Two weeks ago we, and George Smith, left you hanging. He built up a bunch of excitement and tension at the end of the fourth chorus of Juicy Harmonica and we couldn't wait to hear the fifth chorus. Where would he take all that intense six blow repetition? He had to go up and he hit the split five octave, the eight and four draw! You can see it here: transcription.
Joe made the comment that split five octave playing like this is not common among the traditional Chicago blues players and also that it was very rare even among the west coast guys prior to this recording in 1969. Yes, playing above hole six is thin-toned and there are blues notes missing in second position, but if you can hit the quavering split five octave with the power George does, it can work!
Speaking of that quavering, tremelo sound, how'd he get that? Most likely that is a result of one of the two reeds being slightly out of tune. If they're not off by much, it can be a cool effect. If it happens that your reeds are in tune, you can "cheat" to get a very similar effect by doing a palate grind. This is the noise the back of your throat makes when you snore. Practice that and introduce it while doing the split and you you'll have a similar quavering sound.
How do you follow up that powerful octave? Well, you holler, of course! There's nothing like hearing George yell!
Other cool things to study in these two choruses are the rhythmic, melodic use of the four draw and the tongue switching on bars 9 and 10 of the sixth chorus. There's no way to know for sure that's what George did, but it is an ideal spot for the technique.
Help Us Promote The Bash!!!
Our posters are out and tickets are on sale! Thanks to our amazing graphic designer friend, Marianna Delinck Manley, for another awesome looking poster!
If you know of an appropriate place to hang posters to help us promote the show, let Joe or Grant know!
Get your tickets to the bash now before they sell out...and share this link with all your blues-loving friends. Let's pack the house!