Next up in the series of study songs for B1 is the classic Hoochie Coochie Man! We'll be digging deep into this song over the next few weeks and Shoji kicked off the conversation by playing a snippet of the Chess story that aired on NPR recently. (see below) As if on cue, the Sound Opinions guys Greg Kot and Jim DeRogatis did a wonderful introduction to Hoochie Coochie Man, calling it a turning point for the Chess label in 1954 as well as a turning point for Muddy and the blues in general. Here is a song penned by Willie Dixon for Muddy to record that got Muddy jumping and upbeat.
Next Shoji played the tune multiple times prodding the class to listen for different aspects of the song. What is the form? What do you hear between the repeating riff on the break section? And where are the solos?
The answers are that it is a standard 12 bar blues with four extra one chord bars tacked on up front. Though it is 16 bars long, be careful telling the band you want a 16 bar song, because this 12 bar + is NOT the same as standard 16 bar form.
Between the riffs? No instrumentation (well, maybe a foot tapping in the studio!) because that is left wide open for Muddy to sing his call and response in. How does that work? Well, Muddy sings in time! If you waver when you sing this, it will be hard for the band to follow you.
And why aren't there any solos? Well, surely there were when the tune was done live, but this is a studio recording made to fit the 3 minute mark and make money. It was designed to sell records at a time when blues was the popular music, so solos didn't fit here. Besides, it is beautiful, powerful and clean as it is and the song is the thing!
Joe pointed out too that Billy Boy Arnold has said the tune Mad Love is possibly an influence on Hoochie Coochie Man. Listen and see for yourself!
Sound Opinions Covers Chess Records!!!
WBEZ's Sound Opinions recently discussed the legacy of Chess Records, with nods to harp legends, Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Chuck Berry and more. This is definitely worth a listen:
Chess Records on Sound Opinions
- Welcome new students!
Harlem Harp Party - this is a Filisko gig that will have a bunch of his harp-playing friends joining him on May 13 at the Harlem Avenue Lounge.
Midwest Harmonica Workshop - June 27 in St. Paul, MN featuring Filisko & Noden, Jimi Lee, Mike Fugazi, Todd Parrott, Brandon O. Bailey and more.
- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew