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Country Blues => Weenie Campbell Main Forum => Topic started by: LittleBenny on November 04, 2004, 03:12:14 PM

Title: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: LittleBenny on November 04, 2004, 03:12:14 PM
Hey everybody,
I'm looking for songs that follow the same chord progression as Key To The Highway.
I know of Willie Browns East St. Louis Blues, but are there any others. Song key doesn't matter . Thanks,? LB
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: Slack on November 04, 2004, 03:26:18 PM
Hi LB, welcome to the board!

Oh gosh, there are lots.  I think the term you are looking for is: "8 bar blues"  One I can think of off the top of my head is Carl Martin's "Old Time Blues"  - a very fine song.

Cheers,
slack

Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: Slack on November 04, 2004, 03:31:53 PM
...also 'Come Back Baby' by various artists - I think there is a great version by Snooks Eaglin on the juke.  :)
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: LittleBenny on November 04, 2004, 04:35:44 PM
That was pretty quick. Thanks for the fast response.
I guess it's 8 bars, but also lookin for 1 5 4 for instance, (E,B,A) instead of the norm.
1 4 5,(E,A,B).  Again key doesn't matter. Thanks again, LB
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: frankie on November 04, 2004, 06:57:29 PM
Off the top of my head:

Searching the Desert for the Blues - Blind Willie McTell
Talking to Myself - Blind Willie McTell
Dry Land Blues - Furry Lewis
Untrue Blues - Blind Boy Fuller
Hambone - Ed Bell
Becky Dean - Leadbelly

I feel like I'm missing something really obvious, though...
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: GhostRider on November 04, 2004, 07:50:47 PM
Hey Ramblin' Frank:

Yes you are. Here are a few more:

Mississippi River Blues - Big Bill Broonzy
Monday Morning Woman Blues - Jim Jackson
Slidin' Delta - Mississippi John Hurt
Crow Jane - many

All of these are I-V-IV

Ramblin' Franks suggestion of BB Fullers Untrue Blues is sort of unique in that's in A, not E.

Hope this helps,
I can see my good gal on the other side,
Alex
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: frankie on November 04, 2004, 08:35:02 PM
There's Bo Weavil Jackson's Pistol Blues, which is really Crow Jane, I guess.? Funny that Carl Martin's Crow Jane isn't an 8-bar at all.

A couple more:

Mistreatin' Blues - Frank Stokes
Frank Stokes' Dream - Frank Stokes
Every Day of the Week - Pink Anderson and Simmie Dooley
Rolling Mill Blues - Peg Leg Howell (not really a I-V-IV, though)

I'm pretty sure one of the songs recorded by Papa Harvey Hull & Cleve Reed is an 8-bar, but I can't find the CD at the moment...

Edited to add a gaggle of Blind Boy Fuller songs:

Looking For My Woman - Blind Boy Fuller
Bulldog Blues - Blind Boy Fuller
Looking for My Woman, No. 2 - Blind Boy Fuller
Too Many Women Blues - Blind Boy Fuller
Thousand Women Blues - Blind Boy Fuller
Pistol Slapper Blues - Blind Boy Fuller (slightly different - I-V-I-IV)
Somebody's Been Talkin' - Blind Boy Fuller
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on November 04, 2004, 09:05:07 PM
Hi all,
A couple of others occur--
   * "Gang of Brownskin Women"--Long Cleve Reed and Papa Harvey Hull
   * "Trouble In Mind"--Richard Jones
   * "Married Woman Blues"--George Torey (w/instrumental extension)
   * "Ticket Agent Blues"--Curley Weaver
   * "New Lovin' Blues"--Buddy Moss (except for the solos, which are 12-bar)
   * "Little Woman, You're So Sweet"--Blind Foy Fuller
   * "Red River Blues"--Blind Boy Fuller
   * "Woman, Woman"--Ishmon Bracey (w/instrumental extension)
Actually, I guess "Trouble In Mind", and "Little Woman, You're So Sweet", may be an 8 bar blues sub-set:  ones in which the second bar is a I 7 chord instead of a V 7.  Broonzy switches to this progression for the solos on his original recording of "Key To The Highway", too.  Fun topic.  Boy, that "Pistol Blues" by Bo Weavil Jackson you cite, Frank, is perfectly amazing, as was everything he did, I think. . .   to be able to play so hard, intricate and fast--whew!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: GhostRider on November 04, 2004, 10:04:25 PM
Howdy:

"Come Back Baby" is an 8 bar blues but not a I-V-IV one, like "Key to the Highway".

Alex
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: frankie on November 05, 2004, 06:13:03 AM
Rolling Mill Blues - Peg Leg Howell (not really a I-V-IV, though)
?* "Little Woman, You're So Sweet"--Blind Foy Fuller

Actually, I guess "Trouble In Mind", and "Little Woman, You're So Sweet", may be an 8 bar blues sub-set:? ones in which the second bar is a I 7 chord instead of a V 7.

Just thinking this morning - if we include tunes that go the the I 7 instead of V 7, wouldn't Sitting On Top of the World and all its variants/incarnations be included?
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: LittleBenny on November 05, 2004, 08:08:03 AM
Thanks everybody. Looks like I hit the jack pot.  I love it and I love this site. I think im gonna make a pallet on this floor. This site seems to have it all.

               Thanks again, LB
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on November 05, 2004, 08:25:38 AM

Glad you found what you were looking for, LittleBenny.  It gets fun here, sometimes.  Re your thoughts on "Sitting on Top of the world" and its variants, Frank, I reckon the relaxed 8-bar definition would let in "How Long" and its variants, too.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: frankie on November 05, 2004, 09:08:06 AM
I reckon the relaxed 8-bar definition would let in "How Long" and its variants, too.

That's a lot of tunes...  yikes!
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: Yves on November 06, 2004, 04:31:13 AM
Siitin on top of the world
Ants in my pants
How long
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: uncle bud on November 06, 2004, 09:24:58 AM
Was just going to add Woman Woman Blues by Ishmon Bracey then saw that JohnM had it in his list. This is one of the coolest treatments of the 8 bar I V IV form (as John notes, with instrumental extension of the form). One of my favorite Bracey tunes, along with Saturday Blues.
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on November 06, 2004, 11:22:56 AM
I agree with you about "Woman, Woman", Andrew, it's terrific, and seems to pack more of a punch than many 8-bar blues do.  To call what Ishmon did an "instrumental extension" really doesn't give any idea of the impact that part has.  This one might be my favorite 8-bar blues, though I'm crazy about "Dryland" and "Frank Stokes' Dream", too.  Didn't Charlie Patton do one eight-bar blues, maybe the later discovered and really whupped-sounding "Jim Lee Blues"?  I haven't listened to it for a long time, but I remember being surprised that he did an eight-bar blues the first time I heard it.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: frankie on November 06, 2004, 11:40:39 AM
Didn't Charlie Patton do one eight-bar blues, maybe the later discovered and really whupped-sounding "Jim Lee Blues"? I haven't listened to it for a long time, but I remember being surprised that he did an eight-bar blues the first time I heard it.

There's Jim Lee 1 & 2.  I think part 2 is the more recently discovered one - at least I can't recall having heard it and it doesn't appear on the Yazoos I have while part 1 does.  Part 1 is definitely an 8 bar though...
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on November 15, 2004, 08:08:58 AM
Hi all,
I was thinking the other day that another 8-bar blues that doesn't conform to any of the models we've noted so far is Lemon's "Prison Cell Blues".  I feel like it may be a one-off compositionally; I can't think of any others that conform to its
        | I  |  IV  |  I  |  I  |
        |  I  |  V  |  I  |  I  |
structure. 
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on November 19, 2004, 11:28:12 AM
Hi all,
I thought of another tune that is an interesting variant of the 8-bar blues structure.  It's one called "Long Steel Rail", and was recorded by a Maryland bluesman residing in Philadelphia named Bill Jackson by Pete Welding for his Testament label.  It is played out of A standard, and has a basic progression of:
   |  I  |  I7  |  IV  |  IV  |
   |  V7  |  V7  |  I  |  I  |
After about three or four verses with that structure,  he switches to an interlude or refrain that has the following progression:
   |  I  |  I  |  V7  |  V7  |
   |  I  |  V7  |  I  |  I  |
Just looking at the chord progression doesn't really give you enough information to feel how different this song sounds from other 8-bar blues.  The melody is not like any other 8-bar blues I've heard.  There is an element I can't quite put my finger on that is really distinctive, perhaps either pre-Blues sounding, or Hillbilly-influenced, with the main strain sort of reminiscent of Bill Monroe's "In the Pines", though that's a waltz.  At this point, it would be next to impossible to find out whether Mr. Jackson got the tune from somewhere else or came up with it on his own.  According to Pete Welding's liner notes, Bill Jackson grew up in an area where there was an active Black string band tradition, as well as a lot of cross-over of Black and White musical influences.  I sure would like to have heard some of the bands he heard growing up.
all best,
Johnm 
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: GhostRider on November 23, 2004, 08:42:52 AM
Ladies and Gentlemen:

I was screwing around last night, thinking about 8 bar I-V-IV patterned songs, whilst reading the Acoustic Guitar magazine article on Blues Chord substitutions that Mr Front Page mentioned a while back. After a while I hit on this one

I-V7-IV-IV
I(1/2), VI7(1/2)-II7(1/2), V7(1/2)-I-V7

In E
E-B7-A-A
E, C#7-F#7, B7-E-B7

Somehow the last four bars sounded familiar, although I could not place it. Can any of you recall a blues with this progression? Or was I accidently creative (aargh)?

Sensitively,
Alex
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: frankie on November 23, 2004, 09:03:05 AM
E, C#7-F#7, B7-E-B7

Somehow the last four bars sounded familiar

Change the key to C and you'll see why it's familiar:

C - A7 - D7 - G7 - C - G7

Rags is rags.? Not typically executed in E, but not unthinkable, either.? Carl Martin's Crow Jane uses part of this, but omits the Csharp7.

Edited to add:? I think John Jackson's Red River Blues follows the contours of these chord changes (a 12-bar blues in E...? OT for this thread), but I can't recall if he actually articulates those chords or just sings as if he were playing them...
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on December 01, 2004, 12:19:30 AM
Hi all,
I was just wondering, can any of you could think of any Hillbilly 8-bar blues?? I have been trying to think of some and am stuck.? About the closest I could get was Frank Hutchison's "Coney Isle", but it seemed like it would be taking definitional liberties to call that one an 8-bar blues, his phrasing is so jagged and irregular.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on December 01, 2004, 12:31:12 AM
Hi all,
While posting the last message I thought of a really different 8-bar blues, and one which crosses over into the Rag Blues and Circle of 5ths territory:  Freddie Spruell's "Let's Go Riding", which has the following progression--
   |  I  |  III7  |  VI7  |  VI7  |
   |  II7  |  II7  |  V7  |  V7  |
This is really a great tune, and one of the cool things about it is that it goes so far so fast in a harmonic sense--by the first beat of the second bar, you are a long way from home.  To do this and make it back home in such a compact form is really cool.  The original is a great duet number with some nifty flat-picked (I believe) lead guitar.  I recorded it with my friend Russ Barenberg many years ago, too.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on December 14, 2004, 04:32:03 PM
Hi all,
Since the Key to the Highway thread sort of crept into 8-Bar Blues in the larger sense, seemed like a good idea to merge titles.
all best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on December 15, 2004, 01:05:21 PM
Hi all,
I thought of another good one--Papa Charlie Jackson's "Coffee Pot Blues", which has a great jumpy accompaniment in E standard and terrific lyrics.  It tells a story, something you don't run into all that often in blues lyrics.  I'll see if I can get the lyrics and post them on Lyrics and Licks.
All best,
Johhnm
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: uncle bud on December 17, 2004, 08:13:57 AM
Another one: Mance Lipscomb's You Got to Reap What You Sow.
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on December 17, 2004, 08:55:05 AM
Hi all,
I thought of a couple more 8-bar blues that could fit either here or in the circle of fifths thread:  William Moore's "Ragtime Crazy" and "Barbershop Rag".  They are both in F, standard tuning.  "Ragtime Crazy" goes
   |  I  |  I  | II7 | II7 |
   |V7 | V7 |  I  |  I   |
"Barbershop Rag" goes
   |VI  |VI  | II7 | II7 |
   | V7| V7 |  I  |  I   |
It's pretty cool the way that Moore, by playing a ragtime, rather than conventional blues progression, finesses having to play the IV chord, Bflat--he gets out of it altogether.
Moore's song "Tillie Lee" was also played out of F, standard tuning, so that makes 3 out of his 8 titles in F.  I remember Frank commenting on Luke Jordan's predilection for F in standard tuning.  It's almost enough to make you think there was some kind of mini-regional preference in Virginia for playing in F.
All best,
Johnm     
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: a2tom on December 17, 2004, 11:16:16 AM
That is very interesting about the tunes in F.  I know exactly zero songs in F!  I feel like maybe giving one of these a go - any of these more approachable than another? 

tom
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: Rivers on December 17, 2004, 06:35:48 PM
Have we mentioned Willie Walker's South Carolina Rag
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on December 17, 2004, 10:36:39 PM
I believe you are the first to mention "South Carolina Rag", Mark.  That is certainly a great one.  As for the F tunes of William Moore, Tom, they strike me as being of a similar degree of difficulty.  Both "Ragtime Crazy" and "Barbershop Rag" have a pretty varied use of the right hand, with rolls and runs played with thumb and index finger a la Rev. Davis.  They are cool tunes and should be very accessible for figuring out by ear.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: Rivers on December 21, 2004, 06:46:36 PM
Some more:
Sliding Delta, MJH
Salty Dog, various; or would that sequence count as a 16 bar?
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: frankie on January 10, 2005, 01:02:49 PM
Listening to Papa Charlie Jackson today and realized that his first recorded song was a peculiar 8-bar:? Papa's Lawdy Lawdy Blues:

?|? IV |? IV |? I?|? I? |
?|? V7 |? V7 | I-IV |? I(7) |

It's in E - maybe not his snappiest accompaniment, but I'm thinking that it would make a good tune to play in a group setting...
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on January 11, 2005, 12:47:10 PM
Hi Frank,
Your find of "Lawdy Lawdy Worried Blues" in this category reminds me of a great point Lindy made in the "Country/City Blues" thread a while back, to the effect that certain of the early players, Papa Charlie Jackson, Blind Blake and Lonnie Johnson, in particular, might more accurately be thought of as Jazz players of their era than as Country Blues players.  Papa Charlie starting a short form on a IV chord seems extremely Jazzy to me--I recall Duke Ellington doing the same thing on a 12-bar blues featuring his horn player, Rex Stewart.
I reckon "Lawdy Lawdy Worried Blues" would be a good Jam tune--the slower tempo is soloist-friendly and also gives the song a deep backbeat so you can get good and funky.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on February 02, 2005, 05:42:57 PM
Hi all,
I got to thinking and realized that Mance Lipscomb's "Sugar Babe" was an 8-bar blues that hadn't been named yet.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: KC King on February 02, 2005, 06:21:17 PM
There's also "Worried Life Blues" by Big Maceo. I believe Broonzy did a version called "Poor Bill Blues".
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on July 04, 2005, 02:01:14 PM
Hi all,
I was thinking how the vocal phrasing on most 8-bar blues works, and the effect that has on how those blues are accompanied, and noticed a couple of things.  Unlike the 12-bar form, which has a regular alternation between vocal in the first two bars of each four-bar phrase, and instrumental response in the third and fourth bar of each four bar phrase (except in chorus or stammering blues), 8-bar blues most often have a continuous vocal flow for the first six bars of the form, typically concluding the vocal around the downbeat of the seventh bar.  I think the over-balance toward the vocal in the front end of the 8-bar form explains a couple of things about how the 8-bar blues were often played.
   *  Very many 8-bar blues performances, e.g. Furry Lewis's "Dryland Blues", John Hurt's "Slidin' Delta", and Ishmon Bracey's "Woman Woman Blues" have instrumental extensions at the back end of the form that can be expanded/contracted naturally in the moment as the player sees fit.  Does it make sense to consider variations in the length of the instrumental extension in the course of a performance as alterations to the form?  I don't think so.  I think the song being played is still, in all essential ways, an 8-bar blues, based on its vocal phrasing and progression--it's just that the player has built in an  escape valve at the conclusion of the form to allow for instrumental expression and display, and an opportunity to gather oneself and remember lyrics before starting/choosing the next verse.  In the most extreme instances, the balancing of vocal to instrumental weight is achieved by using a 12-bar form for solos, as Buddy Moss did on "New Lovin' Blues".
   * I think the relative lack of opportunity for instrumental display in the 8-bar form lends greater importance to the value of turn-arounds, moving from a I chord in the beginning of the seventh bar to a V7 chord in the second half of the eighth bar.  You particularly encounter this in piano blues, like those of Leroy Carr.
   * Finally, I think the balance between vocal line and instrumental response ended up being re-established in many of the most popular 8-bar blues, like "Sittin' On Top Of The World", "How Long", and "Key To The Highway", by setting up a very terse lyric scheme in which most of the singing ends up happening across the bar lines, with vocal phrases most often starting on the fourth beat of a measure or the + of four and concluding by the end of the first beat of the next measure.  This phrasing scheme allows for instrumental fills in each measure, after one vocal line is concluded and before the next line is sung.  If you bring to mind the sound of Lonnie Chatmon fiddling behind Walter Vinson or Scrapper Blackwell playing behind Leroy Carr, it seems pretty clear that is what is happening.
I would think all of this stuff might be relevant to figuring out how to vary one's performances in ways that early performances provide precedence for, or in writing one's own songs in the style.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: a2tom on July 06, 2005, 06:13:27 AM
John - thanks for the post, I really appreciate your more analytical posts like this.  Can seem deceivingly obvious once spelled out, but your descriptive approach really brings things into focus (especially to a scientist  ;) ).  The vocal phrasing over the 8-bar form is especially telling to me - I noticed this in Woman Woman, and have been listening around now see how common it is that the vocal phrases really cross the bar (a bit more than just a pickup note to the next chord). 

The notion of using an extension or break to flesh out the instrumental balance is also mind opening.  I have an oringial "8-bar in E" that I wrote specifically to explore this style.  It drove me nuts trying to put it together - the 8 bars were so limiting!  It ended up becoming a 10-bar blues.  I've started revising this to try to place the main tune back into 8-bars and then thinking of other parts as a more free extension.  Just beginning, but I already like what's happening.

Listened to Fuller's Untrue Blues 8-bar on the way in to work.  What a tune - he really gets the bass popping!  And then he uses an extended 12-bar instrumental break a couple of different times.

tom
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on July 06, 2005, 09:50:05 AM
Hi Tom,
I'm glad you enjoy the posts devoted to analysis of form and similar topics.  I am very curious as to why a style evolves the way it does, and how it changes over time.  Some questions of this sort have pretty simple answers, I think, e.g. Why did blues become more metrically consistent over time?  Because it became an ensemble music.  Other questions are tougher.
I agree with you about "Untrue Blues"--Fuller's thumbwork is stellar, and I had forgotten that he did 12-bar solos on it.  Best of luck getting your tune where you would like it to be.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: MTJ3 on October 23, 2005, 09:19:52 PM
Quote
Listened to Fuller's Untrue Blues 8-bar on the way in to work.? What a tune - he really gets the bass popping!? And then he uses an extended 12-bar instrumental break a couple of different times.

BBF was an equal opportunity kind of guy in this regard.? In his otherwise 12 bar "Funny Feeling Blues," he interjects two 8 bar verses and an 8 bar instrumental break.
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: uncle bud on October 24, 2005, 08:53:57 AM
Funny Feeling Blues is Fuller at his finest (how's my alliteration?). When he goes to that 8 bar section then comes back into the main theme, I go bananas. I love this song.
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: frankie on February 23, 2006, 07:18:38 PM
I was just wondering, can any of you could think of any Hillbilly 8-bar blues?

Bay Rum Blues - Clarence Ashley & Gwen Foster
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on February 23, 2006, 11:07:14 PM
Wow, that shoe took a long time to drop!  Thanks, Frank.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: blueshome on February 24, 2006, 07:02:37 AM
Another late one!   Lucky Blues by Bill Williams - JMM must have this on Blue Goose. It also has an unorthodox progression.
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on February 24, 2006, 10:51:32 AM
Good call, Phil!  "Lucky Blues" is a really nice 8-bar blues I had completely forgotten about.  In E standard, it employs the following progression for the verses:

   |    E    |    G#7    |    A    |    A    |

   |    E    |     B7     |    E    |     E    |

For his solos, Bill replaces the G#7 with another bar of E.  He really does some nifty playing on this one, utilizing some cool chord voicings up the neck for his solos.  I wish someone would license his two Blue Goose albums and put them out on CD.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: frankie on February 24, 2006, 02:18:18 PM
Wow, that shoe took a long time to drop!

And another other shoe...  Easy Rider by Sam McGee.  There's gotta be scads more like these two.  I'd be interested in hearing more Gwen Foster.  He's on some of the sides with the Carolina Tar Heels and a track or two is on the JSP Mountain Blues set.  Anybody know how much more there is?  What a dynamite harmonica player...  Did he record at all outside of the Clarence Ashley groups?
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: MTJ3 on May 05, 2006, 10:29:02 AM
The reference to Bertha "Chippie" Hill in the "Favorite Singers" thread called to mind her "Some Cold Rainy Day," an 8-bar blues recorded October 13, 1928, with accompaniment by Georgia Tom Dorsey and Tampa Red. 

IV7/IV/I/I/vi/V/I-IV/I-V

IMHO, this may well belong in the "One of a Kind and Great" category.

The lyrics also feature some startling imagery, e.g.: "When your stomach hangs like an empty sack, and you feel it gnawing at your back."
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on September 24, 2006, 11:04:10 PM
Hi all,
In listening to the music of Gabriel Brown, I found a couple of really nice 8-bar blues,  "Goin' My Way" and "Good-Time Papa".  "Goin' My Way" is played out of dropped-D at a pretty slow tempo, in the "Sitting On Top Of The World" model, and features some terrific runs making fine use of an unwound third string; the inflections that string makes possible are just great.  "Good-Time Papa" is a more freely phrased number played in E, standard tuning.  As with many eight-bar blues performances like "Woman, Woman", "Sliding Delta" and "Dryland Blues", "Goood-Time Papa" is often long at the back end of the form, most often weighing in at 9 bars with a combination "breath-catcher/verse rememberer" bar of strumming appended.  Brown's solos are considerably wilder than his vocal accompaniments, with a tendency to go long at every opportunity.  He starts his first solo with five bars in the I chord, then going to three bars of the IV chord--huh?  He's really playing to his phrase lengths as he is hearing them, and it all sounds coherent, though surprising as you listen to it.  And since there are no issues of having to match up his phrasing with a band or duet partner, it makes no difference anyway.  He knows what he wants to do and he does it.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on March 10, 2007, 10:17:13 AM
Hi all,
I realized yesterday that John Hurt's "Keep A-Knockin'" is an 8-bar blues of a type we've not previously discussed.  He played it out of A position in standard tuning, and alternates between verse accompaniments and solos, with the form slightly altered behind the solos.  In each instance, the form works out so:

   Behind the vocals:
   |    D    |    D   |    D    |    A    |
 
   |    A    |     E   |    D    |    A    |

   Solo passes:
   |    E    |  E / D |    D    |    A    |

   |    A    |    E    |    D    |    A    |

"Keep On Knockin'" has an interesting sort of "mix and match" feel to it.  The D phrase he plays in in the first bar of the vocal accompaniment and the seventh bar of both passes is very much akin to the opening phrase in "Monday Morning Blues", and the E phrase he opens the solo accompaniment with is reminiscent of the solo he played on "Candyman", another A tune in which he begins the solo in E.  "Keep On Knockin'" is a kind of reminder of how many ways it is possible to vary a common Blues form.
All best,
Johnm   

   
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: Coyote Slim on March 10, 2007, 10:18:20 PM
So...excuse my ignorant self...the way I think about this is that an 8 bar is one with a chorus in it?  Like "Sittin' on Top of the World" where there is a sung line such as "Goin' to the freight yard, catch me a freight train/ got to leave this town, work done got hard" and the "sittin' on top of the world part."  Kind of like "Sweet Home Chicago" too, huh?  While a 12 bar is in the AAB format?   ???  I guess I don't even know how all those letters and numbers fit together -- does AAB = I IV V = 12 bars?  Damn it, I just like to play the music, I don't want to do no frickin' algebra!
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on March 11, 2007, 12:45:24 AM
Well, Slim, you are certainly free to stay ignorant as long as you care to, but being able to hear and identify forms is hugely helpful in terms of playing and communicating with other musicians.  If you are interested in finding out what an 8-bar blues is, you can go through the whole thread.  Some chorus blues are eight bar blues, like "Sitting On Top Of The World" and "How Long".  Others, like "Kansas City" and "Sweet Home Chicago" are 12-bar blues.  There's a thread called something like "Blues Forms and Vocal Phrasing" in the Main Forum that gets into most of the commonly encountered forms.  This isn't particularly rarefied, high concept stuff--most of it, as soon as you read it, you will say, "Oh, yeah, so that's what that is."  These are the building blocks of the music and the style.  The problem with ignoring this stuff altogether is two-fold:  It impairs the ability to get up and running with other musicians quickly, and more importantly and detrimentally, it puts you in the position of making the same discoveries over and over again for the first time, every time.
That having been said, if you are happy with your understanding of the music as it currently stands, congratulations, and disregard everything I've said up to this point.
All best,
Johnm 
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: Coyote Slim on March 11, 2007, 11:29:23 AM
I'm not trying to ignore it.

 I just find the terminology confusing many times.  I enjoyed reading this thread, it's just that I have a hard time with all the numbers, especially because I tend to think of blues as vocal music.  So when I read about bars and the I and V, I can't really connect it with a song unless I know how the vocals fit with it.  When I hear it played I go "Oh, yeah, that way..."

I teach 4th graders science, so I know that one of the struggles in teaching is to both teach the terminology of the subject but also be able to tell it another way -- in the same language but with different words or methods.

 I know the stuff...I just don't know I know the stuff... if that makes sense... :D

So thank you for all your posts...I am learning...slowly....and sometimes painfully.   :)
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on March 12, 2007, 11:37:33 AM
Hi Slim,
I know exactly what you mean when you say you "know the stuff, but don't know the stuff".  The use of the numerals in the explanations of blues forms involves abstracting the progression from whatever key it was originally played in and describing it in numerical terms, based on what note of the scale each chord in the progression is rooted.  Abstracting the progression this way makes it easy to transpose the same progression into many keys, simply by plugging in the appropriate I, IV and V chords based for whatever key you'd like to play in or try.  So if you think of "How Long" played in E, the progression would work out as follows:

How long    how long      has that evening  train been gone  Well, how lo-   
         | E             |    E7               |      A7               |     A7             |

   -ng          how long         Baby, how long              I can hear the whis-
   |          E          |       B7                  |      E       |    B7                  |

Expressed in the abstract, the progression would be:

   |        I          |       I7       |        IV7       |       IV7       |

   |         I         |       V7      |          I         |        V7       |

Using the abstracted version to transpose to different keys would involve plugging in I, IV, and V for different keys as follows:
   in A, A, D and E
   in C, C, F and G
   in D, D, G and A
   in G, G, C and D
It helps to memorize the I, IV and V chords in all commonly played keys, and that should come pretty quickly.  Knowing this makes moving from one key to another in jamming situations a cinch, and also makes it possible in jamming, to capo to a different fret than everyone else is playing in and play out of a different position, thus opening up some space, so that everybody is not playing right on top of each other. 
Best of luck in working through this stuff and becoming conversant with it.  Since you are an experienced player, you already know most of this stuff, it's just an issue of becoming familiar with the ways things are named and converting that language into a tool to help you assess new songs or musical situations you find yourself in and to respond quickly and on the money.
All best,
Johnm           
                   
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on March 15, 2007, 01:52:28 PM
Hi all,
Listening to Blind Boy Fuller today, I encountered yet another variant of the 8-bar form.  It is in "Pistol Slapper Blues", which Fuller played with Sonny Terry.  Fuller is playing out of G position in standard tuning, and uses this progression throughout the song

   |   G (I)   |   D7 (V7)   |   G (I)   |    C7 (IV7)   |

   |   G (I)   |   D7 (V7)   |   G (I)   |    G (I)        |

Fuller plays every G chord with the exception of those in the last two bars using a wrapped-thumb F shape moved up two frets, and uses the C7 shape for both the D7 and C7 chords.  In the last two bars he plays a descending turn-around walking down the fourth string from F to E and then continuing the line from the open D string down the fifth string to C and B, finally resolving to the G note on the sixth string in the bass.  Maybe this is one Fuller got the idea for from Rev. Davis, since Davis much preferred the wrapped-thumb, F-shape, G chord to the open one. 
Fuller's unusual wrinkle here is to return to the I chord in the third bar of the form.  I can't think of another 8-bar blues that does that, right off the bat.

Edited 4/3/07 to add:  Whoops, I just went through the thread and found that frankie mentioned this tune way back at about the third or fourth post on the first page.  Good find, Frank!
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on April 03, 2007, 05:04:33 PM
Hi all,
I found another 8-bar blues on the JSP Paramount Masters" set:  Edward Thompson's "Up On The Hill Blues".  This one is a beauty, though the 78 it was taken from is in very poor condition.  Thompson gets a beautiful dark sound by using a Bm7 chord, 2-2-0-2-0-X, in the 6th bar of his form (He is playing in E, standard tuning).  I reckon he rocked his second finger back and fourth between the fifth and sixth string as he played this.  Geeshie Wiley utilized this same chord in "Last Kind Words". 
Edward Thompson was really outstanding, and particularly versatile.  This song is worth seeking out, a very strong performance.
All best,
Johnm 
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: mississippijohnhurt1928 on April 10, 2007, 09:24:28 AM
"Crow Jane" Of Course!
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: waxwing on April 23, 2007, 11:15:28 AM
Hey Calvin. Good call, but Alex (Ghostrider) got that one in about the fifth response to this thread.-G- Always a good idea to check and see if someone has already posted the song on these long list threads, eh? You'd also have learned that Carl Martin's version of the song is not an 8 bar!

All for now.
John C.
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: GhostRider on May 20, 2008, 09:55:22 AM
Hi all:

Although it's not a I/V/IV form, Blind Blakes"You Gonna Quit Me, Baby" is an interesting refrain-style 8 bar blues, which can be considered to have 4-2 bar sections:

You gonna quit me baby
Good as I've been to you, Lawd, Lawd
Good as I've been to you, Lawd, Lawd
Good as I've been to you

It's recorded in C position

C/C/
F/C-C7
F/C-A7
D7-G7/C-G7

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

Sort of like the chord progression for his "Early Morning Blues", shortened to eight bars.

Alex
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on May 20, 2008, 10:53:16 AM
That's a great call, Alex, I believe "You Gonna Quit Me, Baby?" must be a one-off.  It's interesting, too, that it is kind of like a sped-up 16-bar blues, in that it goes to the IV chord twice.  That is one for the books.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on May 20, 2008, 04:22:04 PM
Hi all,
Another great 8-bar blues with an unusual structure is Mance Lipscomb's Latin-tinged "Ain't You Sorry", originally issued on "Texas Sharecropper and Songster, Vol. 4".  It is played out of g position in standard tuning and employs the following progression:

   |    E7    |    E7    |    A7    |    A7    |

   |     D    |     D     |     G    |     G    |

Expressed in numerical terms:

   VI7-VI7-II7-II7

   V-V-I-I

The most exciting thing about this rendition is Mance's funky time.  He really hits the ground running and escalates the tempo and tension from there.  Listen to it if you get the opportunity, and if you're looking for a strong song to cover, it would be a good candidate, because nobody plays it.
all best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: GhostRider on May 21, 2008, 02:41:51 PM
  It's interesting, too, that it is kind of like a sped-up 16-bar blues, in that it goes to the IV chord twice.  All best,
Johnm
Hi all:

John, your comment about this tune resembling a 16-bar blues got me thinkin', what if this is a 16 bar tune, 16 bars of 2/4 time. He does a little thumb-index thing that sounds kind of two steppy.

What do you think? And how does one tell 2/4 from 4/4 without a snare drummer?

Alex
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on May 21, 2008, 03:41:51 PM
Hi Alex,
You ask some great questions.  "You Gonna Quit Me, Baby" could definitely be heard as a 16-bar blues if you hear Blake as playing in cut time, 2/2, and in a way that makes more sense than a four-beat per measure, 8-bar interpretation of the form.  If you hear two big beats per measure, then when Blake is in C, in the first four bars, he is consistently doing a thumb roll into the down beat of each measure and not rolling into the second beat of the measure, so you wind up with this kind of accenting in his bass in the first four bars of the song:

   2/2: +|1  2+|1 2+|1 2+|1 2 |

The way Blake does his thumb rolls here, he strikes the fifth string on the + of the second beat and the fourth string on beats one and two.  On the + of the first beat, he does a little chordal grab or brush stroke in the treble.  It has a great lilt to it.  There is a definite underlying triple feel, too.  Translating the progression into a 16-bar blues in cut time, you wind up with:

   |    C(I)    |    C    |    C    |    C7    |

   |    F(IV)   |    F    |    C    |    C7    |

   |    F        |    F    |    C    |  A7(VI7) |

   |   D7(II7) |G7(V7)|    C    |     G7    |

Blake consistentaly plays triplet runs over the second beat of bars 3, 7, and 10, leading into the C7, C7 and A7 chords respectively.  What you end up with is a beautiful raggy progression of the type that Leecan & Cooksey so often played.
As for distinguishing between 2/4 and 4/4, I believe the distinction is most often between 2/2 and 4/4.  Most early alternating bass stuff, like John Hurt, is in cut time, with 2 big beats per measure, though it can be counted in four.  Henry Thomas and Frank Stokes were both pretty much cut time, 2-feel players.  The four-beats-per-measure feel didn't really come in in a big way until people started playing monotonic bass four-to-the-bar, like Memphis Minnie or Bill Broonzy, on tunes like "Long Tall Mama" or "Hey, Hey Baby".
I think however you choose to analyze "You Gonna Quit Me, Baby" (or choose not to analyze it), it is a hell of a pretty tune.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: Bricktown Bob on May 24, 2008, 11:51:19 AM
Otto Virgial in "Little Girl in Rome" uses a lyric structure I've never seen before.  If you start with the 12-bar structure of "My Black Mama" (with the full couplet sung across the first four bars, the A line in the second four, and the B line in the third four (is there a name for this structure?)) and drop the third four, you wind up with Virgial's odd 8-bar ABA form.  Anyone run across this anywhere else?

Musically I don't really know what I'm talking about, but it seems to me from this, "Got the Blues About Rome," and "Bad Notion Blues" that Virgial doesn't much like to leave the I chord.
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on January 28, 2009, 05:22:07 PM
Hi all,
The Back Porch boys recording of "Good Boy, Long Ways From Home", recorded in 1947, is an 8-bar blues.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: mr mando on January 29, 2009, 04:35:12 AM
Banjo Ikey Robinsons's "Rockpile Blues", recorded in 1929 is an 8 bar blues too, expressed in numerical terms:

| I | I7 | IV | IV(m)* | I | V7 | I | V7 |

* the minor third is implied by the piano bassline a couple of times, although the rhythm tenor guitar sticks to the IV chord during the piano solo (where it's heard).
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on October 10, 2009, 05:34:24 PM
Hi all,
I just heard Bo Carter's "Trouble In Blues" an 8-bar blues in the "Key to the Highway" mold, going to the V7 chord in the second bar, that Bo played out of his G tuning, DGDGBE.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on February 18, 2010, 02:04:41 PM
Hi all,
I was just listening to Robert Curtis Smith's Prestige Bluesville album from the '60s and noticed that his "Sunflower River Blues" is an 8-bar blues, played in E position, standard tuning, that like so many of the 8-bar blues of the past goes long at the end of the form.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on March 05, 2010, 08:27:26 PM
Hi all,
There's an unusual 8-bar blues on the old Yazoo "Casey Bill Weldon and Kokomo Arnold" CD on Yazoo.  It is Casey Bill's "The Big Boat", played with the same progression as "How Long", and with a slow pulse, but with a very active rhythm section strumming chords 8-to-the-bar, so that the feel is quick and jumping, despite the slow pulse.  It's a great effect.
all best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on September 08, 2013, 11:09:25 AM
Hi all,
As has been noted elsewhere, Skip James' "Washington D.C. Hospital Center" is an 8-bar blues with a refrain, somewhat in the "Someday Baby" or "Worried Life" model.
All best,
John
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on November 07, 2018, 10:19:14 AM
Hi all,
J B Lenoir had a real rarity, a post-1960 new 8-bar blues, "Slow Down".  This version is from "Vietnam Blues".  In the solo, check out his predilection for playing melody on the second string (all the way to the fourteenth fret!) while droning on the open first string.  He loved this sound and never missed an opportunity to use it.  Here is "Slow Down":


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-6wFlzi2kQ

Slow down, slow down, let J. B. step on board
I just want to ride your train, one time before you go

You 'bout the sweetest little girl, I believe I ever seen
If I had you by my side, you'd, mean so much to me

SOLO

I've been a hobo, I've been a hobo, might' near all of my life
Don't matter where I go, I'm never satisfied

Slow down, slow down, let me step on board
I just want to ride your train, one time before you go

All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: Prof Scratchy on November 07, 2018, 12:27:19 PM
Great track! I don?t think he made a bad one!


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Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: blueshome on November 07, 2018, 03:30:49 PM
I seem to recollect him playing this with Big Walter when I saw them at AFBF 1965. There?s a version on the festival Lp. O0
Title: Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
Post by: Johnm on November 09, 2018, 02:26:31 PM
Hi all,
I was listening to the JSP set "Detroit Blues" yesterday and really sat up when this version of "Key To The Highway", by John Lee Hooker and Eddie Kirkland, recorded in 1952, came on.  With a musician like John Lee Hooker, who was so stylized, sometimes it takes listening to him play a cover to appreciate fully the extent of his remove from the "normal" way of hearing and playing a song.  Take a listen:

https://youtu.be/zaxAL7OcRII

All best,
Johnm
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