WeenieCampbell.com

Country Blues => Weenie Campbell Main Forum => Topic started by: Johnm on December 01, 2004, 10:02:29 PM

Title: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on December 01, 2004, 10:02:29 PM
Hi all,
I thought it might be interesting to look at 16-Bar blues the way we have been the 8-bar blues and Rag/Circle of 5th blues.  Here's a couple to begin with:
Lemon's "One Dime Blues"--
   |  I  |  I  |  I (long) |  I  |
   | IV | IV |  I  |  I  |
   | IV | IV |  I  |  I  |
   |  I  | I/V7 |  I  |  I  |
Lemon's "Wartime Blues"--
   |  I  |  I  |  I  |  I (short) |
   | IVminor |IVminor | I | I |
   | IVminor |IVminor | I | I |
   |  I  |  I  |  I  |  I  |
Furry Lewis's "Kassie Jones"
   |  I  |  I  |  I  |  I  |
   |  I  |  I  |  I  |  I (long, to IV)|
   | IV | IV | IV | IV |
   |  I  |  I  |  I  |  I  |
Marshall Owens' "Try Me One More Time"
   |  I  |  I  |  I  |  I  |
   | IV | IV | I7 | I7 |
   | IV | IV | I7 | I7 |
   |V7 | IV |  I  |  I  |
I don't think I had appreciated the variety in the 16-bar form until I started comparing these ones.  "One Dime" is closest to the form most often encountered, and "Kassie Jones" is definitely the odd man out,  with no V chord, and with Furry varying phrase lengths quite a lot as he played it.  Any other favorite 16-bar blues out there?
All best,
Johnm 
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: NotRevGDavis on December 02, 2004, 08:46:14 AM
"Kassie Jones" is definitely the odd man out,? with no V chord, and with Furry varying phrase lengths quite a lot as he played it.?
Mornin' John,
"Kassie Jones" may be the odd man out but what a nice song to listen to.
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on December 02, 2004, 08:55:46 AM
You're definitely right there, Gary.  I wasn't complaining, just was sort of surprised how far it was from the norm.  Furry's lyrics on this one (and guitar and singing) are above and beyond.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: NotRevGDavis on December 02, 2004, 09:30:44 AM
You're definitely right there, Gary. I wasn't complaining, just was sort of surprised how far it was from the norm. Furry's lyrics on this one (and guitar and singing) are above and beyond.
All best,
Johnm
No, no, I never thought it was a complaint, I just think that particular song is just so cool especially with its oddness.
I'm glad you point all these different progressions out I personally learn alot from these posts. Distance education.

By the way my treat for dinner in 8 months.
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on December 03, 2004, 08:49:47 AM
Well, thanks for the offer of dinner, Gary.  I appreciate it.  Sounds like we will be seeing you out at Port Townsend again.  Good!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: frankie on December 03, 2004, 08:54:36 AM
Seems like the common thread between all those 16-bar tunes is that they repeat the four bars that start with the IV (major or minor) and come back to the I.  I'm trying to think of 16-bar tunes that *don't* do this, but can't seem to come up with any.  Maybe it's the cold medication...
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on December 03, 2004, 09:04:29 AM
That's why I think "Kassie Jones" is so unusual, Frank.  It repeats the opening I phrase, and then has a non-repeating four bars of IV chord with no singing over it, followed by four bars of I.  Odd, huh?
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on December 03, 2004, 09:16:09 AM
Hi all,
There are a couple of great 16-bar Blues that are well-known in Bluegrass circles:? Earl Scruggs's "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" and Bill Monroe's great mandolin tune "Bluegrass Breakdown".? Chordally, they move as follows:
?"Foggy Mountain Breakdown":
?|? I? |? I? |? I? |? I? |
?|VI minor| VI minor| I | I |
?|VI minor| VI minor| I | I |
?|? V? |? V? |? I? |? I? |
So "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" substitutes a VI minor chord where the IV would normally go.? Sounds pretty great!
?"Bluegrass Breakdown"
?|? I? |? I? |? I? |? I? |
?|flat VII| flat VII|? I? |? I? |?
?|flat VII| flat VII|? I? |? I? |?
?|? V? |? V? |? I? |? I? |?
On the third iteration of the form in "Bluegrass Breakdown" Monroe goes to a IV chord instead of the flat VII chord.? That flat VII chord in the key of G is F major and it puts the tune in the mixolydian mode like a lot of Old-Time fiddle tunes or the song "Little Maggie", that you may have heard Ralph Stanley or Grayson and Whitter do.? It is a great dark sound.? I think these tunes offer some great possibilities for varying the 16-bar Blues "formula".
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: a2tom on December 03, 2004, 11:04:04 AM
What about Blind Boy Fuller's Careless Love (or maybe anybody's Careless Love?).  How would you guys characterize that?  I've never been too sure what was happening chordally in the 3rd set of 4 bars.

tom
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on December 03, 2004, 11:35:02 PM

I think you are right, Tom, "Careless Love" does not follow any of the models for 16-bar blues we've cited so far.  I hear its form as follows:
   |  I  |  V7  |I/V7|  I  |
   |IV7|Idim7|  I   |  I  |
   |  I  |  I     |IV7 |IV7|
   |  I  |  V7  |I/V7|  I  |
I see what you mean about the third four-bar phrase being tough to sus out in terms of chordal analysis.  You could say it is all I, or you could say one or both of the last two bars are IV7.  The notes Fuller hits in the bass in that part of the progression are ambigous enough to justify either interpretation.  I opted for a IV7 for the last two bars because it does not sound to me like the I chord flows continuously from the seventh bar of the form through the thirteenth bar; it definitely seems to go somewhere else toward the end of that third four-bar phrase, and IV7 seems like the best candidate.  Moreover, in the first two bars of that line he is hitting C# notes in the treble, the major third of the I chord.  In the second two bars he is hitting C naturals, which are the seventh note in the IV7 chord.  Interesting tune!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on December 17, 2004, 09:10:48 AM
Hi all,
Thinking about William Moore made me realize he had some great 16-bar blues as well:? "One Way Gal", "Old Country Rock" and "Midnight Blues".? "Old Country Rock" and "One Way Gal" are both in Dropped D and are essentially the same, chordally:
? ?|? I? |? I? |? I? |? I? |
? ?|IV7|IV7|? I? |? I? |
? ?|IV7| IV7|? I? |? I? |
? ?|II7 | V7 |? I? |? I? |
"Midnight Blues" is in G standard and is terrific--I had completely forgotten about it.? On it, Moore has something of the touch of Bo Weavil Jackson in G standard.? Its progression varies the 16-bar formula slightly.
? ?|? I? | IV? |? I? |? I? |
? ?| IV | IV? |? I? |? I? |?
? ?| IV | IV? |? I? |? I? |
? ?|? V |? V? |? I? |? I? |
I think "Old Country Rock" is my favorite tune in dropped D, and it definitely has my favorite spoken accompaniment for an instrumental.? "One Way Gal" has one of the great verses:
? ?We walked and talked and then we went away (3)
? ?And then we went into a cabaret.
All of William Moore's titles are on Ragtime Blues Guitar-Document DOCD 5062.
All best,
Johnm?
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: waxwing on December 17, 2004, 11:41:53 AM
Hey John,
Geez, you (and others) have been offering up such great information lately on these various "style" threads. I feel like a kid in a candy shop when I try to decide what song I'm gonna work on next. Thanks!
Quote
All of William Moore's titles are on Ragtime Blues Guitar-Document DOCD 5062
Just wanted to point out that, as most of us know, this Document CD has been out of print and virtually unavailable for some time now (one just sold for $46 on ebay}. The good news is that, as reported by NotRevGary on the 'shed, Document claims that the remaster will be issued in 2005.
Keep up the great work, John
All for now.
John C.
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: Rivers on December 21, 2004, 06:42:41 PM
Frank Hutchison's "The Train That Carried My Girl From Town" belongs in here.

The Delmore Brothers' "Blue Railroad Train" is 16 bars (should be eight, I was in the wrong thread  ;) ) & "Deep River Blues" probably counts as a 32 bar blues.

Blind Willie Johnson's "God Moves On The Water"
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on December 23, 2004, 09:06:26 AM
Hi Mark,
That "Deep River Blues" is a good one, and is I think, a new model.
   | I7  |Idim7| I7  | IV7 |
   |  I   |   I    | V7 | V7  |
   | I7  |Idim7| I7  | IV7 |
   |  I   |  V7  |  I   |   I  |
Sometimes Doc is long at the back end, and extends the I chord with a 2-bar fill before beginning the next verse.  Both "Deep River Blues" and "Brown's Ferry Blues" were written by Alton Delmore.  I'm pretty sure the Delmores called "Deep River Blues" "Big River Blues", and I suspect the Idim7 chord was Doc's innovation and not in the original.  Otherwise, "Big River Blues" and "Brown's Ferry Blues" pretty much conform to the same chordal lay-out.  I don't know if this particular variety of 16-bar blues pre-dated Alton Delmore or if it was his own twist on the form.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: FrontPage on December 23, 2004, 08:52:27 PM
I'm pretty sure the Delmores called "Deep River Blues" "Big River Blues", and I suspect the Idim7 chord was Doc's innovation and not in the original.?

You are absolutely correct. There are minor changes in the lyrics, but the songs are definitely close realtives, with "I've Got the Big River Blues" being a generation earlier. The Idim7 can be heard as a passing chord in the harmony line played by the accompanying tenor guitar. "Brown's Ferry Blues, Pts. 1 and 2" uses the same form. I think Jimmy Davis is credited with another very similar song called "Red River Blues" that was recorded quite widely.

Off topic, but my favorite Delmore Brothers tune is "Smokey Mountain Bill and His Song" - the quirkiest lyrics you'll ever want to hear.
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: GhostRider on January 05, 2005, 09:34:56 PM
Hi all:

Here's a very unusual 16 bar format to a very common melody.

Funny Papa Smith does a tune called County Jail Blues, over which he sings the melody to Careless Love (different words). The chords however...

I - V - I - I
III - III - V - V
I - I7 - IV - I
I - V - I - I

In C (the key he plays it in)

C - G - C - C
E - E - G - G
C - C7 - F - C
C - G - C - C

I'm not sure of some of the chords in the second and third lines (i'm sure of the E at the beginning of line two), so I've attached the tune so you folks can correct me or confirm (unlikely).

Judge, here's my 45,
Alex
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on January 06, 2005, 05:00:00 PM
Hi Alex,
This one is a great find.  I had forgotten all about it.  The way JT Smith harmonizes the melody here would be pertinent on another thread on the Main Forum--Harmony/Hearing Chord Changes, on page 4, I believe (I don't know how to link to threads).
Anyhow, after listening to the tune a couple of times it sounded like he was playing the progression so:
 |  I  |  I/V  |  I  |  I  |
 | III | III | II |  II |
 |  I  |  I  |  II |  I  |
 |  I  |I/V |  I |  I  |
JT does a lot of Sam Collins' trick of harmonizing the melody note as though it is the root of the chord it is happening over, so that in the second line of the progression, the melody goes from an E note in the key of  C up to a G note and then lands on a D note for the last two bars of that line.  Normally that melody would be harmonized
 |  I  |  I  |  V  |  V  |,
but in this instance JT goes for the root chord of that E note followed by the root chord of the D note that the melody lands on.  He makes the choice of D even more striking by rocking back and forth between D major and D minor.
In the third bar of the third line, I think he just moves the C chord fingering the third fret of the first string up two frets to get the A melody note, which definitely would be harmonized with a IV chord normally.  I think in the first and fourth lines where the V chord would normally fall he just rocks his bass in the C chord down to the third fret of the sixth string without changing the fingering in the treble.  This one is really a piece of work!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: frankie on January 07, 2005, 01:04:20 AM
That's an amazing one - definitely a good example of the type of harmony referred to in this thread (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?Itemid=47&?topic=707.0).
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: GhostRider on January 07, 2005, 10:53:48 AM
John:

Thanks for the correction.

I did some more research. In the liner notes to the Funny Papa Smith vinal Yazoo album The author states that the chord changes in this tune were an example of FPS's musical ineptness, playing the wrong chords to get certain melody notes.

I have never thought that FPS was musically inept. I suspect he knew exactly what he was doing. Mind you he wasn't too hot at tuning.

Alex
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: Slack on January 07, 2005, 11:45:10 AM
Quote
I have never though FPS was musically inept. I suspect he knew exactly what he was doing. Mind you he wasn't too hot at tuning.

I agree with you Alex that he knew exactly what he was doing and the tuning could have been the low-end guitars he was playing.  We take good setup for granted these days, but Sears and Robuck type guitars had all kinds of problems with them, including improper scale length and fret spacing.

cheers,
slack
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: GhostRider on January 07, 2005, 01:12:07 PM
Mr. John:

Agreeing with me, I knew it had to come. Hold that thought.

One down, one to go, now I just have to work on Unkie Bud.

Alex
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: dj on January 08, 2005, 06:57:48 AM
Quote
I agree with you Alex that he knew exactly what he was doing and the tuning could have been the low-end guitars he was playing.

Or it could have just been that Mr. Smith liked his guitar tuned that way.  I remember an article by David Evans in an early Blues Review Quarterly describing a visit to Ishmon Bracey in the 60s.  Evans asked Bracey if he still played, and when Bracey said he did, but only religious songs, Evans handed him a guitar which he considered perfectly in tune and which Bracey promptly fiddled with until it had that kind of "sour" (Evans's word, if I recall correctly) tuning that Bracey used on his  recordings.
   
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: GhostRider on January 08, 2005, 04:22:11 PM
DJ:

Hmmm, interesting. I hadn't thought of that. Thanks.

Alex
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on October 23, 2005, 02:47:33 PM
Hi all,
I have been listening a lot recently to Sleepy John Estes and noticed that his song "Someday Baby Blues" is a 16-bar blues of a type previously not discussed in this thread.  John Estes later used the same form again for his musical "sequel", "New Someday Baby".  Lyrics and chords work out as follows in this archetype.  Note that all measures are four-beat measures, despite their uneven visual lengths.   Since Sleepy John phrases so far in front of the beat in this model, I will run the lyrics from the last four bars of the harmonica solo that precedes the first verse.

                                    I don't care how long you
|   I    |   I     |     I      |           I                        |
FORM BEGINS:
go       I don't care how long you stay      But that good kind
|  I   |              I                     |   I     |      I                  |
treatment   Bring you back home someday       Someday
|      IV    |              IV                    |    I    |   I         |
Baby       You ain't gonna worry  my mind       any-
|  I       |           I          |     I            |     I        |
more                                                I hate that
|   I      |    I                |     I           |     I          |

A couple of points about this performance:
   *  I can not recall another 16-bar archetype that is so monochromatic chordally.  Out of the 16-bar form, only two bars are devoted to the IV chord and the V chord is never played. 
   * "Someday Baby Blues" is a "Chorus" blues, though not like any other I've encountered.  It's refrain, "Someday, baby, you ain't gonna worry my mind anymore" arrives at the tail end of the eighth bar and takes about five bars to be sung.  It has a very stretched-out, attenuated feel, and the expression and variety that John Estes brings to his phrasing of it is really masterful.  It's as though it was designed to show off his singing, which is truly spectacular.  If anything, it is even more varied and expressive on "New Someday Baby", too.
   * The verse portion of the song has an unusual phrasing scheme, as well.  Sleepy John phrases very far in front of the beat so that he winds up with lyrics jammed closely into the weaker second and fourth bars of each four bar phrase, and often a single syllable or word landing on the downbeats of the stronger first and third measures.  In addition to having a great conversational feel, this phrasing scheme provides space for instrumental fills by either John, on guitar, or Hammie Nixon, on harmonica, in the tail end of the strong measures.
   *  Sleepy John was a very under-rated guitarist, I think.  He played this out of C position, standard tuning, his favorite playing position, and hearing the powerful way he moves the time along and the sneaky bends and fills he inserts from time to time impresses me all the more with repeated listenings.  C is a tough key to sound strong in, and to my taste, at least, his playing is some of the very strongest I've heard in C, right up there with Charley Patton's "Down The Dirt Road Blues", or "34 Blues".
   * Hammie Nixon's playing on this tune is also excellent; busy, yet appropriately so.  He most often plays the melody right under Sleepy John's singing of the verse, and then handles fills.  The final four bars are devoted to a harmonica signature lick that suggests resolution to a V chord that Sleepy John never picks up on.  Hammie's playing is also very under-rated, I think.  He had a spooky, closed-sounding tone that was quite distinctive.
If you haven't heard this tune, you may want to request it on the Juke.  It is a real beauty.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: MTJ3 on October 23, 2005, 05:26:15 PM
Quote
I can not recall another 16-bar archetype that is so monochromatic chordally.  Out of the 16-bar form, only two bars are devoted to the IV chord and the V chord is never played.

Fascinating observation and great thread.  Kassie Jones, with a reference to which you started this thread, is just 2 bars of IV off "Someday Baby." 

This may have been dealt with elsewhere, but there are a number of "rag blues" (e.g., Blind Boy Fuller's "Baby You Got To Change Your Mind") in 16 bar form that follow generally this progression:

I-III7/VI7/II7-V7/I/
I-III7/VI7/II7-V7/I/
I/I7/IV/VIdim/
I-III7/VI7/II7-V7/I

III7 is sometimes omitted.

This may reflect the influence of popular music rather than any blues tradition or innovation per se.
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: Rivers on January 22, 2006, 05:50:13 AM
This thread's been dormant a while.

Rev. Gary Davis's Running To the Judgement in G is another 16 bar somwhat bluesy gospel tune, quite unusual and great fun to play. Structure is:

I I I I IV-IIm IIm IIm
I I I I V-IV I I

The last IIm implies the V chord nicely as the lick played over the top of it ends on a high D

Likewise one pass of Pure Religion is 16 bars but the doubled-up verses, same chords voiced differently, gives it a 32 bar feel.
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on April 13, 2006, 09:03:35 AM
Hi all,
I've been noticing 16-bar blues lately that I had not previously remarked upon.  One is Edward Thompson's "West Virginia Blues", another is Geeshie Wiley's "Skinny Leg Blues", which is included on Yazoo's "The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of".  Elvie Thomas's "Motherless Child" is another, and to my taste, the fairest of the fair.  There's a thread that talks about 8-bar blues in which the solo switches to a 12-bar form, like Buddy Moss's "New Lovin' Blues".  Mance Lipscomb's version of "Rocks And Gravel" is a 12-bar form that switches to a 16-bar form for its solo.  Interesting!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: GhostRider on December 31, 2007, 11:11:28 AM
Hi:

An interesting 16-bar blues (well, sort of a blues) is "Bye Bye Baby Blues" by Little Hat Jones. I've played this one for a while but never really thought about the structure before. The form is of a type not yet mentioned. Little Hat playes the tune in Standard Tuning, G position.

I  / IV/  I  /I-I7

IV/ IV/V-V7/ I

 I / I / I / I

I  / IV/  I  / I

Alex

Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: zoner on December 31, 2007, 02:23:58 PM
How 'bout K.C. Moan by the Memphis Jug Band?
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on January 02, 2008, 04:46:12 PM
Hi all,
I was listening to the new JSP set, "A Richer Tradition" and heard one that was new to me, Simmie Dooley and Pink Anderson's "C.C. & O Blues", on which Pink does some great playing in D, standard tuning.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on February 19, 2009, 10:43:16 PM
Hi all,
Uncle Bud's comment on Jesse Fuller's Arhoolie CD, "Frisco Bound", in the Smoky Babe thread inspired made me to dig it out and give it a listen for the first time in several years.  I found an absolutely stellar 16-bar blues on there, "Cincinnati Blues", played with a slide in Vestapol.  On the cut, Jesse was working very much the same territory as such Furry Lewis tunes as "Judge Harsh" and "Falling Down Blues", and perhaps even more, Elizabeth Cotten's "Vestapol", though played with a slide.  The track is 5'06" long, and ends with a fade,with no signs of Jesse letting up--I'd love to know how long he played it.  It's one of those songs like Jimmy Lee Williams' "Have You Ever Seen Peaches", that I could happily listen to for the length of the entire side of an LP.
All best,
Johnm   
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on June 18, 2009, 06:03:59 PM
Hi all,
I found another 16-bar blues from Jesse Fuller with a progression that has not been noted here previously.  It is his "99 Years", played out of E position in standard tuning with the following progression:

    ||    I    |    I    |    V7    |    V7    |

    |    V7  |   V7   |    I     |     I      |

    |    I    |    I     |   IV    |     IV    |

    |    I    |    V7   |    I     |     I      ||

For at least a couple of his solos, Jesse switched to a 12-bar form.  That suggests another interesting category:  songs in which the solo has a different form than the sung verses do.  Buddy Moss' "New Lovin' Blues" and Mance Lipscomb's "Rocks and Gravel Makes a Solid Road" both fit that categorization.
All best,
Johnm    
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: GhostRider on June 19, 2009, 02:04:52 PM
John:

Another tune where the solo and the verses have different structures is Little Hat Jones' "Rollin' From Side to Side Blues".

In this tune the intro and the two solos are 16 bars whereas the verses are 12 bars. The solos are lengthened by repeating the second 4 bar line of the verses.

I like this structure. Gives one a chance to strut.

Alex
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: dave stott on June 21, 2009, 06:27:58 AM
16 bar blues = almost anything Lightnin Hopkins played...

doesn't the famous quote go something like "Lightnin changes when Lightnin wants to" ??

Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on February 02, 2010, 04:25:42 PM
Hi all,
In the course of preparing a transcription for a lesson, I discovered that Bo Carter's "Country Fool" is a 16-bar blues of a type not previously mentioned here, I think.  The progression is as follows:

   |    IV7    |    IV7    |    I    |    I/I7    |

   |    IV7    |    IV7    |    I    |     I       |

   |    III     |    III      |   IV7  |     IV7   |

   |     I      |     V7     |    I    |    I/I7    |

The whole progression is a nifty twist on 16-bar blues as they are normally phrased.  By starting the form on the IV7 chord, Bo ends up putting the chord progression that normally coincides with bars 5--12 in a 16-bar blues at the front end of the form, in bars 1--8.  His bridge, in bars 9--12, is a raggy departure from the 16-bar blues structure that I've not encountered before; the III--IV progression is one that is most often associated with "Make Me A Pallet On Your Floor", though it's found elsewhere, too.  The final four bars wind things up and send you back to the front end of the form.  
Lyrically, the song follows the customary AAAB format most often employed by non-chorus 16-bar blues, and it's an unusually sour set of lyrics by Bo, really contemptuous of the country fool of the title.  I think it's one of Bo's most striking tunes, and very low-down with extremely heavy time--everything lands so hard.
All best,
Johnm  
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: uncle bud on February 02, 2010, 05:01:59 PM
Hi John - I agree, a great tune, and one I recently have been working on. I wonder about the sourness of the lyrics. I feel like there's some social commentary going on here that is somewhat sympathetic, to my ear, despite the blunt portrayal of the country fool. It kind of makes me think this is the real Bo Carter's advice, a warning about the ways of the slick city. Reminds me too a little of the Sam Chatmon quote you gave us: "I love women, but I'm not crazy about them."
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on February 02, 2010, 06:34:34 PM
You make a good point, uncle bud.  Bo is obviously not greatly enamored of those who would prey on the poor country fool.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: uncle bud on February 03, 2010, 07:05:56 AM
Funny how that move from III to IV7 did not jump out at me as being related to the move in Pallet On Your Floor, though when you explain it that way, I think "of course". Perhaps because we're in G6 tuning, there is no 7th on the III chord, he rather oddly uses the G in the bass I think, and he also uses a suspended 4th in the melody to my ear. If we were in G standard and the move was to a regular B7, it would undoubtedly seem more obvious.

The more I listen to Bo, the better it gets.
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: banjochris on February 03, 2010, 07:00:51 PM
UB -- I'm pretty sure "Country Fool" is played in A standard, not G6 tuning. I seem to remember some discussion about it in the Bo keys and positions thread. I play that III chord as a first position D chord moved down one fret to C#, adding the F# note on the 1st string when needed. I wonder what John has to say about this.
Chris
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on February 03, 2010, 10:17:49 PM
Hi all,
I used to assume "Country Fool" was in Bo's G tuning, DGDGBE, without having figured it out carefully, and have taught quick-and-dirty versions of it in that tuning.  It can certainly be played there, but after listening more carefully, I do think Bo played it out of A standard.  At the end of the first bar of the intro, you can hear Bo do the characteristic slide of the index barre in the A chord from the first to the second fret on the second string.  The III chord does sit very easily in A standard, too, as a D chord dropped down one fret to C#, as Chris has it.  The distinction between these tunings/playing positions is even more subtle than the difference between Bo's G tuning and Spanish, and Bo does very little that favors one of the postitions aurally over the other, but I do think that the V7 chord sounds more like an E7 chord out of A standard than a D7 out of Bo's G tuning, so I'd say he played it in A.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: banjochris on February 03, 2010, 10:44:52 PM
Thanks John -- I agree they're very subtle differences. When he plays the IV chord in A he slides up to the F# note on the 4th string as he goes into the chord -- in G6 he walks up to the E -- that, and the slight difference in his descending run at the end of each line are a couple of the differences I hear too.
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: uncle bud on February 04, 2010, 08:57:19 AM
Thanks for the correction, Chris and John. Listening more carefully, I hear all you're describing. I'll give it a go in A, although I like how it feels under my hands in G6 tuning and may keep it there for my interpretation, and for when I'm fooling around with other Bo material.
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: Stuart on February 04, 2010, 03:40:51 PM
Regarding the lyrics, when I first heard the song almost forty years ago, it really struck me as some kind of advice, warning or social commentary--as John and Andrew point out. It almost comes across as a general warning based on a specific example or case(s).
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: banjochris on February 04, 2010, 04:44:35 PM
Speaking of Bo, I believe his "Ins and Outs of My Girl" would fall into this category as well, and is a bit unusual in that instead of being a four-line blues with basically I, IV, IV, V heading each line (like, say, Pink Anderson and Simmie Dooley's "C.C. & O Blues"), he goes back to the I, so you have four lines with I, IV, I, V heading up each line of the verse.
Chris
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on February 05, 2010, 11:59:09 AM
That's a good catch, Chris.  I never remarked upon the way Bo tweaked the 16-bar form for "The Ins And Outs of My Gal" until you mentioned it.  I have to admit, except for the lyrics, this is not one of my favorites of Bo's tunes.  Returning to the I chord for the opening of that third four-bar phrase seems to sap all the momentum from the progression for me, though I expect other people respond to it differently.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on December 06, 2011, 11:15:16 AM
Hi all,
Henry "Rufe" Johnson did a really nice 16-bar blues in Vestapol, "Who's Going Home With You", on his Trix album, "Henry Johnson-The Union County Flash!".  The song is essentially a re-working of "Going Down The Road Feeling Bad".  One interesting bit of information from the album's notes is that Johnson recorded the song at the instigation of Peter B. Lowry, who was recording him, and who requested a non-slide piece from Johnson in Vestapol tuning.  Obviously, it wasn't difficult for a musician of Johnson's caliber and experience to respond to that request, but it's telling that Johnson's repertoire was so large that being asked to do something he hadn't necessarily planned on doing for the recording didn't appear to throw him off his game at all.  What a strong musicians he was!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on January 09, 2012, 09:56:31 AM
Hi all,
I realized that Mance Lipscomb's version of "Ain't It Hard", from his first Arhoolie album, "Texas Sharecropper and Songster, Vol. 1" is a 16-bar blues with an unusual structure.  It's sort of a different twist on "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean".  Mance played it out of A minor/A major in standard tuning, and the form works so:

   |   A minor   |     E7     |   A minor   |   A minor   |

   |   A             |     A        |     E7        |      E7        |

   |      A          |      A        |     A         |       A         |

   |    A minor   |     E7      |  A minor   |   A minor    |

It's really beautiful the way Mance book-ended the middle eight bars, which are in major, with the outer four-bar phrases, both of which are in minor.  For several verses, when Mance goes to the fifth bar, he goes back and forth between the open fifth string and the fourth fret of the sixth string, a really exciting sound that was also utilized by Tommy Johnson in his version of "Sliding Delta".  "Ain't It Hard" is such a strong track, and Mance is in full acceleration mode in his version; he's really tearing as he approaches the end of the rendition.  It's hard to believe he was 65 or older at the time he made those first recordings.
All best,
Johnm 
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on August 30, 2013, 09:49:45 AM
Hi all,
In listening to Andrew and Jim Baxter recently, I was reminded that their "K.C. Railroad Blues" is a 16-bar blues, much in the style of "K.C. Moan" or John Jackson's "Steamboat Whistle Blues".
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on March 29, 2017, 08:57:17 PM
Hi all,
I was listening to Skoodle Dum Doo and Sheffield's "Tampa Blues" today, and realized that it is an unusual kind of 16-bar blues.  I really love this song and their performance of it.  The guitarist's time is completely funky, and the harmonica player makes some of the coolest use of vocalization while blowing the harmonic that I've heard.  Here is the duo's performance:

https://youtu.be/WR5mSEjqIIg

The guitarist is working out of A position in standard tuning, and the song's form works out like so:

   |    A    |    A    |   D7    |   D7    |

   |    A    |    A    |   E7    |   E7    |

   |    A    |    A    |   D7    |   D7    |

   | A dim7 | E7   |    A    |     A    |

It's not that it's all that complex, but it is different than what we're accustomed to hearing and as fresh as paint.  I sure wish these guys had recorded more titles.

All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: 16-Bar Blues
Post by: oddenda on March 29, 2017, 10:20:04 PM
Skoodle Dum Doo = Seth Richard (gtr) [rec Columbia, late 20s]
Sheffield = John Sheffield (hca)

recorded in Newark, NJ ca. late '43
for Regis Records
SimplePortal 2.3.7 © 2008-2020, SimplePortal