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beginner forum: for novice and developing blues harp players > Brushing up on ‘Trouble in Mind’
Brushing up on ‘Trouble in Mind’
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6361 posts
Dec 07, 2019
12:32 AM
I like the Alligator, Big Walter Horton with Carey Bell, album generally.
One of the first songs I tried to copy was Have A Good Time.
This is because Adam has a lesson on the first 2 instrumental choruses.
I probably still play it pretty badly, because I learned it so long ago. I expect I’ve locked in a few things which I might do differently if I was commencing to learn it now.

That’s the first track on the album.
The closing track is Trouble In Mind.

When I first heard it I thought it seemed it should be playable. It sounds quite simple.
When I started trying to play it I realized simple ain’t easy.

I put it on the back burner for a while.

I got it out again a while ago and learned to play it, after a fashion.

From time to time I have another go at it.
Last week I got around to learning the outro. I had actually had a half-hearted go at this before and recall figuring it out but then I dropped it.

Picking it up again last week was like starting again (on the final chorus I mean) but I’m better at 10 hole bends now so I’m more satisfied with how it’s going.

It’s 1st position, in A on the record. I’ve been using an A but today I tried it in G, mainly to see what it is like to sing in that key.

Big Walter so you know it’s gonna have some sweet licks but also it’s gonna be deep in the tonal front. Mr Horton was the master of simple sounding licks which make a huge impact. That’s because his dynamic tone was so fantastic. When someone with mediocre skill (Eg me) plays this, it may not make quite as big a splash but it’s worth trying for exactly that reason imho.

When I commenced lessons years ago, my tutor made a little speech about general principles and wrapped up with saying something like ‘above all, remember the power of one note’.
I nodded but I had no idea. In fact it’s really only quite recently I think I’ve started to grab that idea.

Anyway, trouble in mind as per this recording is really special harp playing and I’m having a crack at it.

Im recording so I’ll see if I can share. Probably just audio files though. Video is so distracting. Maybe eventually
307 posts
Dec 13, 2019
4:02 AM
We've been playing Trouble in Mind for a few years now. I didn't realize he had a version of the song so looked it up and gave it a listen. Very nice esp liked the work on the high end.
I like listening to different versions for ideas.
I like Big Walters playing we do a couple of his songs
esp his version of "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" and Walters Boogie (which has several versions it seems).

I always thought that he was playing tongue blocking left handed, so to speak, blocking the notes right side. Or perhaps just seamlessly switching sides as he wanted. So I taught myself how to do that. I find most all my t. blocking is left handed till I get up around the 6th hole then I swap over to right handed style.

I'd be curious if you think much the same on his playing. I never did find an answer one way or the other, so would be curious what you think.
Also wondering if you think he is not tb on those high notes.

....back on the 'trouble in mind' song I see our lyrics are mostly the same but some are different, which seems about right for songs that have been around over the years.
6378 posts
Dec 13, 2019
5:27 AM
I like ‘don’t get around much’ too.
I have learned to play a fair chunk of it on a country harp. I don’t believe Walter used one of those though.
I wanted to play it in the band but the guitar player started fretting about hitting the first note, on the vocals. It never happened.
Different guitarist now. It might happen.
Trouble in Mind though, I found out our guitarist was listening to Brownie McGhee and wanted to play in E. I said I can do that, but I’ll have to rethink my approach, I really was looking forward to playing the high parts. We tried it in A.
I don’t know what Walter did. I tongue block it, and I block left, air flows to my right. It’s taken me a while to get the hang of the 10 but believe it or not I think it’s one of my scale exercises which has got me over the hump with it.
He’s got some nice licks in his record. I’ve been playing along with the recording and doing it all note for note but now I’ve started mixing it up and getting the feel of just putting the bits together.
Our guitarist had obviously been inspired by Brownie so now I’ll listen to him, and Broonzy, and I might choose the lyrics I like most.

I saw Martin Lang had written about tongue blocking and swapping sides at the middle of the harp, but he blocks the high end same as me, and plays with his tongue to the right on the low end. I guess this means his tongue stays in the middle of the harp and he doesn’t have to move the harp much.

I know I can play out the left side but I don’t practice it. I hadn’t really considered the potential advantage before but now I’m curious.
I learned to blow bend tongue blocked by just being stubborn about it, I just refused to do it pucker style. 8 and 9 were fairly quick to come along but 10 was a bit frustrating. Quite reliable up to a C harp now and can manage a D but the 10 hole on the E is elusive. Not that I have a lot of call to play even a C so high. Except tonight but an E is pretty squeaky I think. I don’t want to go there. I’d rather learn it in 2nd

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