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When I die, they'll say, "He couldn't play shit, but he sure made it sound good!" - Hound Dog Taylor

Author Topic: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues  (Read 19324 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
« Reply #60 on: May 21, 2008, 03:41:51 PM »
Hi Alex,
You ask some great questions.  "You Gonna Quit Me, Baby" could definitely be heard as a 16-bar blues if you hear Blake as playing in cut time, 2/2, and in a way that makes more sense than a four-beat per measure, 8-bar interpretation of the form.  If you hear two big beats per measure, then when Blake is in C, in the first four bars, he is consistently doing a thumb roll into the down beat of each measure and not rolling into the second beat of the measure, so you wind up with this kind of accenting in his bass in the first four bars of the song:

   2/2: +|1  2+|1 2+|1 2+|1 2 |

The way Blake does his thumb rolls here, he strikes the fifth string on the + of the second beat and the fourth string on beats one and two.  On the + of the first beat, he does a little chordal grab or brush stroke in the treble.  It has a great lilt to it.  There is a definite underlying triple feel, too.  Translating the progression into a 16-bar blues in cut time, you wind up with:

   |    C(I)    |    C    |    C    |    C7    |

   |    F(IV)   |    F    |    C    |    C7    |

   |    F        |    F    |    C    |  A7(VI7) |

   |   D7(II7) |G7(V7)|    C    |     G7    |

Blake consistentaly plays triplet runs over the second beat of bars 3, 7, and 10, leading into the C7, C7 and A7 chords respectively.  What you end up with is a beautiful raggy progression of the type that Leecan & Cooksey so often played.
As for distinguishing between 2/4 and 4/4, I believe the distinction is most often between 2/2 and 4/4.  Most early alternating bass stuff, like John Hurt, is in cut time, with 2 big beats per measure, though it can be counted in four.  Henry Thomas and Frank Stokes were both pretty much cut time, 2-feel players.  The four-beats-per-measure feel didn't really come in in a big way until people started playing monotonic bass four-to-the-bar, like Memphis Minnie or Bill Broonzy, on tunes like "Long Tall Mama" or "Hey, Hey Baby".
I think however you choose to analyze "You Gonna Quit Me, Baby" (or choose not to analyze it), it is a hell of a pretty tune.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Bricktown Bob

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Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
« Reply #61 on: May 24, 2008, 11:51:19 AM »
Otto Virgial in "Little Girl in Rome" uses a lyric structure I've never seen before.  If you start with the 12-bar structure of "My Black Mama" (with the full couplet sung across the first four bars, the A line in the second four, and the B line in the third four (is there a name for this structure?)) and drop the third four, you wind up with Virgial's odd 8-bar ABA form.  Anyone run across this anywhere else?

Musically I don't really know what I'm talking about, but it seems to me from this, "Got the Blues About Rome," and "Bad Notion Blues" that Virgial doesn't much like to leave the I chord.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
« Reply #62 on: January 28, 2009, 05:22:07 PM »
Hi all,
The Back Porch boys recording of "Good Boy, Long Ways From Home", recorded in 1947, is an 8-bar blues.
All best,
Johnm

Offline mr mando

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Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
« Reply #63 on: January 29, 2009, 04:35:12 AM »
Banjo Ikey Robinsons's "Rockpile Blues", recorded in 1929 is an 8 bar blues too, expressed in numerical terms:

| I | I7 | IV | IV(m)* | I | V7 | I | V7 |

* the minor third is implied by the piano bassline a couple of times, although the rhythm tenor guitar sticks to the IV chord during the piano solo (where it's heard).

Offline Johnm

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Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
« Reply #64 on: October 10, 2009, 05:34:24 PM »
Hi all,
I just heard Bo Carter's "Trouble In Blues" an 8-bar blues in the "Key to the Highway" mold, going to the V7 chord in the second bar, that Bo played out of his G tuning, DGDGBE.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
« Reply #65 on: February 18, 2010, 02:04:41 PM »
Hi all,
I was just listening to Robert Curtis Smith's Prestige Bluesville album from the '60s and noticed that his "Sunflower River Blues" is an 8-bar blues, played in E position, standard tuning, that like so many of the 8-bar blues of the past goes long at the end of the form.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
« Reply #66 on: March 05, 2010, 08:27:26 PM »
Hi all,
There's an unusual 8-bar blues on the old Yazoo "Casey Bill Weldon and Kokomo Arnold" CD on Yazoo.  It is Casey Bill's "The Big Boat", played with the same progression as "How Long", and with a slow pulse, but with a very active rhythm section strumming chords 8-to-the-bar, so that the feel is quick and jumping, despite the slow pulse.  It's a great effect.
all best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
« Reply #67 on: September 08, 2013, 11:09:25 AM »
Hi all,
As has been noted elsewhere, Skip James' "Washington D.C. Hospital Center" is an 8-bar blues with a refrain, somewhat in the "Someday Baby" or "Worried Life" model.
All best,
John

Offline Johnm

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Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
« Reply #68 on: November 07, 2018, 10:19:14 AM »
Hi all,
J B Lenoir had a real rarity, a post-1960 new 8-bar blues, "Slow Down".  This version is from "Vietnam Blues".  In the solo, check out his predilection for playing melody on the second string (all the way to the fourteenth fret!) while droning on the open first string.  He loved this sound and never missed an opportunity to use it.  Here is "Slow Down":




Slow down, slow down, let J. B. step on board
I just want to ride your train, one time before you go

You 'bout the sweetest little girl, I believe I ever seen
If I had you by my side, you'd, mean so much to me

SOLO

I've been a hobo, I've been a hobo, might' near all of my life
Don't matter where I go, I'm never satisfied

Slow down, slow down, let me step on board
I just want to ride your train, one time before you go

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: November 08, 2018, 08:27:20 AM by Johnm »

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
« Reply #69 on: November 07, 2018, 12:27:19 PM »
Great track! I don?t think he made a bad one!


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Offline blueshome

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Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
« Reply #70 on: November 07, 2018, 03:30:49 PM »
I seem to recollect him playing this with Big Walter when I saw them at AFBF 1965. There?s a version on the festival Lp. O0

Offline Johnm

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Re: Key To The Highway/8-Bar Blues
« Reply #71 on: November 09, 2018, 02:26:31 PM »
Hi all,
I was listening to the JSP set "Detroit Blues" yesterday and really sat up when this version of "Key To The Highway", by John Lee Hooker and Eddie Kirkland, recorded in 1952, came on.  With a musician like John Lee Hooker, who was so stylized, sometimes it takes listening to him play a cover to appreciate fully the extent of his remove from the "normal" way of hearing and playing a song.  Take a listen:



All best,
Johnm