Hi, everyone, sorry I've gone AWOL over the summer.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to listen to one of my favourite Lang recordings made with blues guitarist Lonnie Johnson back in 1929.
This was actually one of the earliest sides featuring (gasp!) black and white musicians recording together, and for some reason the guys in the studio thought it would be 'safer' for Lang to record under a black-sounding pseudonym, "Blind Willie Dunn". I can't imagine that this name change really bothered Lang very much, since his real name was "Salvatore Massaro" in any case!
Now Johnson was one of these ragtimey-blues fingerpickers who did some interesting stuff using a dropped-D tuning, but was basically a three-chord player.
As you'll hear, the recording begins with Eddie setting a sombre bluesy-jazzy mood using just three simple chords.
I hope that you, like me, will marvel at how he could say so much with so little!
Lang plays the first chorus basically in one single pentatonic blues position, with Johnson playing extremely simple limited chords behind him on some kind of funny 9-string guitar that sounds like a 12-string.
Listen carefully to the tone Lang gets out of his Gibson (L-4 or L-5? I don't know)---you'll hear some bluesy whiny sounds, very much in the Lonnie Johnson idiom.
And then once Eddie has finished, Johnson abandons his simple, basic rhythm guitar to play lead.
Lang switches to rhythm, and suddenly the skies open and glorious sunbeams fill the musical horizon!
Check it out, and try to play along if possible.
Key of D, it's not difficult! Dmaj to Dmaj7 to D9... It's real simple stuff but once again, check out how much beauty Eddie can create using so little!
Paul Cezanne: "I could paint for a thousand years without stopping and I would still feel as though I knew nothing."
Edgar Degas: "Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things.... To draw, you must close your eyes and sing."
Georges Braque: "In art there is only one thing that counts: the bit that can’t be explained."