As promised, Joe is tying the Sonny Boy Williamson I study to Little Walter by having us look at and listen to Sloppy Drunk. The tune was originally written by Sonny Boy and he recorded it twice, the second time under the title, Bring Me Another Half A Pint. Joe played both tunes for us and then played the Jimmy Rogers/Little Walter version. It is crystal clear that Little Walter's playing on this comes directly out of his being influenced by John Lee and he honorably preserves the general flavor of the original. As Tad Robinson recently pointed out, the sideman stuff Walter does with Jimmy Rogers is arguably his best playing, and this is a great example.
Jimmy Rogers, as a reminder, was a part of the Muddy Waters ensemble and is also one of the two guitarists on Juke. Walter plays almost constantly under, behind, and around Rogers' vocals. This is truly a classic blues sound and playing style, but it is also fairly uncommon for audiences and other musicians nowadays. Be wary of playing this way - it is the most difficult accompaniment technique to do well and it may not feel comfortable to other players and vocalists. Watch those in your band or whomever you're sitting in with to be sure they're ok with it and remember, 'when in doubt, lay out'!
There was an informative discussion about the form of this song. Joe tabbed it as a 24 bar song (with a quick change) because most of the musicians are playing that way. Shoji points out though that if you think just about the bass line, it is clearly a 12 bar form. In any case, be cautious performing it with a band that doesn't know it. You might get off on the right foot by describing it like Mojo, Big Boss Man or Sugar Sweet, but it would also be very helpful to play an intro from the V that makes your feel and groove very clear.
This is a great song to add to your repertoire so as to add variation to a set! Check in next week for the second half of the tune!
Joe is out to understand stage fright and welcomes input from anyone with experience understanding its causes and suggesting possible solutions. Shoot us an email if you have thoughts to share: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The next B1 Harmonica Recital at the Harlem Avenue Lounge will be May 12, 2012. Save the date and start working on your performance material. Sign up sheets will be due at the end of April.
- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew