Re: Stage volume...

I agree. I play now and then in a small Polish neighborhood called Hegewisch
in South Chicago. There a lot of old (1920's and older) "shot and beer"
joints there and a couple have small halls attached to the back of the
barroom. The raised stages are usually very small since they were built for
a tiny "oompah oompah" drum kit and an accordion player for polkas. Playing
blues in these small halls with just minimal amplification is great. One of
the halls had a wood dance floor and the back of the stage was surrounded
with heavy red curtains on three sides which made for the warmest sound I've
ever heard. I use a late 50's Gibson Skylark and the natural acoustics of
the hall creates an unbelievable  "slapback" reverb sound that bounces off
the back wall. In this setting the immediacy of the sound on the stage lets
the magic happen and really gets the band's groove on. I can only imagine
what the interior of the F&J Club in Gary or the Blue Flame Lounge in
Chicago must have sounded like when the "greats" played there "back in the

> From: IcemanLE@xxxxxxx
> Reply-To: IcemanLE@xxxxxxx
> Date: Tue, 6 May 2003 10:31:07 EDT
> To: harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx
> Subject: Re: Stage volume...
> The original blues bands from the 50's and 60's never mic'ed the drum sets.
> Have you experienced sound checks these days, even in those small clubs that
> use a sound man? It starts with the bass drum level alone, brought up through
> the PA until the whole room pulsates with each beat. (This is residue from
> the disco era, when all the white folk dancing had to be told exactly where
> the beat was).
> From here, the rest of the drum kit is mic'ed up and levels raised to match
> the bass drum, followed by the rest of the instruments.
> The original blues bands played with such a confident and tight sense of
> rhythm that volume was not needed to translate the groove.
> There was a PBS special, years ago, on the Eric Clapton Blues Tribute (From
> the Cradle?) tour. Eric's band on stage was huge, including many guitar
> players, Jerry Portnoy on harp, a rhythm section, horns, and a guy that just
> played a huge marching bass drum. They were playing Muddy Waters tunes. It
> was bombastic. 
> These scenes were alternated with original videos of Muddy's band from the
> 50's/60's, playing the same songs at a club.
> Muddy's band was scaled down, drummer played a very small kit, amps used were
> tiny, but the difference in groove was amazing.
> Muddy swung effortlessly like a mutha and Eric sounded like he was trying to
> force an arena into feeling the beat.
> The "Holy Grail" tone was created at low volume levels, something that too
> few people seem to remember.
> The Iceman
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