The Unwound Third > Gitfiddles, Harps, Washboards & Kazoos

Percussion in Country Blues

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Hi all,
The drum accenting on "Jim And John" is not simply accenting the backbeat. It is more like a mambo, with the accents falling on beat 1, the + of beat 2, and beat 4. In this accenting pattern, a measure of four beats is divided into a three beat opening section in which the accents split those three beats in half, with the first two accents falling a beat-and-a-half apart from each other, starting on the first beat. Then beat four is hit squarely on the beat. So if you think of eight eighth notes in a measure of 4/4, the accenting pattern would be:

   ONE-two-three-FOUR-five-six-SEVEN-eight, or ONE-+-two-+-three-+-FOUR-+ 

Lonnie Young, Jr., who is playing the drum on the track, makes things more subtly inflected by subdividing some of the eight notes, like the + of beat one, into two sixteenth notes. There is something kind of magical or incantatory about this accenting pattern, I think. It really draws you in and puts you in a particular state, or at least it has that effect on me.
All best,

I always learn so much when you correct my erroneous assumptions, Johnm. I appreciate that you read my posts so closely for content . I have deleted the false statement from the post but include this response as a record of my mistake. I guess it's still okay to indicate that the strong back beat is very typical of country blues rhythms, but was certainly not the only rhythm used, which I don't think I implied.


Thanks gents, great stuff. Wax, I think you've hit the nail on the head, I have noticed, on occasion, he can lose the backbeat, especially after playing fills. I shall get him listening to some MJH, and I'll dig out my Blind Blake. Also, great idea John on the fife and drum.
dj, The Big Joe Williams is a good shout, he would be more comfortable with in this style.
The main problem has been with anything with a country or ragtime feel. we ended up dropping these from the set, and ended up with two acts, a country blues duo, and a more modern band set up.
I shall keep you updated.


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