Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What Did You Miss This Week? (Week 372 #416)

My Babe Versions!!!

Shoji had a few different versions of our study song, My Babe, for us to listen to last night:

  • Martina McBride, a country singer covers the tune with Michael Henderson blowing harp. She sticks to 16 bar solos.
  • Howlin' Wolf does Poor Boy, released two years after Little Walter's tune. This song carries a different bass line and the solo section is 16 bar.
  • Bo Diddley recorded My Babe and because he does not stick to the two-bar second guitar phrases, he plays the V chord over bar 14 as like you hear in the standard 16 bar form.
  • Eddy Clearwater has a Live In France recording of the tune from the 70's.
These are just some of the many versions out there and we'll listen to others in the coming weeks.

Conversation then turned to Little Walter's solo which is rhythmically rock solid and swinging hard. (transcription) Joe noted too that it's interesting he held back and does not lay into the flat fifth until the top of the second chorus. This is a bluesier, not jazzy move and perhaps it was better to withhold it to build this tension and hit hard in the second chorus. Interpret how you will, this solo is one of the best!

Speaking of the solo, there was also some discussion about what happens to the groove and feel when the band rolls into the 12 bar form. Clearly the bass player changes lines and hits that swing line solidly and pretty boldly. It seems the drummer continues hitting 2 and 4 but with more energy and a few more fills and transitions.

For an interesting look into My Babe, be sure also to listen to Mercy Baby by Little Walter. It was an early stab at My Babe, recorded months earlier when Walter was clearly struggling with where the vocals lay on the form so the band did it as a one chord song. Very interesting to listen to as a way of seeing the evolution toward the hit release.

- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew