Blues jam song suggestions

Discussion in 'Music to Your Ears' started by Tomm Williams, Mar 14, 2019.

  1. Tomm Williams

    Tomm Williams Tele-Holic

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    Next week I’m going to start participating in a weekly open blues jam in a near by city.
    They have a great backing band with a very accommodating attitude and provide backline. I spoke with the guitarist (fine player) about how they work it, he requested that any players try to stick to fairly straight- forward blues numbers to make the evening easier.
    So that eliminates a couple of things I was thinking of doing...... no biggie. And I also recruited a good female singer to join me so what songs can you guys suggest ?
     
  2. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    12 bar blues in A, E, G, and Bb

    do a bunch of shuffles, one or two slow blues, a jump blues or two, and a country blues

    sounds like fun

    the most fun is a jam like this:



    just get a bunch of blues couplets and let it run
     
  3. Bergy

    Bergy Tele-Meister

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    I would stick to tunes with three chords or less, for your first time. A blues tune with II and/or vi chords is likely to get butchered.

    People like to crap on Mustang Sally, but then don’t realize it is a 16 bar form, not a 12 bar form. Good to be aware of that.

    It’s good to know a couple “stock endings” so you can help end the tunes. Ending a tune is sometimes is difficult with musicians who haven’t played together. Also figure out how to count a song off, if need be.

    Don’t do more than 1 slow blues per set. They tend to run long. Unless you know the T-Bone Walker chords, avoid playing They Call It Stormy Monday. I literally take a stack of Stormy Monday charts to blues jams cuz I am tired of people butchering all those great chords T Bone used.

    Roadhouse Blues does indeed have blues in the title, but I have a problem with considering it real blues. Lots of times people play Jimi Hendrix tunes or other classic rock tunes that are a bit of a stretch too. Jimi is great, but most of his music while inspired by blues musicians, isn’t real strict to the blues form. Cept for stuff like “Red House.”

    Tunes that I hear a lot: Chain of Fools, Angel from Montgomery, Rock Me Baby, Every Day I Have the Blues, Nasty Habits, Little By Little, Messing With the Kid, The Thrill Is Gone, I’m Tore Down, Dirty Dishes, I’m Going Down, Kansas City, Sweet Home Chicago, The Sky Is Crying, Dust My Broom.

    Sometimes these instrumentals get played too: Cissy Strut, Hide Away, Chitlins con Carne, and San Ho Zay.
     
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  4. teleman1

    teleman1 Tele-Holic

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    No need for discussion.
     
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  5. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I assume you'll be calling a minor blues?

     
  6. jhundt

    jhundt Doctor of Teleocity

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    Try Me (James Brown)
    I'll Change My Style (Jimmy Reed) though this might confuse a bar band accustomed to playing standard blues progressions.
    Born to Lose (try the Ray Charles version)
    All I Could Do Was Cry (Etta James - but listen to Ike and Tina Turner's spectacular version!) this one is 'special for your 'good female singer'...
    Cry Baby (Janis Joplin's version is well-known, but Garnet Mimms is - for me - the one to listen to)
     
  7. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Friend of Leo's

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    George Thorogood’s arrangement of “Move It On Over” works great if you have a slide guitarist in the group.

    Many/most of Slim Harpo’s stuff is awesome if you have a harp player...likewise for Little Walter’s songs.

    Being from Texas, you couldn’t hit stage without being able to tackle “Pride and Joy,” “Texas Flood,” and Bill Doggett’s “Honky Tonk” (which rhythm allows any lead instrument—harp, horn, guitar or piano—to stretch out)...and since I’m from Fort Worth, throw Ray Sharpe’s “Linda Lu” in that mix.
     
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  8. musicalmartin

    musicalmartin Poster Extraordinaire

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    So far I have sung Stormy Monday ,Allman chords,So many trains .Kansas City,and Rock me baby at jams and it went OK so far .I am planning to do Big Mamas Hound Dog but The guys are very competent ,far more than me ,and one of my backing guitarists is great jazz guitarist.
     
  9. Flaneur

    Flaneur Friend of Leo's

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    Speak to your singer....find out which songs she likes to sing- and in what key?

    If you've invited her up, you must showcase her talent. That's The Law. :)
     
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  10. kplamann

    kplamann Tele-Holic

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    Unless 100 % of the audience are blues daddies you will have people who are very appreciative of the occasional non 12 bar blues, especially if it features a strong female voice.

    Try folky, but mildly bluesy stuff like Morning Dew, the aforementioned Angel From Montgomery, Can't Find My Way Home ...

    Add some acoustic guitar. The appreciative people mentioned above will even be more appreciative.
     
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  11. fendrguitplayr

    fendrguitplayr Poster Extraordinaire

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  12. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    you could ask the audience for blues rhymes and then sing them as a novelty thing

    I saw this done and the audience was in stitches
     
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  13. Ian T

    Ian T Tele-Holic

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    Here is a Youtube Channel that I love. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPn_QZe-URneFU1gG-gQuHg

    If you go through her vids, you'll see many which are blues jam sessions that happen in LA. There are some monster, nationally known players, but the overall feel is very similar to the blues jams in Anytown, USA, where there is a blues jam scene of local talent.

    I learned far more in a year of attending blues jams than I did getting a Bachelors in Music. No comparison, really. So kudos to you for stepping out, and no doubt you are going to learn a lot. Here's my tips, and I hope they may help.

    The person who sings at a blues jam calls the tune. If you don't sing, you play guitar to whatever tunes the singer calls. It should be mostly just blues, so if you should be able to follow along with whatever is called. Don't try to call tunes if you aren't singing. The singer chooses the tune, period.

    Try to play tasty rhythm guitar. Don't noodle leads over everything. There are usually 2 guitars and a keyboard comping chords, so less is more. Try to come up with something that compliments the other comping instruments. Players that noodle and don't play rhythm guitar are looked down upon by the elder musicians. Try not to be that guy.

    If you are singing, the best way to call a tune, is just "12 bar blues in E, medium shuffle" and count it off. Get familiar with the different feels. You can call a 12/8 blues, a rumba, a slow blues - don't get to intricate or try to overly micro manage what the other players do because it wont work and will likely not be received well. Just a call out a general feel and accept whatever comes out. You can sing whatever blues lyrics you want, at that point. You don't have to call "The Thrill is Gone" or some other blues standard, necessarily, but that's fine, too.

    If it's a blues jam, stick to the blues. If you want to sing, have 3 tunes ready. 3 different feels is best, with a slow blues in the middle, and uptempo at the end. Don't go to the blues jam as a noob and start calling out inappropriate tunes from a different style.

    It's a jam session, so you have to roll with whatever they feed you and just go with it. Don't go in with dreams they are going to nail that Freddie King tune you love just like that album because they simply aren't and whatever they do is going to be something totally different. It's all good - it's a jam session, so just be flexible.

    When you get up there, just play through the rig as is, and make it happen. Don't go fiddling with the host guitarist amp settings, etc., as that may not go over well. Just be flexible, and work with the tone that is there. Usually there is a nice tube amp to play through so it can be very enjoyable. If you want to bring a pedal or too, fine, but keep it minimal. Don't show up insisting on using your own rig, or being all OCD about getting "your tone". Again, you have to be flexible.

    There is also the pecking order thing you have to deal with. As a noob, they will probably make you wait around for a while and then put you up with other noobs or weaker players. It can be frustrating to sound good when you are playing in those situations. You just have to pay your dues and play well so that you can earn respect and "work your way up." Good chance you'll deal with some egos, douchiness, cliques, and other nonsense at any blues jam. Take the high ground, be nice to everybody, and play your best.

    Being friendly to the person running the jam is key, and it seems you already are doing well in that way. Throwing tips in the jar or buying a beer for the host can go a long way.

    If you go up there and it doesn't go as planned, just take it a learning experience, lick your wounds, and come back stronger the next week.

    At most any blues jam, there is a lot of lackluster if not outright bad music, as well as moments of awesome musical expression. Blues is all about being soulful, and there will always be some performers who are doing it service, that will inspire you. Plus, it's a great way to network and find other playing opportunities. Good luck!
     
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  14. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Play Since I've Been Loving You.
     
  15. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Green Onions has an interesting texture and vibe. It is super fun to solo by expanding on Cropper's scrilly stabs and tangs.
     
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  16. noah330

    noah330 Friend of Leo's

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    Politician - Ford version, Mustang Sally, Soul Man
     
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  17. dobrojoe

    dobrojoe Tele-Meister

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    I have my own idea of what constitutes blues. It has to be black music from the deep south, preferably pre '60s. Mustang Sally and Soul Man (and Summertime) are NOT blues, nor is anything by Joe Bonamassa and his ilk.
     
  18. fendrguitplayr

    fendrguitplayr Poster Extraordinaire

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    These are a few I do at jams:

    How Blue Can You Get
    Rock Me Baby
    Tore Down
    Pride & Joy
    Sweet Home Chicago
    Got My Mojo Workin'
    Key To The Highway
    One Way Out
    Hi Heel Sneakers
    No More Doggin' Around
    All Your Love
    Homework
    Walkin' Blues
    Get Out My Life Woman

    ...and the ones I avoid : ;)

    Stormy Monday
    Red House
    Before You Accuse Me
    etc.
     
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  19. jrblue

    jrblue Tele-Afflicted

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    Wow, I sure agree with the ban on Red House, Stormy Monday, and Before You Accuse Me! Red House got to be boring even when Jimi was alive and doing it (again and again and again). Jams are hard because you end up doing common denominator stuff which is inherently overly-familiar and unlikely to elicit any musical surprises unless somebody unleashes something great on a tone that great players have already played and replayed a zillion times. To me, Born in Chicago and Stateboro Blues, for example, have fundamental structures that make them work, period, and seem to elicit creative playing. On the other hand, slow blues are often, to my ears, pure torture except in the hands of monster players. Messin' With the Kid (Buddy Guy and Jr Wells) is pretty indestructibly lively, too. Good luck and have fun. Oh, it's the blues -- some think that means no fun allowed.
     
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  20. Bergy

    Bergy Tele-Meister

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    While I agree that as a listener getting a break from 12 bar forms is refreshing..... trying to get 4-7 random people through a song together gets progressively harder the further from that 12 bar form you deviate. I routinely watch 1 or 2 chords throw entire groups of grown men for a loop, sometimes even gigging blues musicians. As has been alluded to, it kinda depends on the demographic of the jammers. I think if you are just getting your feet wet, stick to the standard stuff and pay some dues.

    A buddy of mine once referred to his local blues scene as a split between the arse-shakers and the purists. I guess I am prolly 85% purist, 15% arse-shaker. I wish more traditional rural blues could be incorporated into blues jams, but it isn’t as straight forward as I’d wish. The most accessible way to get a wide variety of people playing together quickly is with the standard blues form. Blues jams aren’t necessarily intended for a listening crowd, although it is great when dancers feel inspired.

    I do get tired of people showing up to blues jams and disrespecting the blues while being inexorably indebted to it. Rock musicians roll in and play not-blues because they think they are too cool. Jazz musicians roll in and play not-blues because they think they are too sophisticated. Hipsters roll in and play not-blues because they think the only real blues musicians who ever existed are already dead. The Blues is a truly great American artform and it always kinda pisses me off to see it either diluted or disparaged by the uninformed.
     
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