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Author Topic: What tunes are you working on?  (Read 16301 times)

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Offline uncle bud

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What tunes are you working on?
« on: May 01, 2004, 09:07:55 PM »
What tunes are you working on, ladies and gents? I've had a burst of guitar activity the past couple weeks and am feeling less morose about my playing (though not enough to post any mp3s yet  :D ). I'm trying to keep my Sesame Street attention span focused and am working on:

Screamin' and Hollerin' the Blues - Charley Patton. Have been revisiting this one. Several years ago, went over this on the phone with Frankie. It's taken awhile, but I'm starting to get it, verse by verse.

Funny Feeling Blues - Blind Boy Fuller. Another long time project.  :P  Learned this from Paul Rishell at PT and am now working with Ari Eisinger's video, which covers the intro and one of the breaks in a slightly more authentic version. Ari's interpretation (which is note for note, pretty much) meant having to unlearn some deeply engrained patterns, which when dealing with syncopated bass like this can be a battle for me, but I've managed to get the two verses he covers. He also tunes down a whole tone, which will make this easier to sing (someday).

Overtime Blues - Walter Vinson. Figured this one out today, pretty straightforward but fun. Funky bass riffs and string snapping in dropped Db for bassier bass.

Blind Lemon in C. - Essentially working on Chock House Blues, but it could end up being Booger Rooger or Mosquito Moan or any of the ones in this family. Hard to hear what he's doing under the I chord while he's singing in Chock House, so am comparing other tunes and making shit up. Some of the riffs before he goes to the IV chord are nuts.

There are others, some slide stuff, Some of John Miller's Furry Lewis video, but like I said, I'm trying to focus!


Offline waxwing

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Re: What tunes are you working on?
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2004, 12:59:25 AM »
Hey UB,

Yeah, Funny Feelin' Blues, that'll be my next BBF tune when I come around to him again. Actually, I just finally figured out the two strummed skat breaks in Jivin' Woman Blues (you know, that Ari doesn't cover 'cause they're so easy). I managed to perform the whole thing, with percussive ending, as one of two new songs at my last Third Thursday boatclub gig. Still needs lots of polishing, as does the other one, William Brown's Mississippi Blues, which I been workin' on for some time and it's really comin' together. I try to do a new song every month, but had to do two last month 'cause I missed the gig the month before. Keeps me workin' on it.

I also learned Lightnin's version of BJW's Baby Please Don't Go to teach to my first student (no kiddin'). There's footage of Lightnin' playing it on the Ernie Hawkins lesson, so not only was I able to pick up some stuff Ernie didn't have space for, but I also noticed LH always playin a two finger E and a mini barre A, not to meantion coverin' two strings with the index for his B7. With the help of my narrow (1 11/16") necked Gibson B-25 I was able to get pretty proficient. Something about working them into new material as opposed to trying to change something I already knew made it possible. Great Groove, too. Still polishin' that one, also.

I recently had another strong?effort with BB's Georgia Bound. I've got tab from various GW sources for one verse and four breaks. Got verse and about two breaks working and know the other breaks are in reach. Eventually I'm gonna have to work out a few more verses on my own, when the rest starts gelling. Had to let go of it for a while, tho'. You know how it is.

What I've been really workin' on is Broke Down Engine. I'm gettin' carried away by this Soveriegn 12 string and all I want to do is learn more songs that I can use it for. I guess it just seems like Mr. McTell is the mother lode. Not that there ain't other great 12 players but, well, I guess it's kinda like Bob D. said. So, I've got Ernie's vid, but I feel like he just scratches the surface, and admits that he's glommed together favored bits from all three versions. I've been workin' thru the first version, verse by verse, and getting familiar with Transcribe! and TablEdit as I go. Blind Willie really throws in different stuff on each verse. It's fun when you figure out the right hand fingering and really get that back and forth, high and low course sound workin' on his runs. I think I want to get deep into Mr McTell's mind. I may work out a list of all of his sides, grouped by similar styles, which maybe Ramblin' Frank would like to put up on Doggone? Then I could work my way thru his various styles with an ear for variations between songs. Anyway, seems like a doable goal before I reach 60. (BTW, my 53rd should pop up on the Upcoming Dates list anyday now).

That's pretty much it, besides diddlin' around with a little BWJ slide piece and a little mandolin attempt. Oh, and workin' on Frankie's Joliet Bound a little, too. Yeah, like you said, UB, Focus!

All for now.
John C.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2005, 10:45:53 PM by Johnm »
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Offline Rivers

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Re: What tunes are you working on?
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2004, 12:19:15 PM »
I admit my playing has gone way up town, I'm into jazz at present. Working on chord melodies of Big Bad Bill, Georgia on my Mind, Sweet Sue and a bunch of Merle Travis stuff I got on a cheap CD I scored on the weekend, including "Divorce Me C.O.D." which is like "Darktown Strutters Ball" with the Travis swing treatment and a nice bridge.

Also been revisiting a couple of Casey Billl Weldon tunes now I have some more jazzy passing chords in my toolbag and plan to listen to more of him, and also Tampa Red, Lonnie and Eddie. All the jazz tunes I thought I knew before I'm reworking. Have some Django tunes in my sights, "Tears" I really want to nail.

I just had my '48 Gibson ES-125 reconditioned and put D'Addario chromed flat wound strings on it so I'm playing that a lot, and my Martin 000-16 as well. It's a repertoire building phase, I see it a complementary to what I do already.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2004, 12:22:38 PM by Rivers »

Offline waxwing

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Re: What tunes are you working on?
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2004, 03:27:07 PM »
Sounds like you're really movin', Riv. Hey, I'd love to see what you come up with for Sweet Sue. Last year Ernie, Belly Meat bass player, was walking around humming it and tryin' to find someone who knew it. It'd be fun to have a few folks who had already worked it up. I could get it to Lee and Gary and the other Belly Meat guys, we could surprise Ernie with it. Cool.
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

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Offline frankie

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Re: What tunes are you working on?
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2004, 08:14:25 PM »
Rivers - good on you for sticking with the jazz tunes!? I play a few with a fiddler I know (Sweet Sue, Dinah, Blue Drag), but not particularly well...? I haven't worked up the nerve to try a break on any of 'em yet, either.? Maybe one of these days!

I've been dusting off things in anticipation of this Coatesville festival coming up in a couple of weeks:? mostly songs that I've known for a long time but haven't played in a while.? I figure I stand a better chance of recovering from clams with older material.? That being said, I've been fooling around with a few tunes:

Crow Jane (Carl Martin) - I love that trill on the E chord and the finger snapping!

Elder Greene Blues - been working on it with Kim.? It's loads of fun.? For anyone who's into this tune - I think Henry Sims' fiddle is playing out of the key of G, tuned down about a half step.? Patton is tuned high (about a whole step) and playing out of E position.? The fiddle is deceptively simple and way more difficult to execute than it is to figure out, if that makes any sense.

Hot Dogs - I've always had this tune in the back of my mind...? now I'm thinking about sitting down and really working it out.? The bass runs sound totally great on the Fraulini.? Yummy!? There's?a few more Lemon, too - one I've thought about is Wartime Blues - not so much for the guitar, but for the singing...? seems like it'd be fun.? I'd love to do Prison Cell Blues, too.? Too many to even list in there...

Screaming and Crying Blues - Blind Boy Fuller.? He has a great way of playing a slow blues in G that just makes me crazy - sounds like no-one else!? I've worked out bits & pieces just from having heard it, but need to sit down and try to sing it.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2005, 10:49:18 PM by Johnm »

Offline Rivers

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Re: What tunes are you working on?
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2004, 01:01:50 AM »
Sounds like you're really movin', Riv. Hey, I'd love to see what you come up with for Sweet Sue. Last year Ernie, Belly Meat bass player, was walking around humming it and tryin' to find someone who knew it. It'd be fun to have a few folks who had already worked it up. I could get it to Lee and Gary and the other Belly Meat guys, we could surprise Ernie with it. Cool.

Thanks for being nice about my old jazz affliction folks. I figure us country blues fingerpickers are at a decided advantage when we take on jazz, since after all it's the same lineage and chronology, and blues sensibilities inform the best jazz in my opinion. Just need a couple more chords and variations getting from A to B and I can say I'm "jazz influenced" which is of course different to being a true jazz player. That space is too dry for me, just want to have that "tinge" on certain tunes.

I can't listen to no Merle Travis, Casey Bill, Eddie Lang, Broonzy etc without wondering what the hell they're doing with those slick changes and decided I had to take serious steps to try and find out. I'm no Django but I'll post Sweet Sue's progressions, the way I've worked them anyway, very soon. It makes a great hybrid fingerpicking / swing chord tune, people seem to enjoy hearing it. I really like playing it with another guitarist who's up for some Djangoesque bluffology, would love to trip over a jazz violinist around here but they are exceedingly rare creatures.

And anyway, I tell myself, what deviation would you rather hear during a blues jam session, an old swing jazz tune or Irish diddley-aye music?  >:D

Offline thumbstyle

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Re: What tunes are you working on?
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2004, 12:35:11 PM »

Thanks for being nice about my old jazz affliction folks. I figure us country blues fingerpickers are at a decided advantage when we take on jazz, since after all it's the same lineage and chronology, and blues sensibilities inform the best jazz in my opinion. Just need a couple more chords and variations getting from A to B and I can say I'm "jazz influenced" which is of course different to being a true jazz player. That space is too dry for me, just want to have that "tinge" on certain tunes.

I can't listen to no Merle Travis, Casey Bill, Eddie Lang, Broonzy etc without wondering what the hell they're doing with those slick changes and decided I had to take serious steps to try and find out. I'm no Django but I'll post Sweet Sue's progressions, the way I've worked them anyway, very soon. It makes a great hybrid fingerpicking / swing chord tune, people seem to enjoy hearing it. I really like playing it with another guitarist who's up for some Djangoesque bluffology, would love to trip over a jazz violinist around here but they are exceedingly rare creatures.

Cool stuff, Riv. I'm with ya on the jazzy blues-country stuff -- seems to be where a lot of my interest is these days. Your post had me reaching for my (only) Merle Travis CD and figuring out "Divorce Me C.O.D.".

If you haven't already, check out Bob Brozman's instructional videos called Hot Guitar Techniques. They give you a lot of tools to take fingerstyle guitar into early jazz and swing. The treatment of dominant chord inversions up the neck is alone worth the price of the first volume, IMO. Might help get a handle on those wacky Travis chords!

Dave

Offline Rivers

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Re: What tunes are you working on?
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2004, 11:56:56 PM »
Dave you are a natural at that stuff, what was that obscure Hank Williams thing we were playing at my house? I've been trying to remember, something about moonshine(?), might be able to do a better job with it these days.

Thanks for the rec. on the Bob Brozman videos, will check them out. I saw Bob play a small place here on his way back from Womad last year and it was a memorable set, thoroughly enjoyed all the musical threads in his playing.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: What tunes are you working on?
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2004, 08:19:13 AM »
Elder Greene Blues - been working on it with Kim.  It's loads of fun.  For anyone who's into this tune - I think Henry Sims' fiddle is playing out of the key of G, tuned down about a half step.  Patton is tuned high (about a whole step) and playing out of E position.  The fiddle is deceptively simple and way more difficult to execute than it is to figure out, if that makes any sense.

Hey Frank, is Kim doing the Coatesville gig with you? You guys gotta do Rolling Mill. It's great.

Quote
Hot Dogs - I've always had this tune in the back of my mind...  now I'm thinking about sitting down and really working it out.  The bass runs sound totally great on the Fraulini.  Yummy!  There's  a few more Lemon, too - one I've thought about is Wartime Blues - not so much for the guitar, but for the singing...  seems like it'd be fun.

Wartime Blues sure does have great singing. Michael Jerome Browne did this on his first record, and I thought, what a great choice, exactly because of the singing, worked real well with his voice. Lemon's wasn't bad either.  :P
« Last Edit: May 04, 2004, 08:30:56 AM by uncle bud »

Offline uncle bud

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Re: What tunes are you working on?
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2004, 08:25:06 AM »
What I've been really workin' on is Broke Down Engine. I'm gettin' carried away by this Soveriegn 12 string and all I want to do is learn more songs that I can use it for. I guess it just seems like Mr. McTell is the mother lode. Not that there ain't other great 12 players but, well, I guess it's kinda like Bob D. said. So, I've got Ernie's vid, but I feel like he just scratches the surface, and admits that he's glommed together favored bits from all three versions. I've been workin' thru the first version, verse by verse, and getting familiar with Transcribe! and TablEdit as I go. Blind Willie really throws in different stuff on each verse. It's fun when you figure out the right hand fingering and really get that back and forth, high and low course sound workin' on his runs. I think I want to get deep into Mr McTell's mind. I may work out a list of all of his sides, grouped by similar styles, which maybe Ramblin' Frank would like to put up on Doggone? Then I could work my way thru his various styles with an ear for variations between songs. Anyway, seems like a doable goal before I reach 60. (BTW, my 53rd should pop up on the Upcoming Dates list anyday now).

Hell, put it up here. It'd be nice to get a little miscellaneous resource section going, with Frank's Lemon spreadsheet etc. I've always meant to do similar things for Patton.

Was listening to the 1949 Atlantic sessions of McTell yesterday. I think that's my favorite version of Broke Down Engine. Tremendous singing on that cut.

Offline Slack

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Re: What tunes are you working on?
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2004, 06:31:54 PM »
Quote
What tunes are you working on, ladies and gents? I've had a burst of guitar activity the past couple weeks and am feeling less morose about my playing (though not enough to post any mp3s yet?). I'm trying to keep my Sesame Street attention span focused and am working on:

Only took you a couple of weeks to stop feeling morose?? What's your secret?

Well I have not branched out much (talk about attention span) - but

Gamblers Blues, which I really enjoy playing and singing - but the singing is at such a high mark, it's hard not to sound like a dork. :D

Trouble Blues (returned to a little Scrapper, will work on his D stuff too), need to work on the vocal

New Lovin Blues - vocal in a 'weird place' (as frankie would say) in standard tuning. Ton of fun.

Johnson City Blues (which gives me the freedom to sound like a dork)

And since everyone seems to be working on it, I dug out 'Overtime Blues' yesterday... haha..

(I also dig out the Ukulele once in awhile - but I won;t mention that).

cheers,
slack
« Last Edit: April 10, 2005, 10:52:17 PM by Johnm »

Offline thumbstyle

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Re: What tunes are you working on?
« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2004, 12:09:08 AM »
Dave you are a natural at that stuff, what was that obscure Hank Williams thing we were playing at my house? I've been trying to remember, something about moonshine(?), might be able to do a better job with it these days.

Well  thanks :D (what, no blushing-devil emoticon?). Let's see, the only HW tune I know is "Lovesick Blues", but that can't be it. Maybe it was "Give Me A Red Hot Mama And An Ice Cold Beer"? That's obscure! It's also a tune that really got a lot of help from the Brozman video - I stole a lot of those chord inversion ideas and stuck 'em into my arrangement direct-like. 

[quote
Thanks for the rec. on the Bob Brozman videos, will check them out. I saw Bob play a small place here on his way back from Womad last year and it was a memorable set, thoroughly enjoyed all the musical threads in his playing.
Quote

Cool, he's a really interesting player (though I don't care for his singing). He sure seems to have pissed off a lot of people in the music biz though!

Looking forward to your posting the Sweet Sue chords. How you coming with Divorce Me C.O.D.? I worked out the basic chords, then started working on Travis' break, but only got a few bars into it. Fun tune!

Dave

Offline Rivers

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Re: What tunes are you working on?
« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2004, 12:00:22 PM »
I'll start another thread on Sweet Sue. Re, "Divorce me C.O.D." I'm waiting for the weekend to spend more time on it, and a couple other Travis tunes.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: What tunes are you working on?
« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2004, 06:30:19 PM »
Quote
What tunes are you working on, ladies and gents? I've had a burst of guitar activity the past couple weeks and am feeling less morose about my playing (though not enough to post any mp3s yet?). I'm trying to keep my Sesame Street attention span focused and am working on:

Only took you a couple of weeks to stop feeling morose?? What's your secret?

Dunno. Time off because of the hand problems seems to have cleaned out my ears and focused my technique a bit more. Adopting JohnM's stance playing off the left leg, and have also tried a strap way up high when playing slide on the reso that really works for me so far. The other thing is playing without a thumbpick for a lot of stuff, though not all (e.g., Blind Lemon etc) Don't want to get carried away, because I certainly get some flareups of tendinitis still, but it's allowing me to play more.

Quote
Johnson City Blues (which gives me the freedom to sound like a dork)

Excellent dorkitude quotient on this one. Thanks for reminding me of it. I was very excited when JohnM taught it and then my hands caved and I forgot about it. Totally cool tune.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2005, 10:54:37 PM by Johnm »

Offline Buzz

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Re: What tunes are you working on?
« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2004, 05:42:56 PM »
Moi?

I am working on Son House Depot Blues, thanks to your post, and liking it.
And New Lovin' by Buddy Moss. Hard Times: I got the picking down, but lost interest in the tune, when New Lovin' hit me between the eyes and ears!

I go back to old tunes that call out to me at certain times, too. Rocks and Gravel, and others from Johns classes. I love to play Teddy Darby I Never Cried, and Shady Lane, and Longin for my Sugar by Leroy Carr.
Rather be the Devil by Skip James, and Prison Blues ("Captain, Captain" starts the verses by Cephas  and Wiggins ), and want to learn Cypress Grove.
Slide tunes  I revisit : Sly Weaver's Guitar Rag, Tampa Red's Bumble Bee, Boogie Woogie Dance, Fandango, RJ's Walkin' Blues with an occasional Muddy Waters intro.

Overtime Blues is cool, ain't it? O love it. Great for you to be able to play 2 tunes in drop D, like that one and New Lovin', UB!
I am glad you are able to play, that the wrists and tendonitis is letting you be for a while. Have fun.
Miller ;)
Do good, be nice, eat well, smile, treat the ladies well, and ignore all news reports--which  can't be believed anyway,

Buzz

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