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I've got apples on my table, got food on my shelf. You wanna hear the blues baby, you sure gotta sing 'em yourself - Honeyboy Edwards, Water Coast Blues

Author Topic: The Wordless Voice--The Role of Instrumental Accompaniment in the Blues  (Read 6661 times)

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Online Johnm

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You make a good point, uncle bud.  To add to the difficulties of maintaining the feel of the piece, it is so singing-dependent, both in terms of making sense of the phrasing, and sense of the call-and-response aspect, too.  And since Lemon in this style of expression doesn't do anything like playing the melody under his singing, the portion of the accompaniment that sits under his sung lines is relatively uninformative, in terms of communicating what is being sung on top of it.
Learning the language and then being free with it is probably the way to go in a long term sense, but the particulars of what Lemon played are so delectable, I'm scared of losing them or overly simplifying them.
All best,
Johnm

Online Johnm

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Hi all,
Just today I was hired to transcribe and do a lesson on a song that is such a perfect example of this concept:  J. B. Lenoir's "Born Dead".  Here it is:



All best,
Johnm

Offline Prof Scratchy

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What a stunning performance that is.

Offline MTJ3

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This is not exactly on point, but what about role the "caesural riff" in this respect?  A classic example by what I mean would be Kokomo Arnold's riff in the "and" of the third beat and the fourth beat in the first and fifth bars of, e.g., "Milk Cow Blues," although he sometimes if not often sings over the riff.

Online Johnm

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Hi MTJ3,
I wouldn't say that call-and-response is necessarily a matter of strictly taking turns.  In music in the church, the response lines often enter before the call line is fully completed, and you get an exactly analogous phenomenon in the way that the instrumental response may seemingly interrupt a sung call which has not yet concluded.  There is a lot of space for interior calls-and responses, too.  Just think of Leroy Carr singing "How Long, How Long Blues" and the fills that Scrapper Blackwell played in response to each little lyric byte.
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: June 07, 2020, 10:25:16 AM by Johnm »

Offline Forgetful Jones

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This was a fun thread to read. I think Barbecue Bob's "Goin' Up the Country" qualifies in a manner similar to some of the examples from the initial post (Ham Hound Crave & Mean Conductor). Barbecue Bob really thrives on the signature riff throughout the song.

I think it's interesting how he lets the guitar take over in the sections when he goes to the IV chord at around :40, 2:03 & 2:39. He also plays a short break around 1:18. I think this only reinforces the concept of the wordless voice within this song.


« Last Edit: June 07, 2020, 07:40:38 AM by Forgetful Jones »

 


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