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Don't you ever take a married woman to be your friend. She'll take all your money and go back to her other man - Sleepy John Estes, Diving Duck Blues

Author Topic: Rag Blues and Circle of 5ths  (Read 20399 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Re: Rag Blues and Circle of 5ths
« Reply #45 on: January 27, 2011, 12:01:45 PM »
Hi all,
I was listening recently to the cuts by Virgil Childers on the JSP set, "Blind Boy Fuller, Volume 2", and was struck by his rendition of "Who's That Knockin' At My Door".  It's a raggy tune in C position, standard tuning (sounding at D), and in the course of his rendition, Virgil Childers played some really nifty chord voicings that are very rarely encountered in the playing of Country Blues musicians.
Childers opens the song with with a solo on the whole form, a bit of a surprise in itself, and then launches into his singing.  Here is the progression he played in his opening solo:

   ||  C/E  Aflat7/Eflat  |   G9/D    |  C       Aflat7/Eflat   |    G9/D         |

   |         D7              |    G7       |  C       Gflat7/Dflat   |   G7/D         |

   |          C               |   G9/D     |  C       C#dim7       |    G9/D         |

   |         D7              |    G7        |  C         G7           |       C            |

   |         E7               |    E7        |   A7/E     Aflat7/Eflat  |      A7       |

   |         D7               |     D7      |           G               |         G7        |

   |   C         C#dim7    |   G7/D     |   C         C#dim7   |         G         |

   |          D7              |        G7     |    C          G7        |        C          ||

Here are some of the chord positions Virgil Childers used in the course of this solo:
C/E: X-X-2-0-1-0, Aflat7/Eflat: X-X-1-1-1-2, G9/D: at first, X-X-0-4-6-5, after the C#dim 7, X-5-X-4-6-5, Gflat7/Dflat: X-4-2-3-2-2, C#dim7: X-4-X-3-5-X, E7: 0-7-6-5-X-7,
D7: X-5-4-5-X-5.
It's really ingenious the way Childers walked into his V chord, G7, both from above by half-step, from Aflat7 and from below by half-step, from Gflat7. His voicing of the rootless G9 is really pretty. He fingered both his E7 and D7 chords in the bridge like a B7 at the base of the neck, just moving the position up.  He played a simplified version of the progression behind his singing. One of the things I particularly like about his chord playing here is that by voicing many of the chords in inversion, with notes other than the root in the bass, he gets a lot of chromatic movement in the bass and a considerably less blocky sound than you get if you always voice the root of the chord in the bass. His sound is very pianistic in a way, and at the same time really flattering to the guitar.

Virgil Childers only recorded six titles, all on the same day at a session in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1938.  All of the songs are included on the Fuller, Vol. 2 set.  Based only on that very small sample, he really had a lot to offer, and it's a shame he never made it into the studio again.  Nothing is known about him.  "Who's That Knockin' At My Door" is really a great song and performance and if you figure it out and do it, I can pretty much guarantee the response is not going to be, "Oh man, not another Virgil Childers song!"
All best,
Johnm    
« Last Edit: September 08, 2011, 08:03:57 AM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Rag Blues and Circle of 5ths
« Reply #46 on: March 03, 2011, 06:51:24 PM »
Hi all,
The first number recorded by The Two Poor Boys, Joe Evans & Arthur McClain, was "Little Son Of A Gun", recorded at a session in Birmingham, Alabama on July 25, 1927.  The song features both players on kazoo (a first?), and one playing a 12-string guitar and one playing, I believe, a six-string guitar.  Both guitarists sound to be working out of F position in standard tuning, and are playing at a tremendous clip. 
"Little Son Of A Gun" is a raggy Pop tune with a 32-bar structure, which was the norm for Pop tunes of the era.  It goes so:

   |    F    |    F    |     G7   |     G7   |    C7    |    C7   |    F6   |    F6   |

   |    F    |    F7   |    C7    |     C7   |    C7    |    C7   |    F    |    F     |

   |    F    |    F     |    G7    |    G7    |    C7   |    C7    |    A7  |    A7   |

   |   Dm  |   Dm   |    G7   |     G7    |    C7   |    C7    |    F    |    F     |

Because the song altogether avoids the IV chord, B flat, it bypasses what is normally the most difficult aspect of playing in F.  This song has a great progression (the A7 to D minor move is especially nice), and would work well as a solo number, or especially in a larger ensemble like a jug band or string band.
All best,
Johnm   

Offline hellahella

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Re: Rag Blues and Circle of 5ths
« Reply #47 on: April 07, 2011, 06:42:14 PM »
Hi all,
I was listening recently to the cuts by Virgil Childers on the JSP set, "Blind Boy Fuller, Volume 2", and was struck by his rendition of "Who's That Knockin' At My Door".  It's a raggy tune in C position, standard tuning (sounding at D), and in the course of his rendition, Virgil Childers played some really nifty chord voicings that are very rarely encountered in the playing of Country Blues musicians.
Childers opens the song with with a solo on the whole form, a bit of a surprise in itself, and then launches into his singing.  Here is the progression he played in his opening solo:

   ||  C/E  Aflat7/Eflat  |   G9/D    |  C       Aflat7/Eflat   |    G9/D         |

   |         D7              |    G7       |  C       Gflat7/Dflat   |   G7/D         |

   |          C               |   G9/D     |  C       C#dim7       |    G9/D         |

   |         D7              |    G7        |  C         G7           |       C            |

   |         E7               |    E7        |   A7/E     Aflat7/Eflat  |      A7       |

   |         D7               |     D7      |           G               |         G7        |

   |   C         C#dim7    |   G7/D     |   C         C#dim7   |         G         |

   |          D7              |        G7     |    C          G7        |        C          ||

Here are some of the chord positions Virgil Childers used in the course of this solo:
C/E: X-X-2-0-1-0, Aflat7/Eflat: X-X-1-1-1-2, G9/D: at first, X-X-0-4-6-5, after the C#dim 7, X-5-X-4-6-5, Gflat7/Dflat: X-4-2-3-2-2, C#dim7: X-4-X-3-5-X, E7: 0-7-6-5-X-7,
D7: X-5-4-5-X-5.
It's really ingenious the way Childers walked into his V chord, G7, both from above by half-step, from Aflat7 and from below by half-step, from Gflat7. His voicing of the rootless G9 is really pretty. He fingered both his E7 and D7 chords in the bridge like a B7 at the base of the neck, just moving the position up.  He played a simplified version of the progression behind his singing. One of the things I particularly like about his chord playing here is that by voicing many of the chords in inversion, with notes other than the root in the bass, he gets a lot of chromatic movement in the bass and a considerably less blocky sound than you get if you always voice the root of the chord in the bass. His sound is very pianistic in a way, and at the same time really flattering to the guitar.

Virgil Childers only recorded five titles, all on the same day at a session in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1938.  All of the songs are included on the Fuller, Vol. 2 set.  Based only on that very small sample, he really had a lot to offer, and it's a shame he never made it into the studio again.  Nothing is known about him.  "Who's That Knockin' At My Door" is really a great song and performance and if you figure it out and do it, I can pretty much guarantee the response is not going to be, "Oh man, not another Virgil Childers song!"
All best,
Johnm    

I've been trying to learn a bunch of the songs in this thread it's really great so thanks to anyone who has posted anything. I was trying to play this song and something sounded off so I played along with the song a little bit and I think it's supposed to be A7/E not Aflat7/E.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Rag Blues and Circle of 5ths
« Reply #48 on: April 07, 2011, 07:05:01 PM »
Hi hellahella,
Welcome to Weenie Campbell.  If you look closely, every time there is an Aflat 7, it is over Eflat, not E.  It's right as transcribed.
All best,
Johnm

Offline hellahella

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Re: Rag Blues and Circle of 5ths
« Reply #49 on: April 07, 2011, 07:16:04 PM »
Thanks! But I'm sorry I wrote that wrong, what I meant was that instead of Aflat7/Eflat I meant to write  A7/E. But also I was confused because I wasn't playing it fast enough and was confusing the G9 for A7! Thanks, I've got it now.

Offline JRO

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Re: Rag Blues and Circle of 5ths
« Reply #50 on: July 01, 2011, 10:31:11 AM »
Hi,

Thanks for this thread. It is helpful in many ways and sums many of my scattered thoughts. Especially thanks for John.

Offline Pan

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Re: Rag Blues and Circle of 5ths
« Reply #51 on: May 12, 2014, 02:20:52 PM »
Hi all

The somewhat obscure Noah Moore did a nice tune with the cycle of 5ths like progression.

Usually, the cycles type of progression aim at the I chord, a typical progression would be something like VI - II - V - I. In the key of F these chords would be D - G - C - F.

Moore's tune has these changes, and he starts out with the D chord, but the sung melody starts with the G chord. To my ears, this seriously obscures the tonality, and he doesn't seem to treat the F chord as "home base". This makes the chord changes sound fresh and new, at least to my ears. For some reason, my ear seems to grab G as the tonic chord, instead of F. If we were in the key of G, the chord changes G - C - F - D would represent I - IV - bVII - V, a very different set of changes from the usual cycle of 5ths.
I wonder if anyone else hears these changes the way I do?
Anyway, in the end, Moore does end the song with the F chord, so perhaps I'm just imagining things?



Cheers

Pan

Edited to add: Johnm places the song in the key of C, so the changes C - F - D - G would actually be I - IV - II - V, see his post below.

« Last Edit: May 12, 2014, 03:21:12 PM by Pan »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Rag Blues and Circle of 5ths
« Reply #52 on: May 12, 2014, 03:00:11 PM »
Hi Pan,
That really is an unusual tune.  It sounds to me like it is in C, and is going:

|   I   |   I   |   I   |   I   |

|  IV  |  IV  |  IV  |  IV  |

|  II7 |  II7 |  II7 |  II7 |

|  V   |   V   |   V   |   V   |

So that every pass through the form concludes on the V chord, in a half cadence.  Doesn't it sound like each verse starts on the C chord?  The ending in F is tough to figure, for sure.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Pan

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Re: Rag Blues and Circle of 5ths
« Reply #53 on: May 12, 2014, 03:11:24 PM »
Hi Pan,
That really is an unusual tune.  It sounds to me like it is in C, and is going:

|   I   |   I   |   I   |   I   |

|  IV  |  IV  |  IV  |  IV  |

|  II7 |  II7 |  II7 |  II7 |

|  V   |   V   |   V   |   V   |

So that every pass through the form concludes on the V chord, in a half cadence.  Doesn't it sound like each verse starts on the C chord?  The ending in F is tough to figure, for sure.
All best,
Johnm

Thanks for your analysis, John! That little walking boogie riff also starts at C, so I think you must be right!

Cheers

Pan

Offline Gumbo

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Re: Rag Blues and Circle of 5ths
« Reply #54 on: May 13, 2014, 04:47:08 AM »
Interesting tune. I had wondered what this would sound like but hadn't heard an example and hadn't made it work when I tried to get a melody for it.

Normally in a rag (mama rag form) that went C F I would expect it to go Bb Eb afterwards - and our fiddler would be looking at me with a a frowning Eb? expression. This tune uses the chords that i would expect if I'd started in D and flips the pairs around so it goes back up the neck instead of descending. Am I making sense? I think our fiddler would play an F scale with these chords. We call a D G C F rag an F rag - i'll check whether that's the scale she uses.

So I wondered what would happen when the melody started in the middle (on the C of a D G C F rag) and lo! here it is. :)

This probably shows how little I understand of the actual theory of circle of fifths!

Offline Johnm

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Re: Rag Blues and Circle of 5ths
« Reply #55 on: June 02, 2015, 06:46:51 PM »
Hi all,
I found a really pretty raggy tune recently, Rufus and Ben Quillian's "Take It Out Too Deep".  It's a kind of hokum novelty tune, but the melody and progression are really specially fine, as is the musicianship of the backing band.  Here is the tune:



Here is the Quillian's progression:

VERSE:
   |  D  F#7/C# |    B7    |   E7  A7  |    D    |

   |  D  F#7/C# |  B7  B7/A | E7/G#  E7  |    A7    |

   |        D        |      D7      |       G      |      F#7    |

   |       B7/D#   |   B7/D#   |      E7    |      A7      |

CHORUS:

   |        D        |        D        |        D       |    A7    D    |

   |        D        |        D        |      E7      |       A7       |

   |        D        |       D7       |       G        |     Bb         |

   |        D        |        D        |        D       |       B7       |     E7    A7     |        D        ||

The 18-bar chorus is unusual.  I don't know who the backing band is but I think one of the brothers may have been the pianist.  The slide playing is really adept, very Hawaiian and Jazz-influenced by the sound of it.  The tune is a new one to me, and might be a good one for people with Jug Bands or as a solo arrangement for a guitarist.  It's neat to find a tune of this type that has some different wrinkles.

All best,
Johnm

Offline MissouriTiger

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Question: 2-5-1 Progression
« Reply #56 on: October 31, 2018, 07:04:40 PM »
Hello friends,

I wonder if anyone can point me to some examples of  2-5-1 Progression used in country blues?

Thanks,

Greg

Offline Johnm

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Re: Question: 2-5-1 Progression
« Reply #57 on: October 31, 2018, 10:58:44 PM »
Hi Greg,
In any raggy 18-bar progression like Blind Boy Fuller's "I Crave My Pigmeat, there are a host of II-V-I progressions.  See below:


   |    G (I)   |    E7 (VI7)  | A7 (II7) D7 (V7) |      G (I)    |

   |    G (I)   |    E7 (VI7)  |          A7 (II7)     |      D7 (V7) |

   |    G (I)    |    G7 (I7)   |        C (IV)          |     G dim7 (Idim7)

   |    G (I)    |     E7 (VI7) | A7 (II7) D7 (V7)  |  G (I) E7 (VI7)|

   | A7 (II7) D7 (V7) |  G  (I)       |

All best,
Johnm

   

Offline waxwing

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Re: Question: 2-5-1 Progression
« Reply #58 on: November 02, 2018, 12:08:13 PM »
Hey MT, you might want to peruse this topic:

Rag Blues and Circle of 5ths

It begins with my discussion of Scrapper Blackwell's Back Door Blues, which is more like a 'standard' 12 bar blues. The 1st 6 bars seem like a normal 12 bar in D, |D(I)|D(I)|D(I)|D(I)|G7(IV7)|G7(IV7)| Returning to the I as usual, but for only half a bar, Scrapper then launches into a walk down of the circle of 5ths from the III7, landing the V7 in the 10th bar where we would normally see it, and resolving to the two final bars in the I, like this: |D(I)/F#7(III7)|B7(VI7)|E7(II7)|A7(V7)|D(I)|D(I)| Whole thing looks like this:

|   D(I)     |   D(I)    |   D(I)             |   D(I)     |

| G7(IV7) | G7(IV7) | D(I)  F#7(III7) | B7(VI7) |

| E7(II7)  |  A7(V7)  |   D(I)            |   D(I)     |

Scrapper only does this in the first two verses and a little differently in the solo. This sounds really bluesy without a hint of ragginess. Other examples are discussed in the topic and Johnm adds more insight as usual.

Wax
« Last Edit: November 04, 2018, 10:15:11 AM by waxwing »
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Offline Johnm

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Re: Rag Blues and Circle of 5ths
« Reply #59 on: November 02, 2018, 02:16:03 PM »
Hi all,
I have merged the new 2-5-1 topic into the old Rag Blues and Circle of 5ths topic as waxwing suggested.
All best,
Johnm

 


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