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We could sit here and play five thousand blues... Because all three of us here now, we knows it. When he sings it (Brownie McGhee), when he starts it then it comes to me, and it comes to Sonny (Terry) and then to Brownie... Because you feel it from one another, which don't happen to all musicians though - Big Bill Broonzy

Author Topic: Guitar Duets in Country Blues  (Read 13181 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Re: Guitar Duets in Country Blues
« Reply #30 on: April 22, 2009, 01:55:07 PM »
Hi all,
One Country Blues guitar duet I'm very partial to is Yank Rachell and Dan Smith's "Squeaky Work Bench Blues".  The way Yank played in G position in standard tuning was very unusual and especially cool.
All best,
Johnm

Offline banjochris

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Re: Guitar Duets in Country Blues
« Reply #31 on: April 22, 2009, 05:35:14 PM »
Hi all,
One Country Blues guitar duet I'm very partial to is Yank Rachell and Dan Smith's "Squeaky Work Bench Blues".  The way Yank played in G position in standard tuning was very unusual and especially cool.
All best,
Johnm

Which reminds me, I haven't listened all that closely to Yank's guitar playing -- does anyone know, did he flatpick or fingerpick the guitar?
Chris

Offline frankie

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Re: Guitar Duets in Country Blues
« Reply #32 on: April 22, 2009, 05:48:40 PM »
The way Yank played in G position in standard tuning was very unusual and especially cool.

The F chord during the break kicks ass.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Guitar Duets in Country Blues
« Reply #33 on: April 23, 2009, 04:18:11 PM »
Hi Chris,
I think Yank played both with a flatpick and with his fingers.  I saw him back Sleepy John at the Ann Arbor Blues Festival in the summer of 1970, I believe, and from my memory of that set, he backed Sleepy John on mandolin and electric guitar, and when he played electric, I believe I recall being surprised that he was using a pick to play Chicago-style single string runs.  Upon reflection, it's really not all that surprising for a mandolin player to play the guitar with a pick. 
His playing on his Blue Goose album which was from around the same period but a little bit later, I think, sounds like it is being finger-picked with thumb and index finger.  I think he most likely used the finger-picked technique on his early recordings on guitar, though I certainly couldn't state that definitively.
All best,
Johnm   

Offline banjochris

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Re: Guitar Duets in Country Blues
« Reply #34 on: April 23, 2009, 04:24:29 PM »
Thanks, John. I saw Yank once at the Long Beach Blues Festival in the early 90s but I was too far back in the crowd to see that closely.
Chris

Offline Johnm

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Re: Guitar Duets in Country Blues
« Reply #35 on: December 16, 2010, 07:54:44 AM »
Hi all,
I've been listening to the two tunes recorded by the duet team, Tarter & Gay, "Brownie Blues" and "Unknown Blues".  They had possibly the spiffiest duet sound going.  Both pieces are in F, and for both pieces, the seconding guitarist (don't know whether it was Tarter or Gay) is playing out of F position in standard tuning.  For "Brownie Blues", the lead guitarist is playing capoed one fret higher, out of the E position in standard tuning, and for "Unknown Blues", the lead guitarist is capoed up and playing out of the C position in standard tuning.  
Despite the fact that both songs are played out of the key of F and have substantially the same seconding guitar part, they end up sounding quite different because of the lead guitarist's working out of different positions.  Their playing arrangement on "Brownie Blues" with one guitarist working out of F position and the other out of E position was used by the Pruett Twins behind Lottie Kimbrough on her version of "Red River Blues".
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: December 16, 2010, 08:03:33 AM by Johnm »

Offline Pan

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Re: Guitar Duets in Country Blues
« Reply #36 on: December 16, 2010, 08:33:45 AM »
Hi all,
I've been listening to the two tunes recorded by the duet team, Tarter & Gay, "Brownie Blues" and "Unknown Blues".  They had possibly the spiffiest duet sound going.  Both pieces are in F, and for both pieces, the seconding guitarist (don't know whether it was Tarter or Gay) is playing out of F position in standard tuning.  For "Brownie Blues", the lead guitarist is playing capoed one fret higher, out of the E position in standard tuning, and for "Unknown Blues", the lead guitarist is capoed up and playing out of the C position in standard tuning.  
Despite the fact that both songs are played out of the key of F and have substantially the same seconding guitar part, they end up sounding quite different because of the lead guitarist's working out of different positions.  Their playing arrangement on "Brownie Blues" with one guitarist working out of F position and the other out of E position was used by the Pruett Twins behind Lottie Kimbrough on her version of "Red River Blues".
All best,
Johnm


In the Living Blues article by Kip Lornell is interviewing a musician called Lesley Riddle, who apparently knew them. Riddle puts Tarter on the lead guitar and vocals. You can read the article on Stefan's site: http://www.wirz.de/music/tartgfrm.htm
Note that Stefan also has Lornell's interview of Harry Gay on his webpage.

I really love their playing! It's a shame that more recordings don't exist. I'd love to learn how to play Brownie's Blues, but the lyrics unfortunately put it out of a possible addition into one's repertoire.

Cheers

Pan
« Last Edit: December 16, 2010, 08:39:04 AM by Pan »

Offline unezrider

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Re: Guitar Duets in Country Blues
« Reply #37 on: December 16, 2010, 08:56:10 AM »
hello friend,
would that be the same leslie riddle that a.p. carter traveled & song hunted with?
"Be good, & you will be lonesome." -Mark Twain

Offline Pan

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Re: Guitar Duets in Country Blues
« Reply #38 on: December 16, 2010, 09:11:40 AM »
hello friend,
would that be the same leslie riddle that a.p. carter traveled & song hunted with?

I believe it would! I think I just read about in Bruce Bastion's Red River Blues.

Cheers

Pan

Offline Johnm

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Re: Guitar Duets in Country Blues
« Reply #39 on: December 16, 2010, 11:05:14 AM »
Thanks for the additional information on Tarter & Gay, Pan.
All best,
Johnm

Offline TeardropValley

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Re: Guitar Duets in Country Blues
« Reply #40 on: December 20, 2010, 02:22:45 PM »
Maybe it's because it's too obvious, but I'm surprised no one has mentioned Pink Anderson & Simmie Dooley's "Every Day in the Week Blues." It's a propulsive and harmonically complex tune with some great interplay, one doing running bass notes around some less than common chords while the other picks some great treble fills. And of course, their endearing, squeaky voices on top of it running through a fantastic melody. A real energetic tune.

Offline oddenda

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Re: Guitar Duets in Country Blues
« Reply #41 on: December 20, 2010, 02:58:30 PM »
All the Dooley/Anderson duets are lovely - that's Simmie with the higher voice, by the way. I'm still partial to Willie Walker & Sam Brooks two sides (three, if you count the alternate take of SC Rag). In my field recording days, duos were rare: Baby Tate & McKinley Ellis; Baby Tate & Baby Brooks; Marvin & Turner Foddrell; Elester Anderson & George Higgs; Pernell Charity & unknown!

Peter B.

Offline Rivers

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Re: Guitar Duets in Country Blues
« Reply #42 on: June 08, 2011, 05:42:43 PM »
If it counts when one of the guitars is lap steel Casey Bill Weldon and unk. guitarist on "You Shouldn't Do That" and "Go Ahead Buddy" deserve a mention here.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Guitar Duets in Country Blues
« Reply #43 on: April 06, 2012, 10:09:50 PM »
Hi all,
As has been mentioned in the Little Buddy Doyle lyric thread, his playing with Jack Kelly/Willie Tango/or somebody else was terrifically exciting.  Perhaps not a true duet in the sense that they were joined by a harmonica player, but a duet in the sense of two guitarists forming the core of the ensemble.  The six numbers they recorded together are well worth seeking out, and can be found on the JSP set, "Masters of Memphis Blues".
All best,
Johnm

Offline Shovel

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Re: Guitar Duets in Country Blues
« Reply #44 on: April 07, 2012, 05:32:41 AM »
There's something so aggressive and bold about the first few bars of Maggie Campbell Blues.  You knew a couple of BAD boys were walking into the party playing that one.  It was going to be a good night.

 


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