During the summer of 1990 me and some of my guitar students traveled down to Greenville MS to visit my friend Eugene Powell. Eugene, an outstanding blues/ragtime picker was always generous about sharing his music with others. On these recordings you'll hear him play some songs on his own followed by the music lessons that he passed on to me.
These two songs - 'Rag in C' and 'The Lead's All Gone' were among the first that Eugene taught to me. I still play them at my show.
Here Eugene tells us about where he grew up and his experiences with the MANY women he's been friends with.
Eugene then asked me to play and sing a song. I quickly tuned my guitar down to his and off we went - my first jam session with this magnificent blues musician. He gives me the first solo, then I gave him one. After that we started trading some 'saucy' lyrics. Listen to the incredible bass lines Eugene plays as I do my best to hold on. This was where I really learned how to 'second' someone else. That meant to play bass lines behind someone's song.
After that 'lesson' Eugene asks me to 'second' him. Here's where I put my newly learned knowledge to work behind Eugene as he sings 'All By Myself.' After that he launches into 'Sweet Mama.' You can hear snapping some bass lines behind him.
Now it's proving ground time. Eugene asks me to play some on my own as he judges how well I learned his licks. You can hear him saying "That's right" and "That thing goin' good up there."
Now he's teaching me 'The Lead's All Gone.'
Let's get these guitars in tune. Eugene would usually tune as low as 2 1/2 steps below standard pitch. When I asked him why he did that he replied that it makes the guitar easier to play. Listen to 'The Lead's All Gone.' Although it's in the key of D Eugene plays it while forming a G chord. This was what the those so-called 'blues scholars' or 'the blues police' couldn't figure out. Learning this first hand is MUCH better then just reading about it or listening to old recordings.
'Now here's another one you oughta learn.' The next song he taught me was 'I Ain't Going Down That Big Road By Myself.'
Let's jam a bit. Show me some stuff Eugene. Listen to how we trade licks and verses back and forth. Damn that Eugene is one HOT player!!!