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Author Topic: Country Blues Guitar--Favorite Bends  (Read 1597 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Country Blues Guitar--Favorite Bends
« on: March 30, 2014, 12:17:36 PM »
Hi all,
I was listening to the Robert Pete Williams performance of "I'm So Glad My Mother Teached Me How To Pray" that Frank posted today, over at http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=2101.msg85977#msg85977 , and I was struck by how differently I hear bends being played in Country Blues guitar than in modern Chicago Blues or Rock.  The Country Blues bends sound to be primarily about pitch, quite often very specifically considered and executed to match the singing of notes that fall in between the fretted notes available on the guitar.  The bends I hear are not of the vibrato-laden, "slow hand" variety, but they are so accurately made and often "die" on the pitch they're going for, rather than sustain.  Apart from the Robert Pete Williams track mentioned earlier, a few of my favorite bends can be found in the following tracks:
   * Charlie Patton's "Green River Blues", especially that bend on the third string up to an almost- unison with the second string;
   * Charlie Jordan's "Two Street Blues".  If you haven't heard this one or listened to it recently, seek it out, because it is a mind-blower.
   * Robert Wilkins' "Rolling Stone", so beautifully matching his singing.  Also his "Jailhouse Blues", in the intro especially.
   * Ishmon Bracey's "Woman, Woman Blues"--a killer!

Two exceptions to the no-vibrato category would be Lonnie Johnson, who was a trail-blazer in that regard, and Josh White, whom I believe was Lonnie Johnson-influenced, both instrumentally and vocally.  Does anybody else have favorite bends they can think of in Country Blues guitar?  It would be fun to see some more favorites.
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: March 31, 2014, 07:28:14 AM by Johnm »

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Country Blues Guitar--Favorite Bends
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2014, 01:58:15 PM »
Thanks for the reminder about Two Street Blues, John. It is a great one I'd really forgotten about, despite playing several Jordan tunes myself.

I would nominate all of Rosa Lee Hill's recordings. Bullying Well, Roll and Tumble, Pork and Beans, Count the Days I'm Gone, take your pick. Tuned low too. Crazy bends, the definition of lowdown.

George Mitchell deserves some kinda medal.

Offline harriet

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Re: Country Blues Guitar--Favorite Bends
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2014, 02:41:36 PM »
The bend in Joe Callicott's signature lick in Roll and Tumble is a favorite of mine also Rev. Wilkins' Streamline 'Frisco Limited from Remember Me at about 1.08 .

« Last Edit: March 31, 2014, 04:29:29 AM by harriet »

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Country Blues Guitar--Favorite Bends
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2014, 08:50:11 PM »
Big Bill's late work often has spectacular supernatural bends, as in Backwater Blues. There are others even more amazing on some slower songs but I can't recall which ones at the moment.
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Offline banjochris

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Re: Country Blues Guitar--Favorite Bends
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2014, 11:48:34 PM »

Offline harvey

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Re: Country Blues Guitar--Favorite Bends
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2014, 04:43:31 AM »
Blind Lemon Jefferson blues in E such as 'lectric chair blues and Yo Yo blues. I always liked the those bends I think on the IV chord.

 

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: Country Blues Guitar--Favorite Bends
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2014, 05:41:15 AM »
Here are a couple of my all time favourite bends in C:

Offline eric

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Re: Country Blues Guitar--Favorite Bends
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2014, 06:59:14 AM »
The bend that Blake does in Diddy Wah Diddy when he says: "Here's something gonna make you feel good" does just that.  :D

Correction: That should be West Coast Blues  :P
« Last Edit: March 31, 2014, 11:41:45 AM by Eric Hubbard »
--
Eric

Offline Pan

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Re: Country Blues Guitar--Favorite Bends
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2014, 08:59:43 AM »
A few Blind Boy Fuller tunes also come to mind:





Cheers

Pan

Offline GhostRider

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Re: Country Blues Guitar--Favorite Bends
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2014, 11:33:20 AM »
The bend that Blake does in Diddy Wah Diddy when he says: "Here's something gonna make you feel good" does just that.  :D

That's West Coast Blues, and the bend is also one of my favorites.

Alex

Offline Johnm

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Re: Country Blues Guitar--Favorite Bends
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2014, 12:35:45 PM »
Hi all,
In the course of thinking more about bends in Country Blues guitar, I realized there is a sort of sub-category of bends that I would call the "sick bend".  These bends involve stretching notes that either are not normally stretched in the blues, or possibly bending notes farther or less far than you're accustomed to hearing them stretched.  These sick bends have a sort of musically bilious quality, really sour and acidic, like some funky reflux in your digestive system. 
Two examples may help to serve to illustrate what I'm talking about:
   * Robert Johnson's second set of bends behind the opening line of each verse in "Hellhound On My Trail", especially in verse two; and
   * Ishmon Bracey's single note bend at the fourth fret of his second string in his "Four Day Blues".  He's consistent with it, but man, that pitch is funky!
Any other favorite sick bends out there?
All best,
Johnm

Offline frailer24

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Re: Country Blues Guitar--Favorite Bends
« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2014, 12:54:55 PM »
Bracey's "Woman Woman" gets my vote!
That's all she wrote Mabel!

Offline P D Grant

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Re: Country Blues Guitar--Favorite Bends
« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2014, 09:22:23 AM »
William Moore's One Way Gal springs to mind. And RJ on Kind Hearted Woman where he bends the 9 up then goes back to the 8, followed by a bend from the minor to major 3rd and back to the 8 again.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Country Blues Guitar--Favorite Bends
« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2014, 02:36:23 PM »
Lots of great bends in Tommy Johnson's Lonesome Home Blues. It's almost all bends.  :D

Offline papa john pio

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Re: Country Blues Guitar--Favorite Bends
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2014, 06:25:36 AM »
I like the bends in the B7 and E resolving chords of willie Reed's "Texas Blues". Not to mention those out of A position in "Dreaming Blues".