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Author Topic: 16-Bar Blues  (Read 14179 times)

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Online Johnm

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16-Bar Blues
« on: December 01, 2004, 10:02:29 PM »
Hi all,
I thought it might be interesting to look at 16-Bar blues the way we have been the 8-bar blues and Rag/Circle of 5th blues.  Here's a couple to begin with:
Lemon's "One Dime Blues"--
   |  I  |  I  |  I (long) |  I  |
   | IV | IV |  I  |  I  |
   | IV | IV |  I  |  I  |
   |  I  | I/V7 |  I  |  I  |
Lemon's "Wartime Blues"--
   |  I  |  I  |  I  |  I (short) |
   | IVminor |IVminor | I | I |
   | IVminor |IVminor | I | I |
   |  I  |  I  |  I  |  I  |
Furry Lewis's "Kassie Jones"
   |  I  |  I  |  I  |  I  |
   |  I  |  I  |  I  |  I (long, to IV)|
   | IV | IV | IV | IV |
   |  I  |  I  |  I  |  I  |
Marshall Owens' "Try Me One More Time"
   |  I  |  I  |  I  |  I  |
   | IV | IV | I7 | I7 |
   | IV | IV | I7 | I7 |
   |V7 | IV |  I  |  I  |
I don't think I had appreciated the variety in the 16-bar form until I started comparing these ones.  "One Dime" is closest to the form most often encountered, and "Kassie Jones" is definitely the odd man out,  with no V chord, and with Furry varying phrase lengths quite a lot as he played it.  Any other favorite 16-bar blues out there?
All best,
Johnm 

Offline NotRevGDavis

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Re: 16-Bar Blues
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2004, 08:46:14 AM »
"Kassie Jones" is definitely the odd man out,? with no V chord, and with Furry varying phrase lengths quite a lot as he played it.?
Mornin' John,
"Kassie Jones" may be the odd man out but what a nice song to listen to.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2005, 05:40:16 PM by Johnm »
Got the name, still workin' on the licks!

Online Johnm

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Re: 16-Bar Blues
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2004, 08:55:46 AM »
You're definitely right there, Gary.  I wasn't complaining, just was sort of surprised how far it was from the norm.  Furry's lyrics on this one (and guitar and singing) are above and beyond.
All best,
Johnm

Offline NotRevGDavis

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Re: 16-Bar Blues
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2004, 09:30:44 AM »
You're definitely right there, Gary. I wasn't complaining, just was sort of surprised how far it was from the norm. Furry's lyrics on this one (and guitar and singing) are above and beyond.
All best,
Johnm
No, no, I never thought it was a complaint, I just think that particular song is just so cool especially with its oddness.
I'm glad you point all these different progressions out I personally learn alot from these posts. Distance education.

By the way my treat for dinner in 8 months.
Got the name, still workin' on the licks!

Online Johnm

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Re: 16-Bar Blues
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2004, 08:49:47 AM »
Well, thanks for the offer of dinner, Gary.  I appreciate it.  Sounds like we will be seeing you out at Port Townsend again.  Good!
All best,
Johnm

Offline frankie

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Re: 16-Bar Blues
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2004, 08:54:36 AM »
Seems like the common thread between all those 16-bar tunes is that they repeat the four bars that start with the IV (major or minor) and come back to the I.  I'm trying to think of 16-bar tunes that *don't* do this, but can't seem to come up with any.  Maybe it's the cold medication...

Online Johnm

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Re: 16-Bar Blues
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2004, 09:04:29 AM »
That's why I think "Kassie Jones" is so unusual, Frank.  It repeats the opening I phrase, and then has a non-repeating four bars of IV chord with no singing over it, followed by four bars of I.  Odd, huh?
All best,
Johnm

Online Johnm

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Re: 16-Bar Blues
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2004, 09:16:09 AM »
Hi all,
There are a couple of great 16-bar Blues that are well-known in Bluegrass circles:? Earl Scruggs's "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" and Bill Monroe's great mandolin tune "Bluegrass Breakdown".? Chordally, they move as follows:
?"Foggy Mountain Breakdown":
?|? I? |? I? |? I? |? I? |
?|VI minor| VI minor| I | I |
?|VI minor| VI minor| I | I |
?|? V? |? V? |? I? |? I? |
So "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" substitutes a VI minor chord where the IV would normally go.? Sounds pretty great!
?"Bluegrass Breakdown"
?|? I? |? I? |? I? |? I? |
?|flat VII| flat VII|? I? |? I? |?
?|flat VII| flat VII|? I? |? I? |?
?|? V? |? V? |? I? |? I? |?
On the third iteration of the form in "Bluegrass Breakdown" Monroe goes to a IV chord instead of the flat VII chord.? That flat VII chord in the key of G is F major and it puts the tune in the mixolydian mode like a lot of Old-Time fiddle tunes or the song "Little Maggie", that you may have heard Ralph Stanley or Grayson and Whitter do.? It is a great dark sound.? I think these tunes offer some great possibilities for varying the 16-bar Blues "formula".
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: April 05, 2005, 06:10:21 PM by Johnm »

Offline a2tom

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Re: 16-Bar Blues
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2004, 11:04:04 AM »
What about Blind Boy Fuller's Careless Love (or maybe anybody's Careless Love?).  How would you guys characterize that?  I've never been too sure what was happening chordally in the 3rd set of 4 bars.

tom

Online Johnm

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Re: 16-Bar Blues
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2004, 11:35:02 PM »

I think you are right, Tom, "Careless Love" does not follow any of the models for 16-bar blues we've cited so far.  I hear its form as follows:
   |  I  |  V7  |I/V7|  I  |
   |IV7|Idim7|  I   |  I  |
   |  I  |  I     |IV7 |IV7|
   |  I  |  V7  |I/V7|  I  |
I see what you mean about the third four-bar phrase being tough to sus out in terms of chordal analysis.  You could say it is all I, or you could say one or both of the last two bars are IV7.  The notes Fuller hits in the bass in that part of the progression are ambigous enough to justify either interpretation.  I opted for a IV7 for the last two bars because it does not sound to me like the I chord flows continuously from the seventh bar of the form through the thirteenth bar; it definitely seems to go somewhere else toward the end of that third four-bar phrase, and IV7 seems like the best candidate.  Moreover, in the first two bars of that line he is hitting C# notes in the treble, the major third of the I chord.  In the second two bars he is hitting C naturals, which are the seventh note in the IV7 chord.  Interesting tune!
All best,
Johnm

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Re: 16-Bar Blues
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2004, 09:10:48 AM »
Hi all,
Thinking about William Moore made me realize he had some great 16-bar blues as well:? "One Way Gal", "Old Country Rock" and "Midnight Blues".? "Old Country Rock" and "One Way Gal" are both in Dropped D and are essentially the same, chordally:
? ?|? I? |? I? |? I? |? I? |
? ?|IV7|IV7|? I? |? I? |
? ?|IV7| IV7|? I? |? I? |
? ?|II7 | V7 |? I? |? I? |
"Midnight Blues" is in G standard and is terrific--I had completely forgotten about it.? On it, Moore has something of the touch of Bo Weavil Jackson in G standard.? Its progression varies the 16-bar formula slightly.
? ?|? I? | IV? |? I? |? I? |
? ?| IV | IV? |? I? |? I? |?
? ?| IV | IV? |? I? |? I? |
? ?|? V |? V? |? I? |? I? |
I think "Old Country Rock" is my favorite tune in dropped D, and it definitely has my favorite spoken accompaniment for an instrumental.? "One Way Gal" has one of the great verses:
? ?We walked and talked and then we went away (3)
? ?And then we went into a cabaret.
All of William Moore's titles are on Ragtime Blues Guitar-Document DOCD 5062.
All best,
Johnm?
« Last Edit: April 05, 2005, 06:11:32 PM by Johnm »

Offline waxwing

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Re: 16-Bar Blues
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2004, 11:41:53 AM »
Hey John,
Geez, you (and others) have been offering up such great information lately on these various "style" threads. I feel like a kid in a candy shop when I try to decide what song I'm gonna work on next. Thanks!
Quote
All of William Moore's titles are on Ragtime Blues Guitar-Document DOCD 5062
Just wanted to point out that, as most of us know, this Document CD has been out of print and virtually unavailable for some time now (one just sold for $46 on ebay}. The good news is that, as reported by NotRevGary on the 'shed, Document claims that the remaster will be issued in 2005.
Keep up the great work, John
All for now.
John C.
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

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Offline Rivers

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Re: 16-Bar Blues
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2004, 06:42:41 PM »
Frank Hutchison's "The Train That Carried My Girl From Town" belongs in here.

The Delmore Brothers' "Blue Railroad Train" is 16 bars (should be eight, I was in the wrong thread  ;) ) & "Deep River Blues" probably counts as a 32 bar blues.

Blind Willie Johnson's "God Moves On The Water"
« Last Edit: December 21, 2004, 06:53:42 PM by Rivers »

Online Johnm

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Re: 16-Bar Blues
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2004, 09:06:26 AM »
Hi Mark,
That "Deep River Blues" is a good one, and is I think, a new model.
   | I7  |Idim7| I7  | IV7 |
   |  I   |   I    | V7 | V7  |
   | I7  |Idim7| I7  | IV7 |
   |  I   |  V7  |  I   |   I  |
Sometimes Doc is long at the back end, and extends the I chord with a 2-bar fill before beginning the next verse.  Both "Deep River Blues" and "Brown's Ferry Blues" were written by Alton Delmore.  I'm pretty sure the Delmores called "Deep River Blues" "Big River Blues", and I suspect the Idim7 chord was Doc's innovation and not in the original.  Otherwise, "Big River Blues" and "Brown's Ferry Blues" pretty much conform to the same chordal lay-out.  I don't know if this particular variety of 16-bar blues pre-dated Alton Delmore or if it was his own twist on the form.
All best,
Johnm

Offline FrontPage

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Re: 16-Bar Blues
« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2004, 08:52:27 PM »
I'm pretty sure the Delmores called "Deep River Blues" "Big River Blues", and I suspect the Idim7 chord was Doc's innovation and not in the original.?

You are absolutely correct. There are minor changes in the lyrics, but the songs are definitely close realtives, with "I've Got the Big River Blues" being a generation earlier. The Idim7 can be heard as a passing chord in the harmony line played by the accompanying tenor guitar. "Brown's Ferry Blues, Pts. 1 and 2" uses the same form. I think Jimmy Davis is credited with another very similar song called "Red River Blues" that was recorded quite widely.

Off topic, but my favorite Delmore Brothers tune is "Smokey Mountain Bill and His Song" - the quirkiest lyrics you'll ever want to hear.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2005, 05:41:34 PM by Johnm »
Cheers,
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