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Chuck berry et al...funny Dep


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#1 oldbass

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 06:09 PM

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

#2 arthurhenry

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 06:15 PM

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.

#3 casapete

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 06:20 PM

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!

#4 Bolo

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 06:21 PM

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

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 06:26 PM

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.

#6 T-Bay

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 06:27 PM

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.

#7 keeponehandloose

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 06:44 PM

the original was on Double Bass played by Willie Dixon, you just cant get the same feel on electric.
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#8 SpondonBassed

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 07:05 PM

View Postians, on 12 March 2017 - 06:09 PM, said:

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

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

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#9 scalpy

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 08:13 PM

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

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 10:55 PM

Do Chuck justice. . . . don't make it rock. . . . make it swing.
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#11 grandad

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 07:49 AM

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

http://www.rollingst...ohnson-20050415

Edited by grandad, 13 March 2017 - 07:52 AM.

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#12 grandad

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 08:16 AM

And another article:

http://www.bluesmusicnow.com/jj20.html
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#13 Yank

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 08:42 AM

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

#14 ivansc

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 09:40 AM

View Postcasapete, on 12 March 2017 - 06:20 PM, said:

( 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!

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, 13 March 2017 - 09:41 AM.


#15 grandad

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 10:03 AM

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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#16 chris_b

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 10:25 AM

View Postgrandad, on 13 March 2017 - 07:49 AM, said:

Chuck's famous guitar riffs he transposed from jazz/blues piano.

He also borrows quite a lot from T Bone Walker.
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#17 Adrenochrome

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 10:46 AM

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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#18 DorsetBlue

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 11:35 AM

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

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 12:27 PM

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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#20 wateroftyne

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 12:55 PM

It's not joke music it if's done right.

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 01:13 PM

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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#22 Phil Starr

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 04:05 PM

View Postcasapete, on 12 March 2017 - 06:20 PM, said:

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!

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

#23 TimR

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 05:57 PM

View PostPhil Starr, on 13 March 2017 - 04:05 PM, said:



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

Yep. That's usual. Shortly followed by "Well, let's just play it as a 12 bar it'll be simpler to remember." :D
It doesn't matter how bad you are, if you enjoy it stick at it. There will always be a couple people who are worse than you and somebody will be making money from them.

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#24 oldbass

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 09:06 PM

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)

#25 Marty Forrer

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 10:45 PM

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.

#26 Marty Forrer

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 10:55 PM

If you want to get some authenticity, go to Youtube and listen to Amos Milburn and Big Joe Turner from the 40s. These guys were rock n roll long before Haley, Presley etc, but they were black so they never got mainstream radio play. Presley and Haley both stole their songs and pretty much copied them exactly. Fats Domino played rock n roll in the late 40s also. The term "rock n roll" is attributed largely to a white DJ called Alan Freed about 1954 or 55, but the black guys had that term in 1946. It's in the lyrics of Boogie Woogie Country Girl by Big Joe Turner.

#27 SpondonBassed

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 07:42 AM

View PostMarty Forrer, on 13 March 2017 - 10:55 PM, said:

If you want to get some authenticity, go to Youtube and listen to Amos Milburn and Big Joe Turner from the 40s. These guys were rock n roll long before Haley, Presley etc, but they were black so they never got mainstream radio play. Presley and Haley both stole their songs and pretty much copied them exactly. Fats Domino played rock n roll in the late 40s also. The term "rock n roll" is attributed largely to a white DJ called Alan Freed about 1954 or 55, but the black guys had that term in 1946. It's in the lyrics of Boogie Woogie Country Girl by Big Joe Turner.

Thanks for that. I've got some good stuff to look forward to when I can get time for listening just for the love of it.

At the moment I am practising some jazz standards for a local singer guitarist. I see Rock and Roll as the other side of the coin taken from the historical POV. Although I have explored the idea of taking up DB it is impractical for my circumstances. I may have more use for my fretless given the opportunities that are presenting themselves just now. It's not the same, I know. It's far more appropriate than an eighties style headless however.

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#28 ivansc

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 12:32 PM

Also listen to the PIANO on Chucks stuff and more importantly on ANY of Fats Domino's records. We all assume it was guitar-led music but so much of the feel actually stems from the piano parts.

An absolutely classic example of this is Teenage Wedding. Check it out.


OOPS SORRY! Just noticed someone earlier had commented on the piano led nature of a lot of the early stuff.

Edited by ivansc, 16 March 2017 - 09:52 PM.


#29 T-Bay

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 01:10 PM

View PostMarty Forrer, on 13 March 2017 - 10:55 PM, said:

If you want to get some authenticity, go to Youtube and listen to Amos Milburn and Big Joe Turner from the 40s. These guys were rock n roll long before Haley, Presley etc, but they were black so they never got mainstream radio play. Presley and Haley both stole their songs and pretty much copied them exactly. Fats Domino played rock n roll in the late 40s also. The term "rock n roll" is attributed largely to a white DJ called Alan Freed about 1954 or 55, but the black guys had that term in 1946. It's in the lyrics of Boogie Woogie Country Girl by Big Joe Turner.
Didn't the stones cover an Amos Milburn song? Can't remember the name but it will come to me...........

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 01:31 PM

Down The Road Apiece, on the Rolling Sones 2 album I think it was :-)
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