Cory” Seznec is a Franco-American musician living in Paris, France. A multicultural household, extensive travels and musical encounters, and a passion for history exposed Cory to sounds from around the world, helping him to develop his own distinct style that reflects his broad interests. Cory focuses on fingerstyle guitar, clawhammer banjo, voice, harmonica, and an array of other instruments. A founding member of Groanbox and Seznec Bros, Cory also helped create the Sawmill Sessions, an Old-Time and Bluegrass collective in Paris. A resident of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for 3.5 years, he was active in two bands MistO-MistO and Damakase, which mix Ethiopian music with other African styles. In July 2016, Cory embarked on a trip with filmmaker Gonzalo Guajardo to Luhya country in western Kenya to make a documentary on some of the few remaining omutibo style guitar players.Back to Singles Catalog Listing
This is my very humble interpretation of the late great New Orleans piano prodigy James Booker's hit. I love this tune and find it particularly pertinent in this day and age. Booker, a gay, one eyed heroin addict, had evidently lived multiple lives within his relatively short life. This song is about how he knew that the government was spying on him. Not only is it a virtuosic piece of music, it was also in my eyes very pertinent to today's surveillance society.
Since I am no James Booker, I simplified a lot and focused on getting a good groove going. The arrangement should be relatively straightforward. The more
accomplished guitar soloist might find room to pepper the groove with a little more single-note spice here and there. The Cadd9(sus4) that keeps popping
up in the verse is probably the hardest stretch on the fingers, and the bridge has a little wonky finger-work too including the walk up back to the
verse (measures 62-65). Other than that, it should be relatively straightforward.
This is an exercise in playing a classic blues tune in a New Orleans/Latin rumba style. Like in Looking for a Woman, the goal would be to nail down the rumba rhythmic pattern in the right hand before moving on to the lefthand work. In this piece I don’t use the strum in the verse like in Looking for a Woman, but favor percussive righthand rolls to give it a light bounce. The lefthand features a lot of work with the pinky - pull offs, triplets, etc - particularly in the variations, and in general is where you’ll find all the complicated stuff. The challenge was to incorporate a bit of that Professor Longhair/Champion Jack Dupree/Archibald style and make it work for the guitar.
This arrangement is based on the piano arrangement by J. Rosamond Johnson found in The Book of American Spirituals, edited by James Weldon Johnson and published by The Viking Press in 1925. I used more or less the same bass lines as Johnson and the B-Part is also similar. However, I did sneak in a few different chords here and there and added the extra passages between the A and B parts and at the end. It was really refreshing to discover Johnson’s beautiful rendition of this old classic, as the versions I’ve heard have always been more simplified harmonically. There is a heavy swing on this piece, and a lot of movement as well, particularly in the bass. Once you lock it in, keep it swinging!
Snooks Eaglin is one of my favorite guitarists. Particularly his first two solo records “New Orleans Street Singer” (1959) and “That’s All Right” (1961). He had all the right combinations of rawness, virtuosity, idiosyncratic style, and incredible energy. This tab is my interpretation of his scorching rendition of the New Orleans classic “High Society”, which I daresay might go down in history as his magnum opus! Since Snooks’ style was entirely unique (check whatever vids you can find of him on youtube and study his right hand - he looks almost like he’s playing clawhammer banjo!), I wouldn’t deign to play it exactly like he did.
That said, I would suggest using this tab as a basic guide to learning the tune, after which one would want to focus heavily on the rhythmic attack (which I am still trying fully to get my head around!) that Snooks was so insanely good at. My rhythmic approach was to add some thumb drags à la Blind Blake here and there, and to add a little bit more alternating bass than Snooks’ version. In his case it’s never quite alternating bass, never quite full on strum, but definitely full on Snooks. There’s bits of flamenco, jazz, blues, a whole lotta swing - guess that’s the New Orleans sound for you!
This is my loose interpretation of Snooks Eaglin�۪s fantastic rendition of Bo Diddley�۪s tune. In order to get this song down it helps to be familiar with the New Orleans rumba rhythmic pattern. This can be heard among others in the music of Professor Longhair, Dr. John, most of the various modern brass bands, and in Snooks Eaglin's guitar playing. There are very few guitar players I am aware of who play rumba fingerstyle - one is my friend Parrish Ellis (former guitar player for the Wiyos), and the others are south central / east African fingerpickers, most of whom have passed on.
As such, this tab in many ways is an attempt to get this style out there. It's not at all easy to nail down if you are locked into alternating bass patterns. First off would be to get that rumba bass line to cooperate - it's essentially two dotted quarter notes followed by a quarter note in a 4/4 bar. After that, work on the triplet driven, Spanish guitar style strum over the verse and then begin incorporating all the snazzy left hand ornamentation.