Country Blues > The Back Porch

Covering the Song, Not the Arrangement

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Norfolk Slim:
Having suggested in another thread that it would be nice to see the Back Porch getting some attention- I thought I had better respond to John's invitation to post alternative arrangements!

So I did a one-take recording of Digging My Potatoes.  The arrangement is not a new one- I put it together some years ago now, but is certainly not akin to the original which I believe was in G (though I haven't been back to check).

Nice version of the song, Simon.  I like the chord you begin it on--I've never heard that used before like that, and it's cool when you go to the A minor in the solo and towards the end.  That is sure enough your own take on the song.  Well done!
All best,

Hi All,

Just to post a cover of Fred McDowell's Eyes like an Eagle, V2 that I think fits in with the topic of this thread...


--- Quote from: RobBob on October 02, 2019, 08:05:11 AM ---One thing I got from listening to observing closely the old masters was that it was not slavish imitation but the realized essence that makes for great blues.  While I have arrangements close to the source, I have revamped, fine tuned and adapted the music to my personal abilities. Listen to Booker White's version of Going Down Slow to know that it is not like the original by St Louis Jimmy but it is his filtered version. This is my take on it, one who after 50 years, still only plays in his local community.  Keeping the blues alive.

--- End quote ---

This is how I feel too. I have nothing but admiration for people who can figure out and play exactly how the original was done, but that's a skill that I don't have. I usually try to capture some sort of essence of the song, and then play it in a way that works for me. Sometimes you can hear a bit of what was in the original, sometimes it sounds like a whole new arrangement - of course, this is exacerbated by the fact that the original artists are usually guitarists, and I'm playing mandolin or banjo.

While I'm certainly not comparing myself to any of the greats, I see it as being the same process that makes what is essentially the same song sound at least a little different when it's played by Charley Patton, Son House, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters. In my opinion, the blues is all about interpretation.

Here's another song cover, I guess my version, that I attempted to arrange for slide original recording. It's Joe Callicott's Roll and Tumble...

Stay safe and well all,


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