One of the elements of blues music I try to emphasize is the fact that it’s kind of like puzzle pieces that you can put together into just about any style of song that you want.
The traditional 12 bar blues, while it seems like it might be stifling given the fact that the chords progression never changes, is actually what gives us such a huge amount of freedom in this music. In fact, it’s that freedom that really drew me to blues music in the first place 25ish years ago.
So with that said, I want to give you the background on what I put up here today. I was just cruising around YouTube (I know… putting off what needed to be done.) I typed in Freddie King and started watching an old TV appearance of him playing “I’m Tore Down.”
And I started thinking of all of the different versions of that tune that I’ve seen and heard, and thought I should put several together.
Now, believe me, there are a LOT of version of this song out there. I pulled 5, but there could be many more.
So first, here’s one of Freddie’s versions first (even he has a few of them floating around…)
Okay, now at the opposite end of the spectrum as far as chronology, the young guy – John Mayer. Unfortunately no video really (just a photo) but he plays in well and you can really hear his SRV influence in his tone and choice of notes:
Now, of course, one of my main influences over the years, Eric Clapton doing his version. Remarkably this sounds almost exactly like his From The Cradle recording:
Now here’s a fun one… I actually had to watch this a while just to make sure it was the same song! Blues rocker Rory Gallagher killing it:
One of my favorite newer recordings of this tune – Jeff Healey. This video’s a little awkward because it’s the studio recording over a live shot of it so it doesn’t always line up… but it’s still cool.
So you see, they all took basic blues elements and put them all together into their own making. What’s cool about this is that the same tune can be recorded by 5 or 10 different artists and still sound fresh and exciting some 40 or 50 years later.
The other big thing I want to point out here is that, had all of these artists simply learned the tune from whomever they heard it, and not also studied the blues in general… the big picture, they would never have been able to come up with these great new versions of that song.
So don’t just learn to play a song note-for-note and call it done. Learn the pieces and learn to mix and match them the way I show in the Blues Guitar Unleashed course.
Hope you enjoyed these clips as much as I enjoyed finding them. Feel free to leave a comment or share on Facebook.