Tuesday, October 27, 2015

What Did You Miss This Week? (Week 421 #466)

New Song of the Session!!!

With the start of a new session at Old Town, the Performance class turns its attention to a new standard for study, Sitting On Top of the World.

The popular version for harp players is of course the Howlin' Wolf song recorded in 1957. It is a standard eight bar form BUT it has an added bar at bar 7 that Shoji thinks of as more of a riff bar than a particular chord. If you need to play a chord at that point, go to the IV.

The tune was originally written by members of the Mississippi Sheiks and that band released it in 1930. It differs from Wolf's version in that it has an interlude form and, to Shoji's way of charting it, it has two bars that are 2/4 time mixed in. You still end up with 36 beats, but the bar count is different. Their chart as he sees it is:

I     I    IV    IV
I     I    V     IV
I     I

with bars 2 and four counting only two beats.

We listened to a lot of other versions last night too - Some Summer Day by Charlie Patton May, 1930 is more uptempo, 34 beats, and the second guitar is just not following the form at all. And we also heard Sitting On Top of the World by Bob Wills, Doc Watson, Milton Brown, Ray Charles, Sonny Terry, Bob Dylan, Carl Perkins, String Cheese Incident and Willie Nelson, plus Come On In My Kitchen by Robert Johnson.

It's clear by just these varied versions that this is a standard tune with far-reaching influence.

Class Notes

  • Welcome back to the new session.
  • Joe is gallivanting around Europe the next three weeks. Zoe and Grant have you covered in the Level III classes and Shoji and RickEy are planning things for the Performance class discussions, so don't miss it. Be sure to bring a copy of your Level III transcriptions along for Zoe and Grant to refer to as you play.
- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew

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