Spent a good part of my available energy this week being my own IT guy, and there is very little rewarding in that. You finally get it right, as you must, but there is nothing in way of a sense of satisfaction or having contributed anything of quality to the Universe. It’s gotta be done, so you do it. Then… nothing. Kind of a “now, where was I before I was so rudely interrupted?” feeling.
Undercover Blues Band rehearsal this afternoon. Definitely the highlight of my week. Had that great “second rehearsal” feel. Still loose and energetic, but beginning to find our legs again. We played (not necessarily in this order):
• Warmup 12-bar blues in E
• Don’t Go No Farther
• Taxi Blues
• Boom Boom
• The Same Thing
• Two Trains Running
• Dust My Broom
• First Train Home
• Key to the Highway
• The Red Rooster
• Mean Town Blues
The warmup on a blues in E was pretty typical of this band. We arrive. We set up. While setting up and tuning and generally getting ready, we gab about whatever is current and relevant. Someone starts playing. Everyone falls in. Something no one planned happens. Lovely. Don’t Go No Farther was a review from last week. Tried a couple of variations, and then found our way back to where we began. The order after that is not so clear in my mind, but those are the pieces for sure.
Key to the Highway is new for us. It’s swingier arrangement than the Little Walter/Derek and the Dominoes version. More Broonzy-fied, including the Broonzy verses at the end. Felt good, and it suits my voice. The arrangement isn’t quite there, but it has potential. Igor made the suggestion that I play something more reminiscent of a horn section, in a call and response with the voice, rather than straight rhythm guitar. I’ll put a little time into this tomorrow.
I pulled out Mean Town Blues at the end of rehearsal. It has been out of the mix for some time, but I really miss it. It boogies hard, and really resonates for me. Took a few minutes to reassemble the feel and the arrangement. A couple of changes from the way we used to play it. I wanted the instrumental bash in between verses 2 and 3 rather than 3 and 4. It’s a small thing but it changes the flow. We also experimented with an idea I had the other day. The piece is very high energy right from the first note, and the solo section has always been up a notch from there, and for me that is a strain. So rather than kick it up at that moment, we worked with taking it way down. Igor and I let the tonic note/chord ring and Bill keeps the groove but takes it way down. I improvise with Bill beginning dynamically down, with lots of space, and then as it builds up Igor slides back in at the right moment and we push it up to a climax and back into the driving groove as we go back to the verses. This just made me incredibly happy.
Dynamics seem to be a theme that is emerging for this incarnation of the band. Very satisfying. The feeling as we packed up and went our separate ways was, “We’re back!”