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BassPlayer 2017-04

BassPlayer 2017-04

LINK FACE TECH PLAY

LINK FACE TECH PLAY LEARN TRANSCRIPTION ? TRANSCRIPTION Buddy Guy’s “Meet Me In Chicago” Michael Rhodes’ Complete Bass Line BY CHRIS JISI | PHOTOGRAPH BY PHILIP MACIAS THE BLUES IS LIKE A LOT OF MUSIC: IT CAN ROCK OUT, IT CAN be solemn and balladic, or it can throw down some R&B and funk. A prime example of the latter is Buddy Guy’s ode to his hometown, “Meet Me in Chicago,” from his 2013 album Rhythm & Blues [RCA]. Credit Guy’s producer/cowriter/drummer Tom Hambridge, who over five albums has helped expand the legendary guitarist’s stylistic palette beyond traditional blues. Also credit Hambridge for dialing up Nashville session ace Michael Rhodes to tackle the riffbased 16th-note bass line. Rhodes, who recently queried Hambridge about the song, reports, “While Tom was in Chicago recording Robert Randolph for Buddy’s previous album, he heard Robert play a riff that caught his ear. He had him play it again and recorded it on his phone, and later he wrote ‘Meet Me’ based on the riff, giving Robert a co-write.” For the 2013 session at Nashville’s famed Blackbird Studio, Rhodes recalls Guy (who sat next to him), Hambridge, guitarist David Grissom, and either Reese Wynans or Kevin McKendree on keyboards, all playing live in the main room. “The way we do Buddy’s albums is we have a stunt singer in the booth so Buddy can play live with us and react to the vocals and play his solos, and then he’ll overdub his vocal later. Tom had provided a demo track, and there was a [Nashville] number chart on which we could put any additional notation needed. We probably ran it down once or twice and then did no more than a couple of takes.” Rhodes played his ’57 Fender Precision, which has a Seymour Duncan Single Coil ’51 P-Bass Stack pickup and Sadowsky flatwounds. It was recorded direct via an Avalon U5 DI/preamp and Tube-Tech CL1B compressor, and also miked via a Fender Bassman head into Rhodes’ signature Euphonic Audio Rumbleseat, a ported 200-watt cabinet he sits on with an 8" speaker inside. The track begins with a drum fill into Grissom playing the main riff, for which Rhodes drops some 12th-fret slides and then momentarily kicks on his Dunlop Cry Baby Bass Wah for the double-stop slide up in bar 4. In bars 5–8, Rhodes joins in on the riff 54 bassplayer.com / april2017

for the first half of the bars, adding his own answers at the back end, creating two two-bar phrases. He also purposely doesn’t match the riff note for note. “With the riff already doubled, I kind of pick and choose where to double it, to keep it loose and not so static. Maybe I’ll catch the jewelry of the riff every so often, just to prove to myself I can do it,” he laughs. Letter A is probably best described as the A section, as it has a verse feel for the first half and the main riff and chorus lyrics in the second half. For the “verse” portion (bars 9–12), Rhodes is on his own and plays the downbeat with funky responses. Then it’s back to the riff in bar 13. He mirrors this approach in letter B, the second A section. “I typically play off the lyric, jumping in the gaps. I’m generally less focused on what I’m doing as what everyone else is doing, and then reacting to that.” Letter D can be called the bridge or B section. Here, Rhodes eases back to eighths for his descending notes against the D (IV) chord. “That was in contrast to everything being so staccato, to open it up and let it breathe a bit.” In a cool compositional twist, for Guy’s solo at letter D (the song’s C section?), the harmony shifts to the V chord. As before, Rhodes doesn’t exactly double the riff (now in E), at times leaving out the downbeat and creating his own measure-ending fills. Letters E and F (dig Michael’s step-outs in bars 45 and 53) are the third and fourth verse/choruses. This leads to a breakdown/spotlight section at G, for Guy’s second solo. The bridge/B section returns at letter H, this time with Rhodes working some of his trademark reharmonization magic in bars 70 and 71. “I thought, why not move up instead of down, and re-name the chords in the process? That’s the beauty of what the bass can do.” Finally, letter I is Guy’s third solo, and he continues to blow through J, where the chorus background vocals come back. Here, Rhodes breaks from the riff to freelance with some descending lines before the band plays the closing riff four times and the vocalists end the track. Michael, who will tour and record with Joe Bonamossa this year (in between Music City sessions), advises, “I’m sitting back a bit in the pocket, to anchor everything else that’s on the beat or pushing. Listen to our interpretation and find the important elements of the part. Once you have the essence, feel free to go outside the lines and make it your own.” BP “Meet Me In Chicago” Transcription by Chris Jisi & Michael Rhodes Medium funky blues = 97 A7 S S H 12 12 7 7 5 4 7 7 7 4 5 5 5 3 5 3 5 6 H 5 5 4 7 7 7 4 5 0 3 0 3 5 4 7 7 7 4 5 5 3 5 3 5 5 5 4 7 7 7 4 5 0 3 0 3 9 A A7 5 7 5 7 5 0 3 0 3 5 5 7 5 7 5 7 5 5 0 3 3 H MEET ME IN CHICAGO Words and Music by Tom Hambridge and Robert Randolph Copyright Tom Hambridge Tunes (ASCAP) and Happy Fingers Too Publishing (ASCAP). All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission. bassplayer.com / april2017 55

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