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...put your knees together, let your backbone move - Fred McDowell, Shake em On Down

Author Topic: Miller's Breakdown  (Read 153043 times)

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Offline blueshome

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #2295 on: July 08, 2021, 05:23:39 AM »
Iíll go in feet first: BB Dotson drop D, SB Holmes E standard.

Offline Old Man Ned

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #2296 on: July 11, 2021, 09:20:01 AM »
For Sonny Boy Holmes "TNT Woman" I'm thinking  E, standard tuning.

I'm finding places to get into hearing where this piece is coming from but for some reason my ears are having trouble with Big Bill Dotson's "Dark Old World". Maybe it's the slight echo effect of the recording that's throwing me but all I've got so far is A, standard about a half step low (?)

All the Best,
Ned

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #2297 on: July 11, 2021, 03:10:47 PM »
Iíll say A for Big Bill Dotson and E for Sonny Boy.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #2298 on: July 15, 2021, 08:57:59 AM »
Hi all,
Any other takers for the Big Bill Dotson and Sonny Boy Holmes puzzlers? Come one, come all!
All best,
Johnm

Offline frailer24

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #2299 on: July 20, 2021, 12:52:27 PM »
Big Bill Dotson seems to be in A standard, capoed 3 up.
Going with E for Sonny Boy.
That's all she wrote Mabel!

Offline MarkC

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #2300 on: July 20, 2021, 03:09:42 PM »
I second Frailer.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #2301 on: July 26, 2021, 10:40:06 AM »
Hi all,
It's been a while since there have been any new responses to the Big Bill Dotson and Sonny Boy Holmes puzzlers, so I'll post the answers.

For Big Bill Dotson's "Dark Old World":
   * His playing position was A position in standard tuning, as just about everybody had it.

For Sonny Boy Holmes' "TNT Woman":
   * His playing position was E position in standard tuning, as everyone had it.

Assuming that both of these performances were recorded in the post-war period, they provide yet another reminder that for solo blues players of whatever era, maintaining a consistent form with a consistent meter over the course of a rendition turns out to have been way down on the list of musical priorities. On his piece, Big Bill Dotson used IV and V chords interchangeably on occasion, and Sonny Boy Holmes played his instrumental fills to their logical conclusions, however that may have played out with regard to the meter. It seems that the primary impetus for maintaining any kind of formal or metric consistency only really comes into play when the blues becomes an ensemble music. Even then, there are early instances of ensemble blues playing in which the form and meter are treated every bit as variably as on solo cuts--the early Sleepy John Estes cuts with Yank Rachell and Jab Jones come to mind in this regard, and hearing how Yank and Jab are with Sleepy John every step of the way really makes you appreciate their focus and musicianship. You get some tense moments in some later ensemble blues recordings (Lil' Son Jackson, Smokey Hogg and K. C. Douglas come to mind) when the featured artist simply is unable to maintain the formal and metric consistency his accompanists are presuming he's going to be operating with, and the accompanists are not good enough listeners or paying enough attention to accommodate the formal and metric variations that the leader executes in the moment.

What one is left with is the impression that, within the musical culture that the blues grew up and evolved in, the sense of what constitutes a blues is much looser and less prescriptive than we may be accustomed to thinking of it being. At this point, I'm dubious as to whether the concept of a certain number of bars, as pertains to form, even comes into play. It seems much more likely that what is thought of is vocal phrases and instrumental responses, and working within that very loose framework, lyric archetypes, like AAB,  or chorus blues of various lengths. If you're clear in your own understanding of what a blues is, you recognize a blues in all its variations, just as you can identify what you consider not to be a blues, by virtue of essential qualities that you feel are missing in a rendition.

Thanks to all who responded to the puzzlers and I hope folks enjoyed the songs.

All best,
Johnm

 

« Last Edit: July 26, 2021, 10:46:10 AM by Johnm »

Offline eric

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Re: Miller's Breakdown
« Reply #2302 on: July 26, 2021, 12:33:09 PM »
I don't always submit answers to these puzzlers, but I always listen, and appreciate hearing artists unknown to me and especially your breakdown of the tunes.
--
Eric

 


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