Country Blues > Country Blues Licks and Lessons

Tuition videos that don't exist

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joe paul:
I think many of John Miller's lessons and Ari Eisinger's have sung verses in the "demonstration" for each song, and in both cases it's much appreciated. 
Thinking about where the vocal lies has become important in the way I learn a song, yes, and I'm curious to hear of other tutors who broach the question of how the songs are sung.
The "musicianship" aspect is the most helpful in the long run, I agree. That said, if someone wants to do a tuition video on Snooks Eaglin's playing or on more Bo Carter, or .... or just songs that the tutors really like and they want to share that enthusiasm, it'd be great just for the pleasure of watching and learning.


Hi all,
This topic has not been posted to in a while, since early 2016, but in poring through back pages of the Main Forum (which I recommend, there are a lot of interesting threads there) I came upon it, and one possibility for an instructional video that has not already been suggested in the thread is:
   Creating Your Own Arrangements of Country Blues Songs I know that the tendency for a number of years has been to base performances of Country Blues songs on specific historic recorded performances, usually done with varying degrees of exactitude with regard to the fidelity of reproduction of the original version. Since such an approach presumes that the recorded version is the starting point of the present-day version, however carefully such performances are done, they tend to fall pretty close to the tree from which they came, in terms of being played in the same playing position as the performance being emulated.
Why not use the songs themselves, rather than the arrangements of the songs as the basis for a new version of a song, which has the effect of throwing open the question of what playing position/tuning to do the song in for new assessment and consideration. If you're trying to think of exemplars for undertaking such an approach, the late Larry Johnson often did exactly what I suggest, with his original arrangements of "Keep It Clean", "Two White Horses", "Raggedy and Dirty", "Spoonful Blues" and a host of others. I adopted the same approach for my "This Old Hammer" CD, with original arrangements of ""Wild About My Loving", "I'm Getting Wild About Her", "Keep It Clean", "Easy Rider" and some other blues.
One of the potential advantages of re-arranging Country Blues songs in different playing positions/tunings than they were originally played in is that a surprising amount of the time, the original arrangements were not played in optimal playing positions, either in terms of voicing the melodies of the songs in question or in ease of execution on the left hand. This is not all that surprising, since players gravitated toward playing positions/tunings with which they were already more conversant, even if that particular playing position/tuning ended up being problematic for a particular song. Putting a melody in a playing position/tuning where it sits more naturally on the instrument allows for greater ease of execution and a sound which suits the instrument better. And the skill/knowledge involved in matching up a song to the playing position/tuning in which it will fit most easily and sound good is a learnable skill, not some sort of innate gift that you need to be born with or will never have.

Anyhow, I think the idea of striking out and creating altogether new arrangements is a way of maintaining vitality in the tradition and giving it some renewed evolutionary energy that reproductions can never give it, however expertly performed.
All best,

This is an interesting way of thinking about this music, and that kind of lesson would be a neat idea.  I've been learning John's arrangement of Candyman in Spanish tuning which is really nice and he demonstrated how Louis Collins works pretty well in standard tuning in G. 

Without beating around the bush, I think a lot of white performers are afraid, unable and/or otherwise unwilling to present themselves as direct imitators, primarily vocally, of original country blues musicians.

And often, that is with good reason, IMO.

It’s very close to, or actually is cultural appropriation if you’re not careful. And at worst, it’s almost like blackface. (Blackvoice?)

There is much less concern with copying guitar parts by rote and note for note.

The truth is though, one can only sound so authentic if they don’t give the vocal the right flavor as well as the music. As another poster said, Bach should sound like Bach, and blues should sound like blues.

I do quite agree that it would be refreshing to see more people using the original songs as jumping off points both vocally, lyrically, and musically for new country blues music.

After all, that’s exactly how it was always done by the original artists. They made up completely new numbers often, but it seems like more often they made new versions of old standards, or used the old songs (or portions of, lines from) as jumping off points and went from there.

I think it’s hard to toe the line sometimes between authenticity and creativity.

We can copy everything as much as possible, and stay as close to ‘authentic’ as we are able.

Or we can take our tools and skills learned and try to create something good that’s based on the original stuff.

Stray too far and we’re not playing country blues anymore. But don’t stray at all, and what are we really doing?

I’m not poking at anyone in specific or pointing any fingers, except at perhaps myself. Just sharing some thoughts and observations.

Also, Re: the 2010 original post and the reason nobody has done Patton until recently, (great job Tom Feldmann)  but had not at that time... got to say, I believe it’s fear and respect. 

Patton is on a higher plane with some of his stuff. It’s beyond the reach of many, even great players, especially rythymically.

Same reason there aren’t that many folks covering Hendrix. It’s just mind boggling some of that stuff, and when you get it even a little wrong... everyone notices.

Nobody wants to be the guy playing the awful cover of such well known and highly regarded giants.

Quite intimidating.

Blues Vintage:
Sam Chatmon?


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