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In a blog essay posted on the Web site of The American Scholar before Mr. Mitchell's death, Mr. Zinsser said Mr. Mitchell's approach to broken-down pianos (which musicians sometimes encounter on tour) illustrated his approach to life. "I learned long ago that it does no good to complain," Mr. Zinsser recalled Mr. Mitchell telling him. Instead, listen to the keys and put their flatness or sharpness to use. "You say, 'What does it do?' " said Mr. Mitchell, sounding an imaginary clinker on a piano. " 'Will it do anything? Let's check it out' - NY Times obit, reference to http://theamericanscholar.org/what-does-it-do/#.Uj3ivWR4ZEu

Author Topic: Somebody on Your Bond  (Read 2402 times)

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Offline Dr. G

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Somebody on Your Bond
« on: September 30, 2006, 01:21:25 PM »
Hey all,

This is my debut post on the Back Porch, thanks to waxwing's patient instructions on converting to mp3 and downsizing to fit. (i only discovered Weenie Cambpell a couple of weeks ago and feel like I've already made about 100 new friends!)

Attached is my reverential impression of (attack on?) Blind Willie Johnson's masterpiece. I'm playing on a (National) Tricone guitar. My washboard player, Nancy T. (not playing rhythm here), stands in for Mrs. Johnson on the backup vocal.

Hope you enjoy it as much I have enjoyed hearing all your performances in this space!

Dr. G

[attachment deleted by admin]

Offline Doc Brainerd

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Re: Somebody on Your Bond
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2006, 02:00:00 PM »
Really enjoyed that, my good doctor ;D.  I'm eagerly awaiting my first resonator (a Nat. tricone, as well) and would love to learn that song.  Did you work it out by ear or did you have tabs?  If the answer is the latter, I'd sure appreciate a copy! My email address is on my user profile.  Great work!

Offline waxwing

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Re: Somebody on Your Bond
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2006, 02:06:47 PM »
Sounds good, Dr. G. Glad I was of assistance. You're really makin' it talk.

I don't usually make it up to the Boston area, my folks being in the Philly area, but one never knows.

All for now.
John C.
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

“Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22

http://www.youtube.com/user/WaxwingJohn
https://www.facebook.com/WaxwingJohn

Offline a2tom

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Re: Somebody on Your Bond
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2006, 02:09:59 PM »
I guess you two are a paradox (get it?).  (wrote that before Waxwing beat me to the post...)

My main reaction to this is - it must be great to have someone to sing a duet like this with!  I've tried to get my wife to play the role of Angeline, to no avail (I think she said she'd rather poke her eyes out...)

Sounds great, thanks.  I love the vocal intepretation, not Willie-ish, which I suspect only a few could every achieve.  Like many who post here, I envy the fluidity of your playing and its integration with the vocals.

tom

Offline Pan

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Re: Somebody on Your Bond
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2006, 02:37:31 PM »
Hi Dr. G.

That's a very nice duet!

I like your slide work a lot too!

More, please. :)

Yours

Pan

Offline Slack

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Re: Somebody on Your Bond
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2006, 02:50:59 PM »
Very nice Dr. G and Nancy T.!  Thanks for posting!

Offline dj

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Re: Somebody on Your Bond
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2006, 03:20:50 PM »
Good work, Dr. G!  Nice vocals, nice guitar, and nice integration of the two. 

Offline Dr. G

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Re: Somebody on Your Bond
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2006, 06:02:22 PM »
Dear new friends

I am deeply appreciative of all the kind and supportive words about my playing -- and perhaps even more so of those about my singing...which has been something of a challenge for a guy who earlier in life was considered tone deaf (and still can't finish a song in the same key he started it in unless there is a guitar to ground him).

Your comments are all the sweeter to me for my having already been so admiring of your own playing, and your intelligent and good-humored commentaries on song structure, lyrics, and everything else about the CB's.

Never heard the "paradox" crack before, tom (pretty cute), but I sure identify with the "would rather poke her eyes out" wifely posture!

Doc Brainerd -- I have never seen a tab for "Somebody On Your Bond" (and don't read tabs very well anyway). However, I am happy to do my best to commit my interpretation to tab if you have difficulty with picking out Blind Willie's chops. (I know I don't have it exactly the way he does it, but I feel as if I kinda got the hooks down.) Once you start playing that Tricone, you're never going to put it down.

Thanks again, everybody. You're a great group, and I am very happy to be welcomed aboard by you.

Dr. G

Offline Bluesymel

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Re: Somebody on Your Bond
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2006, 10:18:22 AM »
Great slide work. Wow! What a difference between a good reso and my POS Rogue. I better start saving my money. Anyway I really enjoyed the duet and the recording quality was great. Keep them coming please.

Mel

Online Parlor Picker

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Re: Somebody on Your Bond
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2006, 01:33:01 AM »
Nice one, Doc.

I for one am very pleased you do it in your own voice and use your own interpretation of the guitar accompaniment.  I don't see much point in slavish copies, which can end up sounding like a pastiche of the original.  The way any folk music survives and perpetuates itself is by the way material gets slightly mutated along the way by whoever decides to play it.  That keeps the tradition alive.

"I ain't good looking, teeth don't shine like pearls,
So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
Barbecue Bob

Offline Dr. G

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Re: Somebody on Your Bond
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2006, 06:02:01 AM »
Mel -

Being able to acquire an original Tricone is great, but in the last coupla years some very decent knockoffs have been manufactured for much more affordable money.

A few years back I bought a "Regal" for under $1000, and found it quite good: brighter than an original but strong and with that great evenness of tone.

More recently I tried out the "Johnson" version (around $600) -- and like it even better: warmer, darker, more "closed" tone. I have played at least 10 of these and find that they all have similar (terrific) tone -- not quite the original, but still very, very nice. (By the way, I find the originals to have two distinct tones -- brighter or warmer, darker -- depending on the placement of the "soundposts", or whatever those vertical supportive structures are called.) Unfortunately, the Johnsons seem to be bedeviled by rattles and buzzes that can take a lot of tinkering with to eliminate.

Crucial to nice, easy slide sound is string action: it has to be high enough that the frets don't interfere. For me, that means higher than I want for just plain old fingerpicking -- so I always have a reso (preferably Tricone type) around that is set up exclusively for slide.

Parlor Picker --

I appreciate your slant on the "folk process".

In my early days of playing I tried desperately to imitate (slavishly) "The Master's Voice" -- both instrumentally and vocally. In some ways, my lack of innate musical talent was a big help: I could never get the guitar part "right", so I just did the best I could and moved on...over the years, as I got more accomplished, my failed slavish imitation evolved along its own path (usually unbeknownst to me at the time). I often became astonished when I revisited the "original" to find how far I had strayed...but ended up with something that seemed to be able to stand by itself. (Sometimes it took a member of my group, to whom I had suggested he/she listen to the "original" of a song for inspiration, to tell me: "Doc, your version doesn't sound ANYTHING LIKE the original!")

I also -- early on -- tried to make my vocal sound like somebody I wasn't. My early ('60's) CB-interpreting heroes all tended to make their voices sound blacker, or more "ramblin", or something that somehow would be more "authentic"....so of course I did, too. To my advantage was that my voice was/is thin and nasal, and that I couldn't carry a tune in a barrel (still barely can) -- and the net result was TWICE as awful as my own, natural voice. Although family members suggested (as loving as they could) that I was singing as if I had marbles in my mouth, it wasn't until I started doing some recording that I realized just how putrid my vocal attempts really were -- especially when I tried to "bluesy" them up. The microphone (and tape/hard drives, etc.) are enormously unforgiving, and I quickly learned that it was all I could do to sing more-or-less in key and enunciate the words so that they were intelligible -- without the added challenge of adding layers of "blackness" or "ramblin'-ness". (Basically, my own, natural voice was already weird enough....!)

So, I think that in each instance it was a case of muscial ignorance and lack of innate "ability" that aided my own version of "folk process"....

Dr. G




Online Parlor Picker

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Re: Somebody on Your Bond
« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2006, 06:22:22 AM »
Actually Dr. G., your lack of musical ability doesn't sound as acute as my lack of musical ability!  But I agree wholeheartedly with your comments.  There is sometimes a nasty habit of (usually) white and (often) British blues singers adopting a gruff voice, in order to sound "more authentic" (or maybe "more black") which I particularly dislike.

I like your voice - you may not have the world's greatest voice, but I like the sound of it.  I'm one of those who can't sing a note in tune - probably due to lack of confidence back in the early days.

I'm also no slide player, so a couple of years ago sold a Johnson Style 3 Tricone I had, which was a surprisingly respectable instrument.  It may not have been quite as good as an old National, but it was not that bad - and of course cost a fraction of the price.  Fortunately a friend bought it and he really loves it, so I'm glad it went to a good home.

Look forward to your next offering on the Back Porch.

Michael
"I ain't good looking, teeth don't shine like pearls,
So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
Barbecue Bob

Offline Stuart

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Re: Somebody on Your Bond
« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2006, 08:41:56 AM »
Being able to acquire an original Tricone is great

...but acquiring a Phillips tricone is even greater (spoken as a shill for Ron and a proud owner of one of his tricones). Check them out at:

http://metalgitar.com/

Offline Dr. G

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Re: Somebody on Your Bond
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2006, 05:19:08 PM »
Michael (aka Parlor Picker) --

Thank you for sharing more thoughts on the vocal thing. (Perhaps we should start a vocally-challenged support group!) Your kind comments about my efforts are much appreciated, and will surely encourage me to post additional CB interpretations.

Stuart (aka "shill") --

Just visited the Phillips website...you ain't whistlin' Dixie! I love art deco instruments (the Tricone is my favorite, of course), and the notion that someone has not only kept the fine art alive, but has brought it to new heights as well, makes my heart skip a beat. If those instruments sound half as good as they look (and I'm sure they do), I'm going to start saving my nickels, too...!

Dr. G

Offline onewent

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Re: Somebody on Your Bond
« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2006, 05:25:46 PM »
..nice work, Dr G, enjoyed your interpretation of this song, your light touch on the guitar complimented your voice, or vice versa..Tom

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