Shoji led off discussion of our new study song, Help Me by Sonny Boy Williamson II, with a listening session. We heard his original recording and also listened to the instrumental Green Onions by Booker T. and the MGs.
Yes, the notes in that Booker T. tune are the same, but Shoji points out the rhythm is very different. Our beloved Help Me is syncopated whereas Green Onions is not; it is a straight eighth groove. Listen and be sure you hear the difference. *
Clearly though, Green Onions was in the air and influential. It was on the charts in 1962 and Sonny Boy recorded Help Me in 1963.
There was tentative discussion about the songwriting credit. It often goes to Sonny Boy, Willie Dixon and Ralph Bass, but Joe notes that is disputed. Perhaps that's something we can dig into more as the session unfolds.
We took some time in class for people to take turns playing along over this minor bassline. Beware the 3 draw (major third) on this song. Minor tunes are not forgiving of poor second position bending skills, so working on this for a session will give us all a chance to hone our ears and our bending chops. Practice your minor pentatonic scale!
* Update to this post: Correction: We misquoted Shoji above 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.
- Sessions are underway at Old Town again, so be sure to get registered now.
- No class next week due to the Labor Day holiday - see you again on September 14.
Satan and Adam - Help Make the Movie
"Satan and Adam" chronicles the unlikely pairing of legendary one-man band Sterling "Mr. Satan" Magee and harmonica master Adam Gussow in a once in a lifetime film, shot over 20 years, and showcasing the greatest music duo you never got a chance to see...
And the film needs crowdfunding help to get it to the finish line. Click here to learn how you can help.
- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew