Monday, 16 January 2012

A Lovely Kind Of Groove

Q: what do Blur and Bo Diddley have in common?

No, it's not names that start with B or guitars.  It's the groove.

Song2 is built on a groove, just like Bo Diddley's Bo Diddley.  An incessantly repeated pattern.  Not just the foundation for the song like your garden variety hook, it is the song.

You've got your two chord groove (Joe Cocker, Feeling Alright), and your three chord groove (Steve Miller, Take The Money And Run).  Sometimes you even get a four chord groove (U2, With Or Without You) - even a five chord groove (Hendrix, Hey Joe).

Sometimes there's only one chord and the bass gives you the groove (War, Low Rider).  Or the drums (Beatles, Tomorrow Never Knows).  Or a guitar acting like drums (Bo Diddley, Who Do You Love?)  Maybe it's a guitar riff (Howlin' Wolf, Smokestack Lightnin').  Or two guitar riffs (Howlin' Wolf, Back Door Man).  Or a keyboard riff (Bill Withers, Lean On Me).  Maybe it's riff over chords (Springsteen, Born In The U.S.A.).  Or just the lyrics (Armand Van Heldon, Funk Phenomenon).  Sometimes it's "what's that chord anyway?" (Talking Heads, Once In A Lifetime).  Sometimes it's a bunch of instruments each jamming to its own groove (Bob Marley, Exodus).

Lots of different approaches, but they all feature endless repetition.  And the magic is that you don't get bored.  In fact, the reverse happens; you get drawn into the groove, hypnotized, transported.  You surrender to it.

Hmmmm.  This might go on a while.  Best make this a two parter...

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