This week we’re going to look at how slightly weird drum rhythms can open up some cool doors for improvising. This riff comes from a Howlin’ Wolf song called “No Place to Go”. It has a swampy kind of drone to it. It stays on one riff for the whole song which puts you in a trance the way only the Wolfman could.
This song has a swing to it and is based upon a pentatonic guitar phrase. What’s interesting is when you hear the song, the stress of the beats doesn’t land on 2 and 4. The stress happens on beats 1 and 4. It has an unique way of creating tension which pushes back into beat 1. In a similar way as a waltz does. However, this isn’t a waltz your mother would know.
This groove definitely has roots in the delta, but was adapted to the new electric sound of Chicago. Getting away from “boom-smack-boom-smack” grooves can lead you to new paths. I’ve included an audio file of the solo drum loop so you can experiment with improvising on top.
If you’re into the blues check out my project, Fife & Drom.