Jump to content

Blues Set List...


theGman

Recommended Posts

  • Members

Read this on a thread, wanted to ask, so I'll do it....

 

As a member of a small size blues band (keys, bass, lead + a little harp, drums)

 

What is a good blues set list?

 

What % of originals work out the best?

 

What do you do to keep the whole night from sounding boring?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

Read this on a thread, wanted to ask, so I'll do it....


As a member of a small size blues band (keys, bass, lead + a little harp, drums)


What is a good blues set list?


What % of originals work out the best?


What do you do to keep the whole night from sounding boring?

 

 

 

A good mix of done to death stuff along with some more out of the main stream stuff .....you want enough stuff that people know to get a boost off of that ,,, and a some good stuff that they havent heard before. Since blues is pretty redundant ,, you do need to know how to carry a show and keep people tuned into the people in the band. You need to be a personality on stage i think to do blues and keep it from getting boring.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

A good mix of done to death stuff along with some more out of the main stream stuff .....you want enough stuff that people know to get a boost off of that ,,, and a some good stuff that they havent heard before. Since blues is pretty redundant ,, you do need to know how to carry a show and keep people tuned into the people in the band. You need to be a personality on stage i think to do blues and keep it from getting boring.

 

 

^THIS^

Listen to the blues channel on Sirius/XM, and find online blues channels.

You're bound to turn up some good tunes.

 

Some people (youngsters, mainly) think "playin' the blooze" is a hang-dog, shoegaze great-uncle of Emo...it's not.

And not all blues is redundant...far from it.

 

Mix up your tempos and meters...you don't want to do three mid-tempo I-IV-V shuffles in a row, or three SRV tunes in a row, nor do you want to do three slow "Woke up dis mawnin' feelin' bad" cotton field call-and-response numbers in a row, either.

 

Delve into all areas - Delta, Texas, Chicago, Memphis/Memphis Soul, Malaco Records, Tex-Mex, contemprary acoustic, blue jazz...there's a ton of sub-genres.

 

Listen to artists like Derek Trucks, Joe Bonnamassa, classics of the three Kings, Muddy Waters, heck...early ZZ Top, even...there's plenty to choose from.

 

Search out fringe artists from the 30s and 40s, and rework their tunes into something modern.

 

If you've got good originals, make a point to introduce them to the audience as such...helps plug a CD (if you've got one), that way.

 

Learn how to play *good* slide guitar.

Find someone who doubles on harp...that always makes people notice.

(edit - I see you've got that covered - that's good)

Make sure your bass player and drummer know how to check their egos and create a deep pocket.

 

Most of all, be dynamic and engaging...hit the stage and simply own your repetoire.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Mix it up. Do the standards (Mannish Boy, Stormy Monday, etc) add in some Stevie Ray Vaughn, Memphis Slim, Bobby Blue Bland, throw in some originals and just do it. Blues is the greatest form of musical expression out there that can be enjoyed by all types of people.

 

Have fun and the crowd will have fun, but you have to mix it up. Do not do an hour of slow 1-4-5 blues in the same key. Even adding The Thrill is Gone with it's 6th can keep the audience interested.

 

...to coin a phrase..."the blues is the truth, and you can't lie about that"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I'm approaching this from the standpoint of variety, rhythm, keys, and especially progressions within the blues format. You'll get arguments about what will go over and what won't, but if you play well and if you can play some recognizable songs to their satisfaction, you'll have more leeway.

 

In no particular order . . . . (asterisk songs are on youtube)

 

Love Life and Money - Dr. John, Johnny Winter*

I Don't Need No Doctor - Scofield/Mayer*

I Take What I Want - Same & Dave*

Only In It For The Money - Dr. John, Jimmy Smith

One More Chance - Michael Burks

Rock Me, Baby - BB King, Eric Clapton

Crossroads - Eric Clapton (Live New Orleans style)

Aint' That Peculiar - Marvin Gaye*

Mailbox Blues - Taj Mahal* (live w/ keys)

I Ain't Got Nothin' But The Blues - Robben Ford* (w/keys)

Let the Good Times Roll - BB King/ Bland

Senor Blues - Taj Mahal

Killin' Floor - Electric Flag

Driftin' and Driftin' - Butterfield

Back at the Chicken Shack - Jimmy Smith

One More Heartache - Butterfield

I've Got News for You - Ray Charles*

Ain't Nobody's Business - Billie Holliday

I Love the Life I Live - Mose Allison

Sweet Home Chicago - Taj Mahal

Talk to Your Daughter - Robben Ford*

Hello Josephine - Fats Domino

 

Hope y'all find something new that you like.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Unless you are playing to a die hard blues crowd, or you have some kinda following, keep it to one in 10 songs. and then very well known tunes.

 

Unless: I think of what someone like the ABB, Gov't Mule or Bonamassa does to a blues tune. It's still the blues, but people are gonna dance to it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

^THIS^

Listen to the blues channel on Sirius/XM, and find online blues channels.

You're bound to turn up some good tunes.


Some people (youngsters, mainly) think "playin' the blooze" is a hang-dog, shoegaze great-uncle of Emo...it's not.

And not all blues is redundant...far from it.


Mix up your tempos and meters...you don't want to do three mid-tempo I-IV-V shuffles in a row, or three SRV tunes in a row, nor do you want to do three slow "Woke up dis mawnin' feelin' bad" cotton field call-and-response numbers in a row, either.


Delve into all areas - Delta, Texas, Chicago, Memphis/Memphis Soul, Malaco Records, Tex-Mex, contemprary acoustic, blue jazz...there's a ton of sub-genres.


Listen to artists like Derek Trucks, Joe Bonnamassa, classics of the three Kings, Muddy Waters, heck...early ZZ Top, even...there's plenty to choose from.


Search out fringe artists from the 30s and 40s, and rework their tunes into something modern.


If you've got good originals, make a point to introduce them to the audience as such...helps plug a CD (if you've got one), that way.


Learn how to play *good* slide guitar.

Find someone who doubles on
harp
...that always makes people notice.

(edit - I see you've got that covered - that's good)

Make sure your bass player and drummer know how to check their egos and create a deep pocket.


Most of all, be dynamic and engaging...hit the stage and simply
own
your repetoire.

 

 

 

You nailed it on the harp..... We had a guy named Homer ( omero ) Latino guy who blows bomb ass chicago style harp, sit in with us one night. We got him onboard as a regular on the blues set. People love a guy that can really cook on harp. It upped the energy on the set big time. Blues doesnt have to be boring. What makes our set work is the people who do the set are all known to our crowd. Hell Earl the Pearl has his own shirts he sells.

 

 

We joke around and call the blues band set, Earl the Pearl and the Divers. Ya gotta keep it interesting and you have to really relate to the people. Blues can work for a band, but you have to sell it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Thanks for all the info so far....have actually been doing many of the tips offered (been in this group for almost 2 years now).

As a thanks offering let me add some quotes from my favorite Bluezer, the late great Bleeding Gums Murphy of the Simpsons...

 

 

 

Bleedin' Gums Murphy: My friends call me Bleeding Gums.

Lisa: Eww, how'd you get a name like that?

Bleedin' Gums Murphy: Well, let me put it this way. You ever been to the dentist?

Lisa: Yeah.

Bleedin' Gums Murphy: Not me. I suppose I should go to one. But I've got enough pain in my life as it is.

 

My 2 favorites:

 

Bleedin' Gums Murphy: The blues isn't about feeling better. It's about making other people feel WORSE, and making a few bucks while you're at it.

 

Bleedin' Gums Murphy: You know, you play pretty well for someone with no real problems.

 

 

 

Bleedin' Gums Murphy: Then there was the time I guest-starred on "The Cosby Show".

Cliff Huxtable: Kids, this is your Grandpa Murphy.

Rudy Huxtable: But we've got three grandpas already.

Cliff Huxtable: This one's the famous jazz musician.

Rudy Huxtable: Ah, they all are.

Cliff Huxtable: Oh,oh-oh! You see, the kids these days, they listen to the rap music, which gives them the brain damage. With the hippin' and the hoppin' and the bippin' and the boppin', they don't know what the jazz is all about. Y'see, jazz is like Jello pudding... no, that's not it. Jazz is like Kodak film... no, that's not right neither. I've got it, jazz is like the new Coke - it'll be around forever.

Bleedin' Gums Murphy: Sigh.

 

 

 

Blind Man Willie Witherspoon: I've been playing the saxophone for 30 years. I want you to have it.

Bleedin' Gums Murphy: This isn't a saxophone. It's an umbrella.

Blind Man Willie Witherspoon: So I've been playing the umbrella for 30 years? Why didn't anyone ever tell me?

Bleedin' Gums Murphy: 'Cause we all thought it was funny.

Blind Man Willie Witherspoon: That's not funny.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Mix up your tempos, rhythmic styles, blues styles (Mississippi vs Chicago) and the KEYS (Man can't live on A alone).

 

The best bands I've seen also paid a LOT of attention to dynamics. Have 5 levels of loud/soft and vary them to build and release tension...

 

Example: there's a South American blues band that visits Birmingham every year called MO' BLUES and they have a neat trick for small clubs. Over the course of 4 verses they reduce their volume to the point where the guitars are basically off and you can barely hear them plinking out the notes. Every patron in the club is silent and leaning in closer to hear...then on the next verse they crank it back to 11 for the dramatic punch. Works like a charm. Everybody laughs and applauds because they got musically sucker-punched.

 

In my last blues band we added in some Derek Trucks, Dr. John, Joe Cocker, and Taj Mahal to give it more of a funky jam blues feel. It was a nice change of pace from all the SRV-style players in town.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

there's a South American blues band that visits Birmingham every year called MO' BLUES and they have a neat trick for small clubs. Over the course of 4 verses they reduce their volume to the point where the guitars are basically off and you can barely hear them plinking out the notes. Every patron in the club is silent and leaning in closer to hear...then on the next verse they crank it back to 11 for the dramatic punch. Works like a charm. Everybody laughs and applauds because they got musically sucker-punched.

 

 

There used to be a band out of Mobile called the Curl Brothers back in the 70s and 80s, who would do that...it was awesome.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Pat has some great dynamics on that dont touch my guitar track.... i love the way things start spooling down and you think its the end of the song and then it just explodes in a fury... that is one well arranged song.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

There used to be a band out of Mobile called the Curl Brothers back in the 70s and 80s, who would do that...it was awesome.

 

 

Count Basie used to do that. . . . start the concert with a simple walking bass + ride cymbal. The audience is still yacking away . . . then BAM, the whole band hits a fff chord . . . . then goes back to the walking bass. Basie turns to the crowd . . . smiles . . . . they laugh . . . . now he owns them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

Count Basie used to do that. . . . start the concert with a simple walking bass + ride cymbal. The audience is still yacking away . . . then BAM, the whole band hits a fff chord . . . . then goes back to the walking bass. Basie turns to the crowd . . . smiles . . . . they laugh . . . . now he owns them.

 

 

Goes all the way back to Joseph Haydn!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Play songs that have great blues lyrics. People eat that up. Play a lot of the classic blues tunes like Sweet Home Chicago, Stormy Monday, The Thrill is Gone, Got My Mojo Workin', and Hoochie Koochie man. Play songs with different feels and rhythmic ideas. Do shuffles, stop time shuffles, slow blues, rockin' blues, funky blues. Mix it up.

 

Also play with emotion. Blues is all about emotion. Let the solos build. Start off the beginning of the solo mellow and build build build until the end of the solo and then drop back down to nothing for the beginning of the next solo. Repeat. You gotta use dynamics. Nothing is more boring than a blues band with no dynamics. I also agree on the harmonica. Makes the blues sound authentic.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I think of the songs i'd love to walk into a bar and hear being played so i feel comfortable. these come to mind:

 

Crossroads/Eric Clapton's Version

The Sky Is Cryin/SRV

Little By Little/Susan Tedeschi

Leave My Little Girl Alone/SRV

Blue Jean Blues/ZZ Top

Have You Ever Loved A Woman/Clapton

Fool For Your Stockings/ZZ Top

Paying The Cost To Be The Boss/B.B. King

The Thrill Is Gone/B.B. King

Give Me One Reason To Stay Here/Tracy Chapman

Just Got Back From Baby's/ZZ Top

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

Play songs that have great blues lyrics. People eat that up. Play a lot of the classic blues tunes like Sweet Home Chicago, Stormy Monday, The Thrill is Gone, Got My Mojo Workin', and Hoochie Koochie man. Play songs with different feels and rhythmic ideas. Do shuffles, stop time shuffles, slow blues, rockin' blues, funky blues. Mix it up.


Also play with emotion. Blues is all about emotion. Let the solos build. Start off the beginning of the solo mellow and build build build until the end of the solo and then drop back down to nothing for the beginning of the next solo. Repeat. You gotta use dynamics. Nothing is more boring than a blues band with no dynamics. I also agree on the harmonica. Makes the blues sound authentic.

 

 

 

We do mojo , stormy monday, sweet home chicago , texas, treat her right, hit the road jack, murder in my heart for the judge, stangsally, in the blues set. Prolly do some I dont even remember doing even though we did them every week. Blues aint rocket science....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

We do mojo , stormy monday, sweet home chicago , texas, treat her right, hit the road jack, murder in my heart for the judge, stangsally, in the blues set. Prolly do some I dont even remember doing even though we did them every week. Blues aint rocket science....

 

 

Oh I beg to differ. Freddie King tunes have diminished chords. That mindset is what makes it boring. It is mostly HIGH art if one pays attention, but there is definitely a science to learning, having, feeling the blues. Robert Cray has tunes with fancy chords and a specific bassline that's signature.

 

GMan. Most of the advice already offered is excellent. Use it.

 

If you're bored playing blues, you simply are not doing it right. Throw in some RnB. They'll dance.

 

I recommend you not try to play blues with rock (only) musicians. That whole macho, arrogant, wanker nonsense @ 11 gets really boring if your audience came for blues.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

I recommend you not try to play blues with rock (only) musicians. That whole macho, arrogant, wanker nonsense @ 11 gets really boring if your audience came for blues.

 

 

Yeah, I REALLY want to talk to your keyboard player. I've played with three different blues bands this past year, and even though they seemed delighted to get a keyboard player, they had rather limited ideas about what I should and shouldn't be doing . . . . rhythmically, tone, chords, etc. None of these bands really considered R&B to be part of the genre, yet willingly embraced straight up R&R.

 

Still, there's a lot you can do with a guitar fronted format. Listen to "One More Chance", Michael Burks, and "Love the Life I Live" Robben Ford (Mose Allison.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

Oh I beg to differ. Freddie King tunes have diminished chords. That mindset is what makes it boring. It is mostly HIGH art if one pays attention, but there is definitely a science to learning, having, feeling the blues. Robert Cray has tunes with fancy chords and a specific bassline that's signature.


GMan. Most of the advice already offered is excellent. Use it.


If you're bored playing blues, you simply are not doing it right. Throw in some RnB. They'll dance.


I recommend you not try to play blues with rock (only) musicians. That whole macho, arrogant, wanker nonsense @ 11 gets really boring if your audience came for blues.

 

 

 

we do a pretty flexable show ,, we have alot of guests. We do a blues set every show. We have a regular blues band starting line up fronted by a great bass player front man,to kick off this set,, and also bring up guest players and artists

 

.... Playing stuff you never played before tends to go with that territory. I was playing with a 7 piece with a horn section at age 18 , and was in a state champ jazz band at the same time. That was a pretty good foundation for playing blues... What I do now is not a dedicated blues band ,,, we do all kinds of stuff with all kinds of people Being able to work on the fly is a big part of what we do. as for blues. Had this cat show up and sit in and we backed him up one night ,, For sure that was not boring.

 

Thats a fun part of this little deal we do ,, you never know who is gonna walk through the door. Its kinda like pawn stars. What a pleasure it was to back up brian ,, he brought the house down. To me taking musicans who may have not even played together and getting up and playing and sounding good is part of the blues. Its a feeling a mood and a flow. Its not rocket sience its blues. I had never seen a double slide player before ,, wow ,, this cat was good. It was wild , he showed up guitar in hand ,,he and his wife sat at a table with my wife. The place was standing room only. Brian took the stage and owned that crowd. thats what blues is all about.

 

http://www.briancober.com/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

Avoid the cliches. Avoid the copycats. go to the source material, and do wha tthe white guys did in the 60s. Make it all fresh again. Well, it has worked for us for a decade...but, we are a blues band in t town that hates blues bands...;)

Really, don't do any SRV, ABB, Cream, KWS, ...just don't...the classic rock guys have beat that horse to death. Someone said go to the three Kings, which is a good place to start...I say go back further. Muddy, Wolf, Little Walter, before Chess, pre-war... Nat 'King' Cole Trio, Charles Brown, Big Bands, Louis Jordan, Cab Calloway, ...and then the old acoustic material (I occassionally drag out some relics from the late 20s and electrify them) there is so much great blues source material people don't know about...until they hear it and then they say...'wow, is that where [that expression] came from?'...oh, yez...oh, yez...

:cool:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...