have you seen my baby tell her I’ll see her in new orleans now if you see my baby tell her I’ll see her in new orleans or maybe in memphis, she’ll know just what i mean Hi – that’s a little part of a song I wrote
while ago called new orleans and it’s basically it’s a slow blues in e and it’s loosely based around the playing of lightnin’ hopkins when you’re putting a song together
there’s a few things that uh… you need to consider that we don’t really read about in books for example we’re playing a blues in e we’re just going to use three chords the major e chord a, the long a with a7 and b7 in two or three forms now because the blues in this way is there such a simple
structure we have a bit of a problem in the first place is a great advantage
because we don’t have to change chords many times but uh… one of our problems is that it’s
difficult to make it sound interesting to somebody listening to and we’ve all heard the the rendition of the famous blues in e that’s bored us stiff after maybe five minutes or so what can we do what do we do to make it
more interesting and there are various places that we
could do that the first place is the introduction
because we capture people’s attention it’s interesting and it sets the scene it sets the atmosphere for the song so we finish the introduction and we start to get ready to sing now singing brings its own particular
problems because we’re finger picking and it’s very very few people that can
finger prick uh… while they are singing with the same kind of dexterity so what we tend to do we have a little flourish before we
start and then we sing and while we’re singing we do something that’s a little bit less
complicated that we can handle at the same time desperately trying not to
show that what we try to do is quite difficult to sing along with
some finger picking patterns so in this song for example I start in this
way if you don’t make it down to new orleans and you notice that while I’m singing there’s not a lot happening and then after I’ve sung a few words hiding something to fill in ready for the next line because if not
its very boring we could sing if you don’t make it and its just a basic beat, but we can do
something extra this is the secret, trying to find this
extra to do if you don’t make it we could go down to new orleans so there’s always something happening
after lyrics that follows the basic form we can play around with what we do with
those locations also another thing to do that makes music a
little bit more interesting is to put the link between the chords so for example if I’m playing e and i’m going to move to a I’ll slide up from the second fret on the bass e string to the
4th in this way so it leads into a without going to
it directly, it provides more interest sometimes as you notice that when i get a little
bit lost I just strum when we’re moving from the a to the b7, which in it’s basic form is this chord we can just run up in this way and then run back to the a7 on the bass string when we go back to the e we can hammer on on this string it all the complexity – the’re very simple
things to do but it uh… it helps the audience to
uh… to enjoy the music. It introduces complexity but it’s not too complicated complicated and it doesn’t get in the way now of course at the end of every verse we’ve got this famous end tag or
turnaround for the blues in e it takes quite a
few forms a simple form that I like is this its really just on one string, you
can play it with a pinch or you can play it in this way with another finger and depending on the flavor of your blues in e you can add the other finger in the d7 formation to play
something like this in a kind of browny mcghee style of course this lends itself more to a ragtime swing feel and when we finish the verse, or finish the song we come back to e and there’s a tendency to move to b7 to turn around the verse in this way and then we sart singing again but in my opinion that’s not too it’s not too authentic very often the old blues men would stay on
that e chord when they finished in this way or they’d move to another part of the e chord instead of going back to the b7 if you don’t make it down to new orleans you don’t make it down to new orleans tell my gal I’ll see her in Memphis she’ll know what you mean but of course there’s more than one and tag, we’ve looked at a few really nice for finishing off the verse and turning around ready for the next verse we could play something like this or really anything we like that fitted it’s up to us to explore the
possibilities and try to create something that’s nice to listen to and as I often say, something this
authentic does it make a tingle run down your
spine if it doesn’t tried it again