Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What Did You Miss This Week? (Week 226 #269)

West Helena Blues!!!

First off, what the heck is George Smith singing about when he sings, "keeps that Brown Mule all in my jaw"? Well, looks like his baby with the Friday paycheck is able to buy him shoes and chewing tobacco. Here's a little more info on the stuff:
"Brown's Mule is a plug tobacco made from the scrap and stems of cigar tobacco which are soaked in a sweet syrupy substance such as honey. Brown Mule molds were placed in the bottom of a wooden frame and the sweetened scraps were poured into the frame and spread evenly. A blank tin was packaged on the top, placed under pressure and then sent to the curing room. After leaving the curing room the tobacco was sheared into plugs, wrapped and boxed for sale."
These days it might be better to sing "keeps them tin sandwiches between my teeth" or something along those lines!

As for actual blues lessons from West Helena Blues, try these:
  • Play the blues scale. (Is this hitting home yet?)
  • Handle the unusual 4 bar intro form by asking the band to play a typical intro "from the V". They will play a 4 bar intro and if you play George's intro over that, it will more or less work. Joe's point is that the "error" of playing the root note over the V chord (first bar of the intro) will be a smaller error than having the band be lost! You could substitute the 4 blow there, if you prefer.
  • Note too how he ends the song with a rhythmic change. If you confidently play straight eighths over bars 11 and 12, the band will know you're going out!
  • Oh, and stay away from that Brown's Mule - terrible habit!
  • But do get a baby with money. As Rick Estrin sings, "...she's got to have a job!"
Blues Fest!!!

This weekend is blues fest in Chicago so get out to see live music! There are tons of great gigs leading up to the fest and even a fabulous post-fest gig anchored by our buddy Morry Sochat.

There will likely be lots of last-minute harp player shows and of course there are always people sitting in. Follow our facebook page for updates.

Our calendar-man Al Taylor has worked hard to note every possible harp gig in town and he's compiled a printable pdf version for you. Print this and carry it with you to be sure to catch as many harp gigs as possible:

Shoji Naito on the Radio!!!

Speaking of blues fest, our own Shoji Naito will be accompanying Eddy Clearwater on WXRT's live blues fest radio program this Thursday, 93.1 FM at 6:00pm. He's not sure he'll play harp, but check it out!

Class Notes
  • Come to class next week. You'll thank us.
  • Keep Joe apprised of your goals! He can better assist you on your path if he knows what you need.
SPAH Needs You!!!

- this posting comes from SPAH President, Tom Stryker:

Membership Director

SPAH has an immediate need for a Volunteer Membership Director. The job involves:

Keep membership records
Provide convention registration at, before and during SPAH Conventions
Collect membership fees and interact with SPAH Treasurer
Mail membership credentials to members
Interact with SPAH Board

Must be computer literate (programming ability helpful but not required) and assist in the conversion of our current program to a new online system.

If interested, please contact Tom Stryker (775)853-5118 or

- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew