of sharecroppers in the rural South, this one
is hard to pull off with your dignity intact,
especially the last three notes.
Instead, end your epic solo with Fig. 2,
which is straight out of the book of Freddie
King. Also make sure to practice at home the
accompanying “I smell a fart” stare. Perhaps
you didn’t want the crowd to think you were
about to murder them, and felt like ending
on a lighter note. In that case, I would sug-
gest using Fig. 3. Which reeks of the one and
only king of the blues, B.B. King. Cool thing
about that, it implies a suspended V chord at
the end, taking us back to church. Where we
should have been all along! Suggested facial
expression: The difficult bowel movement.
Fig. 4, though to really nail his vibe, you may
have to clamp a pipe between your teeth.
Again, all these licks can work on everything from “Red House” to “Shake Your
Moneymaker” to “Slow Ride.” You don’t
really have to be at the end of the 12 bars.
Hey, it’s blues. If there’s nothing else you
take away from this lesson, please don’t ever
make me hear Fig. 1 again!
‰ oe bJ oeoe‰
G7 oeJ oeoe oeoe˙
D7 oeb oen
OE oeoeoe b oeoeoe OE
G7 oe oe™™
oeoe oeoeoeoe oe bJoe n ™
When it comes to developing a vocabulary of blues licks and phrases, it’s hard to
beat the three kings: Freddie, Albert, and, of course, B.B.
From a 1993 performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival, B.B. King shows everyone
how it’s done—from the “bee sting” vibrato to his masterful and understated phrasing.
YouTube search term: B.B. King Montreux 1993
An early influence on the British blues guitarists, Freddie King came straight out of
Texas with a larger-than-life presence and stinging tone.
YouTube search term: Freddie King Big Legged Woman
Armed with “Lucy,” a Gibson Flying V, Albert King performs his classic tune in a small
club in the early ’80s. Not even a cast on his finger can slow Albert down when he
pushes into those monster bends.
YouTube search term: Albert King 1981 Born Under a Bad Sign