Thursday, November 12, 2009
Song of the Week # 9 - "Lady's Got the Blues"
Track #9 from "Virtual Light", the new CD from ALIEN BLUE, is "Lady's Got the Blues" (4:14).
The song is a classic minor key blues in Am (which we'll discuss below) using a "straight" rhythm, features a gorgeous vocal by Blue, smooth vocal harmonies, and a cool opening lick where I double the guitar with a unison "scat" vocal (shades of things to come...) as a nod to the incredible George Benson.
For those interested in the mechanics of composition, it should be noted that the minor blues is the bridge between the "blues model" and the "diatonic model", featuring elements of both. In "Lady's Got the Blues", we take the standard 12 bar structure and alter it (doubling bars 9 & 10), thus following the 14-bar structure:
i7 iv7 i7 i7
iv7 iv7 i7 i7
VImj7 v7 VI7 V7
Note that bar 10 is a minor 7 on the 5 chord, but then bar 12 and 14 use the dominant 7 (major triad with flat 7 on the 5 chord), which opens up myriad harmonic possibilities because it introduces the G# into the otherwise diatonic C (though I stick primarily to the harmonic minor and it's dim-7 arpeggio).
The guitar solo references immediately back to several other songs on "Virtual Light", most notably by referencing licks straight out of "Imagine We", but at times placing them in a new context (note the rapid descending line that runs a succession of 16th triplets to straight 16s to 8th note triplets to straight 8s, for example, and the sweeped arpeggios).
The end of the song metrically modulates to a slower tempo, using a shuffled groove right out of the classic burlesque tradition (can you see that twirling feather boa?). FUN STUFF!!!