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Mama whip, mama spank, if her daddy don't come home - Mamie Smith in dominatrix mode

Author Topic: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues  (Read 20007 times)

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Offline Rivers

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Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
« Reply #30 on: December 21, 2004, 06:46:36 PM »
Some more:
Sliding Delta, MJH
Salty Dog, various; or would that sequence count as a 16 bar?

Offline frankie

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Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
« Reply #31 on: January 10, 2005, 01:02:49 PM »
Listening to Papa Charlie Jackson today and realized that his first recorded song was a peculiar 8-bar:? Papa's Lawdy Lawdy Blues:

?|? IV |? IV |? I?|? I? |
?|? V7 |? V7 | I-IV |? I(7) |

It's in E - maybe not his snappiest accompaniment, but I'm thinking that it would make a good tune to play in a group setting...
« Last Edit: April 05, 2005, 06:01:08 PM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
« Reply #32 on: January 11, 2005, 12:47:10 PM »
Hi Frank,
Your find of "Lawdy Lawdy Worried Blues" in this category reminds me of a great point Lindy made in the "Country/City Blues" thread a while back, to the effect that certain of the early players, Papa Charlie Jackson, Blind Blake and Lonnie Johnson, in particular, might more accurately be thought of as Jazz players of their era than as Country Blues players.  Papa Charlie starting a short form on a IV chord seems extremely Jazzy to me--I recall Duke Ellington doing the same thing on a 12-bar blues featuring his horn player, Rex Stewart.
I reckon "Lawdy Lawdy Worried Blues" would be a good Jam tune--the slower tempo is soloist-friendly and also gives the song a deep backbeat so you can get good and funky.
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: May 20, 2008, 04:11:23 PM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
« Reply #33 on: February 02, 2005, 05:42:57 PM »
Hi all,
I got to thinking and realized that Mance Lipscomb's "Sugar Babe" was an 8-bar blues that hadn't been named yet.
All best,
Johnm

Offline KC King

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Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
« Reply #34 on: February 02, 2005, 06:21:17 PM »
There's also "Worried Life Blues" by Big Maceo. I believe Broonzy did a version called "Poor Bill Blues".
« Last Edit: April 18, 2005, 05:51:11 AM by Johnm »
KC (Chris) King

Offline Johnm

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Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
« Reply #35 on: July 04, 2005, 02:01:14 PM »
Hi all,
I was thinking how the vocal phrasing on most 8-bar blues works, and the effect that has on how those blues are accompanied, and noticed a couple of things.  Unlike the 12-bar form, which has a regular alternation between vocal in the first two bars of each four-bar phrase, and instrumental response in the third and fourth bar of each four bar phrase (except in chorus or stammering blues), 8-bar blues most often have a continuous vocal flow for the first six bars of the form, typically concluding the vocal around the downbeat of the seventh bar.  I think the over-balance toward the vocal in the front end of the 8-bar form explains a couple of things about how the 8-bar blues were often played.
   *  Very many 8-bar blues performances, e.g. Furry Lewis's "Dryland Blues", John Hurt's "Slidin' Delta", and Ishmon Bracey's "Woman Woman Blues" have instrumental extensions at the back end of the form that can be expanded/contracted naturally in the moment as the player sees fit.  Does it make sense to consider variations in the length of the instrumental extension in the course of a performance as alterations to the form?  I don't think so.  I think the song being played is still, in all essential ways, an 8-bar blues, based on its vocal phrasing and progression--it's just that the player has built in an  escape valve at the conclusion of the form to allow for instrumental expression and display, and an opportunity to gather oneself and remember lyrics before starting/choosing the next verse.  In the most extreme instances, the balancing of vocal to instrumental weight is achieved by using a 12-bar form for solos, as Buddy Moss did on "New Lovin' Blues".
   * I think the relative lack of opportunity for instrumental display in the 8-bar form lends greater importance to the value of turn-arounds, moving from a I chord in the beginning of the seventh bar to a V7 chord in the second half of the eighth bar.  You particularly encounter this in piano blues, like those of Leroy Carr.
   * Finally, I think the balance between vocal line and instrumental response ended up being re-established in many of the most popular 8-bar blues, like "Sittin' On Top Of The World", "How Long", and "Key To The Highway", by setting up a very terse lyric scheme in which most of the singing ends up happening across the bar lines, with vocal phrases most often starting on the fourth beat of a measure or the + of four and concluding by the end of the first beat of the next measure.  This phrasing scheme allows for instrumental fills in each measure, after one vocal line is concluded and before the next line is sung.  If you bring to mind the sound of Lonnie Chatmon fiddling behind Walter Vinson or Scrapper Blackwell playing behind Leroy Carr, it seems pretty clear that is what is happening.
I would think all of this stuff might be relevant to figuring out how to vary one's performances in ways that early performances provide precedence for, or in writing one's own songs in the style.
All best,
Johnm

Offline a2tom

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Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
« Reply #36 on: July 06, 2005, 06:13:27 AM »
John - thanks for the post, I really appreciate your more analytical posts like this.  Can seem deceivingly obvious once spelled out, but your descriptive approach really brings things into focus (especially to a scientist  ;) ).  The vocal phrasing over the 8-bar form is especially telling to me - I noticed this in Woman Woman, and have been listening around now see how common it is that the vocal phrases really cross the bar (a bit more than just a pickup note to the next chord). 

The notion of using an extension or break to flesh out the instrumental balance is also mind opening.  I have an oringial "8-bar in E" that I wrote specifically to explore this style.  It drove me nuts trying to put it together - the 8 bars were so limiting!  It ended up becoming a 10-bar blues.  I've started revising this to try to place the main tune back into 8-bars and then thinking of other parts as a more free extension.  Just beginning, but I already like what's happening.

Listened to Fuller's Untrue Blues 8-bar on the way in to work.  What a tune - he really gets the bass popping!  And then he uses an extended 12-bar instrumental break a couple of different times.

tom

Offline Johnm

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Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
« Reply #37 on: July 06, 2005, 09:50:05 AM »
Hi Tom,
I'm glad you enjoy the posts devoted to analysis of form and similar topics.  I am very curious as to why a style evolves the way it does, and how it changes over time.  Some questions of this sort have pretty simple answers, I think, e.g. Why did blues become more metrically consistent over time?  Because it became an ensemble music.  Other questions are tougher.
I agree with you about "Untrue Blues"--Fuller's thumbwork is stellar, and I had forgotten that he did 12-bar solos on it.  Best of luck getting your tune where you would like it to be.
All best,
Johnm

Offline MTJ3

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Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
« Reply #38 on: October 23, 2005, 09:19:52 PM »
Quote
Listened to Fuller's Untrue Blues 8-bar on the way in to work.? What a tune - he really gets the bass popping!? And then he uses an extended 12-bar instrumental break a couple of different times.

BBF was an equal opportunity kind of guy in this regard.? In his otherwise 12 bar "Funny Feeling Blues," he interjects two 8 bar verses and an 8 bar instrumental break.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2005, 09:20:59 AM by MTJ3 »

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
« Reply #39 on: October 24, 2005, 08:53:57 AM »
Funny Feeling Blues is Fuller at his finest (how's my alliteration?). When he goes to that 8 bar section then comes back into the main theme, I go bananas. I love this song.

Offline frankie

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Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
« Reply #40 on: February 23, 2006, 07:18:38 PM »
I was just wondering, can any of you could think of any Hillbilly 8-bar blues?

Bay Rum Blues - Clarence Ashley & Gwen Foster

Offline Johnm

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Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
« Reply #41 on: February 23, 2006, 11:07:14 PM »
Wow, that shoe took a long time to drop!  Thanks, Frank.
All best,
Johnm

Offline blueshome

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Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
« Reply #42 on: February 24, 2006, 07:02:37 AM »
Another late one!   Lucky Blues by Bill Williams - JMM must have this on Blue Goose. It also has an unorthodox progression.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
« Reply #43 on: February 24, 2006, 10:51:32 AM »
Good call, Phil!  "Lucky Blues" is a really nice 8-bar blues I had completely forgotten about.  In E standard, it employs the following progression for the verses:

   |    E    |    G#7    |    A    |    A    |

   |    E    |     B7     |    E    |     E    |

For his solos, Bill replaces the G#7 with another bar of E.  He really does some nifty playing on this one, utilizing some cool chord voicings up the neck for his solos.  I wish someone would license his two Blue Goose albums and put them out on CD.
All best,
Johnm

Offline frankie

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Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
« Reply #44 on: February 24, 2006, 02:18:18 PM »
Wow, that shoe took a long time to drop!

And another other shoe...  Easy Rider by Sam McGee.  There's gotta be scads more like these two.  I'd be interested in hearing more Gwen Foster.  He's on some of the sides with the Carolina Tar Heels and a track or two is on the JSP Mountain Blues set.  Anybody know how much more there is?  What a dynamite harmonica player...  Did he record at all outside of the Clarence Ashley groups?

 


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