The Country Blues guitar duet tradition is rich and varied, but it has been relatively unexplored by present day blues players. This is a shame for a couple of reasons – there are a lot of great duets that merit being worked out and played for today's audiences, preserving the music, but there's also just the sheer enjoyment and fun involved in playing this music with a kindred spirit, someone who hears and responds to this music as you do yourself.
In Legendary Country Blues Duets, Frank and John have selected some of the really prime guitar duets in the Country Blues tradition to teach you. The songs they've chosen for the lesson have been picked to provide you with a variety of different duet approaches, sounds and techniques. In several instances, the two guitar parts are played out of different tunings or positions. In the course of the lesson, you'll work through and learn Kansas Joe & Memphis Minnie's Pile Drivin' Blues, Walter Beasley and Sylvester Weaver's Toad Frog Blues, Will Batts and Dan Sane's Country Woman, Yank Rachell and Dan Smith's Squeaky Work Bench Blues and Frank Stokes and Dan Sane's What's The Matter Blues.
For each one of the songs in the lesson, John and Frank take turns teaching their parts, which are then shown in slowed-down split-screen versions of each duet part followed by the two guitars together. TAB and standard notation of the guitar parts and the song lyrics are included as a PDF file on the DVD, as are the original recordings of the songs. You can choose to learn one or the other of the parts, or learn both parts and teach one to a friend. There is a richness in shared musical performance that is yours for the taking here. Learn Legendary Country Blues Duets and find out just how rewarding playing Country Blues with another guitarist can be.
136 minutes • Level 2 • Detailed tab/music PDF file on the DVD
Review: Misery just loves company. And thus began the exhilarating tradition whereby guitarists tag-teamed their troubles, doubling the despair, while doubling the razzle-dazzle. Born in the 1920s were "Legendary Country Blues Guitar Duets" as quintessential as the Beale Street Sheiks, who haul "What's The Matter Blues" on down the dirt road atop Frank Stoke's spring-action picking, as Dan Sane's single-note runs machine-gun out eighth notes. Not to be outdone, Memphis Minnie stutter-steps the slickest little set of wobbly runs through the sludge down where Kansas Joe McCoy's bass strings labor away on the thinly-disguised sexually-charged "Pile Drivin' Blues." Jack Kelly's South Memphis Jug Band keeps licks and hormones pumping with "Country Woman." Same for "Squeaky Work Bench Blues," except Yank Rachell's lead prefers complex math and snapping out notes which dance all over straight man Dan Smith's rhythmic feet. So partners didn't merely fly in formation; each had a role, usually with its own tuning or position. Using lots of slow-motion split-screen views, John Miller and Frank Basile patiently reveal how those old aces generated such gravitational pull between two conversing guitars. And then there is "Toad Frog Blues," a fabulous drab slab of amphibian surrealism where Walter Beasley seconds Sylvester Weaver's emotion on bottleneck slide. Thanks to the DVD's PDF tab/music/lyrics booklet, you'll know just when to croak out ""Every time I see a toad frog, Lord, it makes me cry/ Makes me think about my baby when he roll her goo-goo eyes." – Dennis Rozanski/Blues Rag