Last Kind Words

August 18, 2010 4:37 AM

Those familiar with relatively obscure early blues, and/or those who've seen the R. Crumb documentary Crumb might know this one, originally recorded in 1930 by Geeshie Wiley. Here's the Ghost Steppers (duo incarnation) performing the tune on August 16, 2010. The one-year-old who was gleefully running about the room and occasionally trying to ascend to the stage may occasionally be heard in this recording. He was damn cute. Video at YouTube.

posted by flapjax at midnite (10 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Here's that scene from Crumb, featuring the song (last half only), played from an original 78rpm, from his voluminous collection.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:44 AM on August 18, 2010

Entertaining as ever Flapjax - your inventiveness with various combinations of percussion instruments is genuinely cool. Like the guitar sound too btw - nice touch of janglyness here and there. Bit of judicious slide wouldn't have gone amiss.........
posted by MajorDundee at 2:29 PM on August 18, 2010

Yea, sweet and cool. Cool Hand Luke cool. I love how you guys roll through this like it's as natural as the day is long.

Speaking of Crumb, man he's a good starting point for finding and learning about old music.
posted by snsranch at 4:22 PM on August 18, 2010

Thanks, Dundee and sns. Regarding the guitar sound, it is pretty good for live, isn't it? It can be pretty difficult to get a good live sound from acoustic guitar. This time, he was using his pickup (inserted into the sound hole), run through a Fender DeLuxe (one of the house amps at Super Deluxe) plus a mic on the guitar, going straight to the PA.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:36 PM on August 18, 2010

Speaking of which, any of you guitarists got any useful tips/tricks/suggestions on live sound for acoustic guitar?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:40 PM on August 18, 2010

got any useful tips/tricks/suggestions on live sound for acoustic guitar?

Heya flapjax, that is a great question and you should really post it to music talk. I'd really love to hear what folks have to say about it.

My personal opinion is that finger picking and finger style should be picked up with a mic and that using a pickup in conjunction might muddy all of the little nuances and percussions that happen with the fingers.

I guess simply put, I'd rather hear what the fingers are doing with the strings, in this acoustic context, than hear an amps interpretation.

For sure, that's all up to who is playing the guitar and what they want to sound like.
posted by snsranch at 7:24 PM on August 19, 2010

One of my favorite songs. Very nice, flapjax.
posted by box at 6:03 AM on August 20, 2010

got any useful tips/tricks/suggestions on live sound for acoustic guitar?

As sns observes - good question Flapjax. But I don't think there is, or ever will be, a perfect solution. It's perhaps a horses for courses kinda problem. The natural habitat of the acoustic guitar is a small, intimate environment or a purpose-designed auditorium where the instrument is performing solo. I think the same may be true for almost all acoustic multi-stringed instruments. Magnetic or acoustic pick-up fail to capture the richness and depth of tone and colour that is the hallmark of these instruments. And those microphones that are capable of picking up and faithfully reproducing the complex texture of say, a lute, are way too sensitive to be used in a context where other instruments are also playing loudly or being amplified. Probably not explaining that very well, but, hell, I know what I mean.......
posted by MajorDundee at 11:43 AM on August 20, 2010

Probably not explaining that very well, but, hell, I know what I mean.......

I think what the Major is trying to say is that you can't amplify acoustic guitar. It just changes the sound too much. That type of delicateness can't exist at the requisite energy levels for concert hall performance. So the amplified acoustic guitar is always a kind of compromise.

Regarding this performance, flapjax, there was very little compromise... you guys nailed it. I verily enjoyed the audio, but the video performance is again a must see. Did you build that drumset yourself? The dedicated mic is key to letting you dance around / maintain the sound.
posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 11:05 PM on August 27, 2010

Yes, abc123, I put that together myself. i call it the Walking Drums. And thanks for your kind comment!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:39 AM on August 28, 2010

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