Last night was our first look at Little Walter's harp playing on I'm Ready. Highway RickEy shared his transcription with us and played through portions of it. He made the point that many of the subtleties aren't crucial to nail down - learn the repetitive lick one way and play it solidly if you're playing this tune with a band. The tiny fine points would be lost on most audience members anyway. And he also pointed out it is a difficult solo, jumping around on the chromatic. Don't be afraid to work out something simpler that fits your comfort level with the chromatic. We will have a Filisko transcription to look at soon too.
A week or two ago we wondered in class about the lyrics - what the heck did Willie Dixon mean by things like an "axe-handled pistol on a graveyard frame"? Well, YouMissedMonday reached out to two of our experts on such things, Scott Dirks and Big Jim Themelis to see if they know anything google wasn't turning up for us. Neither did and Scott put it this way:
"I’m pretty sure those are all terms made up just for this song to make it sound dangerous, ominous, etc. I’ve discussed this song with some pretty knowledgeable blues people, and as far as I know, there are no precedents for the use of those terms. And if you do a Google search for any of the specific terms, all references lead back to this song. So – to the best of my knowledge, these are just examples of the fertile imagination of Willie Dixon, who wrote the song."
And Jim said it similarly:
"I wish I knew. It does sound menacing and badass though."
So there you go - menacing, ominous wordsmithing we should all aspire to!
- This session's recording date is Monday, February 22.
Longtime B1 friend Morry Sochat has launched another terrific CD, Dig In!
Congrats Morry and band! Get your copy now at the link above.
- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew