I had another rehearsal with Mudslide Morris last week, getting ready for a gig later this month (from 8:30pm at Jack and Alice, Thame on 25 January) so I had prepared by making notes on the songs we played in December based on recordings I’d found on Spotify. Apart from one song with a 16 bar form, they were all either 12 bar blues or just chugged away on one chord.
In the rehearsal, it turned out that we were doing some of 12 bar songs as a one chord chug and some of the chugs as 12 bars. As long as you know which is which, it really doesn’t matter! If some music is like baking, involving carefully handling of ingredients, quantities and temperatures, blues is definitely like cooking up a big bowl of stew; throw it all in and let it mellow on down.
From a bass point of view, this makes it very easy to play along with with; the challenge comes more from finding ways to differentiate each song so that I’m not just playing the same thing each time. However, I can often lift a distinctive riff from a recording and work with that even if the form is different. We will be doing some songs that build on other patterns but it is shaping up to be a good gumbo, whatever exactly goes into it.