Here goes nothing....
There may be some dead links, because of this... I'll fix them as I run across them.
Bluesman Doctor Oakroot speaks out on blues, experimental music, oddball instruments, life, death, politics, and just about anything else that crosses his mind.
We have horses... retired from Heads Up! Therapeutic Riding and since we got them, I've learned three things about horses:
- Everything near a horse gets filthy and has to be cleaned or discarded.
- Everything a horse touches gets broken and has to be fixed or replaced.
- Every dollar you earn goes to take care of the horse.
Well, right off the bat, one of the horses broke through the fence... and here's a little song about it...
Recently, I've been attending the biweekly blues jam at the Broad Street Cafe in Durham, NC. I've been playing bass on the Kickin' Bass - which works out fine, and also acting as band leader while playing guitar on the Cyclops and singing...
That's led to a few problems:
First, and most shocking, I found that some of the other players don't know much about blues before about 1970... so when I called for "Back Door Man" - what I thought would be a conservative choice that everyone would know - I just got blank stares... and I never did get them to play the chords right. I guess after 1970, no one ever stayed on the "I" through the second four, lol. Since then, I've tried much easier songs with less deviation from the stock 12 bar formula... but any deviation seems to throw them off, unless it's a blues/rock/jazz song that they already know. ("Summertime" works OK. So does "Stormy Monday"). Now I don't want this to sound like I'm bitching about my fellow players - this is a much a failure of my pickup band leadership as anything - a new skill I need to learn, lol.
Second, I really need much more volume in my solos than at other times - but the Cyclops doesn't have a volume control.
Third, I find that the bottom two strings really kind of interfere with the bass player's part, more than add anything useful to the mix.
And finally, there's one guy there who seems to be unable to play in any key I ever sing in... but apparently, he can play in C.
So what does a cigar box guitar player do to solve some problems? Why, build a new guitar of course!
So that brings us to the Blues Jam Special No. 13. (No. 13, because it's my 13th instrument of 2009).Four strings, tuned CEGc - ideal for playing blues in C without interfering with the bass- and a hand wound pickup, which allowed me to add a volume control (I'm not convinced a volume control would work with the piezos I usually use)
So next blues jam, I'll show up with the Blues Jam Special No. 13 and three songs in strict 12 bar form in C and see if we can make it work. The songs I've chosen are "Ninth Street Blues", "Good Morning Blues" (Ledbetter), and "Old Willie".
Here's a sample of what the Blues Jam Special No. 13 sounds like. This was recorded straight into the computer from the pickup with no effects. Download a Sample Tune.