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oldbass

Chuck berry et al...funny Dep

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Got a call through friends of friends for a couple of functions in a localish well established cover band. Got the list today and they do a handful of 50's R&Rollers....Elvis, Chuck, Buddy etc.

Just seems funny going through them in this world of instant pop music, X Factor, Beyonce et al.

I haven't played this stuff in literally decades and when i did it seemed old back in the 70's.

Just wondering what the vibe is doing this stuff...its almost joke music isn't it? Oh and by the way is Johnny B Good 16ths or four time with ghost notes...see Im taking it real serious...ha

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It's no joke. In some venues (Working men's clubs, which you'd imagine had shut down at the end of the 70s) it's all they want to hear.

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Doing Chuck Berry stuff properly is a damned sight harder than you may think.
Getting the feel of the originals is notoriously difficult, with the drums and bass often
not playing the same styles ( straight / shuffle etc. ) As Keith Richard once said,
most bands can rock but few can roll.....
Also it's easy for songs to descend into a Quo type thrash, and for the chord changes
made the same. ( For example , in 'Johnny B. Goode' so many people insist on playing
the IV chord towards the end of each verse when it stays on the V etc.)


Good luck, hope you enjoy the gig!

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Really get in to it, it's great party music! Plus the punters deserve a good effort.

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Hey Casa you are not kidding bout the feel of this stuff. It sounds do tiddly pat simple but I couldn't beleive it when I started to play JB Goode. It seemed like whatever groove I played wasnt quite right...hence my query, though reckon I will prob settle on a four time shuffle with ghost notes..less exhausting.

Its a big set list with all the usual funky/groovy suspects so its def gonna be a lot of fun. Cant wait.

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I have been learning Johnny B Goode this last week, a bit odd as we mostly play 70-90s punk/ hard rock but we are dropping it in for a charity gig we are doing in three weeks (opening for a ladies choir average age 70+ - don't ask) as we think there may well be a few veterans in the crowd. It's not something I listened to personally and if I am honest I didn't like the idea at first when it was mentioned but I am really enjoying playing it. As said above, there is a lot more challenge to it than first impressions would suggest and getting it spot on takes more time than you would think.

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[quote name='ians' timestamp='1489342165' post='3256192']
Got a call through friends of friends for a couple of functions in a localish well established cover band. Got the list today and they do a handful of 50's R&Rollers....Elvis, Chuck, Buddy etc.

Just seems funny going through them in this world of instant pop music, X Factor, Beyonce et al.

I haven't played this stuff in literally decades and when i did it seemed old back in the 70's.

Just wondering what the vibe is doing this stuff...its almost joke music isn't it? Oh and by the way is Johnny B Good 16ths or four time with ghost notes...see Im taking it real serious...ha
[/quote]

It's still popular. Last year I auditioned for some lads in their seventies who were quite serious about it.

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If you're going to do a Chuck cover justice, you need a bloody good piano player!

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Do Chuck justice. . . . don't make it rock. . . . make it swing.

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Posted (edited)
Scaply has a point. Chuck's famous guitar riffs he transposed from jazz/blues piano. Interesting article below:

[url="http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/keith-richards-remembers-johnnie-johnson-20050415"]http://www.rollingst...ohnson-20050415[/url] Edited by grandad

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And another article:

http://www.bluesmusicnow.com/jj20.html

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Don't play it "square" like modern rock. It needs to swing with some great walking bass lines. Great energy music.

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Posted (edited)
[quote name='casapete' timestamp='1489342858' post='3256197'] ( For example , in 'Johnny B. Goode' so many people insist on playing
the IV chord towards the end of each verse when it stays on the V etc.)


Good luck, hope you enjoy the gig!
[/quote]

Your lips to my ears! I play bass in a 60s "washingtons axe" band - Paul Neon and th Saints. The last original Saint retired when I joined the band a few years back but YES getting the right feel isn't as easy as younger players think it is.
Same went for my time working the country-western circuit. A humbling experience when you realise what is really going on on those "root fifth" songs you thought you knew all about, going in.

O.P. Treat the music with a little consideration and respect and actually learn the feel, not just the notes, and I bet you will start to really enjoy it for what it is.
It isnt that obvious till you and the drummer get it properly.
Our current drummer is a pro level prog rocker from way back but really struggled to find the groove playing fours on the hihat! :D Edited by ivansc

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A number of folks have spoken about getting the "feel" of the song. This is an interesting point and it's something that I've noticed at the music club I help manage. A number of up and coming players are obviously hard at work learning their scales and play note-perfect. What I think comes with time is a confidence and a relaxation which helps get the "feel" of the groove across. And watching folk over time it is noticeable.

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[quote name='grandad' timestamp='1489391356' post='3256459']
Chuck's famous guitar riffs he transposed from jazz/blues piano.
[/quote]

He also borrows quite a lot from T Bone Walker.

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Even though I'm not very good at it, I LOVE playing Jonny B Goode on dep gigs as I never get to play older r'n'r songs or shuffles at any other time; it's outside my comfort zone :)

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This is pretty much all my band plays (with the occasional 60s song). Chuck Berry, Eddie Cochran, Elvis etc.

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I agree, but that Jonny B Goode turnaround is a nightmare to get anyone to agree on. I've played in bands where we're all playing off the same page at one rehearsal but come the next rehearsal or the gig, it's like we had never agreed how to play it. :D

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I agree with most of above, it's easy to get horribly wrong. Often thrashed to death when it needs a hop skip and bounce to it (you can tell how good my theory is using all these technical terms :D ). It's had people out of their seats and on to the dance floors for decades. It's no fluke.

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[quote name='casapete' timestamp='1489342858' post='3256197']
Doing Chuck Berry stuff properly is a damned sight harder than you may think.
Getting the feel of the originals is notoriously difficult, with the drums and bass often
not playing the same styles ( straight / shuffle etc. ) As Keith Richard once said,
most bands can rock but few can roll.....
Also it's easy for songs to descend into a Quo type thrash, and for the chord changes
made the same. ( For example , in 'Johnny B. Goode' so many people insist on playing
the IV chord towards the end of each verse when it stays on the V etc.)


Good luck, hope you enjoy the gig!
[/quote]

When I pointed this out to my guitarist all I got was a blank look and 'it's a 12bar isn't it?'

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[quote name='Phil Starr' timestamp='1489421156' post='3256767']


When I pointed this out to my guitarist all I got was a blank look and 'it's a 12bar isn't it?'
[/quote]

Yep. That's usual. Shortly followed by "Well, let's just play it as a 12 bar it'll be simpler to remember." :D

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Great stuff peeps.

Longer ago than I care to remember I would bang these tunes out 12 bar style without giving them much thought but getting this gig as a much older player has really got me thinking about them and the way they need to be played.

And I agree with the above about respecting them and getting the feel right.....its fun and kinda makes a weird change from the usual function stuff.

(played with the keys before and hes well up to par so no probs there)

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One of my bands, Marty's Juke Joint, plays only rock n roll and boogie woogie from the 40s and 50s. We do nothing later than 1962, and I play upright bass. The feel is a swung shuffle as a previous poster stated, and bass is sparse. No 8th or 16th notes. Palm mute or stick a block of foam under the strings by the bridge if you want an authentic sound.

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