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Hello heaven, daddy wants to use your telephone... So you can call good daddy anytime when he's gone - Papa Harvey Hull & Long Cleve Reed, France Blues

Author Topic: 16-Bar Blues  (Read 14178 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Re: 16-Bar Blues
« Reply #30 on: February 19, 2009, 10:43:16 PM »
Hi all,
Uncle Bud's comment on Jesse Fuller's Arhoolie CD, "Frisco Bound", in the Smoky Babe thread inspired made me to dig it out and give it a listen for the first time in several years.  I found an absolutely stellar 16-bar blues on there, "Cincinnati Blues", played with a slide in Vestapol.  On the cut, Jesse was working very much the same territory as such Furry Lewis tunes as "Judge Harsh" and "Falling Down Blues", and perhaps even more, Elizabeth Cotten's "Vestapol", though played with a slide.  The track is 5'06" long, and ends with a fade,with no signs of Jesse letting up--I'd love to know how long he played it.  It's one of those songs like Jimmy Lee Williams' "Have You Ever Seen Peaches", that I could happily listen to for the length of the entire side of an LP.
All best,
Johnm   

Offline Johnm

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Re: 16-Bar Blues
« Reply #31 on: June 18, 2009, 06:03:59 PM »
Hi all,
I found another 16-bar blues from Jesse Fuller with a progression that has not been noted here previously.  It is his "99 Years", played out of E position in standard tuning with the following progression:

    ||    I    |    I    |    V7    |    V7    |

    |    V7  |   V7   |    I     |     I      |

    |    I    |    I     |   IV    |     IV    |

    |    I    |    V7   |    I     |     I      ||

For at least a couple of his solos, Jesse switched to a 12-bar form.  That suggests another interesting category:  songs in which the solo has a different form than the sung verses do.  Buddy Moss' "New Lovin' Blues" and Mance Lipscomb's "Rocks and Gravel Makes a Solid Road" both fit that categorization.
All best,
Johnm    
« Last Edit: June 19, 2009, 09:58:54 PM by Johnm »

Offline GhostRider

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Re: 16-Bar Blues
« Reply #32 on: June 19, 2009, 02:04:52 PM »
John:

Another tune where the solo and the verses have different structures is Little Hat Jones' "Rollin' From Side to Side Blues".

In this tune the intro and the two solos are 16 bars whereas the verses are 12 bars. The solos are lengthened by repeating the second 4 bar line of the verses.

I like this structure. Gives one a chance to strut.

Alex

Offline dave stott

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Re: 16-Bar Blues
« Reply #33 on: June 21, 2009, 06:27:58 AM »
16 bar blues = almost anything Lightnin Hopkins played...

doesn't the famous quote go something like "Lightnin changes when Lightnin wants to" ??


Offline Johnm

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Re: 16-Bar Blues
« Reply #34 on: February 02, 2010, 04:25:42 PM »
Hi all,
In the course of preparing a transcription for a lesson, I discovered that Bo Carter's "Country Fool" is a 16-bar blues of a type not previously mentioned here, I think.  The progression is as follows:

   |    IV7    |    IV7    |    I    |    I/I7    |

   |    IV7    |    IV7    |    I    |     I       |

   |    III     |    III      |   IV7  |     IV7   |

   |     I      |     V7     |    I    |    I/I7    |

The whole progression is a nifty twist on 16-bar blues as they are normally phrased.  By starting the form on the IV7 chord, Bo ends up putting the chord progression that normally coincides with bars 5--12 in a 16-bar blues at the front end of the form, in bars 1--8.  His bridge, in bars 9--12, is a raggy departure from the 16-bar blues structure that I've not encountered before; the III--IV progression is one that is most often associated with "Make Me A Pallet On Your Floor", though it's found elsewhere, too.  The final four bars wind things up and send you back to the front end of the form.  
Lyrically, the song follows the customary AAAB format most often employed by non-chorus 16-bar blues, and it's an unusually sour set of lyrics by Bo, really contemptuous of the country fool of the title.  I think it's one of Bo's most striking tunes, and very low-down with extremely heavy time--everything lands so hard.
All best,
Johnm  
« Last Edit: February 02, 2010, 08:03:07 PM by Johnm »

Offline uncle bud

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Re: 16-Bar Blues
« Reply #35 on: February 02, 2010, 05:01:59 PM »
Hi John - I agree, a great tune, and one I recently have been working on. I wonder about the sourness of the lyrics. I feel like there's some social commentary going on here that is somewhat sympathetic, to my ear, despite the blunt portrayal of the country fool. It kind of makes me think this is the real Bo Carter's advice, a warning about the ways of the slick city. Reminds me too a little of the Sam Chatmon quote you gave us: "I love women, but I'm not crazy about them."

Offline Johnm

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Re: 16-Bar Blues
« Reply #36 on: February 02, 2010, 06:34:34 PM »
You make a good point, uncle bud.  Bo is obviously not greatly enamored of those who would prey on the poor country fool.
All best,
Johnm

Offline uncle bud

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Re: 16-Bar Blues
« Reply #37 on: February 03, 2010, 07:05:56 AM »
Funny how that move from III to IV7 did not jump out at me as being related to the move in Pallet On Your Floor, though when you explain it that way, I think "of course". Perhaps because we're in G6 tuning, there is no 7th on the III chord, he rather oddly uses the G in the bass I think, and he also uses a suspended 4th in the melody to my ear. If we were in G standard and the move was to a regular B7, it would undoubtedly seem more obvious.

The more I listen to Bo, the better it gets.

Offline banjochris

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Re: 16-Bar Blues
« Reply #38 on: February 03, 2010, 07:00:51 PM »
UB -- I'm pretty sure "Country Fool" is played in A standard, not G6 tuning. I seem to remember some discussion about it in the Bo keys and positions thread. I play that III chord as a first position D chord moved down one fret to C#, adding the F# note on the 1st string when needed. I wonder what John has to say about this.
Chris

Offline Johnm

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Re: 16-Bar Blues
« Reply #39 on: February 03, 2010, 10:17:49 PM »
Hi all,
I used to assume "Country Fool" was in Bo's G tuning, DGDGBE, without having figured it out carefully, and have taught quick-and-dirty versions of it in that tuning.  It can certainly be played there, but after listening more carefully, I do think Bo played it out of A standard.  At the end of the first bar of the intro, you can hear Bo do the characteristic slide of the index barre in the A chord from the first to the second fret on the second string.  The III chord does sit very easily in A standard, too, as a D chord dropped down one fret to C#, as Chris has it.  The distinction between these tunings/playing positions is even more subtle than the difference between Bo's G tuning and Spanish, and Bo does very little that favors one of the postitions aurally over the other, but I do think that the V7 chord sounds more like an E7 chord out of A standard than a D7 out of Bo's G tuning, so I'd say he played it in A.
All best,
Johnm

Offline banjochris

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Re: 16-Bar Blues
« Reply #40 on: February 03, 2010, 10:44:52 PM »
Thanks John -- I agree they're very subtle differences. When he plays the IV chord in A he slides up to the F# note on the 4th string as he goes into the chord -- in G6 he walks up to the E -- that, and the slight difference in his descending run at the end of each line are a couple of the differences I hear too.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: 16-Bar Blues
« Reply #41 on: February 04, 2010, 08:57:19 AM »
Thanks for the correction, Chris and John. Listening more carefully, I hear all you're describing. I'll give it a go in A, although I like how it feels under my hands in G6 tuning and may keep it there for my interpretation, and for when I'm fooling around with other Bo material.

Offline Stuart

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Re: 16-Bar Blues
« Reply #42 on: February 04, 2010, 03:40:51 PM »
Regarding the lyrics, when I first heard the song almost forty years ago, it really struck me as some kind of advice, warning or social commentary--as John and Andrew point out. It almost comes across as a general warning based on a specific example or case(s).

Offline banjochris

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Re: 16-Bar Blues
« Reply #43 on: February 04, 2010, 04:44:35 PM »
Speaking of Bo, I believe his "Ins and Outs of My Girl" would fall into this category as well, and is a bit unusual in that instead of being a four-line blues with basically I, IV, IV, V heading each line (like, say, Pink Anderson and Simmie Dooley's "C.C. & O Blues"), he goes back to the I, so you have four lines with I, IV, I, V heading up each line of the verse.
Chris

Offline Johnm

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Re: 16-Bar Blues
« Reply #44 on: February 05, 2010, 11:59:09 AM »
That's a good catch, Chris.  I never remarked upon the way Bo tweaked the 16-bar form for "The Ins And Outs of My Gal" until you mentioned it.  I have to admit, except for the lyrics, this is not one of my favorites of Bo's tunes.  Returning to the I chord for the opening of that third four-bar phrase seems to sap all the momentum from the progression for me, though I expect other people respond to it differently.
All best,
Johnm