First off, a correction: In last week's newsletter, we misquoted Shoji when we said: "Our beloved Help Me is syncopated whereas Green Onions is not; it is a straight eighth groove."
An alert reader called us on this and we discussed it with Shoji for clarification. What we should have said is: The Green Onions bassline is straight quarter notes and not syncopated like Help Me. Green Onions is, however, definitely a shuffle.
This week Joe passed out his Help Me transcription which we looked through some. Points Joe made were:
- Help Me is one of the most "famous but also infamous blues songs out there", by which he means, it is a terrific standard but because it is a minor blues, it is often played poorly. (Mind your three draw!)
- The chord hits John Lee * plays on the second beat throughout the song are clearly a trademark of the tune.
- When thinking about John Lee's playing on this song, it is clear he utilizes his regular vocabulary of licks, sticking mostly to the blues scale. His three draw is sometimes a tad sharp, but it is flat enough.
Shoji has a play-along track, available here: Blue Onion.
* Update to this post: Above we attributed our study song, Help Me, to John Lee Williamson, which is a rookie mistake for a harp player to make - we definitely meant Rice Miller, aka Sonny Boy Williamson II.
- The 8:00pm Performance Class will repeat its very successful recording project, this time on October 5. Make a decision soon about what you want to be workshopping in class the next few weeks and get it polished for our recording session.
First Time Harmonica
Know someone wanting to get started playing harmonica? Check out this first timer lesson at the Hinsdale Library, September 27.
Chicago Harmonica Meetup brings you First Time Harmonica.
- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew