February 13th, 2004

accordion santa

PINETOP'S BOOGIE WOOGIE

I play blues piano. I don't think I'm completely terrible, but I can certainly use a lot of improvement.

When I was first playing piano I made some half-assed attempts to learn some of the standard boogie woogie piano pieces, things like the Chicken Shack, the Dirty Dozens, the odd Jimmy Yancey piece and, of course, Pine Top's Boogie Woogie.

Pine Top Smith was a boogie woogie piano player who, in 1928, recorded the song 'Pine Top's Boogie Woogie'. It's basically a piano solo piece with a bass line that became (if it wasn't already) one of the standard bass lines and a few alternating right hand parts that he played over it. What really made the piece, though, was the patter that he kept going while playing, which went something like: "Now listen you all, this is my Pine Top strut. I want everyone dancing just like I tell you. And when I say to hold yourself, get ready to stop. And when I say stop, don't move a peg. And when I say to get it, everybody do a boogie woogie. Hold yourself now .... Boogie woogie. Now that's what I'm talking about." Listening to the piece, or seeing someone perform it live, it's clear that the piece just isn't the same without the piano player giving instructions to the nonexistent dancers that surround him (or her, although I don't think I've heard a woman perform this piece. Hm.)

So back in the day, as I said, I worked on this piece some and learned some approximation of bits of the piano part. What I had never bothered to do was deal with the patter. It turns out that this makes it a lot harder, at least for me.

But none of this is actually relevant to this post!

Collapse )