Boogie is a genre of music that originated in the United States in the early 20th century. It is characterized by its syncopated, upbeat rhythms and its use of the blues scale. The origins of the Boogie can be traced back to the African American communities in the southern United States, particularly in Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi.
The Boogie emerged from the blues and ragtime music that was popular in the early 20th century. It was heavily influenced by the music African American workers listened to while working on plantations and in the fields. This music was characterized by its strong rhythms and syncopated beats, which were created by using the slide guitar, the bottleneck guitar, and the piano. One of the earliest forms of the Boogie was the “barrelhouse” style, which was played in the bars and juke joints of the Mississippi Delta region. This style was characterized by its fast-paced, driving rhythms and its use of the piano as the lead instrument.
In the 1920s and 1930s, the Boogie began to evolve into a more polished and refined style. Musicians like Pinetop Smith, Meade Lux Lewis, and Albert Ammons began to incorporate more sophisticated harmonies and chord progressions into their music. This new style, called “boogie-woogie,” became a popular form of dance music in the United States and Europe. The Boogie played a significant role in the development of rock and roll, and it’s still being played and enjoyed worldwide. Today, the Boogie is still a vital and vibrant genre, and it continues to evolve and inspire guitarists and music lovers alike.
In these free boogie guitar lessons, you’ll explore the history of this fascinating genre of music by playing your way through it with Jimmy Vivino. To dive deeper, check out Jimmy Vivino’s full course, Jimmy’s Blues House: Boogie.
Free Boogie Guitar Lesson #1: The Fifties and Muddy Waters
McKinley “Muddy Waters” Morganfield (1913-83) is rightly acknowledged as the link between prewar acoustic Delta blues and postwar electric Chicago blues. Not as well known, however, he may also be seen as a link between the landmark boogies of John Lee Hooker and Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith and Chicago blues. “Muddy Jumps One”, a rare instrumental also from that milestone “boogie year” of 1948 with Muddy backed only by upright bassist Big Crawford, employs walking boogie bass lines on the guitar tantalizingly similar to “Rocket 88”. The latter number, arguably cited as the “first rock ‘n’ roll record” and produced by Ike Turner, is noted for the raw, distorted bass string guitar tone of Willie Kizart which fills the lower frequencies. In addition, Muddy’s “She’s So Pretty” (1954) uses the propulsive walking boogie bass lines heard in both “Muddy Jumps One” and “Rocket 88”.
Free Boogie Guitar Lesson #2: 1955 Muddy Boogie (Performance)
Free Boogie Guitar Lesson #3: 1955 Muddy Boogie (Breakdown)
Free Boogie Guitar Lesson #4: 1966 Slim Boogie (Breakdown)
Eddie “Guitar Slim” Jones (1926-59) was a deeply emotional blues guitarist who squeezed expressively abrasive notes from his @ 1953 Gold Top Les Paul. Equally important to his fame in the 1950s, he was a spectacular performer given to dying his hair various colors like blue and red and strolling out into the audience via an exceptionally long guitar cable. When playing with his buddy Johnny “Guitar” Watson, they would often take turns riding on each others shoulders.
Jones was also a boogie man. “(They call me) Guitar Slim” (1954, “Quicksand” (1955) and various takes of “Guitar Slim Boogie” (1957) reveal limber walking boogie lines, usually in the intros to set the groove.
Free Boogie Guitar Lesson #5: 1968 Magic Boogie (Performance)
Sam “Magic Sam” Maghett (1937-69) was one of those tragic “shooting stars” who rises higher and higher and then tragically falls. In this case, not of his own hand. He was one of the “Big Three” of Westside Chicago blues fame, following Otis Rush and preceding Buddy Guy. The sub-genre germinated in the mid-1950s with young guitarists wishing to break free of their often constrictive roles backing harmonica players on the Southside of Chicago as in the bands of Muddy Waters and Howlin Wolf. Instead, they wanted to step out front and solo more like B.B. King. Partly by coincidence, all three gravitated to the Strat and their recordings were marked by a bright, trebly, reverbed sound. Sam’s tended to be more rounded as he picked with his bare thumb and fingers. Though one of his first classics, “All Your Love”, was cut in 1957, the albums Westside Soul (1967) and especially Black Magic (1968) brought him much wider fame, along with his fabled appearance at the 1969 Ann Arbor Blues Festival.
Free Boogie Guitar Lesson #6: 83 Texas Rub Boogie (Performance)
In conclusion, the Boogie has a rich history, and it’s deeply rooted in the African American communities of the southern United States. It has evolved over time, from its roots in the blues and ragtime music to the more polished and refined style of boogie-woogie, which was an important influence on the development of rock and roll. Today, Boogie is still a vital and vibrant genre and continues to be enjoyed worldwide.
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