Covers vs. Originals- do you write?

A discussion of the blues for blues lovers and fans.

Covers vs. Originals- do you write?

Postby jbone1 » Thu Jul 24, 2008 11:41 am

i write originals inspired by a lot of what i've heard in blues over the decades. in fact this next cd we're about to record will be all original material penned and worked up by my wife and me.

do you ever get struck by your muse and have something to say, unique to you? i know there are really just a few main themes- him/her, him/world, him/himself. the beauty of blues to me aside from the incredible power of the musical form, is in welding something personal to the music!

so- how many here write originals?
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Re: Covers vs. Originals- do you write?

Postby allanlummox » Thu Jul 24, 2008 1:50 pm

I write about a third of the songs I know.
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Re: Covers vs. Originals- do you write?

Postby boogiechillun85 » Thu Jul 24, 2008 3:15 pm

It depends on my mood, and the crowd. There was a point where I was doing probably 90% originals when I played out... but lately I've been remembering a lot of country blues songs I thought I forgot, so that number's probably drifted down to about 30-40%... but then, I wrote a song last night and am slooowwwwllyyyy gearing up to record another album, so who knows?
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Re: Covers vs. Originals- do you write?

Postby LesFromChicago » Wed Dec 24, 2008 5:50 pm

I have written some blues songs and some gospel too. In the 45+ years I have been playing, I have only written a handful of songs.
When you make something up you don't have to worry about mechanical rights and all that.
Sometimes when a song comes to me I will do it in a certain groove, then months or years later I will totally change the groove or rhythm.

But some of my favorite things in my repertoire are covers, hopefully they are public domain, sometimes I use original arrangement or change/add lyrics.

BTW I am an amateur.
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Re: Covers vs. Originals- do you write?

Postby Direwolf59 » Thu Feb 19, 2009 5:28 am

I write a good many of my own songs although I do covers, too. I never do covers to sound like someone that did it before though. I find it great fun to do your own arrangements. I try not to change them up too much, just make them mine.
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Re: Covers vs. Originals- do you write?

Postby CashWiley » Thu Feb 19, 2009 3:43 pm

When I started out back in the 80s, we weren't good enough to play covers, so we wrote all original material. I've written tons of stuff, but these days it's a bit harder without a writing partner. I'm good at inspiration, but I like to work ideas out with a second mind. These days I mostly adapt fairly stock blues riffs with new lyrics, I'm sure as time goes by and I get more experienced with blues I'll get less traditional.

I also like to try and alter covers, like taking a post-blues Clapton song and fitting it to a traditional blues form. I like to be creative and playful.
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Re: Covers vs. Originals- do you write?

Postby texas blues » Fri Feb 20, 2009 1:40 am

These days I focus 99% of my time own my 'thang. I had an epiphany that I'll never be Albert or Muddy, Robin Trower or Billy G. I don't have to struggle with coping other cats vibe and consequently it opens me up to alot more ideas. I make my own blues and boogie the way I hear it.

Cheers, TB.
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Re: Covers vs. Originals- do you write?

Postby Gtrist » Fri Feb 20, 2009 5:51 am

I like coming up with my own stuff, but I'm not prolific.

And when I play covers, I tend to personalize them--I come up with my own arrangements.

The song's already been done that way--I'm going to do it differently--maybe a bit differently, maybe quite differently.
That's what I like to do--and what keeps me playing and enjoying it.
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Re: Covers vs. Originals- do you write?

Postby CashWiley » Fri Feb 20, 2009 3:02 pm

That's one thing I love about the blues, it's like a basis for expressing your individuality. Thousands of people can play the same song, and it will be different every time. Even the verses can be swapped around, throw in different tempos or genres, even. The basic canon of the blues has withstood the test of time and are very malleable.

Some folks get daunted by improvisation, but for me it's a salvation from the structure of classical and metal (though I was doing some pretty fun improv metal for a while, too, but it's veeeery difficult to coordinate).
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Re: Covers vs. Originals- do you write?

Postby savage » Thu Dec 03, 2009 3:26 pm

CashWiley wrote:Some folks get daunted by improvisation, but for me it's a salvation from the structure of classical and metal (though I was doing some pretty fun improv metal for a while, too, but it's veeeery difficult to coordinate).


My friend Shaun who plays drums brought this guy to the warehouse to jam(until our bass player got there). He kept askin me if I knew any songs... metallica... purple haze. I just scratched my head and told him no. Came to realize that he was only into those fingertappin metal bass lines.... which he only seemed to know about 3 of :P . I tried playin him one of our surf rock songs.... and he didnt know what to do. The technicality of metal seems to often be very limiting to me. I eventually just set down my guitar and took a breather until Beau(bass) got there. I really tend to keep to original material. I learn to play the music behind songs I like (ei. I heard a song by Calexico that I liked last week and I had to figure out the the jig).
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Re: Covers vs. Originals- do you write?

Postby stumblin » Fri Dec 04, 2009 8:59 am

I try to write songs. Sometimes I'm successful. I have about a thousand pieces of paper with one line scrawled on them, stuffed into guitar cases etc.
I guess I write about a quarter of the material that I play.
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Re: Covers vs. Originals- do you write?

Postby Rhambama » Tue Dec 15, 2009 11:03 pm

Sometimes I vocally jam on songs I know or just heard... Here is me just jamming on Red Cross Store off the cuff.

I dunno if it is really a cover at this point.

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Re: Covers vs. Originals- do you write?

Postby Slacker G » Wed Dec 30, 2009 5:22 pm

I used to perform a lot of solo finger pickin covers. But I have had so many downers these last couple of years I started writing all my own material.
Last year I wrote over thirty songs. I have yet to get all I write into my DAW. Some are just tracks, a few mastered, and a lot of them are simply waiting for inspiration.
I still do some covers. But I do not try to perform them anything like the originals. After all, why bother? Weren't they already hits by someone else? I won't do a cover unless I feel I can do as well or better than the original. I feel it is better for any picker or singer to follow their own heart, and not imitate some one else. Get your own style. Why be an imitator when you can be an innovator? Better someone stealing your licks than you stealing theirs. The trouble with a lot of musicians today is that they want to sound just like someone else? What is the point in that? Kind of like the wave of Elvi that reside in Vegas and are on tour as one man shows with their Karoki machines. But don't take me too seriously... I wouldn't wish to burst any ones bubble. It's just an opinion.
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