“The blues is the foundation, and it’s got to carry the top. The other part of the scene—the rock’n’roll and the jazz—are the walls of the blues.” – Luther Allison
July 20, 2022 Volume 3, Issue 15
Make a Chicago Blues Song in Your Style Today’s Focus: “Got My Mojo Workin'”
How Do You Make a Classic Song Into Something New?
Performing any classic Chicago Blues song in your set brings up the challenge of how to put your own stamp on it while remaining true to the core of the song. Here’s some ideas to help you make a cover song in your own style.
Let’s look at the classic song “Got My Mojo Workin'” which is best-known by Muddy Waters’s signature version. The song was written by Preston “Red” Foster and was released on 45 rpm record by vocalist Ann Cole, in 1956.
VERSION ONE Ann Cole: Got My Mojo Workin’ The emphasis is on making you dance! Check out the blistering horn lines and accents on guitar
VERSION TWO Muddy Waters: Got My Mojo Workin’ Energetic call and response, with earth-shattering rhythm and drum fills plus… that signature cool vocal delivery
VERSION THREE Johnny Winter: Got My Mojo Workin’ Check out the clean, driving rhythm and the prominent harp
VERSION FOUR Jimmy Smith: I Got My Mojo Workin’ Check out the different, more laid-back groove and feel on B3 organ, the punctuated horn lines and growling, raspy vocals
There’s lots of ways to make a classic song fresh with the way you perform and deliver it. Check out the Chicago Blues Network Set List (or forward the link to a musician you know!) and get started on some Chicago Blues tunes today.
The Chicago Blues Network Set List include 16 classic Chicago Blues songs, which you can learn at the annual Chicago Blues Bootcamp. Learn Blues alongside Chicago Blues Masters— professional musicians who eat, sleep and breathe the Blues. You’ll get insights on the songs that the Chicago Blues Masters perform at clubs and festivals worldwide.
Compositional Cues And Loops Fire Young Band, Julián & Friends, at Jazz Showcase
Fresh offerings from composer-pianist Julián Pujols-Quall’s ensemble, Julián & Friends, were served up at Chicago’s venerable Jazz Showcase on June 22 and included in a return engagement the following week. The young leader and arranger teamed up with his sympatico Peabody Institute schoolmate Ethan Bailey-Gould on guitar, former Whitney High School Performing Arts musical mate Charlie O’Neill on drums, and friend Leo Buszkowski on bass to magnificent effect. Sparkling original pieces from each band member inspired silver-toned aerial improvisations within their agile quartet. Particularly lyrical and free flowing, Bailey Gould’s “Machine That Powers Itself ” and Pujols-Quall’s “Curtains” were showcased in both sets on debut night.
Julián articulated the origin of the magnificent “Curtains”: “I think my favorite element of structure in my compositions are cues and loops. It isn’t necessarily a new idea, Wynton Marsalis used it in Knozz-Moe-King forty years ago. But giving restrictions to form does give tons of freedom to the improviser. In “Curtains,” the head isn’t restated at the end but transformed into 7 short loops where the percussionist has the liberty to decide how long the loops are for their solo, and how they choose to give contour to those loops. The piece is also highly influenced by the work of the Immanuel Wilkins Quartet and mainly based on that combination of sounds. Their overall mix and especially Kweku’s sound draw much from Sorsene and Dununba rhythms.” He went on to add, “Coincidentally, my drumming in a West African dance class at Peabody Institute have underscored a connection between dance and music, and these rhythms have seeped into the tune. I really want to make people dance with ‘Curtains.’ ”
According to the young pianist, his main keyboard influences have been Barry Harris, Errol Garner, and fellow Chicagoan Ahmad Jamal, but his first love was for saxophonist Cannonball Adderley. “Cannonball’s solo on ‘Autumn Leaves’ is half of the reason I wanted to play jazz,” he reflected. “More recently, though, Venezuelan Merengue and West African rhythms are the stuff influencing me. I came up with Latin rhythms and classical music. Slow blues is a passion, bop informed my understanding of rhythmic concepts. Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder… so much resonated in my musical household.”
The conservatory trained Pujols-Quall, who includes workshopping at Orbert Davis’ Chicago Jazz Philharmonic Youth Camp on his resume’, is one to keep an eye on during and after his final year at Peabody in Baltimore.
Mr. Hurley is a contributing photographer and writer for Living Blues Magazine and the staff photographer for Chicago Blues Network. His recent book Blues Legacy: Tradition and Innovation in Chicago, in collaboration with Blues historian and author David Whiteis, showcases his work in the field. His passion for blues music began with a 6th grade dance party discovery of Bo Diddley which led to Little Walter, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and so on. It continues to this day. Visit Peter’s Website here.
No Border Blues Hosts Johnny Burgin and Stephanie Tice Interview Blues Musicians from Around the World
NETTO ROCKFELLER Sponsored by Chicago Blues Network
Latin American Mojo Style: Netto Rockfeller! No Border Blues #14
From the archives… “For the last 18 years, Netto Rockfeller’s been working with his own band, running the Blue Crawfish record label, and touring with US and European musicians in Brazil such as Willie Buck, Tail Dragger, Lazy Lester, Johnny Nicholas, Quique Gomez, Wallace Coleman, and Steve Guyger, just to name a few. He was inspired as a teenager by Brazil’s most successful blues band, Blues Estilicos. Netto describes the communal spirit of Brazil’s blues scene, being mentored by Flávio Guimarães and other older Brazilian blues musicians. His ninth CD, The Latin American Mojo Style of Netto Rockfeller, was his first one to be recorded in the US (at Kid Andersen’s famed studio Greaseland in San Jose CA), and features John Blues Boyd, Whitney Shay, Kid Andersen, Jim Pugh and June Core. As the title indicates, it’s an upbeat CD with both Latin American and straight ahead American blues sensibilities, featuring songs sung in Portuguese and a cover of a Los Pakines hit (Peru’s answer to The Shadows). Netto talked to us from his studio at Blue Crawfish records in São Carlos Do Pinhal, Brazil.” – No Border Blues
Listen to more No Border Blues podcasts in the player: click here.
Take a blues journey with No Border Blues, the only blues podcast focused on international blues artists and hidden blues scenes around the world. Delmark recording artist Johnny Burgin and producer Stephanie Tice shine a spotlight on notable international blues performers, discuss the blues scenes in their home countries, and present intimate and exclusive musical performances. Sponsored by Chicago Blues Network, bringing Chicago Blues to the world.
Featured Chicago Blues Network Trading 4s Concert Featuring Jimmy Burns, Dave Herrero and Anne Harris
From the archives…take a listen to this great line-up on the Chicago Blues Network Trading 4s Concert stage:
Chicago Blues Network Trading 4s Featuring Jimmy Burns, Dave Herrero and Anne Harris
How One Violin and Two Artists are Making Music and History…
Anne Harris & Amanda Ewing Groundbreaking Commission
“Amanda Ewing is the first and only Black woman luthier in the United States. Anne Harris, a Chicago-based singer-songwriter and violinist, is commissioning Amanda to make her a violin. This is the first time in the US that a Black woman is making a violin for a Black woman. This video is for the GoFundMe campaign in support of this historic event. Please visit my GoFundMe campaign and support this history-making project!” – Anne Harris YouTube Channel
Behind the Scenes Chicago Blues Masters Dave Specter & Brother John Kattke Perform and Share Insights for “On Your Way Down”
“On Your Way Down” written by Allen Toussaint, is performed by Dave Specter and Brother John Kattke in the video below. These Chicago Blues Masters take time to talk about the playing, chords, and performance techniques in a duo or full band.
Dave Specter and Brother John Kattke: On Your Way Down
“It’s not a 12-bar Blues…but to me it has as much Blues feeling and Blues message in the lyrics and in the groove as any Blues I know…Tunes like this have a really heavy Blues feeling even if they don’t have Blues structure…” – Dave Specter