The Blues & Beyond 2012 ~ The Performances

Chalk Dust Man – Emma, Bo, Ben & Greg

Born Under A Bad Sign – Emma, Bo, Ben & Greg

The Blues – Chris & Gunther

Stormy Monday Blues – Chris & Gunther

Texas Flood – Kate, Michael & Greg

Need Your Love So Bad – Kate, Michael & David

Feel Like Makin’ Love – Jon & Richard

Stormy Monday Blues – Brian, Don & David

Happy Birthday, Greg!

featuring Happy Birthday Blues and Don’t Look Back In Anger by Oasis

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Day #5 ~ Friday 6th July 2012

Morning Session

The final day of the course has arrived and the students will soon be preparing for their performance later this evening. First thing the group consolidate this weeks technical exercises to form the basis of a thorough warm up routine that addresses both right and left hand technique, coordination and accuracy.

During the mid-morning session the class learned some stock blues turnarounds.

Example #1

Example #2

Afternoon Session

After lunch the students split up into small groups and worked on their performance pieces for the evenings concert, which included; Stormy Monday (T Bone Walker), Need Your Love So Bad (Peter Green), Texas Flodd (SRV) and some surprises!

The Blues & Beyond ~ Class of 2012

The Blues & Beyond ~ Class of 2012

Final Setlist

Brian, Don & David – Stormy Monday Blues
Jon & Richard – Feel Like Makin’ Love
Kate, Michael & David – Need Your Love So Bad
Kate, Michael & Greg – Texas Flood
Chris & Gunther – Stormy Monday Blues
Chris & Gunther – The Blues (Original)
Emma, Bo, Ben & Greg – Born Under A Bad Sign
Emma, Bo, Ben & Greg – Calk Dust Man (Original)

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Day #4 ~ Thursday 5th July 2012

Today’s morning session began a usual with our physical and technical exercises.

A discussion arose within the group that led us to the first written blues turnaround. W.C Handy, known as the “Father of the Blues”, published a song called “Memphis Blues” in 1912 and contains the following turn around, which in the hands of Lonnie Johnson became the template for all turnarounds of the time:

The progression consists of: ||  Bb Bb7 Bbdim* Bbm6, |  Bb  || *Bbdim = Dbdim, Edim, Gdim. Notice that the turnaround does not return to the V chord but finishes on the I chord. It wasn’t until later that the V was added.

The mornings style focus was a slow dominant blues and the featured was track ‘Texas Flood’.

The song features an impressive intro, as learned by the group, and can be found on Stevie Ray Vaughan’s 1983 album ‘Texas Flood’ and many live albums and DVDs. The original was written and recorded by Larry Davis in 1958. Check out the original:

‘Texas Flood’ Progression – 12/8 groove

|| :  G  |  G  |  G  |  G  |  C  |  C  |  G  | G  |  D  | C  |  G  | D  : ||

In the afternoon session the class learnt the chords to ‘Call It Stormy Monday’ by T Bone Walker (first recorded in 1947).

|| :  G  |  C9  |  G / G#7  |  G G7  |  C9  |  C9  |  G  Am

| Bm / Bbm  |  Am  | Eb7  D7 |  G C9  | G  D(7)aug  : ||

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Day #3 ~ Wednesday 4th July 2012

Morning Session

The rain was pouring down first thing this morning but the air was still surprisingly humid from the long hot day before. This meant that our morning stretches were done inside the music room rather than out on the grass and in the brilliant sunshine.

The course routine is now firmly set with the group running through their physical and technical exercises in the first session and then working on a style piece of technique after the coffee break.

The Class Working Studiously...

The Class Working Studiously…

In todays session we looked at Gary Moore’s fantastic ‘Still Got The Blues’ from his 1990 album of the same name. The chord progression breaks away from the standard twelve-bar and introduces the first real opportunity to delve into the use of the Natural Minor Scale.

The opening chord progression from the track:

|| :  Dm7  |  Dm7/G  |  CMaj7  |  FMaj7  |  Bm7b5  |  E7  |  Am  |      : ||

The opening melody line is built from the notes of the A Natural Minor Scale (A, B, C D, E, F G – R, 2, b3, 4, 5, b6, b7) and follows the chord progression by bending the notes to the third and then the fifth of each consecutive chord.

In researching the track for the group I learned that there was a plagiarism case in 2003 against Gary Moore for theft of the melody line, which is the hook of the track. Decide for yourself: – I am unconvinced.

Afternoon Session

After lunch everyone descended upon Cognac for the Cognac Blues Festival. We arrived in time to watch a great guitarist perform using a washboard guitar called Nathan James. Nathan played some great tracks using standard and open tunings, bottleneck slide and a Kazoo! The gig was a thoroughly entertaining. Check him out:

Nathan James

Nathan James

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Day #2 ~ Tuesday 3rd July 2012

Morning Session

The morning session began with the physical warm ups; hand, wrist, arm and full-body stretches, followed by the technical exercises, including; the five positions of the minor pentatonic scale and how to play them across the next in a single key, and how to find the root know within each postion shape!

Morning Stretches and Warm Ups

Morning Stretches and Warm Ups

After the mid-morning coffee break the class learnt ‘Born Under A Bad Sign’ as performed by Albert King.

Born Under A Bad Sign – Albert King

The song, written by Booker T and William Bell, was recorded by the Stax in-house band, Booker T and the MG’s with Albert King on lead vocals / lead guitar in Memphis, Tennessee, and found itself on the 1967 album of the same name.

The track is based around a twelve-bar blues progression in the key of C#:

|| :  C#7  |  C#7  |  C#7  |   C#7  |   F#7  |  F#7  |  C#7  |  C#7  |   G#7  |  F#7  |   C#7  |   C#7  : ||

There were numerous cover versions during the late-sixties, including; Eric Clapton’s Cream, Jimi Hendrix and The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, and then later by blues maestro Robben Ford on his 1988 album ‘Talk To Your Daughter’.

Born Under A Bad Sign - Albert King

Born Under A Bad Sign – Albert King

Afternoon Session

The temperature was up into the late-twenties degrees centigrade so after lunch some students took a dip in the pool as others jammed the mornings featured track. Later the students headed to the local bar and others stayed back and continued to jam.

Afternoon Jamming Session

Afternoon Jamming Session

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Day #1 ~ Monday 2nd July 2012

After a lovely meet and greet on Sunday evening followed by a delicious meal, the first morning descended upon us with many students swapping the suits, shirts and polished shoes for shorts, t-shirts and sunglasses. The day was warming up nicely with some beautiful rays of sunshine breaking through the picturesque sky and bellies full of croissant, fresh French bread and morning coffee.

Morning Session

Warm Up Session

Physical Warm Up Session – Preparing Our Bodies

After warming up with both physical and technical exercises the group looked at the 12-bar blues progression and some of the different ways in which the blues progression can be embellished with both chord voicing and structure. We looked at the following:

12-bar blues (no frills!)

|| :  A  |  A  |  A  |  A  |  D  |  D  |  A  |  A  |  E  |  E  |  A  |  A  : ||

Traditional 12-bar blues

|| :  A  |  D  |  A  |  A  |  D  |  D  |  A  |  A  |  E  |  D  |  A  |  A  : ||

12-bar blues (embellished harmony)

|| :  A  |  D  |  A  |  A7  |  D  |  D  |  A  |  A7  |  E7  |  D7  |  A  |  E7  : ||

Need The Blues So Bad!

 || :  A  |  D  |  A  |  A7  |  D  |  Ebdim  |  A  F#7 |  Bm7 E7  |  A  D  |  A  E  : ||

 We also looked at some interchangeable alternate endings:

1. ||  A  F#m  |  Bm  E7  ||  2. ||  A  D  |  A  E7  ||  3.  ||  F  |  E  ||

Afternoon Session

The Blues & Beyond 2012

The Blues & Beyond 2012

After a delicious lunch the class broke up into small groups and jammed the mornings work. This included playing in the style of Peter Green’s ‘Need Your Love So Bad’.

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Blues & Beyond 2012

Study the techniques of some of the Electric Guitar’s great players

So you want to become a better blues guitarist and raise your playing to the next level? Our Blues and Beyond course will do just that, giving you the blues licks and tricks to change the way you play forever!

Topics covered will include:

  • The pentatonic scale inside and out
  • The modes blues players need to know: the Dorian and the Mixolydian
  • Altered pentantonic scales- break out of the blues box
  • Playing over chord changes using arpeggios
  • Work modern rock techniques into your blues playing
  • Crack those chords maj/min/dom extensions
  • Rhythm and grooves in 12/8 and 4/4 time

Style focus, technique, theory and group jamming will all be covered during this fantastic week focused solely on you playing guitar in the beautiful and relaxing French countryside of La Moreau.

Richard Perkins

Richard Perkins, one of the UK’s foremost Guitar educators, from the International Guitar Foundation, will help you increase your scale, chord and phrasing knowledge so you can leave this magical week with a greater confidence, and rhythm chops!


The course is structured so that the morning tutorials are relaxed and informal creating a supportive group atmosphere with plenty of time set aside in the afternoon for you to practice and consolidate what you have been learning.  Richard is always on hand to help, giving advice and expert tips.


The typical level for a student best suited for this course is lower/higher intermediate – You can play your basic chords (incl. barre chords), you know your pentatonic box shapes and you’re ready for a fresh new challenge. If you have any questions about the level of this course please do not hesitate to contact us.

What to bring?

To bring – guitar, amp, lead and note book. Please feel free to use audio and video recording equipment during the day. Headphones are recommended for your own playback. You will be provided with course material as well as blank tab and chord box sheets.


Your course tutor, Richard Perkins, will keep an online daily blog throughout your holiday that will document your daily learning with detailed explanations, photos and videos. The perfect virtual postcard for friends and family back home as well as a fantastic learning resource on your return!

More info

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