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Same Old Blues....???


charlie brown

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Been playing, and listening to "the Blues," for decades. They comfort, and inspire me,

more often than not. Still, like a lot of roots, or "formula" music ("Rock" included),

they can tend to get just a bit "stale," now and then. How do YOU keep it "fresh?"

Do you write your own lyrics, and freshen them up, that way? Do you incorporate

"big band" treatments, instrumentation, or, do you go the opposite, and pair things

down, to bare minimum. Or, all of the above, in various combinations?

 

 

What's your feelings, and/or secrets (if any), on/for "The Blues!" [biggrin]

 

 

CB

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I LOVE the blues so so much too... I discovered it really when listening to Hendrix who obviously was inspired by the blues too.. And when you do your homework on music especially Rock we all know that, that's where the roots are...

 

Its just so soulfull.. you can hear the pain in some of the original blues acts and after all that's where the blues comes from (usually :))...

 

As in how to change it.. well its been done over and over so many times that bringing something new to it is hard... (how many different ways can one play 12 bar blues ;))

 

Obviously as many of us know, Led Zepplin were one of the bands who really took that old blues to the next level (some say STOLE, but im not getting into that :P).. And as said Hendrix and players like SRV and even more so Gary Moore and Jeff Healey play what I call hyper blues which is like a sped up version with ROARING solos..

 

And for modern day stuff.. Well its one of the reasons I like Jack White, what he plays is his interpretation of the old blues, its too harsh for some people (and live its too much for me sometimes) but I like it.

 

 

A modern take on Blues?

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Well, I just know that I go through periods, where I think "What's the point," it's

all been done (to death) before, and by much better players, than I'll ever be...what

can "I" prossibly bring to this. Then, I think...WTH cares, just play 'em, 'cause you

love 'em! LOL

 

So, I guess I was wondering what other's here, do...in that situation, to re-energize,

etc.? I guess it could include any genre, that we might play in, more than another,

really. ??? [unsure]

 

I know, too...there's no right or wrong answer. Just seeking some ideas, and opinions,

and such. [biggrin]

 

 

CB

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Well, I just know that I go through periods, where I think "What's the point," it's

all been done (to death) before, and by much better players, than I'll ever be...what

can "I" prossibly bring to this. Then, I think...WTH cares, just play 'em, 'cause you

love 'em! LOL

 

So, I guess I was wondering what other's here, do...in that situation, to re-energize,

etc.? I guess it could include any genre, that we might play in, more than another,

really. ??? [unsure]

 

I know, too...there's no right or wrong answer. Just seeking some ideas, and opinions,

and such. [biggrin]

 

 

CB

 

 

Well,, I am no great guitar player,, and I have forgotten way more than I know.

But the same thing happens to me to CB.

 

But rather than try to re-energize a certain genre or what I already know, I like to challenge myself with perhaps a different genre.

Leave the blues for a while. Go and play some crazy jazz chords and fart around with those progressions.

Stretching those fingers is pretty refreshing..lol

 

And it's pretty rewarding to finally make chords ring that at first were seemingly impossible to play at first.

 

Or I try and find stuff online that's way beyond my ability. Like recently Mood For a Day and Bouree.

I can find tons of stuff on Songsterr that I can't play,,lol.

But it's kinda fun to try.

 

When I get bored I go out of my comfort zone.

 

Hey,, nobody hears me anyway,, just my kids and my wife have to suffer..lol.

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I keep practicing, I keep listening....to....

"The Truth" by T-Bone Walker, Junior Parker, Charlie Parker (hear 'The Bird'), Wolf and Hubert, Buddy Guy (great riff on "Motor City's Burning" by Hooker), Albert and B.B., Jimi's blues ('Jam 292'), Coltrane's minor blues ('Equinox'), all those great Blue Note sax players (e.g. Stanley Turrentine), Muddy, Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson(#2), Jimmy Rogers, Duke Ellington, Kenny Burrell, Wes and all of them. There are many shades of blues. I don't listen to Robert Johnson at all these days though, and I don't listen to as many white guys as I used to.

 

One of my oldest guitar-playing friends has just got me for a gig early December which is blues, some Clapton 'Unplugged' stuff and a few covers. No drummer for this first time.

One thing I notice all the time about modern blues bands is that the drummers are too technically correct and far too loud. If you listen to the old Chess stuff which to a large extent defines electric blues, it sometimes wandered and the drummers weren't always whacking the crap out of the kit. SRV's music is like someone always driving everywhere at 80MPH - it's high-energy blues-influenced rock really. So are Anna Popovic, Joanne Shaw Taylor, Oli Brown and many of the bright young new blues stars. It's not relaxing or relaxed....IMO!

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Thanks, quapman...I do that, as well. [thumbup] However, I spend entirely too much time,

playing by myself. But, I really have little choice, at this point. [unsure]

Time="Life", distances, and lack of available people to play with, are all major

factors, as well. So, I'm sure...some of this is a bit of frustration, at my

situation, as well. Actually, "I" have plenty of time, to play...but, other

players, around here, don't! Or, they don't take the time, which I know is the

case, in more than a couple of instances. They're "burnt out," and have lost

any real incentive, apparently. But, that's life, out in the "Sticks!" [tongue] LOL [biggrin]

 

But, you have sound advice, all the same! [thumbup]

 

Cheers,

 

CB

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Hey CB, I say various combinations! EveryMan has his own blues. A real musician can 'feel' another man's blues and embellish on it. I like singular as well as multi-faceted blues..... "the blues' is infamtisible and from the heart and soul......some personal and some 'universal' in appeal [thumbup]

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Hey CB, I say various combinations! EveryMan has his own blues. A real musician can 'feel' another man's blues and embellish on it. I like singular as well as multi-faceted blues..... "the blues' is infamtisible and from the heart and soul......some personal and some 'universal' in appeal [thumbup]

 

Yep, that's all very true! It's all good...I just have to figure out a way to

up my potential quotient, a bit. [tongue][biggrin]

 

CB

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Same problem here CB,, you should consider moving ,, we would be great as neighbors..lol

 

Well, we got a taste of Canada, here, today! BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! LOL

Maybe we should both move SOUTH?! [biggrin]

 

Of course, in my case...anything below 70 is "Cold!" [cursing] LOL [biggrin]

So a real Winter, and especially Winter in the Northern Territories, would be my undoing!

 

CB

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my favorite thing to do is keep it "fresh" by going mix & match with diff. parts from various songs, and seeing how I can meld them into something new.

also diff. positions on the neck from "normal", diff. progressions, tempos, and adding simple solos where none were before.

also diff. guitars & amps....amp settings...sometimes thru a multi effects unit, usually not though.

Imagine Howlin' Wolfs' EVIL, or How many more Years....through a Diezel amp moddler....

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...I keep listening....to....

"The Truth" by T-Bone Walker, Junior Parker, Charlie Parker (hear 'The Bird'), Wolf and Hubert, Buddy Guy (great riff on "Motor City's Burning" by Hooker), Albert and B.B., Jimi's blues ('Jam 292'), Coltrane's minor blues ('Equinox'), all those great Blue Note sax players (e.g. Stanley Turrentine), Muddy, Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson(#2), Jimmy Rogers, Duke Ellington, Kenny Burrell, Wes and all of them. There are many shades of blues. I don't listen to Robert Johnson at all these days though, and I don't listen to as many white guys as I used to.

Pretty much this. Listen to old stuff you know; old stuff you THINK you know and, of course, track down both old and new stuff you DON'T know.

 

Even the track you posted, CB, is hardly your typical I IV V progression; try to write a melodic solo shifting through all those changes and then try to improvise over your own melody.

 

BB King has stated that when HE started trying to play the blues and solo he always had - and still does have - Louis Jordan's sax phrases running through his mind.

Although not a 'Blues' player as such Pete Townshend, in an interview conducted back in the '70s, cited Charlie Parker's phrasing as a very important influence.

Some (a great deal of!) of Ray Charles' fingerwork is magical; try to work out how HE did some stuff.

 

As far as Robert Johnson is concerned; even Eric Clapton says RJ still has the power to scare him every time he hears his stuff.

 

P.

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For me to to keep things fresh, ironically I usually go back to the old stuff. I mean pre guitar hero days or before guitar playing became an acrobatic sport. I still love guitar giants like SRV, but the old blues guys were all about the song and the instruments were just there to serve the song in the best way. At some point it seems blues "songs" just became incidental and were only there as an excuse for the guitar player to show their chops. I don't want to offend the Gary Moore crowd, but that's what I hear when he plays the blues. His playing was obviously very good, but every song just seems like an excuse for him to say "look how fast I can play", "look how long I can sustain this note" etc. It has nothing to do with "the blues" IMO.

 

So when want inspiration I go back and listen to old Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, Elmore James and others like that....to me that old school melodic, soulful phrasing played with little or no gain is more challenging than just wailing on pentatonic scales through a cranked, overdriven amp. And it's like a lessen how all the instruments, (vocals, guitar, harmonica, horns,... ) all work together to compliment one another instead of one showcase instrument being the center of attention.

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Grew up on "the blues", played "the blues" for a long time, have crossed over in life to utter boredeom with "the blues". I hear that Vaughan character and I cringe. I do listen to EC stuff, Dominos, "the blues" are part of all of that, but I do not seek out "the blues" and listen to them. Absolutely over done to death, me included. Capital B-oring. Might put one on my record though, every overwrought modern day white boy blues trick in 4 minutes, for giggles, that would be fun!

 

rct

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EC, just trying to learn to play the blues worrying about it getting stale is the furthest possible concern for me. But what is interesting to me is how I migrated to the blues since picking up the guitar a year and a half ago. I know this is old news to everyone else on here. But I wanted to learn to play rock! Old Rock. Classic Rock. I started pursuing some of my guitar heroes and found out how influenced they were by the blues. Now its the blues I want to learn.

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When I begin to feel the blues is getting worn out and tiring, I put on some youtube videos of Rory Gallagher.

Or something like this version of Stormy Monday. It's been played a million times before by a million different artists, yet when somebody pours their soul into it, it breaths a whole new life to it.

That's what inspires me to (try to) play the blues.

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That's what inspires me to (try to) play the blues.

 

His fathers Stormy Monday on the Filmore record is still for me one of the best damn blues solos ever put on tape, and I asked him what the hellz he was thinking and his answer was "nuthin. absolutely nuthin." Same for One Way Out.

 

And then in the late 90's, one of the few times I saw him play that song, at the Tower in Philly during a week of them guys there, he absolutely brought the house down with just the real deal Betts on fire playing Stormy Monday.

 

He looks just like him at that age!

 

rct

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His fathers Stormy Monday on the Filmore record is still for me one of the best damn blues solos ever put on tape, and I asked him what the hellz he was thinking and his answer was "nuthin. absolutely nuthin." Same for One Way Out.

 

And then in the late 90's, one of the few times I saw him play that song, at the Tower in Philly during a week of them guys there, he absolutely brought the house down with just the real deal Betts on fire playing Stormy Monday.

 

He looks just like him at that age!

 

rct

Yeah the Filmore East version does it for me also. But I don't think I've ever heard them do a bad version.

Dickie is one of the most underrated greats. Saw him in the 80's on the Great American Guitar Assault tour with Lonnie Mack and Roy Buchanan. Man he put on a great show.

His answer of thinking about nothing reminds me of something I remember Clapton (I think it was him) saying in a interview one time. He said something about when you're "on" it's like an out of the body experience, that you're just an observer to what's happening. I think that's what happens when you let you soul take over and stop thinking about what your hands are doing. You're just so in tune with the music that it just flows out.

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1. Play with a looper and lay down some funky rythms with a walking bass line to solo to. Make up your own chord progressions, or just play the rythm tracks without planning what to play - just start playing. Most of the time you get garbage, but sometimes you get something good.

2. Avoid the same ol' 12 bar 1-4-5 stuff and try 16 or 20 bar stuff with some 6-5-4.

3. More dynamics, more stops, stronger hooks.

4. Try to find some totally different sounds. Try to master the LP/Marshall tone or the Strat/Tweed tone.

5. Try playing major solos over minor chords and vice versa.

6. Incorporate swing.

7. Try different gear, especially amps.

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I know too, that I need to learn some more musical vocabulary, for sure!

Not playing for 30+ years, forgetting what I used to know, and having to

try to recapture all that, and then what transpired since...a lot of which

seems way beyond my (still) meager capabilites, is always a challange. So...

I have a LOT of work, to do, just to get back to "ordinary!" "Blues" related,

or otherwise. [tongue][biggrin]

 

I feel like that old saying: "He who can, does...he who can't buys

more guitars!" [flapper][biggrin]

 

 

CB

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To me the blues comes from living one's own life and the experiences that come with it. When I play the blues I am in effect screaming at the universe over the loss of family members & loved ones, lost love and broken hearts, poverty, illness, etc. My preference would to not have experienced those things but most of us have and all of us have watched others suffering too. Blues come from my heart and pour out on the frets.

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The problem with the term "blues" is that it ain't just about 12-bar material or whatever.

 

It's kinda funny to me that the same "is blues too boring" sorts of arguments even ended up making for novels in the 1950s as jazz took a turn toward increasingly arcane tunes and rhythms that took it away from whistling and dancing.

 

I recall reading one circa 1960 piece that had a trumpet player watch his career and life go down the tubes regardless of his ability because he continued with blues - and a nonstandard lifestyle somewhere between beatnik and the back alley.

 

"Blues" in the late 40s and 50s and 60s remained as dance music, morphing in some places into rock, in others into "Chicago" sorts of city styles. In the folkie era the old acoustic pickers were given a listen - but not necessarily the other side of the coin that white musicians did across the street from what the black musicians did. We called that instead "early country." Both borrowed from each other in the early era of "modern" pop music.

 

I love to note that some of the early "guitar heroes" are so often considered blues players, but they were doing the same material as one might hear on any genre's radio show. Did "Stars and Stripes Forever" become a blues song because Gary Davis did it? Or is "Irene Goodnight" a blues piece because Leadbelly did it? What of Gershwin?

 

W.C. Handy wrote blues a century, but few here would apparently consider arranging his material for a current gig. Ditto Cotton Club "Harlem style" sorts of music - blues - that influenced swing and vice versa.

 

Personally I think "blues" in the sense I use the term is simply music that can swing. I don't care if it's 12-bar material with appropriate chord changes and "modes." If it ain't got that swing, it don't mean a thing.

 

<grin>

 

m

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