Friday, June 8, 2012

Follow You First Mind: vocal blues with guitar acc.

I'm getting together some blues songs for an album called Follow You First Mind. Master versions will appear on Facebook, the most recent is "Me and My Dearest". I've been using to discuss Delta, Pre-war, Country Blues and Follow You First Mind. I encourage everyone interested in Blues music to head on over.

Phase II of writing and recording went well, the outlines of guitar melody helped get the lyrics to jive as a whole so the songs are cohesive. I spent the summer with the demos and the vocals are finally tolerable even if the guitar needed work, but I'm not worried about that so much as getting the singing correct firstly. I've found inspiration in Bukka White and Charlie Patton for vocal style. One thing I notice is the tempos aren't as simple as they appear. The slow songs aren't much struggle, but when a tune is moderate my hands tend to run fast. Summer demos started with "Lucky, lucky", "At the Gate", "Jump O'", "Day is no Light" and "Me and my Dearest". The pre-production went quickly with 1 or 2 songs tracked and mixed in a day at a healthy pace.

Phase III for summer was all about tightening the guitar work, honing the secret art of triplets and deciphering minor third from flattened fourth. The melodic minor scale provides great modes for Jazz players, but you won't hear much about extended solos or modality in Country Blues, however there are subtle differences in root notes of the scale which even the greatest modern Blues guitarists fail to translate. I can't blame them for overlooking the difference between Locrian and Superlocrian mode, but I have learned as Blues progressed through the decades players got careless claiming to stick to tradition when in fact they were over-simplifying Blues and its popular minor third (blue note). I promise not to be a slouch with this album. The last batch of songs I'm recording are slower in minor key and standard tunings. As the year turned I decided to re-record the up-tempo songs and change tunings to avoid the capo and allow the natural tone of the guitar to speak. There will be baritone vocals along with the natural hollers.

The title of the album comes from a quote by Son House. Most folks will be familiar with the phrase “If I had a followed my first mind” from the Howlin' Wolf song Killing Floor. There are twelve songs for this release. I will post the lyrics & tunings when I finish the final versions. It is one of the true privileges in life to play music like this, medicine music. These songs are in the Mississippi Delta tradition and time is right for me to be playing Blues, it's something I have loved and listened to since I was a boy. If you need me I'll be at the 8 & 1 with my lawyer signing the contract.

1. Lucky, lucky
2. Man Has Got to Fall
3. At the Door
4. Hell's Half Acre Blues
5. Day Is No Light
6. Freedom Leave Me Be
7. Ain't No Playin'
8. Low Tide Dyin' Alone
9. Head Down the Well
10. Me and My Dearest
11. Don't Be Misled
12. Jump O'