collapse

* Member Info

 
 
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

* Like Us on Facebook

"Listen!!!" - Sonny Stitt's response to a young pianist backing him who asked what chord substitutions he was using on a well-known jazz standard.

Author Topic: Frank Stokes' Guitar Style--Queries and Tips  (Read 18987 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Pan

  • Member
  • Posts: 1906
  • Howdy!
Frank Stokes' Guitar Style--Queries and Tips
« on: January 25, 2006, 03:52:51 AM »
Hi All

This post has been heavily edited in order to remove inaccuracies, hasty conclusions and/or other improper mistakes.

I've been listening a lot to the Victor recordings of Frank Stokes. After several turns I've realized, that his chord structures have some very interesting and personal sounds.

In "It Won't Be Long Now" (takes 1 & 2) played in standard tuning in C position, capo I fret, Stokes starts with a standard C -shape chord with the high melody note G as follows: x-3-2-0-1-3. When the melody note changes to A in the 2nd bar, I think he shifts the whole fingering up 2 frets in the IIIrd position (without counting the capo) playing x-5-4-0-3-5.Throughout the song Stokes plays the same chord in the instrumental breaks.

On "Stomp That Thing" played again in standard tuning in C position, capoed to II, you can hear the same chord again. (Note by the way, that unlike the Document record label claims, Stokes is not alone here, but with  Dan Sane on 2nd gtr.)

I guess the chord could be called D (add4) if you want to name it, and don't consider the open G as being purely accidental.

Another interesting chord is the G chord played in the instrumental breaks: 3-x-0-0-0-7. Quite a stretch! The high B moves down to A, and then to G and F, in the "normal" G -chord position

In "Take Me Back" played in standard tuning capoed to III (Eb), I think Stokes plays an interesting IV chord: 1-x-3-2-0-1. The 6th string is best fingered with the thumb. This chord could be called an "F(#4)" or "F(b5)", although as John Miller points out, this form propably just comes from the guitarists reluctance to barre the 2 strings with the 1st finger.

You can hear Stokes using the chord in?the beginning of each 16 bar section in choruses 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, and 9 (out of 11). The first chorus is an instrumental introduction.

Stokes plays an instrumental break on choruses 5, 8, and 11 to finish. In these choruses the melody note is also the F on the 1st string, and I believe they are fingered the same way as "F(#4)", because I can't hear the C note that would be on the 2nd string if the 1st finger would barre the two strings. However, in these choruses Stokes doesn't let the open B string ring.

The other "F" -type of cord fingerings in the song are 1) with the high C note on melody: 1-3-3-2-1-x, 2) a variation of the former with the 6th or D note on top: 1-3-x-2-3-x-, and 3) finally in the last instrumental chorus with the 9th or G on top: 1-x-3-2-x-3. In some instances I'm not sure wether the C or F notes are being played on the 5th and 4th strings as the little finger is needed elsewhere. I guess it depends on where you are coming from, and where you're heading next.

In "Right Now Blues" you have the same chord again, this time capoed to I or C#. This time it's the only "F" or IV type chord used throughout this 12 bar blues.

Alex has had a Lyrics thread on  "It Won't Be Long Now", here's the link: http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?amp;Itemid=83&topic=263.0. Please note that you'll also find the mp3's for both takes on there.

Yours

Pan
« Last Edit: January 27, 2006, 02:49:28 AM by Pan »

Offline Johnm

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 11725
    • johnmillerguitar.com
Re: Frank Stokes' chord modernism
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2006, 05:13:38 PM »
Hi Pan,
I am a bit dubious about describing what Frank Stokes did in the instances you cited as "modernism".  I think it is more a result of taking the chord shape intact up two frets to get the A melody note.  Since the G string was not fretted in the C chord, he didn't fret it in the "D chord of convenience" that he goes to to get the A melody note on the first string.  Country blues guitar abounds in instances of players taking an entire chord shape along for the ride to get a desired melody note, e.g. Robert Wilkins's "Police Sergeant Blues" and "Alabama Blues", John Hurt's "Casey Jones" and "You've Got To Walk That Lonesome Valley", "Louis Collins", "Richland Woman Blues", Shirley Griffith's "Meet Me In The Bottom", and countless others.  If you move the third of the I chord up two frets a la Frank Stokes, you get a #4 note.  If you move the third of the V chord up two frets like Shirley Griffith, you get a #1 note or flat 2 note of the scale.  I think the F# sounding against the open G string is a result of Frank Stokes being a thumb and index finger picker who favored brush strokes.  Unless the melody itself is Lydian in the first instance, I don't see how you can view the happenstance of a note arriving via the easiest lefthand solution as being harmonically functional or significant. 
I agree that the open B string version of F that Frank Stokes plays on "Right Now Blues" is a real beauty, but I suspect that it's origin lies in playing either the first fret of the first string or the first fret of the second string with his index finger, but not flattening out and getting the first fret on both strings. 
I think in both of these instances, Frank Stokes ended up with something that sounded distinctive and interesting because the distinctive and interesting thing was easier to execute than the thing that would have sounded more "normal".
All best,
Johnm

Offline Pan

  • Member
  • Posts: 1906
  • Howdy!
Re: Some chord forms by Frank Stokes
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2006, 03:06:53 AM »
Hi Johnm

I think you're absolutely right about the "modernism" issue in my post. I have absolutely no basis to claim that Frank Stokes was trying to be "modernist" or anything else but just himself when these songs were recorded.

I guess I expressed myself very poorly. I was trying to describe how some of things he did, might sound like to a modern ear (maybe just mine?), rather than than claim anything else.

The same thing happens with the "Lydian" issue. I was using the term rather as describing the sounds, than claiming that this was something that Stokes sought after. In my ear playing the #4 in a otherwise major surrounding sounds like "Lydian", and since the II (sus4) chord goes back to I rather than V, this is just the way it sounds to me. I now realize others might not agree, and should not have let my personal tastes affect my post so much.

Thank you for your insight on using the 1st finger on the "F" chord shape. It's funny how  when you do things one way you don't realize that other people necessarily wouldn't.

I have heavily edited my original post, trying to stick just to the facts. I hope you find it satisfactory. Should you find further inaccuracies, I would appreciate being corrected again.

Yours

Pan

Offline Johnm

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 11725
    • johnmillerguitar.com
Re: Some chord forms by Frank Stokes
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2006, 09:02:23 AM »
Hi Pan,
Thanks for your response, and I should say that you are exactly right, I think, in describing the sound as being Lydian, in the accompaniment's inner voice.  There is a #IV note as you observed, and it certainly is not diatonic in the key of C major. 
I think in my post I probably came down a bit too hard on the side of
determinism based on the use of the hand.  I do think that Frank Stokes and other players in the blues often arrived at musically interesting conclusions through the use of left hand economies or short cuts, but the fact remains, whether arrived at via intent or happy accident, the musically interesting results are there for all of us to hear.  I especially like that IV chord with the open B string Frank Stokes plays--it is really beautiful.  And I certainly can't claim to have any special insight into Frank Stokes' or other players thought processes when they made their arrangements.  I am just playing a hunch based on how the different chords are fingered and what it would take in the left hand to get the A note in the melody with an F natural note harmonizing against it.  It would be both more difficult and less interesting sounding, so good for Frank Stokes for taking the easier solution!
Thanks for your contributions to the site.  The close listening you are giving the music is great, and please keep it up.  I think you get so much more enjoyment from the music when you listen hard.  And tying the listening back into theory is always helpful, too, from my point of view.
All best,
Johnm

Ganjah

  • Guest
Frank Stokes' Guitar Style--Queries and Tips
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2007, 10:17:45 AM »
Looking for the above. Sorry if you folks have had this one come and go before. Didnt find it anywhere in the archives. Yeah, not even sure if this against the rules of this here place to make such a shamefull request. OH well. Thanks.

Offline uncle bud

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • Posts: 8313
  • Rank amateur
Re: Stokes "You Shall" Chords/Lyrics
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2007, 10:56:01 AM »
Welcome Ganjah! Nothing shameful about it nor is it against the rules (in general, we only ask that people start the transcription themselves if possible, post it and ask for help). Some of us live for this kind of thing, especially threads about Frank Stokes lyrics. (See http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?amp;Itemid=114&topic=263.0 for numerous discussions.)

I haven't gone through this too much but this is what I have so far:

You Shall

Chicago, c. Aug. 1927

Oh well it's our Father who art in heaven
The preacher owed me ten dollars, he paid me seven
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done
If I hadn't took the seven Lord, I wouldn't have gotten none

Had to fight about it
What he owed me
My money, you shall

Oh well some folks say that a preacher won't steal
I caught about eleven in the watermelon field
Just a-cutting and a-slicing got to tearing up the vine
They's eating and talking most all the time

They was hungry
They ???, you shall
They will find
Gonna rob me, you shall
My melons, you shall

Oh well you see that preacher layin? behind the log
A hand on the trigger got his eye on the hog
The hog said mmm the gun said biff
Jumped on the hog with all his grip

He had pork chops, you shall
Had backbone
Had spare ribs, you shall
Now and the good Lord set me free

Now when I first moved to Memphis Tennessee
I was crazy about the preachers as I could be
I went out on my front porch a-walking about
Invite the preacher over to my house
He washed his face he combed his head
And next thing he want to do was slip in my bed
I caught him by the head man kicked him out the door
Don't allow my preacher at my house no more

I don?t like ?em
They will rob you
Steal your daughter
Take your wife from you, you shall
Eat your chicken
Spend your money, you shall
They will rob you
??? ??? ??, you shall

??? ???, in the morning, you shall
???? ???? ????
Help me tell it, you shall
Now and the good Lord set me free

Stokes is playing this out of the D position to my ear, probably capoed up a bit. Chords are basically D, G and A shapes (some 7s and the like thrown in). Dan Sane would be flatpicking out of a different position, possibly tuned low (I forget my Stokes/Sane formula. Sane playing out of G position? Help me someone...)
« Last Edit: March 27, 2007, 11:00:26 AM by uncle bud »

Offline banjochris

  • Member
  • Posts: 2250
Re: Stokes "You Shall" Chords/Lyrics
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2007, 02:40:50 PM »
I think I can fill in a couple of the gaps in the lyrics, although I haven't sat down and worked out what position Sane is playing out of:

They was hungry
Leave (or maybe save) the rind brother, you shall
Save my vines
Don' rob me, you shall
My melons, you shall

Eat your chicken
Spend your money, you shall
They will rob you [I think he means you possessively here, as in "they'll rob your plantation"]
Plantation, you shall

Pray mourner, in the morning, you shall
Feel the spirit
Help me tell it, you shall
Now when the good Lord set me free


also, in the first recording of the song, Stokes sings an additional verse after the "preacher layin' behind the log" that goes like this:

Now I'm getting old lord my head gettin' grey
Lord I'm not bowlegged but I walk that a-way
I'm settin' here lookin' down the street
Sittin' here lookin' at the preacher's face
I look right still he begin to pout
And I look at the preacher he began to walk 'bout
I looked right steady and began to see
A man like that ain't the man for me
I'm gettin' old, lord thinkin' 'bout the dough
Don't like about a preacher nowhere they go

Chris

Offline Johnm

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 11725
    • johnmillerguitar.com
Re: Stokes "You Shall" Chords/Lyrics
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2007, 03:04:56 PM »
Hi all,
I haven't listened to the track, but normally, if Frank Stokes is playing out of D, Dan Sane would be playing out of G position five frets lower, assuming both are tuned at standard pitch.  Sane sometimes tuned as much as a step to a step-and-a-half low to maintain this position relationship.
All best,
Johnm

Ganjah

  • Guest
Re: Stokes "You Shall" Chords/Lyrics
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2007, 09:31:52 AM »
Thanks yall. I love his delivery and flow in this cut. Certainly the roots of rapping/frestylin/rappin.

Offline Michael Kuehn

  • Member
  • Posts: 79
Re: Some chord forms by Frank Stokes
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2007, 10:27:22 AM »
I come to this thread really late -- but I was looking for Frank Stokes discussion, and I found it. I became a fan of Stokes when I saw Honeyboy Edwards a year or so ago and his opening/accompanying musician, Paul Kaye, did a rousing rendition of "Stomp That Thing," a song I'd never heard. I fell in love with that song and sought out Frank Stokes' version. I decided to transcribe it so I could play it -- it's a fairly simple tune, but played with such vigor. Just pure fun.

I had figured out that C position and the movement, since I already knew "It Won't Be Long," and I noticed the similarities.

Anyway, thanks for all the info on Frank Stokes.

Mike
« Last Edit: May 04, 2007, 05:04:37 PM by bluesmikedk »

Offline Slack

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • Posts: 8890
Re: Some chord forms by Frank Stokes
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2007, 12:44:31 PM »
welcome to WeenieCampbell Mike!

Offline Michael Kuehn

  • Member
  • Posts: 79
Re: Some chord forms by Frank Stokes
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2007, 01:23:12 PM »
Thanks, what a great site!! And a well-kept secret, as I've just discovered it.

Mike

Offline Michael Kuehn

  • Member
  • Posts: 79
Re: Some chord forms by Frank Stokes
« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2007, 08:05:45 AM »
I have to ask this: On "It Won't Be Long," Stokes uses that C position chord with the added G on the high E string, then slides that position up two frets to pick up that A on the fifth fret -- but the tempo of that song allows that move, How does he get back and forth between those notes so fast on the opening few measures of "Stomp That Thing"? Does he just move his pinky? It seems too fast to slide back and forth.

Thanks.

Mike

Offline Pan

  • Member
  • Posts: 1906
  • Howdy!
Re: Some chord forms by Frank Stokes
« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2007, 08:49:53 AM »
How does he get back and forth between those notes so fast on the opening few measures of "Stomp That Thing"?]

Hi Mike

I just re-listened to "Stomp That Thing". In my ears the chord is there. The tempo being faster, Stokes plays simpler rhythms, quarter notes or syncopated quarter notes most of the time.
Also, contrary to what my Document record sleeve claims, Stokes is not alone on this, but has Dan Sane flatpicking those single string 8th notes on the bass end, giving the song a more busy feeling.

Stretching from G to A on the top string while holding the C chord would, in my opinion, be very difficult.

Just my 2  cents... :)

Cheers and welcome

Pan
« Last Edit: May 05, 2007, 08:51:09 AM by Pan »

Offline Michael Kuehn

  • Member
  • Posts: 79
Re: Some chord forms by Frank Stokes
« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2007, 11:21:27 AM »
Thanks, Pan.
I sure love that song... I guess I'll have to get a little creative and rearrange a little to play that fingerpicking style alone. As I said in a previous post, I saw Paul Kaye (I think he's a Chicago musician) during a Honeyboy Edwards show do a fantastic version of "Stomp That Thing."  It was great. Thanks again for everyone's input. Great to find folks out there with the same passion for this great music.

Mike

 


SimplePortal 2.3.7 © 2008-2021, SimplePortal