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West Coast Blues Thread Version 19

groove_king

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1,013
^^That's the first thing I thought of too. I've never heard it called the Charles Brown chord either. I just think of it as an "Otis-chord".
 

stratocat63

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3,541
I'm a big Charles Brown fan, good question. He uses an augmented on the 5 a lot but so do lots of people.
 

tapeworm

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8,624
Never heard it called that, but it has got to be the figure happening between 2:08 and 2:12.
I have to admit I am not familiar with Charles Brown, but I will familiarize myself with him immediately.

I always assumed, if in fact the "Charles Brown chords" is what Otis played from 2:08-2:12 in the video linked, that it was an Otis thing. I love the sound and the way he throws it into so many recordings. Kid Andersen tried explaining it to me a while back via messages, but I am still working on it. He really nails that Otis whole thing, the feel and use of it though I'm sure a lot of guys do as well. I am trying to remember which recording I have heard where Otis plays that little thing for longer than a 4-5 second run, I will have to dig through my iPod today and post it if I can find it.

Man I love Otis, like literally love him. He is my main influence and a Blues deity for me. I've tried to own and consume all of his material that I could find for some time now.

From 7:28-7:34
 

StaxKing

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697
I miss Sean Costello today, and yet I never met him or even saw him live in person. That is the power of music; his musical artistry in particular.

 

tommc

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1,752
Otis plays a strat in this one. He takes the stage around 7:45 after band opens. This one says London 1983, I saw the same film with Japanese subtitles that says London 1981. The Japanese version lists players as OTIS RUSH (vo,g)/
TYRON GREEN (b)/
JONNI INSERNO (ds)/
DANNY DRAHER (g)
Alexis Korner (narration/interview)
 

straightblues

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9,714
Sorry to belabor this point gentleman. If Otis is playing an ES on that clip, why does it sound more woody and hollow than Kid Anderson's does on his clip? What is Otis doing different to capture that tone? My ES tone always sounds more like Kid's (more solid body to my ears) which isn't bad, just different. Any playing, amp settings, other stuff, that make up the difference in tone? How about a different bridge or tailpiece? Is its turning the amp really loud and the guitar way down?
 
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StaxKing

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Messages
697
I was suprised how close the mini humbuckers on a '64 Epi were to the pafs on my ex-'61 335 when I put them up against each other a year or so ago.

I think ultimately you are 90% hearing the wood not the pickups. And both of those guitars had good wood.
 

pete kanaras

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Messages
2,947
No they got that all wrong ... that was John Acerno (also known as Johnny Ace) on bass.
Wrong yes. That's Johnny Ace (Acerno) on Bass, Jerome "Big Foot" Green on drums (longtime drummer for Wilson Pickett), and Danny Draher on 2nd guitar. I played with all those guys and what you're seeing is basically Danny's band backing Otis. All killer, no filler, grown men playing the blues!
 
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tapeworm

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8,624
Otis is most likely playing his Epiphone Riviera on that track from "Chicago The Blues Today",it was recorded 1965 in Chicago,released in early 1966 with Luther Tucker on second guitar.This clip from the American Folk Blues Festival in Europe is from about the same time,Oct 1966.He wasn't playing a Gibson ES at that point.Also the good old days when folks didn't worry about pedals for great tone ;)

Here is another song from that show,backing Jr Wells
here's some more of Otis live with the Riviera from that same period

I can only imagine he was playing it in these recordings as well. That version of Sweet Little Angel has to be one of the best slow blues ever recorded. And Fred Below was just simply the greatest blues drummer ever IMO.
 

pete kanaras

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2,947
Regarding Otis' wise fool's tone, that album was recorded in 1976. The Epiphone was basically retired by then and he was playing Gibsons at that point
 
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tapeworm

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8,624
Regarding Otis' wise fool's tone, that album was recorded in 1976. The Epiphone was basically retired by then and he was playing Gibsons by that point
That was my next question! Because that album is my favorite live blues recording ever and that tone he had that night was just simply amazing. I definitely need a 335 or 345 now! I can get the Riviera tone going with my 69 Guild Starfire V.
 
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pete kanaras

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2,947
I can dig it! For me it's "live in japan", wise fools and the cobra strat stuff. Btw he used an Ampeg amp (not sure what model) for the cobra stuff with Ike Turner
 

tapeworm

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8,624
I can dig it! For me it's "live in japan", wise fools and the cobra strat stuff. Btw he used an Ampeg amp (not sure what model) for the cobra stuff with Ike Turner
I assume you mean "So Many Roads" when you say Live in Japan, from 1975. There was another Live In Japan from around 86 I believe. But the one from 75 was another amazing recording from Otis. The version of "So Many Roads" was really tasty. When he comes in with the pickup, now that is some killer tone. "I've Got News For You" became a staple for my band after hearing his version.
 

fretshop

Silver Supporting Member
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2,026
What is the "Charles Brown Chord"?

It's a jangly extended chord that Otis would sweep back and forth on, while also plucking back and forth with his little finger. I'll ask Mike Schwartz from Guitar Storage to do a short video of the chord, and the way I was taught to play it. The mistake most players make with this chord is that they only use the top four strings, D to high E, and just sweep and pick back and forth with no additional notes played by the little finger. Otis used his right index finger to barre from the A string, all the way across to the high E, he did the sweep, and added passing notes with the little finger. The difference is subtle, and it took a little patience at first to get the hand to stretch, and then get the little finger to move around on the strings.

I'll hopefully see Mike very soon, and we'll do a video. Otis also has several different finger vibrato variations in his bag of tricks. For me, they have been next to impossible to emulate with any string gauge heavier than .010-.046. If I can remember, I'll preview a couple in the video. If we listen to a couple early tunes, some stuff from the mid 70's, the Mid 80's and very early 90's, we'll hear a bit less impulse and frenetic "wiggling" in the pick attack and finger vibrato as the years progress. He loved to work that B string. We were out for drinks and snacks one evening, and Otis took my hand and moved it around on his right hand finger tips. He remarked something akin to "I don't have your regular callouses...like a regular player". I was surprised. I stopped working with Otis in 1992 after a debilitating accident that put me out for over two years. But up until that time, I took care of all his instruments. The action set up was High to low...a higher action at the high E string, slightly lower on the B and G, then really low on the wound strings so he could squeeze and pull at the high strings without interference. He'd explain it as being able to get at the high strings and bring them in and down without "bumping" into the bass strings.
 
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fretshop

Silver Supporting Member
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2,026
I can dig it! For me it's "live in japan", wise fools and the cobra strat stuff. Btw he used an Ampeg amp (not sure what model) for the cobra stuff with Ike Turner
Yeah, like we discussed over breakfast yesterday, I found the same model amp for $350 with a Fender replacement speaker and gave it to Dennis Kager. I wish I still had it. It's been over thirty years, but I'm thinking that it was an M-12. Otis saw the amp in the repair room one day and started laughing.
 

tapeworm

Member
Messages
8,624
It's a jangly extended chord that Otis would sweep back and forth on, while also plucking back and forth with his little finger. I'll ask Mike Schwartz from Guitar Storage to do a short video of the chord, and the way I was taught to play it. The mistake most players make with this chord is that they only use the top four strings, D to high E, and just sweep and pick back and forth with no additional notes played by the little finger. Otis used his right index finger to barre from the A string, all the way across to the high E, he did the sweep, and added passing notes with the little finger. The difference is subtle, and it took a little patience at first to get the hand to stretch, and then get the little finger to move around on the strings.

I'll hopefully see Mike very soon, and we'll do a video. Otis also has several different finger vibrato variations in his bag of tricks. For me, they have been next to impossible to emulate with any string gauge heavier than .010-.046. If I can remember, I'll preview a couple in the video. If we listen to a couple early tunes, some stuff from the mid 70's, the Mid 80's and very early 90's, we'll hear a bit less impulse and frenetic "wiggling" in the pick attack and finger vibrato as the years progress. He loved to work that B string. We were out for drinks and snacks one evening, and Otis took my hand and moved it around on his right hand finger tips. He remarked something akin to "I don't have your regular callouses...like a regular player". I was surprised. I stopped working with Otis in 1992 after a debilitating accident that put me out for over two years. But up until that time, I took care of all his instruments. The action set up was High to low...a higher action at the high E string, slightly lower on the B and G, then really low on the wound strings so he could squeeze and pull at the high strings without interference. He'd explain it as being able to get at the high strings and bring them in and down without "bumping" into the bass strings.
This would be GREAT!! I am definitely looking forward to the video. :aok

Hearing you guys talk about Otis so personally and from first hand experience, man I have the biggest smile on my face while reading these posts.
 

fretshop

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,026
Never heard it called that, but it has got to be the figure happening between 2:08 and 2:12.

That's it. Funny story...I opened for Anson Funderburgh, Debbie Davies and Ronnie Earl in 2004 at festival in Springfield Mass hosted by Theodore's Blues Club and their next door neighbor, a raucous strip joint called The Barbary. We're upstairs hanging out and tuning up for the second show, and Ronnie asks me "What was that thing you were doing with Otis' "secret" chord ?" I replied...yeah, he calls it his Charles Brown chord because it reminds him of a big piano chord. Ronnie replied "Lemme see your version". I told him, this is the way Otis showed me how to do it, and I went over it two or three times. Ronnie took the guitar, did it his way, shrugged and gave the guitar back to me. He goes..."I like my way".

O.K. !!
 




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