Archive for October, 2017

Help Me / Green Onions

When I was 14 and 15 years old, all the kids in the area went to the Clarence Creek arena on weekends where there were dances in a big ballroom on the second floor. The DJ played dance music which, at that time, was the superb soul music that came out of Stax, Atlantic and Motown studios. We listened to Sam and Dave, Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, The Temptations, so many unforgettable artists that defined our youth. Being very reserved and clumsy on the dance floor, I didn’t do so well with the girls but the music, at least, stayed with me all my life.

I heard the instrumental piece “Green Onions” by Booker T. & The MGs for the first time at one of these dances. The band was made up of Booker T. Jones on organ, Steve Cropper on guitar, Donald “Duck” Dunn on bass and Al Jackson Jr. on drums. Booker T. & The MGs, the house band at Stax studios, was also one of the first racially integrated bands, at a time where this was severely frowned upon by our intolerant neighbours to the south.

Richard and Roch

I quickly became a huge R&B fan, in particular everything that came out of Stax and Atlantic studios. This led me, quite naturally, to the blues and to black American music in general, a passion that consumes me to this day.

“Green Onions” was recorded in 1962 and, a bit later, I heard “Help Me”, one of Sonny Boy Williamson’s best “trance” blues, recorded in 1963. The lyrics to “Help Me” describe, in a simple but devastating manner, the mundane tasks of a relationship in the middle of failing. Both songs use the same chords and I always thought that playing blues in a R&B style might be pretty interesting. Here’s what it sounds like.

Richard Séguin – voice, electric guitars, electric bass, MIDI guitar (B3 organ)
Roch Tassé – drums

Help Me – Green Onions

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