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White people have no business playing the blues ever, at all, under any circumstances. Ever, ever, ever. What the f--- do white people have to be blue about? Banana Republic ran out of khakis? - George Carlin

Author Topic: Slide playing  (Read 11519 times)

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Offline uncle bud

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Slide playing
« on: April 14, 2004, 07:54:36 PM »
I've been reacquainting myself with my slide lately. Need to get the resonator worked on - raise the action a bit, check intonation. Would really like to have a wood guitar set up for slide. Anyway, I've been having fun with it and am listening to a lot of slide players. Some of the obvious ones - Tampa Red, Barbecue Bob, Charley Patton. There are some good CD compilations out there. I've been listening to the Catfish compilation "Classic Slide Guitar Blues Vol 2" (Vol 1 looks pretty good too but had too much stuff I already had); "The Slide Guitar - Bottle, Knives and Steel" on Columbia; "Bottleneck Blues" on Testament.

The Catfish CD has some nice stuff on it: Bedside Blues by Jim Thompkins, Fence Breakin' Blues by The Shreveport Homewreckers (great name for Oscar Woods and Ed Shaffer), East Texas Rag by Smith Casey, Early One Morning by Dan Pickett, as well as Kokomo Arnold, Charlie McCoy, Patton, Tampa Red, Ramblin Thomas etc. The Columbia disc has some of the usual suspects like Blind Willie Johnson, Tampa Red, Bukka White, Blind Willie McTell and the like, but also Oscar Woods, Sylvester Weaver, Sister OM Terrell. It has a great Barbecue Bob tune called, illuminatingly enough, "Untitled".

So who are your favorite slide players? Favorite slide tunes? Obscure gems? CDs for slide listening?

Offline Johnm

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Re: Slide playing
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2004, 02:33:11 PM »
Hi Andrew,
Neat topic.  My favorite slide player is Blind Willie Johnson, though there are other great players who are so different from him that there is almost no basis for comparison.  Of his stuff, I particularly like "Nobody's Fault But Mine" and "I Know His Blood Can Make Me Whole".  Tampa Red was also really great, and the Yazoo re-issue of him has tons of great stuff.  Favorite individual cuts include:  Fred McMullen backing Ruth Willis on "Man of My Own",  King Solomon Hill's "Whoopee Blues", Charley Patton's "Tom Rushen", and Son House, "Sun Going Down".  I know I've forgotten a lot of great stuff.
All best,
Johnm 

Offline blueshome

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Re: Slide playing
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2004, 02:49:26 PM »
I'm a fool for Tampa Red's playing like John. I think if you can get close to it you have by then got enough control of the instrument to be able to attempt anything else with a slide. Also didn't he write some great songs?

The other guy I really like is Kokomo Arnold, crazy! but I struggle here to get my head round his timimg, especially on the slower numbers.

Offline Richard

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Re: Slide playing
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2004, 03:10:39 PM »
There are lots of great players but immediately, and in no particluar order I'd suggest Blind Will Johnson, Tampa Red and for lap style Casey Bill, Oscar Woods and Black Ace who's recordings are such good quality.

It's subjective, in that, for instance Tampa Red was a 100% slide player whereas say Memphis Minnie used a slide only occasionally but was able still produce the goods.

Whatever, I must confess to being an out and out slide enthusiast (I was going to say player!) with a penchant to lap style - and my rhythm chops are happening at last ;D
(That's enough of that. Ed)

Offline Slack

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Re: Slide playing
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2004, 05:57:27 PM »
Long Live 'Mississippi' Fred Mcdowell!

 :D

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Slide playing
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2004, 07:23:08 PM »
JohnM - Blind Willie Johnson is astounding indeed. It's amazing the notes he's able to get out of a couple strings. Nobody's Fault But Mine is a personal favorite. Patton's Tom Rushen as well, and that's one I'm working on. Will see if I can get it together enough to post a less than humiliating version sometime.

I love Tampa Red as well, although listening to the first several volumes of the Document issues requires a certain amount of tune skipping. Sometimes I just can't take Frankie Jaxon! That said, I generally prefer Tampa's earlier stuff to his later material with Big Maceo. I agree with blueshome, if you can play a bunch of Tampa Red you're really on top of your slide. Perhaps not as flashy as some players but tremendous control, subtlety, and many great tunes.

Richard, Casey Bill is a gas. Will have to dig out my Black Ace CD - forgot about him.

Slack - Fred McDowell is another great one. There's some lesser material from him that proliferates in various incarnations but the stuff on Testament, Rounder and Arhoolie has some really hot material.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2004, 07:24:51 PM by uncle bud »

Offline Richard

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Re: Slide playing
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2004, 10:33:15 AM »
Uncle Bud you're  quite right in your summing up of Tampa Red in that he did record some turkeys but his playing is sp clean - for instance his solo on 'I'll find my way' sounds so copyable (!) but it isn't, well not for me anyhow!

If anyone is interested a friend of mine has transcribed the solo from "I'll find my way" and the nice bass line played by 'Ican'tRemember' on "Seminole blues" - and I could send or post a .jpg copy but note (pun) that it's iin real notation and not tab.
(That's enough of that. Ed)

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Slide playing
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2004, 04:28:07 PM »
Uncle Bud you're? quite right in your summing up of Tampa Red in that he did record some turkeys but his playing is sp clean - for instance his solo on 'I'll find my way' sounds so copyable (!) but it isn't, well not for me anyhow!

Richard, don't get me wrong, I love Tampa Red. He's one of my top 3 favourite slide players. I was just noting that with such a huge recorded output, there is some dreck to sort through.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2005, 01:47:11 PM by Johnm »

Offline Richard

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Re: Slide playing
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2004, 01:57:33 AM »
No, no. no - I was wasn't criticising - I was agreeing with you!!

And, even the aforsaid turkey's were only down to choice of material not his actual playing. And, I assume since he was an all-round musician anyway, his book comprised popular material other than blues anyway.

Whilst on the Tampa Red subject, I'm sure I read somewhere, that when he lived in Chicago at weekends his house was a magnet for up and coming players who he would encourage to come round and play - I have a feeling that Memphis Minnie had something to do with these occassions.
(That's enough of that. Ed)

Offline Eldergreene

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Re: Slide playing
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2004, 04:07:35 PM »
Just a plug for the afore-mentioned Rambling Thomas - not as spectacular as BWJ or Tampa, maybe, but there's a quality about his sound & playing that has kept me coming back to him over the years, both slide & fingerstyle..

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Slide playing
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2004, 05:28:33 PM »
Just a plug for the afore-mentioned Rambling Thomas - not as spectacular as BWJ or Tampa, maybe, but there's a quality about his sound & playing that has kept me coming back to him over the years, both slide & fingerstyle..

Listening to Ramblin' Thomas while cooking dinner tonight, I was struck for the first time (and perhaps I'm thick) by how much Tampa Red there is in his some of his slide tunes. It's subtle, perhaps even more subtle than the Lemon influences, but definitely there. This might make sense given the time he spent in Chicago I guess. Not aware of him hooking up with Tampa Red but I guess it would be likely, depending on how much time he spent there. Not that the records wouldn't necessarily have an influence either. Ground Hog Blues in particular struck me as Tampa influenced, but as?Ramblin' does with Lemon's style, he makes it his own without simply copying. The free style he employs is perhaps what kept me from hearing this, given Tampa Red's much more straight style.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2005, 01:47:57 PM by Johnm »

Offline Buzz

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Re: Slide playing
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2004, 11:09:31 AM »
Say, Andrew:

Did you attend Paul Rischell's class at PT afew summers ago, when he broke down and taught Tampa Red's Boogie Woogie Dance and Bumblebee? I worked on those once I got home, and find that going back to them and getting into the pace and cleaning up my tone and slide precision of location really helps me  "keep up" what little slide chops I retain.  :P

I have listened a lot to Smithsonian Collection vol 4 --cd case is in the car, so can't get the details or # now--with Son House playing Depot Blues. I really want to play that tune. Rischell does this on one of his cds with Annie Raines, by the way. Do you have the  tablature, or know if it's in standard, open D or G ? Ta'      8)
Miller
Do good, be nice, eat well, smile, treat the ladies well, and ignore all news reports--which  can't be believed anyway,

Buzz

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Slide playing
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2004, 12:12:52 PM »
Say, Andrew:

Did you attend Paul Rischell's class at PT afew summers ago, when he broke down and taught Tampa Red's Boogie Woogie Dance and Bumblebee? I worked on those once I got home, and find that going back to them and getting into the pace and cleaning up my tone and slide precision of location really helps me? "keep up" what little slide chops I retain.? :P

Hiya Miller - Yes, I was in Paul's class when he taught those. It was great. I've worked on them as well though am not yet ready for prime time.

Quote
I have listened a lot to Smithsonian Collection vol 4 --cd case is in the car, so can't get the details or # now--with Son House playing Depot Blues. I really want to play that tune. Rischell does this on one of his cds with Annie Raines, by the way. Do you have the?tablature, or know if it's in standard, open D or G ? Ta'? 8)

I'm having deja vu? ;D Depot Blues is in E. Paul taught this one at PT as well at some point. Don't have tab, but if you've ever worked on Pony Blues or M&O Blues, it's in that family. And you gotta really yank that high E string to get the snapping right. I'll see if I can dig it out and give it a whirl.

cheers,
u.b.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2005, 01:49:05 PM by Johnm »

Offline frankie

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Re: Slide playing
« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2004, 09:36:49 PM »
Listening to Ramblin' Thomas while cooking dinner tonight, I was struck for the first time (and perhaps I'm thick) by how much Tampa Red there is in his some of his slide tunes. It's subtle, perhaps even more subtle than the Lemon influences, but definitely there. This might make sense given the time he spent in Chicago I guess.

Ground Hog definitely sounds like he consciously tried to adopt a spiffier approach to his playing.  I love the attention he lavishes on his notes and the time he takes to make things sound the way he wants.  FWIW, I think RT does have some pretty uptown tastes that he runs through his musical food mill - Lonnie Johnson for instance.  I hear a lot of LJ in his playing.  He's can't be described as derivative, though, as you noted.

Offline Eldergreene

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Re: Slide playing
« Reply #14 on: April 26, 2004, 02:42:25 PM »
Since this thread is still active, thought I'd post an afterthought in response to the original post to make mention of some of the white slide players who are well worth a listen - eg Frank Hutchison, Darby & Tarlton, Cliff Carlisle - & from another realm altogether, Hawaiian Wizard King Benny Nawahii (who SURELY must have done a deal down at the ol' crossroads)..