it.

Listening to the whole song, it’s not easy to really get a sense for what he’s doing. Unlike other songs by other guys, King Solomon Hill doesn’t play through the whole chorus the same way once, which – not gonna lie – makes it hard as hell to understand.. it’s like he’s purposefully trying to throw you off his scent and deceive you haha. BUT, with that being said, there are some patterns he uses throughout the song, with those common moves, it gives at least a very rough framework to fill in the gaps, and those gaps are the interchangeable, mix & match moves that you can throw in to be like mortar between the bricks.

Yet, there are some giveaways, although very very little. Though it sounds mysterious and slippery to learn, you can “land the fish” eventually – there is rhyme to the reason and an answer.

For instance, coming out of the ‘2nd Section’, he almost always plays that spider-lick to cap things off and get into the turnaround. Then, on the turnaround, he almost always starts with that bend on the 2nd fret of the 6th string, along with some other bass-side moves. It’s nice to start to see that there’s some method to the madness, it helps to make you feel a little more comfortable, instead of listening to the song and just hearing a void of (really well-played and cool) guitar riffs. It can be a big help to also pull up the lyrics to a song that’s extra ‘voidy’ like this, and sing the lyrics to the song to yourself just to help give it some shape and get a sense of how the licks are placed around the lyrics.

Also, a good thing is that with his style, after you learn this song, you’re pretty well-equipped to play his other stuff, like Whoopee Blues.

Lastly, not all the licks are shown in this lesson – more so about 70%. Getting the structure though is really helpful to learning the licks though, which is why that’s more so the emphasis. Ideally it’s like, “okay now I know there’s this empty block of time where I can play these 3 licks, then he sings, then the chorus is finishing up and I’ve got the option to just throw in my own slide lick and then cap it off with, say, that spider lick” that kind of thing. So I really hope this helps clear the mud and gives a better sense of this classic King Solomon Hill tune!

This song was recorded in January 1932, for the Paramount 13116 label, at its Grafton, WI studio
To get your guitar setup,
  • tune to Open D — DADF#AD
  • capo up to fret number
Here's the link to the original recording, and here is a link to the song tabs (which aren't perfect but hopefully help)!

Baby you've been gone all day, that you may make whoopee all night
Honey you've been gone all day, that you may make whoopee all night
I'm gonna take my razor and cut your late hours, you wouldn't think I'd be servin' you right

Undertaker been here and gone, I gave him your height and seize
Undertaker been here and gone, I gave him your height and seize
You'll be makin' whoopee with the devil in hell tomorrow night

Ah, you made me love you, now you got me for your slave
Baby, you done made me love you, now I got me for your slave
From now you'll be makin' whoopee, deep in your lonesome grave

The devil got 90,000 women, he just need one more
Boys, the devil got 90,000 women, now he just needs one more
He's on the mountain callin' for you, woman broke down, sure must go

Next time you go out, carry your black suit along
Coffin's gonna be your prison, hell gonna be your brand new home

Koo-koo's go howlin', sun is almost down
Koo-koo's go howlin', sun is almost down
I got to go to that valley, ain't a house for 25 miles around

About the player

Exempliyfing the mysterious, headless-horseman-like feel of pre-war blues (in how obscure it can be, tracing musicians), King Solomon Hill was a remarkable musician, and ironically extremely little is known about him. Recording just a few sides, it's unfortunate that he could not have recorded more, but even just in those few recordings he made many insights can be drawn from his playing style.

Over the years, many musicologists have worked to unravel the mystery behind King Solomon Hill, a study which continues even now. more

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